How to successfully ease the difficult transition and maintain a healthy work-life balance
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, so don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go exactly as you planned. It’s ok to look forward to going back to work and striking back up your social life. No matter what, make your goal to be present wherever you are – whether it’s at your desk or holding your baby.
For many women, maternity leave is over in the blink of an eye. Whether you can’t bear the thought of hours away from your infant, or you don’t feel physically and mentally prepared to face the office again, the transition can be a tough one. However, there are things you can do to make it easier on yourself (and your baby). Here are a few tips to try.
Practice makes perfect.
It’ll take a while to get into the swing of things as full-time mom and full-time career woman. That’s why a trial run isn’t a bad idea. Set up child care a few days before you actually have to start back to work, and practice parting with your baby. Swing by the office and get things organized for your first day back to make the day as simple as possible. A little extra planning can make the day back a little less difficult.
Although there will be times when you feel physically and mentally exhausted at work, don’t throw in the towel! Hang in there and tough it out. Parenting Magazine suggests keeping your overwhelming feelings from your coworkers and doing your best not to let your boss see you slip. It’ll take a while to get adjusted to your new routine, but if after a few months you’re still finding it hard to keep it together, chat with your boss. Maybe working from home a few days a week or cutting down to part-time might be best for you. If that won’t work, consider looking for a job that better fits your needs elsewhere.
Prepare for breast-feeding.
Wondering how you’ll continue breast-feeding might create unneeded anxiety. Plan ahead and be prepared by talking to your employer about a clean, private room with an outlet for breast pumping. The Mayo Clinic suggests buying or renting an electric pump that allows both breasts to be pumped at once. If your child care center is near your place of work, consider breast-feeding during your lunch break or other points in the day.
Once you’re back at work, consider scheduling a daily call to your baby’s caregiver. Also stay connected by chatting with them when you drop off and pick up your child. Ask questions such as how the day went, how your baby’s eating patterns are, and what progress your baby is making.
Take care of yourself.
Taking on the new role of motherhood can leave you feeling exhausted and run down. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too – your baby won’t thrive if you don’t. The Mayo Clinic suggests relaxing in a hot bath, unwinding with a book, or listening to calming music after your baby goes to sleep. It also suggests declining unnecessary commitments and sticking with a reasonable bedtime each night.