If are approaching the end of maternity leave, you need to start moving some of your focus towards preparing to return to work. There are five steps that you should keep in mind as part of your preparation process of returning to work after maternity leave.

In reality, there are other steps you need to take in anticipation of going back to work after having a baby. However, these are designed to give you a good start.

Pamper Yourself

In advance of returning to work, consider taking some time to pamper yourself. This can include getting your hair done and perhaps also a mani-pedi.

With this in mind, consider going shopping for some new clothes. You certainly don’t want to return to work wearing maternity clothes. However, your “regular” wardrobe may not quite yet fit. Getting back to your pre-pregnancy status does take a bit of time. That is perfectly natural. Indeed, some designers have come up with clothing for a woman who recently gave birth.

Ease Back Into Work

Many new mothers find a transition from maternity leave back to a full 40-hour work week highly distressing. Odds are, your employment very well may allow you some flexibility in this regard.

Seriously consider easing back into work. For example, during the week before your maternity leave is scheduled to end, spend a couple of days working a few hours. When it comes to the actual end of your maternity leave, consider making the return date mid-week rather than on Monday. By taking this course, you won’t be facing a full, 40-hour work week, which can seem daunting.

You might also want to consider working half or three-quarter time during the first week. This not only helps you ease back into your job duties, but it also is likely to lessen anxiety about being away from your baby.

Saying No is Crucial

As your maternity leave comes to an end, you will find the number of people making a wealth of requests about a variety of things. Of course, this will include your employer and coworkers. That is to be expected. However, you will also find other people not necessarily associated with your work making requests of you. These can even be things that are enjoyable like asking you to attend a social event.

The reality is the transition between maternity leave and spending a great deal of time with your baby to work and spending less time with your little loved one will be challenging enough. Thus, you need to understand how important saying “no” is during in the direct aftermath of maternity leave. If you don’t learn to say no, you will find yourself incredibly stressed out and having less time to spend with your baby and your family.

Meet with Your Boss Before You Go Back

Arrange to meet with your boss before your return date. As a strategy, consider meeting with your boss outside of the office. This will allow you running into coworkers who will wrongly assume you are back. It also helps you limit the amount of time you are away from your baby before your maternity leave ends.

In the meeting with your boss, find out if there have been any significant changes at the company since you’ve been on maternity leave. Ask your boss what priorities he or she has for you when you return.

This is also the time that you should raise the question of easing back into work. Odds are that if you raise this issue sufficiently in advance of the date you are scheduled to return to work, your employer will be more than willing to work with you to make your transition back as easy as possible.

Put Your Purse in the Backseat

This is a tip that you really should consider following while still in maternity leave. When you are a new mother, you likely find yourself stressed and sleep deprived. The best of mothers have inadvertently left their babies in the backseats of cars. More often than not, the mistake is noticed immediately and corrected, but not always.

One thing you can do to lessen the chance that you will leave your baby in the back of the car is to leave your purse there as well. You’re likely very used to taking your purse everywhere. You may feel almost “naked” without it. Thus, in the unlikely event you don’t remember taking your baby from the backseat, you likely would find yourself unable to get very far without your purse in hand.

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Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, where you can get personal checks and business checks.

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Cheryl Posner is the owner of Winey Mommy. Of course, she loves wine, her family, and writing about it all (in no certain order).

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