Returning to work after maternity leave can be really difficult. Even with all the time in the world, it’s hard to get back into a routine at work, while still caring for your family at home. While everyone’s experience is different, as is the length of time they’re able to be away from work, I think we can learn a lot from the working moms around us.
I have collected advice from over 30 working moms and am thrilled to share their tips for returning to work after maternity leave. These women are extremely diverse and come from a variety of careers. Still, their advice was similar. At the core of their advice stands the message to take care of yourself and to make yourself a priority. There will always be work to do, both in the office and at home, but you won’t be able to give your best if you’re not first caring for yourself.
Here, in no particular order, are a working mom’s tips for returning to work after maternity leave.
- It’s okay to cry on your first day back at work
- It’s okay not to cry on your first day back at work
- Be patient with yourself
- See if your child’s daycare will send you photos during the work day
- If nursing, test your pump at home before going to work
- Stay hydrated!
- Treasure your adult iterations while at work
- Try to return to work on a Wednesday or Thursday instead of on a Monday
- If nursing, block off time in your schedule to pump
- Create a checklist! It will make the mornings easier
- Mondays are always the toughest
- Consider asking your supervisor if you can work part-time or from home as you transition back
- Get everything ready the night before (work clothes, baby’s things, meals, and pump parts if pumping)
- Leave a change of clothes in your office
- You can’t do everything!
- Advocate for your needs
- Leave healthy snacks in your office fridge
- Don’t do too much, too soon
- It really does get easier
- Use your vacation days, even if just for you