August 18, 2007,
B.S. asks from Kansas City, MO on August 11, 2007
Advice for Transition Back into Work?
I'm looking for advice from any moms who went from sahm back into work!!! I have been a sahm for the past 3 yrs and am returning to work full-time the end of this month. It's been a LONG job search as I guess employers don't pay much attention to people who've been out of work for awhile (even though I finished my college degree during that time too!) I am ready to get back into work, but at the same time very worried about how much I'm actually going to miss my kids and how they'll do in daycare. Does anyone have advice on how to make the transition smooth for me and my kids too? I should mention that I think my 3yr old will really benefit from being in daycare for the socialization as he is now always asking if his friends can come over and play. My new job will be a huge help for us financially and the hours are great M-F 7-4, so I'll still have plenty of family time in the evenings and weekends. But I guess any ideas on how to maximize the family time and make the best of things would be great :)
S.L. answers from Kansas City on August 11, 2007
I don't have any actual advice other than be sure this is what you really want and what will work for you and your family.
I have been in the enviable position in the last several years of having help in my daycare and because of this I've made several aborted attempts at going into the work force. At times when my daycare numbers were low enough my mother has kept the daycare going so that I could pursue other things.
I have tried to tell myself that I just need to find the right type of job and then I'll be able to make everything else fall into line. But it never worked well for my family. I have second guessed everything my mother said and did with my daughter. I have fussed at the teenagers for not helping enough. I have fussed at my husband for not picking up any of the slack.
I have given my best to the jobs I tried and schooling I took. But the whole time I left my home I felt that the family would fall apart without me. So I was nit picky about the jobs and I didn't want to stick it out when things got tough at work. I used the idea that there was something wrong with the jobs to be my excuse to go back home. The family really did feel much the same way. But I think a lot of it is that husbands and teensagers don't help like they should and you are obviously not going to get any help from the little ones.
My youngest daughter has experienced me being out of the house several times between the age of 2 and 5 and I've been home from 5-7. She HATES for me to be out of her sight. She remembers what it was like for me to be gone and she wants no part of it.
My husband and I both often wonder what it would have been like if I had gone back when the kids were younger. But I think I'm starting to see that it's not in my nature to be far from my home for any length of time.
If you are determined to do this my number one suggestion is to search high and low or the right daycare provider. Don't just choose a place because it's clean and the people seem nice and the curriculum is good enough or even great. The facility can be so fantastic but that won't make your children comfortable all day long. Your kids could be happy as clams and you may still feel misgivings. The only way I know to get over those misgivings is to get to know your provider in a very real way. Don't meet her for 30 minutes and call it good. A good interview should go on for at least an hour or more and that is AFTER several days of exchanging emails back and forth.
And about the references.. People aren't going to give you bad references. No one would do that. It would be silly. So if you are going to call references you need to really engage those people in a real conversation. Ask them things like how long have they known each other, do they ever really talk at the daycare or do they come and go rather fast. Ask about accidents or problems that have happened in the daycare. Get really specific.
L.K. answers from Springfield on August 12, 2007
You might want to put off moving for a while. It might be too much for everyone to get use to you being at work and moving to a new home. Just a thought. I also have a 2 and 3 year old and have thought about going back to work full time. I work part time, now. working part time is working for now. I would like to hear from you in a couple months to see how things are going. Good luck.
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A.H. answers from Springfield on August 18, 2007
Well, my kids are older this time around, but I'm basically going through about the same thing you are right now, and have been through it before when the kids were younger. I've been a SAHM on and off for several years. My kids are now teenagers and my oldest daughter has graduated high school and is on her own now too.
I'll go back to the first time I was forced to deal. My family had been through a FLOOD, a RELOCATION (because of the flood), and then WELFARE REFORM forced me to do one of four things: 1) Work @ least 25 hours/week, 2) Attend school @ least 25 hours a week, 3) Volunteer @ least 25 hours/week or 4) a combination of any of the above three.
