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working mom with baby
[Image description: Mom sitting at a table, looking at a laptop. She has a baby on her lap and the baby is playing with some papers.]

Are you wondering what it would be like to return to work after the birth of your baby?

Worrying about the unknown and whether your baby will be ok?

Honestly?

It will be tougher than you expect it will be.

I was lucky enough to have 6 months of maternity leave after the birth of my son. And one of the silver linings of the pandemic was that I could work from home.

“This will be easy!” I naively thought to myself.

Looking back, I honestly don’t know what I was thinking.

But, it would have helped to be more prepared. So I’m going to be brutally honest with you because I wish someone had prepared me.

Babies need attention.

Babies need constant attention. And that mostly falls on your shoulders as the mom.

Especially if you’re breastfeeding.

If you work remotely from home, breastfeeding will interfere with your work schedule.

And if you’re thinking you can breastfeed while on a virtual meeting, sorry to break it to you.

Baby’s quickly learn when your attention is elsewhere. And they are curious. So they will press buttons on the keyboard. They will grab your headphone cords. And they will do as much as possible to distract you.

If you have to work in an office, you will have to leave your precious bundle with someone else.

And that will break your heart.

As difficult as it is working at home with a baby to look after, I couldn’t bear the thought of being away from him so much.

And if you’re breastfeeding? Expect the conditions at work for pumping to be bad.

I know some companies offer more in the way of support for breastfeeding mothers.

But I listen to other mommies. And I read about their struggles on Facebook groups. Most moms give up breastfeeding because they just couldn’t deal.

It’s a lot of work to pump breastmilk. It’s a lot of effort to take all the breast pump parts to work and then sterilise it all many times a day. And then you have to somehow keep your hard-earned liquid gold cold.

And if you don’t have the necessary privacy, comfort and facilities, it is probably not going to work.

And on top of everything else, you have a house to keep clean and dinner to cook. Laundry to do. The list is endless.

But I can offer some hope. Let’s discuss what you can do to make the transition easier.

#1: Ask for and accept help

Your partner will let you do all the work if you don’t ask for help.

And if you can afford a nanny, get one.

Any friend or relative you can ask for help? Swallow your pride and do it.

And if someone actually offers help, take them up on it. Whether it’s cleaning, bringing food over or baby-sitting. Just… accept the help, ok?

I decided pretty early on that I needed a nanny. Like, a full-time nanny. My baby just needed me too much and I couldn’t focus on work.

I’m not gonna lie, I did consider quitting. But firstly, that would place a huge financial strain on us and secondly, I like my work. It makes me a better person and mom.

#2: Set boundaries early on

Make sure people know what your core working hours are. And that you will not be available outside of those hours. (it is job dependent, I know. But try?)

Then, follow through. Turn off notifications when you’re not at work. Turn off the applicable apps and emails and everything else.

Work is work — even if you’re working from home — but your home time should be reserved for your family and your new baby.

And if you’re trying to do it all, you will end up neglecting either your work or your family and baby.

I tried for two months to still do work after hours etc … it quickly led to burnout. I do not recommend it.

#3: Remind yourself of your priorities

As much as you love your work, they will have a job advert out for your position within two days of you leaving.

But your baby will need you forever. Even after they are grown up, they will need you. And want to be with you. They are your family.

Keep your priorities in mind, it will make things like setting boundaries easier.

Remember mom guilt is a real thing.

Society expects an unrealistic amount of things from us. Then when we inevitably stumble, we feel like a failure.

I struggled so much to live up to everyone’s expectations. But it forced me into survival mode.

I had to learn to defend myself against those expectations. And say F that to things that don’t matter (or matter less than the well-being of my family).

You cannot be expected to be everything to everyone.

Something will have to give, and that will likely be the amount of time you spend at work.

But it will get better.

Your baby will grow older and become more independent. Then it will be much easier to focus on your work and career.

It is unfair that moms take most of the burden of caring for their babies. But God designed us to be nurturers and caretakers.

The more I fought against the unfairness the unhappier I was.

The moment I accepted the situation the less stressed I felt.

I’m a much more relaxed and happy person now. And that makes me a much better mom.

Good luck mama, you got this.




If you liked reading this, you may also enjoy the other resources I have here: Newborn baby (0-6 months)

Click here for a handy list of newborn closing sizes from favourite SA shops.


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