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5 Ways to Make Your Return After Maternity Leave Easier

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It’s such a conflicting feeling. Part of you is ready to grab your briefcase and run out the door, and another part of you wants to be at home bonding. You’re going to be able to do both, but your juggling act just got a little bit harder. Going back to work won’t be the same, and you probably know that whether this is your first or your fifth child. There’s a strategy for everything. It may take a while to get it down to a science, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly difficult.

1. Only Do it When You’re Ready

You might assume this goes without saying, but it isn’t always the case. New babies seem to wake up every five minutes, and your circadian rhythm is in shambles. You’re going to need to reset that before you return to your 9 to 5 job, and that’s not all you’ll have to do. If you need to take more time off to get things adjusted, you should always act in the best interest of yourself and your child. If you don’t think you can manage yet, don’t force yourself.

2. Get a New Purse

If you’re breastfeeding, you’re going to need a bag that can accommodate the necessary supplies. You’ll need to pump at work in order to keep the discomfort to a minimum. It would be a shame to waste that milk, so make arrangements to store your stash in the workplace refrigerator. If you aren’t breastfeeding but you’re still experiencing some of the aches and pains that naturally come with having had a child recently, you may want a bag that can accommodate a heating pad or a hot water bottle you can use during your downtime.

3. Outsource What You Can

Having a career can be taxing enough as it is, and that doesn’t even count the stress that comes with the responsibility of having a newborn. You may need to optimize some of the menial tasks around your home to give you time to enjoy your baby and get some much needed rest. It may be worth hitting up Gumtree for a housekeeper who can come in once or twice a week to keep your family ahead of the things that need to get done, so you can all relax.

4. Build a Support System

You may not want your baby to spend the majority of his or her time in daycare or with a hired sitter. It may save you some money and go a long way in fostering a sense of togetherness if the people in your inner circle are willing to pitch in while you’re on the clock. Even if you can only get them a few days a week, you may have more peace of mind knowing your little one is spending time with your sister, brother, or best friend.

5. You’re Not Superwoman, and That’s Okay

You aren’t going to be able to hit the ground running. You have a massive obligation at home, and there’s no reason to add unnecessary stress to the mix. It’s okay if you don’t come back as ambitious as you were when you left. You’ll need to get used to your new routine, and spend some time building back up. It’s okay to say no at work. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to say yes later on.

Your baby is only a newborn once, and you deserve to cherish these moments while you still have them. As much as you love your job, it’s important to remember to leave it at the office. A few years from now, you’ll be glad you did.

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