The Back-to-Work Guide for New Moms
Moms Back To Work Ebook Excerpt
If you happen to fit the descriptions A and B, then I should first congratulate you on motherhood, or childbirth (if you’re in description C then let me ask you to extend my congratulations to the mother that you know.)
Everybody knows that being a mother, taking care of children and managing a household is already a big responsibility on its own right. When you add WORK to the picture, it becomes more of a challenge, but then again fulfilling.
I will not dwell into the details of why you have to go back to work or why you shouldn't. I won’t be telling you the pros and cons of each option or help you make a choice if you should take that job offer or leave it. This is not what this Ebook is here for. In fact, this Ebook has already made the assumption that you have made the decision or are considering the fact that you have to go back to work, or that you already are working.
There are plenty of reasons behind these, and these do not matter right now. Whether you have to go back to work because you want to have something to do or because you are compelled to because of financial reasons is not really the matter here. Regardless of the reason behind going back to work and regardless of the length of time you have been out of the work force, you – like all mothers going back to work – will ultimately face one collective challenge:
How to survive life while juggling motherhood and career all at the same time.
This, dear friend, is what this ebook is here for. Read on as it is here to provide you with tips and insights on how to make things easier for you once you start going back to work. This guide is arranged into certain categories, all of which a working mother should take into consideration.
v The first chapter gives you an overview on childcare, giving you tips on where to start looking and how to choose the best one. The chapter also provides a lowdown on each type of child care service and will share some important questions you might ask when you interview some prospects.
v The next chapter talks about work options, aside from the regular full–time/forty-hours-a-week job. The second chapter will give you details, mention pros and cons of each type of work arrangement option.
v The third chapter is actually a compilation of tips on survival skills that you need to make juggling home life and career life easier.
v Chapter four is a special chapter that talks about breastfeeding, and how to survive and continue feeding your child with breast milk while working at the same time.
v The next chapter teaches you some neat tricks in balancing work and family time – because we all know how important family is and how it should never be neglected regardless of the amount of work – or housework!
v The sixth chapter is all about you! With your busy schedule and demands at home and at work, it's not uncommon for working mothers to fall into the trap of not being able to take care of themselves. Chapter six gives you some insights, and some quick pick – me – up relaxation tips.
v The seventh chapter talks about the psychology of you – the working mom, and how to deal with stress and the ever present Mommy Guilt.
v The last chapter, although not the least, covers a list of resources that every working mom should know, such as employment or career resources, child care resources, career tools, places to find and even worksheets and tables that can aide you in time, schedule and chore management.
Every chapter covers an important topic, and it is not necessarily arranged chronologically according to importance. You can read through this Ebook “the heart's way”, which means reading according to your desire and not by sequence, and it will still give you the same results as reading the Ebook in proper order.
In short, you can start anywhere and end anywhere but still end up with the same results. You may find some tips repeating themselves, but this is because plenty of the content in this book is overlapping and work well with each other. The guides and insights have been broadly expanded to cover all possible scenarios that you will face as a working mother.
This Ebook is meant to serve as a guide that gives direct definitions, explanations, information and comprehensive tips on issues and topics surrounding career and motherhood. This is is merely a guide that is made to help you make the best out of and survive life as a working mom and should not be taken as substitute for any legal, medical or professional advice.
An excerpt of Chapter 1
What Are My Child Care Options?
Whether you plan to go back to work part time or full time, you will need to look for someone to take care of your child. However, leaving your child in somebody else’s care for three to five days a week is not an easy matter and should not be taken lightly. As a parent, you would always want the best for your child and you also want the assurance that he is comfortable, safe, well taken care of and having fun. This is why finding someone to take care of your child while you are working can be a very daunting task. Getting the best child care service does not happen overnight, and never happens to others at all. It requires some searching and a few tries on your part.
With that said, this chapter gives you an eye view of the different kinds of child care services available and what their advantages and drawbacks are.
