For many working mothers, the first days back to work can be the toughest. It doesn’t matter if you’re resuming your office duties post your maternity leave or you are rejoining the workforce years after your little one was born.
You are forced to leave your baby at home, perhaps with a total stranger (the nanny) for eight to 10 hours straight, with nothing but your memories. Anything can trigger your anxiety from the sound of another baby crying, mention of a name that resembles your child’s, or even the thought of what you could be doing together if you were at home.
Below are tips that can make this transition easier.
Be it meals, your outfits, baby’s outfits, work and home related tasks, if you’re to have peace of mind, you need to plan ahead of time. Whip out your diary or phone, and write down an exhaustive list of everything that needs to be done on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Then schedule when you will perform each of these tasks. In this way, you will hardly be caught off guard like when you realise you forgot to order a cake for hubby and it’s the day before his birthday.
2. Get reliable help
Take the time to hire and train a capable nanny. Involve your partner in child care and in the running of the house. Don’t try to do everything. Having too much on your plate will only stress you.
If you have relatives living around you, ask them to help with running errands. They can even check on your baby while you are at work to give you an unbiased report of how things really are at home.
3. Check in during the day
Make it a habit to call at least once during the day just to find out how things are. For instance, my daughter is older and can answer the phone, so I speak to her directly and ask her how she is fairing on.
Avoid calling after every hour though as this will only agitate your caregiver. Once or twice a day should be enough to calm your nerves
4. Inform your co-workers and supervisors about your situation
Keeping your workplace informed that you are a parent and could need a special arrangement is very important. Be it flexible working hours or an emergency cropping up at home, if they know in advance that you are in the family way, it makes it easier for them to excuse you. Bear in mind that this does not mean that you should let the quality of your work slip. Ensure that you respect working hours and deliver your targets promptly, even when you have been allowed to arrive late or leave earlier.
5. Me time
One thing I have learned the importance of is me time. You need personal time to recharge and destress. Make time away from family life and work, even two hours every weekend will do, for your favourite activities. You could read a book, watch a movie, catch up with your favourite series, do your nails and hair, reorganise your closet, among other you-activities.