I have officially been back at work for 2 months now and it’s been an adjustment. I didn’t realize how much my life would change when I returned. Motherhood + working can be difficult to balance, especially if you’re not prepared. Today, I’m sharing my 5 things I wished I would have known before I returned to work.
1. Ease back into work.
I was out of work for 8 weeks and immediately returned to work. I thought that I could do this, I mean I had two other children and I was fine. Nope, when I had my girls I was in a different position and not steadily working. So that was taken into consideration this time around.
Now I work, like a real job. So on day one, I was Natalie. No slacking, expected to be the same person I was when I left. Not the case. If I could change things, I would have eased myself back into my job.
Speak with your employer and come up with a temporary schedule to make your transition easier.
Do a trial daycare run, don’t send your child for a full day. (Trust me, you’ll feel better.)
2. Create a schedule and stick to it.
This has been a lot of trial and error for me. I have school aged children and an infant with school and childcare being on different sides of town. My day starts around 5:00 am and ends around 10:00 pm.
When you return to work, you won’t be sleeping as much as you did when you were home. So you need to use your time wisely. Most children won’t be sleeping through the night when you’re returning to work around 6-12 weeks, so you’ll still be awaking at night.
If you’re breastfeeding, make sure you prepare your pump and parts at night. It’s also helpful if you have an extra set of pump parts. (Just in case you forget and one day you might.)
3. Assess your mental health.
You have spent the last nine months carrying a child. Your body has changed both physically and mentally. You are not the same and for some it takes a few moment (months) to adjust. Before you commit to anything have an honest check in with yourself. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions you’re feeling at the time and see how to proceed. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and unsure. If needed, seek professional help and be honest with your doctor about how you’re really feeling.
4. Your supply will decrease (don’t panic)
If you’re a breastfeeding mom – your supply will take a hit or at least mine did. Milk supply tends to regulate between weeks 6-12. Most moms return to work around week 6 and have to immediately begin pumping. It’s a shock to your body that’s why easing back into work can be a good thing.
If you’re using formula, make sure you prep your bottles at night. It will save you so much time. Depending on your childcare provider they may be willing to prepare your milk for you.
5. Speak up for yourself
It sounds silly but you really have to learn how to speak up for yourself. Your needs are different now. You have to be willing to take help when people offer it and you have to be willing to say no. You must become your own advocate! It’s not easy especially if you aren’t used to doing it but practice makes perfect.
Start looking for childcare around month 7 or 8. The waiting list for newborns are relatively long.
Motherhood is tough but so are you!