Back-to-work-survival guide, part b
Last week we provided advice on how to prepare mentally and emotionally for the end of maternity leave, including organizing your home and planning ahead for when you go back to work. Here is Part B of the Survival Guide.
Know tomorrow’s schedule today
Even the world’s most reliable babysitter gets sick sometimes, and your baby is always likely to surprise you. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Therefore, before you leave work at the end of the day, write down the next day’s office schedule. That way, when you suddenly find yourself at the doctor’s office calming a crying baby, you know what meetings you’ll need to cancel for the next day or who to send in your place. When you have your schedule with you, you will know when something cannot be pushed off and you’ll need to find alternative childcare or to tell your partner that it’s his turn to stay home with the baby.
Sleep, sleep, and… sleep
Your first week back at work will be exhausting no matter how prepared you are. Get to bed as early as possible, put in earplugs, and just sleep. Deputize your partner to listen for baby’s cries, have him bring the baby to you for feedings, and make sure that he puts baby back to sleep.
Set strict priorities
Working mothers are incredibly productive people, because they have to be. Do you know the story about the rocks in a jar? The idea is that in order to fill a jar with as many rocks as possible, you need to put the biggest ones in first, then the medium-sized ones, and finally the smallest ones. Write down your essential daily tasks at work; these tasks that you absolutely must do every day are your biggest rocks. So, if you get an urgent call from daycare telling you to pick up your sick baby, your biggest rocks will have been taken care of.
Ease into big decisions
You have no way of knowing how you will feel when you go back to work. During your first week do not make any big decisions. This is a very emotional time for you and you are still adjusting to the return to work. Instead of making rash decisions about your work-family balance, listen to your feelings closely for a few weeks so you can properly analyze them and make the right choices for you. If you still feel the need to spend more time with your baby, see if there’s a way to reduce your working hours.
Give yourself an hour a week to do something that makes you feel good: dance, yoga, painting, or anything else that clears your head and reminds you that you are more than a mother and more than an employee. You are also an independent woman who loves herself.