Combining work and being a parent is certainly a challenge. The childcare charity the Daycare Trust tells us that:
• Forty-five per cent of women work over 40 hours a week;
• Sixty-one per cent of families contain parents employed outside regular 9-5 hours;
• Eighteen per cent of women with children from two-parent households regularly work evenings.
Many people's working lives are very demanding and a working mother's life is no exception.
Most women go back to work when their babies are between six months and a year old. You may feel ready to go back:
• Pleased to be earning again;
• Ready for a break from full-time mothering;
• Keen to see friends and colleagues.
Women have always combined work and mothering. Provided that babies and toddlers have loving, attentive carers, they will not come to any harm, either in the short or the longer term, if they spend time away from you. You don't have to be mothering 24 hours a day to raise a happy, well-adjusted child.
On the other hand, you may feel reluctant to go back to work because you are:
• Frightened that some harm will come to your baby;
• Anxious about work after being away so long;
• Lacking in confidence;
• Guilty about leaving your baby.
Perhaps you would prefer to stay at home, but you can't afford to. Don't panic - there are all sorts of arrangements you can make to ensure that your baby is safe and happy. Look for childcare that is tailored to your particular working life. And remember that even if the childminder, or nanny, or nursery nurse is excellent, you will still be your baby's special and totally irreplaceable mum.
Flexecutive is the leading provider of flexible working advice and employment services to both individuals and organisations throughout the UK.