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Parenting

Prep Tips for Parents Returning to the Office

two woman in black sits on chair near table

For the past two years, parents have admitted a series of emotions related to parenting and working from home with their child perpetually in their space. For some, it has been nothing but joy and adventures, for others, mommy and daddy need a break! 

The past couple years have tested the mettle of every human, especially parents (might I go further and say parents of young children). If you ask me, every parent is deserving of an award for their stellar performance in keeping it all together over that period. Hats off to you all!  

Here, have an Oscar… you deserve it.

But as the world reopens and returns to normalcy, that reality is coming to an end. Office, here we come (nervous laugh)! It’s time to dust off those cardigans and the black pumps you parked, we’re gonna need them again. 

Since the start of the year, more so, in the past few months, we’ve seen reports of various companies calling out the troops and encouraging employees to return to office.

And there has certainly been a mix of emotions as persons contemplate their options and prepare for the inevitable. You may be grateful for a quiet work environment, overwhelmed by the transition, worried about the clothes that no longer fit (Just me? Oh, carry on then) or just about grieving the time you’ll lose with your family and your availability to them now.

Don’t worry, this will all seem routine to you soon enough, and now that you’ve experienced just how wonderful quality time with the family can improve everything, I’m sure you will come up with solutions to make the time.

So as you prepare for the comeback (Can you tell I’m trying to make it sound fun?), here are five tips and activities to help you to process your emotions and hopefully, help you to better prepare.  

Prepare yourself mentally

Most companies (in Jamaica) have provided some lead time ahead of the return date, to allow you some time to get your house in order. In addition to making physical preparations, use the time to be mindful of your feelings and recalibrate your brain for the transition. 

Be patient; show yourself some grace

Technically, after two years of isolation, your return may feel new to you. Give yourself time to get reacquainted with the ins and outs of a day in the office and what this means for you. Be mindful of your expectations as you may need to be more flexible, compassionate and patient with yourself and others. 

Get organised

Treat it as a new experience and pre-arrange your schedule and items as best as possible. Pack the bags the night before, do meal prep when possible, iron or plan your outfits in advance. These will help with setting your routine and reconditioning your brain to the office/commuter life. 

Involve the children 

This is also a transition for your child. Seek their perspective on the return and do your best to allay any fears they may be having about the move. Involve them in decision making where possible and seek their advice on how to make the transition seamless for all. 

Schedule your family’s quality time 

Don’t leave it to chance that you’ll get it done sometime. Make a concerted effort to slow down however often, disconnect from your many distractions and spend the time with your family. This will certainly help you and your family’s mental wellness. 

Final Thoughts

If the past two years have taught us anything as a people, it is certainly our resilience and how well we can adapt when necessary. So mom and dad, similar to how you sprung into action to safeguard your family 20 months ago, know that you have it within you to figure out a routine that works for you and your family as you return to the office. 

What are your thoughts on companies requiring employees to return to the office?

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