As a pregnant or new mamma, it’s hard not to think about going back to work. There are so many details to think about like childcare, maternity leave, your post maternity leave work schedule and workload! It’s no wonder women worry, plan, and discuss this topic for months before and after their baby is born.
The return to work often brings a range of emotions: fear, sadness, excitement, guilt, relief, stress – it’s all normal! Some women don’t feel ready and others are looking forward to stepping back into their professional roles.
So what are a few tips to help keep your sanity during this transition?
1. Ease in to work.
A slow transition back to work is a great idea. Maybe that means starting back part time for a few weeks, or maybe just starting on a Wednesday or Thursday so that first week is a short one. Maybe you can work from home some to cut down on commute time. Try not to feel like you need to make up for your time away from the office by taking on every project or task thrown at you. It’s going to be stressful as you figure out your new routine so try and keep your workload manageable. For breastfeeding moms, this will also give you the extra time in the first weeks to figure out how best to fit pumping into your workday.
2. Keep communication open.
Communication is essential or all the adjustments that come with a baby, and definitely with returning to work. This goes for your partner, childcare provider, and your coworkers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help while you figure out your new balance. Maybe your partner can pick up slack somewhere else while you adjust to the extra demands of being a working mom. Maybe your boss or coworkers can help keep your workload lighter while you settle back in to professional life.
3. Don’t be afraid to reevaluate.
If what you thought would work isn’t working, don’t be afraid to rethink, renegotiate, and try something else. This goes for your work schedule, workload, childcare provider, or division of household chores. Obviously there are limitations on what you can change, but don’t feel stuck just because it’s what you planned before maternity leave.
Eventually things will settle into a new routine, and you will find a balance that works for your family.
If you want more guidance on a successful return to work, check out Intuitive Parenting’s Our Baby Class Making Returning to Work Work class on December 9.