So you recently gave birth to a little bundle of joy. Congratulations, mama! Whether this new little angel is your very first or your very last (for real this time), you’re likely feeling the gamut of emotions.
Happiness floods you as you gaze at your beautiful creation, and then anxiety starts creeping in when you think about going back to work. Jumping into your career after baby has made her much anticipated arrival can be a tough time for all parties if you don’t approach it with a solid plan. So alas, here are three strategies for your maternity leave to ensure your transition back to work will be a positive one.
Spend Time with Yourself
When you’re looking at your sweet babe, it’s easy to want to spend your entire maternity leave staring at him. And for the most part, there’s nothing wrong with that. Take advantage of this time to cuddle with your little one and hold him close to you, but also remember yourself. If you and your baby are inseparable during your whole leave from work, your first days (and weeks, if not months) back are going to tear at your heart.
Find little pockets of time, moments even, where you can slip out and get used to being away from your sweetheart. It could be a quick run to the grocery store or a hot yoga class once the doctor clears you for exercise. Little steps like these can go a long way in preparing you for the longer stretches you’ll be away from your small treasure once work starts up again. If you’re a single mom or have a partner who travels all the time, ask family or willing friends to hang out with your tiny one for a little. And if you still can’t find help, look to a website like Care.com to find a qualified, thoroughly checked individual in your area at a rate you can pay.
Don’t Let Sleep Slip through Your Fingers
Remember when you were pregnant and strangers kept to telling you to “sleep while you can,” implying that you wouldn’t get a wink of sleep once baby arrives? Well, that doesn’t have to be the case. Many times, the tendency during maternity leave is to try to clean the house, shower, or take care of other necessities anytime baby goes down for a nap. But you need sleep more than you need a shower—really! At least for the first few weeks, try your best to sleep whenever your little one sleeps. Not only will this recharge your batteries, but you’ll also be in control of your emotions and find yourself with clearer thinking.
Once the first month has come and gone, you’ll want to get more into the habit of long sleeps at night and fewer naps during the day. To ensure your baby gets the sleep she needs from birth forward, try a swaddling blanket. A brand like SwaddleDesigns even has a tag sewn into its blankets, giving you a reminder of how to properly swaddle your little bundle. They’re also sold at Target, so you can quickly pop into a store nearby or order them online. A gentle, supportive swaddle can go a long way in helping baby snuggle in for a good night’s sleep.
Once you’ve gotten used to being away from your little doll for some period of time and are enjoying longer slumbers, it’s time to think about your job. It can be challenging to spend two to three months in Baby Land and then be expected to pick right back up where you left off as soon as you walk into the office. The best way to stay on top of your career (and keep one foot in the real world) is by reading. When your bambino is snoozing, skim through one of your industry magazines online to catch up on the latest news and trends. Then check out a news site like The Daily Beast that quickly summarizes the Top 10 news stories of the day, so you can play a part in chatter at the water cooler.
Follow these tips, and you’ll find yourself with a much more seamless shift back into the world of the working. And one bonus idea? Make your first day back a Thursday or Friday, so you have a shorter workweek and can dip your toe into this next stage slowly. So spend some time with yourself, get some sleep and stay on top of your industry’s news, as well as global news. But above all, what’s the most important thing you can be doing during your maternity leave? Looking into those innocent baby blues, kissing that soft skin and giving your little one all your attention and love so you have no regrets about how you spent your time. After all, a happy baby is a happy mommy.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I’ve accepted that my faith is bigger than any obstacle I face. My spiritual life has really gotten me through the tougher times and I’ve finally (and happily) accepted the bible verse Romans 8:28.
What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I appreciate my eternal optimism. I feel really blessed by the people and opportunities placed in my life, and I think my positive mindset has revealed even more of both.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
My most rewarding achievement so far has been birthing my baby daughter, and doing so naturally. It was a wondrous experience with her dad by my side, and I’m proud that I gave her the healthiest start to life I could. My goals for motherhood are to teach my daughter about love and life by example, and my goals for my career include starting my own business (I have several ideas), working as an on-camera host, and finishing a novel that’s in the works.
We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
I’ve been told I’m very “book-smart,” but I definitely have my “blonde moments” as far as common sense goes. I’ve learned to embrace these types of quirks! I’m confident in my intelligence, so it’s fun to laugh at my silly flubs.
“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)
Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?
I love my identity. I really love my life, with all of its Kodak moments and even the not-so-camera-friendly ones. I’m always aspiring to do more, and most importantly – be more.