Goodbye Iggle Piggle; hello rat race

With the school bell beckoning young minds back into the classroom, many stay at home parents will be considering the prospect of going back to work. While some will be apprehensive, the majority of parents will be looking forward to grown up conversation and rediscovering an identity that exceeds three letters.

While going back to work can be daunting, there's no reason why this transition from Iggle Piggle to the Rat Race can't be a smooth and stress-free one.

Get organised

One of the biggest barriers for parents going back to work is the thought of having to juggle a million things at once and hoping that they all land safely at the end of the day. Being organised is paramount to ensuring that your return to the workplace is convenient for everyone. Planning things such as how your children will get to and from school and who will be looking after them at the end of the day, will allow you to concentrate solely on work matters as opposed to worrying constantly about losing any of your flock. Investing in a family calendar or planner will make things easier to track.                     

Flexible working

Family life holds no sentiment for your work schedule and sometimes the two just don't fall into sync. Many business' now offer a flexible work plan to meet the demands of modern family life and you shouldn't be ashamed to seek this out or request it should it not be immediately available. Though employees often feel like a burden asking for flexible hours, recruiters are increasingly viewing this approach to the working day favourably and it may prove beneficial to both parties.

Being flexible on start and finish times can allow you to maneuver your day around the call of the school gates and potentially save on those unwanted child care costs. This isn't always possible though and some might find that working from home or finding something part-time might be more suitable.

Retrain and refresh

Years out of the work force can leave you low on confidence and questioning whether you still have the skills to be effective in your vocation. Chances are that these worries are completely unfounded, but for those that want to refresh their skills or even train in a new area, there may be courses available at local schools, colleges or via the Open University. This also applies for those concerned that being out of the loop for so long has left them out of touch with the latest IT systems.

Update the CV

A few years out of the job market will inevitably leave a few gaps on your CV and it's important to address these instead of just ignoring them. While no employer will dispute the reasons for your recent lack of work based activity, they like to see that you've spent some time in the adult world. Whether you choose to do some volunteering or you're part of a club or committee, these will compliment your CV just as much as if you'd never left the labour market at all.

Take a new direction

Having some time away from the 9-5 rat race might have given you a new perspective on things and perhaps your previous career path no longer promises the same pot of gold it once did. Whether the spark for your field has faded or the constraints of your old job inhibits your developing family life, a new line of work might just be in order. Time away from the office can give rise to new goals or even reignite old ones, maybe cementing your dream of running your own business or perhaps paying the bills with your passion for photography. The important thing is to consider your options and acknowledge that settling into familiar surroundings isn't necessarily the best life choice.

Parents shouldn't be discouraged from going back to work by a feeling of guilt or self doubt. Your experience and skills are just as valued in the labour market as they were before you decided to sacrifice a career for children. As true as this is, it's important to remember that returning to work won't suit everyone and will depend entirely on individual circumstances and the greater needs of the family.

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