The Importance of Quality Child Care
The most important resource for a working mom is a trusted caregiver. However, finding a great a daycare provider can be difficult, especially if you live in a city with a high demand for childcare. To improve your chances of finding a quality daycare, get on the waiting list for your ideal daycares as soon as possible, so that you have a greater chance of being offered a space for your child by the time you will be going back to work. Other working moms trade shifts with their partner so that one parent is at home with the children while the other works, or a trusted friend or family member provides childcare.
Day care Centers
In daycare centers, teachers or qualified individuals take care of children, from babies to toddlers in groups. There are plenty of daycare centers that you can choose from, and they range from government run to private run companies and can be chains such as Kinder Care or single-owned operations. Some daycare centers are also affiliated with churches. There is also a new trend where companies have their own daycare centers, or have daycare centers near their offices for their employee’s benefit.
Daycare centers follow certain standards and laws set by the government or the state. Most daycare centers, especially chain ones owned by big companies, are stringent with details like curriculum, cleanliness and ratio of adult to child. When your child is in daycare center, you can be sure that there are plenty of adults around to look after your child, and too make sure that he is not neglected or abused. These adults are not only the director or the daycare teachers, but other parents as well. This kind of child care set - up allows your child to socialize with other children, especially with those their age. This gives her the chance to learn plenty of things from other children in the room as well. Children in daycare centers have easier transitions like potty training and bottle weaning. Most daycare centers have good curriculum and activities, so you can be sure that your child is engaged in educational activities even while playing. If one of the teachers is unavailable or absent, your child can still attend daycare.
However, you still need to have back – up arrangements ready in case your child gets sick. Daycare centers have certain rules and routines that should be adhered to, and your ability to change that is limited. Most chain day care centers have high staff turnover, so your child may have to go through a couple of teachers in a certain period of time. And because of the lower adult to child ratio, adults have to keep an eye on several children at once, and may not solely focus on your child. The average child to adult ratio for children below 2 years old is 3:1, and the child count increases as group age also increases.
In-Home or Family Day Care
Also known as a family day care center, an in-home day care center works like a regular daycare center, but is set at home. Most of the time, an in – home day care center is usually run by a mother who takes care of her own kids, and takes care of other children at the same time. She may have other people or family members to help her in watching over the children.
In – Home Day Care centers are less expensive than day care centers. In fact, it may be the cheapest setting among all the other options. Parents sometimes feel more comfortable that their children are in a less formal setting, and that one person is taking care of their child. In – Home day care centers are not so formal in structure as day care centers, so children can play and interact with children of varying ages.
However, like daycare centers, there are fewer number of adults to look over the children, and if there are any assistants, they may mostly be relatives of the caregiver. Because of this, any sketchy behavior towards your child and other children is less likely to be reported to you. Some in – house daycare centers are unlicensed. Or if they are, you cannot be too sure as most licensing procedures and standards are somewhat looser for in – house daycare than that with daycare centers. Like daycare centers, you may need back – up care giving service in case your child gets sick and has to stay home. This also applies if the care giver is sick or takes a vacation.
Excerpt of Chapter 3
Nearly everyone in the world has heard all about the trials and tribulations of motherhood, and it does become more challenging when you put the word "work" in the picture. Now that you have to leave the bliss (or perhaps boredom) of maternity leave behind in order to go back to work, how do you make sure that your transition is smooth and easy? Though juggling work and motherhood is never easy, this chapter aims to help guide you all challenges and potential pitfalls to make sure that you easily come through.
Get All Your Things Together
Before you leave for work (or even before you actually start going back to work), make sure that you get everything that you need for your baby. Aside from baby furniture and items like cribs, strollers and car seats, which you may have bought prior to childbirth, here are some important items that you should have on hand all the time.
Having all of these articles and items on hand saves you time and hassle from last minute trips to the supermarket or to the grocery store. Storing them properly and placing them in strategic locations is also another thing. It also saves you time from going through the whole length of the house. Imagine being late for work because you had to run to the convenience store to buy a pack of diapers or a couple of bottle nipples, or having to run to your bedroom just to get a pack of diapers.
