Getting back to work after a Baby? 5 things you must know
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?
Now let me confess- I am really NOT someone who loves watching
daily soaps. I know reading the tile you thought- what the heck, if it’s a
daily soap on TV it is bound to be stereotypical, full of nonsense and drama
and if you watch such stuff why complain, and if complain why watch? There was a
time when I was in college, all naive, and this was when internet was all about
going to the cyber cafe and getting all excited about entering the chat room
and typing asl (age ,sex ,location) and talking to strangers. At that time, the
only source of entertainment for young people like me was the idiot box so I won’t
lie- I used to watch the Ekta Kapoor soaps and probably even like that at that
point, that’s why I use the word Naive. As I grew up, met
diverse set of people, read and experienced new cultures, my thought process
changed. With a hectic job, I hardly found time for any TV watching. My Mom who
is also a working woman used to watch a few Marathi soaps. She always told me
Bhagwan you speak English with your daughter? What is happening these days?
People want to show off and are forgetting their roots”. I have heard this many times. Earlier my
reaction used to be - apologetic. I would keep quiet and try to ignore the comment
and find an escape route. But now if someone dares to talk to me about this
matter, I snap them off then and there. I am unapologetic I don't think I have
done anything wrong which I need to feel ashamed about. So yes I do speak in
English at home and this is my first language. No qualms about it. And
it's not because of an inter caste marriage in fact I have been speaking
English as a first language right since childhood. To give you some background
on how this came to be. My mother’s parents belonged to Mangalore ( it's a
coastal town in Karnataka) they migrated to Bombay in search of a livelihood
when they were young. They married, had kids and their kids were brought up by
a maid. As my mom and her brother lived…
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this one seal (or the lack of it). But for Aesha , her tumultuous mind couldn't
be tamed today. While she was at
the cusp of an important milestone in her career and getting the visa would
mean she inches one step closer to her dream professionally- somewhere she
shuddered to think of how it would impact her love life and the very foundation
of her marriage. It seemed like
yesterday- Aman and Aesha met at a sangeet and got talking. They hit it
instantly and never realized where time flew. They would always chuckle when
they got to know later that this had been set up by their parents. Aesha was a young, dynamic, super smart, intelligent woman who was
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