A new mom’s entire day revolves around her baby, leaving little or no time for herself. Adding to this, a day’s work at the office might seem like an impossible task if you are on your maternity leave. With preparation and support, you can surely ace being a career woman and a rock star mommy.
Returning to work is one of the most dreaded milestones for most new moms. A million doubts might cross your mind and you could find yourself feeling thrilled, guilty, nervous and anxious, all at the same time. Here are a few things you must consider before you return to work:
Stay in touch with what’s happening in the office while you are still on maternity leave:
Staying in touch with your Boss, teammates can help you feel connected even when you are on a long leave. Staying in touch with your buddies at the workplace can make you want to join back work. Knowing what are the new changes in your team can help you negotiate the roles per your requirements if need be.
Deciding on when to return:
You may constantly feel that your child is not old enough for you to join back work, or you need more time. While there is no perfect time to return to work, consider factors like anticipated workload, travel requirements at your workplace, your financial situation, commute time, and the support system you have back home. Discuss with your partner on what they think and how you as a family are prepared for you to join back work.
Discuss with your employers:
Most progressive companies in India today have policies that make returning to work a breeze for new moms. Discuss your options with your employers. If your child is on mother’s feed, check with your employers if you could step out for an hour during lunch. Pumping may be another option, many working women opt for. Flexible working hours and understanding bosses can make the transition smooth for you.
Know the policies at your workplace:
While most employers make the possible arrangements for new moms, you must know what you are entitled to as per policies. Make sure you know the policies your company has in terms of legal rights and flexibility, just in case you need to exercise one.
Take care of yourself:
Small efforts that you make for your well-being can help you get up and running:
Set an exercise regime
– Exercise will relax your mind and help your body deal better with the dual responsibility. Take some time out to walk, run, swim, practice yoga or hit the gym.
Get enough sleep and eat well
– During your maternity break, if you have got used to an afternoon nap, ensure you get those extra hours at night once you join back work.
Speak to experienced mothers
– Speaking to your friends who returned to work after childbirth can be encouraging. Working mothers managing child and home beautifully are all around you, take notice.
Once you know the date you shall get back to work on, you must meticulously plan out all the necessary details. Here are the key things you must set upright before you take the plunge:
Decide on who needs to take care of your child while you are at work:
Majority of working parents either opt for a professional daycare or trust the child’s grandparents/close relatives with childcare in their absence. You may need to consider a variety of factors like the willingness of grandparents, their age/health conditions, parents’ comfort staying under the same roof, financial aspects of daycare, etc. Whichever option you choose for your family, keep in mind your family’s needs and the environment that best suits you and your child. Consider the financial costs involved in each option, and decide what you think is the best choice.
You may want to give starting the daycare or grandparents caring a short trial before you start going to the office. Ideally, the child should get use to the new arrangement before you get back to work.
Get appropriate help:
With you joining back work, there would be additional responsibilities on your shoulders, hence it is wise to get help. Assign some of the key responsibilities to your partner or any other help you may have. Some of the things to ponder are:
If you choose a daycare, check if they have a pickup and drop. If not, carefully plan the logistics and responsibilities.
Consider getting additional help for tasks like cooking, cleaning, etc. Plan for days when the child is unwell. Planning ahead of time can help avoid problems/panic situations. Get into a habit of keeping a planner so that you don’t miss important tasks.
Get a grip on the guilt:
The transition back to work is just a phase, the guild and anxiety shall go away if you let them. Moms must know that the transition shall not be easy, and there is no perfect rule or method. Expect the transition to be uncomfortable but don’t let it be too harsh on you. Give yourself and your child the time to adjust. No one can get an A+ everywhere, so focus on what’s important, and practice to go easy on things that do not matter much.
Re-focusing on your career:
You might feel miserable for weeks, thinking about your baby all the time and worrying about him/her. Make note, that worrying alone does not help. If you have been on a career break, network, enroll with exclusive job portals, explore networking portals for posts on second career opportunities for women. Take charge and let the world know you are not off your game.
At Avtar Women, our vision is to support all mothers returning back to work. If you are on the lookout for new opportunities, check out some of our latest job openings.