Working mum-of-three Lizzi Gardner shares her tips for returning to work after maternity leave
Plan your routine
However long you think it’ll take you to leave the house in the morning, you’ll probably need to double it. It’s an unwritten rule of babyhood that just as you’re about to shut the front door your bundle of joy will do a giant poonami. So always have a back-up outfit to hand.
Sort your wardrobe
The quicker you get on board with planning your outfit the night before, the better. It is simply not possible to make style decisions while simultaneously spooning porridge into a closed mouth and turning the house upside down looking for Sophie the Giraffe. Accessories are good but stow them in your handbag until after drop-off unless you want to be strangled or lose an earlobe.
Pack your bag
This is the fun part. No wipes! No nappies! No half-opened packets of stale snacks! Set aside a proper ‘grown-up’ handbag for work use only (don’t – I repeat don’t – even think about repurposing your change bag), and make sure it’s clean, crumb free and packed the night before. Keys, phone, make-up, jewelry, purse. Oh, and phone charger. You won’t believe how quickly your battery goes down when you stare at photos all day. It’s hormonal, OK?
Expect illness. A lot of it
Unwritten rule of babyhood #2: they don’t get ill for a year and then BAM, they come down with every illness going. Here are my tips:
• If you’re lucky enough to have family nearby, ask if they can make themselves “available” in the early days should a dreaded lurgies strike.
• Speak to your partner and agree that they will take time off if need be. You could also investigate paternity leave to cover your first month back (take a look at www.gov.uk).
• Bank up some favors by helping friends out before you go back to work.
• Look into a nanny share. Splitting the cost of a nanny could make this option less expensive.
Drop the guilt
Be prepared to miss a few important moments – you may have missed them anyway, whether you’re working or not. So, drop the guilt and focus on all the awesome things you’re now providing cool holidays and a kick-ass role model. Go you!