For months you have been with the baby day and night. You would run to take care of them the moment they moved in their crib or made a sound. The very thought of staying away from them makes you cry but then you have to.
Once your maternity leave ends, you need to report back to work. And that is not easy because you will be away from the baby for almost the entire day and then your responsibilities simply get doubled.
If you are returning to work after maternity leave, MomJunction helps you with some useful tips.
Things To Do At Home
Make every possible arrangement at home. Prepare a checklist of things you want to do, and keep ticking off once they are done. Here we share some of them:
1. Find an alternative caretaker
This you need to do much before you join work. Ask your parents or parents-in-law if they can take care of your baby in your absence. If that is not possible, try to recruit a nanny from your known sources.
However, it is not easy to find a reliable person. In that case, go for a daycare. Whatever might be the alternative, introduce the change much in advance so that your baby will get used to the new caretaker before you rejoin work.
2. Look for a childcare center
Find out in your office if there is any childcare facility on the premises or somewhere nearby. This will enable you to go and see your baby during the break time; you won’t miss your baby and they won’t miss you.
[ Read: Stay-At-Home Mom ]
3. Adjust your work timings
If leaving your baby in daycare makes you overwhelmed, coordinate with your husband, and adjust the work schedule in such a way that either of you is with the baby. One of you can leave early in the morning, while the other will go later in the evening. This will deprive you both of being together but will make sure the baby is not away from the parents.
Alternatively, you or your partner may explore the work-from-home option.
4. Invest in a breast pump
If your baby is still on breastmilk, they don’t have to miss it because you are away. Buy a breast pump, express the milk and refrigerate it at a moderate temperature. Ask your baby’s caretaker to feed the milk to the baby whenever they are hungry.
5. Cook some food beforehand
Now, you will not have your regular food prep time for dinner, as you’ll be away most of the day. Bake some food the night before work and store it in the refrigerator. This will make you avoid after-work fatigue and cut down on the chores. Alternatively, you may hire a cook at home.
6. Test run before joining work
Have a trial run when your maternity leave is ending. If your office hours start at 8am, practice getting up early and do chores that you have to do before leaving to work.
You may find that feeding your baby is taking more minutes than you thought, or heading to the daycare at rush hour takes more time than usual. This trial run will help alleviate stress on the first day at work.
[ Read: Steps To Look Beautiful Post Delivery ]
7. Remember your needs
You, the supermom, need to take care of your awesome self. You should be relaxed. While you’re running around taking care of your tot, take up a journal and write down all the things you need to pamper yourself and anything that’s important for you. It can be buying a pair of shoes, monthly beauty care or just stocking up your favorite chocolates.
Remember, one who takes care of everyone else needs to take care of oneself first.
8. Take off the mental load
During the maternity period, you mostly stay at home and the responsibility of domestic chores falls upon you. But once you join work, you will be pressed for time. Though your partner might help you, you may still have a lot to do.
Therefore, you end up constantly thinking about the work waiting for you back at home, and this is called mental load. You can avoid it by hiring some help, or pushing the unimportant chores to the weekend.
9. Have a backup plan
Your baby or the babysitter may fall sick or your baby may cry incessantly and doesn’t leave you. If such a situation arises, whom can you reach out to? Have a backup plan for such situations. Have an arrangement with your husband to take turns to be with the baby.
Things To Do At Work
You are going to work after a long gap, and that means you need a plan here too.
[ Read: Pregnancy Quotes And Sayings ]
10. Start right
Schedule a meeting with your boss once you are back. Before starting on anything right away, have a conversation to figure out:
- The changes, if any, that took place when you were on leave. Any reorganization or shift in priorities for the team.
- The tasks your boss wants you to focus on. This will help you get a clear picture of what’s most important, instead of getting involved in unimportant tasks.
- Find out if there could be any flexibility in timings and work-from-home option.
11. Be professional
While you’re at work, focus on the job and do not let your mind wander. The truth is, people will politely come to you and hear stories about your newborn. But if you fall out for the baby often, people will talk about it. So, be professional as you have decided to take up work after a lot of consideration.
