Posted by: jmwilsonmga | November 15, 2011

Work-Life After Baby : How I Transitioned into a Full-Time Working Mom

Julie and Kyler Stevens

I am proud of many things that I have done in my life.  I felt great when I completed my first triathlon, got all A’s in school, bought my own home and landed a great job at JM Wilson that I love.  Yes, I love my job as the Promotion Coordinator and I am proud of the work that I do. Now that I am a mom, however, I can honestly say that I have never felt more proud of myself than I did after giving birth to my son. Having him was the single most amazing and important thing I have ever done in my life.

Being a new mom is hard. Being a new working mom is even harder. On top of the anxiety you feel as a new parent, you’re also dealing with the demand of work, trying to get back on track after being away on maternity leave, staying on top of increased
household duties, missing your baby and of course grappling with working mom’s guilt.  With the help and support of my co-workers, husband and daycare, along with a little planning and patience, I am learning how to cope with my new job as a full-time working mom.

The days leading up to my maternity leave were full of anxiety.  I worried I would lose my rhythm at work or that everything would change while I was gone.  I feared that I would be not be needed or wanted and the place would be full of unfamiliar faces when I returned.  My life for the past 8 ½ years has been going to J.M. Wilson each day. I knew that I could handle whatever work challenges came my way, but being a mom was unknown territory. I didn’t trust my ability to navigate the landscape of motherhood and I feared that once I went on maternity leave I would forfeit my ability to do my job at J.M. Wilson well, for something that I feared I never would be able to do well, being a mom. I imagined that I would be counting down the days to return to work.  I knew I would love my baby, but I thought that I would secretly feel better leaving him in someone else’s more capable hands; someone who better understands babies. The kind of person who knows who The Wiggles are and are not the least bit creeped out by them.

To my shock, I really liked being a mom and quickly became pretty good at it too.   I even found myself being greedy with my son’s  time, hogging diaper changes from my husband and insisting on taking the 3:00 am feedings.

When the end of my maternity leave approached, once again I was filled with anxiety. How could anyone care for my son the way that I have learned to?  I knew I should be happy that I had a job to return to in this economy, but  I couldn’t shake the feelings of anxiety and guilt.
For those women who may find themselves in a similar situation, here are some tips and tricks that helped me ease into my new role as a full-time working mom.

Don’t beat yourself up. Returning to work will pose emotional conflicts.  Just remember that working outside of the home does not make you a bad mom. You must learn to let go of guilt and know that you are doing what is best for your child in the long run.

Draft a Morning Schedule. Calculate realistically about how long it will take you and your child to get ready in the morning. How long do you need to shower and dress? Do you have to get yourself together before your child wakes? Start with the time you need to leave the house and work backwards to determine your new wake time. Be sure to leaving plenty of room for unexpected delays such as traffic or a lingering goodbye with your child. Set your alarm accordingly, and whatever you do, don’t hit snooze!

Practice first. Before you actually return to work, practice how your morning will run.  Get up at the time you think you’ll need to in order to get out the house on time.  Actually get yourself and baby ready and leave the house just as if you are going to work.  This will help identify areas where time traps or pitfalls can occur (like getting stuck behind the school bus) giving you a chance to plan for those events when you “go live” with your new routine.

Reward Yourself. When practicing your new routine be sure to treat yourself when things go as planned. Perhaps get a fancy coffee or bagel when you can run through your morning routine with ease and on time.  Be sure to reward yourself every once in a while after you are back at work too. Avoid using your lunch hour for errands, at least at first, and take this time to do something nice for yourself like stealing away to read a new book or popping on headphones and taking a walk.

Plan ahead and make lists. If you weren’t a list-maker before you had a baby, you’ll probably become one. You don’t want to get halfway to daycare before you realize the baby’s bottles are still in the fridge. Make a checklist of the items you need to leave the house with. It’s also helpful to pack everything you and your child need for the next day before you go to bed. I also like to
lay out my son’s outfits for the entire week on Sunday night. This way, I am less likely to miss a “wear blue day” at daycare or scramble to find a clean outfit during the morning rush.

Consolidate schedules. Even the greatest babysitter or child care provider will be unavailable sometimes. Whether it’s a snow day or unexpected fever, you never know when you’ll wake up to a totally different day than you’d planned. That’s why it’s important to have a single calendar with key work obligations as well as family appointments and phone numbers. While you’re scrambling to get a sick kid to the pediatrician, you will know which meetings you need to cancel, what duties you should delegate to a co-worker or when you have to get help from your husband or backup caregiver.

Give it time. Transitions aren’t instantaneous. It may take a couple of months — or more — to feel like you’re really back in the swing of things…and that’s OK.

I am grateful to my boss and co-workers who helped me ease back into the swing of things. I appreciate their ability to pretend not to hear the occasional weeping from my cubicle or mind the baby shrine of photos that cover my workspace walls.    It is all a part
of the great transition back to work as a new mom.

About the Author : Julie Stevens, Promotion Coordinator

Julie joined the J.M. Wilson Team in 2003 and serves as the Promotion Coordinator.  She plans our monthly promotional schedules, creates and sends fax and Product Brief email blasts, maintains content on our website, writes and sends press releases, creates and manages printed materials, and promotes J.M. Wilson’s events.  She loves graphic design and that her position allows her to be creative and work on a variety of projects.  Outside of the office, Julie enjoys spending time with her family, photography, scrapbooking, and cooking.

Connect with Julie on LinkedIn

Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use.

Copyright 2011 J.M. Wilson Corporation

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