When Maternity Leave Ends - 5 Tips from a Full-Time Working Mom

I send my little girl to daycare 5 days a week and she loves it. I’m a full-time working mom and I find great fulfilment in it. Whether going back to work after having your child is by choice or not, it can be challenging to manage everything. Here are five tips I use daily to make it through:

When You Return to Work Remember, You can’t do it all

Your house won’t be tidy all the time, the perfect matching shirt and pants won’t always be clean at the same time and your child might know frozen pizza earlier than you would’ve liked. But it’s okay because there is a limited amount of time in a day and you work for 8 hours of it. Lower your expectations and focus on what is truly important. In our house, happiness is our main focus. So quality time with our toddler before bed comes before a neat and clean kitchen. Prioritize what is important to you and your family and arrange your time around that. I try to include my daughter in the things I want to get done like doing the dishes or tidying the living room. There will be water to clean up afterwards but we had a good time and some of the dishes are now clean!

Dish Duty featuring a smocket and t-shirt wipe. Image Credit: Erica C.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

It takes a village to raise a child! It’s my favorite saying about raising my daughter. The “village” is there to help you with your to-do list. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by family members and friends who offer their help with taking care of our kid or helping out with chores. Just last weekend, my father-in-law was helping my husband with getting everything ready for the winter and my mother-in-law was watching our kid so I could get that kitchen neat and clean. Also, my new favorite gift to receive is food! What says “you are doing great, keep going” better than your mom’s shepherd’s pie or the family spaghetti sauce? Also, don’t forget that some people make a living out of helping others with cleaning and cooking, it can be handy sometimes.

Near the End of Your Maternity Leave: Plan, plan, plan

With little time left, you must make sure you don’t waste time on unnecessary things like running around the house with your baby in one arm looking for that second blue sock. Instead, take a few minutes to set general rules in your household like who is responsible for what and a few minutes per week just to set your menu for the week.

Here, it is easy because daycare feeds our child while she is there and my husband and I eat leftovers as lunches. So we have 5 dinners to plan for the week. The menu is very useful as my husband can take over the task whenever I can’t get out of work early. We decided that my husband gets our daughter to daycare and I pick her up, that way, she spends less time away from home. That also means my husband is still working when it’s time to get dinner ready.

Meals should be fun and easy, not added stress. Biggie Bibs Help! Image credit: Amanda U.

We try to plan the outfits for the week (and the cloth diapers - thank god for my Lil Helper diapers as there are so quick to assemble) at daycare. (Don’t forget tip#1: lower your expectations: that planning isn’t going to work all the time, sometimes you don’t have enough clothes to get the whole week). It makes it very quick in the mornings to get ready and less likely to forget something!

As You Return to Work, Don’t Forget Yourself

Your child needs you, all of you. In order to do so, I make sure I get my 8 hours of sleep every night. I treat myself a nice bath once in a while and I do things I like doing. Being myself and not only what I need to do is really important to keep a good balance and to keep enjoying everything I do. Exhausting yourself between your job and your to-do list at home won’t help anybody, especially not your child who needs you mentally when you are with them. Your partner is also important and you need to give him/her/them time for him/her/themselves as well as for your relationship.

Enjoy the Moment

Cape Diem! What else is to be added? Nothing is better than the moment right now. It is so, so easy nowadays to slip away with our phones instead of pushing the little blue toy car for the 30th time in the last minute. But the look in her eyes when I pick her up from daycare is worth so much more than knowing what some IG girl ate for lunch.

Nothing is better than her trying to repeat after me or trying to climb up the sofa to sit next to me. Nothing is cuter than her little head on my shoulder as we dance to the music or the way she clumsily takes her spoon to her mouth. Those moments are gone so quickly! Please, enjoy them as much as you can! That kitchen can clean itself (see tip#3 ; that lovely lady does a really good job!!) but that clumsiness is less clumsy every day that goes by.

Image Credit: Dez B.

YOU WILL SURVIVE! I promise you. It might not be on the terms you thought beforehand but you will make it through with your sanity and great memories. Just remember that time flies by but there is always time for what is important and you are not alone.

About the Author

Alex is a full time working mom who loves to spend time with her family, and baking. She loves helping others and when became a mom, found great support in the online community. The advice she would give you? Trust yourself.

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