Returning to work after maternity leave is tough!! Today’s post is brought to you by Alvina Emmy from Parent Loves.
Those 4 months of maternity leave will pass in the blink of an eye. After your delivery, your life becomes completely different. A newborn baby, breastfeeding routines, unscheduled sleeping, struggling to get into shape— That’s what maternity leave is all about.
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The last thing you want is adding a work life and managing everything in between!
I know I know. I’ve been through those days. As I recall, pregnancy, delivery and even caring for your baby seemed whole lot easier than re-admitting yourself to the workplace.
These 9 secrets, as I reveal, should make your life easier.
1. Be Easy on Yourself and Take Time
Don’t panic. Nobody is expecting you to be perfect.
Know that you will forget important stuff, have trouble getting your work done and miss meetings or social gatherings.
That’s all okay.
Get used to the new routine slowly and forgive yourself for mistakes.
If you are worried about getting in shape and how your colleagues will look at you, you will stress out more. Accept your new identity as a mom and stop thinking less about people.
You also need to give yourself some alone time, take care of your health and treat yourself whenever you have time.
2. Join Work at the Middle of the Week
After your baby’s delivery, you will become programmed to stay close to your baby. But a sudden return to work with 40+ hours being away from your baby can make you feel insecure and restless.
The best idea is to join work a few days earlier than your leave time. Preferably Thursday. Work half-days and return to your baby.
This will help you get used to work and also maintain that closeness to your baby.
Use those holidays and then return to work again. The extra hours you put in can be used later in the following week for breaks and leaves.
3. Organize Your Work and Baby Routine
The first thing you should do after coming back to work is to meet your big boss.
Discuss with him any recent changes, new projects and your work liability (most importantly). This will give you a roadmap to start your journey.
Based on that discussion, make your work routine. Keep it lean prioritizing the most important work first, so that you can have enough time with the baby.
Then, prepare a routine for your baby time. When should you wake up, drive, pump and be at home etc, etc.
If you aren’t available for her, make sure someone else is there.
4. Plan Out Your Pumping Sessions
Having a work life with a newborn will require you to pump at work, home and even when riding in the car.
So, that’s a must.
The first thing to do is to invest in a quality breast pump. Some work better for home use and others have additional features like rechargeability and compact design to make pumping at work easier. Choose wisely.
Next, comes planning. This involves:
- The exact time and frequency of your pumping sessions
- A dedicated place for pumping
- Finding a way to store the milk
If your pumping sessions are going great, you are almost half done with your problems.
5. Stock up on Things That You Will Need
Don’t forget to have these things on hand before you resume work:
- A breast pump. We already talked about that earlier.
- A bag to carry the pump and insulated bag for storing milk. You will have to use the refrigerator anyways.
- Disposable nursing pads. You don’t want to feel embarrassed just because your milk is overflowing. And.. you can’t avoid people for that.
- Lots of healthy snacks. Make your work desk a storage compartment for snacks that will give you energy for the hectic days.
- Have pre-made meals in the freezer. Sometimes, you won’t find the time and energy to cook. But for your sake and the breastfeeding baby, you need to stay fit. You can also learn to cook easy meals that will require less time and effort.
6. Say No to Time Killers
When you have just joined back to your old office, you will get bombarded with work.
There will be people all over asking you to do stuff that aren’t part of your REAL WORK!!
Yes, you did those for maintaining relationships and harmony in the workplace when you were not a mom.
Learn to say no to those time killer activities that will burden your workload. Do the most important tasks first (things that you are getting paid for) and try to leave the workplace on time or even earlier.
Don’t forget you need to get those pumping sessions done during your working hours.
7. Build a Network of Caregivers
Trust me, you are not a superwoman. I bet even superwoman would have a hard time managing a baby, husband, family and work at the same time.
Create a team of caregivers who can look after your baby when you are away. This could be your husband, the baby’s grandparents, brothers/sisters, your trusted colleagues, best friends or even neighbors.
Take whatever help you find in your way.
8. Have a Backup Plan for Everything
You forgot to buy groceries last night, the car suddenly stopped working, a traffic jam and you forgot the breast pump at home.
These are unplanned issues that will come up one day. And a big blow to your schedule can become catastrophic when you have a hungry baby to feed and a job to maintain.
Develop backup plans for such events and your life will get easier than ever.
9. Maintain Professionalism at Work
A long maternity leave will make you fall behind your work goals. And when you add more leaves and unavoidable breaks, people will start talking behind your backs.
To make up for your flexible routine, you should maintain professionalism at work. Finish your tasks and don’t waste your time doing unimportant stuff.
In this way, you will become a role model soon!
Planning is everything. Try to write out everything that will help you follow your schedule.
Keep the first week for a trial and error phase and see what complications you are facing. From the second week, you should be able to deal with this “after maternity leave situation” better.
If you follow these 9 tips, I can say you will be almost 80% on the right track. The rest 20% lies in your execution and management.