Being a working mom has tons of challenges. Although I’m old hat at it now (my first baby is 8 ½) there
are still a lot of tweaks I make in my weeks to keep the household running smoothly
Going back to work after your first baby, whether it’s after a year, like we get here in Canada, or after a
few weeks, requires a lot of life changes. Some changes are big (daycare, reconnecting with your
workplace) and others are smaller (deciding who cooks dinner on what nights), but they can challenge
you, your relationships, and your mood.
Here are 4 tips to help your return to work run more smoothly.
1-Expect an adjustment period.
I had a very rough time getting back to work after my first baby. She never slept so I was
running on a year of sleep deprivation, and then I felt terrible mom guilt for not being there
more for her. I missed her first steps and (I’m sure) a bunch of other firsts, but I know she was
in excellent hands with the daycare we chose. Looking back now – she’s 8 – I see there was no
reason to feel all those negative emotions, but I did. And you might too.
2-Be upfront with your boss and coworkers.
If you’re the parent who is “on call” for the daycare, be sure everyone knows it. Having to leave
work for a sick kiddo really sucks, but it’s easier if your workplace knows it may happen. I’ve left
work many times to collect a child or two who was under the weather – from school and from
daycare. For me it’s a pay cut on top of the hassle of leaving work to collect them, but my family
comes first. Always.
3-Create a weekly routine.
After my first baby we got into a routine pretty quickly. Mondays and Thursdays I worked until
7pm which meant I didn’t see Emma at all those nights. Patrick would collect her, feed her, and
get her to bed. This was easier once I stopped breastfeeding every night – she was ready and
was happy enough without it. Although it wasn’t “easy” for me to not see her those nights, I did
finally adapt. Now I can’t wait to get a night out when I don’t have to put the kids to bed!
(Although their bedtimes are finally not a giant multi-story deal.)
4-Let go of some control.
This was a tough one for me. My husband does not do things the way I do. He gets things done,
and usually well, but his process is amazingly different from mine. It took me many years (and 2
children) to realize it is okay to let him do things his way. Especially if it meant I didn’t have to
do it. Bath time runs differently; bedtimes, when Dad does them, are half as long; and the
dishes will get done, if he says he’ll do them. But letting go of some on the “mom control”, as I
call it, can really help you relax at the end of the day.
While this is nowhere near an exhaustive list of things that may help, I do believe if you know some of
what to expect, you can have an easier return to the workplace after maternity leave. I know I could
have done with some advice way back when I first returned to work. I was not prepared for all the
feelings when I left my baby behind! But here I am, 7 years later, and happy with our life and the care
my children got with our amazing daycare.
Jessica is working mom who blogs. She can be found writing at A Modern Mom’s Life, and sharing her
posts on social media. You can find her on