Your maternity leave can end sooner than you think. And it can definitely put a ruffle in the smooth flow of your new schedule. It’s true that the transition from being with your baby 24/7 — just when you have finally mastered a consistent routine and you’re getting the hang of parenting — to going back to work can be terrifying.
But it doesn’t really have to be.
Give yourself enough time to prepare to go back to work and follow the tips below. Here are 7 things you can do to make going back to work easier for you and your family!
1. Decide on a daycare as early as possible.
One of the cardinal rules that you should remember: don’t wait until it’s almost time to go back to work before choosing a daycare! When you still have the luxury of time (your schedule may be hectic now but nowhere near as full as when you return to the workforce!), start touring the local daycare centers in your area. Look for the best one that fulfills your requirements, the one that will help you feel at ease when you’re in the office.
2. Practice giving your baby a bottle.
If you’ve been directly breastfeeding your baby since day 1, now is also the best time to start giving your baby a bottle. Express your milk and make sure that your baby takes it through a bottle. If the situation calls for it, you may also practice mix-feeding and start giving your baby formula (which may need some trial and error on your part).
3. Go back to work on a Wednesday.
Make your life easier by going back to work in the middle of the week rather than on a Monday! Your first week at work is a major adjustment period, and even if you come prepared, it will definitely be stressful dealing with work and family challenges at the same time.Try to minimize the stress by tackling 3 days instead of a full 5 days.
4. Ask for flexible work arrangements.
If you can arrange a meeting with your boss, do it. Ask if they can offer flexible work arrangements, like part-time work. Or if you prefer to work full-time, ask if they can let you have flexible working hours. You may also ask if they have remote work options. For example, you can be in the office 3 days a week and work from home during the other 2 days. Remember that this request may not be granted, but it’s worth it to ask.
5. Do a dry-run of your new routine.
When all has been finalized — from your baby’s daycare center to your work arrangements — plan a new routine. Mornings will be especially hectic, so plan it out carefully to the finest details. For example, feeding your baby might take 20 minutes instead of 15, and showering might take you 15 minutes instead of 10. When they add up, even a few minutes each task can make you late for work.
It is very important to spend a few days or so practicing your new routine. Make sure that before you’re due for work, you’re already able to master how to get yourself and your baby ready and get to the office in time.
6. Spend quality time with your family when you get home.
Your entire day was full and all you can think of is getting into bed and getting some much-deserved sleep. But you’re a mom now and you have a baby waiting for you to get home, too. Use the time that you have in the evening to spend quality time with them. It doesn’t have to be active play (since it’s almost time for your baby’s bedtime routine, too), so you can rest. Bond with your baby (and husband) by singing songs, reading stories, or simply cuddling.
7. Use nighttime to plan for tomorrow.
Your new schedule as a working mom can be complicated, and it’s important to treat each hour with importance. To maximize your time — and to lessen the stress of your mornings — use nighttime as planning time. After your baby falls asleep, prepare for work by choosing your clothes, packing your things, preparing your lunch and your baby’s milk, and all the other things that you need for the next day.