There is no perfect time to go back to work after you’ve taken maternity or paternity leave. Your employer may decide it’s time to return, or your pocketbook might dictate that you get back to the office. Whether you have a job waiting for you or you plan to look for a new one, we have some tips to make the transition easier. Establish these good habits, and you’ll get back in the swing of things in no time.

Reconnect With the ‘Working You’

The first step is to reconnect with the “working you” again. You may feel like you no longer possess the skills and experience you once did. Banish those fears, because you still have it in you. It just takes a minute to reconnect. Meet up with old colleagues, do some Internet research, suit up and hit a networking event or two — because you’re back and better than ever. This book might come in handy: and Going Back To Work: A Survival Guide for Comeback Moms (UK) and Going Back To Work: A Survival Guide for Comeback Moms (USA).

Establish a Bedtime Routine

For everyone’s sake, it’s best to start a bedtime routine as early as possible. It not only helps baby fall asleep more easily, but it also helps Mom and Dad get some much needed shuteye. A good bedtime routine can look like this:

  • Give baby a warm bath
  • Dim the lights
  • Sing a special bedtime song
  • Read a bedtime story
  • Turn on white noise

Be sure your baby is warm and cozy without the risk of blankets and toys in the crib. A wearable blanket is safer than a loose blanket, because it lowers the chances of suffocation — and, wearable blankets can’t be kicked off accidentally at night, giving baby one less reason to wake up and disturb you. SwaddleDesigns has super-soft sleeping sacks that keep baby safe and snugly warm. The zzZipMe Sacks also have a handy two-way zipper.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Coping with the changes of getting back to work may have you a little (or a lot) stressed. You’ll find there is less time to do the everyday things you did just last week. Let your friends and family help. They want to. Ask them to take a quick trip to the grocery store for you or to come over to watch the baby while you get in a nap. When you ask others for help, you’ll usually get it, making your life that much easier.

On the Job Hunt

It’s always a good time to update your CV with your latest achievements. Taking care of your child has some very transferable skills that you can highlight. Don’t hide from the fact that you have acquired incredible time management skills and excellent multi-tasking capabilities, and that you are extremely organized and patient. Contact talent agencies to help you look, and if you need to polish up on a certain skill, take an online class while you’re out of work. Employers love to see that you’re a lifelong learner.

Every parent has doubts about returning to work; it’s completely natural. Merging your two worlds enables you to have time with baby and get back to enjoy adult conversations again. Just don’t second-guess yourself — you will be great.

Job Hunting Books for Back-to-Work Mums (UK)