Ask Ms. Plaid: I’m Coming Back to Work after Maternity Leave
Dear Ms. Plaid:
I’m coming back to work after maternity leave and I’m anxious about going back to work. Do you have any suggestions for new working mothers?
– New Mom
Dear New Mom,
Being nervous about going back to work after maternity leave is completely normal. You have given life to a new being, you are exhausted and you are just trying to figure everything out.
My number one advice is just stick with it. I have seen so many new mothers come back to work and leave forever within the first week or two because they are overwhelmed. Please know that each week it gets easier and if you throw in the towel too early you could regret it. Give yourself permission for everything to not be perfect during this adjustment period. For managing your home I would suggest the following:
Stock up your freezer –
make and freeze some of your favorite meals prior to heading back to work. This will allow for easy meal prep and take the stress of cooking. Here are a few sites that have ideas around prepping meal: Daily Burn, Super Health Kids, and Stockpiling Moms.
Buy Extras –
if your budget allows buy extras of things that extend your timeline. In my family, this is extra underwear so I can stretch doing laundry. For a newborn, this could mean next month supply of diapers so you don’t have to run out on a weekly basis or a few additional bottles in case the dishwasher does not get run daily.
Coming back to the workplace is also full of its own challenges, especially if you pump. Try your best to focus on your job when you are there, be present just like when you are with your baby, you are not thinking about work. Reach out to a few other mothers who have successfully come back to work and seek their advice. For me I know the following was important for my transition:
Schedule Times to Pump –
I put my times to pump on my calendar just like I would any meeting and didn’t make any excuses about it. My baby and my body needs this. For me, I used this time to check up on my email or take calls. Here is an article I found helpful at Parents.com.
Don’t Forget your Network –
You will definitely have the urge to focus solely on your work so you can get home, but don’t forget your network. Make plans for lunch to see what projects others are working on and let them know you are back.
I would also share that expect a few tears. I know there were days that I just thought I would not make it, but I got up and did it again the next day. It got easier and once I got through the first eight weeks I finally felt in control of my new life.
Let us know how it goes and know you are not in this journey alone.