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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Baby, I’m Back: Returning to Work After Family Leave

By Dan Atkerson on February 24, 2016

Returning to Work After Maternity leaveWith the final days of your FMLA leave approaching, it’s completely understandable to start freaking out a tad. A lot of mothers get almost as nervous about getting back to work as they did when they left to go have their baby. Okay, maybe that’s not quite true, but going back to work after so long away and with a new baby at home can make anyone anxious. In order to help alleviate some of that nervousness, here are some tips for returning to work after maternity leave.

Getting Back in the Groove

In order to get back in the groove, you have to accept that your groove has changed. There’s a new Yin to your Yang and finding the perfect balance is key. About a week before your first day back to work, start practicing your routine. Wake up at the alarm, get ready like you would go to work, make any preparations for a babysitter before they would come to take care of your baby. Making these dry runs will allow you to work out any kinks in your routine.

Sleep When You Can

You’re not wrong to wonder how balancing work and motherhood will work with all the crying and screaming that goes on every night, and that’s not even counting the baby’s crying. The number one reason new mothers say they have trouble is exhaustion from lack of sleep. Put off the household chores (hopefully a partner, friends and/or family members are pitching in!) and take a nap. Set a relatively early bed time so that you get as much sleep as possible in between feeding sessions and sobbing contests with your infant at 2 a.m.

Lead a Double Life

Before you go running off to live like a super spy, what I mean by double life is that you should not sacrifice your “mom” life for work life. Don’t push your friendships with other moms to the side after you start going back to the office. You’ll need that support group, so try to plan get-togethers on the weekends. Never be afraid to have your cake and eat it, too. Eat the cake that is. Cake is not a metaphor for baby. Don’t eat your baby. You’ll never be invited back to the group.

Hang in There

There will be days (not might be, not probably will be… will be) when you think you can’t do it anymore, that you’re not good enough to balance these two parts of your life, but you’re wrong. You are absolutely good enough. You ever see that motivational poster with the kitten hanging from the tree branch and the phrase “hang in there”? Be that kitten. That kitten is the baddest cat in the alleyway these days; drinking whole milk from a silver bowl.

Breastfeeding at Work

One of the many “boob” controversies stirring up conservative Americans today is the question of breastfeeding at work. Can you literally even right now? When? Where? These are the questions that drive new mothers mad. Here’s a quick guide for nursing at work:
  • Texas law plainly states in Section 165.002 Right to Breastfeed: A mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.
  • Federal law requires that employers must allow women to take reasonable break times to express breastmilk for 1 year after the child’s birth. Further, if the mother wishes, employers must provide an accessible and private place that is not a bathroom to express breastmilk.
  • If you are having disputes with your employer about breastfeeding or pumping, you do not need to back down. The law is clear: if you need to breastfeed or pump, you do it wherever you feel the most comfortable.

Pregnancy Discrimination

Lastly, pregnancy discrimination is not only for when you are pregnant. Pregnancy discrimination includes people who are thinking about getting pregnant, as well as people who have recently given birth. You’re a mother now, so don’t take any disrespect from anyone. If you are demoted, wrongfully fired, assigned more undesirable tasks, or anything like that after returning from parental leave, call an employment attorney.

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