Making the transition from maternity leave back to your job can be hard -- you may feel a variety of emotions. You have to adapt to a new schedule full of challenges that you have not faced before. Even for experienced mothers, juggling a new baby and work requires careful planning.
You may have decided to return to work because of career goals, financial needs, or other reasons. Good family communication can help ease any anxiety or guilt and help you work together through this next set of changes.
In deciding when to return to work, here are just a few of the questions that may run through your mind:
- Will my child be safe or feel comfortable with someone else?
- What will it be like not seeing my child while I'm at work?
- Will my child feel abandoned?
- How will I continue to breastfeed?
- How long will it take me to get ready in the morning?
It is normal to feel guilt and anxiety about separating from your infant. Talk with your partner, employer, caregiver, and doctor about possible solutions that will help you to ease back into the work force.
Here are some ways to help you ease into the transition:
- Investigate part-time, flextime, job-sharing, or telecommuting options.
- Have lunch with your baby.
- Ask your partner or other family members to assist in daily preparations.
- Have a sitter stay with your child in graduated time periods.
- Bring a picture or an article of your baby's clothing to work with you.
- Start your workday in the middle of the week, giving you a little more time to adjust.
During this adjustment period, it's also important to have some "alone time" with your partner. Arrange for it by asking family members, friends, or baby-sitters to watch your baby. You might consider going to the movies, exercising, shopping, or just relaxing at home. Remember, this is a new challenge for even an experienced mother. You must take time to rejuvenate yourself. You and your family will benefit.