Your time as a maternity-leave mom is ticking away. It’s time to go back to work and you’re uber-excited about getting to be a grown-up again. That said, the tears are already welling up when it comes to parting ways and you’re scrambling to build a realistic picture of work-life balance. The first day away is almost here and you’re worried that some serious separation anxiety is right around the corner — both hers and yours. Stop some of the “I’m going back to work and don’t know if I can be away from my little one without freaking out” stress with a few of these simple strategies.
1. Use technology. Your smartphone is already your BFF, so keep the tech-love going. Ask your daycare center’s staff, the nanny or whoever else is watching your child to help you out and send you a text, email or quick pic every so often. You’ll feel better about leaving your mini-me if you know what she’s doing during her day. But try to avoid the temptation of jumping onto a video chat (or even a regular old-school call); seeing you/hearing your voice may disrupt your child’s day or bring back her separation anxiety.
2. Pin it. Okay, so you aren’t exactly going to “pin” pictures of your child onto a major social media site. But, you can create your own virtual “pin board” right on your phone or tablet. Create cute photo collages of your child, and sneak a peek during your work day. Add pics of your baby’s first day home, her smiling face or her cuddling up with the family pet. Keep in mind, you don’t always have to use pictures that you’ve already taken. Set up a mommy-tot photo session at home before going back to work. Pick out cute costumes and have your spouse, a friend or grandma act as photographer.
3. Do a practice run. You have 10 days until your first day back. It’s no surprise that you want to spend every last second with your child. You’re taking her for strolls, visiting the park and snuggling up with her (or at least, your) favorite picture book. Yes, it’s perfectly understandable that you want to glue yourself to your tot in these last few work-free days. But, doing a pre-workday dry run can take some of the pressure off when the big day arrives. Take a morning to pre-create your soon-to-be on the job schedule. Have the nanny come over or take your child to a family member’s house for a few hours to simulate daycare.
4. Start slow. So, you’re taking a morning out to do the practice run-through. It’s all going swell for the first 30 minutes. And, then — well, then it hits you. You’re away from your child and you’re getting cold feet about this whole work thing. Don’t worry. No one expects you to stay emotion-free and conquer your back-to-work worries immediately. If you’re not ready to dive in right away, start with 15 minutes away from your little one. Add on to your “away time” each day until you eventually build up to half a day. When you’ve gotten that far, keep going until you get to your first full day of work.
5. Put it into perspective. That is, put it into your child’s perspective. Even if she’s only a few months old, your child knows when you’re not around. All of the starting slow, practice runs and photo fun are part of her pre-return to work ritual too. Brainstorm a few ideas that will ease your child’s worries or woes. This might include making her a photo collage (a real-world paper one that she can take with her), reading a special before-work-only book every day or penning your own mommy-and-me song!
How do you plan to keep in touch with your kiddo while you’re at work? Share your tip and tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)