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Share your top tips for making going back to work post baby easier for you & your family - you could win £200 of vouchers or a hamper of P&G products! NOW CLOSED

(151 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 13-Sep-13 09:36:03

Going back to work after having a baby can be daunting. Recent research by P&G to celebrate the Everyday Effect bears this out, finding that for 6 in 10 mums it took more than three months to get their confidence back in the work place.

They have asked us to find out from you what you think about this:

Is/was this the case for you? What would have helped you feel more relaxed about going back to work? What things did your colleagues/partner do to help with the transition? What are your top tips for mums returning to work after having a baby?

P&G (the company behind brands such as Pampers, Fairy, Flash, Ariel, Lenor, Pantene, Max Factor and Olay) believe that life is lived in the everyday. Seemingly ordinary actions, from wearing a clean shirt to brushing our teeth can have a surprisingly significant impact on ourselves and also the people around us. That's what they call The Everyday Effect.

Add your comments or top tip for supporting parents going back to work to this thread and you will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £200 John Lewis voucher and 10 MNers will a P&G hamper of goodies.

Thanks and good luck

Please note your comments may be used (anonymously of course) by P&G in PR and marketing materials, their website and possibly elsewhere so please only comment of you're happy with this.

Watching with interest as I will be going back to work in a few months

Willemdefoeismine Fri 13-Sep-13 09:46:09

I think I had an atypical going back to work scenario with my first
DC as I was effectively being marginalised out of a job. With the benefit of hindsight they should have just given me a big redundancy pay-off and all would have been fine! I ended up in a scenario where my two immediate work colleagues had gone elsewhere in my absence, my place of work had moved to another city and I was left just 'killing time' for about 8 weeks, hot desking in an office full of 'unknowns'. As you can imagine, having been off work for 10 months that was a demoralising experience for me. I was missing my DS and trying to adjust to working/commuting/running a home with a baby, only to get to work to discover that I was effectively 'at sea' there too!

So I cannot really say how things could have been done differently but it wasn't a usual situation. My top tip though would be not feel pressured into going back before you and your family feel ready to 'take on board' the extra physical and emotional impact of working with family commitments. And if at all possible, ease back in gradually even if you are intending to go back full-time.

dahville Fri 13-Sep-13 10:34:23

Use the 10 keeping in touch days with your work if you can; it can help ease you back into work. In the same way your child will have settling in days if s/he goes to nursery, you can try that approach for work.

On my first day back my husband was on a business trip and I had client meetings which meant early drop off and late pick up at day care; it was not ideal. In retrospect I should have delayed my start by one week.

When I go back this time I will make sure that my first day is a shorter one not longer.

CheeryCherry Fri 13-Sep-13 10:41:37

Throughout your time off, keep in touch with one or two colleagues, so that if you have any fears about your return to work, you can have some friends to look out for you.
Don't be too hard on yourself in the first few weeks of juggling. Prepare and plan your meals, keep other commitments minimal while you settle in.

RubySparks Fri 13-Sep-13 10:45:12

After my second child I went back to work using holidays to have shorter weeks/days to start with although I was only working 3 days a week anyway.

We had trial days at nursery prior to this and a little later I changed my working hours to work 4 short days so I could collect eldest from school and youngest from nursery. So really it may not be about what you can do but how flexible your employer is, I went with the 'if you don't ask you don't get' idea!

It also helped that at that point I didn't need to work full time, I think it must be very very hard where both parents have to work full time. Then it is helpful to be very organised, do lunches night before, washing machine loaded/unloaded every evening, shop and cook on weekend and don't look too closely at housework.

CMOTDibbler Fri 13-Sep-13 11:00:08

I had a relatively short maternity leave, so it didn't take too long to settle back in. This also helped as dh and I hadn't settled into a pattern where I did everything.

My top tip is that when you both work and have a baby, you need to talk to each other. Lots. No competitive tiredness, no sniping, no 'they should just know to do x', be honest, but also appreciate the other. We played a lot of tag team in the early days - someone picked ds up from nursery, the other got tea on; I'd be feeding ds, dh put the nappy wash on; I did bedtime, dh would sterilise the pump and so on.

And keep things simple. Don't get het up about housework, socialising, family expectations etc for months. The two of you concentrate on making things work for the three (or more!) of you first, then let other things in as you both agree them.

And internet shopping is amazing. Amazon Prime, John Lewis flowers and Moonpig get us out of many holes.

turkeyboots Fri 13-Sep-13 12:16:07

Childcare you feel happy with and which is reliable is vital. Help with domestic stuff made life easier for me. So a cleaner and sending the ironing out is wonderful but expesnsive.

I can work from home which helps too. Can get through Landry mountain without having to stay up late waiting for machine to finish!

Planning is vital. We coordinate diaries once a week and talk through arrangments and issues for the week. We both travel a far bit for work, so never agree to anything before clearing it with each other. Once we handed over the DC in the,airport, but we make it work... Just.

givemeaboost Fri 13-Sep-13 13:38:13

Is/was this the case for you? luckily no as I had done more training etc whilst off work so confidence levels were still high when I went back.

What would have helped you feel more relaxed about going back to work? knowing how it would change our financial eligibility- tax credits etc and more help with the costs of childcare as we were both on very low incomes.

What things did your colleagues/partner do to help with the transition?
Not a great deal, exdp had no choice but to help out with childcare but work sent me on refresher training courses which helped stay current within my field.

What are your top tips for mums returning to work after having a baby? Have a really good support network around you, make sure you know of any local contacts you might need before you start eg after school clubs, holiday play schemes and names of local childminders.

nightcircus Fri 13-Sep-13 14:05:24

Best advice work wise from line manager - take it one day at a time. It's easy to think roofer ahead and get stressed.

Also get a new notepad and write EVERYTHING down. There will likely have bed lots if changes at work even if you've only been out a few months. It's also easy to forget things if you're still up in the night....

Enquire about flexible working- I now finish at 3 as have dropped 4 hours a week.

nightcircus Fri 13-Sep-13 14:07:05

Roofer = too far

Happiestinwellybobs Fri 13-Sep-13 14:27:46

I agree that it took some weeks to get back to the state where I felt I knew what was going on, but even 9 months later, there are people who I don't know, and that is not like me at all.

Helping me feel more relaxed:

- using my Keep in Touch days whilst I was on leave.
- knowing I had a good nursery where DD would be happy.

Things my partner did:

- sent me a big bunch of flowers on my first day smile
- helps in the morning. As he leaves earlier, he does breakfast, while I have a shower, then i get DD dressed.

Top tips:

- have a routine. Clothes are laid out the night before. DD's bag is packed and at the door ready for nursery. Sandwiches are made the night before.
- get housework into an organised rota. We both know what needs doing and when - pretty much.
- have an emergency standby for childcare if possible. My parents will have DD if she cannot go to nursery.

Spirael Fri 13-Sep-13 14:27:54

What would have helped you feel more relaxed about going back to work?
I did the 10 KIT days last time around, sporadically from eight weeks after the birth. DH took holiday and had lovely bonding time with DD for those days. I found this helped enormously with keeping me up to date with what was happening at work and giving me a day or two each month to clear all the emails in my inbox so it wasn't too bad on my first day back.
However I'm not sure whether I'll be able to do the same if there's a next time, as conflict with salary sacrifice childcare vouchers being maintained throughout maternity leave might mean I (sort of) don't get paid!

What things did your colleagues/partner do to help with the transition?
With DH, we've always split the chores equally and just continued to do so with the new jobs that come with having a child. One thing we both did which has helped for logistics is set up a shared calendar on our phones and use an app to track one another, so we can tell at a glance whether DD has been picked up successfully from nursery on time!
My boss at the time was understanding and approachable, which helped ease the transition. My colleagues were same as always, which was comforting in a way!

What are your top tips for mums returning to work after having a baby?
Start using online grocery shopping. Otherwise you either end up doing a solo late night shop while shattered after working, or you fight through the crowds at the weekend either by yourself or while trying to keep a child entertained and out of trouble.
Also, become an expert at logistics. Meals are always planned, Saturday starts with a list of jobs that need doing at the weekend and chores are chipped away at over the week. Keep the numbers for nursery, the doctors, the dentist, etc, all on your phone so that you can field with ease out the inevitable calls from nursery that you need to get your child early.

iwantavuvezela Fri 13-Sep-13 14:41:06

Is/was this the case for you? What would have helped you feel more relaxed about going back to work?

I would have told my self not to worry. I was away from work for almost a year, and by the end of the first week it all started coming back to me. Although i felt nervous about remembering things; it was really not a problem! I actually enjoyed the coffee breaks with other adults, and really relished some of the time when I first went back!

What things did your colleagues/partner do to help with the transition?
Just asking after my dd was lovely, saying that i had been missed, and then just getting back into the swing of things.

What are your top tips for mums returning to work after having a baby?
To be organised! Get up early enough so that you can get yourself and baby/child dressed, fed etc. Have an idea of what you need to do when you get back from work (this was and still is the most "stressful" time for me - getting dinner organised; sorting things out, made much worse if I have to wing dinner rather than having something defrosting, and knowing what I will be making. I often kept my DD her food when she was a baby for ours the night before. Made it easier that her meal was made and just had to be heated.

missorinoco Fri 13-Sep-13 15:00:46

I found it very hard going back to work, more so after my second child.

Things that made it better - empathetic colleagues, who didn't necessarily do or say anything specific, but were kind and friendly, and happy to see me after 8 months.

Misogynous colleagues made it worse, and I wouldn't have predicted who they would be.

My tip would be to find a friend/mentor who has been there, and have a casual chat from time to time. The fact someone else knows where you are coming from makes a huge difference.

Also keep in touch with friends who are also back at work. Even if you can't meet up a quick update reminds you you're not alone.

Be organised as said above. Meal plan, have things ready the night before. One small baby is disproportionate to the amount of work created. If possible, keep tea or coffee at work, and you will guarantee yourself a hot drink at some point in the morning.

Yes it took me ages to get used to being back, re-learning computer systems and passwords etc. I missed my boy so much but it does get better. My husband is fab and was always good at sharing household tasks so this helped.

It would have more if work had given me a more gentle comeback but it was like 'great your back, you know how things work, off you go' and I felt very out of my depth for a while.

