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Essentials for Moms Returning to Work

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Returning to work after maternity leave raises a million questions. Where will you find high-quality child care? Returning to work means leaving your baby with a stranger -- how will you ever say goodbye without crying? What will help you adjust to the new schedule, at work and at home? There are many issues to consider, but if you take your decisions one by one, you can get through it. Here's a road map for returning to work.

Returning to the Work Place

Returning to work means saying goodbye to baby
Photo by Katherine Lewis
It's the moment of truth. The bliss (or boredom) of maternity leave is over and it's time to go back to work. Whether you were home with your children for 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years, the transition can be rough. Use these stepping stones to find your way.

Child Care for Returning to Work

After returning to work, take time for field trips
Photo by Katherine Lewis
Perhaps the most important decision in a working mom's life is child care. It can damage your career and professional reputation to have a nanny who's perpetually late or quits unexpectedly, or a daycare center that sends your child home at the slightest hint of a cold. It's best to start evaluating child care early and line up fallback options in case your initial plan doesn't work out. The right path will differ for each family and work situation.

Logistics -- Getting Through the Day

Returning to work is fun with these adorable bags
Photo courtesy of JP Lizzy
No single piece of advice will make or break your working mom's balance. But many moms have gone through it before you. Read about what helped them get through the day, and you'll probably discover several ideas that will make your life easier. From schedules to work-friendly diaper bags, here are road-tested tips for returning to work.

Your Career

Returning to work is a good time to tweak your schedule
Image Credit: George Doyle/Getty Images.
Whether you're working for the paycheck, the satisfaction, or a combination of reasons, you must attend to your career to be a successful working mom. You may find you need to ask for a new schedule -- or that you require more flexibility than your employer can provide. The rules are different for moms in the workplace. Here's a playbook.

Working to Live, Not Living to Work

After returning to work, you'll still come home to the family
Image Credit: Betsie Van Der Meer/Getty Images
As the saying goes, on your deathbed, you're unlikely to wish you spent more time at the office. So how do you balance your roles as mom, worker, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and more? Start by forgetting about the way people perceive you, and focus on what matters to you. That means shedding guilt, embracing joy, and just living.
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