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Back to Work: Mom’s Work/Life Balance Tips

by Diana Jolly

Being a new mom and getting back in the workforce can be challenging to say the least. Some mornings, it’s hard to make it to the office on time when my two-year old insists on eating his breakfast in slow motion and wants to change his clothes three times before we get out the door.
What are ways you can ease into the workforce and keep your family-life balanced? Here are some tips that have worked for me and other parents I’ve talked to:

Before returning to work or seeking work:

  • Recognize and seek support. Who can you call if your child is sick? How can your partner, friends or family assist you in a smooth return to the workforce? Remember a combination of supports will help provide you with a strong net to catch you when you fall. One support that I established was to hire a retired acquaintance to babysit on days my child was not scheduled for regular daycare.
  • Consider options. Can you return to work part-time? Is there a way you can have a flexible schedule? What other creative ways can you balance work and family? There are many possibilities – find the one that fits you and your lifestyle.
  • Assistance with childcare costs. You may be eligible for a childcare subsidy to assist you with the financial burden of childcare. Contact your local municipal government for information or search online.

 

Once you’ve found a job or returned to your previous employment:

 

 

  • Routine, routine, routine! The more I keep to a schedule in the morning, the easier it is for me to arrive to work on-time, prepared, and ready to work.
  • Give yourself time. Get up before your child so you can have time to get ready for work.
  • Take a break. Working and parenting is a demanding combination and either can suffer when you’re not on your game. Give yourself a break and enjoy a bubble bath after your child has gone to sleep. Book an extra hour of childcare at the end of your workday and enjoy a brisk walk or gym time. Arrange for family to care for your child so you can sleep in. Whatever your pleasure, ensure you are taken care of too.
  • Stay passionate. Our passions keep us energized and in turn help us stay motivated to keep our work-life balance on track. One of my passions is contributing to my community and I feel so lucky that I can fulfill that at work. Do some soul searching. What are you passionate about? How can you bring your values and passions to your work to keep you energized?

I still struggle with the guilt of leaving my child and wrestle with balancing obligations and commitments. It’s a continuous process of re-negotiating various aspects of my life and managing the twists and curves along the way. Something that helps keep me focused is to remember my son is witness to the everyday struggles, but also to my passion for work. It’s my hope that one day he too will bring that same value to his career.
Diana Jolly is a Certified Career Development Practitioner and Employment Consultant at The Career Centre in Parksville, BC.

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