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How to Prepare to Return to Work After Maternity Leave

mom preparing to return to work following maternity leave

You’ve spent the last few months fully immersed in maternity leave. There have been moments of newborn bliss, sleepless nights, and you have experienced a caffeine dependency that far surpassed that of your college days. 

But as week by week passed and your newborn slowly grew into a little person who captured your heart more than you ever thought possible, your dreaded “return to work” day loomed closer and closer. 

You’re now tasked with figuring out all the things about working mom life in addition to keeping a newborn baby alive. That’s a LOAD! But don’t worry, friend – I’ve got you. I’ve been where you are and I’ll get you ready with all the steps needed to help make this transition as easy as possible.

Step #1: Figure out the logistics of returning to work 

You’re probably wondering “how in the world am I going to get out the door – and on-time – for those 8:00am meetings with a baby, a diaper bag, a nursing bag, and my work bag all while avoiding any spit up stains, diaper blowouts, or coffee spills?” So, let’s start with the logistics.

Begin by asking yourself the questions that matter. Think about the bare minimum – the things that absolutely need to be done in order to get out the door in the morning and write out a plan or a schedule based around those things.

It will feel overwhelming at first, but I promise that you’ll adapt to your new schedule and it will help you feel more in control of your morning.

Step #2: Process the emotions of returning to work

Next, make space to process your emotions, because there a A LOT of emotions going on. On your first day back to work, you’re walking out your front door with an emotional load heavier than any bag you might be carrying as you tearfully envision saying goodbye to your beloved baby in your return to the office. 

Realize that the emotions you’re feeling are totally normal and millions of fellow working moms have cried the ugly tears right alongside you.

We have all felt overextended in every area wondering when we’ll have time to prioritize our marriages, invest in friendships, schedule appointments, buy groceries, or get our hair done (don’t mess with our highlights) all while working a full-time 40+ hour professional job AND being a mom. 

And you know what? We made it through those really tough and emotionally draining first few weeks as working moms. Slowly but surely, the emotional load started to feel lighter and our confidence grew stronger and stronger.

If it helps to process your emotions with someone else, then by all means, have a heart to heart with your spouse or a trusted friend.

You too can have the same journey of growing in confidence as a working mom, but please give yourself permission to process your emotions along the way because you owe it to yourself to acknowledge the emotions you’re feeling.

Step #3: Know the truth of who you are as a working mom

After you’ve started to process your emotions, keep your emotions from spiraling out of control by focusing on truth. And here’s the truth – even though there is A LOT on your plate right now, you are more capable than you ever imagined. 

Here’s more truth – being a working mom is going to bring out your best. It forces you to be strategic, to prioritize the things that really matter (both at work and at home), and it gives you a new perspective on work, life, and people.

You’ll be more compassionate towards the people you work with because you know that life is both more complicated and more miraculous than you ever realized. 

And the best part? You’ll be even more of a TOTAL ROCKSTAR in the workplace because you are a master juggler who is agile, smart, and dedicated to being the best version of yourself wherever you are. 

Step #4: Link arms with fellow working moms to support you in your journey

Next, realize that you aren’t alone in your journey. In those moments when you feel less like a rockstar and more like a crazed rocker, know that there is a TRIBE of fellow working moms who are just like you. 

We all cling to the truth that while being a mom is the greatest gift, providing for our families and advancing our careers is also great. You can do both – be a great mom AND a great professional. 

And on the days when you feel alone in your journey of motherhood, find support from fellow working moms in our very own Haven & Hustle tribe. Join us on Instagram and follow along with us right here in our little corner of the internet. We’re linking arms right beside you, friend.

Step #5: Realize that you are human and you will feel all the things

And finally, realize that yes, even though you’re superwoman, you are still human. You’ll have days when you totally kill it at work and feel so on top of things, and you’ll have days when you feel distracted and just want to cuddle your baby.

That is okay, normal, and human. 

What you can’t do is believe the lie that you are less than, that you aren’t a good mom, or that you don’t have what it takes.

You DO have what it takes and your baby will be absolutely fine because they have the gift of having YOU as their mom. You are the one who will make all the difference in their life – not whether or not you worked inside or outside your home.

You will teach them the value of hard work, the power of women, and the never ending love of a mother. 

Conclusion

So tomorrow, or next week, or whenever your looming “return to work” day arrives, leave time for the ugly cry after saying goodbye to your squishy baby, compose yourself while treating yourself to your favorite morning beverage from the coffee shop drive thru (because let’s be real, no one wants to ugly cry inside the coffee shop with total strangers observing), and then walk confidently into your workplace knowing that you are a GREAT mom and you are more capable than you ever imagined.

You’ve got this, friend. 

How are you preparing for your return to work day? How are you feeling about your return? What truth can you share with your fellow working moms to give them hope in their journey?

Hey there, I’m Ally!

I’m a marketing professional by day, a blogger by night, and a toddler chasing and baby rockin’ mama every moment in between. 

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