top of page

How to Navigate Returning to Work After Baby

By: Christen Reed, LMFT, Charleston Clinical Director

Becoming a mama is undoubtedly one of life's most profound and transformative experiences. The joy, love, and sleepless nights that accompany this new chapter can be overwhelming, yet so incredibly rewarding! As the blissful haze of babyhood settles, many new mamas find themselves facing the bittersweet reality of returning to the workplace. This transition, laden with a myriad of emotions, marks the beginning of a delicate balancing act between professional responsibilities and the newfound joys of motherhood.

Acknowledging Mixed Emotions

Returning to work after having a baby is a journey marked by many different emotions. The excitement of rejoining colleagues and engaging in meaningful work is often tinged with the heartache of leaving your sweet baby in someone else's care. It's important to recognize and validate these mixed emotions – the elation of professional achievements and the pangs of separation from your bundle of joy. 

Returning to a job after having a baby is challenging enough, but when it involves going back to a job you don't particularly like, the journey can feel like a balancing act on a tightrope. It's a scenario many moms find themselves in – torn between the responsibilities of motherhood and the necessity of a job that may not align with their passions. The decision to return to a less-than-fulfilling job can be accompanied by a unique set of emotional hurdles, including a sense of disconnect and the constant yearning for a more purposeful professional path or the ability to stay home with their baby full-time. 

Adjusting Expectations at Work and at Home

As you step back into the professional arena, it's essential to set realistic expectations for yourself. The dynamics of your life have shifted, and it's perfectly normal to need time to readjust. Be patient with yourself and understand that it's okay if you don't immediately regain the same level of focus or productivity you had before becoming a mama. Prioritize tasks, communicate openly with your colleagues, and give yourself the grace to adapt gradually. It's essential to communicate openly with your employer about your needs and explore flexible working arrangements if possible. Embracing a balanced lifestyle contributes not only to your well-being but also to your effectiveness as an employee.

Adjusting expectations at home becomes a crucial aspect of the delicate dance that is returning to work after having a baby. The domestic landscape undergoes a significant shift, and it's essential to reassess and realign expectations to accommodate the evolving dynamics. As a working mom, recognizing that you can't do it all and that perfection is an unrealistic standard is key. Embrace the imperfections, the unfolded laundry, and the occasional takeout dinners. Communicate openly with your partner, sharing responsibilities and creating a supportive co-parenting environment. Adjusting expectations involves acknowledging that the house may not be as spotless as before, and that's perfectly okay. Prioritize self-care and allocate time for family bonding, understanding that quality moments are more valuable than a perfectly maintained home. By embracing flexibility and adjusting expectations, the transition back to work becomes more manageable, fostering a harmonious balance between professional and family life.

Amidst the challenges of juggling work and parenting, there's a special joy in the reunions at the end of each workday. Embrace these moments wholeheartedly – the smiles, laughter, and tiny arms reaching out for you. Your ability to navigate both worlds showcases your resilience and the richness of your life.

Returning to work after baby is a profound and personal journey. It's a path marked by resilience, adaptability, and an abundance of love. By acknowledging and navigating the complexities of this transition, you pave the way for a fulfilling life that seamlessly integrates both your professional and parental roles. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and your unique blend of experiences contributes to a vibrant tapestry of life.


If you're in need of professional help or community support, don't hesitate to reach out.

Ready Nest Constellations are specialized spaces to connect in a new way and find community and support along your journey. We have a six-week Returning to Work support group led by a counselor with specialized training to support you. Join the Returning to Work waitlist today by emailing with Join the Waitlist: Returning to Work in the subject line. You'll be contacted when the start date is set for the Constellation to launch the next round of the group.

Through this group format, you'll learn how to process where you're at in your journey, how to survive in the present, and how to cultivate and sustain coping tools for the future. Meeting online, you'll be able to connect with others from all over the world, bringing a sense of unity and diversity to your experience. Prior to the group's start date, you'll receive a beautifully curated box of resources and tools to use through the six weeks.

Our dedicated team at Ready Nest Counseling is here to help you navigate life's challenges and transitions with care and compassion. Whether you're experiencing difficulties related to conception, pregnancy, postpartum, infertility, loss, parenting, or relationships our therapists are ready to support you. We offer both in-person and virtual therapy. Schedule a therapy session with us today and take the first step towards a healthier you.



Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page