Mama, you’re heading back to work soon. You’re probably feeling all the feels. I have been there, I understand! I have experienced the transition back to work three times and learned a few things along the way. We know that every mama, babe, and family is different but learning to adjust to life with a new baby while going back to work is tough! Below are some of tips that we hope can help you find your groove in the transition.
Maintain Realistic Expectations. Be gentle on yourself and your family. This is a transition for everyone and a new “normal” is being established. To avoid disappointment and resentment, take time with your partner to communicate what your priorities are and what their priorities are. Practice the art of “letting go” the things you decide aren’t important.
Time Savers. Surrender to the dry shampoo, body showers, and unshaven legs. Simplify your morning grooming routine. Buy enough underwear, nursing tanks, and clothes to make it through the work week without doing laundry (stock up your partner and the other kids too!). Pack your bags the night before so the mornings can be as stress-free as possible.
Boundaries. When you are home, be home. When you are at work, try to be present at work. Once you are home, turn work email alerts off your phone or better yet, move your phone out of site. Be present with your family after you leave the office. When you are at work, focus on the tasks in front of you so that you can leave work feeling good about what you’ve completed.
Food + Water. Mama needs to be hydrated and fed. Find a cute water bottle and commit to keeping it close. Keep your meals simple—there are times in life for gourmet meals… this is not one of them. Meal plan (again, keep it simple) and grocery shop before the workweek starts. Have healthy, quick and packable options on hand. And, remember to eat them!
Sleep + Exercise. Your mental and physical health is important. Every woman has different sleep and exercise needs. Figure out yours, and be intentional about making it happen. Start small and take advantage of tiny time increments. Add that Saturday afternoon nap on your family calendar, take turns with your partner “sleeping in” on the weekends, or master the art of a power nap. As important as rest is, so is exercise. Only have time for a 7 minute YouTube workout while your little one is doing tummy time? Make it happen!
Delivery Service. During this transition, extra time is non-existent. Embrace the age of Amazon Prime, Instacart, and In-Store Pick-Ups. Consolidate your trips and orders to save time and spend those hours with your loved ones instead of running errands.
Embrace the Silver Linings. There are a lot of hard things about finding and trusting a childcare provider. There are also a lot of great things about it! Embrace the benefits childcare can provide, like your baby adapting to a routine, the wisdom of a seasoned childcare provider to provide insight to your child, and the freedom to go to the bathroom alone (kidding on this one, but not really).
Dates + Talk Time. Protect time with your partner. Set aside 30 minutes a week to take care of family business. Affirm one another, discuss the family calendar, check in on finances, share the struggles and joys of your week. Prepare ahead of time so you both can listen well and can both feel heard. Be intentional with this time and remember that you are on the same team, working toward the same goals. Protect a date night too! Regularly do something fun that unites you and your partner and builds habits that will bear fruit for the entirety of your marriage.
Support System. Know who you can reach out to for encouragement. Motherhood is hard. Being a working mom presents a unique set of challenges. Learn to ask for help and accept it. Find people that lift you up and encourage your decision to be a working mom, someone who will listen when life gets hard. Invest in the life-giving relationships that build you up!
One Step at a Time. It is easy to get overwhelmed after a bad day and doubt your decision to work outside the home. Set a time increment with your partner as an intentional “evaluation time” to discuss if things are going well or not. It is okay to reassess a few months after baby and make new decisions for you and your family. Babies change so quickly and so will your struggles and triumphs. Setting a “milestone” 8 weeks out will give you a goal, allowing you to conquer some tough days and be objective about the decisions you are making.
Remember mamas, there will be good days and bad. Give yourself the freedom to try things out and change your mind! Be quick to forgive yourself if you don’t do things perfectly or lose your cool at some point. Learn from other mamas, take care of yourself, lean into your support system, and follow that intuition, mama. Don’t forget that you are a GREAT mama and your little one loves you unconditionally. You got this!
Written by Lauren Herbeck
Director of Operations at Blooma
Wife and Mother of Three, Friend to Us All