Returning to Work From Maternity/Paternity Leave
You’ve just finished maternity/paternity leave. Now what? The transition from going back to work can be tough for a lot of new parents. With your baby now in your life, your life has changed. On top of that, trying to juggle all your new responsibilities with work can seem overwhelming. Luckily, you’re not alone. There are many other parents out there that also struggled with returning to work after their leave and have tips to share with other new parents. We asked new parents what their thoughts were about returning from leave and what they would think would help next time or for other new parents. PopYum has collected a list of common tips mentioned by our moms and dads:
- Be gentle with yourself. Your life has changed and you may not be able to keep up with the things that you were doing prior to having a baby. That’s OK! Take things one day at a time and accept that priorities may shift.
- You are going through a lot - such as lack of sleep, hormonal changes for the moms, and overall have all sorts of feelings and emotions. Acknowledge your feelings - whether it’s sadness, anxiety, feeling guilt, overwhelmed, or something out. Take a deep breath, seek support from your friends, family, doctor, and other new moms out there. Very likely you are not alone!
- See if you can do a gradual start to ease your way back into your regular work schedule. If your job allows it, see if you can start with shorter work days and slowly add on more hours to your work schedule. If it’s possible for remote work, see if you can start with part remote work and part in person work first to help the transition. If you can’t do any of these, you can also set your return date for mid-week like on a Wednesday or Thursday so that your first week back is a short one. Get yourself used to a routine again- set your alarm for when you would regularly wake up for work and do a dry run before going back. You can do it!
- Expect setbacks. As a new mom or dad, there’s going to be all kinds of stuff out of your control pop up at some point. Take a deep breath, ask for help if you need it, and get some good emergency contacts. Find a backup childcare provider, in case something happens with your babysitter.
- Have a support group! Reach out to other parents who might be going through or have gone through what you’re going through now. They might have some helpful tips or useful information to share with you!
- Set a daily routine for before and after work. It can help you feel like you have some structure in the day. Try your daily routine before returning from leave without the working part to help yourself get used to it.
- Remember to take care of yourself! With spending all of your time taking care of your newborn and attending to all your responsibilities with the never ending to-do list, it can feel like there’s no me-time. However, in order to do your best at work and be the best mom or dad to your baby, you need to be okay! Take a massage if you need it, squeeze a nap in when you can, meditate, do some yoga, or do whatever makes you feel happy. Not only will you feel better, but your baby too! Self care is so important!
- Be PROUD of yourself! You are doing the best you can! You are a wonderful, amazing mom or dad who’s having to go through a lot of new things. Remember no one is perfect, including yourself, so be proud of how you’re doing and tell yourself this whenever you’re feeling down from the baby blues or the busy life.
- Make sure to spend quality time with your baby when you’re not at work. Your baby’s only a baby for a short time, so enjoy it while it lasts!
- With so many different errands and tasks to do being a mom or dad and with everything else on top of that, it can be easy to forget things. Utilize a planner, to do list, whiteboard, or whatever organizational tool that works for you to help keep track of everything!
- Prep a few extra PopYum bottles. For formula fed babies, preload the bottle with formula on the top and water on the bottom. For those using breast milk, load the breast milk in the bottom of the bottle with nothing on top of the agitator. If you get stuck at work longer or something urgent comes up, you may feel better about your baby not going too hungry if your baby’s caretaker can feed them when hungry if needed!
- Set boundaries. Don’t overextend to peer pressure . You’ve got a lot to take care of and your time is limited!
You’ve got this! We believe in you!