Thousands of women juggle families and full-time jobs every year, and now I’m one of them! Earlier this year, my husband and I welcomed a healthy baby girl into our family. I immersed myself in her care until it was time to put on my professional attire, board the commuter train and get back to the job I love.
And you know what? Going back to work – as daunting as it sounded at first – has gone great. Which brings me to a few of my “trade secrets” to a smooth and happy transition back to work:
- Start Slow – Create a transition plan with your employer. I asked to be integrated into daily communications before my return, and then worked part time from home for the last two weeks of my leave. I also visited the office with the baby before I returned to work – allowing me to catch up with co-workers and show off my little girl before I had a to-do list to juggle. The result? I was “in the know” again and ready to go on my first day back.
- Rehearse – The logistics of getting to work when you have a baby can be tough, with earlier mornings, less sleep and a limited wardrobe. I made it easier by “rehearsing” a couple of times before work resumed. I practiced everything: getting up, getting showered and dressed, driving to daycare and taking the train to the office. I found a few flaws in my plan and fixed them before my first day back in the office.
- Stay Connected – Being the expert on my baby’s care was one role I was not willing to give up when I returned to work. I had lunchtime conference calls with daycare during my first week back to discuss my baby’s progress, and I have my daycare provide notes on the baby’s day so I can review everything she did.
- Embrace Support – Have a coworker who always wants a good baby story, or asks for a recent photo? Embrace the support and take five minutes to relate. Integrating your new role as a mom into your work life will make the transition easier and keep you smiling.
Lots of factors contribute to a smooth transition back to work: liking your job, getting much-needed sleep, knowing your baby is happy and finding that all important work/life balance are just a few. But there are many of us who have found success being happy, wonderful moms and successful professionals, too. Best of luck!