Written By: Emily Silver, co-founder of Boston NAPS
So, the time has come. You’ve been home, recovering from your baby’s birth and building that special mommy-baby bond, but now it’s time to get back to your other job – the one that pays the bills! Whether you’ll be working from home or heading into the office, there are a few things you can do to make the transition as smooth and painless as possible – for everyone involved. Below are five tried-and-true tips to help you nail this working mom business!
- Ease Your Baby into Your Absence – Maybe you’re splitting baby duty with your spouse at home or hiring a sitter. Or maybe you’re taking your bundle of joy to Grandma’s house or to daycare. No matter the scenario, don’t do it cold turkey! Try your solution out for short periods of time to get your baby – and you! – used to the idea of being apart. Lengthen your separation bit by bit until it’s close to the time you’ll be apart during the workday.
- Set Clear Work Hours – Many employers offer flexible hours for new parents returning to the workforce. Be realistic about the time you can actually begin your workday and how long you can be there, then communicate your work hours clearly – and stick to them! Answering emails and phone calls after hours signals your employer that you are available 24-7, so resist the urge. And be sure to prioritize the time you are working – determine your most productive hours and use those to tackle your most important projects, leaving busy work for your less productive hours.
- Schedule “You” Time – You can’t pour from an empty cup. Going full speed at work all day and racing home into full time parenting will drain your energy and enthusiasm, making you a less than ideal parent and employee. Literally schedule time for yourself into your calendar each and every workday – block off your lunch break, time for pumping, or a few laps in the hallway to stretch your legs. And do the same at home! Sure, a weekly massage would be great, but a 15-minute walk in the park, a phone call to an old friend, or a book and a bubble bath can also be incredible mood boosters. Negotiate a half hour each day with your partner, for each of you – you’ll both come back happier parents.
- Divide Home Duties – Speaking of home, hell hath no fury like a working mom who feels like she’s also doing all of the chores. Sit down with your partner and make a list of the daily household duties – cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, etc. Divvy them up and do your part, knowing each of you will complete your tasks, your own way (no input needed, thanks!), in your own time. If you and your partner are both working from home, discuss who is on baby duty when so that each of you can get a chunk of focused work time without trying to be two places at once.
- Bring Your Security Blanket – Not literally, of course, but keeping a reminder of your little one nearby helps keep them near your heart. Set a framed photo on your desk, have a favorite video cued up on your phone, stash one of your sweetie’s favorite stuffed animals in your bag – whatever it takes to help with the transition.
We are in uncharted waters and we’re all doing the very best we can. Juggling work and parenting is tricky under normal circumstances – throw in a pandemic and all bets are off. Ask for help when you need it – your village is waiting on the sidelines to pitch in. Unplug and sleep as much as you can. Above all else, go easy on yourself! Be realistic, forgiving, patient, and positive. Your love for your little one is what matters most.
Boston NAPS is the highly qualified, leading provider of prenatal education and postnatal support services across New England. Because we hold our team to the highest standards, our clients enjoy seamless, experienced, evidence-based care that empowers them as parents. Our mission is to create a sense of community that helps women feel supported in a non-judgmental way from the moment they get pregnant, onward. For more information, visit www.bostonnaps.com.