Tips to Transition Back to Work After Baby
You’ve already got so many things consuming you with a brand new baby––feedings, sleep schedules, getting enough sleep yourself––how can you possibly think about jumping back into a regular work week?
As a mom who has been there, I can really only describe the situation as one word: overwhelming. On so many levels. Whether you’re working 9 to 5, five days a week or you’re making your own schedule in a self-employed position, there are steps to take and tips to exercise to ease into the transition, avoid mom-guilt and manage your emotions.
Determine the length of your maternity leave and stick to it. Avoid email and phone meetings as much as possible. Doing this will make you feel like you really took the time to bond with your baby and focus on him or her by the time you dive back into a full-time work schedule. If you still don’t feel ready to work after leave, then ease back into it. Start answering a few emails here and there, then add on to your to-do list as you feel ready. I have to say, this is what I did and it worked perfectly for me. I wasn’t overwhelmed with work, still had time to be with baby but also was slowly getting myself back.
Determine the start and finish times of your work day. And like your maternity leave, stick to it. And then plan your morning and evening routines around that to help maximize what you get done in a day.
Bring baby to work with you. Make the transition less cold turkey and show your coworkers and employer what your new reality is really like.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It does mean you failed if you ask a friend or family member to babysit during the week or bring you lunch! It’s so important to create your support system and use it in times of need. They want to help you, I promise.
Figure out the logistics. Otherwise, you’ll be so overwhelmed. I have to admit I’m still not great with this. Plan out whether or not you’ll be using daycare, a babysitter or a family member to watch the babe while you’re working. Make sure to pack the diaper bag for daycare or leave instructions for the sitter the night before so that everyone is good to go!
Start back midweek. Whether you’re going into an office or not, start back midweek and make your first work week back a short one.
Work from home if it’s an option. Even if it’s only for part of the week. And if you’re asking an employer, the worst thing that can happen is they say no!
Batch your work. I had always heard about this time management method but really learned the details from Jenna Kutcher, blogger, business owner and mom. This method specifically works for stay-at-home moms or entrepreneurial moms and is a great way to get your work done efficiently so that you can enjoy your time stress-free with family at the end of the work day.
Say no. Time has always been precious but it’s even more precious now. You don’t have the open schedule to attend every event or embark on every business opportunity that comes your way. It’s okay to pass every now and then!
Remember that everything you’re doing is for your family. There should be no shame or guilt in that! Avoid mom guilts by constantly reminding yourself of this. Your baby will look up to you for your work ethic as they grow older.
JOIN A MOM GROUP! There is nothing more therapeutic or helpful than connecting with other moms who are going through similar experiences. Luckily, you’re in the right place to join one! The Emerald community is the perfect place to have real and raw conversations. Learn more about The Emerald memberships on their website.
I wish I was more of a reader and could recommend some good books, however, I can certainly recommend some amazing mommy podcasts that address topics like this (which are much better for multitasking):
I hope these tips will be useful as you transition back to work postpartum! My biggest piece of advice is to always know your value and never apologize. If you need to cut the work day short to pick up a crying baby at daycare, do it and don’t feel bad. You’re still an asset to your employer or your business. If anything, you know how to multitask like never before!
About Nikki Butler
Nikki is a wife, mother, daughter, dog parent, podcast junkie, 4-cups-of-coffee-a-day-girl, and wino. Her son, Cannon, is seven months old and her first child. She studied journalism at the University of Arizona and has career experience in public relations and event management. Like so many, Nikki compares herself too much to others on social media and is always second guessing her parenting methods. She created The Nikki Butler Blog to inspire a collaborative community to share real information and start hard conversations. Reach out to Nikki here and follow her motherhood journey on Instagram.