Having a baby is an important milestone for a woman. Just as you're getting used to being home with your baby and your work life feels like a distant memory, you realize that your maternity leave is coming to an end. The thought of waking up early and racing off to a job after being up all night with a crying baby seems daunting. Most moms have additionally to deal with the guilt of spending time away from the infant. Your goal should be to find a healthy balance that works for you, your baby, your career and your family.
1. Practice Your New Routine. It's bound to take a while to learn to balance your new roles and you'll do so more quickly if your daily routine is efficient and well organized. Do a couple of practice runs the week before you're due back at the office. If possible, arrange for your child care to start a week or so early so that you can try out your routine - and get used to parting with baby [harder on the mom than the baby!]. Make sure you set your alarm a little early in your first week to give yourself time to work out any kinks in your schedule. Don't forget to come up with a good backup plan for days when you, your baby or your babysitter is sick.
2. Be well equipped. There is no need for you to give up breastfeeding as this is essential for your baby. You have every right to ask for this facility when you get back to work. You need to carry a breast pump, nursing pads and an extra dress. After being exclusively with the infant for months, surely you will miss your little one a lot at office. Some moms find that it eases being away from their babies to have a photograph on their desk. If you have installed a video cam for the baby at home you might want to position the screen so it is not intrusive on your work, at the same time you can periodically check on your baby. Don’t forget your diet –take along with you to work some healthy snacks and drink plenty of water because when you get back into the daily grind, it’s easy to skip regular meals and be dehydrated. But what you don’t want is to be nutritionally deprived at this important phase of your life. That won’t help you feel good about yourself and there’s not enough fuel for your body to release the required energy. You can also cook a couple meals and freeze them before you go back to work so you have a quick dinner option if ever you need it.
3. Look Good and Feel Good. Invest in some good fitting, attractive and comfortable work clothes. Don’t go trying to stuff yourself into your pre-pregnancy clothes because they probably won’t fit nor will wearing outsized clothes do. Instead of trying to balance on heels you might want some sensible walking shoes especially if you are in a rush [as most often happens to young moms]. Pamper yourself by having a beauty session at a parlour or home before starting to work as this will work great for your image and confidence.
4. Get as Much Rest as You Can: One of the biggest complaints of working moms is sheer exhaustion -- and when you're overtired it's much easier to fall to pieces. Your own sleep needs should take priority over doing another load of laundry or cleaning up the kitchen. Have your husband, older kids and other family members pitch in whenever possible. Because you'll be getting up so early, you should aim to get to bed earlier too.
5. Don’t try to be a supermom – ask for help when needed. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance from your colleagues, friends and family. You've also probably made a handful of new "mom friends" while on leave. Aim for regular weekend get-togethers and stay in touch during the week and you can have a fantastic support group you can lean on as well as you can receive valuable advice as and when needed.