When you first begin maternity leave, it can feel like you’ll have a nearly endless amount of time away from the office. But all too quickly those weeks or months of leave come to end, and transitioning back to workplace life can be a tough adjustment. If you’re approaching the end of your maternity leave, here are some tips to help prepare you to return to the workforce.
Reconnect with the Office
If it’s been awhile since you’ve thought about work, do yourself a favor: ease into workplace culture. Switching abruptly from days spent entirely with baby to time split between office and parenting is jarring, and likely not good for you either as a parent or an employee. Do some advance work before your first day into the office to make the transition smoother.
Schedule Your Return Date
Aim to go back to the office late in the week. Resist the temptation to make your first day back in the office a Monday: a full week back in the office makes for a difficult transition.
Reach Out to Your Boss
If human resources hasn’t already done so, tell your manger your first planned date back in the office. This can be a nice opportunity to share any schedule changes that may occur as a result of childcare, pumping, or anything else.
Make Sure You – and Your Family – Are Ready for Your Return
Before you can venture back into the world of work, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared at home. This means everything from arranging childcare (and backup childcare) to swapping yoga pants for suits.
Do a Wardrobe Check
Do a deep dive into your closet and pull out your office tops, pants, and skirts. Try clothes on to check they still fit appropriately, since both pregnancy and breastfeeding can change your figure. Put the clothes that are still suitable for work in a prominent spot in your closet to make your mornings easier; if necessary, purchase new outfits.
Finally, prepare yourself for your new morning routine: plan a trial run, complete with setting an alarm, dropping off baby at daycare, and commuting into the office. Getting ready in the morning with a baby – packing a bag for daycare, dropping her off, having a meaningful good-bye, breastfeeding – can take more time than you think, so always manage your time properly.