For many, thoughts of returning to work after maternity leave can be filled with guilt, dread, anxiety, sadness, with a bit of relief mixed in there too. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or second, it can be an emotional roller-coaster regardless of how many times you’ve been through it.
To help, here are our 5 top tips for returning to work:
- Get your childcare sorted earlier rather than later, ask friends, relatives, neighbours, colleagues or your healthcare professional for advice. It can be hard handing over the control of looking after your little one. So once you are happy with your choice, start the settling in period a few weeks before you return so that by the time you are due back to work, you are reassured that everyone is happy. This will also give you some free time to yourself to get organised and do things like sorting through your wardrobe so you have something to wear when you are back to work or getting your hair done.
- Think positively. Often once you are back in the swing of things and have a routine sorted, you will find yourself actually enjoying the time to go to the toilet by yourself or have a lunch break and some adult conversation. It’s ok to enjoy this too, sometimes we need it, so let the guilt go!
- Batch cook, some dinners and freeze them. When you come home from work it is such a relief to have a dinner ready in the fridge, so you can spend that precious time relaxed with your little one rather than stressed trying to sort out dinner after a long day. Order your grocery shopping online and limit the ironing basket to things that ‘need’ to be ironed, everything else can be folded flat or hung up to get rid of creases!
- When back at work, fit in some time for bonding. Be it the morning, night or weekend, depending on your situation. Having a snuggle and reading a story is all that’s needed, it doesn’t need to be a serious play time session. Think quality time, not the quantity of time.
- Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone during the day and check all is ok. If you are having a bad day, the reassurance that your little one is doing great can make all the difference.
One thing for sure is that you are not the first to be hopping on that emotional-rollercoaster and you won’t be the last. Many a woman has been found in floods of tears in the crèche car park or in the toilets at work! The first week back is the worst, but in time you will get into a routine and it will become easier.