Planning how long you will be away from your job is just one matter involved in your maternity leave. The other is planning how you will return: who will watch your baby, how you will fit back into the work routine again, how to field questions from coworkers and supervisors and more. This short guide will help you feel more comfortable when you return to work after a leave of absence to have your baby.
First Things First
Before you step foot back in the office, make sure you've got all your ducks in a row at home. The most important thing is finding quality daycare for your baby. If you're lucky enough to have a partner who can stay home with the baby, great! If not, query friends and family members to find a recommended sitter or daycare facility. Be sure to coordinate pickup and drop off times, too, so that they correspond with your work hours. You also need to consider what you will do over holidays when the daycare center may be closed while you still need to work.
You may want to talk to your boss about working some of your scheduled hours from home, if possible. That's an ideal solution to daycare, but you may still need to hire a sitter so you can attend virtual meetings or speak with clients even if your baby won't go down for a nap or acts fussy due to teething.
Your Place Back At Work
It's probably not going to be easy showing back up at your workplace after a couple months or more of being away. For one thing, your supervisor probably had to cover your work by asking other staffers to handle tasks while you were gone so your desk might be occupied and your paperwork shuffled. Don't resent it; try to roll with the flow without causing any further upsets. Thank those who performed your duties in your absence while trying to regain a sense of order so you can jump right back into the tasks that need to be accomplished.
Inevitably, you will be bombarded with a series of questions from your coworkers and perhaps even your boss. They may range from the inane, "How can you return to work so soon after having major surgery?" to the well-meant but nonetheless demeaning, "What's that wet spot on your blouse? Don't they make pads or something to prevent that?"
Try to realize that everyone else you work with is going through the same period of readjustment you are. They aren't likely to understand why you have to run to the bathroom in the middle of a meeting because you heard a baby crying in the corridor or how difficult it is to get to work on time each morning when you've got a baby to get ready for daycare. Do your best to stay professional and explain your actions, when appropriate.
Wet spots on your blouse brings up another point you need to consider when arriving back at work after maternity leave: your appearance. If you are collecting your breast milk, make sure you schedule your day to take care of pumping before you begin to leak. And always wear pads in your bra while keeping several spare sets in your purse. You may want to wear an apron you can take off right before getting leaving each morning, too, to prevent spit up and formula spots.
If you are having a hard time fitting back into the professional clothing you used to wear, try slipping into a post maternity body shaper first. With its slimming and smoothing properties, these special body shapers make it easy to fit into nearly any clothing that's normally too tight. Opt for an undergarment that uses neuro-banding across the back to promote good posture and you'll find it easier to stay both physically and mentally balanced, too!
It is possible to return to work after maternity leave and successfully juggle career and mommyhood. Be prepared for the situations you may encounter before and during work hours and slip into your post maternity body shaper to enjoy the confidence that comes from feeling and looking your best each day.