Sure, you already have those. In fact, you may even have lots of them inside the closet. Have you ever experienced going through the whole closet just to find the right pair of socks? Time consuming, right? As a working mommy, you don't have time for these little things, but you also can't send your little one to day care wearing socks that don't match!
To save time on choosing clothes for your baby to wear, start with having a separate drawer or closet for his clothes. Arrange the clothes into type, like shirts, shorts, pants, dresses, underwear and socks. Sleepwear and clothes for inside the house can be piled separately too.
Newborn children usually end up using 8-12 diapers per day, while older babies use only around 6 to 8. Most new parents end up with disposable diapers that are made for older children. Disposable Infant diapers are sized from 1-6 or S-M-L-XL .
If you are environmentally conscious, you might have invested in good quality leak – proof cloth diapers for your baby. While these cloth diapers offer lesser protection that disposable diapers (by holding only at least two wettings), they come in different styles and sizes and are leak – proof for the first two wettings. Take note that unlike disposable diapers, cloth diapers need washing and drying.
You can refer to the weight suggestions on the packaging to find out which diaper best fits your baby or your toddler's needs. Brands such as Huggies, Curity and Pampers for disposable diapers and Kushies, Happy Heinys and Bum Genius have an excellent selection of diapers for different age brackets and sizes.
Bath and Washing Essentials
Imagine doing some paperwork in the den or living room, while your baby is in his playpen next to you. Then you need to change his diaper. Wouldn't it be easier if you could simply do that right there and then, instead of having to go upstairs and do it in the nursery? Or what if your toddler wants to spend some time in the backyard, do you find yourself running upstairs just to get that bug spray?
To save time from going back and forth from the nursery and back, you can create two cleaning stations inside the house. The first one, of course, in the nursery or your bedroom – depending on where your baby sleeps. The second one can be downstairs, depending on where you usually do daily activities. It can be in the living room, dining room, den – or even a little provided space in the kitchen.
To do the trick, set up a changing table for your baby. While most rooms nurseries or bedrooms may have “real” changing tables, you can make use of a small table at home, or even just your dining table or your couch! Just make sure that you have all your diaper changing and cleaning essentials on hand before you clean your baby up. And make sure that the table is sturdy enough and won't topple down.
Now that you have your cleaning area, the next thing you need to do gather are your baby items. Take a basket or a box (one with divisions can be really helpful) and stock it with essentials such as:
▪ cotton balls/tips
▪ burp cloths
▪ a change of clothes
▪ waterproof changing pad
▪ and other things necessary
Replenish supply as needed.
Everybody knows that the best nourishment for a newborn is breast milk. There are speculations that the use of breast milk is linked to the baby’s positive growth and development. Breastfeeding also strengthens the bond between mother and child. If you plan to continue feeding your child with breast milk, be sure that you leave enough in the refrigerator. Pumping ahead of time and storing them also assures you that you have plenty of milk supply for your baby.
For all you mothers who have problems with breastfeeding or choose not to breastfeed, there is no need to worry as there are plenty of good alternatives in the market today, such as powder formula milk, milk concentrate and ready to feed liquids.
Powder form is the most inexpensive and needs to be diluted in water. Concentrate form comes in liquid and also needs to be diluted in water. Ready-to-feed liquids are the most convenient type of formula, especially when traveling or out of the house as it requires little to no preparation.
You can also make feeding stations of some sort – just like your diaper cleaning or changing stations. If you are formula feeding, you can keep a couple of bottles and a can of formula downstairs and another set upstairs.
When your child is six months and older, he needs food for nourishment. You can either buy pre-made ones in jars or boxes (just add water) or make your own and store them in the fridge. Baby food that come in jars can save you time in preparation, but can be very heavy on the budget. Another time - saving alternative is to make your own baby food in batches and freeze them. For older babies and children, you can make batches of cookies or other snacks for them ahead of time.
