Being a new mom is hard. Being a new working mom is even harder. On top of the anxiety you feel as a new parent, you're also dealing with responsibilities at the office, trying to get back on your feet after being away for an extended period of time, missing your baby, and -- of course -- working mom guilt. We asked, "What did you do that helped you make the transition back from maternity leave back to work a bit more managable?" Here are a few top tips from your fellow working mothers:
- Come back on a Thursday. A two-day week is easier to deal with than a full five-day week.
- Visit your baby on your lunch hour. If your childcare provider is not near by, use your lunch time to do exercise, organize, or plan, so that you have more free time to be with your baby once you get home.
- Phase work back in to your life. See if your employer will allow you to work part-time for a few weeks before you return to work full-time. (The Family and Medical Leave Act allows for it, but the final decision is up to your company.)
- Give yourself permission to feel conflicted/elated/guilty/ happy/angry/tired -- or all of the above. Your emotions are normal, and it's OK.
- Set your schedule -- and stick to it. If the hours your boss wants you to work make it difficult for you to juggle career and parenthood, talk about it and try to set hours that work for you. If possible, avoid setting a bad precedent; if you work late "just this once," you might end up working late every week.
- If you're continuing to breastfeed, pump regularly and often to keep your milk supply up.
- If you're not pumping, give yourself breaks throughout the day anyway. It will help keep your energy levels up and your mind clear.
- See if your boss will allow you to work from home one or more days per week.
- Get your support network ready. Know who you can call if you need to vent, and try to network with other women who have been through what you're going through (there are plenty of us here at Work It, Mom!).
- Take your time. Transitions aren't instantaneous; it may take you a couple of months -- or more -- to feel like you're really back in the swing of things.
Find out more:
- What you need to know about the Family and Medical Leave Act
- The Juggle: Childcare edition
- What made transitioning back to work more manageable?