Returning to Work Since Having a Baby? 4 Tips to Help You Manage

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  • Juggling a baby and a work schedule isn't easy.
  • A few steps can make your schedule more manageable, including arranging for backup care.

It can be a challenging adjustment. Here's how to cope.

Having a baby is a life-changing event. That holds true whether you hold down a job or not. But if you're gearing up to return to work after taking a few weeks or months of parental leave, you may be getting increasingly overwhelmed by the day.

Going back to work after having a baby can be a smart financial decision. Even if you end up spending a lot of money on childcare, your paycheck could be just the thing that helps your family pay its bills and meet important goals, like paying off credit cards or saving for retirement. Here are four things you can do to make that transition a lot easier.

1. Do a couple of trial runs

Maybe your job is one that you can do from home. Or maybe you're required to report to an office and drop your baby off at daycare beforehand.

Prior to your first day back, do at least one trial run to see what your new morning routine might look like. That might help ease your mind -- or serve as a heads-up that you need to give yourself more time to get out the door.

2. Do your best to arrange for backup care

One challenge of being a working parent is securing childcare. You might have a daycare your child is enrolled in -- but what if your infant gets sick and can't attend? Or, you might line up a nanny or babysitter -- but what if they get sick or need to cancel?

That's why it's important to arrange for some backup care, if possible. Maybe your retired in-laws can watch your child in a pinch, such as if a babysitter is bailing at the last minute. Or maybe there's a fellow neighborhood parent with a flexible work schedule who can help you out every so often. Knowing you have a backup plan could help minimize your stress load as you transition back to work.

3. Prepare for the work week in advance

When you work full-time and have an infant to care for, the hours during the week can quickly disappear. That's why you really need to maximize your weekends.

To that end, aim to cook and do laundry on Saturdays and Sundays so you're set with clean clothing and food for the week. Similarly, lay out your baby supplies ahead of time so you're not left scrambling to find a spare pack of wipes for daycare when you're rushing to get out the door.

4. Cut yourself some slack

Being a working parent is not an easy thing. But that especially holds true when there's a baby in the mix and you may not even be sleeping on a regular schedule.

It's important to cut yourself some slack. Maybe this won't be the year you snag a promotion. And hey, maybe you won't show up to work without stained clothes because last-minute spit-up incidents are just plain unavoidable. Be kind to yourself as you tackle what could be an extremely challenging schedule.

Returning to a job after having a baby can be tough. But these four tips might make that period far more manageable.

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