Whether you do it for the money or do it for yourself, returning to work after having a baby is never easy.
How on earth are you expected to leave that sweet little face and chubby hands! There’s the pressure to do and be it all, the drive that we have to contribute to supporting our families, and the desire to be there fully for our children.
Whatever your reason for going back into the workforce, here are five things you’ll want to do in order to ensure that the transition is as seamless as it can be for both you and your baby.
Do a test run
Remember those long showers you would take every morning before taking time on your hair and face? Well, buckle up, your morning routine is about to be rocked when you throw a baby into the mix. You have to…
- Wake up and not hit the snooze too many times…after being awake all night with a teething baby
- Dressed…albeit one handed
- Get out the door in time to beat the morning rush hour.
In order to have this all happen with some degree of calm, there are a few different things that you can experiment with to improve the chaos, including being extra prepared.
You may find that it’s helpful to pack everyone’s bags the night before, lay out outfits, and put together any paperwork you may need for the day.
Doing a test drive before the real deal will also allow you to figure out what time you need to leave and the route that is the most efficient. This will ensure that you all start your day off on time and on the right foot.
Have a back up plan
Unexpected things are just that, unexpected. The addition of kids into that equation can bring that to a whole other level. There are a couple of reasons a back up plan wouldn’t be a bad idea.
- The plague descends – Kids have a funny way of getting sick at the most inconvenient times. As much as we want to be there for our babies when they aren’t feeling their best, sometimes it just isn’t possible with work obligations. The problem is that many childcare providers have strict guidelines when it comes to caring for kids who display certain symptoms.
- The reliable has an unreliable moment – If your child goes to in home care, there may be an occasion where your child care provider is unavailable, either due to their own illness or vacation. They’re human too, so don’t be too worried if this happens at the odd time.
When establishing your back up plan, you’ll want someone that is dependable, such as grandparent, friend, or drop in care center.
It’s best to ask in advance so that you are not left in a difficult situation of choosing between your work and your kid. Having a solid substitute means that, on those occasions when it just can’t be you, you’ll know that your child is somewhere with someone that you trust.
Ease into it
No matter what kind of childcare you decide on, be it a dedicated center or home based care, it’s going to be a new environment for your new baby to adjust to. What’s the best ways to do that?
- Arrange test days – It’s a brave new world for both you and your baby, and you want to make this transition as painless as possible. Start by bringing baby in for 15 minutes to get used to the new surroundings. It’s helpful for the carers to interact with your baby during this time and help him to become more comfortable with this new, fun place.
- Slowly step away – During your test days, try stepping out of the room for longer and longer periods of time. With each visit, slowly build up to longer amounts of time and spend more time out of the room, leaving your baby with the carers.
These settling in days will allow your baby to learn that this is an exciting place to be and, more importantly, that he will always be met at the end with a hug and a kiss from mama. This is reassuring not just for him, but for you as well as you get adjusted to this new routine.
Talk to your boss
It’s perfectly natural to have reservations in returning to work. The anxiety that you may face in leaving your child in the care of another person, coupled with your own concerns about jumping back into your job, can make this period all the more difficult. However, there are steps that you can take to help combat this.
- Make sure you have your say – One way you can help to combat your apprehension is to arrange to speak with your boss and HR department before heading back. This is a good opportunity to ask questions and understand your company’s take on the issues that matter most to you. This can include organizing a private space if you plan on pumping, the timing of your return, and your workload.
- Don’t be afraid – You might feel like this will be an uncomfortable conversation, these are all requests that are perfectly reasonable, like requesting a vegetarian option. It’s much better to make your feelings and requests known early on than to experience potential disappointment when you come back to work and things don’t go exactly your way.
In vocalizing how you’re feeling, you may even find that this kind of open conversation benefits your employer as well, giving them insight into what they can do to improve the work/life balance of their employees.
Be kind to yourself
There is no one who is better at multitasking than a mom. We juggle family and career, personal hobbies, and other roles we may have within our community. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have it all and do it all, but it’s important to recognize the toll that going back to work can have on you. How can you make sure that you don’t let your well run dry?
- It’s okay to focus on you – It’s understandable that you’ll likely be focusing on helping your baby adjust to this new normal, but don’t forget to take time to recognize how you’re doing as well with all of the new changes. Give yourself permission to prioritize yourself in all of this. You’ll be much better equipped to take on the challenges that come with both raising a baby as well as pursuing a career.
- This too shall pass – This is a brief period of time; the gap between before and after. Eventually you will find your feet and know how to manage this working mom gig. Sometimes just recognizing that a phase will end, and soon, helps it to pass that bit quicker.
Until the time comes and you have mastered it all, don’t be upset if the sink is full of dishes or the laundry pile is getting tall. More importantly, don’t forget to focus on those things that really matter, such as your own well being and your baby’s slobbery kisses.
A whole new world
It’s hard to imagine anyone other than you taking care of your baby. But with desires of personal development or financial necessity, work is a reality for many of us. It can be difficult to adjust, but there are not only steps that we can take to ease that transition, but tools as well. Ride Nanny is there to help busy parents to deal with this change in routine. It can take time to remember that extra stop that you need to make in the morning to drop your baby at daycare. There are countless reports of exhausted, loving parents taking their regular trip to the office and forgetting their sweet baby in the back seat. This can have a tragic outcome, but it doesn’t have to be.
Practice makes perfect, and that goes for starting back at work too. Just as your baby will learn to adapt to their new daily routine, you most certainly will too.