Maternity leave can be like living in a protective warm bubble to new mothers. It’s such a lovely surreal time filled with tender moments with your baby. Of course, let’s not forget the uphill madness of learning to be a new mom. It’s safe to say you will be flooded with a plethora of new experiences and feelings during those months. As the time to return to the workforce looms nearer, the stress of leaving your baby becomes more tangible. Here are 5 tips to rock your way back to work after baby.
TIP 1: Battling Separation Anxiety
It’s perfectly normal to be anxious about leaving your baby for work. You have not been away from your little one for more than two hours much less a whole eight hours!
That thought alone is enough to send any new mom into panic mode.
It’s crucial to plan who and where you will leave your baby while you and your partner are at work. Knowing your baby is in safe hands while you are at work will help eliminate the separation anxiety. If you are blessed enough to have your family take care of your child, then you can just call in during lunch (or whenever you feel worried) to ensure everything is fine.
For most people, the baby will probably be at a nanny’s place or daycare. If that’s the case, it’s advised that you enroll your baby in daycare a few days before you go back to work. Doing that will allow you to get the hang of the routine and enable you to drop by during the day to make sure your baby is in good hands.
The thought that you can see your baby when you want to will help with the separation anxiety. Once you get used to having your baby at the daycare, leaving your baby for work won’t be so stressful.
TIP 2: Have a ‘Quality Time’ Routine with Baby
Most mothers feel guilty about leaving their baby for work or the fact that they forget about their baby altogether while being focused at work. Being back at the office represents the awkward in-between time of merging your old life with your new one.
First off, do give yourself a break. It’s not easy balancing being a great mom and a stellar employee after being away. So, allow yourself some time to ease back into your old role while settling into your new one as a working mom. Give yourself pats on the shoulder for small feats such as showing up at work even when you hardly get any sleep. Or the fact you manage to feed your baby, change the nappy, and feed the dog.
To combat the guilt and ensure you still get to spend time with your precious little one, you can start a morning and night routine. For example, you can wake up slightly earlier to spend some time with your little one doing a simple routine such as singing your baby a song or just feeding him. You can then follow up with a nightly routine such as reading together and then tucking baby to bed.
This way you ensure some quality time with your baby and the routines will help you and baby settle into the new schedule faster.
TIP 3: Breastfeeding Plan
Many mothers want to continue breastfeeding even after they return to work. There are some hurdles you need to figure out. You need to factor in that you might be stuck in a meeting or are rushing for a deadline when it’s time to breast pump.
Do your research early and find out if the company has a designated area for you to pump or are there private conference rooms you can make do? Also, figure out a routine that would work for you – when to pump and where.
Be prepared that things might crop up so you need to be flexible when there are disruptions to the schedule. Don’t stress yourself out if you miss a session. Entertain yourself as you pump so that it would be a time you look forward to. Some ideas include catching up on your reading or maybe even watching a movie.
Finally, remember to get all your pumping gear ready so you won’t get caught off guard at work.
TIP 4: Make It Fun
It’s daunting to step back into the office after the months off, to say the least. Many new moms confess that they have trepidation about going back to work.
Who can blame them? Just the thought of the massive workload and huge amount of unread emails can make any new moms want to lock herself in the house and spend happy time with their babies.
You need to make going back to work a fun experience. You can get yourself excited by getting new outfits, a new haircut, or even new stationary sets to help you look forward to getting back into the office.
Simple acts like that will help you mentally prepare to step back into the office confidently. To lessen the stress, you can start catching up on emails before you start work. You don’t have to reply to any of them but just start reading and clearing them will make you feel more ready for work.
Remember, the idea is not to stress yourself out before actual workday comes along so limit your email time. You still want to focus on getting enough rest and spending time with baby and family. Also, it will be fun to schedule a lunch with your colleagues or team for a mini ‘homecoming.’
This way, going back to work will seem like fun!
TIP 5 :Organize and Prioritize
After being away, there will be many people needing and wanting time with you and this can get overwhelming. Your superior wants to fill you in on what happened at the office and projects status. Your team members want to meet up to see when you can take over your tasks again and the list goes on!
The best thing is to prioritize and give yourself time to organize your schedule. Ask for a specific agenda from all parties so you can gauge which to attend to first.
Usually, you will need to attend the tasks from your boss first but give everyone a chance to give you their agenda. Promise them you will schedule in a meeting the following week. Inform them you need your first week back to clear your email pile up and priority tasks.
Everyone can respect that and they will leave you alone since you promise them a specific time the following week.
With all this prep work in place, you are all set to rock your way back to work!