Returning to work after having a baby was probably the single most difficult time in my life. I was starting my days at 4:30AM so that I could be home with my daughter in the afternoons. My husband watched the baby during the day and worked at night. Neither of us was getting more than 4 hours of sleep a night, and some nights, those 4 hours were not even consecutive. I reflect back on those days and don't know how we did it. It certainly wasn't graceful! Here are some tips for sleep-deprived parents trying to do the best they can.
Keep a complete change of clothes (including shoes) in your vehicle at all times. One day I was so tired I didn't realize that I had left the house still wearing my fuzzy animal slippers. Fortunately, I had an extra pair of shoes in my car and was able to change my shoes before anyone noticed.
Keep a complete change of clothes (including underclothes) in your vehicle at all times. I can't describe the level of exhaustion a new parent feels when the baby wakes up at 4AM to nurse and you have to leave for work by 5:30. Yes, I was so tired, I forgot to put my bra back on after breastfeeding my infant. That may not be a big deal to some people, but I wear a 38K while breastfeeding. Going without a bra is not an option. Fortunately, I had a sports bra in my gym bag that was in the trunk of my car.
Have a good friend at work that will look out for you, someone that will tell you the truth. I am so thankful for Marsha who was the only person in my office who told me that I was walking around with spit-up in my hair and running the full length of my back and left leg.
Have another good friend that will bring you coffee or encourage you to take a brisk walk outside to get coffee. Vanessa on the second floor saved me when I had gotten very little sleep after a night soothing my child through teething. TWO YEAR MOLARS ARE NO JOKE!
Pump before the meeting begins. My poor co-worker sprung a leak during a meeting that was supposed to be less than an hour but lasted much longer. Fortunately, she was armed with a legal pad and was able to clutch it to her chest to cover the wet spots developing on her blouse!
Being a working parent is hard. It's so important to find the humor in challenging moments because if you don't laugh, you'll cry.
Living the JACK'd Life
I am a certified birth doula (BAI) in Charlotte, NC . I provide information and support to pregnant individuals and couples so they can have satisfying and empowering births. I am a married mother of 4 trying to navigate life, unafraid of sharing my truly JACK'd up missteps.