It’s no secret that the United States is way behind the curve when it comes to maternity leave. Without paid leave policies in place, many moms (including myself) must return to work by or before the time their new bundle of joy is twelve weeks old. In your sleep deprived, hormonal state, balancing being an employee and a mom can be difficult. However, I’m sharing a few things you can do to make your transition back into the working world after maternity leave go as smoothly as possible.
Spend some time away from your baby.
I know this may sound weird, but it actually makes the transition between being at home all of the time and going back to work slightly less abrupt. If possible, let your baby stay with whomever will be providing his care while you’re working so he gets used to being there—and you can work out any kinks that may arise.
Prepare ahead as much as you can.
Lay out your clothes and baby’s clothes for the week, make as many breakfasts and lunches as you can fit in your fridge, buy some quick things for dinner, or plan on some slow cooker meals. (More great tips here!)
Make your first morning as easy as possible.
See if your significant other can go in to his or her job a little later so you have the help of an extra set of hands. Getting dressed for work is a different ballgame than getting dressed to go grocery shopping—and it takes more time than you think!
Be prepared for tears.
No matter how much you love whoever is watching your baby, leaving her isn’t easy! Skip the mascara that first day. It will hit you randomly throughout the day how much you miss your little peanut!
At the end of your first week, stop for a fancy coffee (or your addiction of choice). Celebrate surviving your first week back to work!
Give yourself grace.
You are your own harshest critic, and you expect more out of yourself than anyone else does. Stop it! Yes, your house will look even worse than it did when you were at home all of the time. Yes, you’ll be even more worn out at the end of the day—and tempted to stay up late cleaning. Don’t! Rest and get used to being a mom who also works outside of the home. Things will get done—eventually. If anyone has anything negative to say? Point them in the direction of the laundry room, and tell them to go wild!