Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Going back to work after baby

Working moms: I’ve worked with them throughout my entire career.  Just normal, everyday women, right? Going to work in the morning and home at night, right?  Little did I know, these women are actually superwomen.  Seriously, where do they hide their capes?  These women are living double lives. Kicking major butt at work during the day and taking care of domestic-business at night. You’d never know it; they are smooth as silk!

Going back to work after having Henry has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  My heart breaks each morning when I leave him.  I feel a twinge of anxiety that stays with me throughout the day.   It’s difficult to focus when a part of you is in another place.   I am currently in my fourth week back and I'm slowly adjusting.   
There are a few key things that have gotten me through these first few weeks and continue to keep me sane; if you are a mom returning to work, take notes! 

If you’re already a working mom – feel free to leave a comment about how you survived your first few weeks back to work!  

Get organized
Life is about to change in a huge way (again!).  Make sure you and your spouse have a plan.  Who is going to get the baby ready and take him/her to childcare? What time are you going to get up in the morning?  Are you used to carpooling or taking public transportation? Will that change?  Having a plan will reduce stress for the whole household!
Rod and I get everything ready the night before.  Gone are the days when I can spend 20 minutes choosing an outfit in the morning.  Now I have to lay out my clothes the night before and put them on while feeding and burping a baby.

Treat yourself to a latte once a week
Take a break from work and treat yourself to coffee or tea every now and then.  The caffeine will give you the extra kick you need to tackle the projects that have been piling up on your desk.

Buy a new outfit (or two…or three)
When you’ve been wearing yoga pants and your husband’s T-shirts for four months (like I have), finding appropriate work attire is nearly impossible (nothing fits!).  Take yourself out and buy a few outfits.  Looking good leads to feeling good. You’ll get a burst of confidence that will help get you back into the swing of things.

Wear heels, but bring flip-flops (or flats)
Has it been over a year since you’ve worn heels?  You’re not alone sister!  Dust those babies off and slowly start breaking them in! Ease back into them by wearing them to meetings, but switch to flip flops at lunch or bathroom trips. This will help get your tootsies back into shape for heels!  My feet and calves were sore for a week after wearing my heels;  but they’re slowly adjusting.

Check-in with your little one throughout the day
Ask your baby’s caregiver to send you little updates on how your little one is doing throughout the day. Rod sends me a photo or two every day; I always look forward to seeing Henry’s adorable little face!  It helps to know that your little one is faring well (even if his/her momma is away).

Keep a few comforting mementos around your office
Three or four endearing desk photos – check. Adorable screen saver – check.  Make sure to keep a few little baby reminders around to brighten your spirits.  Be careful though, too many mementos can cause an overflow of emotion; so bring tissues in case you need to shed a tear or two.  It’s okay to cry! 

Get a good night’s rest before your first day back
If you usually get up with him/her at night, let your husband do it this one time.  Your first day back will be emotional enough without feeling like a zombie.

Stay busy at work
Don’t allow yourself to wallow.  Jump into those emails (I had over 1100 upon returning! Eeek!), regain the lead on all of your projects, and schedule meetings to get caught-up. Hit the ground running.   Not only will it help the day go by, but it’ll keep your mind off of what you’re missing.

I'm not quite a superwoman yet...but I'm getting there! 


Vishnu said...

i can't imagine how challenging this must be Alex - going back to work after a major life event like a baby.

you offer a lot of practical tips for women in similar situations.

having photos of Henry at work and regular status updates must make it a bit easier! love the 'love my mummy' tshirt lol

YeamieWaffles said...

I love the best tip of all here to treat yourself Alex, and I really hope that you continue to treat yourself. You're an amazing mother, I haven't one thing against mums who stay at home for 18 years after having a child but there's something about a mum who works and does it all that just makes her above recognition in my eyes, keep on going Rolex, so proud of you both!

Faith said...

you're amazing! you're doing the best you can and the best for your family. that is what is most important.

i love the key things that have gotten you through the first few weeks back.

you got this! :)

Amanda H said...

Great List! I hadn't thought of a lot of the things you mentioned above (the return of the heels!) when I went back so way to be on thinking of everything! :)

Lauren said...

great post girl! you definitely need to treat yourself...and heels always made me feel a bit like my old self!

Angie said...

I honestly can't imagine how hard it would be to work and take care of a little one. I know myself that being a mommy is a full time job. I admire working mom's!

Stephanie said...

It's always so hard to go back to work, but I'm sure you are awesome at juggling work and baby! Thinking of you...I'm sure you'll be superwoman in no time! : )

Mrs. Pancakes said...

oh my goodness...he is sooo yummy. and yes going back to work is the hardest thing...but thank goodness for facetime and skype...i know it's made things sooooooooooooooo much easier...although guilt and everything exists still but as long as the little one is happy!

Lindsay said...

I'm way late in reading this, but it absolutely hit home for me! I'm expecting twins in July and planning to return to work after 12 weeks, but I know it will be incredibly hard. These are all wonderful tips. Glad to know you're making it work for your family!