Heading back to work after maternity leave with a (baby) bump and not sure how you’re gonna cope? It’s time to join the Working Mum Support Network. The five (or more) totally brilliant people every working mum needs in her life.
With more women than ever going back to work and having to manage the seemingly impossible daily juggle that is being a working mum, it can often feel like the only way through is donning your cape and metamorphosing into Superwoman! We hear ya!
But being a working mum needn’t be an all singing all dancing one-woman-show (although we know it feels like it sometimes).
Mother and Baby has rounded up the working woman’s support network, all of whom might help make life that little bit easier. We’re all about easier!
Your Significant Other
When it comes to your partner, their support is both emotional and practical (or least it should be). And it’s vital to talk through logistics and practicalities BEFORE going back to work.
‘It might sound boring, but you need to consider up-front who will do pick-ups, take time off and how you’ll divvy it up,’ says Mandy Garner from workingmums.co.uk. ‘Don’t wait until the baby gets sick and it’s all a bit rushed or until one of you feels resentful that it’s always them taking time off.’
Your partner is called a partner for a reason – you’re a team, so make sure you work like one! No partner? No fret! A really good friend/family member is often just as good a substitute and the same advice applies.
They’ve been there, done that and got the hypothetical parenting ‘bruises’ to prove it. Whether you’re bosom buds or have a trickier relationship, having grandparents as part of your support network can be invaluable.
Your partner is called a partner for a reason – you’re a team, so make sure you work like one!
If they live nearby, grandparents may be able to do pick-ups in an emergency and let’s not forget that nearly a third (28 per cent) of working parents rely on grandparents to help out with childcare according to a study by Age UK and Grandparents
Plus. In fact, informal childcare provided by grandparents is now worth £7.3 billion a year. Time to by your mum that bunch of flowers eh?
Good friends are wonderful inventions, and when you become a working mum you’ll find out just how brilliant they can be.
The ‘already-a-mum’ friend is often the most vital because they’re on hand to reassure, share advice or just swap ‘Gah!’ tales of parenting woe.
Realising you’re not alone is a vital part of staying sane as a working mum. More practically, friends who live locally can step in if you have a logistical emergency, so make sure you have them on speed dial. ‘The wider your network the easier it is to find someone who can help out at any given time,’ says Mandy.
Just remember to return the favour!
Other working parents can be a godsend, particularly when it comes to the back-to-work wobble.
Most mums will have a dip in confidence when they rejoin the working world and colleagues who’ve coped with the inevitable first week tears in the toilet, last-minute meeting when you need to relieve the child minder in 20 minutes and crises of confidence when your brain is more ‘baby’ than ‘brilliant’ are an invaluable source of survival tactics.
Your local barman/woman
We don’t mean to be flippant, but taking time-out from both work and baby is a fundamental aspect of a working mum’s arsenal.
So do yourself a favour and get to know your local barperson/cinema attendant/personal trainer/boutique owner... you get the picture!