So, What's Your Plan B?
As cliches go, change is inevitable and life is unpredictable. With that, even the most careful and the most well – organized working mother will, at some point in time, find herself in a situation that might call for drastic measures.
Think about these scenarios: You're getting ready to go to work, everything is in place and the baby sitter calls to take a rain – check, or your son catches a flu and can't go to daycare. It shouldn't be a problem if it happened during an ordinary day, but what if it you have a meeting with the big bosses and you just can't excuse yourself?
Just because you have found the perfect day care center or the most adoring and most caring baby sitter does not mean that everything is going to go smoothly. This is why even before such crisis happens to you, you should start developing your back – up plan in case something comes up.
Mothers with family members near by may be at the upper hand than those who don't, but here are some things that you need to prepare in case the unexpected happens
v Talk To Your Spouse. This goes for two parent families. From the very beginning, you can talk hatch up a back up plan with your spouse by comparing your work set up. Who's work arrangement is more flexible, who's boss is more understanding, who has better benefits are just a couple of questions to consider while creating a plan. Some companies may allow their employees to telecommute, absent themselves from work on short notice, or even bring their child with them to work. By studying these options, try to figure out who would best take of your child in case your child care giver is a no show. Deciding this beforehand helps eliminate those last – minute arguments over who goes to work and who stays home to take care of baby.
v Talk To Your Boss. If you are a single parent who does not have anyone to share the responsibility with, give your boss a lowdown on your situation beforehand – not thirty minutes before you decide not to show up at work. Once you go back to work, or even before that, let your boss know about your current situation and the possible things that might happen in case you your child's care giver does not show up. You can work out a compromise by putting in more hours the following week, or your boss can allow you to bring your child to work.
v Talk To Your Child Care Provider. During the initial interview, ask your child care provider about any special off – dates that you should know about. Or ask to see a calendar or a schedule for the year, so you can make plans ahead for those dates.
Illnesses and other abrupt leaves or absences are another story though. Daycare centers may not be so much of a problem, since kids may simply be shifted to another teacher's class if the teacher is absent. Relatives, nannies or babysitters however are usually on their own. Ask them if they have other friends or if they know other people who might be willing to take care of your child in case of sudden illnesses or absence.
If your child goes to daycare, ask them ahead of time about their policies on children and illnesses. Some centers may admit children who have mild illnesses like cough or colds. There are also nearby hospitals that allow your child to stay for the whole day even with minor illnesses, but keep in mind that children who are sick are often more comfortable at home.
v Talk To Others. Take some time out to befriend other working mothers from home or from your neighborhood. Some moms establish a support network that aims to help each other out when it comes to child care issues. Some moms might be able to have your child taken care of by their children's care giver (at an additional cost, of course) in case of emergency. Or a stay – at – home mom friend may offer to take care of your child for the day. These friendly services may come at lesser price, but they also come with strings
Excerpt of Chapter 6
Mommy Time Means
Keeping the ME from the WE
When blessed with the cutest being to ever grace the face of the earth, mommies all over have fallen into the trap of seemingly permanent melding of the former ‘me’ to the all-encompassing ‘we’. It is well and good to love your child and to cater to his or her needs… but even mothers need downtime away from their children.
You were also young and carefree once upon a time, but just because you have brought a life into the world doesn’t mean your life as an individual has to end. There are enough hours in a day for you to enjoy your life as a mother. You just have to learn how to compartmentalize your life and strike a decent balance between mommy fun and work, family.
Regain Self Confidence
I’ve made mention of moms losing their confidence after months of being confined to their whereabouts like house-work-hospital-grocery-work-house routine. Because of such little exposure and the sudden transition of life, you may find yourself losing the vibrant confidence you once had.
