Being a new mum is a challenge on its own, but women returning to work after having a baby, face extra challenges as well.
It seems that experiencing guilt is part of being a mum. But working mums often feel guilty when they are not at home with their children, especially when babies and toddlers achieve milestones. Many mothers want and need to work, whether for financial reasons or for self-fulfillment and stimulation, or, as in most cases, a combination of reasons.
If you are battling with guilt remember it is most important to do what is right for you and your family, and what makes you happy. Try to look at the positives of your situation – the benefits for you and your family of you working – and make the most of the time you do spend with your children.
Juggling domestic duties
Housework is still often regarded as ‘women’s work’. This often results in women inadvertently taking more responsibility in the home than men, which can be an added burden for working mums.
Dealing with the resulting stress may require you to lower your standards by deciding what housework is non-negotiable, what aspects you can be more relaxed about, and whether you can delegate or outsource. You may need to negotiate about tasks that can be performed by a partner or older children, or perhaps source a regular cleaning service so you don’t have extra responsibilities outside of working hours.
A support system is essential for any mother – every mum experiences days when we feel like we just cannot carry on – but this can be especially true for one who is working.
Family members may be able to provide support, but whether or not you have family nearby, there are a range of options. It may be a regular babysitter, who you can call on to have a night off, friends who are available for a chat over a cup of coffee, or an au pair, who lives in your home and gives you more flexibility.
Having dependable childcare
When it comes to childcare, the cost, flexibility available and the kind of care you can expect for your children are factors to bear in mind. For many working mums there is a great need for childcare to be flexible and affordable. It’s not always possible to knock off work at a specific time, avoid late functions or escape weekend shifts. Transporting children to and from childcare can also be a source of stress for mums who feel like they don’t have time for everything that needs to be done.
Alternative childcare options can be the solution for many working families. Au pairs, for example, are often an affordable childcare option and they provide flexibility by looking after younger children in the home, or doing the school run and looking after children before parents get home from work.
Finding time for yourself
As mothers we are renowned for not looking after ourselves, or putting ourselves at the bottom of the list. However, it is so important for working mothers to take a breather. Whether it be time for a cup of coffee or a movie, a weekly yoga or meditation class, or a night away from it all, it’s important that working mums look after themselves. This includes finding time for yourself and your partner. Spending quality time together will also help you to recharge your batteries.
To find out how an au pair could help you overcome some of the challenges of being a working mum, get in touch with Smart Au Pairs today. As an Australian au pair agency, they can help guide you to achieve the best outcome for your family.