Before you return to work
While you're still on maternity leave, set yourself up for a successful return to work:
Let go of the guilt. Returning to work after maternity leave can pose emotional conflicts for new mothers. Working outside the home doesn't make you a bad mother — and it's OK to look forward to the challenges and interactions of your job. Remind yourself that you're doing what's best for you and your family. Don’t worry, children learn to adjust.
- Find dependable child care. Look for a safe, stimulating environment and qualified caregivers.
- Talk to your boss. Clarify your job duties and schedule so you'll know what's expected of you after your maternity leave. You might ask about flexible hours, telecommuting or working part time.
- If you're breast-feeding and plan to continue doing so after returning to work, ask your employer about a clean, private room for breast feeding, if possible.
- Get organized. Make a daily to-do list. You might divide the list into tasks for work and tasks for home, or tasks for you and tasks for your partner. Identify what you need to do, what can wait — and what you can skip entirely. (Try to maintain a daily work diary with you)
- Stay connected. Plan at least one daily phone call to your baby's caregiver to find out how your baby's doing. Place a favourite photo of your baby on your desk or in your work area. Set aside time after work to reconnect with your baby.
- Make backup plans. Know what you'll do if your baby is sick or your baby's caregiver is unavailable on a workday — whether it's taking the day off yourself or calling a friend or loved one to care for your baby.
- Seek support. Don't try to do everything yourself. Accept help from your partner, loved ones and friends. Speak up if you're feeling guilty, sad or overwhelmed.
- Nurture your own well-being. Relax in the tub after you put the baby to bed, or unwind with a favourite book or soft music. Cut down on unnecessary commitments. Pick a reasonable bedtime, and stick with it. On weekends, sleep when your baby sleeps.
Above all, maintain a positive attitude. Tell your baby how excited you are to see him or her at the end of the day. Your baby may not understand your words, but he or she will pick up on your emotions.
Hope this will help you in preparing and taking your guilt out.