Going back to work after you just had a baby can be exhausting and terrifying even if you love your job. Being a mom alone is a huge responsibility and having to work – especially full time – can feel extremely overwhelming. Worry not, here we have collected some tips and advice to make your transition a little bit easier.
Know your Rights
No matter where you live it’s crucial to understand what you are entitled to as a working mother. Unfortunately, not everyone has been blessed with The Best Boss Ever ™ so do your research. If you feel like your employer is pushing your limits don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.
Consider Working from Home or Part-time at first
Before going back to work full time it might be a good idea to do a ‘test run’. Dip your toes into the water rather than jumping in headfirst. It’s definitely worth asking if there is any way you could slowly transition back to work. You might want to consider cutting your leave a bit shorter and start going back to work a bit earlier but only doing a few hours a day at first. Alternatively, you could ask if there was a way for you to work from home for a while. This could especially be helpful if you have a newborn on your hand. If you are working Monday to Friday we recommend you have your first day back at work in the second half of the week. This way you can figure out what works for you and your family in terms of daily routines and have the weekend to regroup if needed.
Get in the Right Routine
Before your big day back at work you should start getting into your usual workday routine so your body and mind have time to adjust. This is also a good time to figure out the logistics of how things are going to work out. If you need, start looking for a nanny or if you are lucky enough to have someone in your family to help you out during the day, start having them around before your actual first day. This way you can go through everything together. If you are hiring a nanny, make sure you give yourself enough time to find one that’s a good fit. You can have her start a few days before you go back to work. This will give you a little bit of time for yourself to enjoy a little bit of freedom before having to go back to work.
You are going to have a lot on your hands and going back to work might not be completely seamless especially if you have a newborn back home waiting for you. Be patient and give yourself some time to adjust to the new situation. Sometimes there will be things that don’t work out but that’s just part of life.
One of the greatest obstacles is going to be finding a work-life balance that actually works for you. This is something you should start working on from the moment you go back to work. There might be some uncomfortable conversations to have with your boss or your team while negotiating your work hours but you have to remember that you also need to be there for your child. If you are still bottle feeding you will need to ensure you have time to use your breast pump for example. Don’t assume that now that you have a child people will know your needs, so make sure you have a clear idea of what you expect from your work life and it’s time to negotiate.
Talk to the other moms
If there are other working moms at your workplace, this is a great way to bond with them. Apart from the advice they may also be able to offer actual help when you need it. It is important to create a reliable support system and people you can talk to. It’s always great to share ideas with people who are also in the same boat as you are. If you can find like-minded people at work it will definitely help you in the long run. If you don’t have any other working parents at your workplace there are local communities you can join. Find other working moms in your area to support each other.
Don’t let the guilt win
As a working mom, there will be times when you feel guilty. You might feel guilty for not bringing 100% at work or at home or both. Do not let this happen, remind yourself of the reason as to why you are doing this. You will make mistakes for sure, just try to learn from them. Try to get into the habit of setting reminders or writing things down in a notebook. As a working mom there are a lot of things you will have to do and you shouldn’t have to remember everything without an aid. If your child has a birthday party coming up? Set a reminder, or get a fridge calendar to make note of upcoming events. Staying organized will definitely help you throughout these tiring times but if you make a mistake don’t be too harsh on yourself.
Look after yourself
Make sure you eat well, stay hydrated and try to exercise regularly. Being a working mom can be extremely challenging but you must look after yourself otherwise you will definitely burn out in no time. It might be tempting to spend every second of your free time with your family but it’s important to spend some time on your own every once in a while as well.
Returning to work whether it’s immediately after having a baby or years later can be extremely challenging. Give yourself ample time to adjust to your new life. There might be times when this all feels impossible and you want to quit but remind yourself that you are doing this for your family and for yourself. Your baby is important of course but you should be important to you as well. Keep your eye on the prize and you will definitely be able to do it!