7 Ways to Prepare to Go Back to Work

Mother at desk holding baby
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Going back to work after maternity leave or taking some time off while your child is young can be difficult, and very overwhelming for many mothers. You may be worried about how you will juggle your parental responsibilities with your career. In addition, you may have your doubts about leaving your baby all day after you go back to work.

But the well-prepared working mom who is equipped with a solid plan will have an easier integration back into the workplace. To prepare yourself to go back to work, try the following:

Buy New Work Attire

If you've just had a baby, you will likely need some new clothing for work in a different size. Go shopping and find yourself something other than sweats to get you motivated to go back to work. Buy just a few items, as you may lose weight as more time passes, but enjoy an excuse to add a few new items to your professional wardrobe.

If you're going back to work after being a stay-at-home mom, your work wardrobe may need some updating.

Schedule Lunch with Colleagues

If you just had your baby, you'll likely want to show him or her off to your colleagues. At lunch with colleagues, you'll talk about the workplace, and the desire to go back to work will become greater. If you haven't been in the workplace for some time, this will stir up memories of your working days gone past, and get you motivated to go back to work.

Brush Up on Your Industry Knowledge

Bring yourself up-to-date with what is going on in your industry before going back to work. Reading up on the latest news in your field will allow you to feel confident upon your return to work. In addition, you will reconnect with the industry you may have been out of touch with for some time.

Make Daycare Arrangements

When you're going back to work, you'll want to arrange for daycare you can trust. Whether your plan is to leave your baby with relatives, at a daycare center or your child has reached full-day school age, you want to make sure you have a solid plan for child care when you go back to work. By having a plan, you will feel less torn or uneasy about going back to work.

Go Out with Some of Your Mommy Friends

Even though you're returning to work, you still need to have your "mommy time" with friends you've made since you became a parent or with those friends who also have kids your child's age. You may want to schedule a regular Saturday afternoon play date, to keep you connected to friends with whom you share a parenting bond. It will also make you feel less guilty about going back to work, especially if most of your friends in your mommy group work full-time as well.

Create a Daily Schedule to Help Find Time to Rest

Working moms function best when they have a schedule that allows them down time from both work and parenting. A schedule that includes all business responsibilities, such as office meetings and business lunches, as well as all parental duties, from open school night to soccer games, will help you stay organized and focused. Make sure to include time for yourself!

Take as Many Picture and Videos of Your Baby and Kids as You Can

You are going to miss your kids, no doubt about it.  If you have some pictures or funny videos you can glance at it'll make you feel a bit better.  It may make you sad, too, and that's OK.  It's OK to be sad but then remind yourself that you are working to support your family.  You are also doing this for you because before kids you were a career woman going somewhere.  Now it's time to get there, with family in tow.

Edited by Elizabeth McGrory