Are you a stay at home mom on maternity leave who is returning to work soon? Or have you found a job recently and need advice on how to prepare for transitioning from a stay at home mom to a working mom? If you are a stay at home mom going back to work, I share some tips below to help prepare you for this life change.
Tips For A Stay At Home Mom Going Back to Work
If you decide go to back to work, there are a few childcare options you can consider.
Home day care
Home day cares are homes where nonresidential childcare is provided in the provider’s home. When I was researching childcare during my daughter’s younger years, I found home day cares to be cheaper compared to facility day cares. The home day cares I visited usually had the homeowner/childcare provider watch about 3-4 kids at once.
Facility day care
Facility day cares are licensed childcare settings, where babies and children are usually watched by several caretakers. In my area of Northern California, I’ve found the facility day cares to be more expensive than home day cares, but you typically have several providers watching your kid.
You can hire a nanny to watch your baby for individualized attention. This tends to be the most expensive option, but you have the peace of mind knowing that your baby has more attention on him/her and the provider not having to be responsible for several babies and children at once.
Families who don’t have the financial resources to pay for a nanny can consider nanny co-ops. If you use a nanny co-op, your baby would share the nanny with one or several other babies. Typically, the cost would be divided among the babies so it’s definitely a cheaper option compared to 1-1 care.
Understandably, some parents are just not comfortable leaving their baby with someone or some people they are not close to. If this is the case, consider using a family member, friend, or neighbor you trust that is willing and able to be your baby’s childcare provider. Depending on the agreement you have with this person, the cost would be at a reduced rate or the same rate you would pay a nanny.
In general, there is no “right or wrong” answer when it comes to picking a childcare method for your baby. You will need to make your decision based on several factors including cost, what you’re comfortable with, and what you think will be the best option for your baby’s needs. Care.com is one resource you can use to see what childcare options are in your area.
Figuring out your baby’s meal plan is another decision to make when you return to work. If you are exclusively breastfeeding right now, you will need to decide if you want to continue giving your baby only breast milk, breast milk and formula, or formula only. If you decide that you want to continue only giving breast milk, you want to invest in a good breast pump. When my daughter was a baby, I tried both manual and electric breast pumps. The manual pumps are cheaper but very inconvenient. I highly recommend using an electric breast pump, because it will be more practical to use during breaks and lunch in a work setting.
Before going back to work, you also want to create a new household budget to include your new work income, as well as revised expenses. Some potential expense changes you want to look at are:
- Work lunches and snacks
- Work clothing
- Transportation costs (gas for your car or public transportation)
How are you feeling going back to work? If you are a stay at home mom going back to work, you might struggle with a variety of feelings and may not know how to deal with them. Some moms I talk to feel sad about having to leave their baby when they go back to work. Other moms I talk to feel guilty about wanting to go back to work. Talk to a trusted, non-judgmental, and supportive person in your life to help you process some of these feelings. You can also talk to a professional therapist or counselor. You can find a therapist at Psychology Today if you are looking for face-to-face therapy. Online therapy is another option if you are looking for more flexible therapy options.
When you think about your work schedule, questions to think about are:
- Will you be working part-time or full-time?
Some moms I talk to want to work part-time initially and eventually go back to work full-time. Others go back to work full-time right away, because they need the income to raise their new family. In some situations, their job requires them to be at work full-time. Other moms decide to work part-time on a long-term basis so they can devote more hours to parenting.
There’s no “right” or “wrong” answer to figuring out the best work schedule that will fit your new lifestyle.
- If your baby will be at a day care, who will do the drop-offs and pick-ups?
Some mothers do both drop-offs and pick-ups because they work closer to the daycare, compared to their spouse’s work location. Some parents split the responsibility and one does the drop-off, while the other does the pick-up. The work schedule also is a determining factor of who will be doing drop-offs and pick-ups.
For a stay at home mom going back to work, so many different feelings can come up during this time. Excitement, guilt, sadness, and worry are all common feelings to experience during this transition. Use some of the tips above to help prepare you and your family for your return back to work.
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