“Your child fills that empty place in your heart, which you never knew existed.” If you are a mom, you know what I mean. So now that we are deeply in love this new wonder we have created, we dread leaving them even for a few hours. Even before you are aware the so called maternity leaves will be over. It is not easy to be back to work after baby .
I know you are sad and low and really scared of leaving your baby and working after baby is born. I hear you! I feel You!
I have been exactly where you are right now.
Scene 2 months back:
My extended maternity leaves were over and I was sad, low and unsure about things going on. I didn’t have any idea about how my baby will adjust with my mother in law as she was used to my mom. I didn’t know, how will she stay when I am not around.
I was upset and top of that people around my commented sarcastically about my choice of working after my baby that too when she was so young.
Ladies, this is all going to happen but first of all you have to start being logical.
Please know that god forbid but if things don’t work as you expect” you can leave your job at any point of time” So relax.
These are few of the things which helped me overcome going back to work after baby anxiety. This can improve the tone of any mom’s first day back to work.
List out your reasons of work: Please take out a notebook and a pen. Yes please! Literally get yourself a pen and paper and list out your reasons to work. For example for me the reasons were: Being Sane and productive, being able to support my family, having an aim every day. I know yours might be different. My mom told me something that really helped. She said that babies are very adjusting, they adjust very quickly. Trust me it’s absolutely true.
Overcome your idea to quit: I know you have real big reasons to quit but hear me out before you make your mind. Your baby must be 6 months now and in 18 months she will be big enough to start going out to a play school. That means just in 18 months which is not too far, she will be away from you for 3 plus hours every day. If you consider sleeping hours of a child, she will be alright without you for another 2 hours. If you have an early shift, she will be on her own for another hour. Babies need some outdoor time, may be one hour. So over all a baby of 2 years and above needs 5 hours plus time away from you already. Ok so, how many hours of away time do you have now? May be 4 hours. They can easily spend those 4 hours with their grandparents or in some activity.
Start going out at least a month before joining back: I was extremely emotion, a month before going back. I could not sleep with the idea of leaving my baby. I was literally forced by mom and my sisters to go out for shopping or parlour. Sounds familiar? But that’s a bad idea, Go out. Going out for couple hours will help you gaining the confidence that your baby will be fine while you are way. Most important of all, your baby will get used to other faces as well. So start this drill a month before you are planning to be back to work.
Ask your family for baby care: I know every, then you one in your family have their own lives and they cannot leave everything for you. If you have your family in the same city, you must be smiling at this one but for me, who has her family in a far city it was a challenge. So all of you, who have your family away, just make an alternate arrangements for you and your spouse parents to stay at home for a few years. Even if they stay with you for 6 months each, baby will be 2 even before you realise.
Introduce your baby to the person taking care of the baby: Once you have decided, who is staying. Please take some time to help the baby adjust with this new person in your presence. This will not only help the person understand the habits of baby but also help you understand if you can trust the person, baby is going to be with. This transition will be smooth in your presence
Try moving near office: I was staying in a rented accommodation so moving near was easy for me. If you have your own house, I am not sure if it is possible. My husband and I stayed in an area which was equally distant from both of our offices. For me moving near my office has been the best decision ever. Hear out the way it has worked for me. Amy travel time has reduce by 3 hours every day. That means I am at home, for these extra 3 hours with my baby and I am not tiered. I can go to home and feed my baby during lunch break. So that gives me one more hour of time with my baby.
Find a job which has employee friendly environment: For major time in my career I have worked with offices with very un-adjusting schedules where taking leaves was considered a crime. If you have a similar work culture, I would request you, please walk out of it.Extend your leaves and look for a better place to work. I am so grateful about the support I got from my work place, my boss and colleagues. I am blessed. I can take leaves. I have my working hours as per my convenience and can take early day off when and where ever required. Please don’t worry if you don’t have one, right now, keep trying, you will get one.
