Transitioning into Life as a Working New Mother

Guest contributed by Sydney Miller

Over the past decade, we have seen a significant increase in the number of working mothers.

Mothers are the primary money earners in 40% of households with children under 18 today, compared to 11% in 1960. Choosing to be a full-time working mother isn’t always an easy decision to make, but it’s often a necessary decision. With the cost of living on the rise, it’s important for families to plan for their best financial future. This is especially true for single mothers.

Recently, we’ve seen great strides made towards better maternity and paternity leaves globally. This allows more parents the ability to take the necessary time off postpartum. It’s crucial for new mothers to have time to bond with her newborn and recover. When this leave is over, it’s time for her to return to work. This transition can be very hard. She’ll need time to cope with the emotions of returning and getting her head back into the work mode.

Are you or someone you know a new mother who is planning to return to the office soon? If so, follow our tips for getting back into your comfort zone at work.

Talk to Your HR Department

When you have a confirmed date in mind for returning to work, ask to set up a meeting with your HR department. You’ll want to work out all the details and paperwork with them ahead of time. Ask them all your top of mind questions now so you’re prepared. They’ve most likely been through this before. Ask if your company allows for flexible hours or telecommuting. Also, ask them if they have a private room available to you for breastfeeding needs. They may also have benefits set up for new parents, so be sure to go over all the details with them.

Sit Down With Your Team

During your maternity leave, appoint a contact for yourself in your office. The two of you can remain in communication during your time off. They’ll be able to fill you in on any important news and projects that you’ll want to be aware of. Going back to work prepared shows your commitment to the job and your flexibility.

A week or two before you go back, arrange a meeting with this coworker and/or your supervisor. Grab a cup of coffee out or come into the office. At this meeting, you’ll want to sort out the details of your work when your back and what their expectations are for you. If there are any limitations to your return, make them aware of them at this meeting. For example, if there’s a day of the week you are unable to work or any physical limitations you may have.

Look and Feel Your Best

The best way you’ll be able to acclimate to your new life as a working mother is by being confident in yourself. It’s important for new mothers to take care of themselves. Even the simple idea of having time for a long shower goes out the window when a new baby arrives. Although, you must look and feel your best to be your best. This is true both at home and at work. Show your employer your commitment to your job by being the best version of you.

Do your professional clothes still fit you well? If not, shop for a few pieces that you’ll be able to make many outfits out of instead of spending more than you need to. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll want to invest in a versatile nursing bra that works with your work outfits. You should feel comfortable in what you wear but also professional. Treat yourself to a new haircut or take a long bath the week before. You deserve to rest before your life becomes hectic again.

Plan and Organize

Organization will be helpful to you during this busy time. At the top of your to-do list, should be arranging for childcare. Pick a center or nanny that you trust. Do a practice run getting into the routine of taking your newborn to where they will cared for. Then head to your office. Time the whole process. This way you’ll know what to expect come the first day. You should also have a backup plan in case. If you’re stuck at work one night or your child is sick, who can pick them up? Find an emergency contact to fulfill this duty and be available if they cannot reach you.

Put everything down on a calendar. Whether it’s pickup schedules, working hours, or important events. You’ll want to be on the same page as your significant other. If you find there is overlap in schedules, this will be a great way to plan this out.

Find Your Support Team

You’re most likely aiming to be supermom, right? You want to spend as much time with baby as possible of course. But you also want to succeed at work all day, be a great friend/wife and then come home to cook and clean everything. However, this isn’t always realistic. There are so many hours in the day and you’re only one person. Take a deep breath. No mom or employee is perfect.

Find a support group that can help you through the difficult times. If there are other moms at your office that have small children, start a support group. They’ll be able to give you advice for acclimating back into work life because they’ve been there. These are the people who understand best what you’re going through. Set up playdates or much need girls nights.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Your family, friends, significant other, and supervisor will all be there for you. If you need a day off, ask for it. If you need a sitter to go to the store by yourself for once, ask for it. Never feel alone in this process, someone will be by your side to help.

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