Before you think about returning to work after maternity leave, you will want to get as much support as possible, and not just of the childcare.
From the sleep deprived nights, huge shift in your household dynamics, inner struggles in your postpartum life, and very concerns about the well-being your baby to your work re-entry after a long absence, this transition is surely going to be a huge one. You have to get everything straight before joining work, be it the emotional turbulence or not getting right the pumping logistics.
However, one thing that can break you is the feeling of guilt. Guilt of leaving your child in hands of a stranger, guilt of spending so much time away from your infant, guilt of not being able to fulfill the role of an ideal, caring mother. You will likely encounter this feeling more than once, but you should not give in to it. And why should you? You’re supporting your family, giving yourself an identity and serving as a positive role model. You’re doing what’s best for you and your family.
Here’s how you can make going back to work after maternity leave a little less stressful.
Practice Your New Routine
You’re bound to have some difficult time while learning to balance your new roles, and the best way to do them quickly is to be more efficient and well organized. Do a couple of practice runs, if possible arrange your childcare start a week early so you can try out your routine and get used to parting with your child. Make sure you set your alarm a little early so that if any twists occur you can manage it on time. Keep extra pumping parts with you in your purse. Also, be prepared for a backup in case your childcare help gets sick or isn’t able to make it on time.
Go Easy on Yourself
This applies to everything from practical matters like pumping to more complicated matters like maintaining healthy relationship with your partner. After all, it’s a transition and expect it to be hard. Expecting everything to be perfect can make you feel even more disappointed. It might even take you longer than you thought to get back into the swing of things at work, you might become irritable or not be able to fulfil your duties at home. But it’s okay. You’re figuring out your new normal and it won’t happen overnight. Give yourself time to adjust and take some commitments off your calendar.
Get as Much Rest as You Can
One of the biggest challenges working moms face is getting quality and quantity sleep. You can get exhausted with all the multitasking you are doing, when you’re overtired it’s much easier to fall to pieces. Thus, it is important for you to prioritize your own sleep needs over doing household chores. You can ask your partner to pitch in or share the load.
Write Everything Down
Remembering everything can be a little hard at times. Moreover, postpartum stress can make you more forgetful and give you a hard time in concentrating. The best thing at this time would be to make a list of things you need to do. Write everything on a note pad, or make sticky notes for everything, be it your breast pumping parts or a reminder for your nanny or your work to-dos. This can save you from messing a lot of things around!
Keep it together
Set aside some time for your 'mommy life'. Spend time with your child when you reach home, stay in touch with your ‘mom friends’, take some time out to do fun activities.
Also, keep it together in your office, however wrecked you might feel when you’re at your desk, worrying about your child, the piling work, feeling physically and mentally exhausted, don’t let your boss think you’re off your game. Keep your concerns to yourself, your multi-tasking might even help you become more productive.
We all know how hard this transition be, and being a woman you have to prove your worth at every place, be at home or office. There are times when you will not feel as confident as you are now, or would think about giving up. Remember one thing - Many millions of women have done this successfully before you and many will do it after you. You can do this, too!