6 Tips for Dealing With Your Partner Returning to Work After Baby

mom and babyFor those planning on going back to work after having a baby, the low-grade stress of maternity leave ending sets in almost immediately after giving birth. How will you handle it? How will your baby handle it? What will become of you?! But before you're forced to deal with entering the work force again -- or even if you're not going back to work -- you're likely forced to deal with another issue: Your partner going back to work.

If you think maternity leave is a joke in this country, may I introduce you to paternity leave? Your partner can save up all the vacation and sick days he possibly can, but odds are, he isn't going to be able to stay home with you very long. And that first day you're alone with a tiny (screaming?) newborn can be terrifying.

But you'll get through it. Promise.

Here are 6 tips that will make life easier for you when your partner goes back to work.

1. Line up friends and family members to stop by (but not all at once). My husband went back to work two weeks after our daughter was born. Up until that point, we hadn't had many visitors -- but once he left, I lined 'em up. People typically only stayed an hour or so, but having someone with me for a small period each day helped me relax a bit (and I'd get to take a shower!).

2. Prepare the night before. If you think you're going to have a relaxing day alone with your newborn, let me tell you -- you're not. It's just Murphy's Law, friends. I don't want to scare anyone here, but the first day my husband went back to work, it was a shitshow. My daughter screamed from the moment she woke up until the minute he got home (and thereafter). I barely had time to get myself a glass of water, nevertheless food. If I would have made myself something the night before, it would have made things much a little easier.

3. If the weather is appropriate, get outside. My daughter and I went for a walk every day after my husband went back to work. We'd lug the stroller down the night before (thanks for letting us keep it in the lobby, Landlord!), and around (and around) my neighborhood we'd go. We developed a ritual, actually. We'd stop in to Dunkin' Donuts for a decaf iced coffee, then walk until she woke up. It just felt good to get outside; get a little fresh air; and talk to random people. I felt less isolated, and after a few days, I felt like: Hey, I can do this!

4. Leave the TV on. I've never been a daytime TV watcher -- even on my days off, it just feels weird. But after my husband went back to work, that thing was on 24:7. It was nice to have some background noise, and I felt like I had a vague idea of what was going on outside Baby World.

5. Join a mommy group. A friend of mine suggested I join a group for new moms when my daughter was 3 weeks old. I laughed in her face at the notion that I'd be able to be somewhere specific at a certain time. But looking back, I should have. I highly doubt I'd be the first person in history not to show up to a meeting if I couldn't -- and I would have bonded with people who were going through the same thing I was.

6. Talk to someone. Talking to someone who's been there, done that really can help -- but you have to be honest. No need to act like you have everything under control if you don't -- you don't have to prove anything to anyone. Sometimes, just getting it all out there and admitting you're lonely/scared/anxious can be cathartic.

Were you nervous when your partner went back to work? How did you deal?

Image via Dan Harrelson/Flickr



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Wheep... Wheepingchree

We really lucked out with our daughter being a very easy-going baby. There was little to no crying, so when my husband went back to work a couple of weeks after she was born, it wasn't terrible, just a little lonely. I'm now pregnant with our second child and this time around I'm a little nervous - my husband has a better job this time, which means more responsibility, so he's only able to take a week off. I will be left alone with my almost 4-year old and a newborn, who I'm worried will be the complete opposite of his/her sister! Agh. Thankfully I have a ton of family around!

mommy... mommytojack0524

Shower and get dressed daily.  Do it while the baby sleeps. Put the baby in a bouncy seat in the bathroom. Just find time to do it. You will feel so much better.

Get Daddy involved early and often. That will give you some time in the evenings when he gets home from work. My hubby did everything I did--bottles, diapers, rocking, baths. Knowing that he could handle things in the evenings gave me time to get in the tub for a nice, relaxing soak, eat dinner (we took turns), and have a little down time.

jessa... jessasmamma

My ex-husband went back to work one week after we brought our daughter home. And we moved about a month after that. I was overwhelmed to say the least. I wish I had taken the time to figure out how to de stress. My ex was so intense 24/7. He would come home from work and yell at me and make me feel horrible if dinner wasn't ready yet. Or if a load of laundry needed to be folded. It was horrible. I should've been focusing on healing from my c-section and making sure the baby was fine, but instead I was so stressed that I became a nervouce wreck. I will never put myself in that position again. No new mother/parent deserves to have the first few months of their child's life made MORE stressful than it already is. 

Side note : my daughter had colic and severe acid reflux. She was like a volcano that would randomly erupt everywhere. So on top of being stressed and anxiety ridden, I was constantly trying to make her feel better and help her get some sleep. Which meant basically no sleep for me. Looking back - if I had been getting even 4 hours a night, it would've definitely helped me not feel SO overwhelmed. 

femal... femaleMIKE

I am having my first baby in July.

At this moment what makes me anxious is that I would like to nurse for a year but will be returning to work 12 weeks after birth.   I have no idea how this pumping thing is going to work out for me. 

I am not worried about having a babysitter because my husband has switched his schedule so we won't be needing one. woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

femal... femaleMIKE

Jessasmamma, I am glad to hear that he is your ex.  This was suppose to be a happy time and he made it horrible.  I am an overanaiyzer,  I wonder if your babygirl was colicky because she was feeling the intenseness from your ex. 

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