If you've spent the past year singing ""Wheels on the Bus"" in a seemingly continuous loop, then going back to work is a difficult reality to face.
Separation and nerves
Whether you go back because of financial necessity or because you don't want to feel isolated, you've invested a lot in your career and you refuse to throw years of education and experience out the window, but you may feel nervous when you first separate from your child.
As the "big day" fast approaches, fear may set in. You're not alone. When re-entering the workforce, 42.9 percent of Canadian women find the experience "somewhat stressful," whereas 19.4 percent say it's "very stressful."
Most women feel that separation anxiety will be their biggest hurdle when they return to work. As one first-time mom who re-entered the workforce after 18 months of maternity leave reveals, "I didn't have the pressure to go back to work. I chose to. So sometimes I feel like I've chosen work over my son."
Overcoming the anxiety
"I've seen how happy he is at day care. When I drop him off in the morning he runs into the caregiver's arms," says one new mom who has a high-stress job at a consulting firm. If you know that your child is well taken care of and is happy, your concern will ease.
Loving your career also helps fight feelings of blame and anxiety. Your child will always be at the back of your mind, but if you enjoy your job and your days are busy and interesting, you won't have time to worry.
Connecting with other mothers
It's very important that you connect with other women who are or who have lived what you're going through. Reaching out will answer many questions you may have. Talking to these women gives you an outlet where you can discuss your feelings of worry, fear or stress. The outcome is a crucial support system.
Who takes care of baby now?
When choosing between a nanny and day care you have to determine what is right for you and your child.
A nanny provides more flexibility and offers a child one-on-one attention. Day care is more structured, and your child is surrounded with children throughout the day, giving them the opportunity to acquire socialization skills early on.
Whichever route you decide, there are two things to consider:
One, do your homework. Make sure that the day care you choose is reputable. Visit the premise. Meet with the people that run it and that will be your child's caregivers. As for a nanny, interview several that come highly recommended. Be certain that you're hiring a trustworthy person. After all, they are taking care of your most precious gift.
Two, make the transition of leaving your baby in someone else's care painless. Introduce your baby to day care through a slow separation. And at the beginning, half days may be more advisable rather than full ones. Employ a nanny early too. You and baby need enough time to get to know her and to show her the ropes.
Keeping an eye on baby
An essential tool to have on you at all times is your cell phone. It'll reassure you to know that you're always reachable. As per one working mom, "When I'm at work, my cell phone is always on. No matter how important the meeting, I answer it when day care calls. No exceptions."
How about checking in on your baby during lunch? If you can manage it, it's a fantastic way to see what he's up to and to spend some time with him in the middle of the day.
If you employ a nanny, make sure you give her a schedule for your baby that she can follow. And why not have her take your child to different tot programs? This will expose your little one to other kids and to learning, which can only be helpful to his intellectual growth.
Just because you're a mom that works doesn't mean that you can't stay involved in your baby's life during the day. And if you do so, you'll soon realize that you may be a working mom and a good one at that.