Being one of the human needs as illustrated by Abraham Maslow in his hierarchy of needs, a need for self- esteem which is accompanied by being confident and sure about yourself is important and so if it is, it is also something you really need to have. If you’re on the verge of losing it – permanently, then your should work towards regaining it. After all, no one can else make you feel better about yourself than yourself. And a better feeling and happy mommy can do and accomplish so many things, and is better at raising happy babies and running happy households.
Getting Your Body Back
No matter how you deny it, the physical feature is the first thing that people see. It’s not about you being a great mom to your baby; it’s not about you being a great daughter to your father, or a great sister to your siblings. It’s really not all that. Let’s all not be hypocrites here but having an hourglass body, or let’s say proportional and fit body is something all mommies desire. More than that, getting a fit body makes you stronger and fitter so you can do more things at home and at work.
Getting your body back may seem like a very daunting task especially if you're juggling work and family at the same time but this is a mission NOT impossible.
v Breastfeeding. 8 out of 10 moms agree that not only does breastfeeding give the best kind of milk to their babies but it also has a good effect on moms. Aside from making the bond closer between the baby and the you, Breastfeeding helps you loseweight faster if you continuously feed your baby with breast milk. Breastfeeding is the easiest way for you to lose weight, and you don't even have to lift a thing (except your baby). Breastfeeding naturally shrinks the uterus' size back to normal in the span of one year – so that's one thing off your list already.
v Water Therapy. Water has several known benefits to men and so drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will not only cleanse your body but will also make you feel fuller so you are less likely to eat when you feel the urge of munching even if you actually aren’t hungry at all. Place the water bottle in a position inside your fridge where it’s the easiest to reach among others so that when you open the door, it’s the first one you’ll grab.
v Walking and little daily exercises. Many studies have proven that little exercises all throughout the day that aren’t tedious are seen to be as effective as the sessions that are long. It wouldn’t hurt to do some crunches for 5 minutes if that’s the only time that you are available like when waiting for the water to reach its boiling point.
Or you could go walking every morning with your baby outside your house or at the nearest park or in your garden. You can also take the office stairs instead of the elevator, or park further from your office and walk the remaining distance (just make sure that the area is safe). This does not only work your leg muscles but also your cardiovascular system. Making this walk fun could also be helpful for you so why don’t you bring your ipod and play your favorite tune on your way to the park.
The things you once thought were a chore, now could be your motivation. What’s really important is that you do something about it and you find time to do it even for only a few minutes every day so long as you constantly do it. What’s even nicer is that you get to have a bonding time with your baby boy or girl outside home.
v Eating right. When you’re tired and worn out because of the day’s challenges at home, most of the time you may fail to be watchful to the food and liquids you take in to compensate for hunger and weariness.
Or the case could be, because it’s hard to eat well because of the lack of time, you may resort to packaged food. Yes, it is easy and quick to prepare but along with this is a very high calorie and fat content which will add up to your love handles. Belly fest!
So instead of grabbing these foods, why not prepare your own snacks? You could place them in a container and stack it up in your fridge where it’s easy to reach so whenever you get hungry and has no time to prepare a great meal for everyone, you can grab a bite of your healthy snack easily. Don’t forget to minimize drinking carbonated drinks as this will add up to unwanted fats also, so you better opt for water or tea. This is healthier and quick! That’s the way it should go.
Balancing work and family can surround you with a lot of stressors around you. Basically you get this almost everywhere, when you do your regular grocery at your favorite store and when there’s a customer who doesn’t know how to line up in the cashier, or while you’re driving to your way back home and the traffic is just getting worse and it takes you like eternity there barely moving, or that insulting co-worker telling you to stop trying to pump milk because it's not going to work anyway.
The hows and the whys of what makes you stressed are influenced by your surroundings, daily activities and routine. This isn’t only detrimental to your health but also to your relationship with others because when you are stressed, you do not only become impulsive and impatient but you also become too sensitive and dysfunctional. Of course that's the last thing you want to happen because you play an important role in your family and you need to function. Here are a few things to help you de- stress at home.