Ok, so being a mum and a midwife can be pretty taxing at times. It’s easy to get tired out and forget all the wonderful thing that you are experiencing. So here are some hacks to help out all those working mums, and just plain busy mums out there.
Find your Routine
This is a controversial one. Some mums swear by getting baby into a good routine, while others swear it’s impossible, and baby will just go by their internal clock. I’m somewhere in between. We all have a routine of sorts, based on our need to eat and sleep. If you can establish some routine, it can make your life easier in the short term. This is because you will be able to tell roughly how long you have before you are needed again. This is great for getting small jobs around the house done, or even settling down for a much-needed nap! Issues can and will arise when baby starts to teethe, change and generally throw a spanner in the works for some reason and no longer sticks to the routine. Ultimately it is for individual parents to try out and see what works best for them. My routine changes according to whether I have childcare that day, what our plans are, for example, if we’re home all day or at least in the afternoon, I will put Daniel upstairs for an afternoon nap whilst I catch up with some work, do some housework or play with the other children. If we’re out, he may nap in his buggy, he may not, I play it by ear. I stick to meal times around the same times each day. We stick to the same bedtime routine, but relax things at holidays and weekends.
Ask for Help
Being a mum and working is like having two full-time jobs. Sometimes it feels like it is just too much for one person to cope with. You only have one pair of hands, and when you are looking after a baby or toddler, plus other children, they are usually pretty full with nappies, laundry, drink bottles or baby wipes. What I am getting at here is that it’s ok to ask for help. Whether it’s from your partner (goes without saying, they should be playing a part), your family, friends or even your doctor, if you need it. Having a little one is a huge change in anybody’s life, and it can take time and patience to adjust, don’t feel like you have to shoulder this burden alone, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed and tearful. If all else fails and you have the money – hire a cleaner (this is my life goal).
If work-life balance is hard to get when you’re single, then getting it when you have a partner and a young family can seem impossible. This is why is crucial to have good communication with your colleagues and superiors at work. Then if the shifts you are doing are not quite working out for you, you can have a conversation about changing them without all hell breaking loose. All workplaces in the UK are meant to have flexible working options that are family friendly. When you’re a shift worker, you will still have to do those days that aren’t popular of course, you need to take your turn, but there are ways to make allowances, like working set days or shift patterns, changing your hours and generally being understanding when you’re walking round like a zombie from lack of sleep!
If you aren’t lucky enough to have that sort of employment environment, maybe it’s time to look for somewhere else? Somewhere that will allow you to take your role as a mother just as seriously as your role as an employee. If you do begin the job search around the time of having your little one, be sure to save time and use specialist jobs sites like Staffnurse.com. Then you can get an overview of the sort of thing that out there before you decide to hand in your resignation. I myself have changed the way I work, I no longer have a permanent contract, instead I work under NHS professionals, still where I used to work, but I choose when I can work which works better for me.
Give yourself a break
It’s a fantastic idea to make the most of your maternity leave and give yourself a proper ‘break’ before you go back to work. I put break in inverted commas, because looking after a newborn isn’t really that relaxing! What with the night feeds, nappies and wonderful chaos that they bring with them. It’s about allowing yourself to dedicate some time to being a mum and bonding with your little one. If you can fit in some sort of mini break or day out just for yourself before going back to work, do it. Try not to be to hard on yourself, I say this often to new mums, don’t expect to be superwoman, we’re bombarded with images of so called ‘Supermums,’ who’ve got amazing bodies, going on holidays, doing activities with their children and cooking amazing meals. Trust me, they have help, or maybe just lots of excess energy! You won’t be able to give your all to your career like you did before, something has to give. So give yourself a break, even if it’s not in the literal sense.
Lose the mummy guilt
You will feel guilty for going to work, but most of us have our reasons; financial, personal, needing something different, wanting a break from family life. Most of us feel refreshed and rejuvenated after being at work, even for a short time – it helps you use your brain in a different way, rediscover old friendships and your sense of self. After all, it was a big part of who you were before having children. Ideally I’d like not to have to go out to work, but I really enjoy some sort of achievement based work, particularly blogging of course! I’ll always be a midwife too, in some sort of capacity, even if I won the lottery tomorrow, it’s in my DNA. So don’t feel guilty for contributing to the finances, and for keeping your sanity. You’re also providing a positive role model for your children.
I know it can be tough in a work situation; you don’t want to lose your confidence or be seen as not pulling your weight. But it is essential that you allow yourself some time before rushing back in, and if it really isn’t working out for you, you can make a change.
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post, all opinions are my own.