Consider work from home: If your work permits, talk about working from home for a few days before or after returning to work. If your organization is friendly, it should not be a problem. I have learned one very important thing in a few years of my work experience that “ Asking for help is very important” You need to let people around know what suits you best as a new mom. Think and plan a schedule that works best for you.
Talk about flexible hours: Discuss the possibility of flexible working hours, for example, I have opted to work from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm. I have also discussed one hour of time with my baby during lunch. You can work in late or earlier hours if that works better for you. Talk about time out to feed your baby if your house in nearby or pumping if required.
Return to work slowly: You must start working slowly, once you have joined, try working for 4 day or 3 days a week and stay with your baby or work from home other days. This will help you and your baby to understand and get used to this all. It might be a matter for a day or two for your baby to adjust but it’s a lot more difficult for you.
It’s ok to slow down at work: Slowdown in terms of responsibility at work. Take time for relearning the process. Request some mentor time as you have been away from work for long. Please do not accept a lot of work initially. Set realistic expectations. If you are finding it difficult to be focused initially, it’s alright. If someone is judging your work, accept the feedback. It’s all matter of time. Be vocal about your challenges.
Bring your baby to work once: If possible, introduce your baby to your collegues. It will give them a real idea of what your challenges you have as a mom. It will develop an emotional connect of your collegues with your baby. ( And you know how your baby can spell a charm on everyone)
Keep it calm at work: It’s alright to talk about your baby at work or think about them .You only have to avoid taking too much about them. If you feel stressed or angry then just pause and count 10 before you react. It’s a great way of controlling your emotions at work. If you end up reacting someday, move on.
Start back mid-week: I started working on Thursday that gave me 2 days of off after joining and helped me and my baby warm up for the next week. Staying away from your baby all of a sudden will be too much of away time from your baby suddenly. Also if possible take a day of in the next week or may be a work from home.
Hang in there: There will be good days and not so good days. Live your day as it comes. Know it at back of your mind that your baby is your priority. The days when your baby needs you, let there be no reason or no responsibility that stops you from being with her. The days when it’s alright give your complete focus at work. Set your expectations from day one, and people will start respecting it.
Set time aside for mommy time: Once you are back from office dedicate your complete time ton your baby. Outsource cooks and workers if possible. If it is not possible, seek support from your spouse, keep the chores waiting but not your baby.
Find support in working moms: As unnecessary as it sounds, it has proved out to be the best steps I have taken for my baby. Reach out to real moms going through same phase or someone who is doing well at their work. Stay in company of happy moms. Please avoid people talking negative about working after baby. Read related articles like returning to work after maternity leave blog.
Take a LOP or sabbatical if you are getting second thoughts: If you still don’t have any support yet or you are not yet comfortable. Please don’t yet leave your job. You can talk about extended leaves like I did for 2 months. You can take it for 3-6 months. If that is a job you don’t want to return to, use this time in skill building and job searching. Return late but return well.
Steal some me time: Try taking out some time exclusively for yourself. Being a mom can be completely exhausting and draining. Your me time can be sitting quietly to sip your coffee, meditation time, sleep time or quality time with hubby. Do it once in a while. If you are not well and happy nothing can work well.
Eat well and take care of yourself: The new role you are in is not going to be easy. It will take a lot of your mental and physical strength. Don’t expect to be a super woman. Let things be imperfect at times. Take good rest, call your friends at home. Have all your post- natal supplements. Soak in some vitamin D as it can help against going back to work after baby depression. Enjoy the moments with your little one.
Bonus :Make a to do list of unavoidable baby related stuff- Set alarm if you have to, to check your diary of to dos .Please make a note of medicines, vaccination dates. Note recipes, find some home remedies for the baby. This will prevent you from missing anything essential for the baby.
I hope you found this article helpful. Let me know what were or are your challenges in getting back to work. I would love to know what worked for moms who are already back to work. Let’s help each other by sharing ideas. It might be just an article for you, but for some it’s a medium to overcome their most stressful time of their life as mom.
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Believe and good things will happen to you!
Lokah Samastah sukhino bhavantu!