Motherhood is the most wonderful gift that a working woman can ever wish for. However, getting back to work after maternity leave can be quite stressful. But these tips should get you to work out a plan that works just right for you.
Develop a relaxing routine
Twenty-four hours is not enough for minding your baby and going to work. However, some careful planning can help you get out of this squeeze. Daily baths before going to bed are perfect for a good night’s sleep and starting your next day with a flourish. Taking walks at night after your dinner are best to give you a breather from work and home. Blogging about your motherhood and work-life balance, either privately or publicly, could work wonders too. You might create a community of others who are going through the same situation. You could even join social media groups of parents and working moms to step into familiar territory to learn, imbibe and grow as a working mom.
Beat the morning rush
The way to do this is to plan well in advance and expect the expected. Yes, you read that right. Managing your baby’s growing years means the feeding pattern (from liquids to solids, for example) will change and thereby, the time required for it. Similarly, the throwing up while eating might decrease over time, but when the teeth begin to sprout, the vomiting will be back. Load up on wipes and diapers for every contingency. If you plan for what is to be expected, you should be able to go to sleep early, so you can wake up early. The rest of the morning routine should happen almost like clockwork: getting ready to work, having a quick breakfast, packing your office bag and stepping out to work.
Get to know your colleagues
Yes, you’ve known them for years now, but what you don’t know is what you missed in your 12 weeks of maternity leave. Telling them about your state of motherhood might not impress them much unless there are others who are battling the same situation. For everyone else, you could ask them what they were up to while you were gone. This will help you break the ice with them after the three-month gap but also get you up to speed with all things new at the workplace.
Speak to your supervisor
It’s important to understand your concerns at work and list them down before meeting your manager. Like taking leave without notice when your baby falls sick, or you taking a course to upgrade your skills. Or talking about what each of you have missed in your personal lives while you were gone, presuming that you have such a friendly rapport with your manager. Importantly, ask your superior if there is something you need to learn, inspect or watch out for to get you to do your work more efficiently.
Re-imagine your role at work
When you take a break from work for three months, your priorities could change. You realise you have less time for routine work and more time for specialised jobs that you are uniquely qualified for. Perhaps, you wonder if it’s time to work from home rather than go to work. Or better still, you realise that it’s best to work as a consultant for many firms rather than just one. Therefore, before you decide to rejoin your workplace, ponder over all of this and then decide to take the next step. Well thought is half done.
Plan with precision
It’s time to use those to-do lists on your smartphone or the post-its, if you like. Or a diary, if you still believe putting pen to paper to solidify your daily itinerary. Schedule your doctor visits (it will be monthly or even fortnightly at first and later, quarterly) in addition to picking and dropping your baby at day care, if you don’t have your mother or nanny at home. Not to mention, your breastfeeding or more specifically, your pumping sessions. You need to store your milk in a bottle to be given to the baby by the nanny at the daycare or at home if you have someone to look after your baby.