Going back to work after having a baby has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. I thought that I would be fine – I work from home so how bad could it really be – right?
Here is what I learned.
- It’s not easy.
- Allow extra time and practice your morning routine a few times before you have to actually go into work. You don’t want to be late the first day back to work.
- You don’t get a break. Work. Home. Sleep. Repeat.
- You have to make sure to take time to step away an give your mind and body a chance to relax.
- The anxiety is REAL. I am only a floor away so I can’t imagine all the mommas that have to leave their kid for the day but I can hear him when he cries and it kills me. I know he is learning new things and I’m not there to see it. I worry about him constantly.
- Keep a planner handy. There are so many things that go through your mind and you have to stay focused. This has helped me write down all the things I need to do or handle or think about when I’m done focusing on work.
- Make sure you have someone to talk to about it. Other mommas get it. Don’t try to act tough – you are human and you have feelings.
- Coffee is your new best friend.
- You don’t get to devote your whole life to work anymore. I was the type of person who would do anything to get something done – regardless of the personal sacrifice (time, event, etc.) but having a little one that I have to get home to makes it much harder to keep working late into the night. I have to take a break and I have to be okay with that.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up if you can’t work all day and all night – if you don’t you will end up missing out.
- Your priorities will change and every minute will count. I know I used to spend time during the day organizing files and cleaning things up just to make them look nicer but now I have to let some of that go and force myself to focus on what really matters and making sure I’m on top of the important stuff – if I have spare time then I can revisit dressing stuff up later.
- If you choose to breastfeed you are allowed to pump and you should be able to find a comfortable location in your office to do so. There are laws – learn them.
- They are only little once. Use ALL your vacation time.
I’m sure I will have a lot more to add to this as times goes on.
I would love to hear from you – what tips and pointers do you have for moms going back to work after baby?
As if life isn’t busy/stressful/crazy enough add in all the reminders that cross your mind everyday, hour, minute and second.
The list that follows are they key items I focus on when I need a “reality check” to keep my life running smoothly and make sure I maintain my sanity.
- It’s okay to step away and breath
- They will only be little once – soak up every second and don’t feel guilty about letting things that will be there later wait
- Yelling doesn’t get your point across any better than explaining why you are upset
- Have self-confidence
- Love yourself
- Run slowly, and you will get there faster (not literally of course – but basically a reminder to just make sure I do things right the first time and not rush them)
- Occasionally, take some time to be an observer in your own life
- Speak only to improve upon the silence
- Tell someone you love them everyday (or make someone feel loved if you don’t have anyone)
- Take control of your money, even if you have more of it you will spend more of it if you can’t control it
- Spend at least 15 minutes showing your family you love them (cuddle during a movie, play outside…etc)
Getting Tasks Done:
- Just start
- Do the worst task first
- Have a plan
- Develop a routine, and stick to it
- Proactively plan ahead (a calendar with all of your to-do items, meetings, chores, needs and wants is really helpful)
- Think minimal
- Don’t file or sort anything you won’t use in the next year
- Make a family yearbook and ditch the rest (mine are not super cute…yet – a three-ring binder and folders is enough)
- Remember the BUN (to enter into your home it should be beautiful, useful, or nutritious/necessary)
- Keep a folder with all your important info with you at all times (coupons for the week, phone numbers, envelopes with an address label and stamp)
- Learn how to master “the art of waiting” – when you are just sitting there waiting for an appointment, think of all the things you can get done if you just had “an envelope and stamp” or some papers to sort – plan ahead for the downtime when you are just “waiting” and use it to your advantage
- Have a “family/spouse” conference every day (30 minutes where you can discuss important or upcoming things)
- 2/3 and 5/7 – meal cooked at home (or at least healthy meals)
- Take Vitamins
- Fuel your body with nutritious food
- Break your own bad habits (find ways that work for you to break them, for me a bet with someone I know will hold me to it if I lose works great)
- Get outside EVERYDAY
As I embark on this journey called motherhood, there are a ton of tips and tricks that I wish I knew as soon as I became a mom.
I can’t wait to share them with you! Enjoy!
- Onsies are designed so you can you can just pull them off babies shoulders! No need to do acrobatics to get that poo covered diaper off baby!!
- Invest in a good thermos, like a really good one. Sitting down for a full cup of hot coffee is a thing of the past. A good thermos that keeps your coffee hot for hours is a game changer!!
- Invest in a water bottle you love and stay hydrated. This will helps you keep your energy up. It’s even more important if you are breastfeeding.
- Find healthy snacks and meals you you can prepare and eat with one hand.
- Diaper blow outs typically happen when you need to go up a size in diapers.
- You don’t need need a lot of cute outfits early on. Invest in one cute outfit for each age (newborn, 3 month, 6 month…) and then a lot of easy onsies/sleepers.
- Zippers make life 100 times easier. Skip the snaps!
- Leave a packed diaper bag in the car and a bag of essentials at places you go often (like grandmas) just incase you forget something or need to drop baby off quickly.
- Put a pair of small scissors in your diaper bag. Makes cutting up food much easier, not to mention those extra long straws they put in kids cups!!
- Keep a few empty ziplock bags in your diaper bag. You can use them to store pacifiers, half eaten snacks, dirty diapers if you need to change one in the car and so much more.
- You won’t be able to entertain them all the time. Find this they enjoy that you don’t have to do for them. A 15 minute educational TV show is the difference between wearing the same clothes for 3 days or having clean laundry.
- Plan to live your life in 2-3 hour increments based on their sleep schedule.
- You can schedule all your babies doctors appointments for their first year at the first visit.
