How to Get Back into Your Work Zone After Maternity Leave

It might seem like just yesterday you were telling your boss you were expecting a child. You were talking through your plan to take maternity leave. Now, after the excitement of your newborn arriving into the world and spending time bonding, it’s time to return to work. This is a transition that is often difficult for any new mother. There is a lot of concerns and emotions that go into the decision to return to the office.
There are several ways in which you can make this transition a little easier for yourself, your family, and your employer.
  1. Take it Slow
Do not rush into your return. If you have the ability to return on a Wednesday, do so. Your first week back will be shorter than a regular work week. Also, you can take the beginning of the week to mentally prepare yourself or run last minute errands. Know that this adjustment period can be a large stress inducer. Preparing yourself ahead of time for it to be difficult can help. It may take longer than expected for you to fully get back into your comfort zone at work again. Try to not take on as many commitments as you once would have. Ask for help when you need it.
  1. Prepare Your Office for the Return
A week or more prior to returning, ask your team to sit down with you or grab coffee with your boss. It’s important to make sure that you will both be on the same page. Let them know your limitations and availability. Ask as many questions as you need to about projects, clients, and news that you may have missed while away. They will appreciate your dedication to the job by taking the time to get caught up. If someone has covered your position while you were away, ask what they are currently working on. Determine how the two of you will seamlessly pick up where they will be leaving off.
  1. Plan With Your Family
Sit down with your significant other to work out the details of things being taken care of at home while you’re both at work. Arrange for childcare well ahead of time. If you will be hiring a nanny or a daycare make sure to do thorough research. Do a background check and always go with your gut on your choice. Do you have an emergency contact chosen? You’ll need to provide your childcare provider with one for situations when they may not be able to get a hold of either of you. They can also help with pickup and drop off if you’re stuck at the office. Make sure to write everything down on a shared family calendar. This helps to see overlaps in both of your schedules and a lesser chance of forgetting doctor’s appointments and important events. “Baby brain” is real!
  1. Make Time for Yourself
It’s important to remember to take care of yourself during this time. Although your attention is most likely completely focused on your child, it’s important to take care of yourself also. Before you had a child, you probably had things that you loved to do that lately you’ve been slacking to do. Find coworkers in your office that you can start a hobby with or even just to grab lunch with. It helps to have adults to spend time with. Even better, if they are moms as well they can provide you with valuable advice because they’ve been through this before. Something as simple as putting makeup on in the morning or five extra minutes in the shower can help you feel more like yourself.
  1. Look Good, Feel Good
It’s important to show your employer that you’re going to put your all into this return. In order to put your best foot forward, you should feel good about yourself first.  For many new mothers, their work clothes don’t fit the same way they used to. That’s okay. It’s fun to shop for yourself sometimes. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a variety of professional options. If you invest in the right pieces you can make several combinations. One item you will need to invest in if you’ll be pumping at work is a quality nursing bra you can comfortably wear all day under your work clothes. Additionally, make sure that you have the correct supplies for this process and a private space available to you in your office. If you are looking to lose your baby weight but fear that you won’t have time to get into the gym, check out some office exercise hacks. A standing desk, lunch break yoga, or a simple walk can all be beneficial to your health.
Have faith in yourself that this process will go smoothly. You’re going to have a lot more people in your corner than you think. Your friends, your family, and your co-workers are all there for you. So, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for a helping hand when the transition gets tough.