Transitioning from SAHM to Working Mom
by Melissa Brodsky
Making the transition from stay-at-home mom to working mom is no easy task. From preparing for those initial interviews to securing a new position to organizing your home and family for the change ahead, you have your work cut out for you. While transitioning is always a challenge, there are some ways to make it a bit easier on you and your family.
Give up the guilt (or do the best you can).
All moms feel it for one reason or another. If we’re at home, we feel guilty for not contributing financially. If we’re at work, we feel guilty for having less time with the kids. If we work from home, we feel guilty for spending some of our time working on, say, the computer instead of down on the floor building block castles.
No mom or situation is perfect. But if you’re doing your best for yourself and your family, chances are you’re doing wonderfully! And always keep in mind that every choice you make (whether you stay at home or rejoin the workforce) involves consequences and sacrifices. Focus on all the positives of going back to work instead of the negatives.
Do a trial run.
Murphy’s Law dictates that whatever can go wrong will go wrong on the morning of your big interview or first day at work. Though junior never throws a tantrum on the way to the park, playgroup, Grandma’s, or even the pediatrician’s office, he might develop a new taste for them on your big day.
And, of course, you’ll have other issues, such as spills to clean up, missing car keys, a run in your stockings, or even just a sleepy child who is reluctant to get moving. A trial run or two can help you gauge just how much time you need to get everyone ready and out the door.
Arrange backup care.
So you have a daycare, nanny, preschool, or after school care situation all figured out? Now, you need to decide who will care for your kids when those plans fall through, and the time to do it is right now–before you start work.
Inevitably, there will come a time when your childcare situation hits a roadblock. This may happen when your child gets sick and can’t go to school or daycare; when your childcare provider gets sick, goes on vacation, has an emergency, or simply doesn’t show up; or when unforeseen events occur, such as snow days.
Though some jobs do allow flexibility for parents in such situations, many bosses will still expect you to show up for work despite such circumstances–and on time too. Plan a backup for childcare (and a backup for the backup couldn’t hurt). This will keep you from pulling your hair out, and possibly facing trouble at work, when the unexpected occurs.
Give yourself a break.
As you make the transition from stay-at-home mom to working mom, you’ll feel a range of conflicting emotions. This is normal, so don’t try to fight them.
You will miss your kids while you’re away at work. You might resent having to wash dirty dishes after a tiring day at work. You may feel relief and joy in re-taking a role that doesn’t focus on your identity as a mommy. Accept these feelings and embrace them as simply a part of your new lifestyle.
And take some time for yourself, though your new schedule may feel jam-packed. A nice soak in the tub, a quiet cup of tea and a book, a get-together with your friends, or even a nap can prove rejuvenating and help you avoid the burnout that’s hard not only on you but also on the entire family.
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