Over my eight works of work as a mother, I have made plenty of mistakes, got to know numerous mothers in various stages of the process, and collected some pearls of wisdom on this topic.
One thing that I definitely know is that one of the most difficult moments of being a mom is returning to work after having a baby.
Unfortunately, going back to work is one of the first milestones that are part of an extremely long journey. You have major sleep deprivation that you have to function on, major changes in your household dynamics, internal struggles over your new life, along with serious concerns ranging from the care of your baby to re-entering the workforce following a long absence.
Definitely hard stuff.
However, I can assure you that millions of women before you have been able to do this successfully, and millions will do it follow you as well. Just remember, you can do it.
Working Moms Against Guilt
Shortly after I returned to work, which was three months after the birth of my first child, I started blogging with some friends who were in a similar situation as me. At our blog Working Moms Against Guilt, all four of us started sharing our tips, triumphs, and worries, mostly for one another, but for other mothers as well who may run into our website.
Since that time, Working Moms Against Guilt developed into a highly trusted online community. We have been able to collect some very valuable insight about going back to work after your maternity leave. The following are some of my favorite tips:
Your worldview (including how you see both life and work) has forever changed. It is going to take you some time to get used to it.
You will be amazed by just how efficient you are now after you return to work. When you are at work, you will be busting it just so you can get home to see your child. When you are home, you will be cherishing every moment (well, most of them) that you are able to spend with your baby. Your priorities will start taking shape, and you will be shaped by them.
It may be tempting to try "doing it all" - at the same time. Losing that extra baby weight, absolutely killing it at your job, making delicious homemade meals each night, keeping your house spotless. However, it is impossible to achieve absolute perfection in every aspect of your life, and especially when you have a newborn. So don't put so much pressure on yourself and have such unrealistic expectations. The life of a mother is a marathon, and you are just getting started.
Are you concerned that your baby is going to miss you when you are at work? She will be fine. Babies don't have a sense of time developed yet, so, therefore, they won't realize you have been gone from home for ten hours. They also aren't forming any memories. So really the only person who will notice you are gone is you.
You start to care about certain things that in the past you wouldn't have considered. Like coffee being an essential human need, instead of something that is nice to enjoy. Or having to absolutely leave work no later than 5:35 p.m. to get to daycare in time to pick up your child. There will need to be a major overhaul done to your priorities.
It takes much more planning (and at times, a lot more worrying) to travel for work. Although your breastfeeding routine might be impacted, being gone for a couple of days on a business trip won't harm the bond you and your little one have. You will still be the number one mom when you return.
Consider a new Job in a new location. This could make things a lot easier and allow you to live a more flexible life and cut the commute down. Get a CV ready suggest https://arielle.com.au and get looking for something new and more suited.
Life is difficult for everybody, including working moms. When life invariably throws hurdles at you, like a baby having digestive issues, getting into a car accident, or your spouse getting a promotion at work (which involves spending more time at work), you will get through these challenges. As Kristi Blust from Working Mom Against Guilt says, "In life and in parenthood, there are no guarantees for either fortune or fairness. You just have to put your brave face on, and keep going."
Guilt. Most likely you will be feeling guilty at least a few times as you go back to work as a mom. After all, I started an entire blog on this topic! However, the bottom is, you don't have to feel guilty for going back to work. Why? Because it is helping to support your family, providing you with your own identity, giving you space and time away from your children, doing what is best for your family and you, and providing your kids with a positive role model.
Develop a support system for your family and you and then nurture it. A village really is needed to raise children, and the more trustworthy help you have to rely on, the better off both your baby and you will be.
Daycare doesn't need to be a dirty word. There are many thoughtless individuals who say things such as, "why have a baby if you are going to have somebody else raising him? They are idiots. It isn't a sin to put your child in daycare so that you can return to work. So get rid of the despair and shame you are feeling, advised Christine Gibson from Working Moms Against Gutherilt. She offers some words of inspiration and very useful tips on the dilemma of daycare. If you don't have a live-in relative who can take care of your baby while you are work, then I highly recommend that you check out the tips she has provided on the blog.
Give yourself snuggle time after getting home from work. The laundry and dishes can wait (or get help for these household chores). You deserve time to hold your baby, enjoy her giggles and sweet baby scent, and to simply be a mother. Sometimes, having one hour with your baby at the end of a very long day can remind you how all of your tears, worries, patience and hard work are definitely worth it.
Have some patience with yourself - both at work and at home. It will take you some time to get adjusted to your new life, and you can't expect that you will be able to nail everything right away.