You think nothing hurts more than childbirth, until you go back to work. After all those weeks of bonding with your baby, leaving her behind to go back to the office can be a very painful experience. Nothing’s going to make it painless, but these tips can ease the transition.
Get a good babysitter
Whether it’s your husband, your mom, the nice lady down the street or a qualified daycare center, you’ve got to line up someone you trust to watch your baby. Leaving her behind is tough, but it’ll be easier if you know she’s in good hands. If you’re using someone you just met, spend some time with her before you go back to work. Spend an afternoon in her home or meet her out for lunch so you can get to know her. Bring the baby along so you can watch her in action.
Start back to work part-time and ease back into a full-time schedule. Work half days the first week or two, or go in only two or three days a week if your job allows such flexibility. Easing back into work little by little will help ease the shock for you and your little one.
If you can do some of your work from home, ask your boss if you could telecommute at least a day or two a week. Keep in mind that being home with a baby isn’t always conducive to work; you may have to find a part-time nanny to be there while you work, but at least you’ll be nearby.
If you thought your mornings were busy before, wait until you try to get yourself and a baby ready in time for work. Do as much as you can the night before, including packing your diaper bag, prepping bottles, showering, and laying out clothes. If you can, practice your routine a few times before you go back to work so you won’t be new at it on the big day.
Focus on work
It won’t be easy, but try not to spend all day at work thinking about your baby. It’ll just make you miss her more, and the day will drag on forever. Focus on the task at hand, and you’ll be more efficient at your job; before you know it, it’ll be time to leave and go home to your baby.
When you were on maternity leave, it made sense for you to be responsible for everything at home. You were always there while your spouse worked, so you could juggle caring for the baby and doing all of the household chores. That’s not going to work so well when you’re both working full-time. Negotiate the chore list and figure out what each of you can handle. You’ll get more sleep, be less stressed and be much easier to live with if tasks are clearly delegated.
Keep mommy friends
You probably made some mommy friends while you were off work; don’t neglect those friendships when you return to the working world. Moms need friends who are also mothers with whom they can sympathize and share tips and secrets. In fact, a good mom friend is often the key to survival in the darkest days of motherhood. Schedule play dates and coffee outings for the weekends so you can keep in touch.