(BPT) - Going back to work for new moms can be challenging. Learning to balance work and family while facing many new stressors can be overwhelming.
Jill Smokler, author of the New York Times bestselling book “Confessions of a Scary Mommy” and “Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies),” shares tips and tricks on how new moms can acclimate back into to the working world.
* Plan ahead: After working a full day and driving to daycare to pick up your baby, the last thing you’re going to feel like doing is cooking dinner. My advice is to embrace the wonder of the crockpot by letting the machine fill your home with the scent of a freshly cooked meal while you’re miles away at work. Another time-saving tip is to lay out all your clothes for the week on Sunday to avoid that moment of tearing apart your closet when you should already be in the car. Also, always charge your cellphone overnight.
Another important plan to have in place is your new baby’s feeding plan. According to a survey conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Perrigo Nutritionals, 42 percent of moms returning to work are stressed about how they will feed their baby. Some moms find that substituting or supplementing breast milk with infant formula can make the transition into a working mom much easier.
If you decide to choose that route, be smart about it. In the case of baby formula, skimping on price does not mean skimping on quality. The FDA strictly regulates infant formula to keep babies safe. Moms can rest assured knowing that store brand formulas, like Walmart’s Parent’s Choice Infant Formula, have to meet strict FDA guidelines and regulations. Additionally, when switching to store brand formulas, families can save up to $600 a year, according to Perrigo Nutritionals.
* Celebrate the benefits: No, not the dental and vision plans, silly - the benefits you've been missing the last few months: Having a conversation that doesn't revolve around the consistency or color of poop, being able to go to an actual restaurant over your lunch break, writing TGIF as your Facebook status update and appreciating that you know what day it is.
* Reacquaint yourself with adult conversation before you head back to work: After months alone with a newborn, it's natural to forget how to interact with adults on a daily basis. Practice conversing with adults other than your spouse a few weeks prior to your return to work. Keep in mind not everyone can read your mind or understand that irrational screaming simply means you’re craving a hug.
* Go shopping: Chances are you won't be fitting perfectly into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe by the time you head back to work, leaving you with two choices: 1. Rock the maternity outfits your co-workers saw you in all those months ago or 2. Wear your mom uniform of stained, black yoga pants and an oversized shirt to the office. However, there is a third choice and that is to go shopping. Getting new clothes that actually fit will do wonders for your self-esteem. Just be sure to check your shoulders before you leave the house, as spit up can be more prominent on a black business suit than a ratty old T-shirt.
* Give yourself a break: Whether you’re missing your baby, not missing your baby or missing one of your baby's milestones, allow yourself to have an outburst every now and then. Just remember to pick yourself up and get back to work. Feeling guilty is a useless emotion that isn't going to help you focus on your job or get you home sooner to cuddle that baby of yours.
Best of luck, fellow mom. You can do it.