Time flies. Like me, you will blink and your maternity leave will be over. As you prepared for maternity leave, you need to prepare for returning to work. So here’s my list of suggestions.
- Practice Makes Perfect: Even after your first few weeks as a new parent, setting an alarm is going to seem like a VERY foreign thing to do. It is a habit you need to restart to ensure a successful return to work. About two weeks before your scheduled return, set your alarm, shower, get dressed, have breakfast and leave the house. Okay…that was your old routine. You need to set a new one that starts with the alarm but after the alarm you need to know your new routine. So practice. Things to consider:
- Will have to take time to feed/ change baby before or after you get dressed?
- Is baby going to daycare, when will his/ her baby bag be packed and checked?
- If baby is staying home with a caregiver, what is required on your part to set the caregiver up for a great day with baby?
- Who will take out garbage or prepare breakfast? Will you eat breakfast at home or in the car?
- What will commute time be like now that you have baby and will your hours on the road change if you need to drop off baby on the way to work?
- Most importantly, PRACTICE being away from the baby first thing in the morning because even if you get the schedule down to a science, leaving the child you once carried in your womb to go back to work is going to make you want to scream. Even if you are leaving to pop by a relative or do a grocery run, practice leaving as it will help (just a tiny bit).
- Have a “catch up” with your boss before returning to the office: Most people have taken no more than a couple weeks away from their office at any one time before becoming a parent. I was away from office for four and a half months – that’s more than a quarter of the year. To avoid being overwhelmed on your first day, ask your boss to have a conference call with you about a week or two before returning to office to catch you up on what you missed and prepare you for your first tasks when returning. This will help the wheels in your brain start spinning again and, if you are lucky, make you realize that you were missed and NEEDED – something that can help you realize the importance of your role on this earth does go beyond being an awesome parent (which trumps everything else).
- Look good, feel good: This is my mantra in life. As shallow as it might seem – it works. Even if you are lucky enough to be anywhere near your pre-birth weight when you are returning to work, the weight will be distributed differently (one look at my ass shows that!). Buy yourself a couple new outfits to return to work and definitely ensure your shoes fit because many women increase a shoe size post giving birth! Get a hair cut, have your nails done – looking good when you are leaving the house can help lift your spirits when you leave your little one for the first time. See these tips for postpartum fashion choices.
- Spend Time with baby: I spent much of this time at home really focused on getting a schedule set for the baby and, of course, not breaking him (smiley face/ serious face). The last few days at home, you will be reminded how amazing the entire procss has been. Give baby extra love, take LOADS of pictures and have special moments with your little one. You will appreciate those extra few minutes pre-bedtime or during nursing smiles a whole lot when you are stuck in a meeting or in traffic.
All in all, you won’t be totally prepared to return to work. To be fair your were not totally prepared to be a parent either right? So, do your best and, as I did, pray a whole lot.