At the beginning of your maternity leave you cannot even begin to comprehend what it’s going to be like when you have to go back to work. In those few blissful, rollercoaster months your life is going to change radically and you will be a very different woman when you return. Chances are you will have different goals and priorities and even if you love your job, there is now something in your life that is way more important.
You thought childbirth and breastfeeding were the most painful things ever, well, separating yourself from your new baby can be pretty painful too. There is no easy way out, but if you prepare yourself properly and let go of the guilt then it is possible to make a smooth transition. Here are a few tips to help when the time comes…
Stay in touch
While on maternity leave it’s easy to be 100% absorbed in your new role as mother, but it’s important to stay in touch with what is going on at the office. Perhaps when you have found your feet a little you can take baby in for a visit. Ask to be updated on any major changes and chat to your boss every couple of weeks. This way you avoid any major shocks when it’s time to go back.
Find trustworthy childcare
Every family has a different setup when it comes to childcare. Some women are lucky enough to have family members willing to step in. Others hire a nanny and some opt for day care. Whatever you decide make sure that you are confident and happy with your decision. Ask your friends for their advice, but go with what is best for you both financially and instinctively. Trust your gut.
If you decide to continue breastfeeding when you return to work, you will need to plan accordingly. How easy it is will depend on how organised you are about it. Chat to your employer about a space where you will have privacy and will be able to pump milk comfortably. Invest in a reliable breast pump and get used to the way it works before you head back to work.
Be upfront about what you want
Things are very different now. Long hours at the office, after work drinks, weekends… your priorities have changed and you should be clear and upfront about it from the start. Many women don’t ask and therefore don’t really know what is available to them as new mothers. Perhaps your company are willing to allow you to work flexi hours to suit your new schedule, or perhaps you can leave an hour earlier and work in that time. If you need to leave at 5pm on the dot every day then tell your employer. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
TIP: When you are back at work cut down on unnecessary commitments. Go to bed early and most importantly, let go of any guilt!
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