Note:  This blog post by Amelia Cotton Corl was first published on November 12, 2015, on the fabulous blog, Joel and Amelia Make a Home.  Amelia took the Mindful Return e-course this past October, and she is helping so many women by chronicling her experiences as a new working mama.  I am grateful to her for allowing me to re-post her thoughtful piece here.

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First of all, how adorable is this picture from daycare?  To say Soren has settled in well would be an understatement.  He actually seems to be enjoying himself there.  I couldn’t be more grateful.  And selfishly a little sad, but really, 99.9% grateful.

For the next installment of #workingmama, I wanted to share how I tackled another one of the things I was tremendously anxious about while heading back to work – my work hours. The culture of my office is one of later mornings and evenings, which has never been my personal work preference/style anyway. I am an early bird and I get my best work done then. And I’m toast after about 5:30 anyway, so my work quality declines then too.

Even up until the day Soren was born I was still working longer hours than I wanted to, so the thought of returning back to that schedule with a little one at home was literally keeping me up at night in the last few weeks of my maternity leave. As part of my Mindful Return e-course, we were asked to articulate what it was we actually wanted. Imagine that!

I knew I wanted to go back to work, because the intellectual stimulation, and the great job I currently have, are a huge part of me.  I know it’s not for everyone, but staying home full time wasn’t in the cards for me (for many reasons).  I already feel like working has made me an even more enthusiastic mama.  (Though missing the kiddo is a not-to-be-underestimated downside.)

I had thought seriously about going back to work part time while Soren was so tiny, but realized that my job would get at least 40 hours of productive time from me even if I dropped down to 75% or less.  Why should I take a pay cut for that?  So I decided to go for my ideal schedule – working in the office from 8 AM to 4 PM, and being available after Soren’s bedtime for emergency tasks.  Fair enough, right?

So I mustered up the courage and asked my boss out to lunch, and the short version of the story… she agreed!  So now I’m on week three of working 8-4 in the office and I couldn’t be happier with the arrangement.  I still get good time with Soren (and Joel!) in the mornings and evenings, and I still feel very present and engaged in my job.

Do I walk out of meetings to leave at 4:00 to pick up Soren?  Yes!  Do I feel guilty about it? Absolutely!  But hopefully that will get better with time.  I find I am so much more productive during my work hours now, and I am so centered on family during our time at home that I really do enjoy it (all that bottle washing can wait until after bedtime, am I right?).  Now, working pumping times into this schedule is a whole other can of worms, but I’ll get to that at another time.

So, list your demands, and make them, Mamas!

Want more practical advice on how to transition back to work after maternity leave?  Check out the Mindful Return E-Course hereNew sessions start soon.

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