Returning to work

My friend Nanda had taken maternity leave from her office to take care of her newborn daughter. However, when it was time to return to work, she realised that her little one needed her and she quit her job. Today, her daughter is four years old and she is considering returning to work. However, she feels guilty about leaving behind her child with a nanny. Most importantly, she is worried that her daughter might not be able to cope with her absence.

Nanda’s story is that of thousands of mothers who face a similar dilemma. However, what you should remember is that you are not being a bad mother by returning to work and fulfilling your professional aspirations. It is your choice and you should be happy about it. So, here are some useful tips to prepare your child for this phase:

  1. Announce Your Return

Your return to work shouldn’t be a surprise for your child. Weeks before your joining date, you should start telling your child that you would also go to the office just like her dad does. Preparing your child ahead of time will ensure that they are mentally and emotionally ready to accept your return without much fuss.

  1. Answer Their Questions

When will you leave? When will you come back home? Who will give me food? Who will bathe me? Be ready to be bombarded with several questions from your child. You should answer these questions as honestly as you can to put their worries at rest.

  1. Train Them with New Caretaker

If a nanny or a family member would be looking after your child, you should let them spend time developing their bonding. You should ideally start this at least a month before you join the office. This will help your child to become comfortable with the caretaker’s presence.

  1. Spend a Few Hours Away from Them

You can also leave your child with the caretaker for 1-2 hours every day and step outside the home to run household errands or just spend some ‘me-time’. On weekends, you can leave your child for more hours with the caretaker. This will prepare your child to manage without your absence when you eventually resume work.

  1. Give Them Assurance

Let your child know that they can message or call you anytime while you are in the office. Tell them that if mommy is not able to respond immediately, she might be in a meeting but she will call back as soon as she can. This kind of reassurance will make them feel secure even when you are not around.

The first few weeks after your return to work may not be easy for you and your child. However, the transition will become smoother over time.

About Prabha Kulkarni

Prabha is a retired teacher, who enjoys writing on various topics. Most of her current writing is currently influenced by her young grand-daughters, as she grapples with the differences in the world they will grow up in, and the one in which she spent the best years of her life. Prabha is also a proud technophile who plans to start her blog soon.

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