Decide on child care
We found one 3 months prior to my return to work. Two weeks before, I hung out with Missy Miu for two to three hours over a few days. The following week... it was project "cold turkey". I dropped her off for six hours. The first two days were tough. On day three, I was shown pictures of her playing. (insert angels singing here)
Have a back-up plan
With little one going to child care, there is no doubt they will get sick. Make arrangements between you and your partner about how vacation and sick days will be managed. We also made arrangements with my Mama to take over on occasion in case Missy Miu becomes ill.
While at home on maternity leave, it made sense that I take on most of the household responsibilities. Now it is an even playing field. Well sort of. Negotiate a chore list and discuss what you and your partner can handle. You'll be less stressed.
Prep! Prep! Prep!
Get as much ready the night before. This is one rule I live by. Baby's and my clothing is picked out the evening before. Diaper bag is packed and my lunch is made. I have created a meal plan since I have less time to stop for fast food and (sigh) less money to spend on it. I have to work on a housekeeping schedule as it is no fun doing all the chores on the weekend. Uhm... I even make two days of breakfast so I can pop it into the microwave oven at 4:30 am. (I am aware that you just rolled your eyes)
Get some sleep
It was in the news the other day that once our little ones sleep through the night, we don't sleep through the night. Momsomnia (look it up). Getting back into the work routine will be hard on the mind and body. Try to get into bed at a reasonable hour. Establish a routine where you can grab a shower, change into some comfy sleep wear and get into bed. You don't have to sleep at that point. Grab a book, watch your favourite program. You'll probably fall asleep in your relaxed state.
Keep your Mama friends
No doubt you probably made some Mama friends while you were off. Make a pact to keep those friendships when you return to work. We compared notes on baby during maternity leave... You still have things in common as your little one grows and /or as your return to your career.
Now that you're back
Embrace your new role- You are providing for your family and showing your little one that Mamas can wear many hats. You also benefit with fulfillment that comes with your job. I more empowered being back at work. Especially now that I am bring more money our household.
Use you lunch time for time to get some time yourself.
Don't feel guilty if you enjoy the work / life balance.
Focus on the positives. I really cherish the time I spend with Missy Miu and now we can easily save for our first vacation with her.
So Mamas... Do you have tips to add?