Parental Leave is Ending, And You’re Not Ready

May 08, 2023

Unfortunately, it’s a harsh reality that most Americans must return to work after a few months of parental leave. Often, new parents are so focused on caring for the baby, that they may not put any thought into how their lives are going to run when they work full-time AND care for an infant.

Picture this (and this is with a 2-parent household!):

  • Parents get woken up several times in the night.
  • They wake with the baby and must feed, change, and pack diaper bag and bottles for daycare. This could take about 1 hour.
  • Parents must shower, dress, and look presentable for work.
  • Parents must chug coffee, shove food down their throats, and make sure they won’t be accosted by east coast weather.
  • Parents must pacify infant since infant has been waiting longer than 1 minute for them to pack up stroller and get shoes/jackets on.
  • Parents must take infant to day care.
  • Parents must commute to work.
  • Parents are exhausted by the start of their workday – and this is all before 9 AM!

If this resonates with you, I’m not surprised. No one coached us on how to manage the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities while also caring for an infant.

I recognize that some families’ situations may differ than above, but the challenges are the same. I believe if you have routines and systems in place, you will be able to manage the transition to having a newborn with greater comfort and confidence.

5 Thoughts on How to Prepare When Parental Leave is Ending:

1. Figure out childcare!

There are so many factors to consider: schedules, location, nanny versus daycare, cost, back up childcare, etc.

2. Create a shared calendar.

This can include parents, caregivers, and anyone else who is highly involved in the day-to-day scheduling of your family.

3. Set a time each week when you plan for the next week.

Planning means food shopping/meal planning, restocking household items, scheduling in exercise/self-care/date nights, and confirming your childcare. This will lead to a calmer week where you feel in control of your day.

4. Divide morning and evening responsibilities.

Taking turns and being clear about who is doing what can offer some relief to the burden parents feel to manage it all. I recognize there are many single parents out there and they are often masterful planners since they have to do it on their own!

5. Make time to connect (screen-free) with your baby.

This sounds easy, but parents are pulled in so many directions these days.

Do you wish you had a little guidance before returning to work? Did you feel prepared? Let me know in the comments or email me at [email protected]!


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