Tips for going back umm not a tip as such but just to say it is ok to miss your baby and be relieved to have some more adult company all at the same time grin

ninaprettyballerina Fri 13-Sep-13 15:42:21

I've done it twice now and gone back to the same role ea h time (been in the same job for 14 yrs now). I took 14 months off both times and found it hard, nerve wracking, stressful and not enjoyable both times. I worried mainly about the DCs but also about forgetting my skills, knowledge, being out of the loop, confidence, self esteem, appearance and generally "being boring"!!
I'd say (if and where possible):
Leave DCs in their new child care setting in advance of your return to work
Have a chat with line manger so you know what's changed/who's who/recap of duties before your first day. Meet for coffee perhaps for an informal chat
Treat yourself to new make up/clothes/hand bag
Plan a morning routine
Don't expect things to be the same. If you're returning to an existing role but with reduced hours then you can feel pressure to carry out the same amount of work. You can't and no-one should make you feel like you should.
Call the child care setting as often as you like. They won't mind
Enjoy your free time with DCs as you'll appreciate it even more

MrsKwazii Fri 13-Sep-13 16:10:56

I've had two year-long maternity leaves and returned to the same employer. HR made things easier for me by sending regular updates of the staff newsletter, round-ups of messages from the top team to all staff and inviting me to any big 'town hall' meetings on big issues. My manager made things easier by offering KIT days on my terms that fitted in with childcare and never putting me under pressure if I couldn't make things stack up. They are also very good at knowing that I must leave by a set time to pick up from childcare.

From a personal point of view, I batch cooked before going back so that we had a few weeks of frozen dinners ready for the days we were both working. Just took a bit of pressure off us.

We also try to keep organised by getting work and nursery clothes ready for the next day before going to bed. Very useful when your child has a habit of hiding their shoes! I put out my whole outfit including shoes, underwear and jewellery - it really saves time and makes mornings a little less hectic.

We couldn't bear the thought of using external childcare (not could our wallets afford it) so DP and I both went part time and worked opposing days.
It meant that we only had one day a week altogether as a family but also meant that we both got to enjoy our new DD equally.

The compromise paid off as with the spare time afforded to us from working part time we were able to set up our own fledgling business and we are now in the same financial position as we were pre-child.

Took some work, but we got there without compromising ourselves!

FourGates Fri 13-Sep-13 16:48:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bubbles85 Fri 13-Sep-13 17:31:53

I am shortly going to start my maternity leave and after having spoken with colleagues that have already had their maternity leave and returned to work, they have passed on a few tips:

- Use your keeping in touch days so you don't loose touch with things going on in the workplace.

- Make sure you speak regularly with your friends from work and make an effort to see them so it doesn't seem awkward when you go back.

- Don't put yourself under pressure when you first return.

- Don't talk about your baby all the time!

Lurleene Fri 13-Sep-13 17:45:17

Try and place your baby in a childcare setting close to your workplace rather than your home. It will be easier to get to them if you need to, you're less likely to get stuck in traffic on the way to get them and you won't have to pay for so many hours.

nextphase Fri 13-Sep-13 18:09:31

Complete opposite to Lurleene - childcare close to home, so any parent can collect/drop off the kids. Don't make it so its always you.

Returning to work was a disaster. My (ex) boss was a nightmare. Apparently I have no ability to think any more, and was given work about 7 pay grades below me. Completely wrecked my confidence. So, try to get back into your level / area of expertise asap, even at 75% rates. Now got a new boss, and its fab (despite folklore being I've jumped from the good boss to the hopeless one)

Doobydoo Fri 13-Sep-13 18:18:42

I returned to work when ds1 was 4months old.We moved counties and I started a very different job in a childrens hospice as a nurse.Prior to that I worked in childrens outpatients and a neonatal unit.My dp worked fromwhen I was 6 months pregnant until I went back.We had no family support .Dp cared for ds1 whilst I was at work...not really a tip but I am interested to read how people manage.

CousinArnold Fri 13-Sep-13 18:20:11

Have a trial run before you return to work of getting yourself and DC up, ready and out of the house by the time you will need to leave the house in the mornings. It can take a bit longer than you think!

MacNCheese Fri 13-Sep-13 18:33:56

I felt guilty returning to work as if I'd been on a lovely long paid holiday. After a while a realised my new found motherhood had made me better at my job. Women should value the skills they have gained as a parent that are often very transferable to the work place.

noisytoys Fri 13-Sep-13 19:10:32

Take as long as you need and don't feel pressured into returning to the workplace before you are ready. With DD1 I took 16 weeks maternity leave, went back far too soon, did far too much and had a full on breakdown. With DD2 I waited until I was fully ready to go back which meant I was at home until she was nearly 3. I am a much better employee for it and don't feel torn between work and home.

I went back full time when dd1 was 3 months and when dd2 was 10 weeks.

- clothes laid out the night before. I also used to sort out 5 outfits on a Sunday and hang them up complete with tights, underwear etc

- packed lunches made the night before, as much as possible

- mugs, breakfast bowls etc laid out the night before, for easy morning filling!

- takeaway on a Friday

- cook two meals on a Sunday, one for Sunday and one for Monday. On Monday, whilst Monday's meal is warming through, cut up vege etc for Tuesday. On Tuesday, prepare as much as poss for Weds etc. It really helped to know that dinner was at least partly prepared, rather than rushing home from work to start entirely from scratch each night.

tanfastic Fri 13-Sep-13 20:11:42

I found keeping in touch with my boss and work colleagues during my time off made it easier when I went back to work. I also went In one day a month to use up my keeping in touch days.

Watching with interest for when I return next year so I can't really comment too much, but I think support from family (and friends) is really important

AllSWornOut Fri 13-Sep-13 20:57:57

My tip would be to be very clear with your boss about your expectations and capacity.

My boss was determined to protect me when I returned, which would have been nice if there hadn't been a HUGE increase in workload while I'd been away and I could see my colleagues being run ragged. It left me feeling sidelined and it took a long time before I felt part of my old team again.

sharond101 Fri 13-Sep-13 22:08:50

Have a dry run at childcare arrangements so you don't need to worry that the DC will be distressed all day.

Don't phone phone the childcare to make sure they are ok you will cry when you hear what they have been doing.

Prepare as much as you can the night before so when you get home you can spend a little time with your child.

Pencil in a few days off soon after your return so you have something to look forward to.

Do everything online! Grocery shopping, banking, bills - everything. I have a long commute - 2 hours each way by train - and try to use this time on household admin so that it doesn't eat into precious family time. I'm just about to return to work after a second year long maternity leave and am as nervous as hell!

OrganixAddict Sat 14-Sep-13 08:37:38

In my case appointing maternity cover who turned out to be a nightmare everyone hated made sure (albeit accidently) I was welcomed back with open arms!
More general advice would be to plan meals and outfits for first week in advance (include spare outfit in plan in case of baby smearing you with snot / toothpaste / weetabix). Oh and buy washable ad opposed to dry clean workwear.
Also regular online shop, cleaner if you can afford it and childcare you love. I used a nursery which was wonderful. It also offered a standard day which was about an hour longer than I needed, giving me some slack to arrive at work early or leave late. I felt much less stressed not having to dash out the door on time every day.
On confidence at work, I did find it daunting returning but just told myself I could do the job pre-dc so could still do it now. After second mat leave I returned to new management and team structure so requested an hour long orientation / catch-up meeting so I knew what was going on and people were talking about.
On a less professional note, I also stayed close to a work friend during mat leave who was very in-the-know so I felt up-to-date with gossip!

BoyMeetsWorld Sat 14-Sep-13 08:44:21

Just going to add my thoughts then will read through. I'm soon to be off on maternity leave for 6 months, then returning to a job I love - but it's still a very daunting prospect.

I think the key issue is with employers. Returning to work feels so much worse if you're essentially forced to go back sooner than you wanted (like me at 6 months) because the maternity package is the lowest it can possibly be and there are no flexible / part time options for return. That said, my employer does offer KIT (keeping in touch) days so that I can go in once per month fully paid & keep in the loop. I've also been v much involved in selecting my maternity cover which has helped.

On a more materialistic note which I guess is what this threads really after - things which would give me confidence when returning to work include: work clothing that really fits my post pregnancy body and which I know I look good and professional in. A healthy, energising lunch each day - maybe with a little treat to give me a boost when flagging in the day. Photo key ring or similar so I can keep piccies of new baby around me all the time. A mobile phone with direct line to whoever is caring for my baby - and work's understanding that I'd want to keep the phone on all the time in case they contacted me. And a good diary with To Do list space to help organise my thoughts & get priorities in order whilst settling back in

Wildwaterfalls Sat 14-Sep-13 09:54:51

Top tips:

- stay in touch with colleagues during mat leave
- have a long settling in period at nursery. DD started going a few hours a week in June even though I didn't go back to work until Sep. Gave me a chance to meet with colleagues too.
- Arrange help for the first month. All our family live abroad but we have DM/DMIL staying with us for a month. Great for emergency childcare and helping with housework!

Wildwaterfalls Sat 14-Sep-13 10:27:49

Oh and importantly:

- Lower your standards!!! I am quite a tidy / precise person but I've had to embrace the fact that toys won't always be tidily assembled and put away, the laundry basket can sometimes be full and if we sometimes eat beans on toast that's ok.

lollypopsicle Sat 14-Sep-13 10:30:45

My return to work was made more difficult by the fact that I had missed crucial training that changed the way I was expecting to do things. It caused me extra anxiety that I could have done without. I wasn't given the option to attend the training and didn't know it was even taking place.
This time (different employer) I have made it clear I would like to know about important training to at least have the option to attend as a KIT day.

ArtemisKelda Sat 14-Sep-13 11:16:29

Interesting! I go back to my weekend job today and my main job on Monday.

I wasn't given the option to use KIT days unfortunately, in a way, I wish I had as I'm starting to get really nervous, especially as I have a 40 min walk to get both children to nursery & school then a commute. I just hope I can get in on time!

My tips are be organised, have everything ready the night before. G easy in yourself, I really missed DS in the first few weeks and I'm sure I'll be the same about DD. Use nursery or childminder settling in days and make sure that you're happy with childcare arrangements.

