You've probably given a lot of thought to how much time you'll take off of work after you give birth to your baby. How much time usually depends on the type of delivery you had and other factors like how many sick or vacation days you've accumulated. You may also be eligible for help under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). What you may not have thought about was how to handle returning to your job after that leave time is over.
You've probably just thought everything would be nearly the same and that you would work on it once you sat back at your desk. However, with a bit of planning you can make your re-entrance to the work force a bit more smooth for you, your baby and your boss. Here are some things to think about and conversations you may want to have:
- Prepare for your departure and return before you leave, if possible. Have your work files in order and have a system set up for those helping you while you're gone. This can help you find anything that happened while you were gone quickly and let you solve issues that arise when you return without much delay.
- Talk to your boss or office manager about how they handle sick days for well child appointments or sick children. Do you know your day care or sitter's policies on sick children? What about your pediatrician's turnaround time for getting kids in and out of the office for both sick and well visits?
- Consider returning to work at the end of the week rather than the beginning. Thursday or Friday start days give you just enough of a week to figure out some kinks in your well laid plans, without having to add a lot of stress before the weekend comes. You may also wish to consider working partial weeks for the first month or so back to help you and baby ease back into work.
- Stay in touch with work via email while on maternity leave. This does not mean that you should work. Drop your boss or temp a note to see if everything is going smoothly. They may have a quick question about the location of a file that can be easily answered. If requests for actual work come, tell them you'd love to help but just don't have the time. Email works really well for this type of communication.
- Have back ups for child care in case of illness. This can reduce your stress if your child wakes up ill or can't go to day care or your nanny is ill.