Tips for Transitioning back to work after Maternity Leave

Tips for Transitioning back to work after Maternity Leave

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. Free tax tools are available online to assist you.

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  the care of someone else.  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.

12 thoughts on “Tips for Transitioning back to work after Maternity Leave

  1. I hope you had a great first day back! We’re in similar situations, as I will to be re-entering the workface in the near future. There’s much to think of, so thanks for the list!

  2. This is a good list. It is extremely stressful for some of us to leave our babies and go back to work. I remember going back to work after my second child was born and crying all the way there and driving like a mad woman all the way back for the first two weeks. Of course, I live in the U.S. so my maternity leave was supposed to end after 8 weeks but I was so happy to get an extra month because I wasn’t healing properly after my c-section. (Sick, isn’t it?lol)

    I’m so thankful I get to be a SAHM now but certainly not married to a rich man.LOL you’re hilarious.

    I actually did second-guess my decision to go back to work each time I did it and it’s why I now stay at home with my babies… well, that and the fact that it would cost me more to pay for daycare than I could make working. We’re what is called ‘the working poor’ and we scrape by every day just to make it. Totally worth it though. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

    Good luck to you. I hope your transition back to work goes very smooth. 🙂

    1. I don’t know how American women return to work after just 8 weeks, that seems nuts to me. That alone would have driven me to just quitting my job and forget returning. I am glad you are able to stay at home, lucky kids!

    2. I know. I don’t understand how I survived it either. It’s insane. While I never had to actually go back at 8 weeks for various reasons (Women who don’t have c-sections only get 6 weeks!) it was still extremely hard on me. I actually had to go back to work a little more than a year ago because we seriously could not afford food. Thankfully my hubby got a bonus and a raise a few months later. I hung on until May so we could catch up on bills and actually buy our kids’ homeschool curriculum and other things we needed but I was pregnant by then and since my job was physically demanding I just couldn’t do it anymore. I’m so glad I get to be back home too! My 5 year old had practically stopped sleeping. Poor baby. I think she was afraid I wasn’t coming back. 🙁

  3. Hope you have a great first day back! (And looking at the bright side, Canadian mat leave is much more generous than most of the world.)

  4. I hope your first few days back went well! My daughter is almost three and I still have a hard time bringing her to school some days, but it DOES get easier and I know that she’s in a great environment while I’m out doing what I have to do. 🙂

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