Thursday, November 20, 2014

First Lessons Learned as a Working Mommy

Returning to work from maternity leave happened in stages. The first stage started at the beginning of October when I returned for a half day on a Friday before a big work event the following week.  I left my sweet little one with my mother and wiped away tears...yes, there were tears even for a half day of work. Coming back for just four hours was perfect. There was no way that a lot can be done your first day back so it was an ideal time to catch back up with colleagues, respond to e-mail and make plans for the following week. Then at noon, I was running out of the door because I couldn't get to my sweetheart fast enough.  The following week, I worked the entire week. I did good on Monday returning him to my mother for the day but by Tuesday I was all tears. Thankfully the next week, I only worked three days and the following week only four days.  What I learned in those first few days back came from my own experience and from reading tips on returning to work from maternity leave:

1. I was able to take it in four hour blocks of time because my mother lives about five minutes from my work so I could go for a visit during my lunch hour. Breaking it up in short time frames made me feel like I was not really completely at work but just leaving him for a few hours.

2. Since I returned to work when Buckner was around 8 weeks old, getting to leave him with my mother helped a lot in making the eventual transition to the daycare. 

3. Starting back at the end of the week as well as choosing to use a few more days in the first few weeks to be off with my little one helped because I slowly transitioned back in and I was able to look forward to those days off.  

4. Create rituals and special time to increase the quality of your time with your little one. My husband and I realize that we have morning and evening time with him during the work week. We want to make that time special and focused on our family. Therefore, we all get up extra early in the morning...usually around 5:00am. We feed him in the lamplight of the morning while we drink coffee and have about an hour of family time that is not rushed before we get the morning started. We agreed that we never want our mornings to feel chaotic which leads me to the next tip...

5. Get as much done as you can the night before. I know you are tired and just want to sit but you will feel so much better to have everything planned and as much of your morning routine completed before you start the next day. 

6. And even though you are tired in the evenings, this is one of your times to make special. For us, I have time that I focus just on Buckner which means no tv or phone. He loves his bath so we make bath time special and fun with lots of giggles from our sweet little boy. He is usually very talkative (for a 3 month old) after his bath. He lays on the changing table as I put his night clothes on while we coo and babble to each other. If it isn't time to eat yet, I like to read him a book and he loves to look at the pages as I read. We wrap up our evening with one more bottle that gets him to sleep for about five hours. By then it is usually around 8pm so we have time to catch up on what we need to do before heading to bed ourselves (correction: collapsing in bed!).

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