The holiday haze has reached its end. Those lazy days of cuddling up with the littles, making hot cocoa and staying in your PJs all day are pretty much over, and you’re just not ready for it. But alas, you have to go back to work. And the kiddos are starting to miss their daycare days. Getting back into the groove isn’t always easy, but it’s totally doable. Before you start stressing about the back-to-business transition that’s approaching, take a look at our tips for easing yourself into mommy-work-life after vacation.

working mom and daughter

1. Take it slow and steady. Diving in head first isn’t for everyone. It may have been for you back in your pre-mommy days, but now that your responsibilities have multiplied, taking it slowly is the way to go. Give yourself plenty of extra time for preschool drop-off, battling the back-to-work rush hour traffic, and returning the five million emails that have piled up in your inbox.

2. Prep and pack. It’s been at least a full week since you’ve had to pack a lunchbox or get a toddler ready for daycare in the morning. Even though you may have had THE routine down before your vacation, it’s not exactly happening right now. Instead of trying to do it all the morning of your first day back, get outfits ready, pack lunches, and do all your other prep-work the night before. You’ll thank yourself the next day.

3. Answer emails strategically. Even though you weren’t in, your email inbox was filling. Now you have more messages than you can even imagine reading. Before you start feeling overwhelmed, organize your responses into smaller, more manageable tasks. Set a number goal per hour, create a priority list, or come up with your own system for getting the job done. Here’s the catch — don’t let answering work emails interfere with your mom duties. If you absolutely, positively have to keep on answering your messages when you get home, wait for your child to go to bed.

4. Write it out. That schedule you so carefully planned months ago is still in effect. But you, and your child, may have forgotten it. Refresh everyone’s memory by writing it out again. Make a pictorial version on poster board for your little one to understand. Include each part of the day, such as breakfast and bath-time, in words, numbers (for the time), and drawings. No one expects you to artfully draw it out — simple stick figures will more than do.

5. Gradually move bedtimes back. Vacation time doesn’t always look like real time. If bedtime got pushed back farther and farther away from what was your child’s normal, it’s time to head back to an earlier number. Yeah, yeah, that’s easier said than done. Instead of going from a 10pm bedtime to a sudden 7pm, slowly push up the time for the last few nights of vacation.

6. Get ready for some separation anxiety (for both of you). Your kiddo got used to being around you 24/7. And now that they have to go to daycare, the separation anxiety that happened months ago is back with a vengeance. Stay strong and know that you and your child will get through this rough patch. And it probably won’t take nearly as long as you think it will. Don’t linger at daycare. Drop your tot off, give them a hug and a kiss, and head off to work. The same goes if you’re leaving your little one with a nanny or sitter.

7. Pump ahead. Feeding-time during your vacation was kind of a breeze. Your baby was by your side 24/7, and that made nursing a possibility anytime. Now that you’re going back to work, that option is off the table. Waiting until the night before to start pumping and storing your breastmilk may mean that you don’t have enough, so pump and store as much as you can during your days off. This gives you a head start on stockpiling.

8. Take plenty of pictures. Going back to work, and leaving your baby or child behind, isn’t easy after a week or so of together-time. Make sure that your phone is filled with plenty of vacation pics. When you start getting weepy at work, pull out the pictures to view. And don’t stress if you well up — it’s completely normal.

What is your favorite part of your vacation? Share your pick and tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)