NomDeClavier Sat 14-Sep-13 11:45:53

I didn't notice a change but I took a short ML and it doesn't work for everyone but I found compartmentalising really helped. Workwear and makeup were workwear and work make-up, I changed when I got home. Also I was off over a long teaching break at university anyway and sort of it KIT before DS arrived writing exam papers and then I obviously got results and other info through. Unlike one of my colleagues I didn't ask to not receive departmental emails, I just didn't necessarily read and reply. That meant I was still in the loop.

My colleagues were understanding about arranging my teaching timetable which helped. DH didn't really do much to ease the return to work!

My top tips would be:
Believe in and make the most of said Everyday Effect! It makes a big difference to how you feel if you know you look good and are clean. If you didn't carry spare tights and touch up make up before them start now. Also if it's practical keep a change of clothes at work for the baby snot/vomit/sticky hands incidents at drop off.

Organise everything in advance, and if you can afford a nanny to provide childcare at home then it's worth the extra for the children's laundry, cleaning and meals to be done and the lack of drop off/pick up which makes your commute longer and means your little one is out the house for a long day.

Once you know your return date (or about 6 weeks before at least) start trying to ease yourself back into work mode for a short time during the day. You may actually find that the time management and prioritising at work helps you organise your home admin more efficiently and it won't be as much of a shock when you have to talk to someone other than a baby/on a subject other than babies.

RegainingUnconsciousness Sat 14-Sep-13 12:48:55

As most other posters have said, the key for us has been keeping organised, getting everything ready the night before, etc.

I only had a short time off work, so going back wasn't too traumatic in terms of work. I wish I'd been more insistent regarding asking for time to express, and the 20 mins a day offered was just not enough.

For us, working as a team is key. We divide up the jobs and get everything organised for the morning before DS is in bed, that way we've got the evening to work ourselves.

Good, reliable and flexible childcare is essential, we have a local childminder who is like an aunt to DS, who will hopefully continue to have him as he goes through school.

lagoonhaze Sat 14-Sep-13 13:42:59

Being organised. Getting whole family onboard.

Discussing expectations and change in family dynamics.

However above all have a plan a b and c for when child sick, transport fails etc....

peronel Sat 14-Sep-13 13:43:23

Top Tip: Change your attitude! Think laterally, for yourself and what you really want. Surveys have previously shown that, actually, many mums do not really want to go back to work - they prefer to spend quality time getting to know their new baby. Bizarrely, looking after another persons baby is widely recognized as being a job for which a reasonable reward is paid. Yet, if you (or I) decide to dare to flout modern convention and look after our own children, this is now almost frowned upon. If you happen to believe that the best person to look after your own child is you, its mother - then that is what you will do. Because whatever could you choose to buy with the money you earn that would be worth more than time spent with your own child? Makes materialism seem just greed and a way in which humans by being acquisitive, buying the most fashionable (and expensive) brands - sometimes turning out to be not even the best! are behaving exactly as animals of all species do. Showing off to impress! What a wonderful mother you are then (NOT!) Settle for a smaller house, for now or do whatever it takes. LESS IS MORE!!! Rant over. smile

skyeskyeskye Sat 14-Sep-13 14:11:10

A routine helps, make packed lunches the night before, lay out clothes for yourself and DC. Allow plenty of time in the morning to get ready so you are not stressed out.

Keep in touch with your boss and colleagues while away and do your KIT days if you can. When you return, make sure that you can cope with your hours and allow plenty if time for travelling.

Get a childminder or nursery that you are completely happy to leave DC in. Walk away the first day and don't look back. Focus on your work and the day will fly by.

Reastie Sat 14-Sep-13 16:42:14

Get everything ready the night before so you can grab and run in the mornings (including your outfit). Get one of those mug thermos things to have a tea/coffee in the car on the way to work to save time trying and failing to have it beforehand. Allow extra time as things always take longer than you think.

Expect to find it heart wrenching initially. I spent at least the first 4 months convinced I would leave my job and hated it but I've settled back finally and glad I stuck with it. It does get easier with time.

IceNoSlice Sat 14-Sep-13 17:02:27

When discussing your return to work with bosses, be positive and confident in your contribution. Don't approach a PT request as 'I only want to work 3/4 days', instead present a business case for what you will do and how you can rearrange workload/drop tedious tasks (ideally) to achieve this. Carry on this positive attitude when you start at work - don't focus on leaving early/on time but make the time you are there count. Get your head down - I think I am more focused and efficient now than ever, as I want to leave on time to see DS for bath time.

Likewise make time with DC count too - it's more precious than ever so don't waste it doing chores.

Get a cleaner and send out ironing if you can afford it.

DH helped my transition by taking the equal role he always has and sharing nursery drop off/pick up.And chores. And night time wakes. We discuss diaries every few days so if he has a big meeting or is away I can plan for it (and vice versa). And talk to each other all the time. No competing, you're both tired!

Plan, plan, plan. Lists. Meal plan, clothes plan, to do lists. Lots of healthy batch cooked meals in the freezer.

Lastly, be nice to yourself. You won't get everything done. You'll sometimes eat instant food. Treat yourself to new make up and the odd evening slobbing in front of the telly.

DTisMYdoctor Sat 14-Sep-13 17:59:58

My top tips for going back to work would be:

1. When you start weaning, think about what time you'll eat when you go back to work - I knew we wouldn't eat till 6.30 - 7, so I had to get DS used to eating at that time.

2. Sort out your childcare as early as you can

3. If you want to reduce your hours, don't leave it until the last minute to approach your employers, and when you do, prepare your case, taking into account business requirements. Too often I see flexible work requests which are just about accommodating personal circumstances. You need to demonstrate how it can work without a negative impact on the business.

4. Don't feel guilty about being at work. Enjoy that whole lunch hour!

have some settling in days at nursery, don't overstay the first few times no matter how hard it is. I left ds at nursery to go on a 6 hour trip away and he screamed the place down sad but it does and will get easier hold onto this thought. buy yourself a coffee and repeat this too shall pass!

If you intend to take a longish maternity leave and use a nursery, then if you can afford to, start your DC at nursery for 2 sessions a week from 6 months. This is before separation anxiety begins to increase, so a child settling in at 6 months is likely to settle in quicker than at 12 months. You can also ask the nursery to take your DC on your KIT days. It also means that you will probably find it easier to leave your DC at nursery when you return to work as you will be confident that your DC is happy. So it splits "childcare angst" and "work angst".

Alanna1 Sat 14-Sep-13 21:52:12

Top tips? Tesco delivery saver. Amazon prime.

Be organised. Shared electronic diary.

Emergency childcare options. Grandparents/siblings.

Not doing much at weekends. No social life outside of my family!

helsbels03 Sat 14-Sep-13 22:44:26

When you go back to work, remember you are not the same person you used to be, you have to split your priorities, sometimes at work good enough is , good enough, you don't need to excel at everything all of the time. I found that the hardest bit, being so used to being in thd thick of everything- part time means it is more difficult to bd that same person. Also my other tip is to pay for 15 mins more child care than you think you will need each day so you are not constantly late or the last mum there or driving like a maniac to pick up.

lorisparkle Sat 14-Sep-13 23:53:38

I wish I had used the 'staying in touch days'. My place of work is quite a trek from where we live and I found it a real struggle to go in with the baby to visit and 'show him off' and then nearer the time I really did not want to go in. When I did start back although they paid me as if I was doing my former job two of my colleagues had taken on my jobs so I had very little to do and no real base. Once doing my job I found it was like riding a bike but as I have been on maternity leave as much as I have been in the job and now work part time I have never really got into the swing of my workplace. This does not really bother me though as I love being a mum and see that as my career at the moment.

Top tips would be to have confidence that it will all fall into place when you return. I think that if you look like you know what you are doing - dress and 'hold yourself' as if you are on top of everything - then things always go better.

Iwaswatchingthat Sun 15-Sep-13 10:12:29

Get a slo cooker and shove something in it before you leave for work (chop veg the night before). You will be extremely grateful to yourself for doing so when you get home and remember you have made yourself a meal!!! Thank you me!!!

camtt Sun 15-Sep-13 17:43:17

Top tip: you need to be organised! I would lay out clothes and bag of spares for nursery the night before. I found it better to have the baby at nursery near my work as otherwise I would have had to leave later in the mornings and leave work earlier in the evenings. For me I prefer to reduce the stress that comes from wondering whether everyone else think you are shirking because you came in after they did and bolted from your seat at 5 so the extra time at work because of having nursery near work was great and also meant I was with DS more and he had a shorter day in nursery.

What did my colleagues do: This differed after each of my 3 pregnancies. The worst was when I returned two days a week and was bored witless having only non-challenging work, the best when I was thrown right back in and after a morning it felt as if I had never been away. Once, when a senior colleague suggested that I was now only capable of doing basic and straightforward work, I insisted otherwise and my boss backed me up - it was important to stand up for myself straight away to avoid being sidelined for ever more.

SaltySeaBird Sun 15-Sep-13 20:14:09

I had a short maternity leave as my employer made it clear that there would be problems if I wanted to be off longer. I wasn't happy with this but understood their reasons.

I still found it very difficult and did feel that I had lost a bit of confidence doing certain things. My tips would be:

1. If you work in an evolving industry keep up with professional blogs and news so you know what has been going on and any changes that may have happened while you were off.

2. Find out if any company processes have changed and ask if there have been any training sessions while you were off. Before you go back fully consider popping in for a training session or just to start clearing emails (like your DC having a settling in session).

3. Make an effort to keep work life very separate. Put on smart clothes, hair and make up. Make yourself feel professional and put yourself in the right mindset.

CozyOtter Sun 15-Sep-13 22:07:36

A slow cooker has been my godsend for going back to work!

So nice coming home to the smell of dinner cooking smile

Even better...I've made lovely chocolate bread and butter pudding in it - great for cold, wet nights!

