Now that you have settled into the role of a mother, are you yearning to get back to work? Or is the calendar rudely signalling that your maternity leave has come to an end? Either way, striking the right work-life balance can always be tricky and it only gets worse when you are a new mother. With a tiny new baby at home, suddenly work seems to be the last thing on your mind.
Maternity leave is often seen as a catalyst which makes this transition a smooth one, but there are times and episodes where things have gone haywire, leaving the new mother devastated. If you thought getting back to work after a long weekend was tough, then try getting back after maternity leave! We help you through these tough times with a checklist for you to keep handy when maternity leave draws to a close.
1. Cushion your mornings
Mornings are mad at any household. More so with a little baby. If you are headed to work after seeing your little one crying and screeching at the daycare, it only gets worse. Well, the only way to peace the situation is to plan ahead. Scheduling morning chores can make everyoneâ€™s life much more simple and hassle-free. Make a checklist of the things to pack for your child and follow it to the last point. Don’t be shy to ask for help. If you handle the logistics well, it helps you deal with the emotional part a little better. So plan ahead and try to get yourself and your little one on a good morning routine.
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2. Go easy on the separation
Let’s not sugar coat it. It is tough and a real emotional roller coaster for both mom and baby. Dropping your little one off at daycare and when you see your baby kicking and screaming to go to class is probably one of the toughest things a mom has to do. But somethings have to be done. Here is how you can help with the transition. Even before you get back to your job, make sure your little one has started off with her daycare routine. So, get into a routine of dropping her off at the daycare 3 or 4 weeks ahead of when you join work. If you are hiring a nanny, make sure you do that well in advance, so you and your child are comfortable with her. This will also enable her to get familiar with new faces and make her less anxious while you are away. But, this too is time bound. While some kids settle in very quickly, a few others may take a little longer. So hang in there and it will all come together.
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3. Expect crisis
No one is perfect! If you discharge all of your duties to the fullest, there might be someone else goofing it all up. So itâ€™s always best to have a plan B in hand. There could be situations of illness for your baby or the caretaker or the daycare could be shut for some reason. What do you do then? This is when a plan B falls into place. Make sure there is someone who can fill in on such days. Maybe you can work from home or ask your spouse or in-laws, grandparents for help. Whatever be the plan, ensure there is back up.
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4. Plan your nursing
If you are a nursing mother, get your baby used to bottle or spoon before you head back to work. Also, bringing in a feeding routine will help you and your baby during the day. Measure the amount of milk your baby needs at a time so that you can pump and store accordingly. Also make sure to ask your HR at work for a feeding room so you can pump in a clean environment and not in the restroom. It goes without saying that you need to be familiar with your nursing and pumping equipment, so buy them well in advance.
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5. Use technology
Invest in a good baby monitor or a nanny cam so you can check in and see your baby from work. Also, see if there are any apps that will help you stabilise a routine for your baby.
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During the Day
1. Manage time
Remember you cannot take work back home like most others. So manage your time well and try to finish everything at your workplace. As much as itâ€™s important to reach office on time, leaving your workplace on time is crucial too.
2. Never neglect yourself
It is completely alright to feel exhausted or emotionally unwell even before the start of a day. We all have our low days, so this is not new. The only way to beat this is by keeping yourself fit, active and yes dressing up well. Pull out your pre-maternity clothes and try them on. Take breaks in-between work so that you get some fresh air. Lastly, try to get as much rest as possible and squeeze in a little fitness routine at least once a week.
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3. Look for support
This is a tough phase to sail through, so don’t shy away from asking for help. Open up to your mother, friends, boss, colleague or whoever you feel comfortable with. Letting it out can just do a lot of good!
4. Call home
Missing your little one too much? Donâ€™t hesitate to call home or the daycare. Listening to your babyâ€™s gurgles can be the best fix to lighten up your mood. However, hearing him cry can be a whole new thing though! So be prepared for the worst too. Try to time your calls when your baby is active, awake or in a good mood. This will cheer you up and let you perform better at work.
5. Plan meals in advance
Plan for the week ahead over the weekend. Make a meal plan so you don’t have to struggle with ‘what’s for dinner’ when you get home from work. You can do all the prep work over the weekend and that makes it a whole lot easier to manage the week.
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6. Go easy on yourself
It is alright for the house to look messy or for the dishes to be piled up. Your responsibility is to make sure your child is happy and healthy. Household work can wait, or seek help. There is just no need for your home to look like it is straight out of a magazine. Being aware of your priorities can really ease the stress a lot.
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