It is going to hit you like a steam train!
I had 2 and 1/2 weeks of paternity leave after the birth of my son. The clock started ticking as they induced my wife. Little did I know that 3 of those days would be spent waiting for my son to make an appearance, followed by 8 days of overnight hospital stays while they treated my wife and son BEFORE I could get them both home!
17 Days – 11 days = 6 at home with Mother and Child.
During the 6 days, I spent at home, I could catch up on my sleep during quiet moments in the daytime – One of my tips for surviving the 1st week at home as a new dad!
Going back to work removed the prospect of getting my head down during the day – I could still do it, but it would result in me having a lot more time off work and a lot less money!
At first, I struggled, as you would do. Then, looking back on my first few days at work, I noted a few things that helped me get through it, aside from the fact that I was fully prepared to be a new dad.
So I decided to create a post to give you some tips on returning to work after paternity leave!
10 Tips For Surviving Work After Paternity Leave
I created a plan to ensure I was getting enough sleep during the night to function correctly at work.
There were 3 feeds during the ‘night period’ that we needed to be ready for:
22:00-00:00 – Feed before sleep
We shared feeding most nights. Our usual bedtime is around this time anyway, so it had little effect on sleeping patterns.
02:00-04:00 – Middle of the night feed
My wife took this from Monday morning to Friday morning. I took this one on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
06:00-08:00 – Early morning feed
This was also shared, except on weekends, where I did it.
I thought it was a very evenly balanced process. It worked well! During the week, I wasn’t too tired for work, and if my wife wanted to get some sleep in the early evening, I would take on the last feed of the day. So I took on the weekends so that Mrs. Gold could catch up on her sleep.
The downside is that you do not have a lay-in for some time!
2. Take Reminders To Work
This helped me. One of my new dad’s gifts was a photo frame, which I keep on my desk at work.
When being back at work makes you as depressed as hell, take a look at the picture to remind yourself that someone else relies on you bringing home the bacon.
It also acts as an awesome reminder to never do it again.
3. Befriend Another Dad
If you work in a large environment full of other people, you will likely be someone you know who has recently gone through what you are going through.
Ask them how they got on, seek some advice. What did they do to get through it?
Us dads are pretty resourceful. We are forever coming up with something to make our lives easier. It is part of being a Man.
4. Power Nap Through Your Lunch
As I look at the car park through the window next to my head (great view), I can see 2 people sitting in their cars almost every lunchtime.
In the summer months only, there is one guy who opens every one of his car doors and goes to sleep for 40 minutes. Weather permitting, of course.
I have never spoken to him, but I imagine he is a dad.
If coffee is your thing, make sure the supply at work never runs out.
Some of you lucky dads might even be on the road a lot, and you can buy coffee while traveling! I envy you. I do.
If coffee isn’t for you, find a suitable replacement. Other options for a pick me up include:
When you are tired, your body will feel dehydrated. Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and feel more awake.
As a bonus, the more water you drink, the more times you need to go to the toilet. So moving about will keep you awake!
A slow release of caffeine.
Massive hit of a stimulant! Use this with caution. Some heavy hitters will keep you awake and give you a boost! My personal preference is the Monster Range.
6. Move About A Lot
Some Dads will have jobs where you are moving a lot, and some (like me) will have office jobs, where the only exercise you get is moving your hands over a keyboard or dragging your head up from your chest to see what you are typing.
If you have an office job, make sure you take time every hour to walk somewhere. As long as it is not a snack machine, it will also improve your health.
7. Get Some Fresh Air
If you can’t sleep at lunch, make sure you get away from your desk for some fresh air – assuming you are desk-based.
Take a walk (that’s not abuse, by the way) and clear your head. It is a great idea to exercise and take some time away from your workplace.
If your job keeps you on your feet all day, flip it around. Use your lunch and break times to get some well-earned rest!
8. Mornings = Important Stuff
When you are traveling to work, running on minimum sleep, you will be grateful to your former self for booking in the important stuff (meetings, complex tasks) for the morning.
15:00 is a well-known time for the daily ‘energy crash .’ Lack of sleep the previous night will only exacerbate the crash!
You can do things to avoid this crash or reduce the impact, like drink plenty of water or be more active and make better snack choices.
If you plan the important stuff in the morning, you will get those out of the way before it hits you!
I went through a stage of arranging meetings for mornings only, because my boss noticed I yawned a lot in the afternoon!
And with a newborn, you will be yawning that much that your jaw will start to ache!
9. Eat A Smart Breakfast
It is easier said than done when you are trying to get ready for work, and you are also trying to soothe a newborn baby!
Eating a good breakfast will set you up for the day, and there are certain foods you should include to keep you ticking over nicely.
Probably the best carbohydrate there is for a steady release of energy. Oats are a great idea for breakfast, but they are also a top idea for lunch, especially if you want to avoid the 15:00 crash.
For a fantastic, natural energy boost, why not have a Banana as part of your breakfast. I would also suggest taking one to work because they are a great healthy choice for a snack.
Top of the breakfast tree this one. Clinical trials have shown an increase in energy levels for those who had consumed Eggs for breakfast. This is a serious weapon in your battle to stay awake at work!
So as it happens, the best breakfast to have to help you through your return to work is Oats, bananas, and Eggs. I’ve no idea how you can throw all of those in the same dish, but whatever keeps you awake!
10. Smart Snacking
In the tip above, I said it is a great idea to have a Banana for breakfast and take one to work for a snack.
There are also other options that I would go for, such as:
More with the Clinical Trials! Nuts are packed full of energy and will help improve your brain function while slowly releasing energy throughout the day. They also come with the added benefit of reducing loads of terrible health conditions, like high blood pressure, heart disease, and sudden cardiac death.
This will take a little preparation in the morning, but it is a top choice for a perfect snack that keeps your brain in gear for the PM.
It’s pretty simple. 1 scoop of protein powder, a small spoon of peanut butter, and 40 grams of oats. It has everything you need: Protein and decent, slow-burning carbs. I lived on these for a few months!
Snacking correctly is essential. When your body is shattered, it will want the wrong foods to continue. SCREAMING OUT… get me some chocolate, damn you! Quell those voices by snacking well.
Or just get some chocolate, whatever gets you through it man.
There you go! Those are 10 things I did during my first week back at work. They helped me get through it!
Oh, and make sure mom is taking care of herself during this time.
My personal favorite is tip number 1. It is essential to share the load and arrange which feeds you will take on. It will give you more sleep, but it also stops you from negotiating (arguing) at 3 am.
Returning to work after paternity leave is a struggle; there is no doubt.
If you have a decent boss, they will be understanding of your new situation and will (hopefully) cut you some slack.
Can you think of any more tips that should be on here? Have you recently returned to work after paternity leave? Did you use any tools to help you through the 1st week? If so, contact us or leave a reply below!