Starting working again after maternity leave is sort of like traveling to a foreign country on a red-eye flight. Everyone speaks a strange language and moves with a goal-oriented speed, while all you want is a piece of furniture/historic landmark to crawl under and fall asleep for a couple of weeks.
I was happy to rejoin the workforce after taking time off to care for my baby. But back home, a couple of things went haywire on the very first week, like being locked out of the house (twice), accidentally giving my child a giant ball of cheese for lunch, drowning an iPhone in the toilet, being unable to cook due to a busted oven, getting a parking ticket and food poisoning from yet another takeout meal. The new schedule, the logistics and the struggle to leave the little one in someone else’s care for up to 12 hours a day — were overwhelming.
At around the same time, I enrolled in an online course called Mindful Return, a program that helps new moms navigate back to work after maternity leave. Run by a working mother of two, Lori Mihalich-Levin, the course gave me the tools to deal with the change.
On a daily basis for a month, women across the country discussed the transition in a structured, supportive online community. We talked about developing a relationship with daycare providers, using leave as an opportunity for leadership, building a stronger work team, scheduling, coping with stress and cooking ahead (don’t be a hater when it comes to slow-cooker and pre-cut vegetables).