8 Tips On Bouncing Back to Work After Childbirth

You successfully completed the nine tumultuous months of protecting your baby in your womb/your partner’s womb.

Went through the pains and anguish of giving birth and he/she is out now.

Oh Hey! Congrats!!

You’ve learned how to feed it, dress it, clean it and play with it. They are now getting acquainted with the new and potentially hostile environment but your parental instincts kicked-in in good time so you baby-proofed the whole house including irrelevant stuff such as softening the corners of plastic spoons. You blink twice and boom, your paternity/maternity leave is over.

The telephone starts ringing and it’s your boss asking for your presence in the office and you cannot help starting to feel like you are a new recruit into this big corporation once again.

Everything feels new again.

It’s kinda a little scary not knowing what you’ll expect.

The past few months have been a real test on your gut. Imbibed with sleep deprivation, panic at the smallest or strange little sound the child makes, late-night feedings, and making your child’s doctor your BFF because you have been seeing and talking to them on close to a daily basis.

Your mind is in a total paradigm shift!

You have been using your emotional side of the brain much more than the logical side. Transitioning back to work mode might be a tadbit tricky.\

You might not know what to do next but no preoccupes.

Don’t worry though, I got you.

Here are a few tips that will help you grease your work-related cogwheels that had seemingly gone into hibernation and get you back up into the hustle/work mode smoothly.

1. Consult with Your HR

It is recommended for you to consult with the HR as soon as you step back into the office. 6 months or more of parental leave is enough for policies to be renewed, removed or replaced. The HR will keep you on the loop with the current company culture, policies, partners and the Dos and Don’ts. Make sure you do not start flashing red-flags as soon as you get back to work. Remember, a lot of eyes are on you now that you have more responsibilities to handle. Getting a warning from the higher ups just after you get back to work won’t reflect well on you or your boss.

2. Gear Up for a New Routine

You will be dedicated on figuring out how to juggle your job and your new-mom responsibilities in the first few weeks. Being organized is essential for keeping all those balls in the air. Make a weekly schedule of dinners, chores, and baby care (whose turn is it to soothe your crying child in the middle of the night?). Try to keep your baby on a regular routine of naps, meals, baths, and bedtime so she starts to anticipate what comes next.
Building a cushion into the morning rush is also crucial. “About a week before you return, try out your new schedule,” advises Abby Geltemeyer, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and a mother of four. “See whether you have enough time to get the diaper bag packed, the bottles ready, and your baby changed, dressed, and dropped off.” If not, this is your chance to make adjustments.*

b) Consider the policies your company has for post-natal parents. Do they offer flexible schedules for you or will you be back to the official 9-5 schedules with a 5-day presence in the office? Is it flexible for you to come in and leave earlier than usual? Do they have new born baby-care facilities?

3. Be Gentle with Yourself

As mentioned previously, dealing with a kid, and in this instance a newborn baby makes you think and act more emotionally than logically. You will go through a lot of emotional rollercoasters while figuring this out especially for new parents. You will need time to readjust back to more logical thinking. This sudden change into more use of logical reasoning will take a toll on you. While learning to balance work which demands more logical thinking in the office and emotional involvement at home, be kind to yourself and give yourself a chance to be better. Give yourself the chance to learn, unlearn and relearn stuff. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember, you are doing your best both at work and at home.

4. Leave Work at the Office

As you are still learning how to prioritize, remember to leave work in the office. You have a newborn baby in need of your attention just as much as your boss does back at work. Do not bring office-related documents into the house. Unless you have baby-proofed your staplers and staple-pin removers, you will be increasing the peril of hurting your child in case they accidentally came into contact with this office equipment. If your schedule allows you to work from home some days of the week, dedicate space for office work if you do not have a real home office. If possible, let your colleagues, clients, and boss know that you will not be receiving work-related calls at home for you will be taking the time to tender to and bond with your baby after work.

5. Schedule for Mentally Relaxing Activities

For an overachiever that you are, you will always expect the best from yourself at work and at home. This kind of attitude might grind you to a halt due to mental fatigue. To avoid such, schedule for mental relaxation sessions both at work and at home. After all, we all need some ME time every now and then. Activities such as Yoga, Meditations, Bike Riding, Working Out, Rock-Climbing (if you can), or Swimming are great for you. Especially for the mother, these activities also help reduce postpartum fat and help keep your body in shape. You do not need to curse at your kid every time you look at your body that has gone through a lot of physical and emotional changes. Here, I recommend Meditation which you can practice at work too. If your workspace allows for more privacy, close your office door and meditate for even ten minutes only in a day (especially during lunchtimes). If you don’t have such but your company has meditation spaces or relaxation rooms, use them.

Try Meditation Oasis Podcast* for a number of meditation contents that can help you relax depending on the amount of free time you can create in your schedule both at work and at home.

6. Communicate

Be clear with your boss and colleagues on what to expect from you and what you expect from them. Communication helps clear out some assumptions that might be hanging in the air. Make your schedule as predictable as possible and communicate your plans to your colleagues but also understand that adjustments may be needed along the way.

For highly competitive environments in a company, make sure you choose tasks that will not take too much from you such as long-hours/days of travel, which might require you to travel with your child while at the same time they are supposed to start attending kindergarten or day-cares. Choose wisely the tasks you partake in unless you run to a halt due to doing too much.

7. Seek External Support

It would be a gross mistake for you to think that you will handle the work-home transition alone. Did your company organize for you a surprise baby-shower or they acknowledged your expectancy? If they did, well that’s a great way of showing support. But whether they did or didn’t, it is important for you to seek encouragement and support from your colleagues and boss. Your emotional contour is all over the map. It would be great to know that your company has your back during this time.

Also consider joining a “Dad and Mom Networks” at work, in your neighborhood or online. Just knowing that someone else somewhere went through what you are going through currently and they are acing it in life is a boost to your overall health and morale. Seek them out.

8. Be Deliberate About Your Time With Your Child

Again, this is highly dependent on your company policy. With your new schedule, will you have time in the mornings, evenings or weekends only? This will help in planning for you to have quality and rewarding time with your child. Your child needs maximum positive influence from you. Your child shouldn’t start calling your nanny “mom” because you are never around. These first few formative years of your child’s development are the ones that highly impact them from personality, character and behaviors and you would want to be the one to shape them rightly.

In Swahili, there is a saying that goes “Samaki mkunje angali mbichi” which in English translates to “You can easily bend/sculpt a fish while it’s still raw” in this case the saying means, “You have a greater chance of bringing up that child into an upright human being while they are still young/malleable.

As much as becoming a new parent changes your life both at home and at work, having the second or third baby will always feel a little new to you and your partner. But the lessons learned from the first baby can work as a great foundation on how to handle the preceding children. Child-bearing and raising is a process that needs flexibility from you. Be ready to learn.

*Extracted from Parents’ Magazine Website. Read more here
https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-life/maternity-paternity-leave/back-to-work-after-maternity-leave/

*For Meditation Podcast, go to https://www.meditationoasis.com/podcast

Written by Lucky Lordvick Oduor

Lucky Lordvick Oduor is a creative living in Nairobi, Kenya, working as an Actor, Voice Artist, Creative Writer, Commercial Model and Presenter. He is experienced in Business Development, Sales and Marketing Advertising & Copywriting, and a part-time Value Addition Consultant.