As a new mother, going back to work may be one of the hardest things you will ever do – or it may be a relief to return to some more familiar routines. However you may be feeling, there are a few things you can prepare yourself for before reentering the workforce.
Things May Not Be the Same
After an extended leave of absence, things will likely not stay exactly as they were before you left. During your leave, your company may have filled in your absence, or other workers from your office may have taken over some of your duties. Having this expectation will make the transition easier. Arrange meetings with your boss before returning to outline any changes affecting both of you.
To go with the flow, you need to stay flexible. Things may have changed or moved in your absence, and they may end up becoming permanent changes. If you have a concern with something, voice it professionally and come to an agreement. Take a moment and figure out how you can mold yourself to the new situation at hand, and don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarification.
Figure Out the Logistics
The only way you are going to focus at work is if you know that home logistics are in order. Who will drop the baby at daycare and who will pick him or her up? These, and other small details, will end up making a huge difference in your day. If you need it, ask for help. You are not a one person show, and a little help every now and again can work miracles. Eventually you will settle into a new routine and confidence will come.
Do a Trial Run
Before the return day arrives, it can be helpful to schedule a trial run. Pick a day and drop your child off at daycare for the first time. Eliminating two firsts on the same day can be a lifesaver. After drop-off, head out into the world to do something for a few hours. Get a haircut, shop for a back-to-work outfit, or do anything else. This gives you a chance to iron out any of the kinks in your routine before you return to work. When you finally do, you will have peace of mind that the logistics are working, so you can give all your focus to the work day.
Take Your Time
Coming back after an extended absence can be daunting. Not only are you dealing with everything piled up from your absence, you are also struggling to be a parent and complete all of your tasks. This can be incredibly overwhelming, especially right away. Take a reasonable amount of time to complete the tasks. No one expects you to be a superhero during your first week back to work.
Nurture Your Work Relationships
A leave of absence can have a huge impact on your work relationships. Even after returning, having to leave work early to pick up your child from daycare can mean less time spent at work building relationships with coworkers. Take some time to reconnect with the members of your team. Try not to feel guilty about the time spent away or your new home obligations, and remember that parenting develops new sets of skills you bring right back to the workplace. Continue to invest in work relationships as you are able, and they will appreciate the additional effort.