Today marks the two week mark before I throw Max into daycare and I make the return back to work. I am returning a week before classes starts because I need to get my act together before the students arrive (I am teaching new-to-me courses and have loads of prep to get ready for that).
For many of us, the return to work may be a bit bittersweet. One may look forward to getting back out there (I am), but you may feel guilty about leaving baby behind and you will face new challenges. On top of all the school-related work that has to be completed, I still have to do all the Mommy-stuff too! Another reason why I’m going back before classes starts is to develop my routine.
I’ve started to think about what I am doing in order to prepare myself for going back, and will share my ‘Shared Ideas for Going back to Work’
1. Put baby in daycare before you go back to work.
We are both going back a bit early, so Max will be in daycare starting August 27th. I will only be 10 minutes away if he acts wackadoodle and don’t plan on working a full-day. Try to schedule your daycare starts a bit earlier so that you can gradually expose your baby to his/her new day-time digs before you fully go back to work. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work: go grocery shopping, clean the house, go get a massage, whatever. This will not only help baby, but you will also get used to your new routine as well.
2. If you can, go back part-time
I am not going back full-time right away. Right now I am scheduled to teach 2 classes (I usually teach 3). I am slightly unaware of my schedule; but it could be all morning or afternoon, or a big gap in between having a morning and afternoon class. For me, this works out because I will be using that time to do everything that I need to do before 4pm hits so that when I go home, I don’t have as much work to do. Like practicing your new routine, having a reduced work schedule may help with the work/home balance.
3. If you plan on weaning, start early!
Max is only BF first thing in the morning. We have been bottle feeding for quite some time, but really only started the weaning process in May. Once I found out I was teaching summer school back in May, we started phasing out BFing sessions and replacing with a bottle at lunch time. Then we moved on to the morning snack bottle, and then finally replaced the afternoon snack and dinner. Max has always had a bottle for bedtime, but I usually pumped. I have recently stopped that as well. So yes, it has been a four month process to wean him. This helped prevent engorgment and any feelings of discomfort. If your baby doesn’t like bottles, you will need to work through that as well. You may wish to continue to pump at work, but for me that wouldn’t really be ideal because I go hours without a break at school. If you have questions/concerns, this is when you should hit up your friendly lactation consultant for sure!
4. Have other people hold baby.
If baby is only comforted by you, start giving him/her to others if they are upset. Max doesn’t care one bit who holds him, but not all babies are like that. Hire a babysitter, let grandma/grandpa/husband/whoever put squirt down for a nap, anything you can think of. It will help with the transition!
5. Make sure your pants fit!
Yup, I said it – make sure your work clothes fit before you head back. Let’s face it, we have all been in gym clothes since baby was born (LuLuLemon says “that’s right!”), but unless you are a personal trainer (Fitnessista I’m lookin at you!), you can’t work yoga pants to work. I do not fit into my pre-pregnancy pants even though I actually weigh less than I did before. My hips have changed, so I can get my pants past them. Also, if you are still nursing, your bra size is still probably off and your tops may not fit. Take an inventory of what you have and make sure you have enough outfits. If you are planning on pumping – have ‘easy access’ choices in mind.
6. Go get a haircut/massage/pedicure/manicure
To help relieve some going back to work stress – go get pampered! I would also encourage a haircut (just like wearing yoga pants, we have all probably had our hair up for months as well) to get back in the mood of work.
7. Have a discussion about household responsibilities
Unlike the pre-feminist movement times, women usually go back to work once mat leave is up. With both parents at work, some juggling of the housework needs to happen. Your significant other may have gotten used to supper being made, house being clean, laundry being done all by whoever is staying at home. However, if Mom/Dad goes back to work, time is going to get tight! Have a discussion about how housework is going to get down on a realistic schedule. Our schedule is a bit more challenging since both of us have been off for the past two months. One thing we have decided is that dinners will be planned as to elevate some of the stress that I will have when I get home around 5pm. Max will also be on a bit more strict routine.
So, try to not be too stressed about going back to work. I am looking forward to it a bit, but know that I will be busy,busy.busy all day!