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5 tips to make returning to work after maternity leave easier

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This article was by Courtney N Williams and first published on her blog 

Wow, I can’t believe Baby Camille is THREE MONTHS OLD already! Unbelievable! She’s officially no longer a newborn anymore, she’s just a baby lol. Time truly goes too fast with babies. And now the day a lot of us working moms dread…time for me to head back to work! I knew this day would come eventually; I just didn’t expect it to get here so soon. No matter how many children you experience this with, it never gets any easier. First having to be away from your tiny baby for an extended period of time, and second having to leave your baby in the care of someone else is tough. Especially in our case with us not having any local help, we have no other choice but to put our babies in daycare. Granted, the daycare Camille is attending, Channing started when she was 3 months old as well and we’ve grown to completely love the center.

At times it just seems like 3 months isn’t enough time though. I’m still breastfeeding, so I’ll be tasked with having to pump every 3 hours at work. Camille isn’t sleeping throughout the night, but I’ll still be expected to perform as if I’m not surviving off little to no sleep. The list goes on and on. Such is life, well at least here in America where with most companies the max you get is 12 weeks of maternity leave. (I could go on and on about how that’s such bull crap but that’s a whole blog within itself, so anyway!)

[READ also: Parenting in a blended family: How Courtney Williams is making it work]

If I’m completely honest, I actually contemplated not going back to work after having Camille. Just the thought of having two kids under two and two older school-aged kids while working full time seemed overwhelming. Not to mention, daycare for two babies is double what we pay for our mortgage. But being locked in the house with a toddler and a newborn for 3 months showed me real quick that stay at home mom life isn’t for everyone, haha! For my sanity, I need a work/family balance. Work for me is an outlet. And I’m good at what I do. I also didn’t want to let 8 years of post-college work experience go to waste. I’ve worked hard for my career. Needless to say, I decided to go back to work. It’s a decision I’m at peace with. Although, that doesn’t make these first few days/weeks of being away from my baby any less hard.

With Camille being my 3rd baby, I’ve learned how to manage the transition of going back to work better. I thought I’d share with you guys some tips that make the transition a little more bearable. Let’s jump right in.

LOCK IN CHILDCARE IN ADVANCE

Whether baby will have to be in daycare, you’re hiring a nanny, or relatives will be looking after baby, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to secure childcare. It can be stressful finding somewhere or someone that you trust taking care of your baby. The last thing you want is to be scrambling a few days or even weeks before going back to work for dependable childcare. And most really good childcare centers can have pretty long waiting list. If you’re pregnant and reading this, you should tour childcare centers before baby even gets here! Knowing your baby is in good hands while you’re away working makes it A LOT easier to go back to work.

GET BABY ON SCHEDULE

If at all possible, try to get baby on somewhat of a schedule/routine closer to you going back to work. Especially a good sleep schedule. This will make the transition easier on you both. Be sure to make sure your childcare tries to stick to the schedule during the day so that baby’s routine isn’t too interrupted. With Camille still not sleeping throughout the night, hubby and I decided we’ll just take turns on the night shift so that a few nights out of the week we are both getting a full night’s rest. Working for 8+ hours a day off 2-3 hours of sleep is brutal! Avoid that at all cost.

HAVE EASY ACCESS TO BABY

Whether your baby is in daycare or with a sitter, you’ll want to be able to check up on them easily. A lot of daycares these days have cameras that allow you to see your baby right from your phone. Seeing that they are okay will give you a peace of mind while at work. Camille’s daycare actually insists on us calling any time during the day to see how the baby is doing for the first few days.

PACK PICTURES WITH YOU

You’ll definitely want to print out a few pictures of your new bundle of joy and frame them for your desk. I find myself constantly scrolling through pictures or videos of my kids when I’m away from them and it brings a smile to my face. This really helps with missing the baby when you first go back to work.

GRACE YOURSELF

Don’t be hard on yourself. Life will undeniably be different now. You will have your moments of being completely exhausted with having to juggle a full-time job and be a mother to a new baby. You will also have your emotional moments as well. And that’s OKAY! It’s a lot, but somehow us moms get the job done. Allow yourself to feel how ever it is that you’re feeling at that moment. Then use whatever motivation you need to keep pushing. For me it’s showing my girls that hard work pays off, we can do whatever we put our minds to, and knowing that my career helps pay for all our matching outfits (I just had to throw that in there lol).

Just know that YOU GOT THIS MAMA! Women truly make the world go round. We were made for this. Now go kill it!

I hope this helps you guys out some. Have a wonderful week.

As Always…Love you All,

Courtney N. Williams

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