The Brutal Truth About Returning To Work After Maternity Leave

by Heather Tranen
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This was me on my first day back to work after a 12 week maternity leave.

Right. As much as I wish I channeled my inner Olivia Pope, my first days back looked more like…

New motherhood is the great humbler. Nothing knocks you off your “I got my shit together” high horse like a teeny tiny, nocturnal human. While some make those first days seem easier than others, we all know that a few weeks of time off is not enough to feel like you’re operating at your best when you do go back to your job. I’d like to offer the new moms out there tips to make the transition back to career woman a little easier.

Mind your boobies.

If you are breastfeeding, make sure your time is blocked effectively on your calendar. I explicitly posted “PUMP” in capital letters so that no one dared to interrupt my “milking” time. May as well put it all out there. While we’re talking about pumping strategies… long meetings could make your boobies ticking time bombs for leakage so make sure you tell people when you have a hard stop.

Go shopping.

Retail therapy solves all of life’s problems, right? Maybe not, but before you throw a toddler level tantrum about none of your clothes fitting, remember you are a badass goddess boss lady who brought life into the world and deserve to be worshipped — stretch marks and all. Investing in a few, reasonably priced pieces that will make you feel comfortable and stylish. I lived in “legging pants” and longer, button down tunics (easy boob access), with a cardigan/blazer over it. Gigantic, chunky necklaces also serve as a nice distraction from other “problem areas.”

Call upon your village.

The first day is….rough. It seems unconscionable to leave behind this helpless little bundle of love who just started to smile, coo, and provide some sort of return on investment for those lonnnnnnnnnnnng nights. Find other mamas in your company, or who work nearby, and make a lunch date with them. They know your struggles, and it will be nice to have something to look forward to on the first day. For example, my village of working mamas introduced me to this medieval device that made pumping much more efficient.

Look how happy that model is?

Don’t quit your day job.

New motherhood turned your life inside out. You’re probably so tired that your clothes are inside out. Now everything seems different (who knew diaper commercials were so emotional?). Before you decide to light your entire career on fire, quit your job, and start a new life where your baby and you live together uninterrupted in mommy/baby bliss, remember working moms are good for babies.

Take things day-by-day and know you’re doing the best you can.