- Don’t pre-open diapers and don’t pre-wash all clothes. Leave the tags/receipts on them. Babies grow fast and you might need to return or exchange some of them.
- Ask lots of questions at the hospital. Don’t be shy. You only get one chance.
- If something makes you uncomfortable, raise your voice – you have a choice!
- As long as you listen to everyone’s advice, you don’t actually have to take it. Listen to your gut!!
- You will get overwhelmed, tired, scared, mad, frustrated, sad. Take time for yourself. If you need a minute, put baby in a safe place and walk away. Sometimes you just need to reset to stay sane.
- People will offer to help help with the tasks they want to do. If something makes you uncomfortable you can tell them you need help but with a different task. “I appreciate that you want to help but it makes me uncomfortable having someone else wash my dirty undies/laundry. Would you mind helping with X, Y or Z”
- No is a complete sentence.
Babies don’t move fast, slow down with your little one and enjoy watching them grow. It goes by way to fast!!
When it comes to having a baby there is so much to think about.
There were so many things that I wanted to make sure happened when we got to the hospital… then I had my first contraction and I changed my entire plan (not mad about it).
Here is an example of my original birth plan to help you think through everything you want the doctors to know when you have your baby!
Overview of My Birth Preferences
Parent #1 Name – Birthday
Parent #2 Name – Birthday
Due Date: X/X/XXXX
Significant Other’s and I look forward to welcoming our little one at Hospital Name.
We desire labor and delivery as free from medical intervention as possible.
We respectfully request the staff take the following actions, assuming no major emergencies arise.
The safety of our baby is our biggest priority and we will be flexible in our methods. If a problem arises, please inform us along with providing each possible next step and pros/cons so that we can make an informed decision.
Additionally, what mom says goes, she has the right to change her mind at any point in time without an argument assuming no one’s safety is put at risk.
LABOR & DELIVERY
- No cell phones allowed in the room
- We will have one camera/video camera to capture all of the special moments.
- Mom will handle taking some of the photos during delivery (no photos of delivery without mom’s consent).
- We would like to record the delivery with a camera on a tripod if possible.
- Please allow for a quiet environment, Mom is in control of the music and television (if any).
- Lighting should be kept to a comfortable level (avoiding bright lights if possible to provide for a relaxing environment).
- I would like the freedom to move around.
- I do not believe that the human body is meant (or shaped) in an optimal way for the entire birthing process to take place lying horizontally in a hospital bed. Please allow the use of distraction techniques such as a birthing ball, shower/tub, etc.
- Food and water are preferred over an IV.
- I can guarantee I will want a lot of crushed ice.
- Would like water to break naturally.
- Please coach me when it comes to pushing but if I ask you to stop, please give me a little space (I get angry when I don’t feel like people are listening to me but if you give me a minute to cool off I will be fine).
- I would like to use a mirror to see the baby’s head and be able to touch it (maybe even pull the baby out if I am up to it).
- Avoid Tearing & Pain
- Avoid tearing if at all possible.
- Please numb the area if you have to put in stitches after delivery.
- Comfortable with fetal monitoring.
I would like to avoid:
- Pain medication (if I ask for pain medication please reassure me that everything is okay and that I can do this).
- Note: Exception of topical numbing.
- Epidural (but let me know when it’s close to the point where it can’t be administered to make a final decision).
- Vacuuming/forceps to remove the baby.
In the Room During Labor & Delivery:
- Dad (depending on how I am feeling there may be times when I need my space and ask him to leave the room for a while).
- My mom, sister, and dad (however I may ask that they leave if I get uncomfortable, I have a feeling I am going to want to be alone during a large portion of this – most likely I will want my mom to ask advice and quick visits from the rest of my family).
In the Room Post Delivery:
- We would like at least an hour alone with the baby.
- After the first hour, visitors are welcome for short increments of time, but no extended visits.
- Typically I am a pretty serious person and when I am scared or in pain, jokes make me mad because I feel like people are making light of a serious situation. Just forewarning everyone.
- All medical procedures should be explained to the parents before being performed.
- Please delay routine procedures for an hour to allow us to bond with the baby.
- It’s fine if you:
- Asses the baby
- Vitamin shot if needed
- Put bracelets on
- Baby should remain in the room at all times as opposed to going to the nursery.
- Should an emergency arise, dad will need to remain with the baby at all times – the baby does NOT leave his side.
- Request immediate skin-to-skin contact.
- Please let mom hold the baby first.
- Immediate breastfeeding (hope is that we can exclusively breastfeed).
- No bottles, pacifiers, artificial nipples to be provided.
- Once vernix has absorbed into the skin, you can then wash the baby and immediately give them back to the parents.
- Delayed cord clamping by 2-5 minutes.
- Dad will not cut the cord.
- We will not be saving or donating cord blood.
- Vaccines approved/not approved as follows:
- Would like to discuss each shot prior to them being administered.
Post Birth Care for Mom
- I would like to meet with a lactation consultant who has kids that she has breastfed.
I needed to know that I MIGHT be okay. I could do this.
I’m a list person. When I panic I make lists.
So here is my list of why I MIGHT make a good boy mom. I’m sure that looking back in 5 years none of these things will be what really mattered but right now it’s helping me realize I can do this.
- I know more about WWE than my husband
- I love UFC
- Superhero capes are easy to sew. Just a square with a logo and an elastic band.
- My husband likes me and he’s a boy.
- My dad likes me and he’s a boy.
- I have seen all the Marvel and DC
- I can play FIFA and occasionally beat my husband (and he’s pretty good).
- I know how to use power tools better than my husband.
So… looking at this list I MIGHT actually be a pretty cool boy mom. Only time will tell!!