Today will be my first day back to work full time after a full year away. I can’t believe how fast this day crept up on me, it feels like only yesterday I was giving birth and now here I am about start transitioning back to work. Of course I should have been able to continue my leave until March which is when Keira was discharged from the NICU but that is another story. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t panicking about leaving her outside my own care or worried about my transition back to my old job position. The entire situation seems rather daunting – if only I had married rich I wouldn’t be facing this situation. (hah!)
Here are some tips to help you manage ease back into your work-life with as little stress as possible.
Before Returning to Work
Find Good Childcare – Take the time to find someone you trust with good references and qualified caregivers. The environment should be both safe and stimulating. Trust your instincts, you need to be comfortable leaving your infant with the caregiver.
Talk to your Employer – Your employer may and allow you to return to work part-time initially or other flexible work options if you really aren’t ready to return full time. It is worth having the discussion as most employers are open to discussing various options. Just be aware of the implications involved with health insurance and taxes when it comes time to e-file in April.
Set Your Return Date – Plan to return on a Thursday or Friday so that your first week back is a short one.
Deal with the Guilt – Many women feel guilty and conflicted about leaving their children in someone elses care. Returning to your professional life does not make you a bad mother! You are most likely doing what is best for your family.
Plan Your Morning Routine - Your are going to need more time in the morning than you did before baby so plan accordingly. Make sure you aren’t rushing around as this will only add to your stress. Pack your child’s belongings the night before at the same time you pack your lunch so you can just grab and go.
Once You are Back at Work
Time Management – Now is as important a time as ever to use your time wisely so you don’t end up spending late nights at the office.
Don’t Forget You – Transitioning back to work can be exhausting so don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. Help with cooking and cleaning or even someone to watch your little one for an hour so you can take a bath in silence will help you feel less stressed out.
Stay Connected – You are going to miss your baby, especially in the first few weeks. Bring photos to work, but be mindful to not create a shrine. It’s OK to call your caregiver once a day to check in on your child. Hearing your child over the phone is a great way to feel connected and hearing your voice will be soothing.
The most important tip is that no matter how overwhelmed you may feel in the first few weeks don’t let yourself reconsider your decision to return to work. It is a normal feeling and you just need time to readjust, so give it a month or two before you second guess your decision.