Returning to work after maternity leave

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We all know that feeling. That blissful feeling at 8.5months pregnant when you wave your colleagues off and skip (waddle) off in to the horizon to start your new life as a mummy. You have an absolute lifetime off! In fact, a full year (or 9 months, however long your blessed to have off) feels like your never actually returning.

Except it sounds like a long time, but in actual fact, that year passes by quicker than you can blink and you find yourself on a Monday morning kissing your little ones goodbye and trudging up the path to work!

Whether you come off maternity leave back in to full time work or part time work the transition is really difficult. A lot has happened in the time you’ve been away and it’s important to make sure you are properly prepared in order to make life easier for yourself, your family and your work colleagues.

So here are my top tips to help you make that return to work easier after maternity leave.

  1. Attend “KIT” days. A lot of work places today offer “Keep in touch” days where you can attend work for a morning/afternoon or full day, fully paid in order to catch up with what’s happening at work, attend important meetings and generally remind yourself about how to do the job! You can have up to 10 KIT days in most work environments but check with your HR team to find out what your employer offers.
  2.  Sort your childcare out in plenty of time and make sure you are comfortable with it and that they are flexible. Arrange a meeting with your employer around 8 weeks before you are due back to work and see if they can offer you anything that makes your childcare situation easier such as set working days, shorter working hours, flexi time etc.
  3. If you are still breastfeeding when you return to work, make sure that your employer knows about it. They should ensure that you have regular short refreshment breaks and that you have a suitable private place to express breastmilk and store it if necessary. Again, speak to your HR team if you are unsure of your employee rights.
  4. Prepare. The first day will be chaos as you try to figure out your new routine. Make your lunch and layout your clothes the night before and make sure your bag is all packed and ready to go. It’s also helpful to have your children’s belongings/clothes all ready the night before too so your not rushing around in the morning and you don’t turn up at work shattered before you’ve even started!
  5. Get rid of the guilt. Easier said than done and I definitely need to practice what I preach but getting rid of the mummy guilt about going to work will make life a lot easier. Whether you have to go back to work for financial reasons or whether you want to go back to work because you want to do something for you make sure you don’t feel guilty about it. Your children will be fine, they wont have abandonment issues nor will they feel less loved. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and you will enjoy your time with them a lot more on your days off.

I hope this was helpful. Enjoy your return to work!

XOXOXO

Starting Pre-school

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K has been attending nursery one morning a week since the start of February this year. It was a chance for her to make some new friends and have a new experience away from me and it was a chance for me to spend some time alone with my youngest. She loved going and the nursery and staff that are there are great.

On the 5th September this year K started back at the nursery that she had been going to but now she’s downstairs in the pre-school area. We made the decision to send her 5 days a week but only 9-12pm so it got her into a routine for when she started reception next September and it also gave her some stability in terms of seeing the same people and doing the same routines everyday as she is a person that thrives on that kind of environment.

Daddy came with us to drop her off for her first proper morning. Dropping her off wasn’t hard as I knew she knew the building and the staff but I felt very emotional. The little person that I’d had at the side of me most days for the last 3 years wouldn’t be there in the mornings anymore. It felt oddly quiet when I got back in the house. I also worried that she would feel lost and abandoned since she didn’t know any of the other children. I need not have worried because she was buzzing when I picked her up that lunchtime. She had made some nice friends, had a great time and couldn’t wait to go back the next day.

Wearing a uniform to pre-school is optional at the place that K goes as it is a private nursery and most of the children are sent wearing their own clothes but it was K’s choice to wear a uniform. I think she looks really smart and it makes it so much easier to be organised in the morning as I know exactly what she’s wearing.

I have D with me full time everyday (except when I’m working) so I’m not alone but it does feel strange without K around in the morning. We try to do something together in the afternoon whether it’s going to the park or staying at home and playing and I will try to make the most of this for the next year as I know when it comes to September 2017 I will lose that time completely.

For now, I hope K continues to enjoy pre-school as much as possible.

XOXOXO

 

D – You are 1 year old (A letter to my son)

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To my beautiful baby boy – a boy that will always be my baby, no matter what age you become.

You are now 1 years old. What a wonderful, amazing, challenging, stressful, emotional quick year it has been.

I know I say every month passes in a blink of an eye, I know your fed up of hearing me say “I can’t believe your this age already” – But I really can’t! Your sisters first year went by ever so quickly but this year seems to have gone by at lightening speed.

