One of the hardest things that I had to do after having my baby, was going back to work after my maternity leave was over. After spending almost 8 weeks non stop with my baby, not to mention the 9 months I had him growing inside my belly, the thought of leaving him for 8 hours a day made me feel so sad. However, I’ve made it work and I’ve slowly gotten used to being apart from my little guy during the week. I’ve been very fortunate because my husband has a job that allows him to have a flexible schedule and be home most of the week. He’s home with Jack 2-4 days a week and the other days we have a daycare center that we use as our back up.
When my maternity leave was coming close to the end, I started to have a lot of anxiety about going back to work. I had no idea what to expect. That’s why I wanted to share what has been working for me and my baby, to hopefully help other new working moms out there.
- Set a Routine- This is so important, whether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom, babies need a routine. I have a morning routine that Jack expects each day. He wakes up super early at 4:30 am! He gets a diaper change, then I almost fall back to sleep before my alarm goes off at 5:00, I shower, put him in his bouncy chair as I eat breakfast, do my hair and make up then get dressed. After that, I nurse him around 6:30, get my stuff ready for work and then it’s already time to go at 7:15. He gets confused on the weekends when I try to sleep in. The evenings are similar to a comfortable, predictable routine for him and me. Our routine doesn’t only benefit Jack, it helps me stay organized.
- Plan your outfits out ahead of time- This has always helped me when it comes to getting ready in the morning. On Sunday night, I like to go through my clothes and try to figure out what I’m going to wear that week. I look at the weather forecast and think about my schedule for the week, then plan around that. It helps me feel good about what I’m wearing at work, plus I save myself a bit of time in the morning as well.
- Eat breakfast- When they say breakfast is the most important part of the day, it’s the truth. I feel much better and ready to function when I eat a little something in the morning. Usually, I have cereal, lately, it’s bran flakes topped with lots of fruit and of course my morning cup of coffee. After breakfast, I feel energized enough to start my day.
- Do what works for you and your baby- I know that there are a lot of books and articles out there all about the correct way to parent. What I’m finding out is that you have to do what works best for you and your family. Working with children for many years, I use to judge parents for the things they did. Now that I have a baby of my own, I am not so judgment because I find myself doing things that I thought I would never do.
- Leave work at work- Ever since I went back to work, my goal has been to not take home any work. I get 2 hours of planning time after the kids go home and I force myself to be as productive as possible so that I can be on my way home as soon as possible. I like to write myself a To-Do list every Monday. As I complete my task I cross it off my list. This helps me stay organized and on top of my work.
- Do something for yourself- Life can get pretty hectic when you’re a working mom, that’s why it’s always good to still set aside time for yourself. Some moms might like to do something physical like running or a yoga class, while others might like to read. For me, I still like to set a little bit of time aside to blog. I’ve always enjoyed sharing my ideas, so I’m not ready to give that up yet.
- Wear your baby- When you’re at home, it’s nice to be with your baby, but there are always things that need to be done around the house. I find that it’s nice to wear Jack while I finish up my daily chores at home. That way we can still be together, but I can also be productive around the house.
- Don’t feel guilty- Every Sunday evening, I sit holding my little guy in my arms and I wonder if I spent enough time with him over the weekend. I question myself…. did I hold him enough? Did I kiss him enough? I worry that I miss out on so much because I’m at work, but the truth is, Jack knows how much I love him. He knows I’m his mom and he gets this big smile on his face everyday when he sees me walk through the door and that is all I need. Supporting a family used to be completely on the man’s shoulders, but I feel like that’s changed in this day and age. I feel like my husband and I are a team and we are working together to provide for our family and sharing in the responsibility of parenting. I’m proud of the life we are building together.
Those are my tips. Let me know what you think. Do you have any tips to make life a little easier for new working moms?