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Family Matters With Grainne Ryan

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

This week we are discussing mums feelings on returning to the work force and how to deal with the emotions with all involved.

We will also meet Miriam Young a young mum of 3 who has retrained as a beautician and is currently looking for work.

Grainne Ryan - Parenting Coach
Presenter of Baby on Board Series 2. Grainne is a public health nurse and midwife and mother of three children. Areas of interest child development, parenting issues, adolescent development and post natal depression and works as a public health nurse in Ennis Co. Clare.

Case Study - Miriam Young (36) from Dublin
Miriam Young is the mother of three children, Noah (9) Eli (7) Tabitha (4). Miriam was always interested in make-up and skin and decided to do a beautician course last year in preparation for when Tabitha started school this September. Miriam is now finding her feet in the beauty business and is actively looking for work.


What type of feeings might a mum be going through at this time?

All parents feel guilty, the guilt caused by wondering whether we are doing a good job as a parent is par for the course. The main worry is that because their child is spending a significant time in day care / childminder, he is losing out on love and one to one attention. Child care today is good quality with well trained carer's who recognize the importance in children's development.

Tips to ease feelings of guilt:
. Do your research and be confident in your childcare arrangements
. Be involved in as much as possible, what really matters to the children of working parents is that they get your best when ever you are at home
. 'Drown other peoples opinion' they will always have opinions remember its your child your life and your choices

How do you broach the subject of returning to work with your kids?
Obviously it is important to talk about returning to work well in advance of the start date as it will a big change for all involved no matter what ages they are. Discuss with them the arrangements that may be put in place but also ask their opinions allow them to feel involved in some of the decisions. Sometimes there may be minimal interruption in their lives if one parent is starting work in the evening but the older children may be required to help with some household chore - this also helps with independence and self confidence.
If child care is required talk about who will be minding them, they may already know this person relative etc and talk about all the fun things they will be doing

Tips on broaching the subject:
- Discuss what you will do at the weekends
- Don't exaggerate anxieties, they may not mind you returning to work
- Hide the guilt, guilt reduces confidence and children can pick up on it and 'go to town on it'

What advice would you give to mums introducing a new minder/ au pair?
It is very important to get your child used to the minder well in advance of start date for work as the last thing you want on your first day is to be late. I always suggest bringing child minder over to your house and gradually introducing your child to her in her own environment. When you feel your child is comfortable in her company you then could go the minders house, leaving her there for short periods initially and then increasing the time she stays there gradually bringing it up to full days (if that is what is required when you return to work).

What if my child can't get used to me being away?
This may just be separation anxiety. Take time to talk to her about her worries. Sometimes children worry where their mum is. At the weekend show her where you work and explain it like - you go to school and I go to work ant at 5 o clock we all go home. Talk to the child minder / crèche and see if they have any worries or concern. Are you confident yourself with the crèche or child minder N.B. you could be transferring your anxieties to the child

Give it time some children take longer to settle in
- Talk to child minder / crèche about how she is when you are away from her
- If she is happy and confident, leave her there and don't dawdle too long there
- Is there a possibility of partner/dad dropping her collecting her
- Quality time when at home remember - when you return to work have sensible expectations cleanliness, hygiene and relative tidiness are desirable but obsessive house pride is out

****Always have a back up in case of emergencies - child minder sick, unexpected early meeting to attend.

Did you work before you had kids?
Miriam worked in a number of different jobs from bar work to air hostessing. She gave up work as she had very bad morning sickness during her first pregnancy.

Why have you taken the decision to go back to work?
Miriam's youngest has just started school, Miriam had begun to realize that she would have a lot of free time starting this September; she did not want to spend her mornings drinking tea in dundrum shopping centre!! Miriam had always enjoyed working and realized that she had a keen interest in make-up and skin. Miriam took the decision to go back to college one day a week to train as a beautician.

Miriam doesn't particularly want to work in a salon 5 days a week so is currently exploring options as to how she may do both but realizes that this may not be possible.

Are you worried about leaving the kids?
Miriam says she feels guilty already, although her work routine is not set in stone just yet she is worried about the kids, they have never been with out her, it is a change in their routine which she feels is always upsetting for any kid.

Are you worried about going back to work yourself?
Not at the moment, Miriam feels she has to be confident in herself, she says it would be a different scenario if she was returning to an old job where there was routine in place and the work was the same but staff had changed etc, but as she has re trained she is trying to be confident in her abilities and find her feet.