Posted On20 Nov 2019
Getting Back in the Saddle after Maternity
Having a baby is a major life-changing milestone, but so is returning to work after giving birth. Many moms feel a lot of conflicting emotions during this delicate time, so whatever you’re feeling, know that it’s perfectly fine to feel that way.
Perhaps you feel sad or anxious to leave your baby in someone else’s care, even if it’s a close relative. Or maybe you’re disappointed that your company doesn’t offer longer maternity leave. With so many issues to face, it’s easy to get overwhelmed during this transition period. Fortunately, there are concrete steps you can take to help you cope as you get back to work.
Take it slow
Don’t schedule your return date on a Monday. A full work week immediately when you return could be too much to handle not only for you but for your baby as well. If possible, set your return date in the middle of the week, and try to use some of your leftover leave days to limit your workweek to three or four days during your first month back. This will help you and your baby acclimatize to your new schedule.
Develop a morning routine
Preparing for work involves a lot of little tasks that can turn into a huge time suck, especially now that you have a baby. Before you get back to work, make a list of the tasks you need to do before you leave the house, then develop a routine where you can accomplish all of them in the shortest possible time. Keep practicing the routine as your return date nears to see what works and what needs tweaking so when the day finally arrives you pretty much have your routine sorted.
Take your baby to your work ahead of your return date
For sure, some if not most of your colleagues are going to want to meet your newborn. Take the chance to introduce them to your little darling by bringing her to work before you officially clock in. Aside from allowing you to see your different worlds merge a little, doing this can also help your officemates develop a little empathy to your new reality. Make sure to check with your co-workers first if they’re okay with it, and keep the visit brief to avoid disrupting the workplace too much.
Buy a high-quality double breast pump
If you plan to breastfeed exclusively, you will need to have a breast pump handy always. You may feel like a milk machine at first, but always remember that it’s all for your precious baby. That said, you will need a handy breast pump that can efficiently pump milk from both breasts at the same time, in which case you should purchase a high-quality double-breast electric pump. The phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ perfectly applies with pumps, so don’t scrimp on this area, because the convenience you get will be worth it. If it seems too expensive, just think of all the work you need to do with a manual pump and the money you could end up spending on milk formula.
Get all the help you can get
Whether it’s your first baby or not, you need to build a reliable support system you can fall back on for guidance and assistance. Aside from relatives and friends, you may also join local and online mom groups and forums. Who knows? By joining them, you can come in contact with someone who has gone through what you’re going through, someone who can offer tips or someone who can share her resources with you to support you in your time of need. An effective support system goes a long way in easing the transition.
Maintain an updated calendar
Plot out your schedule carefully and check it regularly to see if any adjustments need to be made. Make sure your schedule accounts for both work and family time. You may have to adjust your calendar to accommodate visits to the pediatrician, daycare, and even breast pumping sessions to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Talk to your boss
Meet with your boss to discuss what has become of the company since you left so you can get back up to speed and hit the ground running when you get back. Schedule this meeting outside of the office, if possible, to avoid making others think that you’re back at work. During your meeting, make sure to ask about prominent issues that may have come up in your absence like any changes in leadership and workflow, new co-worker, or a project that your team is currently working on. Ask your boss about the priorities and responsibilities that you should focus on when you return.
Learn to refuse added workload
You may start to feel guilty by taking time off and feel compelled to accept any work thrown your way. Remember: your child is the most important thing in your world right now, and your little one should be your priority in everything you do. Of course, you should never slack off work, but part of being a working mother is setting and sticking to boundaries between home and office. Don’t let yourself drown in your work obligations. Start saying no before you get additional workload that could lead to chasing deadlines and overtime work—keeping you away from home and your precious one. Let people know the hours of the day when you’re available and when you’re not.
Work on your look
Just because you can’t go back to your pre-pregnancy clothes (yet) doesn’t mean you should wear anything that fits. After the whirlwind months, you’ve endured before and after pregnancy, you deserve to splurge on yourself. Spend an entire day at the spa. Have a mani-pedi. Sport a new hairstyle. And most of all, invest in a new wardrobe. When you feel confident about the way you look, you’ll also feel confident on the inside, and your self-assuredness will spill over into every area of your life and career.
Juggling between work and mommy duties can be a tough balance, and you may soon find yourself feeling like you have to give up one for the other, and start entertaining thoughts about quitting your job. Although you can always tender your resignation any time, the early months of your return are not the best time to do so. Acknowledge that you are in a developmental transition stage. Be patient, persevere, and try not to make any drastic decisions for at least three months. You may soon find your situation easier to manage, given enough time.
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