BooMeowson Sun 15-Sep-13 22:47:47

I am told that it helps to remember that your child will benefit from having a different style of looking after sometimes. Sometimes you can be struggling with something (like potty training) and someone with a different take on it can make a big difference.

michelleblane Sun 15-Sep-13 23:14:58

Research child care early on. I decided on a child minder but the one recommended to me was already full. I went to visit another but did not feel she was what I was looking for. I began to run out of time but luckily found someone I was happy with and arranged a few 'trial runs' before I went officially back to work. Trial runs involved leaving him for one hour, then two hours and three hours in the three weeks before I went back. Before this, the childminder came and spent a morning with us at our home. This meant my son got used to her, and I had got to know her too.
Have a couple of trial runs at getting self and baby ready to leave home at the required time, remembering that the journey to work now involved dropping off baby and possibly a 10 minute chat!
Returning to work was very difficult, leaving my lovely son with someone else so it was the childcare aspect that was the most important to me,

DuelingFanjo Sun 15-Sep-13 23:46:16

Get everything you need for the morning sorted and prepared the night before.
Allocate roles to both parents, if one does most of the morning routine then the other should be responsible for baths in the evening.
Ignore anyone who tells you that your cold will be damaged b.y you working
Be prepared to be lulled I to thinking 'this is easy' and then realising that you're actually rather tired and also resentful. You may feel like your DP isn't pulling their weight and perhaps the months of maternity leave have meant that you have become responsible for more of the housework and childcare than you think is fair. Talk openly to your partner about what is making you feel down as well as doing things that make you feel good.

Spend the weekends doing amazing fun and funny stuff with your child. When you pick them up in the evening don't just rush the into the car, take them for a little walk, talk to them about their day, roll down grass, take them up and down steps.

Always keep a pair of Welles in the car.

DuelingFanjo Sun 15-Sep-13 23:49:41

Also be prepared for the first few weeks of childcare to leave you feeling like your heart is in your mouth. There will be days when you don't want to leave your childor your child won't want to leave you.

It will get better and thousands have done it before you.

Talk to other work mates who have children. The have done it before.

theignored Mon 16-Sep-13 01:13:08

i think accepting that returning to work after maternity leave will be hard is the first step.
I have a three yr old, four yr old and have just returned to work after having my 8 month old.
Work refused my request to reduce my hours, and really havent made an effort to welcome me back or ease me back into it. My first day back after a year off and I was left on my own for the entire shift!
Give yourself lots of time to arrange childcare, some childminders/nurseries book up a year in advance. Try use ones local to you, its just easier if your little one is ill or in bad weather.
Also remember to look at your rights on dependents leave, I have used annual leave in the past as I didnt know this was available.

MrsKwazii Mon 16-Sep-13 08:22:46

Have a plan A,B and even C in place (where possible) for covering sickness if your child cannot go into childcare - whether they are ill or a childminder is laid up if you're using one. If you have a working partner, make sure you both know how you can take leave to cover sickness - just because you're a mother it shouldn't automatically fall to you to cover short notice needs. Make sure you're both on the same page by talking about it in advance.

Cherrygrape Mon 16-Sep-13 09:34:33

Accept you can't do everything and meal plan

cleoowen Mon 16-Sep-13 10:15:48

About to start work after 9 month maternity leave so reading with interest. One thing that's helped me so far is trial days with the childminder.

The best thing I had for going back to work, was a team with other mums who had been through it. Having other women there who who were also full-time working mums made me feel supported and less alone.

Having a great support network at home helps too, but really, for that first day in the office, a cup of tea with sympathetic colleagues was the best boost I had.

BellaVida Mon 16-Sep-13 10:49:35

I have had to go back to work after each of my three of my children, but am a SAHM enjoying my fourth now smile

I made the mistake of thinking it would be easier after the first time- I was wrong!

I went back to the same job each time and luckily had several other colleagues with babies or very young children, so we moaned together regularly over coffee or lunch. It helped to know I wasn't alone.

My DH worked much further away, so I did almost all the nursery runs, but he was supportive when he got stressed & teary phone calls during those first weeks. It will get better and you are not a bad mother for going back to work.

On a practical level, make sure you have good, reliable childcare you are happy with. Organise, organise, organise, but still accept you will never be fully prepared, like the time I was carrying my DS into nursery and he promptly vomited all over himself and my hair & suit hmm

A few people have said it already, but I think I made the mistake of falling into a "SAHM" pattern where I did everything whilst on Mat Leave, and never really shook it off. Not that DH doesn't do stuff, he does - and he probably does more food shopping and cooking than I do, most weeks. It's the child logistics stuff - it's me that carries all their various arrangements in my head, sorts school stuff out, lays out clothes for them the night before, etc, and if I am away and DH is doing it then I will get "remote control parenting" texts at regular intervals. It would have been easier if this pattern had never got established (and then it got reinforced with DC2 being born as DC1 started school - clearly I don't learn from my mistakes hmm). I can see one of my best friends falling into the same trap ATM - even though she and her DH have always split chores equally, and with DC1 she was very firm and managed to suppress her control freak tendencies and leave DH to do stuff, now they have two small DC and she is that much more tired he is defaulting to the "oh it will work itself out" lazy laid back approach and she is in full on (self acknowledged) control freak mode, stressing about school places and how to cover the nanny's holiday and everything else.

As far as the actual going back to work process, I would say

- if you can afford it, get your childcare arrangements into place and running a few weeks before you go back - so that you and LO are in the swing of getting out of the house, and with luck have the first of the nursery bugs out of the way, before you add work into the equation.

- don't just focus on getting DC's stuff ready the night before. Make sure all of your stuff is laid out and ready to go - hunting for shoes is not what you want to be doing when you are running late.

- if practicable, wear an old jumper or something over the top of work clothes and don't put your makeup on until you have dropped LO off. Baby drool on your shoulder and smudged mascara do not set you up well for the work day.

manfalou Mon 16-Sep-13 11:04:59

My top tips for returning to work would be:

- Try and keep in touch with some of your colleagues. You'll want to keep up on changing procedures and ensure you don't feel like an 'outsider' when you go back. Unfortunately for me my place of work is renowned for having a high staff turn over and when I went back all of my previous colleagues had left without me knowing.

- If you're using childcare fully utilise the 'settling in sessions' that the nursery should offer. It means not only your child can get use to their new setting gradually but its a good way for mum to gradually introduce herself to leaving baby on a more regular basis than she's used to.

- On the weeks running upto going back to work practice your morning routine. If you need to get baby to childcare (wherever that may be) for 8:30 to get to work for 9 work out when things need to be done. Practice the morning drive... Can you remember how busy the roads are during school time in the morning? How long does it take to get from nursery to your work? Which is the best route? You don't want to be caught out on your first day because DC usually has breakfast at 8:15, then washed, clean nappy and clothed for 8:45 when now you need to start the routine 20-30 minutes sooner.

- Do not feel guilty about putting your child into a nursery if yo have to! Children LOVE going to nursery after the settling period as they can do so much more there than they can at home (Jumping in custard for example!). Remember its building up their social skills from a very early stage and once they start chattering away and start talking about their 'best friend' its lovely to hear. I'm now on maternity leave with DS2 but DS1 still goes to nursery because he wants to, not because he has to.

lottietiger Mon 16-Sep-13 11:27:53

Sorting out shorter hours or less days before i returned would have really benefitted me. I returned after 20 weeks to full time long hours and am now finding it hard to reduce my hours as my employer is used to five days per week. (Although it doesnt help that i work in the construction industry which is the worst for being mum friendly).In hindsight i should have organised flexible days before i returned, as i am finding it tough thinking of DS in long hours of childcare.

mrscog Mon 16-Sep-13 11:31:57

If you're sending your DC to nursery then get one that gives all 3 meals and snacks. That way on nursery days you only have to give your DC some milk/maybe a quick snack before bed and then just think about food for yourself/DP.

Also, brace yourself for your DC to be ill constantly for your first 5-6 weeks back at work, mixing with all those nursery germs wreaks havoc with them. DS was at home more than at nursery for my first 6 weeks back at work. Luckily my employer was very understanding - especially as I kept catching all these illnesses back off him!

asuwere Mon 16-Sep-13 12:32:34

I am due to return to work next week after having DC4. I've returned to the same place of work after each of the other DC, and each time has been different. My work is not good and has not helped - they have not been organised and my managers have changed while I was off without me being informed. To be fair, it is a huge office and there are regular changes while I'm there so it's just pretty normal for it to be a badly run place - it's not specific to being on maternity!

Each time, I have returned straight to full time hours and not prepared the child/me. I am pretty relaxed anyway and I've gone with the theory that if I've managed to have a baby and figure out how to deal with baby for several months, I can cope with going back to a place that I've worked for years. DH and I have always sorted our own childcare so when I'm working, he's at home (and vice-versa) so I don't really need to worry about DC being with anyone else. I think DH probably has a tougher time than I do when I'm working!

I would just say make sure you know childcare is set up and you're happy with it. Then just relax! I would also say that if you're breastfeeding, maybe remember to wear breastpads as wet patches aren't a good look and don't help you relax! smile

WowOoo Mon 16-Sep-13 13:01:52

Things that could have helped me relax more:
Fewer hours and days to begin with to ease the transition. I thought it was better to get stuck in, but really it took me and the children a while to get used to new routines.

What my partner did:
My partner did a massive amount of housework, cooking and cleaning to take the pressure of me for the first month. It was very stressful and I still wasn't happy so a lovely bottle of wine and a bunch of flowers was v thoughtful of him.

Those who'd been there were very kind. When anyone had a chance to leave early or for working at home they'd often let me if I wanted/needed to.

Top tips:
Just be mega organised. Use your smartphone for lists and reminders. Talking with the whole family about how things are going to change, but what things we have to look forward to.

maxmissie Mon 16-Sep-13 13:02:30

The most daunting things for me were leaving my children for the first time at nursery, when I left in tears, and thinking that I would have forgotten everything when I got back into work. It took me a few weeks to get back up to speed and find out new legislation/procedures but mostly it felt like I've never been away.

Definitely research child care a long way in advance of needing it. I know a few people that left looking at nurseries until a few months before they were due back at work and the nurseries didn't have enough places and so they had to extend their maternity leave. I was probably a bit OTT but looked round nurseries and booked a place when I was about six months pregnant!

If you are going part time then hopefully your employer will see the advantages of having a job share although this doesn't necessarily work for every job it does hopefully mean that between you the work of a full time person will be split evenly and you are not left with the expectation that you can do a full time job on part time hours (and pay!)

Also try and get flexible hours in terms of start and leaving time, rather than just focusing on the number of hours worked. Again this depends on where you work but as long as I did my required hours over three days I had flexibility over start/finish times and this is even more the case now the kids are at school.

