Going back to work after you’ve been off for maternity leave can leave you full of conflicted emotions. Often, women feel guilt for leaving their little one behind during the day, but they know that a regular paycheck is the best thing for the family.
If you’re nearing the end of your maternity leave, there are some things you can do now to make the transition smoother:
- Fight the guilt. Sure, you’re emotionally conflicted. You need to realize first off that working outside the home doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom. Quite the opposite. It means you’re willing to do what it takes to support your family.
- Search for quality child care. You’ve got time during pregnancy to find the right child care facility or caregiver. You’ll want to find a place where baby is safe, stimulated and well cared-for. That might mean staying with grandma and grandpa during the day, or it might mean a day care facility or nanny. Take the time to interview potential caregivers thoroughly, and always check references.
- Start talking to your employer. You have every right to take time off for maternity leave and come back to work. Talk to your employer about what expectations they have after you return. Find out if there are options for schedule flexibility, telecommuting or even going down to part time hours if that’s what’s going to work best for your family.
- Get ready to keep breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding now, going back to work shouldn’t stop you. Employers are required to provide you with a clean and private place where you can pump breast milk throughout the day, as well as allowing you to do so in terms of your schedule. A week or two before you actually go back, start breast pumping twice or three times each day and then nursing at night in order to get ready for work hours.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re getting the rest, nutrition and support you need. There are friends, family and others willing to offer help; take them up on it when it’s necessary.
Going back to work can be stressful, but it can also be successful if you follow these tips.