5 Steps to transition back to work after maternity leave

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*Update: the free printable roadmap is no longer available due to site updates. The 5 step framework is listed below.

It’s okay if you need help with the transition back to work after maternity leave. You have this new lifestyle, emotions and of course hormonal shifts.

Maternity leave means different things to different moms. Some moms can’t wait to return to work while others are quite sad about it.

There’s a lot of change. Emotional and physical healing is still in the works and you’re still adjusting. When you add returning to work into the mix things can get quite overwhelming.

Emotions can range from separation anxiety and fomo to guilt and freedom.

It’s not right that we weren’t given any notice or prep on these things. I think counseling on the fourth trimester and transitioning back to work should be part of prenatal care. What do you think?

More about planning

Planning is not meant to stress you out. Use it as a tool during this stage to give you a sense of organization in the midst of change and maybe even overwhelm at times.  

Here’s a quote to always keep in mind when planning as a new working mama :

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” — Mike Tyson.

Go ahead and accept the fact now that plans are a preventative measure but life happens and that’s okay. Give yourself some grace and get back on track.

That’s basically how I felt when returning to work. Straight up punched in the face with separation anxiety! And that’s okay. I learned from it, got stronger and it inspired me to look back and help other working mamas.   

Keep that plan solid

The foundation of your transition plan stays, but you will learn to adjust the details to meet your needs.

You can get through this with the right mindset and systems set in place. As life throws you curve balls simply adjust the system to meet you where you are and keep it moving.

5 Steps to return to work

1. Visit

Visit the childcare facility with your baby and introduce the baby to their caregivers. Ask every single question you can think of and more as they come up…they will.

2. Bonding plan

You will find that planning and creating routines will give you some stability in the midst of change.

Bonding is one of those things that either happens naturally with ease or may be a skill you consistently work on.

3. Practice

Practice the routine of dropping the baby off and picking them up.

Start this a few days to a week before you return to work.

A lot of change at once can make any new mom anxious. Taking this off your plate early can decrease some stress on that first day back.

4. Start slow

Don’t go back to a full week. Return to work for 2 to 3 days at the most your first week back. I would suggest scheduling in some mental health days as well.

This means you intentionally take a day off of work as you are easing back into it until you’re ready for true full time.

Pro tip : after you’ve settled into being a working mama, continue to schedule a day off to focus on self care. You will return to work and motherhood recharged. Read more on that here.

5. Unload

Discuss what you’re feeling with someone you trust. There are so many changes going on and it’s okay to talk with someone to sort through it.

Return to work prepared

Don’t go into it without knowing some of the issues that may arise. You are fully capable of handling it without these tips but why add to the stress?

Head back to work with confidence and a plan. You’ll still miss your baby, but know that you have support here.

We all know motherhood does not come with a playbook, but a little friendly advice helps.

I’ve learned that motherhood is a community of moms that do a great service of looking around and back to lift another new mama up.

I hope these tips help you along your working mom journey.  

We need help with the transition back to work after maternity leave. As a working mom you have this new lifestyle, emotions and of course postpartum hormone shifts. Here is a 5 step plan to help ease the transition back to work after maternity leave. Achieving work life balance takes time, but this process will get you started. Free printable worksheet included to guide you through each step.

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