How To Cope Returning To Work Post Baby


Back To Work After Baby


Whether it’s out of financial necessity or choice, going back to work after having a baby can be a difficult adjustment for mums. The following tips may help to lessen the stress of the inevitable ‘juggling act’.

Tip #1: Ease Back Into It

If possible, create a transition plan with your employer to start off with a few days/hours and then gradually increase your workload and responsibilities.

Tip #2: Create A Fool-Proof Childcare Plan

Whatever your primary form of childcare, ensure that you have a ‘back-up’ plan (and then a back-up plan for the back-up plan) for when your child is sick and needs to be picked up, or you’re running late. Discuss the plan with your family and close friends so they know the protocol as well.

Tip #3: Create A Division Between Work + Home life

Create a work-free zone at home by reducing use of technology, in particular, time spent on email. This will help you to shift your attention from the stresses at work and allow you to be more mentally ‘present’ and engaged at home. Remember, the quality of the time you spend with your child and family can be more important than the quantity of face-to-face time.

Tip #4: Watch Your Self-Talk

Keep an eye out for unhelpful “shoulds” and “musts” that can create unrealistic expectations and stress (eg. “I must cope!”, “I should be able to do all of this!”). It is physically impossible to do your job ‘perfectly’ or to be a ‘perfect’ mother, let alone do both at the same time!

Tip #5: Get As Much Rest As You Can When You Can

It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to be able to concentrate and complete complex tasks at work without adequate sleep. Prioritise sleep during the working week, and avoid using the weekend to ‘catch-up’ on chores. Ensure you have time to unwind, relax, and nurture your interests.

Tip #6: Ask For Help

Ask for help or take shortcuts when it comes to household chores, shopping and meal-planning. You can try ordering groceries online, out-sourcing chores like ironing, and preparing meals to be frozen for later. Remember, it’s impossible to do it all yourself, so letting yourself ‘off the hook’ is key.

Brittany McGill is a clinical psychologist who completed her postgraduate clinical training at the University of New South Wales. She is interested in anxiety and mood disorders across the lifespan and uses cognitive-behavioural and other evidence-based strategies to help people achieve positive change in their lives.


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