How To Survive Going Back To Work After Maternity Leave
The time was approaching. The weeks had gone by. Every day that passed I knew the inevitable was coming. It was time to go back to work after maternity leave.
Now, luckily I was able to complete some Keeping in Touch (KiT) days before officially going back to my job full time in July.
As soon as I had scheduled in these KiT days the nerves began to grow. Although my husband, Pete, was going to be looking after our twins, the questions began to race around in my head: How am I ever going to be able to leave my babies for that length of time? What if they need me and I’m not there? Will Pete be ok with the babies all day? Of course I knew that Pete would do a fabulous job, but that didn’t stop the worries of leaving my babies for that length of time for the first time.
Here are some tips on how on how I survived going back to work after maternity leave:
- Batch cook at the weekend: I thought I’d start with a practical tip. There is nothing worse than getting home after a 12 hour day to find some mouldy old bread and furry cheese to contend with. And any spare time that you do have you’ll want to be able to spend with your little ones, not in the kitchen. With that in mind, I love to spend 3 hours at the weekend batch cooking a range of meals to stock up the freezer, ready for the midweek meals. I also cook a big pot of soup too, ready to box up for my work lunches. That means one less thing to worry about through the week and more time to spend with your babies.
- Communicate: As Pete and I were swapping roles for the week, there were certain ‘jobs’ that were left up in the air. Who is now responsible for the laundry? Does the person who’s at home with the babies do the housework as they’re at home, or are these meant to be shared? It may sound trivial, but believe me when no one changes the toilet roll or empties the rubbish bin, this can cause the beginning of World War 3. Establish who is responsible for what, that way everyone is clear on their roles. Team work really does make the world go round.
- Prioritise: You are not going to be able to spend as many hours thinking about work or completing household chores as you used to. You can’t. You now have two little ones to look after so you have to learn how to prioritise your time. There are a few things I do to help organise myself. I find a monthly calendar works well to schedule in important dates (I know people actually use online calendars now, but nothing beats a good old pen and paper I say). Orangise what you will buy people for their birthdays etc. Don’t laugh…but I have a list of everyone’s birthdays in an excel spreadsheet so that I can tick off when I have bought them their gift and sent it on (yes it might sound ridiculous, but I hate last minute panic buying and paying for next day delivery because we might have forgotten someone’s special day). Set yourself a particular day where you and your partner can sit down and file paperwork such as bills, statements and sort out important things such as insurance, maintenance etc (keeping on top of important jobs like this will help to make life a lot less hectic). Have an online food shopping list with your essential basic household items saved so that you can keep your home restocked throughout the week. Just doing these little things can make a big difference in how you use your free time outside of work.
- Change your mindset: As you prepare for your first day back to work, that’s when it starts to creep in…that dreaded mum guilt. Should I feel guilty for being a working mum? The truth is, I am extremely proud to be a professional worker with a career that I have worked extremely hard to have. I view my working life as providing for our family. Be proud of that mamas.
- Embrace the transition: After wearing oversized clothes which are more often than not covered in baby sick, it’s quite a novelty to get dressed up for work. Enjoy wearing make up, heels and a pretty blazer. It helps to remind yourself of who you are, as well as mama.
- Plan family time: Make sure you book in some quality time to spend with your family. Even if it’s spending weekends having picnics in the park or swimming sessions, having these on your calendar means you’ll have precious moments to look forward to.
How did you survive going back to work after maternity leave?