Back to Work After Baby: An Honest Book Review

Guest blog article written by Kathleen O. Berkey at MothersEsquire.

Back to Work After Baby is an essential read for mothers who are returning to work soon. This book has everything you need to know – or think about – before your maternity leave ends. Author Lori K. Mihalich-Levin’s thoughtful and pragmatic approach builds the reader’s confidence that she can successfully navigate the obstacles and pitfalls and return to work even stronger. She makes you feel like a part of a professional community, with a team of moms who have come before, shining a light on the many paths ahead of you.

When you are flooded with decisions – childcare options, work schedules, what to feed your baby, and when – this book provides a roadmap for what to consider and how to make decisions that work for your own family. Mihalich-Levin recognizes there is not a one-size-fits-all approach on life post-baby – but she gives plenty of pointers on how you can make choices that will work for you. It was refreshing to hear that moms do not have to feel guilty for wanting to go back to their careers – it is possible, and healthy, to love both your child and your job. 

Mihalich-Levin’s focus on a “mindful” return to work is empowering. While there is no one right way to re-enter the professional world, there are some ways that will not work for your family. Spending some time planning means you have more time to focus on the present, and “REALLY witnessing how your baby’s soft, fine hair feels when you run your hand over it.” We all know you have to put your own oxygen mask on first, but it is easier said than done. This book encourages you to stop and smell the roses and to take care of yourself too – so you can continue to be a great mom at home and employee at the office. 

What makes Mihalich-Levin’s book the Bible for moms returning to work is how comprehensive it is. She incorporates advice from diverse perspectives, so you can learn from a variety of experts and experiences. Some of the most helpful Mihalich-Levin shares are words of wisdom from experts, ranging from nutrition advice to guidance on post-maternity office attire to reframing your mindset as a leader. I learned a great strategy to test out seven different breakfasts and see how they make you feel. You can find the right breakfast that will fuel you up and help you feel great.

I never would have thought to focus on trends when buying post-maternity workwear, but it makes sense that you should buy less expensive outfits for a changing body – and you might as well embrace the trends for clothes that will not hold up as long. It had not occurred to me that being a mom, and a working mom, gave me the opportunity to learn new skills, including leadership. It is important to think about how we apply that in the workplace upon our return, whether it is leading your time, leading yourself, or supporting other mothers as they go through transitions. 

This book also highlights the importance of community. The book shares sound advice on how to foster a working mother’s “posse” at the office. Mihalich-Levin provides concrete, do-able steps to build a group in your workplace, all without taking a lot of time out of your already packed days. This book stresses the importance of having a team – with your partner and family, your boss and colleagues, and your friends. Every new mom needs support, and building your community means there are people to ask when you need advice on a lactation consultant, a new quick weeknight recipe, or how to deal with a difficult co-worker. 

This book empowers parents to know the options and potential obstacles for returning to work and empowers parents with the confidence in the decisions they make. Mihalich-Levin convinces us that we are enough, and the end of maternity leaves is just the start of a new – and exciting – chapter.  

Book review written by Kathleen O. Berkey, Kathleen is an AICPShareholder and Certified Land Planner, Board Certified Attorney, City, County, and Local Government Lawyer. To view more of her work, please visit MothersEsquire.