As a working mum, you can’t be with your baby 24/7, but you don’t have to wrestle with constant guilt, DR RICHARD C. WOOLFSON says.
You’re back at work after maternity leave, but your heart is with your baby.
Yet, you know that quitting your job is not an option because you have an apartment to pay for.
Rather than feeling guilty that you can’t be with your little one 24/7, stay focused, get your work done and out of the office earlier. Meanwhile, here are five things to tell yourself:
“My baby is well-looked after while I’m at work.”
When choosing infant-care centre for your young child, check out all possibilities very carefully. Ask about the activities provided for infants that age, and also about record-keeping and parent reports.
Although you’ll still miss your baby very much during working hours, you’ll feel reassured that she benefits from high-quality care during your absence.
If your baby is cared for by a maid, the same applies – make sure you are happy with the standard of care provided.
“I spend as much time as I can with her when I get home.”
Instead of focusing on the time you and Baby are apart, concentrate on making the most of the time you have together.
Naturally, you’ll be exhausted at the end of a long day. But make a deliberate plan to spend time playing, talking, feeding and changing her.
Remember that what matters is not the amount of time you spend with your baby, but the quality.
“My baby and I understand each other.”
The emotional bond that you have with your little one is the main influence on her psychological development. As a working mum, you are just as able as any non-working mother to foster that bond, as long as you tune into her feelings, moods and activities.
Get to know her emotions by cuddling her, paying close attention to her facial expressions, cries, body language and respond appropriately, so that she knows you understand her. The more loved she feels, the more she thrives psychologically.
“We have family activities during weekends and holidays.”
Yes, it would be wonderful to have that long lie in bed during weekends and holidays. After all, you deserve a rest after the long working week.
But time is a precious commodity for you and your baby. That’s why you need to ensure you all go out together as a family, whether it’s a shopping trip to the mall or a stroll in her buggy in the park.
These joint activities, with you, your husband and your child, strengthen family relationships and help your little one feel loved, safe and secure. That compensates for the time you spend away from her.
“I keep a close watch on her progress.”
Everyone is different, and what suits one baby might not suit another. You need to watch her progress very carefully. Check that she receives suitable stimulation and encouragement, and observe how she responds to them; don’t take anything for granted.
If you see a gap – for example, if you think she doesn’t hear enough songs or nursery rhymes – tell her caregiver to amend her daily schedule.
Of course, you’ll still miss her when you are at work, but you can relax knowing she is developing well.
What matters is not the amount of time you spend with your baby, but the quality.