You became so dreadfully poorly when you were 10 days old and it was the most horrendous thing we’ve ever gone through and I never believed for a second that I’d ever get over it. And although the memories of it are still there, I feel like we have got over it and it is just a distant memory because you have just filled our lives with 10 months of pure happiness.

It’s so hard as a parent to find the balance of not wanting to wish your life away and hoping that you will stay a baby forever to being excited about the future and the milestones that you will reach.

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You have hit a big milestone this month which seems to have been a long time coming – You are now crawling! All the built up frustration that you were feeling about not being able to get anywhere has now subsided and you can move. My goodness don’t we know about it. You definitely keep us on our toes now! You are becoming faster and faster every day and you are starting to bump into things and now bruises are starting to appear! The newest one being on your cheek where you bumped a TV stand on holiday! Over the last 24hrs your confidence and skills have grown again and you are now using furniture to pull up on. It won’t be long before you are cruising around the room using the furniture as a guide.

I go back to work next week and it is bitter sweet. I have felt so blessed and lucky to have been able to spend a full year with you, watching you grow, being there when you reach your milestones and making memories with you but I will be glad to do something for me again. I only work two days a week so the days that I’m at work you and your sister will go to your grandparents for the day. They will take good care of you whilst me and Daddy are working.

You now have 4 teeth. Two at the top and two at the bottom. I can only assume that you are cutting another one this week as your usual happy smiley self has been replaced with a grouchy, irritable, restless little monster. Lot’s of cuddles, kisses and Calpol usually does the trick. Lets hope the pain doesn’t go on for too long.

Your birthday was such a lovely day. It was Sunday. We had a small family party for you on the Saturday teatime. Nothing fancy just a little celebration surrounded by the people that love you. We woke up on the Sunday morning and opened all your presents with you. You were very very spoilt! We then spent the morning at Graves Park as the weather was glorious and you got to test out your new SmartTrike that Mummy and Daddy bought you. You really love it! We then spent the afternoon at your cousins house as it’s his birthday the same day as yours and he had a 3rd birthday party there. It was such a great day and you were very happy.

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I’m so glad I am able to write you these letters every month to let you know what we get up to and how you are progressing. I hope your able to look back on them one day and feel that you were loved very much. Both you and your sister!

For now darling, keep smiling!

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XOXOXO

 

 

 

Siblings (September 2016)

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September. A month of back to school and new beginnings. A month of new chapters and even crazier schedules. September is the parenting equivalent of January 1st!

My little ones seem to have grown up this last month. K has now started pre-school and attends there Mon-Fri 9-12pm and D is just growing at a rapid rate and is learning new skills every day. I imagined September was going to be the start of a slower pace in life for our household especially since I didn’t need to entertain K for as long during the day but actually, with the nursery drop off/pick up, preparing for my return to work following mat-leave (more on that to follow) and D learning to crawl and having to be next to him constantly I appear to have less time than before. No, I don’t get it either! Parenting is such a hard and demanding job which is exhausting and stressful but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Now that D has learnt to crawl, the dynamic of his and K’s relationship has changed dramatically. D is no longer the baby to kiss and cuddle and to protect but an actual interactive playmate and K is absolutely loving it! There’s nothing finer as a parent than to watch your children play and giggle together. Although I am coming to realise that it’s not all sweetness and light – there have been a few hairy moments over the last week or so where boundaries have been pushed between them and they’ve ended up scraping and falling out a bit but they are quick to make up. I think with K it’s learning that fine line between her having to still be gentle and remind her that he’s still a baby but also encouraging her to play with him and explaining to her that D’s actions (however “mean” they may feel to her) don’t mean much to him at the minute (and not to take the hair pulling personally!). It won’t be long before D starts to walk and the dynamic of their relationship will change yet again. Having a 3 year old and a 1 year old is a blessing but it sure isn’t easy!

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XOXOXO

The Me and Mine Project

Me and Mine (August 2016)

This months photo isn’t the best. August has been so busy we haven’t had much time to take photos of us all together. We spent the day at White post farm on Bank Holiday Monday so I took along my camera but couldn’t take my tripod so I had to ask a willing stranger to take our photo. This was the end result! Ha! Hopefully we will win more next month!

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Mummy is loving

Exercising/Running

GBBO

Reading new books

Daddy is loving

The football season restarting

Golf

Game of thrones (season 1)

K is loving

Her caterpillar’s/butterfly garden

Days out in the sunshine

Learning to write

D is loving

Waving and clapping

Mobile phones (!)

Dance and wiggle dog

Being on the swings

The Me and Mine Project