Well my wife is in the last quarter of her mat leave. She is going back to work, full time in about three months time. Elias will be one, and as a parent I am freaking out a little. I am a little old school in that I think that children should be raised by their parents and not in day care or by a nanny. However times have changed and in many families, both parents need to work. In fact, according to 2004 Census data, in the US, 55% of moms are in the labor force. This has changed greatly in the past 20-30 years.
So for the moms who are planning to go back to work, how do you plan for it? Some moms have no choice as they are single mothers and need to provide for their families and their children. Many suggest that society has made it difficult for people to have children as the cost of living has gone up tremendously over the years. In this day and age, parents really have to plan for having children and that includes having a plan for mom to go back to work.
Preparing to Return to Work
So how should moms and parents prepare for mothers of young children to go back to work?
- Plan a Timeline – determine what the timeline looks like as to when mommy will be going back to work. Factor in things such as how long you will be nursing your baby and ensure that you have established good routine with regards to feeding and sleeping. Depending on how far ahead that you are planning, you might want to consider creating a “milestone” calendar as a checklist to help you prepare for going back to work.
- Plan Financially – going back to work is a big decision for mothers and for both parents. Be sure to carefully discuss your financial situation. Perhaps mom does not have to go back at full time capacity. This will determine how much time your child will need to be taken care of. Some parents are totally ok with putting their one year old in childcare for 5 days a week, while others are not. Some parents or single mothers have no choice. However for most families, they will need to plan financially as to whether or not mommy needs to return to work, and in what capacity.
- Take Time to find Appropriate Childcare – whether it is a family member, a nanny, a day home or day care, take your time in finding a healthy environment for your child or children. This is probably one of the most important and difficult decisions that you will need to make as parents. We have all heard the horror stories of chilcare issues, so taking the time to find good childcare is a must. Many look to family, but that may not always be an option. Find the best environment that works for you.
- Establish & Document your children’s routine – this is more for younger children and toddlers who will be in childcare.
Mothers who are thinking about going back to work after having a baby, especially in their thirties, have to make a big decision. It is a frightening thing to have to go through, but rest assured, there are great environments for your children. Having said that, I still feel strongly about parents raising their kids without outside childcare especially when the child is under two. I just think that children with stay at home parents tend to learn more about the important things in life such as morales, the importance of family, love and respect. I understand the need for social interaction, but really under the age of two, how much does the child really need to be around other kids for prolonged periods of 6-8 hours per day? They will get to experience that as they enter pre-school or similar environments. Let’s not rush things. Let’s let children be children and let the parents be responsible for them.
Call me old fashioned, but I simply think that raising a child is one of the most cherished and important things that we can do.