Just as you’re starting to get used to being a mom and getting into a groove, suddenly it’s time to go back to work. I’m sure you’re wondering where the time has gone, and the thought of waking up at 5 am and rushing off to work an 8-hour shift when you were up all night with a crying baby sounds near impossible. Of course, the guilt starts to set in, how are you going to be able to spend so much time away from your baby?
No matter how much you try to prepare yourself for the reality of leaving your baby, it will never be easy. Whether it’s the guilt that someone else is going to be spending so much time with them or the guilt that you’re excited to go back to work. No matter the situation, it is never easy leaving your new baby, so here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare for your return.
Babysitter – Finding a babysitter is something that should be done early on, definitely before the baby makes his appearance. Finding a care provider that you trust will make going back to work a little bit easier.
Breast pump – If you are breastfeeding make sure that you have a bag and your breast pump prepared to lug back and forth to work every day.
Framed photo of baby – Clearly work wouldn’t be the same without an adorable photo of your baby to look at!
Frozen dinners – You thought finding the time to make dinner on a maternity leave was difficult? Imagine how it’ll be once you’re back at work and fighting traffic. Prepare some meals ahead of time and freeze them so after a long day at work you just need to pop them in the oven.
Do some practice runs – Before you have to go back to work it’s a great idea to run through your new morning routine to get times down and see what traffic is like on the way to daycare and to your office.
Have the pump talk – If you are breastfeeding make sure you have a talk with your work about a lactation policy. They need to be aware that you need time and space to pump throughout the day, so make sure they are willing to accommodate.
Ease back into it – Talk to your work about taking a couple of half days or starting back part time. If your office is ok with this, it will make the transition a little easier for you.
Keep it together – Transitioning back to work is going to be one of the hardest things you have to do. When you are at work, try to focus on your job and your tasks. Know that the faster you get through the day, the sooner you will be back home with your baby.
Ask for baby updates – This one is important. Make sure you talk to your care provider about sending you pictures and updates throughout the day to ease some of your anxiety. Seeing pictures of your smiley baby knowing everything is going ok will make you feel a lot better!
Skip the guilt – Being a mom and going back to work can cause a lot of guilt. It’s difficult knowing that someone else is spending so much time with your new baby. You need to realize that your baby loves you no matter what and right now you are just doing what you need to for your family!
Get as much rest as you can – The dirty dishes in the sink can wait! Maternity leave will be gone before you know it, so when your baby is napping, you need to nap. Once you’re back at work your opportunities for rest will be almost nonexistent so get the rest in while you can, you’ll need it.
Having Second Thoughts?
“Unless you have a contract that specifically states you’ll return to work on a set date — which can happen in some union or high-profile jobs — you can decide to quit whenever you choose,” says attorney Donna Lenhoff of the National Employment Lawyers Association. Though your employer does have the right to take you to court to get back the health-insurance premiums and wages paid during your maternity leave, Lenhoff says that this rarely happens. As for the best time to give your boss notice, the sooner, the better.