If you are a new mom returning to work, you may feel excited, anxious, guilty or underconfident.
It may help to know that you are not alone. According to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 57.1 percent of mothers with infants under 1 year old are employed. Most of those moms experienced the same feelings that you may be experiencing now.
The good news is that you can borrow a few helpful hints from working moms.
1. Engage in stress-free family time
When you get home at the end of the workday, leave that work stress behind and focus on your family. That is not easy when you have a home to maintain, laundry to clean, meals to make and a new baby. First, tackle dinner by creating a weeklong meal strategy. Partner with a friend each Sunday to prepare a week’s worth of meals to save in freezer boxes. Between the two of you, you can care for your children, clean laundry, package meals and maybe squeeze in time for a manicure. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your family to help during those first few months. With a supportive network and time-saving strategies, you can enjoy stress-free family time each night.
2. Make baby bonding time
Breastfeeding is a wonderful bonding experience, but it is not always easy for the working mom. You may find nursing time on the commute or before the drop-off. Some workplaces have an on-site day care, so you can nurse during breaks. A nursing cover is essential when you are nursing away from home. Keep breast pads handy for unexpected breast leaks. It is tough being away from the baby. Purchase a video monitor, so you can check on your baby from work. Set aside time after work to reconnect with your baby before you do anything else. Breastfeeding isn’t the only way to bond with your baby! Even a few minutes just snuggling will give you time to reconnect.
3. Be sure to have your own personal time
It is necessary to recharge daily to keep up with this new lifestyle. Eat breakfast every day, even if it is a piece of fruit. Try to avoid sugary junk foods. Opt for a nutrient-dense diet. Exercise, such as yoga or walking, can make a difference in your emotional and physical health. Take time for your friends and hobbies, even if it is only once a month.
4. Create a calendar
Create a cloud-based calendar that your spouse, family and the babysitter can access. With access to your calendar, the resources you have will be aware of your schedule and most importantly, you will have a backup plan for Baby’s care. Build time to create continuity of care, so you can share the latest news with your babysitter and vice versa. Find a “working mom mentor,” who can support you along the way and be sure to pay it forward by mentoring a new working mom in the future.
The first few months with your baby is a time that you want to treasure. If you are a working mom, this can also be a challenging time, requiring excellent planning, commitment and confidence. Take a lesson from working moms who are a few steps ahead of you in their journey. Like many other working moms before you, you can make time to bond with your baby, build family memories, take care of yourself and succeed at work.