5 Tips for a Smooth Transition Back-to-Work after Maternity Leave
Headed back to work after maternity leave? Here are five tips for making the transition as smooth as possible.
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Start back mid-week
Do yourself a favor and schedule your first day back on a Wednesday. More than likely you’ll still be getting used to this new life with baby, and easing back into work will help everything go smoothly. I started back on a Monday with my first child, and I cannot tell you how LONG that first week felt. There will be a few bumps along the way with your new schedule, so give yourself a few days to allow for those bumps and to figure everything out. And then it’s the weekend!
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Recognize your feelings
First of all, it is OKAY to be upset. To cry (I’ve been there)! It’s even okay to be secretly HAPPY to go back to work (don’t feel guilty about that, either). You’re going to have a flurry of feelings because as you’ve already been told and discovered, life has infinitely changed. It will take a little time to adjust back to work, but once you’re ready to dive in, you may find you’re glad to be back. I always felt some satisfaction that I was providing health insurance for my family (my husband works freelance), which carried me through on tough days when I found I’d accidentally brought a lovie with me to work.
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Get to know your provider before you leave
Whether you’ll be leaving baby with a nanny or daycare, get to know your provider before you head back to work. If you’re hiring a nanny, have her come over a few times before you leave so that you can get to know one another better, and you can make sure she knows where all pertinent items are in the house. The more comfortable you are with her, the easier it will be to leave and be confident that everything will go fine while you’re away. If it’s a daycare situation, set up times to visit the daycare beforehand and chat with the staff.
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It’s as simple as that: accept help when it’s offered, and don’t be afraid to ask for an extra hand, either. It really does “take a village,” especially when you are transitioning back to work and a brand new schedule. Call in family if you need it, and don’t forget to take care of yourself, too (a pedicure, a glass of wine… you deserve it).
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Inevitably, the way you work will change a bit. Hopefully, you’ll be able to dive into new projects, but don’t be afraid to talk to your boss about a flexible working arrangement (whether that’s adjusting your hours to fit provider care or working-from-home one day a week). I hope you’ll feel valued, but if nothing else, embrace this new life. It can be a lot to manage, but having that little one to come home to at night will make it all worthwhile.
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