First Day Back to Work – Tips to Reduce How Much It Will Suck – Part 1

Here’s another two-parter.  I’m trying to keep these short because as a mom, you probably have very limited time to read AND if you’re like me, you have the attention span of a gnat.

I’m not going to lie to you.  Your first day back to work from maternity leave is not going to be a super awesome experience.  However, you have to bite the bullet and go back at some point so what can you do to make it a little less horrible?

  1. Try it out first.  Hopefully you’ve already got child care set up.  It’s a good idea to have your child ease into it by beginning them to their caregiver a few days before your leave ends.  Most kids will not be so happy that you’re leaving them there.  If you talk to any caregiver they’ll tell you – your baby will eventually stop crying and you lingering around and prolonging the drama doesn’t help much.  You’ll feel like a jerk either way so just leave!  If you do a trial run, you’ll get some of this emotion out before you have to show up to the office.  Also, having your child at childcare for a few hours will help you get ready for work:  get a haircut, shop whatever clothes you need, etc.  Let me remind you once again… first time leaving the baby will stink, but, I’ve yet to hear my son say to me, “Mom, remember when I was a baby and you ruined my life by leaving me with a really nice lady and a bunch of fun baby friends?”

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Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You – Checking In with Work While You’re On Leave

You’re not alone if you’re thinking that being away from the office during your maternity leave will impact your job.  Quite a few women are so closely tied with their work that they can’t imagine being out of the hustle and bustle while they are home with their newborns.  Thinking that they’ll be able to juggle it all they sometimes commit to a lot more contact with work than they end up wanting.

That said, it’s a good idea to keep expectations low regarding how you’ll be checking in with the office.  Don’t make commitments about calling in every day or answering emails because you just don’t know how life will be until after the baby arrives.  Make sure that your level of communication doesn’t hook you into working on projects, working directly with clients or promising to deliver the results at the annual shareholder meeting. 

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Let the guilt begin. Working and mothering don’t always mix.

Toward the end of my three-month maternity leave I must admit that I was excited that I had gotten a call from my manager asking me to participate on a conference call for a project I’d be on when I got back to work.  “They still need me!” I thought and beamed with pride at the request.

I planned it all out.  I’d put my son down for a nap about 15 minutes before to make sure he was in full on snooze.  His room was next to the home office and I could close the door so he wouldn’t be disturbed.  It’d be perfect and I was about to prove to myself that I could do it ALL!

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