5 Things to Do Before Your Maternity or Paternity Leave Ends
The big transition from any sort of parental leave back to a working environment is hard. You are no longer in the flow of office life after weeks or months. You now have additional priorities and concerns. It can be jarring and overwhelming. How can you make that transition as smooth as possible?
Utah has a particularly high demand for infant care. Don’t be surprised if during your research you find that many daycare and childcare providers have some sort of waitlist. If you haven’t gotten onto a waitlist yet, it is critical that you do that now. Waitlists can be tricky and it isn’t unheard of for anyone who has recently found out they are pregnant to get onto their preferred provider’s waitlist. If you are interested in finding out where you might be on our waitlist, contact us or give us a call now!
1. Be Gentle With Yourself
First of all, you are allowed to feel all the feelings. Going back to work is stressful, especially if it is your first child. Any big transition takes some level of adjustment and adventure into the unknown. Not to mention, the baby isn’t likely to be sleeping through the night yet! Feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, guilt, and uncertainty are normal during this time but you’ve got this!
Remind yourself that this is an emotional time frame and that it is too early to draw conclusions. We’re not suggesting that you should ignore your feelings. Life continues to move forward and you can move forward with it.
With that said, the remaining suggestions are all things that will help you have peace of mind as you make the transition. None of these will solve every problem, but doing your upfront prep work can help you feel more comfortable.
2. Have a Support System
Just like when your baby was a newborn, you want to have people around you that you trust for the next transition. Talk with your partner, friends, family members, and other working moms about your feelings. Many parents find a social media group to be helpful as well. Sharing common experiences can be extremely reassuring.
The other place that you’ll need a support system is at work. Have an honest conversation with your boss about any concerns you may have. Actively acknowledge that your emotions might be a bit out of whack at times but that you are committed to the job/organization. It may also be helpful to communicate with other work colleagues. For instance, you may want to make it known that you are leaving work at 5:00 exactly so that you can get your child from childcare. This way others know not to come to you at the end of the day expecting a friendly chit-chat. By getting ahead of it, you can avoid a potentially awkward situation.
3. Start a Routine Sooner Than Later
Planning for a work routine is important. Planning your at-home routine before your parental leave is up can be critical. Babies thrive on a schedule, they like a predictable world. Everything for a baby and a toddler is jam-packed with new things, learning, excitement and a routine provides relief from the chaos. If you want to minimize the chance of an upset baby and more added stress to your life, creating a routine that works is your best chance.
Nothing within this routine has to be anything crazy, simple is better. The key is consistency. Do things in a similar timeframe, established around naps and feeding. Doing similar activities in the morning and at bedtime helps give the baby cues as to what time of day it is. This is a good time to introduce a bottle and practice pumping if you plan on continuing to give your child breast milk. Pro-tip, breast milk can be frozen and stored to take to childcare if you are able.
4. Do Practice Runs
Your first day at work shouldn’t be the first time the baby goes to childcare. It is stressful enough to do either of those for the first time let alone at the same time. Try to do a few practice drop-offs to get your child used to the process and the caregiver. This will help you too. Do your morning routine as if you were going to work. Drop the baby off at the childcare, get a morning treat and then head right on back.
If you are willing/able you can even practice a half or full day of childcare and go get yourself some much-needed “me” time. Go exercise or get something done around the house that has been stressing you out. Take a long bath! Go visit that friend you’ve been meaning to for months.
5. Find the Right Childcare Provider
Not all childcare providers are equal. At My Childcare Academy, we strongly believe in active learning, building relationships, and healthy living. We’ve put everything that we would want for our own children into our childcare. As mentioned above, getting your name on now to our waitlist is a must to save your child’s spot!
Take a moment to learn about our child-initiated, education-oriented learning activities. Our team is dedicated to making your child’s time here the best experience possible. We have developed our classrooms and teaching methods to be specific to each child’s age and development. In our youngest group “The Hive” (up to 9 months) we focus on their development skills like:
- Sensory Music
If you are ready to start talking about a childcare solution, please look at our parent resources, contact us, or give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk through any concerns you may have. Don’t hesitate! Sometimes our rooms are full and you may need to reserve your place on a waitlist so getting on sooner than later is highly recommended!