It’s time to go back to work. You knew this day was looming, yet, it hasn’t seemed real as you’ve been living in a new baby fog. You’ve been wondering for weeks, “How am I going to do this when I’ve barely left the house since my baby was born?” “I don’t want to leave my baby at daycare.” I’m here to tell you that you will survive! Here’s my advice on rocking daycare and returning to work in full mom boss mode:

Get Over It

First things first. Let’s accept the reality of the situation – returning to work is happening. If you have no desire to put your baby in daycare, but don’t have any other options (or you simply can’t afford a nanny), accept your situation! The most recent census showed 13 percent of American families utilize daycare. Look on the bright side, you CAN afford daycare so you get to return to work and provide for your family! Go you! You are an amazing woman! It’s okay to feel sad – this is normal. However try to switch your thinking, stop the complaining and focus on the positives!

Talk to Your Employer

The first week of day care involves an adjustment for you, as well as your brand new family. Make sure your employer is aware of your situation. You might need a little extra flexibility in your schedule over the next few days.

Have a Plan When Life Gives You Lemons

Emergencies are going to happen…your kid gets sick, you have a work emergency, traffic, and more. You’re going to need people to back you up. Identify a daycare fairy to take off the pressure when you just can’t pick up your little one when you’re supposed to. Discuss this with your partner. Have a Plan B in place way ahead of time!

Get to Know The Teachers: They’re In Charge!

This is the best advice I can give you. These people are an integral part of your child’s daily life. Knowing them well, and not merely what they do for your baby, is important. If your daycare is open to your dropping in, take full advantage of it to get to know the teachers and ease your mind about what is really going on.

Mimic The Schedule

Think of daycare as Mom #2. They are inevitably spending more time with your child than you. Don’t punch me, it’s true. These guys are experts and really, really know what they’re doing. They’ve been rearing children for years! You’ve researched and chosen them for a reason, and you are paying a lot of money. Don’t fight the machine!

I recommend that as soon as you sign-up, you learn the daily schedule in advance so you can begin mimicking it at home on the weekends. What they do Monday-Friday is what you’re going to do Saturday and Sunday. No deviations! Respect their schedule because babies on schedules are happier and “easier.” And you want a calm and happy baby for ALL concerned.

Get Organized In Advance

Wondering exactly how you’re going to get your butt out the door on time and to work 5 days a week? Follow this plan! It starts the night before and it starts with you, mom. Lay out your clothes, have your breakfast and any food you need for survival ready to go. Calculate the amount of time you need to get ready and get to work on time…then add an extra 30-minutes. Allowing time to deal with things like diaper blow-outs and other unexpected events makes for a less frantic morning. You can always use the extra time for playtime with your baby. I also recommend you think ahead about all the stuff you will need for your baby. Calculate the amount and then triple it – you need supplies for daycare, home and work! Trust me, you’ll be grateful for the extras.

Sleep Train

Hey new mom, you cannot be successful at work or in life if you are falling asleep at your desk. Babies as young as 3 months old can sleep through the night, and by “sleep through the night” I mean ZERO night feeds. Your baby needs to sleep so you can too. Pick a strategy and do it  – the younger your child is the easier the process will be. A rested child will co-operate in helping you get out the door on time rather than creating a power struggle.

Compartmentalize Your Day

Whether you have an hour commute or a 10-minute drive to work, take advantage of the alone time. Do something to detox from the stress of the morning or prepare for the craziness of the evening. You need to be present to make the most of your time with your baby, and it will ease your working mom guilt. Compartmentalizing your life will make everything feel more manageable.

Be Social

Daycare is you and your baby’s first social experience. Try to find like-minded mamas who will understand your daily struggles. Chat with other parents at drop-off and pick-up, and set up play dates with other kids. Not only will it foster friendships for you baby, but it can lead to new friends for you. These are the people who will understand everything you are going through. Build your village asap!

Returning to work is hard after a baby, and it’s normal to feel sad about it.  However, organizing yourself mentally and logistically will really help you with the adjustment period. Go mom boss, go!

Featured Photo Courtesy: Jelleke Vanooteghem via UnSplash