“I feel like a better mum when I work”
“I just want to stay home and be there for my kids”
“I don’t want to work, but I have to financially”
“I feel so guilty when I am home, and I feel so guilty when I am at work”
Returning to work after the birth of your baby can be an exciting but stressful next step. In our service we have heard some variation of each of these statements above. For some women they relish the opportunity to go back to work and want to return as soon as practicable. For others, this return can be a sad and emotional time. And for others, it might be a time of mixed emotion- joy, sadness, stress, anxiety and guilt.
There are several things to be considered. Practical questions to work out such as how will your family work with this new arrangement? Who will care for your child, family or paid care? Will you need to pump at work? How many days per week will you work? Will there be any requirements for overtime? Do the carers of your children need anything like strollers, special toy/ blanket or information about dietary requirements?
There are certain rules around returning to work after having a child – if you need more information The Fair Work Ombudsman (click here) provides some templates and examples for requesting flexible working arrangements. In Australia you have the right to request such arrangements, they may not approve the request, but cannot refuse on unreasonable grounds.
As well as these practical changes you should consider your emotional needs. Some people really struggle with this adjustment and could benefit from talking through these emotions with someone who can remain impartial and provide emotional support.