12. Have patience
After a break, you will take time to understand the changes that took place in your absence, and get used to the work. Don’t get depressed about it. Your boss will understand this, and give you some time provided you are making sincere efforts to learn the new things.
13. Carry nursing pads
Even if you express milk before coming to office, your breasts are likely to get full within a few hours. Leaking breasts might cause some embarrassment at work. Therefore, keep nursing pads handy. Disposable nursing pads are readily available, so make use of them. They absorb well and aren’t visible through the clothes.
14. A photo frame of the new one
You will miss your baby for sure. And you need to wait for a long day to end before you can take your little one in your arms. But until then keep looking at their photo on your office desk. That can make you feel better and happier. Then again, a photo might upset you about staying away from your baby. Give it a try once, bring a sweet mom and baby photo and keep it at your desk. If that saddens you, take it back home.
15. Eat healthy while at work
Getting back to the daily grind after a long gap is not going to be smooth. Hectic work might make you skip meals or eat junk that is handy. This will undo everything healthy that you have done in the past months. To avoid such problems, pack some healthy snacks and fruit from home so that you don’t have to starve.
16. Dress good, feel good
You are in your post-pregnancy period now, and probably your pre-pregnancy clothes won’t fit you anymore as it is unrealistic to hope that you’ll lose all the baby weight before returning to work.
Being at home, you may not have focused much on your clothes, but it is time you updated your wardrobe with some latest trends. This is not to make a fashion statement but to feel nice about yourself.
17. Learn to say ‘no’
After you join work, if your workload is unduly heavy, learn to put down your feet and say no to the unnecessary burden. Do not allow others to dump their work on you just because you have come back from a break.
Before the baby, you might have been fine taking additional burden but now the circumstances are different.
Here are some more tips you can follow to keep your priorities on the right track:
- Reach office early, so that you can leave early for home and come back to your munchkin
- Schedule your sleep hours properly so that fatigue doesn’t make life harder for you at work
Returning to work is not just about managing things at work and home but also about holding your emotions. In fact, you will feel very bad to leave your little baby with somebody and go to work. Let’s see how your emotional rollercoaster ride would be.
Emotions And How To Deal With Them
Here are some of the most common emotions you will go through, and our tips on how to cope with them.
1. The fear of work, baby, and more
You have several fears and doubts — the fear of returning to a new role that you might be allocated, doubts about your capability to handle both family and work, and the biggest fear: “How will I possibly leave my baby?”
How to deal with it: Instead of over-thinking on what’s going to happen once you join work, have a concrete plan in advance. Everything may not go as per your plan, but at least you will be ready for certain common problems that you might face.
[ Read: How To Plan A Baby Shower ]
2. Guilt and sadness
A part of you will be excited to go back to work, but deep down you will have these constant feelings of guilt and sadness about leaving your child. You may even go to the extent of imagining that you’re selfish.
How to deal with it: You are joining back in work for a reason. Going to work makes you feel independent and improves the family’s finances. Tell yourself that you can give the baby a better future if you work. At the same time, give your baby all the time you can, before and after work and during the weekends.
3. Excitement with the change in routine
You may feel excited about a change after staying at home for so long. The prospect of meeting your colleagues, having a new routine, and facing new challenges will bring back vigor.
How to deal with it: You do not have to deal with it. Let the feeling be as it keeps you going. Just be composed.
4. Anger or resentment
This emotion could crop up a few weeks after you join in work. You might be angry and frustrated if your colleagues are not supportive or alienate you; if your partner is not helpful or cooperative, and you are ending up doing a double duty at home and office.
How to deal with it: It’s not uncommon to get angry when you are going through such a major transition. Share your feelings with somebody close to you, or talk to your partner to get some relief. Talking to your near ones and taking their advice will help you calm down.
Remember that you are not doing any wrong by opting to work after childbirth. There are millions of mothers working like you. Ignore the comments you might have to hear from your colleagues or neighbors. You know your priorities and financial requirements, and you don’t have to justify your decision to anybody.
Are you about to get back to work after your maternity leave? Or have you recently joined work? Let us know your experience in the comments section below.
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