Returning to work after maternity leave can be a painful experience. Often you'd rather be at home with your baby than in an office. However, the realities of life can mean that being a full-time mom isn't an option. You may have to go back for financial reasons, or because your future career would be affected. Here are some ideas for helping you cope with returning to work after maternity leave …
1. Choose Their Carer Carefully
One thing that can ease your mind after returning to work after maternity leave is knowing that your baby is in good hands. Obviously no parent would choose poor quality care. Making sure, though, that you are absolutely happy with their caregiver will help you feel happier.
The disadvantage of caring for a child at home is that they may be less sociable. Babies and toddlers who are cared for in a nursery or by a childminder are often more comfortable with other people. So if you have to go back to work, comfort yourself with the knowledge that there are advantages.
3. Resist Checking in
In the early days of leaving your baby with a caregiver, it's tempting to call every chance you get to see how they are. Don't spend your working day worrying about them though. It will make you unproductive. Let their carer get on with looking after them - they can easily contact you if there's a problem.
4. Don't Bore Your Coworkers
Of course you think your baby is the most wonderful thing in the world. He is - to you. But being a parent isn't a spectator sport. You might be dying to share every detail of his development, but resist boring people with countless photos and stories. Share if people ask.
5. Be Practical
If economic considerations have forced you back to work when you would rather be with your baby, don't be hard on yourself. It's outside your control, and a lot of mothers have to work. Try to focus on your work when in the office, and enjoy every minute with your child when at home.
6. Career Matters
The early years are precious, that's for sure. However, it is important to consider your career prospects. Your child will not be a small child forever. What will you do afterwards? Your future matters too. Long breaks can mean that your career never recovers. It's not selfish to think of your career - after all, your child will need supporting for many years.
7. Flexible Working
Flexible working is a good compromise for many women (and men). Consider if working part-time hours will suit you - it allows you to maintain an income while still spending time with your child. You may be able to work half days, or three or four full days. Check with your employer.
8. Your Baby Will Be Fine
Finally, don't allow yourself to feel guilty that you're not a full-time mother. Nor should you let anyone else make you feel bad, whether you've chosen to return to work or have to for financial reasons. Your baby will cope just fine. Some even love nursery so much that they cry when they have to go home!
Even in the 21st century, mothers can be criticised for working or not working. Never mind what anyone else thinks. Do what is right for you and your family. Going back to work can take some adjustment, even if you're happy with your choice. Give both you and your baby time to adjust. If you're a working mom, how did you find the return to work after your maternity leave?