10 Tips for an Easy Transition Back to Work from Maternity Leave

You are still in that blissful newborn phase with your little one, but there’s a nagging concern in the back of your mind. The end of maternity leave. The return to work…with the mountain of emails and meetings and projects that keep going and going. How will you go back to that and leave your precious baby in the arms of another caregiver? Will your baby forget you? Will they take care of your baby like you would? What milestones will you miss? The questions go on and on.

Well Mama, never fear. I promise your baby will not forget you, and you will always have a hold of a very special place in their heart. On top of that, I have 10 tips that will make your return to work easier:

1. Prep, prep, prep

Have clothes laid out (for you and for the kids), have lunches made, and pump parts packed. Basically anything you can do the night before to prepare, do it. That way the mornings will be a little less chaotic and you won’t feel nearly as stressed.

2. Bring Pictures to Work

There’s really something nice about closing a window on your computer to find your baby’s smiling face behind it. It’s a small thing, but it makes you feel like they’re there with you.

3. Ask for Updates During the Day

If you are worried about how your little one if faring during your time away, this can really help. Most daycares will send pictures throughout the day, and if your baby is staying with someone else, speak up and ask for this. Seeing that your baby is still thriving in someone else’s care during the day may be enough to allow you to focus on work and give up worrying ALL.DAY.LONG.

4. Plan a weekend family event to look forward to

Have something special planned for your first weekend or next day off. Knowing that you will have some special bonding time soon will help you feel a bit better about the time that you spent working.

5. Get up a little early

I know, I know…getting up any earlier than your baby sounds crazy. However, getting in a shower before they wake up or getting a moment to sip a cup of hot coffee to get going can leave you with a much better outlook for the day. I also find this leaves me with a few minutes to play with baby in the morning; I can squeeze in a tummy time session and soak up some baby smiles since I gave myself a little leeway by getting up earlier.

6. Meal prep ahead

Make your busy evenings easier by meal prepping or making some frozen meals before you return to work. You will likely be exhausted by the time the workday is done, and you’ll likely find yourself wanting to soak up time with baby before they fall asleep for the night. Doing the meal pre-work ahead of time will allow you to spend more quality time with your family.

7. Give yourself time to adjust

Don’t expect to have everything figured out on day 1. Know that it will get easier as time goes on and you have more experience. You will learn how to get out the door in the morning and how to get in that pump break at work between meetings. Soon enough it will become your new normal as quickly as becoming a mom became normal after your baby arrived.

8. Work with your manager

It’s worth having a conversation with your manager before you return. Use this time to plan for your transition back. Figure out what your schedule will look like and where pump breaks will fit in (know your rights, employers are legally required to allow you to take breaks to pump). Understand if you will be given a ramping up period and the expectations, and if necessary negotiate for what you need.

9. Ask for help if you need it

I know that many mamas out there expect to be superwoman and to do it all; however, you’ll end up burnt out and resentful at some point. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you need it (and don’t expect people to read your mind and know that you need it)…whether from your partner, the grandparents, another family member or friends. It truly does take a village, and any other parent will understand.

10. Give yourself a break

I will repeat again that no one is perfect and no one “can do it all”. You are already doing an awesome job. It is okay to admit it is hard. It is okay to feel sad and overwhelmed some days. It is okay to be glad some days to escape from work. It is okay to be ready for work to be over and to see the face of your little squish. It is all okay and normal! Take it one day at a time and know you’re doing the best you can do for you and your family. Don’t waste time and energy wracked with mom guilt. Push it out of your head. It gets you no where. Show yourself the same grace you offer others. You’re doing great Mama! Give it some time and this life will feel like your new normal.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope your transition back to work goes as smoothly as it can. Drop me a comment below sharing any other tips that I missed! I love hearing from you 💕

– Katie

Lastly, as a bonus, read this incredible letter to a new working mom from Motherly and feel instantly better about all of your mom guilt.

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