I love, love, love linking up to Julia's Working Mommy Wednesday prompts. Sadly, the reality of being a working mommy is sometimes that the blogging takes a back seat, and boy has work made me re-rpioritize my needs lately!
But I'm here now, and ready to give advice to any mom out there about to return to the workforce.
My own experience has been great: the number one catalyst to that is the childcare experience. I know some people out there think that daycare is the devil and that no one could ever care for you child as well as you. Sometimes, I think that's just not true. My son has had about 5 different primary teachers, and several assistants and other teachers come into contact with him in the last year and a half, and I am so thankful for every single one. We have loved them all for different reasons, but you cannot argue with a child who chants his teachers' names when we pull into the parking lot, or runs in to see his friends. He is HAPPY there, and that is the number one most important aspect of finding childcare that mom will feel comfortable with.
Of course, as happy as he is, nothing beats the feeling I get when I walk in the door to pick him up and that slow grin just spreads across his face because no one will ever replace mommy.
In the early days, I must say that I was very thankful that my little guy's daycare was so close to my work. Being able to go and nurse him during my lunch break just made the transition to being away from mommy for 9 hours a day much easier. Even if you are not breastfeeding, that little break in the day to cuddle your infant can really rev you up for the rest of your work day. Nowadays, there's no way I could drop by in the middle of the day and leave him there, or I would cause an epic meltdown.
As far as mom's health goes, reach out to your boss before returning to work and discuss the expectations. I know that you may work in a job where you need to "catch up" as soon as you get back, but don't let than mean working long hours. You need to be a mommy first, and no matter how hard it is, work has to come second. Make sure you discuss how things will be if baby gets sick: who will stay home, how much sick/vacation time do you have available for that, how does your boss/company/state laws feel about pump breaks? I know the logistics are hard to think about when you're home with your baby with nothing to do but take care of them, but I highly recommend a conversation about these things before returning to your job. Once you arrive, it will stress you out even more to have expectations sprung on you.
Other than that, know that your emotions are valid, that every mom goes through the guilty feelings, and that your child can and will thrive even without you there 24/7. In fact, although I can admit it doesn't work for every family/child, I think my child is more advanced in every area and is rewarded by the social interaction more than he is held back by not being with his mom as much.
I am so proud of him, and I cherish every weekend and evening even more because our time together is so valuable.