For many women, raising a child is a huge milestone and a fundamental source of purpose in life. Inevitably, starting a family will coincide with other facets of life – namely your career. No matter how long your maternity leave is, returning to work might cause some unwanted stress. Here are a few different options to ease your way back into your regular work routine.
Accept That There will be a Transition Period
No matter how much you plan or prepare, there’s no remedy for missing your child. Try as much as possible to have a routine in place, and practice it before your return. Having a good support system, whether it be your spouse, parents/in-laws or a nanny, is crucial. Planning your routine in advance and working out the kinks will help to minimize the stress and uncertainty. To combat the emotional impact, consider a planned FaceTime call with your newborn at lunch, or budget time after work that will consistently be dedicated to your child. Even with those provisions in place, it’s understandable that the first few weeks or even months will be a challenging period, it is only normal.
Consider Working from Home
Provided that your employer agrees to it, working from home one day a week could certainly help to alleviate the impact of returning from mat leave. When discussing with your employer, be sure to iron out all the details of this plan. How long will it last? Will you work the same number of hours from home compared to when you are in the office? Is this something your employer is even comfortable with? If so, consider working from home on Wednesday, this will break up the work week and make the time spent away feel much more manageable.
Love the Job You’re Returning to
This is probably the most important thing. Of course, we all know that work can sometimes feel like a necessary evil and returning may have everything to do with financial obligations, but if you’re returning to a job that you truly enjoy, this won’t be the case. Sometimes it’s the work itself, other times it’s the people you work with, but no matter the reason, being happy to return to your job will alleviate a portion of the stress. Loving your job will undoubtedly make the transition back into work-life easier.
If you don’t know by now, there is no such thing as a perfect human or parent. There will be doubt, stress, and uncertainty when returning to work, it is only normal. Even if another peer made it seem easy, it never is. Take time for yourself, have a plan and stay positive!