Daisy Craydon is a 28 year old mother of one and a Freelance PR Specialist. Daisy talks to us about juggling motherhood from early on, and setting up a business at the same time, whilst moving into a new house and dealing with teething, sleepless nights; all whilst trying to maintain a strong relationship with her clients. Read her story along with Top Tips from Sam, aka The Baby Guru on settling little one’s into a new nursery, school or childminder.
Did you always plan to return to work after having your baby?
I’ve always loved my work, my industry and have such a strong passion for the power of PR. I always dreamt of setting up as a freelance, but was far too scared to take the plunge. It was only when I was made redundant whilst on maternity leave that I decided to just JUMP into the unknown. I’ve never looked back since.
What age was your little one when you went back to work?
I set up my freelance business when my daughter, Belle was 9 months old. Being freelance meant that I could be extremely flexible with playing mum duties, but also supporting my small portfolio of clients. I didn’t want a big portfolio to begin with; I was still very much so enjoying watching my daughter develop. One moment I’d be at a play group with her, and the next I’d be putting her down for a lunch time nap and calling clients.
Have you gone back full or part-time?
I work 7 days a week now in my little home office. I never stop working, but I also never stop playing mum. It is possible to juggle the two roles, and don’t believe anyone that tells you you can’t.
How do you manage an early enough bedtime routine, so that your baby isn’t overtired, but you still have some time to play together?
She’s definitely not a little baby anymore. She has so much energy, and doesn’t stop talking – which I love! Lockdown hasn’t been easy to say the least, as we normally have the support of a local childminder so I can work in peace a few days a week. Belle has always been a really deep and good sleeper (don’t hate me). The early days were hard, and the lack of sleep meant I was more forgetful than ever though. We actually just put her in a BIG girl bed for the first time, and I expected lots of getting out of bed and mucking about but by 7pm every evening – she is out like a light.
How did or do you feel about returning to work?
Nervous. I felt extremely different to the woman who left for her maternity leave. I am a mum now and that comes first over any other role I play in life. Childcare worried me. Leaving my daughter worried me. It’s like the first time you leave your child in a nursery, or with a childcare provider – you just feel so alone all of a sudden. So I was a little apprehensive about how I’d feel without my shadow.
How have you managed teething & illness with your little one?
We had a really really bad week that sticks out in my memories. When Belle was 6 weeks old – she cried and she cried. I realise now that it was colic, and it left me feeling anxious and doubtful of my role as a mum. She was quite a poorly baby as well, with three trips to the hospital that resulted in overnight stays for several days. The illnesses could have tipped me over the edge. I’ve never known worry like it but she bounced back, and has been a little fighter ever since.
How did your baby react to you going back to work?
She’s always been quite an independent little girl. Always the one in playgroups running away from me, and hiding behind the curtains. I knew that leaving her with family or the childminder wouldn’t be a problem for her, but more so for me. I beat myself up for ages about going to a childminder, but realise now it was the best thing for her and for us as a family.
Did they have a settling in time at nursery or childcare setting before you returned to work?
They offered us a settling in period, but Belle took to the other children and the childcare provider like a duck to water. She loves being around other children, and this was like a dream come true for her.
Has childcare affected their naps or night’s sleep?
Put it this way – the days she goes to the childminder, she sleeps straight through. The childminder does so much with her and I am forever grateful for all that childcare providers do for us working mums.
Settling your little one into nursery or school
Going back to work after maternity leave often goes hand in hand with settling your little one into a new nursery, childminder or school. This can be a difficult time you both as you adjust to a new routine and can sometime’s lead to sleep regression for little ones. There are a lot of changes going on in their external environment and they can be extra tired in the first few weeks, so start bedtime early and get them to bed on time. Also our current situation with lockdown, and children being off school and nursery for weeks on end also means it may take them and you, time to readjust.
Sam’s Top Tips
1. Talk to your little one about how exciting it is going to be!
2. Help encourage them to be independent at going to the toilet and washing their hands
3. Have a book about starting school that you can read to them in the weeks leading up to their first day
4. Chat to them about how their day will go – including playtime, lunch time and asking to go to the toilet
5. Let them take their favourite toy in
6. They are often hungry when they come out, so having a snack ready is a good idea
7. Trust the teachers or nursery staff – they are used to nervous & anxious children
8. Have shoes and coats that they put on and fasten themselves
9. If you have time to lay out their clothes for the morning, helps save time
10. If they are taking a packed lunch, ask them what they would like and check if the nursery has certain food they do not recommend
11. It is an exciting but anxious time for both you and your little one, so take each day as it comes and give them time to adjust and settle in
If the adjustment to nursery or school does lead to sleep regression and find you are struggling, please do get in touch for some 1-2-1 support. Sam is offering lots of remote support and would love to help you and your little one.
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