How to Survive Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave

I’m a bit of an introvert, and love being home. This has increased so much since having Miss Via. I love being home with my baby and watching all her moments where she learns something new, and spending time reading books, playing with toys and cuddle time. Eventually, our dream is for me to work from home, but for right now, that just isn’t in the immediate plans.

Going back to work puts you through some pretty crazy emotions. I had to go back at 6 weeks postpartum, because as a teacher, we don’t get paid Maternity leave, unless we can use our sick days. It made me feel guilty for wanting to stay home, and guilty for wanting to help my students. I love teaching, but my heart broke thinking about not being home for my baby. If this feels familiar, this is what helped me get through it.

Remember why you love your job.

If you’re like me, you love your job. I love to teach, and be with my students. It’s so fun to watch them learn, and interact with each other. I enjoy working with my fellow teachers, and growing as a teacher. Being creative, coming up with new methods to teach what my students need to learn is exciting. Remembering what I loved about my job helped build some anticipation for going back.

Find childcare you trust.

One of the biggest things I struggled with going back to work, was who was going to take care of Via. When I was kid, I had to go to a daycare, which as an older child, wasn’t that big a deal. But I remember in the baby room, the babies were in playpens around the room, the ladies were busy running around to take care of them. The babies weren’t getting the same kind of attention that my baby got at home. At the end of last year, my brother and sister-in-law were able to watch her with her cousins. This year, I have a neighbor with two little boys who can watch her. That has helped a lot of the stress, knowing that she’s getting the kind of attention I want her to have. Find a daycare, or babysitter, that you like!

Have a Friend You Can Talk To

A lot of times, we are going back to work while our bodies are still healing, emotions and hormones are still on the crazy, and adjusting to a new baby, their routines (or lack there of) and trying to fit in work, cleaning the house, dinner, and still spending quality time with your spouse and other family members is hard. Having someone who understands, whether it’s a parent, or a coworker, or close friend to talk to is a lifesaver. I had a friend who was a previous co-worker, my sister-in-law, and my previous principal check in and help me to deal with the the emotions, and the struggles of being able to get a decent milk-supply in. (Which never happened for me, but I had lots of things to try to help with their advice!)

Prioritize

Repeat after me. It is OKAY to not do everything. Really. You work all day, have a family, a home, meals to make, all the things… you aren’t going to have time to do them all. This was especially hard for me. If I didn’t get all the things on the to do list checked off, I obviously was failing as a wife and mom. Sometimes, I fell apart because I hadn’t been “supermom”. But there are not enough hours in the day to do ALL THE THINGS. So, prioritize. I found it was helpful to split my “to do list” into categories. I split it into home, business, school (work), physical health, mental/emotional health, and spiritual. Then, I write one or two (MAX TWO) things for each area. That is the main thing in that area I really need to do that day. Sometimes, mental health is cuddle the baby, and physical is drink the water. Pick the most important things, so you know what to focus on.

Leave work at work.

This came from my mom. As a teacher, I used to drag all the things home, whether I got them done or not. But since I went back to work, I try so hard to only bring home grading that absolutely has to come home. That way my time at home, is at home.

Simplify

This goes along with prioritizing. The mornings that run the smoothest, are the ones when I did things ahead. My last week of maternity leave, one of the ladies I follow on Instagram (sorry I can’t remember who to give her the credit!) wrote, “Do things that your future self will thank you for.” That really made a difference, especially the first couple of weeks. I packed outfits in Ziplocs for the week (plus spares for the diaper bag). We packed lunches the night before. I love Emily Ley’s Simplified Life for other ideas!

Most importantly, you got this momma, going back to work is hard, but you are doing amazing things for your career and family! Remember, it’s ok to have hard days, but you are doing a great job!

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