For many women, the first year after their baby is born can be a confusing, isolating, and exhausting time. I have two boys under the age of three and each of their births and my subsequent return to work was different.
With the first, I stayed home for almost a year, and I really struggled with depression. I put my second child in daycare by 6 weeks of age and enjoyed a part-time to full-time transition back into my rewarding career. Whether you choose to return to the workforce because your family needs the money, you want the sanity, or you simply love your job, it is important to realize that it is not only possible, but it can also be fulfilling and downright rewarding.
Set Your Expectations
It is helpful to figure out your priorities early on. Are you going to continue to try to climb the corporate ladder? Or are you going to take weekends off and not bring work home in the evenings? Are you going to continue traveling for business trips? Or are you going to pass on that promotion and stay closer to home for a while?
Find Great Child Care
The trick to being able to focus on work while you’re at work is to not worry about your baby during the day. I also decided to choose child care close to my work so I can visit on my lunch break to nurse and play.
Manage Your Time
My husband and I now have shared iPhone calendars. He resisted it for the longest time, but it helps us stay coordinated even when we’re busy. And, it will hopefully help us avoid the dreaded “I thought you were picking them up from daycare” moment.
In the end, there is no secret to balancing work and a new baby. In fact, what works in one family may be completely different than what works for you. If your expectations about what you can accomplish at home and at the office are realistic, you won’t have to compromise your role as a professional or professional mama.