Back to work: an update

I’ve been meaning to update on my going-back-to-work anxieties pretty much since coming back to work — four weeks ago today. If I could just finish .. anything. Or remember what I was going to say in the first place.

We got off to a pretty rocky start. But after a week of single parenting and a two-day power outage, we were finally able to start getting into a little bit of a routine.

Generally, it’s going fine. Fine as in … I’ve made it to work every day so far. I’ve only been late to get E once, and only by a few minutes. The dogs didn’t get picked up and had to stay overnight at daycare only once. No one has been (knock knock) sick. Just very, very tired.

But there is a lot of everyday stuff that just doesn’t get done. Returning phone calls and e-mails. Going to the gym (and with the heat always hovering around the 100-degree mark means it is pretty much the only hope for working out.) Making any food that is more complicated than using a few buttons or one pan.

Some things did work, and I would recommend them to anyone coming back from leave:

  • Start midweek instead of on a Monday to ease back in as much as possible.
  • Freeze a few weeks of meals so you don’t need to do much weeknight cooking.
  • Take baby to her nanny or daycare for a few times in the weeks ahead of your return to work, including at least one or two “full” days. Get a massage and a haircut or whatever is relaxing. Not only does it help to have your meltdown in advance of actually having to focus on work, it helps to have a few days to figure out how much milk baby will drink during a full day.  
  • Stockpile and freeze as much milk as possible so that making sure you have enough for the next day right out of the gate isn’t such a pressure.
  • Block pump time on your calendar — and then stick to it just like any other meeting. As one colleague noted: “Pumping 3x a day at work feels like I’m almost always pumping – have you noticed that?” It’s because trying to fit it in three times a day pretty much means you are always pumping.

Lastly, hold on.

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