Tips for Transitioning Back to Work
After having a child and getting to know a new human being that has come into one’s life, it may be difficult for parents to transition back to work. Caregivers have been focusing on taking care of their baby, so it is only natural to need to readjust when going back to a work routine. When individuals take parental leave or time away from work and are ready to return to that environment, there are new priorities and responsibilities needing to be balanced. Coming back to work as, essentially, a changed person in addition to the stress that they are most likely experiencing with a newborn may feel overwhelming to a parent. Below are some tips to help with the transition back to work while remaining connected to one’s child.
Talk to your support system. When making a life change, like going back to work, it is important to reach out to the people that are closest to you, whether that is a partner, a friend, a parent, or outside help. Take this time to discuss your career options as well as caregiving options with your support system. A great resource is the We Are Care Initiative which provides a Family-Friendly Workplace Toolkit that supports both families and business in San Luis Obispo County. The Center for Family Strengthening is also another great tool to have! Their Parent Connection Program is designed to make parenting less stressful and more rewarding through parent education and coaching services.
Be open. It is important to be open and honest with not only the people in your personal life, but also with the people in your professional life. When going back to work as a parent, priorities and values may change. Rather than dedicating all available time to a career, a parent has to be mindful of a work-life balance while also continuing pursuing personal goals and parental responsibilites. If you feel that you need to slowly transition back into professional life and have the means to do so, ask your employer if you could do some work from home or to work part-time to ease into things. It is also important to be upfront about work hours to make sure that there is enough time for family as well as work.
Make a schedule. After talking with your support system and employer, make a plan for your new daily life… when and how to make sure the child(ren) are taken care of, how long you will be dedicating to work, commute time, meals, self-care and sleep. Creating and following a schedule will make the transition as seamless as possible.
Be gentle with yourself. This, of all times, is a season to be gentle with yourself. Some individuals may be ready and eager to go back to professional life right away but for others, it may be an easing in period or a change of plans altogether to spend more time with their new child(ren). This can be a difficult time, so make sure to take some pressure off of yourself and ask for help when it is needed. A great resource that the CCCN partners with is Nature Therapy SLO to aid in destressing.
This is by far one of the most challenging shifts in a parent’s life and we at the CCCN are so proud of how well you are doing! If you are feeling like you need more professional support, connection or encouragement please see our Member Directory.
Julianna La Coco, CCCN Intern 2021