No one can truly prepare you for the waves of emotions you will feel on that first week back to work from maternity leave. From parental separation anxiety, less time for household responsibilities, career/work commitments, getting workouts in to lose the baby weight, life can get a little busy for a mom who works outside of the home. This is often what is referred to as the fifth trimester.
However, there is a lot to celebrate too during this evolutionary period as a mother. I'll be honest, that first drive to work without a crying baby in the backseat was magical. Being able to listen to talk radio without the layer of kids screaming in the car has been amazing. Having adult conversation over lunch without having to multi-task was a renewing experience. I think that the first week back to work shouldn't be a somber experience like most put it - I think it should be a time to celebrate the amazing journey of motherhood!
Having recently returned to work as a newly minted mom of four, I totally get it. When understanding new household responsibilities with less time, figuring out how to continue to advance in your career, and managing new changes to your body, you just need to give yourself a mom break. Being a mom that works outside of the home can be challenging and rewarding all at the same time. Here are some small tips that are tried and true for how to reward yourself on a job well done as a mamma.
Secrets to a Successful Return to Work from Maternity Leave
Give yourself some "me time" in the morning. In the morning, I just need to be in the right state of mind before I need to change the overnight diaper, provide the morning feeding, and corralling the older kids for breakfast. My tip is to wake up a little earlier so that you can have a little "me time" before the hub-bub starts.
Say no and feel good about it. Let's face it - you really can't do everything, there is just not enough time. Reward yourself with time! It's okay not to volunteer even though it seems like everyone else is. Time is such a hot commodity when you've got a babe (or babes) at home. You don't even need to make an excuse, it's okay.
Buy yourself a gift. Retail therapy is quite amazing. Even if you aren't down to your pre-pregnancy weight, get a few loose tops for work! Reward yourself for being an amazing mom. Another gift that you might consider is a bracelet with charms that represents your little family! Then, your family can add to it during the holidays.
Binge watch a show or two. Yes, you heard me. After a long day's work full of meetings or being on your feet, you come home to having to figure out dinner, get the kids washed and clothed for bed and then preparations to do it all over again the next day. Full seasons of television series are available in this modern day and age. Go for it, binge watch a few in a series.
Get connected with other similar moms. I feel like once you become a mom, there's this whole new world of friends that open up. There are tons of Facebook groups with moms with similar families and life goals that can provide a ton of invaluable advice - solicited and unsolicited. Give yourself the freedom to connect with these amazing parents!
Workout. As you may be well aware, working out gives you endorphins and provides you with that extra "umph" to keep you going. I know working out with the kids at home can be hard, so if you can, work out during lunch or after work. It will give you that boost of energy even though it sounds counter intuitive. Here are some tips that I've shared on how to freshen up at the office if you decide to workout over lunch.
Lunch and dinner with friends. Sometimes, all you need is adult conversation. Setting up a quick lunch or dinner paired with an amazing conversation with friends may be just the ticket you need to reward yourself! With so much focus on our household and children, you just need to get away and find yourself again. This is a great (and short) way to do just that.
Manicure, pedicure or massage. Rewarding yourself with these amazing services goes a very long way for someone who is managing tiny babies as well as their spouses! Instead of you caring for someone else, someone else is caring for you. How about that for turning the tables?
Plan a day off with the kids in daycare. I know, you might feel a little guilt. I often do. But you know what counteracts that? When I pick them up and can spend 100% on them instead of trying to multi-task when I didn't have that time to myself.
Your work as a mom is nonstop. It is an outstanding feat to be a mom - whether you work inside or outside of the home. Ensuring that your never ending list of things to bring to work and school, work commitments are being met and dinner plans have been set, it is a whirlwind of nonstop activity for a mom. Sometimes, the simple things (like a quiet house) can bring much joy. Rewarding yourself monthly or weekly with these tips are are a sure fire way to rejuvenate yourself.
Baby Registry Favorites
Here are some baby registry favorites posts that you might love: