I went to work already feeling defeated.
I woke up exhausted, my son peed on me while I was getting him ready for daycare, and I had no time to eat before I needed to leave for work. I ended up in tears before I made it out the front door.
My husband asked what he could do to help. Oh, how I wish I had the answer. Life as a working mom is hard. It always feels like there is never enough time in a day. The guilt that comes from having limited time with my baby becomes overwhelming sometimes. My son makes me so happy and I want to be able to spend as much quality time with him as humanly possible. It is a difficult predicament to feel as if I’m always behind the curve.
I believe our society is largely to blame for the mounting stress and guilt that comes with being a career mom. So much of our lives are consumed with work, and the few hours left in the day are desperate attempts to squeeze in play time, story time, bath time, and maybe some sleep (if we are lucky). These things wouldn’t be so bad if women were not expected to pop out their kid and go back to work 6, 8, or 12 weeks after the birth. Companies who are sensitive to the needs of parents and babies understand that paid maternity leave is not a luxury – it is the right thing to do. Many moms are forced to return to work earlier than planned due to their time at home with baby being unpaid.
In my experience, these things are unfortunate but there are ways to make the most of time with your precious little one. Here are a few ways I’ve learned to cope with the hectic craziness:
- Set aside play time after returning home from work. I felt better knowing the first half hour after I got home was dedicated to quality time with my son. I played with him, read him a story, and helped him play with his toys. Doing these things before dinner time make time with him a priority.
- Put away your phone. When I come home from work, I stay present in the moment with my son and don’t look at my phone. I know this is easier said than done, but it is so important to be mindful and present during the time spent with baby. Work and personal obligations are always there – but they can wait a little awhile.
- Understand that you will have difficult days – and it is okay. You will feel guilty for being away from your baby so many hours a day. You will cry in your car. You will cry in the bathroom. It is okay. Cut yourself some slack – this is a difficult time! The transition from maternity leave to working mom is one of the hardest transitions I have ever experienced, and letting myself feel those emotions (and not beating myself up for having them) at least made things better on some level.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help. This time of transition is like pushing a boulder uphill, and it is not something you should try to do alone. If you need to talk to someone, see a counselor and talk to your OB to find out if medical treatment is right for your situation. Understand that asking for help is a sign of strength. It ensures you are in a healthy state of mind to be the best mama you can be for your sweet baby.
Are there effective ways that you have been able to navigate through the transition of becoming a working mom? Please share in the comments below!