Get organised so packed lunches, bags, clothes, shoes etc are all ready the night before or they are at least in one place.

Don't feel guilty for having to go back to work but do not feel guilty if you have to leave early to pick up sick children, go to hospital with them etc. I no longer worry about work or focus on it too much like I did before having kids. But it's easy to say this - the hardest thing for me is trying to get everything done in the time I have so I'm not worrying when I'm not at work about what I forgot to do! So I keep a note pad lying around so I can jot things down that I think of when I'm not at work!

DoItTooJulia Mon 16-Sep-13 13:47:54

Organisation is your friend. Well that show I am planning on tackling it!

I am going to do some batch cooking, make sure that all big items are laundered (curtains and coats etc) and get google calendars!

Hopefully it will be ok.

BeCool Mon 16-Sep-13 14:36:30

I felt a swirling mix of anger, anxiety, resentment and fear of how it was all going to work out before I returned to work. However it was lovely to be back and I clicked right back in on my return.

My TOP TIP is to have excellent child care in place - this was my number one support on returning to work (and still is 5 & 2 years later). When you trust that your children are well cared for and happy, you can focus on other things - like work!

DontmindifIdo Mon 16-Sep-13 14:41:55

Agree with others, keeping in touch with colleagues, going in to have lunch one day with your work friends to hear the gossip, helps make you still feel part of the team.

If you can afford it, get your DC in the childcare you'll be using for a week before you return (or longer) - I did this by accident as I organised a place at nursery for the December but in the end I took off work until mid-January. I put DS in 2 mornings a week for December after all, it helped me get used to leaving him as well as him getting used to being there. I was very emotional the first couple of times I left him, so much better I was having that angst in the supermarket than at work trying ot concentrate.

Trial runs from childcare to train station or work is important. (I know it's exactly 14 minutes from the door of DS's nursery to being on the platform at my station).

trinitybleu Mon 16-Sep-13 17:20:02

Start baby at Nursery early. I sent my daughter 1 morning a week for a month, then 1 day, 2 days, and finally 3 days before I started work, so she was well settled and I was happy with her care, meaning no worries about her on my first day.

CatFromAcrossTheRoad Mon 16-Sep-13 19:49:55

1. Spend as much time as needed on finding the right childcare solution. It is a lot easier to leave when baby is happy!
2. Start settling in about 2 weeks before first day back. It might cost a bit, but in the long run it is money well spent.

1. Online grocery shopping. Actually online shopping for just about everything. With clothes, stick to the brands you know so sizing is easier (e.g. Always uniforms from m&s, baby clothes from boots, own clothes from Next etc)
2. Buy in as much services as you can afford even just in the short term. Cleaning is often the first one...
3. Accept that dinner can be good and nutrious even if it is just scrambled eggs on toast with some veg. It does not have to be a proper meal every dinner time. And use Cook as a back up.
4. Get a haircut that is easy so you don't need to spend ages on doing your hair every day.
5. Get some nice house outfit you can wear in the morning until 5 minutes before you leave and potentially change into when you are back. This way you dont have to change clothes because of baby breakfast down your skirt, and you might even get a couple a wear out of your work clothes ( obviously depending on what item and your line of work).

1. Request flexible working even if do the same number of hours
2. Ensure that you get some time, maybe 2-3 weeks to get back in the swing of things before things get too busy.
3. Ensure that you have some ways of moving the conversation on from your baby when colleagues. Everyone will ask, but people are normally not that interested in what exactly you are weaning baby so try to have some 'moving on' questions so you do not get known as the one who only talks about her kid.
4. See it as a new job to some extent. Some things would have changed while you have been away so take your time to get used to the new ways.
5. Enjoy the peace...

LadyIsabellaWrotham Mon 16-Sep-13 20:15:22

Top tips:

A lot of women think good childcare => nursery, but do look into childminders as well because they can be better, more flexible and cheaper.

If you are planning on recruiting a nanny leave yourself plenty of time to interview lots of candidates - don't get depressed if you see a load of unsuitable people at first, hold out for the person who is just right for your family.

Lots of other people have said this but I agree, do not underestimate how much time off sick a child at nursery will need. Have plans B, C and D.

Oh and don't move out to commuterville if you can help it. Bigger houses are not worth an extra hour each day away from your children (especially if you're going to have to pay for childcare while you do it, and especially if it will mean you not being able to use standard childcare). I know other people may disagree, but that's my opinion.

GetKnitted Mon 16-Sep-13 21:00:18

top tip is that getting ready in the morning starts the night before! sandwiches, school bags, nappy bags, work bags, what's for dinner tomorrow?, then money, phone, keys (like before you had children!)

Dylanlovesbaez Mon 16-Sep-13 21:13:14

If you have any kit days, really try and take them and spread them out if possible. Check out childcare options well in advance and have a few settling sessions. Don't be hard on yourself, it's so easy to feel the guilt when going back to work but try not to beat yourself up.
I absolutely dreaded it but dd loves nursery and I'm actually loving work.

k8vincent Mon 16-Sep-13 22:59:40

I went back to work part time between DS1 and DS2. Whilst I had been on maternity leave there had been a change of head at my school and the standards of behaviour had really deteriorated. I found it an enormous struggle. There were many days when I wondered whether I had lost all ability to do my job. The only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that I was already pregnant with DS2 and therefore only had to work a term to cover my previous maternity leave. Fortunately DH worked nearby, so we found a nursery we could both get to.

Last Sept I went back to work full time - DS3 now 3 1/2. In between DS2 and DS3 we moved back to home town, where we have super parents who are willing to help with childcare. We are really fortunate - I know not everyone lives close to or has willing parents who can help. Having their support has meant that I could go back to work and concentrate on getting my confidence back without worrying about my children.

I adopted same policy with myself as with kids. Clothes out night before, lunches sorted, bags packed, coffee flask ready. It makes mornings less stressful, especially in that first few weeks. I also try to enjoy the weekends together and not feel guilty about the fact I should be doing housework.

NotCitrus Mon 16-Sep-13 23:40:18

My lifesavers: keeping cereal, clean top, and jewellery in my locker at work. Getting 1 and then 2 children to nursery in time for breakfast was fine if I didn't try to have some at home myself.

Clean top for when you get snot on just as you leave the children, and also for when you have a nap on the floor of the loo and then find they've cut the cleaning budget. Sometimes half an hour sleep is the most productive thing you can do after some sleepless nights.

Find other parents at work to talk to about arranging work and childcare, particularly in large places where some managers will be a lot more amenable than others.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Tue 17-Sep-13 08:03:37

We moved around a lot after DD1 and by the time we settled down and I found a job I'd been out of work for two years. I definitely think its easier to go back to work in a familiar environment. I was working somewhere completely new, with new colleagues and new ways of doing things and it took me a few months to find my way around and feel confident again. Having 2 years off also made my skills pretty rusty, so I didn't feel that I was fully up to speed for a very long time.
I'd recommend returning to work part time at first if at all possible because it's a lot more stressful than you think and it helps to ease back in to it.
Have a good lead in time with your childcare so you have time to feel confident that your child is happy. You don't want to be worrying about that too.

DontmindifIdo Tue 17-Sep-13 09:08:25

oh and another one, no matter how tired you are, or hard it was to leave your baby that morning crying, you don't whinge about it at work. This can be tough, but in a lot of places, woman are seen as being 'uncommitted' when you come back from maternity leave.

A very senior working mother told me early on in my career that men taking time off to go see their children's Christmas play are seen as 'great family guys' - woman doing the same are 'uncommitted to work' or 'this isn't their priority anymore'. she would book time off, but wouldbe quiet about it being for child related things. In the last decade or so things have improved in the workplace, but still some do view woman as less productive/able after having DCs - don't give those people ammunition.

Touche eclat and coffee are your friends.

gruber Tue 17-Sep-13 09:43:11

Have a list for you & baby of what you both need for the day by the front door so you can check on the way out, e.g. Baby: change bag, coat, hat, food, milk, buggy
Me: jacket, breast pump, lunch, keys

I found this vital!! Saves a last minute panic when you arrive at child care without DS change bag, or at work with no lunch...

MaddAddam Tue 17-Sep-13 11:09:53

My absolute most useful tip from a friend who'd had a baby the year before - if you are breastfeeding, get the baby used to express milk in a bottle, once a day, from before 6 weeks old. After that they get entrenched and I've known so many women struggle with a baby who won't take a bottle. If you DO want or have to go back to work and you DO want to keep breastfeeding then it's worth getting this sorted really soon. Life will be a lot simpler and you'll be able to breastfeed forever, if you like, as well as go to work, if you can sort the expressing-bottle-someone else giving it to the baby dynamic.

Next best tip. Get your DH/DP used to the idea that they will have to pick up some of the slack around the house that maybe on maternity leave you got used to doing.

Then, lower your housework standards.

Then. Remember the good bits about work. For years one of my favourite times of the week was 9am on a Monday morning, just me, a good cup of coffee and my computer at work. No yelling, screaming, nappies. There are some positives to being at work sometimes.

prettybird Tue 17-Sep-13 11:39:16

I agree with that bit of advice MadAddam - the bfc counsellor midwives who helped me with ds gave me that one. Ds was always happy with either ebm or direct from source wink.

One of the best bits of advice I got from my best friend who had had her kids a long before me and who always seemed to have her full time work and parenting well balanced (and her 4 kids have grown up into lovely young people) was to book a holiday for a few months after you start back at work (especially if you are going back full time). You don't even need to go away - it just gives you something to look forward to and gives you time to re-set, re-focus and re-organise if you need to.

The other thing that both she and my mum encouraged me to do was to menu plan for the week ahead. Your head is buzzing with so many things to remember that you don't need to be wondering about what the hell you're going to be cooking that night.

My friend also said she would wear something two days in row - again one less thing to think about. I couldn't quite bring myself to do two days in a row, but would alternate a couple of outfits which meant I only had to think of something 3 days out 5.

Little things but they all add up.

MissRee Tue 17-Sep-13 12:50:36

Is/was this the case for you?

Not really, I only had 6 months off post-birth and fell straight back into the routine of it all.

What would have helped you feel more relaxed about going back to work?

Nothing really, no matter what is done to help you feel more relaxed, it's all down to the person, I think.

