WOMEN'S RETURN TO WORK

1. Let go of guilt

Returning to work after maternity leave can pose emotional conflicts for new mothers. Working outside the home doesn't make you a bad mother — and it's OK to look forward to the challenges and interactions of your job. Remind yourself that you're doing what's best for you and your family.

2. Find dependable child care

Consider local child care providers and facilities or make other arrangements for child care, perhaps before the baby is born. Look for a safe, stimulating environment and qualified caregivers. Mumsincyprus reccomends SunnyNanny  AU-PAIR AGENCY, the leading childcare provider in Cyprus, that can make your search easier and provide you with highest quality services tailormade to the needs and schedule of yours and your baby.

3. Set a return-to-work date

If you can, go back to work late in the week. That'll make your first week back to work a short one.

4. Get as much rest as you can

One of the biggest complaints of working moms is sheer exhaustion -- and when you're overtired it's much easier to fall to pieces. Your own sleep needs should take priority over doing another load of laundry or cleaning up the kitchen. And have your husband pitch in whenever possible. Because you'll be getting up so early, you should aim to get to bed earlier too. Sticking to a 9 p.m. bedtime helped Heather Hill, of DeWitt, Michigan, get enough rest before her son Connor was sleeping through the night. "I woke up for the 2 a.m. feeding, and by that time, I'd had about five hours of sleep with a few more hours still ahead," says the mother of Sean, 6 years, and Connor, 10 months.

5. Talk to your employer

Clarify your job duties and schedule so you'll know what's expected of you after your maternity leave. You might ask about flexible hours, telecommuting or working part time.

6. Prepare to continue breast-feeding

If you're breast-feeding and plan to continue doing so after returning to work, tell your employer that you'll need to take breaks throughout the day to pump. Ask about a clean, private room with an outlet for breast pumping. Consider buying or renting an electric pump that allows you to pump both breasts at once. About two weeks before returning to work, adjust your nursing schedule at home so you're pumping two or three times during the day and nursing before and after your upcoming work hours. Have someone else feed your baby a bottle of stored breast milk to help your baby adapt. If you happen to have on-site or nearby child care, consider the logistics of breast-feeding your baby during the workday.

 

7. Practice your new routine

It's bound to take a while to learn to balance your new roles -- and you'll do so more quickly if your daily routine is efficient and well organized. The best way to make sure your new schedule will work? Do a couple of practice runs the week before you're due back at the office. If possible, arrange for your child care to start a week or so early so that you can try out your routine -- and get used to parting with your baby. Make sure you set your alarm extra early your first week back to give yourself time to work out any kinks in your schedule. And don't forget to come up with a good backup plan for days when your baby (or your babysitter) is sick.

8. Set aside time for your "mommy life"

You've probably made a handful of new "mom friends" while on leave. Don't put those friendships on the back burner once you start working. "Relationships with other moms are vital," says Ladd. "You need them for emotional support." Aim for regular weekend get-togethers. Gina Yager, mother of 5-month-old Mia, made it a point not to lose touch with her new friends when she went back to work. "On Saturdays, I'll meet the girls and their babies at a coffee shop, and I've also joined a 'mom and baby' yoga class," says the mom from Henderson, Nevada. "And I stay in touch during the week through our online support group."

9. Keep it together at the office

Although you might feel like an absolute wreck when you're at your desk -- worrying about your baby, feeling physically and mentally exhausted, being daunted by the piles of work that have built up in your absence -- don't let your boss think you're off your game. Keep your concerns to yourself, and avoid venting to your coworkers. Remember, your new juggling act might even make you more productive. "I'm a better boss now that I'm a mom," says Sue Hermann, of Denver, mother of Sarah, 3, and Sophie, 10 months. "I'm more willing to delegate, more able to think outside of the box, and definitely better able to multitask."

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