Recently a mom who was going back to work after her second child, emailed me “you are on to something here…men don’t understand what we are going through as we go back to work not because of lack of wanting/caring but because we [women] have difficulty even recognizing and verbalizing what we need”. You said it sister! This whole time in our lives going from full time baby-bonding to full time working mother is a massive transition and we deserve to be supported emotionally, logistically, spiritually, financially and on and on! But how often do we just not even register that we NEED to be supported. That’s why I started ThriveMomma so we could have a safe place to feel
So while going back after maternity leave often feels overwhelming, I’m all about “chunking it out” so you can logically look at all in front of you. It’s when we can’t recognize that there are 12 items that need to go on the to-do list, is when overwhelm kicks in. So here’s an easy way to remember what to tackle first, when your maternity leave is ending.
B.A.B.Y. Yourself as you Go Back To Work
You are so good a soothing baby and being a kind friend and a loving wife. How about you B.A.B.Y. yourself. Here is how to think about the areas that need attention the weeks and months before you go back:
B. Baby. Baby has to learn some important skills prior to you returning to work. Here are the major ones: learning how to breastfeed, drink for a bottle, practice daycare so that baby knows mom always comes back, and consider introducing a pacifier
A. Attitude. How do you feel about yourself and how do you feel about becoming a working mom? Do you have an assumptions about being a career mom? I’m not talking about walking around thinking it will all be roses and snickerdoodles. There is power in positive thoughts to perk you up when you are having a particularly sad day away from baby. But a positive attitude is not the whole picture. We are not on a level playing field: emotional, hormonal and exhausted. So we need to also adopt an attitude of humble allowing. Be kind to yourself and know that everyone stumbles through this rough patch. Be open to help, be gentle with yourself and know that your attitude is a choice in each moment.
B. Boss. Preparing your boss for your return involves some planning and having “the” conversation with him or her. About two weeks prior to going back you want to call him/her and confirm your return date. During that conversation you want to confirm a lactation location and ask about flexibility like starting on a Wednesday or half days. Remember your boss has NO CLUE about the awesome transformation you went through to become a mom. Don’t expect them to ask, care or consider your time away. You will need to ask for help, ask for flexibility (if available) and take care of yourself while being a productive employee.
Y. Yourself. We’ve got plenty to talk about when it comes to YOU! First let’s focus on the practical stuff. Is your to-do list filling up? Get your return to work exclusive checklist when you sign up for my twice-monthly newsletter. An important one to look at while you are on leave is to pump one side in the morning and freeze your supply. Check out my pump bag checklist to make your packing a whole lot easier.
But what else needs tending to? When you are practicing being away from baby as they go to daycare/childcare get your hair done, take a nap or have lunch with a girlfriend. Pamper yourself and make this time special.
How about how your emotional well-being! Are you talking to your partner about your fears, your needs, your excitement? Take a moment to tune in to how you feel right now about going back to work. Gather your support tribe and let them lift you up. You can do this!!
Come learn how you can B.A.B.Y. yourself and so much more at our Return to Work After Maternity Leave workshop Oct 7th. Space is limited so register here!