The most joyous moment which you were waiting for has finally arrived. Your tiny bundle of joy is in your arms. As you hold her for the very first time, as you cuddle and feed her, time seems to stand still . Oh but that’s only for a fleeting second. Once you are out of the hospital , the rest of the days are a blurry, sleep-deprived, and energy draining days when you are either feeding the baby or trying to calm her down; bathing her or changing her diaper. You are constantly attending to some need of hers. All this time you are completely besotted by the little munchkin.
Time flies by and it’s time to get back to work. It’s not easy, having spent so many months in a totally different set up with your little one. The thought of being away for at least 10 hours a day is heart wrenching. And if you would be leaving the little one at a day care or with a maid, the fear of her safety and well-being will always be lurking in your mind.
A few tips to wade through this phase and make the transition easier (some of it based on my personal experience, which is still fresh, and some of it is based on those of moms I know) . Hope they make yours a smooth move!
1)Feeding should be taken care of, if you are not going to be present 24 X 7 with the baby. If you plan to go with exclusive breast feeding ,then it’s time to get used to pumping and get the baby used to having it from the bottle well in advance . If you intend to supplement with formula, do give the baby enough time to get used to it. Many of us also start giving semi-solids to the baby at around 3.5 to 4 months, make sure you give the baby enough time to get adjusted to it. In my case, as my little one had started on semi-solids and seemed to develop the taste for it, it was not a hassle at all
2)Day care or help Who will take mummy’s place in the day? Of course no one can take your place but some one is required to care for your baby. If it’s a day care, choose carefully and let the child get used to this new environment at least for a few days before you join work. If it’s a maid or any other family member like your mom or mother-in-law whom the baby is not very used to, again get the child accustomed to spending time with them, in fact in the same way she would when you are away at work,
3) Ease into work On the work front, take it easy at least till you settle down. It’s great to be an all-rounder and you would be all charged up to prove your mettle and show that just because you are a mommy , you have not lost your professional goals or efficiency. But the urge to do it all will take a toll, trust me. Don’t hesitate to say NO if you think some work or a meeting will keep you at work longer and you want to get back home to be with your little one. It’ s perfectly okay to set a time limit beyond which you will not sit in office. Make the most of your day, plan well and prioritise and above all communicate clearly and in a timely manner . Set the right expectations. You will be surprised to see that people are in fact in awe of you and they don’t think you are lacking in any way, as you feared they might think.
4)Consider flexible working schedules You can also consider flexible work schedules like working from home for a couple of days in a week or for few hours a day, whatever works with you. As long as you have good infrastructure and good connectivity it should not be an issue at all. Most organisations are very supportive of working moms and they realise the value that this diverse group beings to the workplace.
5)Ban the guilt Stop the mommy guilt from bogging you down. Just because you are not with your little one every minute, or if you miss those first steps or the first walk, it’s not the end. There are countless other memories which you will create and they will be as special and wonderful. Your child may love her grandma much more than he loves you? But you are her mom and she should love you the most right? Well it’s always a special bond between a mother and child and that unique relation is just between the two of you.
I was plagued by this guilt and jealousy for quite sometime as my daughter seems to loves my mom more but I realised I would rather have her being taken care of with all the motherly love and affection and I am okay if she loves someone more, rather than hand her over to someone or some place where she’s miserable the whole day and looks forward to mommy getting back from work. Of course she would love me more then but I would rather have a happy child than one who is miserable. Things change as they grow up and I am hopeful I can tell her someday why mommy goes to office and she will truly understand it. Till then, well we are mommy and baby and this bond is special and it’s only between “us”.
It’s definitely not a cake walk. Life has changed by leaps and bounds. Making the most of your professional life and giving quality time to your baby, balancing the both is like walking on a tightrope. Hang in there! Things will settle down, it’s just a matter of time.
What has been your experience getting back to work? Do feel free to share your list of tips. Let’s lend that helping hand to our comrades out there. We have now graduated to being working moms from working women. It’s quite a big promotion, isn’t it?