What things did your colleagues/partner do to help with the transition?

My partner sent me a big bunch of flowers on my first day back, thanking me for being so amazing grin

What are your top tips for mums returning to work after having a baby?

Take it in your stride. It's not going to be easy but it does make the time you spend with your baby much more special, I think. You value what little time you do have with them.

DontmindifIdo Tue 17-Sep-13 13:45:45

oh yes, a few weeks before the return to work, go through your wardrobe, try on outfits, see what still fits/flatters your new body shape (although I officially weighed hte same as before I got pregnant, my boobs, waist, hip, thighs ratios had changed). Put together outfits on hangers next to each other, so you just don't have to think.

DuelingFanjo Tue 17-Sep-13 14:10:57

RE the breastfeeding. I managed to keep breastfeeding without introducing a bottle but DS was able to use a beaker by the time he went into daycare at 9-10 months. Check out that there is a place to pump and store your breast-milk, or if you are lucky enough to be near the childcare provider ask your employer if they will allow you to go to the baby. I am very lucky to be less than a five minute walk away from my son's nursery.

filimou Tue 17-Sep-13 14:31:39

Is/was this the case for you?

Yes, but I think it wasn't really helped by post natal depression

What would have helped you feel more relaxed about going back to work?

Not putting too much pressure on myself, I was sure that I could still give work 100% and still be a great mum and keep an immaculate house. I needed to learn to go easier on myself.

What things did your colleagues/partner do to help with the transition?

My husband took on more resposnibility and didnt complain when I whinged......
Work made it easier by keeping in touch, but you have to remember that is a two way street. It was also nice to come back to a work lunch to help catch up with colleagues in a really informal setting and it helped make me feel like part of the team.

What are your top tips for mums returning to work after having a baby?

Always make sure you are happy with your childcare choices, take however long you need to get that right as you will drive yourself crazy with worry if you have any niggling doubts.
Dont be too hard on yourself and don't be afraid to say no. No-one will think badly of you, you just have different priorities now.

starlight36 Tue 17-Sep-13 14:55:58

Try and share the childcare drop off / pick ups with your partner, if this is possible at all. That way both of you are working parents and the onus isn't just on you to be Supermum combining parenthood and work. When our DD was ill we would sit down and work out who was best placed to stay at home depending on both of our work commitments. This not only helped my sanity but gained brownie points with colleagues too.

Always have wet wipes in your handbag to clean off the inevitable snot / cereal stain you will get just as you say goodbye to your DC.

Either hire a cleaner or lower your standards - we opted for the latter! You'll be too tired in the evenings or will want to spend as much time catching up on fun as possible over the weekends.

Jenijena Tue 17-Sep-13 17:10:02

If its right for your family, look at the statutory parental leave available. My husband and I did this, and it made a huge difference to going back to work (although he was just as nervous about going back to work as I was!). Just as everything changes in the early days of babyhood, so life changes as a working parent. Don't stress the small stuff, and think about workarounds - I'm an expert in meals ready within 15 months of getting home.

Know that most employers don't live up to your expectations for going back to work. Set firm boundaries for work and home, and stick to them.

don't cry through your last month of maternity leave in dread of going back to work. enjoy the time you have. Remind yourself that going back to work gives you money to live off/an opportunity to wear clean clothes/the chance for adult conversation/space to remember that you are not just a parent,.

finally, just occasionally, plan some time for you. For me it was taking a day off near my birthday and going to the cinema by myself during the day. I felt terribly guilty about leaving my son in nursery that day - but I was a happier, more relaxed person for it.

whattodoo Tue 17-Sep-13 17:14:50

Take advantage of KIT days.
Have a new outfit for first day back (if appropriate).
Don't chat too much about DC.
Start as you mean to go on regarding time keeping - ie if you need to leave 5pm prompt, then do so.
If you're returning part time, show a willingness to be flexible when possible.
Have a stock of meals frozen.
Don't cry when leaving DC at childcare. Give them the biggest smile at pick up.
Don't be devastated if they happily rush to their childcare provider or are reluctant to leave at end of day.
Try to do chores/housework as you go along during the week, so weekends are just for fun.

prettybird Tue 17-Sep-13 17:25:17

The other thing is: don't feel guilty if you don't feel guilty confusedwink

I never did: I went back to work ft when ds was 4.5 months old (if you wanted you old job back, you only got 4 months mat leave 13 years ago) and he went in to the child minder's with a smile - and came out with a smile. smile

He went to be a wee bit later - at 8, so I could enjoy some time with him.

I was really anxious about going back to work. What helped me was thinking of it as something 'just for me' - little things like buying a few new nice pieces to wear, feeling groomed (after not feeling groomed for a year - I didn't care when I was on mat leave!) so doing my nails, hair. It helped me get a bit more excited about it.

I also met with my boss a couple of times and a lunch with my old team which got me back in to that frame of mind. I was lucky that I went back to my old job as once I was there it felt like I'd never been away. I also negotiated with my boss for working hours that suited me - finishing slightly earlier so that I still had a good few hours of the day to spend with DS.

I was also still breastfeeding, so I'd get home and have lovely snuggles with DS and reconnect, I think that was really valuable for both of us.

It is nerve wracking going back, but I'm glad I did as I feel really confident and like the structure my life has, and the time to focus on myself.

nearlyreadytopop Tue 17-Sep-13 20:31:21

for me getting organised was key, first childcare that we were both happy with.
I kept in touch with my boss and friends from work by email/text and met for lunch before I went back.
I had loads of leave accumulated so could work 4 day weeks for a few months.
I would also add that the reality of being back at work was much nicer than I thought possible.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Tue 17-Sep-13 21:45:29

Agree with prettybird about not feeling guilty about leaving your DC. I actually found my days at work were a bit of a break and I was finally getting some 'me' time!

Theimpossiblegirl Tue 17-Sep-13 21:53:41

I find it helps to have our bags packed, lunch made and clothes laid out the evening before, no matter how tired I am. I've been doing this since my two were babies and I first went back to work and still do it now.

Now they sleep in more I get up and shower/dress before they are up. That way I get a bit of time to myself and feel more ready.

Having a childminder that will dress them and give them breakfast was also a life saver when they were small.

SpecialJK Wed 18-Sep-13 14:48:02

I went back to work 5 days a week only a few months ago, which felt very daunting at the time. But by far the thing that made going back to work easier was having trust in my childcare arrangements. I don't think I could have dropped my precious baby off every day with someone I didn't like and trust, and who my DS obviously did too!

I've also given myself a break on the home front since returning. Acknowledging you're not superwoman, and trying to do everything perfectly. I'm a great believer in 'good enough' now when it comes to housework, cleaning and general mundane tasks. It's infinitely more important when you go back to work to make sure the time that you're not there is spent enjoying your children, not doing the hoovering!

petalsandstars Wed 18-Sep-13 14:50:30

Having contact from manager before starting back so you know what is expected of you in the first few days is really good and preferable to just turning up.

Make sure you are comfortable with childcare arrangements so you don't add extra worry in first few days.

Don't feel guilty for liking being able to have a conversation or eat lunch without having to think about your child's needs constantly.

littlemonkeychops Wed 18-Sep-13 19:41:56

Firstly, try not to build it up into a big huge deal in your head. I was really worried before i went back but it wasn't as bad as i'd feared.

Secondly, get your DC settled with childcare well before you go back if you can, that way they'll be used to it and your first dayback won'tbe so traumatic for them and you.

Thirdly, go easy on yourself, it's totally fine to feel guilty/not guilty/worried/upset etc. Don't expect a spotless house, do easy meals on days you've worked.

My work let me go part-time thankfully but apart from that they weren't hugely supportive. No way it took me three months to settle in, maybe 3 weeks.

wibblyjelly Wed 18-Sep-13 21:53:01

The thought of going back is much worse than the actual event. If DC is going to nursery or a child minder, make sure they have settling in periods to put your mind at rest.
We make sure that ds's bag is ready to go the night before, so in the morning, I just need to grab him and go!

Geniene Thu 19-Sep-13 11:31:40

I found that being organised helped with the transition as it stopped any addition stress and made mornings run smoothly. Bags are packed and ready by the door the night before, lunch made and in fridge, I even got my own work clothes out ready, so I had time to give it some thought and stop the morning chaos of throwing clothes everywhere trying to find what looks best and fits properly.
A quick slick of lipstick (after kissing the baby goodbye) also does the trick!
For the first couple of weeks I had batch cooked easy things like Lasagne and popped them in the freezer so tea wasn't an ordeal after being at work, and more time could be spent with the little ones catching up on their day.

Yes it was daunting going back full time after taking a year off. I've done this twice.

I would have felt more relaxed going back to work if I'd had more choices about childcare. I had lots of problems for various reasons getting care for both my children and it nearly drove me to the edge of reason both times. Having good childcare in place is the single most important thing that would have made me more relaxed about going back to work.
Either that or having family closer, which isn't an option for us.

Colleagues were very supportive overall and helped by giving good handover sessions, being on hand to answer questions when I needed and generally being understanding. I didn't use many keep in touch sessions but I found having reasonably regular correspondence over email with colleagues kept me up to date and feeling part of the team again in the weeks before I returned. Partner was supportive, I think the most important thing they can do is understand that you are both working parents and so home responsibilities need to be fairly split. This is easier said than done though.

Top tips:

- sort out childcare early.
- Accept that you may have different and sometimes conflicting priorities and prepare for how you will tackle these.
- Accept help when you can, or where help from family or friends isn't an option, buy it in.
- work out your finances, you will be getting a salary again but also might have increased childcare costs and other costs such as travel, petrol etc.
- do that thing you did before you gave birth, when you do a big shop, filled the freezer with quick easy meals and filled the cupboards with wine and cake. Then you won't need to worry about finding time to go on emergency nappy or dinner run on your lunch break like I did!
- check your timings for school/nursery drop and commute to work so that you can prepare for the real thing.
- ask for flexible working hours and ask for at least one day working from home if at all feasible. This will make a huge difference to your work/life balance.
- enjoy being at work if you can, don't spend too much time feeling guilty, there is no point and it doesn't help anybody.
- be (or at least appear to be) confident in yourself and others will be too.

