The journey of motherhood is an incredible and life-changing experience. You’ve been a stay-at-home mom during this time, soaking up all the precious new moments. But now, you’ve decided to head back to work and your head might be spinning. The reality is, new moms returning to work need all the support they can get.
The transition from being at home with your newborn to going back into the workforce can be tough, so it’s crucial to take care of yourself during this time. Whether you’re heading back to the office, working from home, or starting a new business, here are some tips to make sure this transition is as smooth as possible for you.
How to Prepare for Getting Back to Work
First things first, before going back to work you need to make sure everything is set up for your first day. From finding reliable childcare, learning a new routine, and getting pumping materials ready, being as prepared as you can will help your mental health in this transition. Here are some of the things you need to do before going back to work.
This tip is for the moms who’ve decided to get back into the workforce but don’t have a job lined up. You might be wondering where you should even start. Don’t worry, there are many options available to you. Whether you’re wanting to climb the corporate ladder, work-from-home, or start your own business, here are different ways you can find work.
- LinkedIn – Known as one of the largest professional networks on the planet, Linkedin can help you find all sorts of jobs, from remote work to full-time, no matter what your lifestyle is. The most important thing is to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. Then, you can start networking with others that are in similar roles that you’re interested in—bonus points if you find other new mothers in similar roles! As the saying goes, “Your network is your net worth.”
- Indeed – this is one of the largest job search platforms out there. Looking for a position near you? Type in your city and watch the opportunities pop up! Want to work remotely? There’s an option to only show work from home jobs. Your new career is literally at your fingertips.
- The Mom Project – this is a great place to find new careers for moms. The best part? The companies hiring are known to support women throughout their working motherhood journey–it’s actually a requirement to be on the platform. The Mom Project is a place where moms can search for a career and not have to dance around the “mom topic” during a job interview.
- Upwork & Fiverr – want to go the entrepreneur route? Moms can work from home on their own schedule by offering freelance services. Graphic design, blog writing, social media management, website building, animation, software development and photography are only a few of the options available to you. Build your skills by investing in a course and take the time to learn how to be an expert in your service offering. Then head over to Upwork and Fiverr to find clients.
Need a resume update? Updating your resume after a mom break or career gap can be tough. If you’re having trouble finding the words, there are fast services out there such as Resume Completer to help.
If your job requires you to head back to the office, finding childcare is a must. Your parents, grandma and grandpa, friends, or a local daycare are some options to look into. If you’re having trouble finding support, look on websites like Care.com for trusted childcare providers near you.
Once you’ve found the perfect fit, don’t be afraid to set expectations with them. Remember, you are hiring them. Need a few photo updates during your baby’s day? Be upfront and let them know! Having the peace of mind knowing your little ball of sunshine is having fun without you can make all the difference in your day. This helps ease any separation anxiety you might have.
Pro tip: start sending your child to daycare before your first day at work. This way you are 100% reachable and don’t have to worry about work during this potentially uneasy time.
Figure out your pumping needs
If you’re breastfeeding, getting your pumping supplies together so you can easily access them at work is necessary. If you’re going to work in the office, not only do you need to worry about your breast pump, but you have to make sure there is an area where you can store your milk for the day. Ask your employer if they have a refrigerator you can use for this. Most businesses will understand and have an area ready for you–but if they don’t, bringing a cooler with ice packs will do the trick.
Here’s something you should know. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide reasonable break times for an employee to express breast milk for their child. You are entitled to an actual place to pump at work (nope, not a bathroom) that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public. Make sure you know your rights!
Get into a routine
Going from being on a career break and running your own schedule to heading back to work is not only a big change in routine for you, but for your baby as well. A hard change in routine can upset your little one, so making a slow transition to a new routine is key.
Figure out what time you need to be out the door, or logging onto your computer. (And if we’re being real, add a buffer of 30 more minutes to that.) This will help determine what time you and baby need to wake up for the day so you can start work on time.
Moms returning to work after baby should start their new routine a few weeks before their first day back to work. We all know that practice makes perfect. Getting the bumpy mornings out of the way before you start work again will save you the headache and anxiety later.
Tips for Moms Going Back to Work
As a mom, it’s normal to feel guilty about leaving your child to go back to a full-time or even a part-time job. You might even feel anxious about how you’ll manage juggling both responsibilities. We hear you–but just know that it’s entirely possible to balance work and personal life. When going back to work, self-care is a big factor in determining if this transition will be easy or not. With the right tips, you can make a smooth transition back to the workforce while still taking care of your family and yourself.
If possible, head back to work part-time at first. This might not be realistic for every mom, but if you have the opportunity, part-time is a great way to ease back in and adjust to the new routine. It’s a perfect way to test the waters and see how things go before jumping back into longer full-time days. Ask your employer if they are open to you starting part-time at first and reevaluating in a month.
Take all of your breaks
It’s essential to give yourself a break during the day so you don’t burn out. Make sure to take your lunch and any additional breaks you get during your workday. This applies if you work for yourself too. Set up reminders on your phone to take these necessary breaks. Use this time to take a walk, stretch, eat, or even Facetime your baby.
Always have healthy snacks
Prepare nourishing snacks for your work day so you don’t find yourself reaching for junk food when you get hungry. Some easy healthy snack options are:
- Snap peas
- Pumpkin seeds
- Cottage cheese
- Hard-boiled eggs
It’s important to remember that it takes 3 to 6 months for your body and hormones to get back to normal after birth. Nourishing your body with daily snacks will give you the energy you need to get through your new workday and back to feeling like yourself.
Take all of your PTO
Paid time off is a benefit for your hard work–use it, and use it all. Set up fun vacations or staycations so you have something to look forward to. Use your PTO to spend more time with your family, or even plan a fun getaway just for you. P.S. This also includes taking any paid sick time off. If you’re not feeling the best, take your sick day.
Join a working mom group
Finding a working mom group in your area can make all the difference to your mental health. These groups are a great source of advice and understanding as you all share a common experience. Don’t know of any? Check out Meetup, and search for your city in their 600+ different working mom meetup groups. Meeting up regularly allows you to learn from each other’s challenges and successes, and who knows, you might even make some new friends in the process.
If you can’t find a local group, you don’t need to worry. There are plenty of online working mom support groups you can join. These groups allow you to connect with other working moms from all over the world right from your home. You can share your experiences, ask for advice, and offer support to others who are going through the same thing. A great one to check out is this Working Moms Support Group on Facebook.
Make self-care a priority
Returning back to work and mental health really do go hand-in-hand. This transition can be physically and emotionally draining, so it’s essential to make self-care a priority during this new phase. Carve out time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. Take a relaxing bath, practice yoga, read a book, or go on a walk. Finding an activity that you enjoy and making it a part of your routine can help you deal with stress from the transition.
A big part of self-care is making your new routine non-negotiable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Whether it’s asking your partner to take over baby duty or hiring a babysitter for a few hours, this can help you free up time for self-care. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish, it’s necessary.
Enjoy This New Stage in Your Life
Going back to a new job after having a baby can be a challenging transition, but taking care of yourself is the key to making it work for everyone. Remember to find support, prepare ahead of time, start slow if possible, and take your deserved breaks and paid time off. Soak in this new stage of your life, and bear in mind that you are doing big things. We have no doubt you’ll be able to handle the transition back to work like a pro in no time.
Disclaimer: All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any health or nutritional information obtained is accurate.