This is a strange and sad time for everyone – but what if you’re a new mom facing the end of your maternity leave? The few months after a baby are such a delicate time to begin with – and returning to work and leaving your baby in someone else’s care can be fraught with a range of emotions. But what if returning to work looks entirely different than you expected? For so many of us, our jobs are currently remote, and we are being challenged with maintaining a full-time job while also caring for our children. If this is what you’re facing, we have some tips to make your return to work go as smoothly as possible!
1. Have a conversation with your manager/team a few weeks prior to your return if possible. Catch up on what has happened since you’ve been on leave, what is needed from your role now, and how your team has been working together. It’s likely you are not the only member of your team that has kids and will be juggling home and work, so hearing from others will be helpful.
2. Work with your partner to establish guidelines and a schedule for how the childcare and household management will be handled. If your partner has been working while you were on leave, it is likely you have been doing the bulk of the childcare. Now that you’re going to be working, too, how will this work? Can you schedule time that each of you is the primary caregiver while the other works? Knowing your work requirements in advance will help with the planning, as you can schedule in required meetings that each of you has to attend.
3. Connect with another working mom (virtually). When returning to work from our own maternity leaves, we have found it helpful to connect with other moms in the same situation. Hearing how they’ve made it work, and knowing we aren’t alone, can make a huge difference. Consider scheduling weekly virtual coffee or play dates to check in and connect.
4. Remember that doing everything perfectly is impossible. Juggling a full-time job and kids can be hard enough – but you’re being asked to do it without childcare. There is no way to do this perfectly. Be gentle with yourself, and remember that there is plenty of virtual support available, whether it’s through connecting with our moms, or finding a therapist.
5. Find moments of joy in every day. Is it going to be easy to schedule your job around caring for your baby? No. But is there some good in being able to see baby smiles between meetings? Or perhaps in not having to pump as often (if you’re nursing)? There is good in every day, and making an effort to find it will go a long way.
6. Schedule time for you. It won’t be easy to find time for yourself. As much as we don’t love our commute, sometimes it gives us time to listen to a podcast and just be in a way that we can’t at home. This will also likely require scheduling with your partner, but can you make time for a quick workout some days? Or meditate during those quiet moments at night when the baby goes to sleep? Perhaps it’s a quick lunchtime walk. Whatever it is that works for you, make sure to plan for it, and do your best to stick to that plan. Self-care is hard – but so important, perhaps nouw more than ever.
We hope these tips help – and we also want you to know we are here to help, too! As career coaches and moms who’ve been there, we offer one-on-one coaching on everything from making a career change to returning to work from your maternity leave. If you’d like to have a chat about how we can help you plan for and manage your return to work, schedule a free 15-minute consultation to see if we’re a good fit! https://www.rizecareer.com/