Tackle Moms Guilt – Here Are 5 Ways To Deal With Your Return To Work After Maternity Leave

From the second they come out of your womb and take their first deep breath, they depend on you for all of their needs.

You bathe them with gentle care, carefully give them a diaper, learn to breastfeed them, understand their needs and what each cry means. Your baby is your miracle and during the first few months of maternity leave that you spend befriending him, he becomes your world.

But the reality is, it’s a man’s world and, even though more and more countries have made paternity leave a statutory right, mothers still bear the majority of the household burden, which includes childcare. and being there for a newborn 100% of the time from the time they are born.

Then there is the other very real concern of having the impression of missing crucial developments at work – new hires, promotions and restructurings – or of being in a hurry to return to duty by hints or slights from colleagues in the process. as a working mother.

“I think that as a society we value productivity over family life,” Blanca Eschbach told Reuters. “You almost feel in a rush to get back to work.”

The new mother lives in the state of South Texas in the United States, one of the few countries in the world where new mothers are not entitled to unpaid maternity leave. In fact, according to a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the country is one of the worst performing countries among developed countries, including those in the EU, when it comes to parental leave.

Read more | This mom went from struggling to breastfeed to becoming a milk donor – here’s how you can donate too

In South Africa, new mothers are entitled to four months of paid maternity leave and employers who change the terms of your employment during this period can be taken to the CCMA.

You might be the kind of mom who can’t wait to put back your work clothes, latte in one hand, laptop bag in the other as you walk back to the office after four months of maternity leave. You’ve been wearing oversized t-shirts and yoga pants for so long that you feel guilty that you’ve been on a paid “vacation” while your coworkers have fled.

Then there’s the guilt of feeling like your little one is too young for you to leave at home – he’s been so dependent on you for all of his needs since birth. Returning to work is like leaving them to fend for themselves. This is the classic guilt of moms.

“We are genetically programmed to feel mum’s guilt, and that’s because since the beginning of human life, it’s mainly the mother’s role to take care of a baby,” the famous doctor said. Zoe Williams, who recently gave birth.

As with many unsettling emotions that make us feel bad, acceptance is the first step in dealing with mother’s guilt, according to Dr Williams.

“What I discovered is that the mother’s guilt is real and you feel it no matter what you do as a working mother. My first piece of advice would be acceptance, ”she told Hello! Magazine.

For moms who are also experiencing an unhealthy dose of guilt, here are four more tips to help you cope.

Encourage a positive bond between your baby and your caregiver

Ideally, if you had the financial means, you would have hired someone while you were still on leave to ease the transition to work. It also allows you to see how they interact with this baby and how comfortable the little one feels around the nanny.

Have the sitter start a few weeks before resuming work. Spend time with your child and the nanny early on so that you can explain some of your child’s habits and behaviors to the babysitter and help her interpret some of their cues.

This is of the utmost importance for babies or toddlers who cannot yet express themselves in words, but is also beneficial for caregivers of older children, as understanding your child better will allow the caretaker to respond more appropriately to his needs.

Encourage your caregiver to stick to a basic routine. This creates a quieter home environment, helps everyone involved know what to expect, and makes it easier for parents and caregivers to hand over the reins at the end of the day. Keep in mind that small children usually find change very difficult, and they can experience tears in their eyes during times of transition between parents and caregivers.

Show confidence. Say goodbye confidently when you leave to let your child know they are safe with their caregiver.

Try to mention the nanny’s name in conversations when you are home alone with your child – talk about it often. Showing interest in your child’s interactions with the babysitter will encourage a strong bond between them.

Negotiate with your employer

With many employees working from home (WFH) or with a hybrid contract that allows them to work half a day or fewer days a week, you may find that your employer is open to you making a phased transition to office.

Relaxing by working part-time first “allows you to learn to do the work you previously did differently,” Denise Rousseau, professor of organizational behavior and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, told Harvard Business Review. .

“You learn to prioritize and focus on the things that move the needle,” she says when you return to part-time early on. But there is a downside to this, she adds. It can make your team feel like you’re only giving 50%.

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Continue breastfeeding

It’s always a struggle for new moms to find a dedicated work space where they can express breast milk – and the toilet is a less than ideal place to do so. If you work in a cubicle or share an office with someone, talk to your boss about the possibility of having your own office or arranging some unused space for mothers to express their milk.

The Mayo Clinic suggests changing “your breastfeeding schedule at home so that you pull at least once a day and breastfeed before and after your next shift” two weeks before you return to work.

“Have someone else give your baby a bottle of breast milk to help him adjust. If you have a daycare on-site or nearby, consider the logistics of breastfeeding your baby during the working day.

Remember that achieving your professional ambitions is as much about your child as you are

“Your baby will be proud of you someday,” columnist Michelle Ruiz said in Vogue. “And he or she may even be better because of your career.”

If you have to remember that fact, she adds, print out and “frame the Harvard Business School study which found that the daughters of women who work outside the home grow up to earn more and be bosses, while the sons grow up to be more involved in household chores and childcare ”.

Sources: Reuters, Vogue, Mayo Clinic, Harvard Business Review, Hello!

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