Preparing for your first day back at work
If you are a working mom returning to the office, there are some practical steps you can take to get ready before that first day back. Even if you are excited to return to work, the transition can still be a bit tough.
Make sure you have good child care.
If you do not feel comfortable with how your child is spending their day, you will have a hard time focusing on work. Whether you settle on daycare, a nanny, or entrust your child with a family member, make sure you try the arrangement out a couple weeks before you start work. Transitions are always difficult. If you start the new child care routine at the same time as your return to work, you will find yourself navigating two big changes at once.
Figure out the logistics of pumping and nursing ahead of time.
If you plan to continue providing your child with breast milk, create a schedule for yourself and make sure you have the right gear. Before you go on maternity leave, make sure you have a private space arranged or available at your employer for pumping. Schedule recurring appointments into your calendar so you have time every day to pump. Buy the right gear (probably a double electric pump and the right storage equipment). Try out your pumping schedule before day 1 back at work. Pumping can feel pretty awkward in the beginning so this step is really important.
Be prepared for sick days.
Children will get sick, especially when starting daycare or school. Know ahead of time what you will do when that happens. Know if you and your partner will be splitting the sick days evenly. Know if you will be taking all of the sick days. Know if a family member will be there to help you out.
Plan how you spend your time at work and at home.
Think about what you need to get out of each to feel satisfied. Are you in charge of daycare drop offs everyday? Do have a recurring meeting at work that you must always prepare for in advance? Know your priorities and build a schedule that incorporates both your personal and professional responsibilities.
For a working mom, returning to work can be a tricky transition to navigate. Some preparation can help make the transition a bit smoother. Of course, the decision to go back, the decision of when to go back, and the decision on what the right professional and family balance is for you personally are all big decisions we did not discuss. We will save those topics for another post.
Want more information on taking care of yourself in the transition to parenthood and in supporting your goals? Self-care is so important! Remember when preparing for a baby to that preparing for the baby is also about preparing yourself for the transition.
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