Is it time already to get back to the workplace after maternity leave? Well, here are 10 things to add to your back-to-work checklist!
Finding childcare you can trust is half the battle. You’ll feel immensely better on your first day back if you don’t have to worry about who you left your little one with.
Make sure to be prepared with backup plans. What are you going to do when your baby is sick or the caregiver is unavailable? If an unexpected pick-up is necessary, who will be responsible? Things happen that make well-conceived plans fail. Prepare for these moments before they occur.
No, it shouldn’t be a Monday. The first week back at work can be hugely overwhelming and stressful. Schedule your return on a Wednesday or Thursday; enough time to get your feet wet, but close to the weekend. It will be more manageable not only for you, but for your baby too.
This can be a difficult conversation to have with your boss, but he/she may be willing to let you try out some flexible work arrangements. You may be able to switch to a part-time schedule or use a reduced-hour schedule just for the first 2-3 months. If possible, ask for work-from-home options.
Will you be pumping at the office? Before you return to work, make sure you speak to your boss about your plans for pumping, and how he or she can support your need to feed your baby. Take a lot of extra nursing pads that absorb well, and aren’t visible through your shirts. And buy some paper towels and wipes for those inevitable mishaps that always happen!
Nighttime is your new prep-time. It will make your mornings so much smoother; it’s hard enough to get out the door when you just want to kiss your sleeping baby one last time…
Returning to work after maternity leave can be an emotional rollercoaster. It may feel totally wrong. You may feel absolutely trapped. And there is nothing you can do about it. But keep in mind that your baby will be proud of you someday. Returning to work doesn’t make you a bad parent.
When you get home from work, allow yourself some snuggle time. The dishes and laundry can wait (or a good housekeeper can handle them!).
No, you can’t have it all. Achieving the perfect work-life balance simply isn’t possible. There will be sleep deprivation and constant worries. The transition back to work is just that, a transition (aka a major change in your life that will cause tons of stress); accept it.
It is very easy for your partner, those you work with, or your relatives to assume everything is OK if you don’t say anything. Lactation consultants, mothers, husbands and friends, they all exist for a reason. There’s no shame in asking for as much help as you need.