No matter how long your maternity leave was, those first few days, weeks or even months back on the job can be tough.
First of all, it’s important to remember that once you’re back at work, all the childcare and home responsibilities can't be yours alone. The key is to balance your family roles with your partner–have a conversation early on about how you plan to divide things up so that you both contribute equally.
And, if you can afford to pay for help, try budgeting a way to buy yourself some extra time. For instance, get your groceries delivered, or hire the teenager next door to come by for an hour so you can run a few errands after work. Or, more importantly, learn to relax your standards a bit and let things go because you simply can’t do it all–and the laundry can always wait another day.
If you’re finding it hard to cope with juggling the demands of work and family, try negotiating your workday with your employer–maybe you can work fewer hours, work from home some days, or simply adjust your hours to better suit your family’s schedule.
Most of all, don’t stress yourself out by feeling guilty about all the times you can’t be there with your kids and instead focus on enjoying the time you have together as a family. If you kill yourself trying to be the perfect mom and the perfect employee, you forget that being happy is also part of doing a good job. Eventually, you'll discover a routine that works for you as a working mom.
Dr. Marjorie Greenfield is a practicing board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). She is currently associate professor on the full-time faculty at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and author of The Working Woman's Pregnancy Book. Dr. Greenfield lives in the Cleveland area with her husband and their teenage son. marjoriegreenfield.com