Your baby has arrived
This is the beginning of the life changing adjustment. You will have thought about this moment, planned for it and by the time you are reading this, you will have found your way through the first week, days or months. If you are reading this when your baby is teeny, come back later! Focus on finding your way through all those first moments. This is not the time to think about work!
Time to remember your "you" plan
When you are settled, you have got into the swing of things and you are pretty much finding your feet, remind yourself what you decided when you read our pre-baby pause section. What was that one thing that was important to you?
If you aren’t doing it yet, get going! Plan that weekly night out, trip to the gym or even the walk to the local coffee shop.
Whatever it is, when you feel almost ready, do it. I say almost ready as there is never the perfect moment for this and you may have to push yourself out of your comfort zone to do it. You might even find it is just 10 minutes the first time you do it. You may feel that leaving your baby with someone you trust is only possible for 10 minutes the first time, and this is fine.
Every woman is different. Go at your own pace.
It's ok to leave your baby!
Just to remember why this is important - the WoMo aim is to support women going back to work. Any woman who wants to return to work will have to leave her baby behind.
As much as it might be like a good fantasy plan, taking your baby to the office just isn’t going to be ok, so a plan to move forward needs to be underway. Babies do well surrounded by people who love and care for them and it’s easy, as the mother, to think you are the only person best placed to do it.
Plan your first adventure taking the time, however long, for you. Think about how it makes you feel when you think about leaving your baby for the first time and sit with those emotions. Consider how you are going to manage those emotions as they come. It may be talking to your partner, friends or your family.
Initial thoughts of childcare
When you leave your baby for the first time it may trigger some thoughts and ideas to you about the type of childcare that’s important. We cover that in our childcare section but for now, as you build up a routine for your baby, just plant the seed in your mind about type of childcare you think will work for you.
Gather your wolf pack
Regardless of who it is, get your support network around you and plan to talk through how it might feel before you leave your baby and then have the same people on call afterwards to talk through how it actually felt. This support network is important.
Get your inner wolf circle together and ask them to support you through the weeks as you build up to your return to work. Consider people who may have done it before, people who understand you and people who will support you when and if the going gets tough.
You know those people who think most things in life are impossible, the ones who give you the glass half empty opinion? Keep those people out of your support network.
You can do this and having people who believe that with you are the best people to have in your wolf pack.
Before we get into childcare, let’s consider routine. Routine is a serious objective for any WoMo. There are multiple baby books on the market and there are all sorts of reference guides for how to help you get your baby into a routine. In addition there are plenty of books you can buy that suggest other methods.
I am a strong believer in creating a routine for your child and for a woman returning to work this is going to help you enormously. Both from a practical and an emotional perspective.
- Practically: you will know how to plan for your child when you leave for the office in the morning. Knowing your baby sleeps for 2 hours normally during their lunch time nap means they go to bed easily at 7.30pm will be of enormous help when you come home from work. If they slept for less you will know to expect potentially a more tired child than the one you put to be the night before.
- Emotionally: it will help that if your baby pops into your mind at 10.30am, you’ll know they are having their morning bottle for example. You will be able to associate more easily with your child albeit from a remote location.
I recommend working to get your baby into a routine as soon as you are able. This isn’t the resource to tell you how to do that but there is help out there!
- The Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford has caused a division in opinion and the tone in which she writes isn’t for everyone. For a working mother though, it was to me an enormous help.
- Another one which is popular is Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg.
Depending on when you are reading this, it might seem early to you to think about a routine and what time your little person goes to bed, but imagine when you are managing that little person of yours and doing your job. What time your child goes to bed and how long they sleep at night is going to make an enormous amount of difference. There will be nights which of course do not quite go to plan but if you have the basics of a plan in place the majority of the time you will be making your life as a working mother, much easier.
- Baby-free time: Organise your first time out, away from your baby doing what you love doing. Your favourite thing! Reflect on how it made you feel thinking about it and after you did it. Write down your emotions here.
- Your wolf pack: Write a list of the people in your support crew/wolf pack
- Routine: Think about how you will establish a routine for your baby if you haven't already. Consider who can help you? A friend or someone you know who does it well? A particular book or a web forum? Read it, get into it and take the time to think about what works for your style of parenting and your family.
3 things to remember
- Gather your wolf pack around you
- Go out for the first time without your baby
- Routine is everything