Re-Entering the Work Field

by Philippa Channer on January 14, 2010 · 12 comments

in guest-posts, Sahm, Working Mothers

Guest post by Philippa Channer of A Mom’s Fresh Start, who lives in Florida together with her husband and 4 month old son. Philippa is a wedding planner and is currently a stay at home mom. She is a member and certified consultant with the American Academy of Wedding Professionals. Find Philippa on her blog, A Mom’s Fresh Start, and connect with her on twitter.

Like many mothers today, I can no longer afford the exciting life of a Stay At Home Mom. While I tremendously enjoyed each and every day I had with my son … waking up when we wanted, breastfeeding when he was ready, giggling, reading, and playing all day … life must now adjust.

I must admit, while I am excited to return to the world outside of my small home, ready to meet new friends and have an office to go to, I am also really nervous. This change has happened all so sudden for me and there are a few things I would like to get in order in the next … ooh … 10 hours.

Many mothers have walked this path before, and many more will continue to do it in the weeks/months/years to come, each having their own fears, worries, concerns, and dreams. These are just a few of the topics on my heart today as I begin to weed through my wardrobe searching for work clothes that fit my new motherly figure:

Childcare: How well will my child be taken care of while I am away? I am fortunate enough to be one of the lucky moms who live very close to their child’s ever-loving grandparents. My mother has lovingly offered to hang out with my son while I am at work (don’t want to say babysit – seems so impersonal). All I have to do is provide her with the cloth diapers, some pumped breast milk, extra clothes, some burp cloths, and a few toys. If I didn’t have her, I don’t think it would be worth it for me to return to work. Seems like the costs wouldn’t really justify it.

Continue to fully breastfeed: I am determined to not let anything come in between my goal of breastfeeding my son until he is ready to stop and weans himself. That means whatever job I have must allow me to take the necessary time and space to pump during his normal feeding time. From my close friends and social networks, I have learned that this is the time many breastfeeding mamas are put in the position to end their feedings early and turn to formula. For me and my son, no job is worth it. He is now only four and a half months old, so pretty soon I will also introduce home-made solid foods to him. Maybe we can work it out so that the solids meals are provided when I am at work. We’ll have to play with that one.

Providing good quality contact time with my baby: Okay, I may be overreacting a little bit. I am only returning to work part-time – in the mornings from 9am – 1pm – but for me, right now, that feels like an eternity. Those first morning giggles and wiggles are the best. I want to try my hardest to ensure that when I come home, I am dedicating some good quality time to him and filling our moments with heart-filled memories.

Maintaining a healthy amount of sleep: Ahhh sleep. I vaguely remember what that word means. I think it was something that used to occur between the hours of 10pm and 6am. Not any more. We have just recently established a fairly regular routine pattern of sleep which is now going to be thrown off just a little. I will basically be losing 3 hours of sleep until I can get little man to bed 3 hours earlier. No more staying up and partying until midnight.

Valuable performance at work: While most of my fears involve leaving the home, I do have one fear about life outside … will I be a good employee? Before I became pregnant, I believe I was a fairly good administrative assistant. I have grown over the years and established a pretty good work ethic. However, at that time I didn’t have the world’s cutest, sweetest, baby on my mind. Will I be able to focus and perform my duties to the best of my abilities? I don’t like to disappoint.

Managing house work: And lastly (purposely last), will I be able to keep up with the house work? My honest answer – I would just very well throw in the towel and say…”who cares…really.” So the laundry piled up a bit, the dirty dishes were not cleaned tonight, life will go on. But I vow not to allow that to be a habit.

What fears, challenges, obstacles and changes do you (or did) face when you head out to work? What have you done to overcome them and make each day work? Was finding that happy balance hard for your family?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melinda January 14, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I’m with your here. I just decided to reenter the workforce but think it might not be at all worth it with the prices of daycare, gasoline, tolls and the commute.
How did I do this a couple years ago?


2 Philippa January 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm

@Melinda, It is so rough today. You basically need to work at job work you would make at least 2x the amount child care and supplies cost to make it worth while.


3 Melanie (ModernMami) January 17, 2010 at 10:41 pm

@Melinda, Good luck! I hope you find the best solution for you and your family. It IS tough.


4 Aimee Leon-Ortega January 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Good luck going back to work! When I went back to work after I had my daughter, I was very adamant that I would continue providing her with breast milk. Things that helped were a very good electric pump. Also a hands free pumping bra was critical. It allowed me to continue to work at my computer and desk while I was pumping breast milk for my baby. I just had to put a sign on my office door and close it and I was working and making precious milk for my baby. By doing this, I was able to pump more frequently at work without feeling guilty that I was actually taking too many breaks at work. Here’s the website where you can purchase a hands free pumping bra if you’re interested. It’s an investment you won’t regret. Buy a couple that way you can wash them in the washer between uses. Good luck!!


5 Philippa January 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm

@Aimee Leon-Ortega, it is funny you recommend that. I saw an ad for that same pump just this morning. I thought it looked a little scary at first. At this location it is an open room, not even cubicals so I don’t it would work out for this job. So far I have only used a manual hand pump. Glad to hear that the Easy Expression does work well.


6 Melanie (ModernMami) January 17, 2010 at 10:41 pm

@Aimee Leon-Ortega, I wish I had known about this when I was nursing! Though, I also didn’t have a closed-door office, so not sure it would have worked out for me either. Still good to know it exists!


7 lucy52 January 29, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



8 modernmami March 3, 2010 at 6:58 am

Hi Lucy. I'm so glad you found my blog and that you're enjoying reading it. Welcome!


9 berinwylde February 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Well, well well….do I know your pain. Unfortunately, shortly after I went back to work after staying with my two small children for a little over two years, I was thrusted into a divorce. I had ignored the reality of my situation for too long. My kids were not in an environment that was healthy due to situations I could not control (I am somewhat censored….so all I will say is that they are very glad they are with me now). I am the sole caregiver for both of them, with no help. I have no family near me, do not know many mothers that live near me, and I work in a very demanding career that does not easily tolerate time off. I don't take vacations any longer, I just save all of my days, hoping that I will have enough to cover all of my kid's sick days, when I have to be out with them. I am terrified constantly that a big event at work will coincide with an illness. I carry the stigma of being a “mom without a husband”. Many believe that this predjudice does not exist, but I can tell you, it does.
Currently, I am trying to buy a home so we can leave the rental we are in, but no matter where we go, at the end of the day, I am just happy to be a part of “the three musketeers”…we are happy to be a family, even though we are not traditional, and there is no father around. We love each other very much, and somehow we will muddle through (though, on some days I have trouble seeing how I will make everything work, especially financially!)
Outside of daycare, one of the largest expenses to work with kids is the tolls and gas, which ends up being a tremendous amount of money at the end of each month.
Wishing everyone luck!


10 modernmami March 3, 2010 at 6:59 am

It's definitely tough, no matter what. But, single parents deserve a special pat on the back. 😉


11 modernmami March 3, 2010 at 7:58 am

Hi Lucy. I'm so glad you found my blog and that you're enjoying reading it. Welcome!


12 modernmami March 3, 2010 at 7:59 am

It's definitely tough, no matter what. But, single parents deserve a special pat on the back. 😉


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