Mom's Got to Go to Work
It’s time. Maternity leave is coming to an end, and you’re going back to work. Lots of emotions will come flooding your way: You’re sad about leaving your baby. You’re excited to get back to work. You feel guilty for spending time away from your baby. All those feelings are perfectly natural. It just takes a little getting used to, and you’ll be back in the swing in no time.
Schedules and Alternate Plans
See if you can start midweek, instead of on a Monday. Going back on a Wednesday or Thursday not only gets you that much closer to the weekend, but you can ease back into your routine without starting on the day of the week that no one likes.
See if you can alter your return by saving a few of your maternity leave days to schedule into your first few weeks back. You could have a four day week for the first couple of weeks, which will give you time to physically get used to your new schedule.
Practice Makes Perfect
Make sure that your new schedule works. A couple of weeks before you go back, do a test run of the logistics – setting your alarm, getting you and baby ready to leave, packing diaper bags and work bags. All the things that can take up more time than you think should be worked out ahead of time so that there’s no drama on your first day. You may even want to bring your baby to the office before you go back – it’ll help blend your worlds and introduce your new life to your coworkers so that they can get used to your new normal too.
You’ll be pulled in many different directions at first – lots of work to catch up on, worrying about your baby, feeling mentally and physically tired. Instead of venting to your boss/coworkers, find other moms at your office. See if your workplace has some kind of mom support group. If not, consider starting one. Try and connect with other moms at lunch or on coffee breaks and get their advice on how they made it through those first few weeks.
Don’t Give Up
In the initial weeks you’re going to have days where you’ll feel like you can’t cope with it all. Hang in there. It’ll take some time for you to get used to your new routine. Every mom has had the thought “I have to quit.” For many, quitting isn’t an option. But even if it is, those first few weeks aren’t the time to make that kind of major decision – you’re working through a lot of emotions and getting use to a new schedule. Allow yourself time to make the transition, and then see how you feel.
Write it down: What you love about your job (including the paycheck), the skills that you bring to your job/company, what you’ve learned already about being a mom. These will all help you get through the going-back-to-work transition. And above all, remember how awesome you are and that you can handle anything – you just had a tiny human growing inside you, after all!