Reflections of a New Mom: Returning to Work
In the almost 11 months since I’ve been a new mom, during pumping sessions, late night feedings, and stressful work days, I’ve often thought about what I wanted to write in a blog post about being a working mom. Being a working mom, however, has kept me from actually writing anything before now. Anyway, here are a few things I’ve learned about this life transition.
Embrace Your New Perspective on Life.
I happen to be the kind of person that does research when I’m anticipating something big happening, so you know I was reading anything I could get my hands on and soliciting advice from my friends about taking care of a newborn. Even so, I found you cannot come close to anticipating what it is going to be like to hold your child in your arms for the first time and the love you feel for them. Planning helps but it was important for me to realize my perspective on life changed and I could no longer be the workaholic I was before. Instead, I am embracing this new identity as a working mother and loving it!
Take the Transition Back to Work Slowly!
One of the best suggestions I received when making plans for returning to work after maternity leave was to transition back to work slowly. I did this by making sure to take a couple of days off each week for the first month and then taking off one day every week for a few more weeks. This helped to space out the days I had to be professional and gave me frequent days to look forward to being home with my son.
Find a Good Place to Pump at Work.
Pumping at work is not ideal (or very fun) but it is important if you’re breastfeeding. Finding a good place to pump that is somewhat comfortable, consistent, and not a place where you run the risk of being interrupted (make a sign if you have to!) is necessary to be able to keep up this task that can feel like a big interruption in your workday. Also, once you manage to pump for a couple of months, make sure to give yourself a medal since you truly deserve it and no one else will give you one!
Time Management is KEY!
I have always thought that I was a poor time manager, especially because I am such a procrastinator, but having a child has truly helped me in this regard. I am much better about using any spare part of my day whether at work or at home. The two-fer approach where you try to do two things at once (a.k.a., waiting in line and reading a book, listening to the news while driving to work, feeding the baby while making a mental list of things to do, etc.) has worked well for me. I also now subscribe to the theory that if a task takes less than two minutes to do, it’s worth doing right away instead of writing a note to myself to do it later.
The Art of Letting Go.
I’m quite obsessive when it comes to organizing and cleaning. But working, taking care of daily chores, being a mom, and wanting to sleep at least a few hours each night has forced me to let go of keeping my house in tip-top shape. It’s been really hard for me to let this go but I know that my priority now is spending time with my son and I just have to be okay with it! Dusting has moved down the list to less important!
Are you also a working parent? What strategies or thoughts do you have about keeping up your motivation and balancing working with being a parent?