Lent1l Thu 19-Sep-13 14:57:59

I think a lot of it depends on the company you are with. I had a good experience but I have a very good manager. We had calls every other month whilst I was on ML and he caught me up on all the latest news and gossip from work. We had a sit down f2f meeting my first week back where we discussed what I should be doing but he explained that he was not dropping me straight in and I should spend the first week or two clearing out my inbox, catching up on overdue mandatory training and remembering where everything was.

I work for a large company where ML is part and parcel of everyday life and the HR department know exactly how to deal with it, keep you informed, help you to know what needs filling in when.

I was also encouraged to use up leave before and after ML to extend the leave I had, and as you accumulate it whilst you are off I had a lot to take int a short space of time when I returned otherwise I would lose it, so this extended my leave without affecting the finances.

However, my sil has jsut had a not so great experience. She works for a much smaller company than I do and they are not used to ML. She thought that it had all been agreed with her manager before she went on ML that when she came back she would be working only 4 days a week. However, he never passed this on to HR and jsut days before she was due to go back she found this out and they have refused to make the change to her contract. She now realises she should have insisted on seeing the change in her contract before her ML started. She is now taking leave one day of every week for the next two months to use up accrued A/L and also to try and show the company she can do her work in 4 days every week. She is hoping they change their minds as she can not afford the extra day in nursery.

So I would recommend you have everything in writing before starting ML, especially if it means a change to your working hours. Also if you will need facilities for expressing check these are available and suitable and that there is somewhere to store the milk after expressing.

Ruby6918 Thu 19-Sep-13 18:34:46

the main thing is to make sure that you know the wee one will be well looked after, start researching your childminding options well before you go back, check out family members and see if maybe they can lend a hand, a lot of family are willing to do this but not be tied down to full time childcare, visit nurseries a few times and you will get a feeling for the place, ask can you leave the child maybe for an hour or two and go for walk with your phone and call back to see how your child is getting on, make sure you are physically well, eat and drink as healthy as you can and
never g back to walk if your under the weather, speak to you employer and ask can they maybe be flexible for a small time until you settle in, maybe start even an hour later and take a short lunch, make sure you have all contact numbers sorted out with your childcare provider, when i went back i felt guilty but instead of rushing in and getting stuck into dinne and household chores, come home and allow you and your child even a half an hour of quality time to unwind and enjoy each other again, you are both more important than household chores, make sure to talk to your family and friends and let them know how you are feeling, and remember that if it gets too much speak to your doctor and they may be able to suggest a few extra weeks with the help of a sick line and some support, good luck, ive done it three times and its hard but we are all stronger than we think,

Hopezibah Thu 19-Sep-13 20:53:15

I think my top tip would be to stay in touch throughout your maternity leave - especially if you are 'friends' with your colleagues anyway - it is nice to meet up for lunches etc. I think it is also handy just to keep using a computer, or reading trade magazines for example (where relevant) just so you don't lose your confidence with that sort of thing and you know roughly what's been going on.

I think guilt is a huge factor when returning to work - I think being happy with your childcare options and having looked into them early so you are not making a rush decision and then reminding yourself that your child is in good hands and telling yourself not to feel guilty about it.

Get a few meals in the freezer so you get a head start on things like that to help ease you back into things or if a friend or family member offers any help like getting some shopping in or cleaning then take them up on it - just those knowing you have got support with a few things for the first few days back can help.

Hopezibah Thu 19-Sep-13 20:54:36

also knowing your rights / entitlements is helpful when discussing flexible working etc with your employer. And don't be afraid to ask for what you would ideally like as they may surprise you with how flexible they can be!

NomadMomDiary Thu 19-Sep-13 21:45:19

For me, the hardest part of going back to work was trying to get colleagues with no children or just one child (I have two) to understand that a regimented 'You must be at your desk by 8:30am no matter what' approach was not always going to work for me. With a husband that travels and family thousands of miles away, I needed some flexibility in arrival and leave times.
I soon realised that it wasn't a lack of caring on their parts but more a complete lack of understanding of my circumstances. Once I took the time to explain to my team what was happening outside of work and I offered them a bit of flexibility in return, everyone was happy to settle into the new routine.

AndHarry Fri 20-Sep-13 08:16:51

I went back to work this month. The best thing that happened was that the company got rid of my horrible manager grin Apart from that, these things have helped:

- Having a couple of return-to-work meetings to discuss organisational changes, my working hours etc.

- Doing a few KIT days in the month leading up to my return so I had a chance to iron out IT issues, sort out my desk and do a few bits of work to get back into the swing of it.

- Going through my work clothes the week before to see what fits, what doesn't, send shoes for repairs, clothes for dry-cleaning.

- Doing a dry-run of my morning and evening commute to check traffic conditions and timings for nursery.

- Getting my own and the DCs' clothes, lunches and bags ready the night before so I didn't have to think about it in the morning.

- Scheduling a series of handover and catchup meetings with colleagues.

- Sitting in on meetings my colleagues were attending so I understand the projects they're involved in.

- Everyone coming to say hello, give me a hug and full me in on the office happenings over the year I've been away.

I was a bit nervous but now it feels as though I never left.

DanglingChillis Fri 20-Sep-13 11:48:31

I'm going back to work next week after DC3.

On the family side, get your LO sorted in their childcare a week or two prior to starting work, it means your first day isn't stressful for them as well because they are already settled and it allows you a few days to blitz the house/have a major shopping trip for some new clothes/spend some time with friends without children having an adult conversation before you go back.

Make a plan for mornings and evenings and make sure everyone sticks to it and knows the timings, do as much preparation for the next morning as you can the evening before, clothes laid out, shoes polished, packed lunches ready, school/work bags ready, breakfast table laid, casserole ready to go in slow cooker etc. Pay people to take over the house work. Obviously we are paying for childcare but we've also got a cleaner and currently thinking about using a laundry service. We've used one before and will probably use them just for the sheets and towels in the winter but that will make a big difference.

At work, if you can read email while at home use it to keep up to date with work. Expect it to take a while to get back into the swing of things. I had DC1&2 close together (I went back to work pregnant after DC1) and when I returned after DC2 it did take me a while to really get used to work again (this time I'm desperate to return!). On the other hand having 2 close together does mean it gets the baby stuff 'out of the way' as far as work is concerned until you have a third. I also found my second pregnancy easier because I was back for such a short time I got a fairly easy self contained project to work on and also had no management responsibilities for that time which reduced my work load a lot. So there's my top tip: go back to work pregnant.

I'm lucky that my work is project based so when you go back after maternity leave you start on a new project, but everyone on that project is new to it as well so you're not having to fit back into a long term set up. My boss is quite good at easing you back to work, my first project after DC2 was something that was well within my capacities and got me up and running again before he gave me with something more challenging to get my teeth into.

Littlecherublegs Fri 20-Sep-13 15:38:25

Try to go into work the week before you are due back - just to see people again and familiarise yourself with the setting etc. And just to remind everyone you're coming back!
It was a big help for me.

Also, ensure you have childcare in place well in advance of your return - and a provider you are 100% happy with. One not too far away from your work place would be useful - and one who understand what leaving a child behind for the first time is like (so they will expect the tears!!)

mindingalongtime Fri 20-Sep-13 15:50:47

Find a childminder who will provide everything from bibs to muslins, food to spare clothes, car seat to potties, nappies to making up bottles, ! You'll never have to think " Did I put enough......... in the bag" .... ever!
( I provide that service, it's called peace of mind!? grin

Snog Fri 20-Sep-13 15:57:33

Batch cook some meals to keep you all happy and healthy in your busy lives!
Live within cycling distance of your job if at all possible.

katiewalters Fri 20-Sep-13 16:37:41

I went back part time, which my employers were fine with, so I wasn't away from my baby all day, and missing out on things. Myself and my partner sorted our hours so 1of us had the baby, didn't have to use a childminder or nursery,

rlouisa Fri 20-Sep-13 16:39:43

i always go back to work around 6months after birth as it aids with my weight loss..all the running around in the work makes the pounds drop off honestly!!!

I went back to work full time after both of my maternity leaves. What made it easier was having childcare set up well in advance, and sorting out hours with work so that I could be sure they were OK with me scooting out of the door at 4pm every day to collect the children. When I felt happy with the arrangements going back to work was fairly straightforward.

When I had got back to work I appreciated the little things that I had really missed: coffee that hadn't gone cold before I got a chance to drink it, going for a wee in private, being able to have a conversation with another adult - several times a day in fact, and I had somehow also managed to delegate a days worth of nappy changes too. Going back to work was tiring when the children didn't sleep well, but I found other parents very understanding and with a ready supply of biscuits to get me through the dips in the day.

Rollerskaterabbit Fri 20-Sep-13 17:39:44

The best advice I was given was to just try and do the best you can. Realise that each workplace unfortunately has people who don't understand what you are dealing with and are intolerant of how your working situation is now a lot harder. Realise that each workplace fortunately has supportive people as well. Realise that people will tut tut when you are off because the baby is ill. Ignore it. All in all, it will take time to all become a good routine but it will happen. Just keep your chin up!

EastFife5Forfar4 Fri 20-Sep-13 18:22:30

Can I win the voucher please, I don't want P&G stuff as they still test on animals.

My top tip would be to not go back to work unless you absolutely have to.

IncaAztec Fri 20-Sep-13 19:22:10

Is/was this the case for you?

It didn't take 3 months for me, but I can see where the issue comes from. Time/jobs/Role had moved on by the time I went back. I was doing the same job in name, but in reality, I had moved schools and was expected to do slightly different things day to day.

What would have helped you feel more relaxed about going back to work?

Better briefings from management and doing more KIT days.

What things did your colleagues/partner do to help with the transition?

Improved at laying out clothes etc the night before, planned what he was going to wear - clean shirts ironed the night before etc.

What are your top tips for mums returning to work after having a baby?

Make it clear that you won't be doing as much childcare/housework day to day on the days you work. You won't be. Fact. You will settle into a new routine day to day and things will work out in time.

prettybird Fri 20-Sep-13 19:45:54

Just remembered another bit of advice my best friend gave me: not to get upset if you missed milestones like the first step etc. What matters is the first time you see your child's first step etc.

Nigglenaggle Fri 20-Sep-13 19:53:40

What would have helped you feel more relaxed about going back to work? I did feel pretty relaxed. It helped that we are a small team and get on fine. Also I had a pretty short maternity leave so hadn't been out of the loop that long.

