One of the toughest moments as a mom is going back to work after having a baby.
Unfortunately, returning to work also happens to be one of the earliest milestones in a very long journey. You’re operating on little to no sleep, huge shifts in household dynamics, inner struggles with your new life, growling hormones, and very real concerns about your baby’s care.
It’s tough. Leaving my precious little bundle of joy after a mere three months broke my heart into pieces.
But there’s something I can assure you of: Many millions of women have done this successfully before you, and will do it after you. So you can do this too.
How to Survive Returning to Work After Having a Baby
1. Your view of the world has changed forever
First and foremost, remember this: Your life has completely changed. It’s going to take some getting used to. Be easy on yourself and try to relax.
2. Priorities take shape, and they shape you
Once you’re back at work, you’ll amaze yourself with how efficient you become. At work, you bust it so you can go home and see your baby. At home, you cherish every moment (well, almost every moment) you get to spend with the little one.
3. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself
You might be tempted to “do it all”—all at once. Keeping the house immaculate, cooking homemade meals every night, killing it at work, losing the baby weight… achieving perfection in all areas of your life (especially with a newborn) is impossible. A mother’s life is a marathon, and you’re just beginning.
4. You’ll notice your absence more than the baby will
Worried that your baby will miss you while you’re at work? He’s really OK. Babies haven’t developed a sense of time yet, so they don’t know you’ve been gone for nine hours. And guess what? They’re not forming memories either.
5. Priorities get a major overhaul
You start caring about certain things you never would have considered before. Like coffee as a basic human need, rather than a nice-to-have. Or absolutely having to leave the office no later than 5:37 p.m. in order to make daycare pickup.
6. When it life gets tough, you just have to get tougher
When life inevitably throws some hurdles your way, such as a baby with digestive problems or a spouse’s promotion at work (involving more hours at the office), you will find a way through it.
7. Mom guilt is real– but don’t let it take over
The big “G”—guilt. You will likely encounter this feeling more than once as you re-enter the working world as a mom. Bottom line is, you should not feel guilty for working. Why? Because you’re supporting your family, giving yourself an identity and space away from your kids, serving as a positive role model and doing what’s best for you and your family.
8. Remember- some people are idiots
Many (thoughtless) people will say things like, “Why would you have a baby just to have someone else raise it?” And those people are idiots. Putting your child in daycare so you can go back to work is not a sin, so rid yourself of the shame and despair.
9. The dishes and laundry can wait
When you get home from work, allow yourself some snuggle time. The dishes and laundry can wait (or you can get help with those household tasks). You deserve to hold that baby, smell her sweet baby scent, enjoy those baby giggles and just be a mom for a while. Sometimes, that one hour at the end of the day can remind you that all your hard work, patience, worries and tears are worth it.
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