I plead not guilty!
Leaving your little one to get back to work is one of the toughest decisions to take for any mother. I personally suffered a lot because of it and my baby’s extra cuteness wasn’t helping it either (your baby is always cuter than others, that’s a fact!).
I was very sure from the beginning that I had to get back to work, but the thought of leaving my baby under someone else’s care was something that I was trying to deal with. Senior citizens of the family weren’t helping either with their typecast opinions of a working mother. So, I tried it all- moving close to my office, having a full time nanny, having a family member home, and finally KLAY, the only solution that worked.
Here is a concoction of tips churned out of my own experience that might help purge that guilt out of your system:
1. Find a caretaker, one that’s right for your child – For a long time I was confused between having a full time Nanny, live in nanny or admitting my little one to a crèche. If you do not have immediate family support, make sure you start early and find the right support system for you when you need to be away from your child. Try a nanny, visit all the good playschools in the neighborhood, talk to other working mother’s in your community. I tried having a nanny, but could not find the right one for my baby. I tried moving closer to my office so I could use my office crèche (work places having more than 50 women employees are legally bound to provide a day care facility) but that didn’t work (lawyers and people with dogs aren’t the most favoured tenants and we are both). Then I checked all the childcare centres near my husband’s office, and voila! I found KLAY, JP Nagar. I started all this 2 months before I resumed work. That gave me ample time to try most options. Each child is unique and you have to try out everything to know what works the best for your child.
For me KLAY has been a bliss so far. I was rest assured that my child is safe with them, that his caretakers are well trained, well informed, and well monitored, that he is exposed to a lot more than he would have had I kept him at home. Since I have the confidence that this is in his best interests, I feel no guilt at all when I leave him at KLAY. The point is if you are confident that you have made the right choice, there will be no guilt.
2. Flexible work timings – Speak to your employer and get flexible work timings, which most of the organizations provide for new mothers. This definitely helps when it comes to spending more time with your little one.
3. Nursing- It’s a proven fact that breast feeding aids bonding with the mother and her baby. If possible, do continue to breast feed when you are with the baby. This is that time you have exclusively with your little one, it’s good for your baby and of course you.
4. Spend quality time with the baby – It’s just not about spending time with the baby, make sure you spend some quality time too. Play with your little one, read a book to her, sing a lullaby, go for walks, bathe the baby, cook and feed the baby, there are a whole host of things that you can do to spend time with them. Click some good pictures with the baby, try and capture each milestone which you and your child will relish for life time.
5. Get involved – when you are with your little one, be completely involved. I am sure, it’s nearly impossible not to be involved, the baby will make sure she has all the attention ☺ Learn to keep your work, family, and other stress away when you are with your baby. Just go into a switch off mode and be with your child. Indulge in the joy of motherhood, for you are one of the lucky ones to be blessed with it. Not everyone is as lucky.
6. Keep the gadgets away – Your indulgence with smartphones, telly, and other modern day devices aren’t doing any good for you or your baby. Keep them away when you are with your little one. Your nipper is your handheld. Indulge in her/him. Set your priorities right, you got your time at work, your home time is your baby’s. Real guilt is not being mentally there when your toddler next to you picks up a new trick or has a new expression to show you.
7. Know what you are doing – do ample amount of research, speak to the right people, experienced professionals for baby care and development. Knowing that you are doing the right thing will give you a lot of confidence about being a good mother.
8. Ask for help- please remember that your little one is not just your responsibility. Never hesitate to ask for help when you need. Make sure your spouse and the rest of the family also spends a good amount of time with the baby. This is also crucial for your child’s development.
9. Speak to your baby- do get into the habit of speaking to your baby. It’s best you treat them like your pals and have a conversation, trust me it helps you unwind. When you step out, just say that ‘I have to go to work, I will be back at the earliest and the evening is going to be fun’. This helps a lot ☺
10. Talk to your family nay sayers- Elders and others in the family may give you grief for leaving your child behind while you go to work. They might advise you to quit your job out of sheer concern and love (the older you are, more vulnerable you get towards a little one’s puppy face). So let’s not blame them but we should help them understand. Talk to them and convince them that what you are doing is right and wise. Tell them how it is important for you to have a career (each of us have our reasons) and how the choice you have made is in the best interests of the little one as well. The less grief they give you, the less guilty you feel. You need your family’s support and that comes from them having faith in the calls you have made.
Guilt is just a negative emotion, but it can be overcome. The above pointers are just a few things that have worked for me and made me feel better. Every mother like every child is unique and special in their own way, just do what you think is the best for you and your child. I think mother is the greatest gift that life has given each one of us. Enjoy motherhood. Happy Mother’s day!