“How often should you pump at work?”
“What are the TSA guidelines for flying with breastmilk?”
“Au Pair, daycare or nanny?”
Check out my browser history on any given day and intermixed with visits to client websites and tech media outlets is a string of Google searches aimed at helping me navigate my new role as a working mom. Suffice it to say my Google search history today looks much different than it did 12 months ago.
Like many first time moms, one of the (many) ways I prepared for the birth of my son was through literature – books, blogs, and other online resources. When I was gearing up to head back to work, I prepared myself in a similar fashion, and continue to do so on a daily basis. Reading through how other working moms have successfully navigated the transition back to work has been incredibly helpful, and I thought I’d share the tips and resources I’ve found useful since returning to BAM from maternity leave.
This tip is certainly not for everyone, but it’s worked great for me. I knew I wanted to unplug as much as possible while on maternity leave. For me this meant not checking email, muting Slack on my phone and immersing myself completely in my new role as a mom. With that said, I’m lucky to work for a CEO who was willing to come to my house once a month to check in on me and give me a short and sweet update on what was going on back at BAM. Two weeks before I came back from maternity leave, she put together a document with key information I’d need to dive back into my role as VP. These short check-ins and the helpful onboarding document did wonders to ensure I didn’t feel like I was coming in totally blind my first day back at the office.
Protect your time.
As I started preparing to come back to work, I knew I needed to be mindful of establishing boundaries with my time. I’ve found calendar blocking incredibly helpful to ensure this happens. For example, I knew that I wanted to be home at the same time each day to make sure I established a consistent routine for my son. To accomplish this, I block off the last 30 minutes of my working day on my calendar, ensuring it remains meeting-free. Blocking off this time each day allows me to leave on schedule and protects my family time. I’ve found calendar blocking helpful for when I’m working from home, too. Whereas I used to work straight through my lunch most days, now I block that time off and use it to take my son for a walk, put him down for his nap or simply spend more quality time with him during the workday.
Build your support network.
I prepared for my maternity leave through careful planning, delegation, and communication with my team. I prepared for birth by attending informational classes with my husband and keeping myself healthy and active during my pregnancy. However, in work and life, there are always situations that arise that you aren’t fully prepared for. When these moments pop up, I’ve found it incredibly helpful to have a support system of friends, family, professionals, and coworkers you can call on for help.
For me, my support system ranged from the obvious (my husband and our family) to the not so obvious (hello lactation consultant!). It also included the great resources below that helped me during my pregnancy, postpartum, and when returning back to work.
- Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong and What You Really Need to Know
- Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting from Birth to Preschool
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
San Diego support groups
On to my next Google search!