Getting back to work following maternity leave can be difficult for any mom. Whether you took 6 weeks off or a full year, the transition is filled with so many choices and emotions. Kristin from Mango Calla Lily is a full-time mum with a beautiful toddler girl. Kristin is in pursuit of another degree, Master of Education and manages the juggle with help from a supportive family and a fresh attitude. Enjoy the interview!
How long was your maternity leave?
I live in Canada, so am extremely fortunate to get a full year of maternity leave. In fact, I added a little vacation to the end of my leave because my daughter was a late arrival (@ 42 weeks), so I pushed going back to work until her first birthday. Having a full year at home with her was a dream!
What are some “getting back to work” tips you would like to share?
I think the best tip I can offer is to take time to phase your child into daycare. I started two weeks before I went back to work, and took her for two hours, then four, and worked our way up to a full day. It enabled me to get my daughter settled into her new routine when I was still nearby and could get to her without the constraints of work as needed. On top of that, it allowed me to get some of my emotions out before heading back to work. It’s easier to cry and have the time to yourself than cry and try to conduct yourself professionally in a meeting! It also gave me an opportunity to do some running around and errands before getting back to the real world.
How did you prepare for your return?
I think the preparation came in the time I phased my daughter into daycare – that’s when I started to get some clothes for back to work, and just generally wrap my head around what was coming.
Can you describe how your manager effected the transition?
My manager at the time had children so he was very accommodating. I was able to flex my work hours a little bit so I could get home to my little one sooner. And even better, he was very flexible on the days I had to leave to get her because of illness, which seems to happen a lot in the first year of daycare!
What kind of childcare do you use?
The in-home daycare provides a lot of teaching and stimulation, organized circle time, outdoor play and themed weeks. All of the parents receive calendars of activities and meals, which I love!
What was the biggest obstacle when you searched for daycare provider?
I think for me, the biggest thing was first impression, and how she interacted with my daughter. I knew I had found my daycare provider instantly upon meeting her and asking her several questions. (And by several, I mean a boat load!)
What were some of your requirements?
- General manner of the provider (I didn’t want someone who was overly gushy, as I feel nobody can keep that up all the time; but wanted someone who seemed level, kind and loving)
- Experience (mine has been a care provider for 13 years)
- An educational program (circle time, songs, activities, crafts)
- A good clean, home that felt welcoming and inviting
- References (I didn’t know anyone who had used her, but called three of the references she provided me. I have now provided a reference to other moms on several occasions)
- A clear contract with vacation, sick days, pricing, etc. outlined
- An opportunity to observe the home while kids were there
Those were my main things, and I’m glad to say I am still thrilled with her 9 months later. Oh, and I couldn’t agree more with Be Positive Mom’s ‘go with your gut’ point (listed in Finding The Right Daycare). I think that’s the most important, above all. Only you will know who is a good caregiver for your child.
Kristin is a working mum and raising the two sweetest little girls. In her spare time, Kristin is a part-time Masters student, College instructor and tea connoisseur who is always looking for something new and fun to do.
Life is anything but slow for Kristen. She manages the juggle with help from a supportive family and a fresh attitude.
She blogs because she likes to make people smile.