6 Tips To Feel Emotionally Supported As You Return To Work

mom and baby

The phrase I hear the most from working moms I coach as they recall how they felt coming back to work is “fish out of water.” The mom’s complete world and fiber of her being has changed after baby arrived, yet she is expected to walk back into the same building, work with the same people, sit in the same chair and perform at the same leveI as she did before baby. It’s a Twilight Zone episode for sure, but the problem is that the mom is not prepared to go on her emotional journey.

Going from full time bonding to full time working may be as hard as Magic Mike’s abs…and biceps…wait, what were we talking about? 

Ah right, transitioning back to work is an emotional journey where she must find new ways of coping, connecting with the right people and finding the inner strength in order to feel supported. Here’s how…

Figure out the details so you can focus on your well-being.

Part of what contributes to her stress is not knowing the logistics that prepare her baby, her boss and her childcare for a successful return. Checklists and timelines will eliminate the guess-work and free up her mind to deal with the emotional side.

Fatigue is not failure.

Oh the tiredness! Only a new mom can fully comprehend the depth of what sleep deprivation can do to her mind, body, spirit and emotions. Unfortunately for most mamas the long nights continue on when she is back at work. I wore sunglasses in my cubical one day because I was so tired the light hurt my eyes.

If you are sporting sunglasses indoors, you have hit your limit. The key is recognizing when you have hit it (and not feeling guilty about it). Fatigue is not a sign you are a bad employee, it’s just part of your life at this time. No judgment. Are you able to ask for flex time, can you leave early to take a nap and finish work at home or can you take a day off?

Your tribe will perk you up like no coffee could.

When we are feeling low we often isolate ourselves. But for a woman who is transitioning back to work, finding the right mix of women in her support tribe can make all the difference.  Sometimes you just have to cry, laugh or just plain ‘ole complain to move through the difficult times.

Trusting yourself is a practice, not an experiment.

There is a lot of noise to filter out. We live in a fast-paced life and read everyone’s opinions of how to raise our child on facebook, this can make us feel overwhelmed with doubt. Doubt leads to more stress and the cycle continues. Trusting that we know what is right for our child and family is all about getting quiet enough to hear and trust our mom-intuition. This is a daily practice that over time will make you feel more confident in your decisions and feeling way less stressed!

Protect your emotions.

I thought that since I was back at work 2 months that I was going to feel fine. Your emotions don’t follow a linear path. There are ups and downs, good days and bad days.  Plus, your co-workers have no clue of the beautiful and monumental change you went through when you had a baby. So you might need to get robotic-like around certain co-workers to protect your emotions, use your pump time to get out a cry or limit meetings with certain co-workers who trigger you.


Let your partner know.

Lastly, share your feelings with your husband/partner.  Admitting that you can’t handle it to a trusted partner will set those emotions free and diffuse the guilt. He will also feel more connected to you in a time that is a bit chaotic. With the help of a tribe, some new tools and the right state of mind you can feel emotionally supported as you return to work and beyond!  You are a great mama, you can DO THIS!

Elaine McGhee is a Working Mom Support Coach on a mission to empower moms. From her own emotionally traumatic return to work after her first child (can you say HOT MESS ?!), the ThriveMomma support community was born.

She blends research, expert collaboration, her own training in project management and passion for Mindfulness to help moms to thrive as a working mom. She holds workshops in Southern California and virtual coaching on return-to-work readiness, time management for busy moms and mindful living.


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