If the prospect of returning to work after a few months of baby bonding has you freaking out a bit, I’m here to tell you: You’re doing it right. If you weren’t losing your mind a little, I’d be worried about you. It’s a big deal!
Okay, so now that we’ve got the empathy out of the way, let’s talk about tips and coping strategies.
Emotionally, you might be a mess—hang in there.
I found the first two weeks to be especially challenging when trying to get re-acclimated to work. Between spontaneous lactation and bursting into tears, I was a soggy mess. If you are gentle with your expectations in this area, you will likely fare much better than I did.
Try not to make any big life decisions during your adjustment period, like quitting your job. Really; I mean it.
Pack your gear the night before. (You’ll thank yourself later.)
Like a child with a big homework assignment, don’t procrastinate. If you’re pumping or packing the bambino up for daycare (or time with the nanny), you’ll want to make sure you have all your stuff when you’re not scrambling to get out the door.
Pack what you can before your own bedtime and make a checklist of anything else you need to grab in the morning.
Don’t be afraid to outsource (at home).
As for the juggle of keeping the house running and meals on the table, I recommend you say YES to all offers of help and get creative by testing out new home delivery and helper services. For example, in my town, there’s a service that will do all my grocery shopping for an up-charge. I can order from my desk and have the food delivered in the evening with only about ten minutes of effort. Totally worth it!
I dedicated a section of our Rookie Moms site to work/life and also getting dinner on the table FAST, because I think it’s super important. Consider food delivery, pizza night, crock pot meals, breakfast for dinner, and as many other speedy meal strategies as you have can.
Lower the bar.
Repeat after me: It is okay to give up on _____. (Now insert something that you might need to let slide like cloth diapering, perfectly organized drawers, all home-cooking, sex every night…ha!)
Working and being a mom can be a great combo (hey, you don’t hear that too often, now do you?), providing you set yourself up to focus on each and have enough support.
Get more back-to-work tips from our Rookie Moms readers at Help! Maternity leave is ending.