FOR some mums, heading back to work after having a baby is totally out of the picture, but for others it's a necessity.
Whether it be for financial reasons, or for your own mental health, our mummas talk about how they find the balance.
How does a mother draw the line between her career and having a family?
SUSIE: There is no line for me. They both seem to merge - maybe it is just the things I do. I don't think you can do it all - there are only so many hours in the day. At different times one has priority over the other in regards to career and family. Overall, the family comes first for me, but sometimes they have to take a step back when I am busy with 'career' things. I think it is good for my children to see that. It also makes them more independent and also shows them that I have a life outside of them - I'm not just their servant.
What are your thoughts around mothers heading back to work after having a baby - what sort of time frame,
what was your experience?
DEE: I believe we want more these days and some mothers have to go back to work. We put too much pressure on ourselves financially and there is no choice to stay home and raise our children even if we would like to. I think it should be a choice as to what we do, rather than necessity. For me I didn't want my children to go to childcare until I was finished breastfeeding them during the day, which was 12 months. So with my first I didn't go back to work until then. With my second, I suffered with post-natal depression and my doctor suggested I go back to work for a break. It sounded ridiculous to me at the time because I felt so broken and exhausted, but it brought me back to life. I had a purpose again after being 'just a mum.' I had adult conversation, laughter and most importantly a break from the constant neediness being a mother brings. It was something for me.
I think one year is a good time frame to be home with a new born if you can do it and then ease back into part time work.
How does a busy mum find work life balance? What are your tips?
GISELA: I'm still trying to get a balance, the mum life is still sort of new for me. I just had a baby 7 months ago, I'm still on maternity leave but starting to consider going back one day a week to get my skills up. For now, I'm more trying to balance my well-being and mum-life. Juggling my baby's happiness and my near-three-year-old's demands is hard and often I just put myself last because it's easier to do that than see them upset. This year, I'm trying out a mums and bubs exercise class, which is something I need to make more time for- exercise is the last thing I give myself because I don't prioritise it. My tip would be to prioritise what is important for the whole family and give it a go, if it works, sweet, but if you start to find that things are falling apart from your personal demands (or your partner's), then maybe it's best to consider a different plan. I'd like to think that when I go back to work permanently, a cleaner to do my house chores and a couple nights of takeaway will be a massive help!
Do you think workplaces need to be more accommodating for parents? What has your experience been?
MEL: I have very mixed feelings about this question. I had my first two pregnancies while a member of the military. They treated pregnant women like lepers, depending on where we worked. As a single Mum I was protected by using sick leave or annual leave when my children were sick etc, however it still isn't a nice feeling to let your bosses know that you've just got a call from the school and you need to pick them up - there's still quite a stigma there, especially since most of them were male with good little wives at home looking after their own children. Now I work for myself so the process is much easier although I still have to cancel on clients if the need arises. Now, having said all that I also believe something needs to change…..we expect so much of ourselves, but why? Why do we, as mums raising awesome little humans, need to work? Are we choosing to live beyond our means therefore we need both parents out there bringing in the bacon?
How did you prepare a child to go to childcare? And how did you, as a parent, deal with the detachment?
KATIE: Daycare started at 18 months. I thought I was a bad parent for putting my kid in daycare one day a week when I was home full time. It helped me have a break and get through postnatal depression. I learnt on the hop the first time round, like staying too long at drop off which made it hard for detachment. I cried when she didn't; I wanted my baby to be lost without me. I gave up everything I used to do, the least she could do was miss me. But then I realised I wanted to raise resilient healthy-minded children with awesome coping skills.
Miss last week's episode on kids' health and nutrition? WATCH IT HERE.
Check out our week two episode on 'smack or no smack' HERE.
And out week one episode on technology HERE.