Saturday, February 20, 2010

Returning to work and the challenges of childcare

It's quite simple really..... when a child starts going to childcare, he/she will most probably catch everything going around the centre. The upside is that in the process, they are building up their immune system.

This is not always comforting to know when you have work deadlines, limited sick days and unlimited guilt because you should be with your child but your pile of work is building up as well.

How can you take control of this situation?

Firstly, it won't last forever. After a few months, the runny nose ceases and the ear infections go.

Approach this challenge in a practical manner. Consider the following tips:
- Talk to your manager. Pre-warn him/her that there will be a few more sick days taken over the next couple of months and talk about how you can organise your workload.
- Talk to your manager about easing yourself back into work. For example, you may work 2 days per week for 1-2 months. Then increasing your days to 3 days for 1-2 months then moving to 4 days.
- Save holiday leave for days you may not to take off.
- Utilise your sick days.
- Create the option to work from home when your child is sick.
- Share the load with your partner. Get your partner to pre-warn his/her workplace that childcare is about to start.

Use common sense to find solutions to your challenges. You now have the right to request flexibility if your child is under 5 years of age so ask.


Lucia said...

I completely relate to this article and the struggle to release oneself of the guilt that comes with leaving a child (in my case two!) in childcare, only for them to be sick all the time.

The doctor tells the truth: it stops at age 18 months, and it gets better in summer. Winter months are long but if you talk to your employer, see how the weekend pans out and prepare for the week with your partner, mother, mother-in-law and babysitter, there is a light at the end of the tunnel (however long it may seem at the beginning of it).

The good news is that every parent (well, almost every) no matter how senior they are in their professional life carry the same struggles and relate - my boss is the Executive General Manager of my firm, and he relates. We are, parents, all together in this.

It will pass, I promise. I know, I just came out of it

(mother of twin boys aged 2)

Anonymous said...

Some of us are not lucky enough to have supportive partners or family to call on. With two children in child-care when I started back to work full time, it was always my responsible to care for them if they got sick. I found myself taking a lot of time off work - some unpaid. Fortunately my manager had a young family and was understanding of my situation and offered me job share. Not all positions are suitable for job share but having the other work 'you' available to step in when you can't work, and perhaps vice versa, can often be a win-win solution for both workers and employers.