Whether you are returning to work after baby number one, two, or seven there is an adjustment process that takes place, which should not be underestimated. I hear stories of working/career mothers in Africa and the Caribbean blessed with at least a couple of house help personnel that help with the transition. Live-in au pairs and other forms of childcare and house work assistance are available here in the UK, ofcourse, but I think we can agree we are not comparing like with like…financially or otherwise. So, when planning to return to work here are some useful points to remember:
1. *Work is good Proverbs 14:23, Psalm 128:2*. I wasn’t sure I wanted to return to work after baby number two but after praying about it and seeing God move on my behalf I am happy I returned (in some ways it is easier to go out to work than being at home 24/7 as a Home Executive )
2. *With Childcare, follow your heart, prayerfully*. We have a responsibility to God first to train up the children God has given us *Proverbs 22:6*. I interviewed about six au pairs (despite my reservations about au pairs generally) but was not comfortable with any. I almost compromised because of the “need” to return to work but thank God I listened and went for the nursery we used for our older child, which has worked out well. We supplement with my mother’s help from time to time. I know that this option may not be available to everyone and because of rising childcare costs it may not even make financial sense to return to a particular pattern of work depending on the circumstances. My tip regarding childcare is to PRAY and PLAN ahead. Whatever childcare you choose, have everything set up to begin four to six weeks ahead of your return to work to test out the process to ease yourselves (you, child, carer) in.
3. *Explore flexible working*. Especially if you have more than one child, depending on the home set-up and the availability of external help you may need to look at reducing your hours, or take the option of working from home (if your employer allows). Key thing is to explore what your employer offers. Speak with your HR department at least two months before you go on maternity leave. And try to stay in touch if you can during your maternity leave to keep up to speed with any policy etc changes.
4. *Change of role*. If you have taken more than six months maternity leave your employer is not legally obliged to offer you the same role if it can demonstrate a business reason. There are many stories I could tell but I also know that everything will work together for you as you love God, trust in His purpose an call on your life and do your part to self-develop. You may even find that you want to try out a new role, career option post maternity break. Don’t limit yourself – it is Season LIMITLESS afterall, and you serve a forever limitless God. So after you’ve prayed and done your research, go for it! There are many more tips to share, and also to learn from.
Do share your stories and tips. I’m happy to speak on a personal level. *Hannah Olatunde* is a practising Lawyer, wife and mother to two children.
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