What things did your colleagues/partner do to help with the transition? Although we're busy they were very good at making time for me to express milk. We are quite comfortable with each other so eventually we'd just chat while I got on with it ^^. No one griped that I was leaving early.

What are your top tips for mums returning to work after having a baby? Make sure you have done a trial separation from your baby first - had them go to Grandmas for the afternoon or overnight, so both of you are used to it. The first time is very hard. Also, if you are going to need a change of conditions - for example I needed to leave early for a while to give DC his pre-bedtime feed, or are going to express milk, contact work well in advance to discuss the best way of this happening. I forgot about this until a couple of weeks before and was just lucky I have an exceptional boss and colleagues.

gloriafloria Fri 20-Sep-13 20:13:16

It is understandable that our confidence may on the low side upon returning to work after maternity leave. I would say try and have realistic expectations of how things may go to begin with and don't be too hard on yourself if it takes a while to get back up to date with it all. Remember you are a valuable asset to your employer and they are lucky to have your experience and expertise back. I would say the hardest part is getting the child care sorted - When you know your children are well cared for and happy then work can actually be enjoyable (sometimes)!

gingercat12 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:47:25

Flexitime and a less hectic environment worked. I changed my hours to 3 days a week instead of full-time. My DH also chipped in with more housework (he cooks anyway) and he took DS to nursery and i picked him up. It gave me a bit more time to get in in the morning.

eteo Fri 20-Sep-13 21:33:57

To be honest, just dont let your emotion make you feel bad.
Sleep early and sort out everything the night before

Uzma01 Fri 20-Sep-13 21:45:56

Best thing would be to make a plan for all the jobs that need doing - get hubby and kids (if they're old enough) to help. Plan meals/shopping; get things ready ahead of time, keep a wall planner somewhere noticeable - colour code activities/meetings/reminders etc.

kateandme Fri 20-Sep-13 22:17:24

go to your managers office beforehand so you can maybe check on what you missed or need to be informed of.if theres anything you can do.this will put you in good stead and jsut feel more at ease.
keep in touch with collegues if you were helps to have smoely faces to go back to

make sure your partner doesnt make you feel more guilty about leaving your child!!

bealos Sat 21-Sep-13 10:03:02

Get a cleaner! Use Internet shopping!

Have a mirror by the front door so you can check your shoulders/back for baby sick and wipe off with a cloth!!

Set up your own business or go freelance. Being your own boss is infinitely better once you've had kids.

Babycarmen Sat 21-Sep-13 14:56:50

My top tip would be to put your child into nursery/childminder a week or 2 before you start back, so that they have time to get used to it with you being there, or you popping back and forth so that when you start they are well settled. It was SUCH a weight of my mind knowing my DD was happy and settled at her nursery as the first week when she started she cried when I dropped her off which made it impossible for me to concentrate at work/studying.

ali991 Sat 21-Sep-13 17:27:14

I found it really hard returning to work. My mum gave me a locket with my sons picture in, it really helped.

loopyloou Sat 21-Sep-13 18:12:52

"Is/was this the case for you? What would have helped you feel more relaxed about going back to work? What things did your colleagues/partner do to help with the transition? What are your top tips for mums returning to work after having a baby?"

I think it would be helpful to get your child used to attending nursery/the childminder BEFORE you have to start work, so that you can be sure they are happy and settled and have one less thing to worry about.

Starting back at work on a gradual basis and building up to however many hours you are going to do would help, maybe going back for one day per week for a month, then building up slowly.

Having a boss and colleagues that understand how difficult it is to leave your young children behind and be separated from them all day would be a great help and also to feel that you can make a phone call to check they are ok without being judged.

My best tip: Get EVERYTHING ready the night before so that in the morning you can be reasonably calm. Don't pick a fight over anything with your child before going to work or you will feel guilty all day.

Turnipvontrapp Sat 21-Sep-13 23:29:19

Don't spend a day off cleaning. Fit in 5 minutes here and there to do small jobs. It makes a big difference. Utilise every spare minute!

Order things you need but don't have time to shop for off amazon, then they get delivered to you.

josiejay Sun 22-Sep-13 02:26:32

It's hard to find the willpower to get up before your baby does, but if you can get yourself ready before they wake it makes everything much calmer, and it makes you feel like you're stealing a bit of extra baby time.

When I go to work this time I intend to do batch freezer cooking once a month to avoid the horrible 'what's for tea?' stress (I'm cranky when hungry!)

DoctorGilbertson Sun 22-Sep-13 07:36:12

Is/was this the case for you?

[no, I had been working from home for a long stretch before returning to the work place so I was already in a work mode]

What would have helped you feel more relaxed about going back to work?

[having a nicer wardrobe of clothes]

What things did your colleagues/partner do to help with the transition?

[we have recently bought a dishwasher and a tumble dryer. They have revolutionised my life]

What are your top tips for mums returning to work after having a baby?

[get up at 5am and get all your jobs done while the electricity is still on economy 7]

It was frightening and involved a lot of pretending for quite a while. But it helps strangely to enjoy the things you don't otherwise have, e.g. A lunch time with no children hanging off you as you dash to get a sandwich / mess about on MN!

Oceansurf Sun 22-Sep-13 15:07:04

I've put my DD in childcare 3 weeks ahead of returning to work, so that I can be sure she is happy and settled there. So far, although I've paid for 2 full days a week, the longest she has stayed is 6 hours. However, when I do return to work and do the 8 hours, it won't seem such a shock to her.

Plus I have complete confidence in the nursery workers, and I've been able to get to know the other babies and their parents (as I haven't had to drop and rush off)

Next week, I will literally be dumping!

Elainey1609 Sun 22-Sep-13 17:34:10

Keep in touch with work colleagues so you know what is going on and anything new.
Make sure you use you keep in touch days and settle your children in to childcare before you are fully back to work
You you yourself are comfortable with the situation
Take one day at a time and maybe treat yourself to a new top, make up or perfume what ever will make you feel a little bit more confident on your first day
Plan your first day and think of the positives company and conversation
You will also appreciate your free time more

Neeko Sun 22-Sep-13 21:32:09

For me it was lists, lists and more lists. Lists of what we need each day, bins out, what goes in nappy bag, school bag, lunch bags etc.
As many things as possible made ready the night before: clothes looked out, sandwiches made and in fridge, ingredients for next day's dinner looked out.
A slow cooker and a large freezer are essentials. A large cooker allows you to batch cook and store for easy meals and store chips and pizza for days when only carbs will do and you can't beat coming home to the smell of dinner in the slow cooker.
I typed up a list of all our usual weekly shop and put a tick next to things when we run out. Makes it much easier to keep the cupboards stocked.

celestialbows Sun 22-Sep-13 21:32:35

i had a horrible time returning to work, i was still in the throes of PNd and the atmosphere was horrible but I was really struggling at home too so I couldn't work out what was the best option!
i think if you can use leave to ease yourself in gently that would really help, and if you can trust somebody at work let them know you're feeling a bit wobbly!

Neeko Sun 22-Sep-13 22:06:15

Oh and keep two make up bags. One with the absolute essentials for every day and a big one for all the occasional stuff. It's much quicker to get ready if you're not wading through 20 eyeliners for your concealer smile

nerysw Mon 23-Sep-13 11:05:37

I only had a few KIT meetings with my line manager but the staff at my place of work were great so I didn't feel I'd been forgotten about. Luckily my partner was great about sharing chores and child ferrying duties which really helped if I felt I had to stay later at work and stopped my worrying as much as our families are quite a distance away. I didn't have a bad time of it but I still felt it took me almost a year to get my confidence back and properly get back in my stride.

pussinwellyboots Wed 25-Sep-13 15:05:32

Is/was this the case for you? What would have helped you feel more relaxed about going back to work? What things did your colleagues/partner do to help with the transition? What are your top tips for mums returning to work after having a baby?

Each time I returned to a new job, so had to establish myself from scratch The most important thing for me has been to have childcare that I am confident in so that I can leave my children and not to have to think about things at home too much. General organisation at home, meal planning and the like has also been valuable.

iwillbrushmyteethbefore10am Thu 26-Sep-13 17:21:55

Keep an eye on the weather and put washing on line the night before a nice day - saves doing it in the morning.

pickles184 Fri 27-Sep-13 09:24:31

Having a phased return to work really helped me. I was able to convince work to let me do 3 hours a day in the office and the rest from home. It meant that I had to stay up late and squeeze the work in around naps, but I was able to keep breastfeeding and dd had plenty of time to get used to childminder. Over 3 months I gradually increased the hours at work until full time in the office. It was hard work but I think everyone got the best out of the situation. I'm a single mum so I find having another responsible adult to talk to about dd really helpful, I found a real gem with our childminder!
On a day to day basis I find that an hour or so spent on Sunday sorting out meals, clothes and equipment for each day of the week ahead invaluable. Having enough of each type of outfit and a big enough washing machine to do as few loads of washing each week. Learn that less is more with make-up and embrace sub 5 minute hairstyles. Spend as much time as possible playing, laughing and enjoying each other when you are at home, much better for the soul than cleaning/tidying (I do try to do 15mins per evening once dd asleep), relax your standards on housework.. If you can afford to outsource cleaning, ironing, gardening etc. definitely do and as others have said internet shopping is your friend.

MrsSpa Wed 02-Oct-13 21:10:02

For me the key to being able to focus on work is knowing that everything at home is organised (DH or DM is with my DD when I'm at work). It takes maybe an hour of the evening before but I can switch off from home if I know I have left plenty of pumped milk (when DD was younger), folded (washable) nappies, everything tidied so they can find things easily. I also have phone numbers handy and when DD was younger, a rough schedule of her day pinned up.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 03-Oct-13 14:30:52

Hi - thanks for all the tips and comments.

Am pleased to say the winners are as per below:

£200 John Lewis voucher: NomadMomDiary

P&G hampers:

DoItTooJulia Thu 03-Oct-13 15:01:32

Wow, this is great! The first thing I have ever won!

Willemdefoeismine Thu 03-Oct-13 17:31:58

Thank you, Mumsnet and P&G!

Cherrygrape Fri 04-Oct-13 04:24:10

That is fab, thankyou!!! smile

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