For me, I choose the Volunteer @ least 25 hours/week because I thought it would be the most flexible with my family's situation. I was paid so much for gas per day that I volunteered. I volunteered at a local hosptial. I also received childcare assistance. It was rough in the beginning with my youngest daughter who was pre-school age at the time. She would cry from the point she left me until the point I would return. My poor babysitter, headstart van driver, and teachers. My daughter had many changes during that time that she was dealing with. She had just lost her home due to flooding, we had moved away from the only family she had really known, and then I was being forced to be away from her due to the new changes in welfare reform. But I remember the day that she made it through w/o crying and the teacher actually gave her a certificate. The babysitter (it was a neighbor) found that if she got my daughter to help her clean the house ('weep the floors as my daughter called it) and then gave her a popcycle for helping, it was something she looked forward to. Also, we would take her favorite doll with us in the morning and give it to the babysitter so that she would have something familiar at the babysitter's house when she got there in the afternoon. The adjustments came eventually...all it took was some time for all of us to cure the problem.
I have since been divorced and my kids are older. I've been at home on and off a few times since then, and I'm once again getting ready to re-enter the workforce in the near future. This time the adjustment is going to be more difficult for me I think that my kids though. Raising teenagers as a single mom brings a whole lot new and different problems. I'm just glad I have a boyfriend that will be able to help me some with the girls for the pick up and drop offs from school. He works nights, so hopefully we will be able to manage the upcoming changes that are about to come our way as I'm also considering going back to school for my Master's Degree as well. I've also been looking for mommy groups and single mom's groups in the area for support as my support group around me is next to nothing right now. The problem with the mommy groups is that most moms have younger kids which meet for 'playdates' and my kids are teens and don't fit into the group or have the same level of entertainment for the kids.
You will do just fine. Just be sure to find an employer that is understanding of your situation and is flexible enough should you ever have to leave early some days, especially in the beginning when everyone is adjusting. Also, don't overdue it yourself and allow yourself time to adjust as well as the kids. And don't focus too much on your job and your kids that you forget about your husband. It's a delicate balance that has been increasing the divorce rates because woman are having such a difficult time finding the balance being women, wives, and mothers. Good luck to you. I'm here should you ever need someone to talk to.
S. answers from Kansas City on August 13, 2007
I was a SAHM for 4 years and just went back to work a week ago. The best advice I can give is not to have high expectations. THe kids are going to be slow in the morning and there are going to be a million things to do at night. I just make sure to get up early enough to tackle everthing and go to bed early enough that the morning doesn't seems so bad. I have put my husband on notice that we will be sitting down to discuss the splitting of household chores this week. Last week was hectic because I just started work and his grandmother died so he was out of town. After I spent most of the weekend cleaning though it's time to assign him duties. I've just been trying to keep everything really low key. THis seems to help the children and me. Good Luck it will be great.
J.S. answers from Kansas City on August 12, 2007
Your children will be able to handle the transistion as along as you and your husband are. Yes, It will be hard for them to go to a child care at first but they will get used to it and enjoy all the friends that they will meet. One thing you must do is make sure that you find a place that you feel comfortable with. Because if you are not comfortable with the daycare it is going to make it hard on you to work. I think that at some point stay at home moms can't be that way forever. You have been able to stay at home with your children for a long time. Long than most moms get. But if staying at home no longer works financially for your family then going to work is the best thing that you can be doing. Your children will adjust just make sure that you explain to them what is going on and understand when they get upset at first. They may even surprise you and really love daycare from the beginning. I am a stay at home mom and I don't like to leave my daughter anywhere. So when I left her at church for the first time she didn't even cry she just went and played with the other children. But boy did I cry like a baby.
J.C. answers from Kansas City on August 13, 2007
Two things that I think helped my daughter start daycare when she was 2:
In the week or 2 before she started, I went several times with her and let her play in the classroom while I visited with her teacher (for an hour or so). This let her see that I was comfortable with her teacher and the environment and let her get a little familiar with everything.
Also, I started back to work in the middle of the week so I only had a few days of separation before the weekend. (This might have benefited ME more than her!)
She cried frequently for the first few days, but by the end of the second week was doing great. Hang in there, she (and YOU!) will be fine!