This is: The transition back to work after maternity leave

While it can feel a whole lot like jumping into the deep end and having no choice but to swim, you aren't in this alone. And you don't have to feel unprepared.

This is: The transition back to work after maternity leave

It wasn't so long ago that your co-workers hosted a thoughtful baby shower and you packed up the essentials from your desk before embarking on maternity leave. So how is it that so much has changed?

When you last walked out those doors, you were a mom—expectant, hopeful and a bit nervous. Now, you are a capital-M Mom—probably still a bit nervous, but also overwhelmingly in love and amazed (if you do say so yourself) with how well you are managing this new role.

The transition back to work isn't just the transition back from maternity leave, though. It's the introduction of the you who is a mother to the working world. Soon enough, you'll realize just how uniquely skilled and capable this working mom version of you really is—thanks to new clarity about what matters, a new sense of purpose for the time spent at work, and new ambition for navigating that work-life balance.

But with the end of maternity leave just on the horizon, it's to be expected that some new concerns will pop up. Not only are you emotionally preparing to trust others with the care of your baby, but you're also staring down some still-foreign logistical challenges like packing bottles for daycare drop-off or pumping while on the job.

For many moms, it can also mean a whole new world of #momguilt. You're suddenly faced with drop-offs and good-byes you've never had to tackle. For the first time, you wonder how and what your baby is doing without you there to answer his cries and administer his favorite tickles. As you do your best to adjust back into the working world, you also wrestle with worries and wonder if you're doing it all wrong.

It's a lot, often all at once. But that's been the story of your life for the past few weeks, hasn't it?

You know by now mama that there's not really much room for "easing into" this new stage of life. While it can feel a whole lot like jumping into the deep end and having no choice but to swim, you aren't in this alone. For every worry and moment of guilt you feel, there have been a thousand mamas before you who have wrestled the same concerns and pangs of doubt. But you don't have to feel unprepared.

Trust people when they say they want to help you. Work with your partner by dividing and conquering tasks, like they clean the bottles while you prepare tomorrow's daycare bag. Feel confident about the value you bring to your workplace because you are a mom, not in spite of that.

It may take a few days. Or a few weeks. Or a few months. But you've got time to figure it out.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


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Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

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Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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I didn't forget to have children. I just had a child. One child.

The other day, I saw a woman wearing a shirt that read, "Oops! I forgot to have children!" across the front, and I wanted to run up and give her a hug. Except that would be weird on many levels, so I buried the impulse.

I didn't forget to have children. I just had a child. One child. And lean in closer while I make this confession: My partner and I made that decision on purpose.

It's not really what I'd planned for myself when I was younger and daydreamed about my future family. In fact, I went through a phase in the '80s when I imagined myself with five children who I would name Mandy, Randy, Candy, Sandy and Andy.

I certainly never envisioned myself being any kind of spokesperson for the only-child crowd, but over my last 11 years, the most-asked question I get is whether or not I have regrets that we never gave my daughter a sibling.

That's a hard question because the number of kids you and your partner decide to have is an extremely personal decision—although you wouldn't necessarily know that by all the complete strangers who regularly ask, "So, when are you going to have another one?" or, "Don't you worry about what will happen to her when you die and she's left all alone in the world?" People, even well-intentioned, can be extremely insensitive and feel like they have the right to get in your business even if you just met them on an airplane.

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