You’re a new mom, you’ve had your six weeks of maternity leave, plus a few sick and vacation days and it’s time to go back to work. If financially you can be a stay at home mom, is it a requirement? Should you feel guilty for wanting to get back to work? What’s wrong with childcare? Sure, you’re going to be tired - and lots of women pump! The decision to return to work is not easily made. If a married, or single mom wants to work for a living why shouldn’t she. Single dads have full custody and many single men adopt. No one is making them feel guilty for wanting to pursue a career or work for a living. It’s time to drop the guilt trip and let new moms decide what works best for them.
There is excellent childcare and poor childcare. Finding what works best for you and your newborn is a process. Many moms prefer a relative or close friend watch their precious bundle of joy, while others feel hiring a professional nanny or caregiver is more secure. Money, community, lifestyle, finances and family all play a role in making this decision. Regardless of which direction you go in, there are the haters. Co-workers, neighbors, family members and friends who chime in with their “unwanted” opinions; they have experience and you are a new mother. We suggest you listen, respect, provide expected feedback, then do what works best for you and your family.
Choosing a childcare facility requires making on-site visits. Scanning the internet for comments or trusting suggestions from friends usually causes more hesitation and questioning than decision making. If your newborn was premature, has a diagnosed health condition, or you and your family have major medical concerns, we suggest you let us help. Professional care might be temporary or intermediate, however having a trained licensed medical professional is a benefit to baby and mom. Newborns have specific needs which our caregivers can provide. We are also there for moms who want to return to work early. Not everyone receives maternity leave. Many employee benefit packages fail to include paid time off. Returning to work prior to a six-week check-up is common for many temporary and part-time workers.
Your return date is fast approaching. The interviews are over and you have secured newborn care. This is a life changing event so go easy on yourself. Make a list of everything you need – including extra pumping parts to take with you. Provide the caregiver with baby’s feeding schedule, nap time and sleep patterns. Tell them when to call and what you consider an emergency; and make it clear that you will be checking in throughout the day. A comfort level with the person or agency caring for baby must extend to others in the household. They might not all agree with you returning to work, however they should all trust and respect the chosen care provider.
On your first day back be prepared for “how are you”, “you’re back so soon,” and guilt trips from those who fault you for returning. Remember you’re an independent woman on a mission and you are doing what works best for you and your family. When separation anxiety sets in, remind yourself that, “The American Academy of Pediatrics reports a child who is emotionally well adjusted, well loved, and well cared for will thrive regardless of whether his mother works outside the home.” Also know, you are not being replaced. Believe it or not, even infants recognize their mother’s touch.
Listen to the little voice inside your head. A mother’s intuition is an invaluable tool. If you’re feeling uncomfortable return home. One more kiss goodbye could make all the difference. Accept that your world has changed. Returning to the adult world even after a short absence can be challenging. Anxiety, stress and the effects of post-partum depression can set in at any time. If you have returned to soon, admit it. Your employer might be upset, however happy working moms have happy babies. Motherhood is a constant balancing act. Doing what’s best for baby often means doing what’s best for mom.