Dear Rookie Moms, maternity leave is ending

Dear Rookie Moms,

I have had 4 glorious months of maternity leave and am returning to full-time work in the first week of January. We have child care arranged and a steadily growing stash of pumped milk in the freezer.

I would love to know what other rookie (and veteran!) moms did to ease back into the working world. Feeling really sad that this time with my daughter is almost over, and guilty that I won’t be with her everyday.

Thank you!
Sierra

Hi Sierra,
I feel you. We both returned to work around the same time as you, and it was not easy. Studies do show that your baby will be fine, and thrive, as long as she is well cared for but your guilt is another matter. The first two weeks are especially challenging while you find your new groove and try not to lactate at work every time someone asks you casually, “how’s motherhood?” or something else impossible to answer. I’d love to open it up to our community for tips and tricks for you as well. [See below!]

Even after doing it for a while now, I do not know how people eat dinner with two working parents. It’s a constant source of amazement to me. I dedicated a section of our site to work/life (as in balance but more like juggling) and also getting dinner on the table FAST.

Hang in there,
Heather

We got a ton of helpful suggestions from our virtual community on facebook and twitter. Thanks, ladies! Here are several favorites:
Set some boundaries

  • @beeteljooz: Focus on work while there. Leave work at workplace, go home and enjoy baby! Only your children and your husband will remember time missed with you. Learn to say no! Let dad and grandparents help Take time out for yourself. The old saying goes: If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!
  • @civil3diva: Own your decisions. If something is making you feel guilty, chances are you need to change. Be brave, do what you know is right!

Master the logistics

  • @beeteljooz: Use a crockpot for meals. Throw one more load of clothes in washer before leaving for work and one before going to bed at night. Keep two diaper bags ready to go to save on time when you are in a rush.
  • @esanchez6 Lay out as much as you can the night before, maybe even try to prepare bottles for night feedings.
  • @HowVeryGranola: Exercise after baby goes to sleep, find another mom to talk with, journal/blog, breathe, get a crockpot, accept the messy house. If you can, get a housekeeper to come 1-2x per month. Not as expensive as you might think.
  • @meetmoe: Mostly know that it’s HARD and it’s OKAY and let go of perfection.

Ride the emotional roller coaster

  • @HotMessMommy: Returning to work is hard and no one will truly understand how you feel about it. It’s so personal.
  • @Beckytwogirls: Be prepared to want to call the day care provider all day. If you have a good provider, she’ll indulge you a little.
  • @hikerkira: I found that having too many pics of my baby was distracting and made me miss him even more.
  • @lizzieoeltjen: I set aside time each week for mommy time with kiddo, no exceptions. Let the dishes sit in sink and make time for play.
  • @HBWMoms: Get a routine every morning that’s special just for you and your baby. Mine was an eskimo kiss and 3 hugs and then let go =)
  • @lesleytweeters: Don’t beat yourself up if you quit cloth diapering! [or any of the other things that you need to let slide]
  • @abourland: Don’t let stay at home moms get you down or make you feel like you are doing something wrong by going to work. [ahh yes, the proverbial mommy wars]
  • @maggieKTVB7: Know that the tears will pass! It takes a few days though. Soon, you get in a routine and baby does too.

Sierra, after you get in the groove, please share some of your tips back with us! Good luck.
And readers, we’re always open to your tips. Please add to the list!

[photo via flickr by Hammer51012]

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

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