This question came in my mailbox, so let’s take a look…
Q: I am a new mom on maternity leave from my job. I have a beautiful baby boy who is now 6 weeks old and in just a couple of weeks, I will have to go back to work. I’m feeling worried, guilty, and stressed about it. Any thoughts?
–Feeling torn and confused in Overland Park, KS
A: T-and-C, let me first say Congratulations! and Welcome to the club! Thanks for your question, as it is a common concern for the many, many working mothers out there who feel guilty, sad, and unsure about having their babies in childcare.
So, let me break it down for you and give you the 5 most important things to know to relieve your stress:
- Let go of the guilt. The latest research suggests that children do not suffer emotionally when their mothers return to work during their first year of life and most babies maintain their bond with their mothers after she returns to work.
- Reconnect and stay connected. When you’re home from work, make sure to spend the bulk of your time with your baby. This will help to ensure that the bonds you’ve built while on maternity leave remain as strong when you’re back to work.
- Be a sensitive mother. Your mothering style, how sensitive you are to your baby’s needs during your time together, will have a huge influence on your child’s attachment. Be responsive to your baby, be warm, and be consistent. Also, be warned, insensitive mothers tend to have less securely attached infants, whether or not they work.
- Know that family dominates over daycare. Family plays a much greater role than the child-care provider in determining how young children turn out. So, you’re still in the lead role of importance and influence.
- Choose wisely. The quality of the child-care facility or person is quite important to your child’s development. When deciding on a childcare provider know that there are many options–nanny in your home, in-home daycare providers, and center-based childcare facilities. While all have advantages and disadvantages, there are a few things that are a must in getting high-quality care. Look for smaller groups of children with higher numbers of caregivers per child and make sure that the caregivers are responsive and positive—if not, run!
I hope that helps you feel good about your decision and puts you on the path of embracing the wonderful experience of being a Working Mom! I wish you and your baby the best!
Hugs to you and your baby,
In the space below, I’d love to hear from YOU. Please leave a comment, a bit of advice, or share an experience you’ve had when it came time to return to work and use childcare.