My son, Monty, is 13 months old and I am now coming to the end of week two of being back to work. I was lucky to have been able to take the full year of maternity leave and was told to enjoy it because it goes by so fast and before you know it your kid is one, at daycare, and you’re back at work. I would think to myself, how fast can a whole year possibly go by? It seems like just yesterday I was still pregnant. But everyone was right- this has been the fastest year of my life.
In gearing up for my return to work we had to find childcare. As most parents know this involves getting your child on every possible daycare list as soon as you have that treasured birth certificate in your hands. Fast forward a year and it looked like he was not going to get in so we started interviewing nannies, only to be notified three weeks before my return that he did, in fact, have a daycare spot. Phew!
Now that we had jumped that hurdle, I had to wrap my head around the fact that everyone’s routine was going to change. Monty and I weren't going to be able to start our day at our leisurely pace, we weren’t going to be together all day every day, and my husband was going to have to take over some duties since I’d be working later than him. It has been a change, but the transition has been relatively smooth. Of course having a great baby and an absolutely wonderful husband has helped the transition, but I also found a few things that made it a lot less stressful. Here are a few tips I’d suggest to moms heading back to work:
1. Start the new routine a week or two before you actually go back to work. This way it’s not such a shock to everyone’s system and your first day back can be more focused as opposed to worrying about if baby is ok on their first day. Monty went to daycare for a full week while I was still off and we practiced our morning wake up and breakfast routine, he gradually got comfortable at daycare, and I’d pop over every once in a while to watch him play. I found this gave me peace of mind on my first day back.
2. Prepare for the next day as much as you can after baby goes to sleep. This saves us a lot of time in the morning. I lay out my clothes, and with my husband we prepare our breakfast, lunches and as much of tomorrow night’s dinner as we can. This makes mornings and evenings less hectic and allows us to have family before Monty goes to bed.
3. Don’t feel bad if you enjoy being back at work. This does not make you a bad mom and does not mean you don’t like being a mom. Trust me...I get home as fast as I can because I miss my little guy so much, but I also like interacting with adults and feeling productive in a way that I have missed Our family has also stopped taking weekends for granted, as it is now cherished time that the 3 of us spend together, as opposed to just another day.
Just like having a baby required adjustment, so does going back to work. Go with the flow and a new routine that works for everyone will emerge.