Whether you’re counting down the days to some adult conversation and drinking coffee while it’s hot (yes that is still a thing) or you’re dreading the very moment you leave your precious little angel, going back to work after having a baby can be a painful transition.
Going back, for me, has been confusing and guilt inducing (enter, classic mommy guilt). I have always found so much purpose in my career. And, I can be frustratingly independent, so having my own thing has been important to me… its also just easier when you don’t have to explain to anyone why you spent so much on the perfect pair of jeans (just sayin’).
Still, nothing could prepare me for the first time I handed my son to another woman and walked out the door as he cried.
I could have used some pointers for preparing for that tough morning and the mornings to come. Luckily, when I returned to work after our last babe, I had learned a few things and gotten some really good advice from smart women.
Below is a collection of those, but I know there’s more. Please comment below with your own tips for surviving the transition back.
Before You Go Back
Give yourself some grace….in fact, go ahead and give yourself a lot
Before we go any further, let’s just acknowledge that in the small span of a year you have grown, birthed and are now fully responsible for a little human. What you’ve done is simply incredible. IN.CREDIBLE. Your emotions are going to be everywhere and very possibly unpredictable. If you’re like me, your expectations of yourself are pretty high (can I just admit they might just be too high?). I’m still working on this myself, but if I can encourage you momma, please give yourself some grace during this transition. Forget the laundry. Forget dinner (let your partner fend for themselves…but don’t tell them I told you that).
You’ve got two things to worry about – loving that baby with all you are and easing back into work.
Have coffee with your boss
About a month prior to returning, schedule coffee or a call to reconnect, discuss any changes that may have occurred and confirm your return plan and date.
Start childcare early
If you can, schedule your childcare to start a few days in advance of your first day back. I promise you, you’ll be glad you did.
Communicate openly with your partner
Figuring out everyone’s schedule in the morning can be a serious nightmare, but taking time to figure out the morning routine with your partner and asking for their help is totally worth it. Talk morning and evening childcare pick ups, who gets up with the baby in the morning, shower schedule, etc. This is the control freak in me and I know you may eye roll but being proactive about this could save you a lot of frustration on a busy morning.
Get the routine down
Have to be out the door in actual real person clothes with a baby in tow by 7:30? A few weeks before you go back (if not more) start practicing the morning routine. Get up, get you and babe dressed for the day in the same way you would when you’re back at work. It takes some getting used to… so give it a try when there’s no pressure.
Do the drive (or the bus or the whatever)
However you’ll get there, do a trial run to and from the office at the time you’d typically be on the road so you can can plan accordingly on the day. I know, I know another control freak tip.
Get your wardrobe in order
Make your mornings easier by pre-planning a few outfits you can depend on. Since my body was still changing (and still is 10 months later) I put all of my pre-baby stuff in the back (like, the waaaay back) of my closet so I wasn’t even tempted to torture myself with a try on. Instead, I created about 5 or 6 outfits I knew I could depend on and hung the pieces together (complete with accessories and shoes) so I could easily grab them and go without thinking.
Once You’re Back
Have your partner handle drop off on your first day back
On your first day back the only thing you need to worry about is getting your momma self dressed, tszuj’d and into the office with a decent level of sanity.
If it’s at all possible, return part time or use some vacation days to give you a few days here and there in the first month to adjust.
Start in the middle of the week or right before a holiday
Trust me, going back for a few days is the best way to get your feet wet.
A few More Things:
- If your partner travels for work, make sure they’re home the first week you’re back.
- Even if you don’t think you’ll cry plan ahead just in case. Make sure you use waterproof mascara in the morning and bring some makeup removing wipes to clean up any makeup smears. If you don’t normally bring extra make up with you, make sure to throw a few things in your bag in case you need a touch up…or a few.
- Check on your little one as much and as often as you need to. Feel no shame over the number of times you call or check the web cam.
- Bring a zip up sweatshirt to throw on over your work clothes for pick up. This is a good habit to get into as your babe gets busier and messier.
- Rush home and snuggle that baby.