Returning to Work after Having a Baby: Tips for Finding a Balance between Work and Home Life
"Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed." - Linda Wooten
Returning to work after having a baby can be an emotionally complex transition, filled with worries about how to balance work and home life. It's natural to feel a sense of guilt, FOMO, anxiety, and miss your baby dearly. For me, the transition with my first child was the toughest experience I've had to go through, taking me over 18 months to find the right work-life balance. Although I didn't want to go back to work, I love being challenged and creating, and had to "escape" the stay-at-home mom mentality. Balancing both roles proved difficult, and the fear of compromising my relationship with my baby was always a concern. It took many iterations of daily routines and sacrifices to make it work. With my second child, I was able to reset to business mode in just nine months. Finding a balance takes time, and it does not happen overnight.
Here are some tips that helped me in my journey back to work:
Take it one day at a time and give yourself plenty of grace. It's crucial to be ruthless in prioritization, and it's okay to say no or propose alternatives to work that do not align with your boundaries.
Seek support from colleagues:
Talking to other working moms who have gone through similar experiences can be very helpful. You can reach out to colleagues who have returned to work after maternity leave and share your experiences. Building a support system with shared experiences can help you feel connected and empowered.
Stay connected with your baby:
Use technology to stay in touch with your baby when at work. Video calls can help you feel closer to them and keep you motivated.
Take care of yourself:
Going back to work can be tiring, and you need to care for yourself to have the energy to care for your baby. Allow yourself to lean on help when you are tired and take time to do things that help you relax and recharge.
Be part of the change:
Get involved in initiatives that directly help you and other working mothers. This can distract you and make you feel good about yourself, knowing that you are part of the change you want to see.
Ask for help:
Do not hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Delegate tasks, involve your partner, and ask for a helper to assist you in areas you find challenging.
Work from home:
If possible, working from home can offer more flexibility and allow you to spend more time with your baby. However, caring for a baby while tired can be challenging, and it's essential to be aware of your limits.
Seek support and reassurance:
Research shows that babies can benefit from mothers with paid work, and it's the time you spend with them that matters. Seek reassurance from friends or professionals that you are making the best decisions for your family.
After work, consider allowing help so that you can have some time for yourself. Having a shower and dinner before you tend to your baby can help you feel more refreshed and relaxed. Remember that you are not alone in this journey, and most working moms have been through this experience. Be kind to yourself and remember that you are doing the best you can for your family. You can find resources like "The Fifth Trimester" that offer practical tips for transitioning back to work. Being part of the change and creating initiatives that can benefit new moms transitioning back to work can also be helpful.
Returning to work after having a baby can be a challenging transition, but with time, patience, and support, it's possible to find a balance between work and home life. Remember to prioritize ruthlessly, stay connected with your baby, take care of yourself, seek support, and be part of the change. You're not alone, and there is a community of working moms who have been through similar experiences and are there to offer support and encouragement. It's okay to feel guilty or anxious, but it's important to remember that you are doing what is best for your family, and that is something to be proud of. Take it one day at a time, and don't be too hard on yourself. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may seem. With perseverance and determination, you can find a work-life balance that works for you and your family.
We hope that these tips can be helpful to you as you transition back to work after having a baby. However, we know that every person's situation is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. That's why we would love to hear from you! If you have tips or strategies that helped you transition back to work after having a baby, please share them with us in the comments below. Your insights and experiences can be incredibly valuable to others who are going through a similar journey. Together, we can create a supportive community that empowers and encourages working moms to thrive both at home and in the workplace.