The countdown is on. The clock is ticking and with each passing minute, your anticipation and anxiety heightens. Days, hours, minutes fly by and at the same time, feel like they will never end.
No, we’re not talking about the baby countdown. It’s the other one. The less discussed but equally important “back to work after maternity leave” countdown. And it’s one filled some pretty conflicting emotions.
Just when you start getting the hang of this whole “home with baby” thing, you flip the calendar and suddenly realize your maternity leave is quickly coming to an end.
Whether you are excited about going back to work or totally dreading the 9 to 5 hustle, returning to work after having a baby is a tremendous transition that comes with some pretty big emotions.
Some women may feel sad to leave their baby and others may feel a sense of relief entering the workplace (and the grown up world) again…and more often than not, most moms feel a sense of guilt and anxiety that comes with being away from their little ones.
Whatever you are feeling is valid. This is a huge transition and for many women, the return to work happens sooner than they are ready and is harder than they expect.
It’s important to realize that there will be an adjustment period and that some days will be better than others. But with a few tips and tricks, a smooth and successful return to work can be possible!
New Routine…Who Dis?!
Let’s face it, the first few weeks will be a bit of a juggling act. Being organized and creating a routine will help keep all those balls in the air and ease stress. Make a weekly schedule of pick ups and drop offs, baby care, dinners, and chores. The more detail you add the better!
It also helps to plan out your new morning routine. Decide which parent is responsible for feeding, dressing, and occupying baby in the morning while the other gets ready. Building a cushion or buffer into your morning routine is also key…because well, messes happen!
I remember vividly dropping my baby off to daycare for the first time and silently weeping in the front seat of my Subaru. Separation sucks and its tough for both moms and babes alike. Ease separation anxiety by starting your baby in child care or having your caregiver begin several days before you return to work. This will help your baby get familiar with his new care providers and routine. It will also help ease your fears or worries about the first day without you near.
If at all possible, try scheduling a gradual return to work. Gradually increasing hours from part-time to full-time will allow you the flexibility to ease back into your work routine and deal with any child care snafus that may happen during the transition. In addition a mid-week start date will also allow for a smooth, less exhausted first few days back.
Mama’s Got a Whole New Dress!
There’s nothing quite like a brand-new outfit to say “I’m back!” Treating yourself to a few new wardrobe pieces will definitely help spark some excitement and anticipation for the first day at work, not to mention boost your confidence by making you feel and look your best!
Find your Tribe
Being a working mama is not easy! Surround yourself with people who will support you and be your village in case anything happens. Ask for help when you need it! Feeling connected to loved ones will help you adjust and feel more supported during this transition.
Going back to work may have a few bumps along the way but don’t let that get you down! With some easy planning and a solid support system you will be set up for working mom success!
Dr. Aliya Visram is a chiropractic doctor, acupuncturist, doula, and health advocate. She’s also a wife, mama of 2, runner, yogi and chronic multi-tasker. She is on a mission to balance her career, motherhood and a healthy inspired life one day at a time.