What the first day back at work after maternity is really like. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m lucky. I have a good job with paid maternity and I have spent 8 months with my gorgeous little boy. But going back to work after having a baby is hard, no matter what your circumstances.

Here is what I have found to be the Pro’s and Con’s of Day 1 – Back in the Office:

Con’s

  1. You will cry. Bring extra make up and avoid mascara unless it’s seriously waterproof. If possible, have daddy drop the baby into childcare. I found Austin settled better that way and I cried a little less hard on the drive to work.
  2. Seriously… you will want to cry a lot. Try to really focus on getting back up to speed and keep your mind off the baby. It also helps to tighten your belly muscles when you feel like you might burst into tears – weird tip, I know, but it really does work… mostly.
  3. You will forget something – passwords, cabinet keys, co-workers names or in my extreme and mortifying case, laptop. Laugh it off and work around it as best you can.
  4. Everything will feel familiar but different. I wasn’t sure if I left yesterday or just dreamed my ten years in the company. Ride it out and ask as many questions as you need to. People will surprise you in their helpfulness.
  5. Everyone will want to know about the baby and how you are finding it being back. Which will make you want to cry. See points 1 and 2 above.

Pro’s

  1. You will find that there are nice things about being back – this might surprise you and make you feel a bit guilty about liking anything about being away from the baby but focus on those things and they will help you get through the afternoon.
  2. Warm coffee – really warm, not lukewarm. And no one screams for attention or pulls your hair in the middle of it. Enjoy.
  3. Catching up. If you’re lucky you will have co-workers that you love to talk to and hear how they’ve got on. Go ahead and distract them but do try to be considerate.
  4. You will find that you remember more than you thought you would. This is encouraging and will go some way to making you feel like you can be productive again soon.
  5. Lunch break – admittedly you might use a few minutes to call and check up on baby, but the rest is yours. Bring a book or a magazine if you’d rather not talk and do your very best to make it Mama Time. I am hoping this becomes a new habit.

To be really honest, I found the evening hardest. In a blink, it was Austin’s bedtime and I was devastated that I didn’t have more time with him. Make sure that you are prepared the night before and have a little plan to do something together so it feels special. Today we played blocks and I didn’t think it wasn’t fun enough so tomorrow I’m planning on yoghurt painting!

I’d love to hear how other moms coped with the first few days back in the office after maternity leave so please do share your experiences and tips in the comments below…

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