Since my daughter was born, I was like Mother Kangaroo, I always ensured either she was on my tummy or around me. Also for the reason that she was pre-term and low weight, it was a way for her to feel safe and secure so that she could row well. I would leave her only for bio-breaks! Also I am a control freak new mom, since I got this baby after lot of hardships (read miscarriage) I only wanted to keep her safe. Honestly I only trusted my mom with Pihu and no one else. Fast forward 5 months, I had to join office in a month’s time and hence I was very anxious that how will she manage without me for straight 8-9 hours.
I was not worried so much about who will manage her, since that responsibility was with my mumma, I only had that unexplained, unreasonable separation anxiety building up in me. So, I delayed my joining by 20 days, since I was weaning off my daughter I thought it is good to extend my leaves so that I give that space to her, and also I wanted her to get in to the routine and understand it well.
Just about a week before my joining, I did the following things, and thankfully it has helped me a lot. Atleast, I had the first stress free week at work:
My daughter is an early riser, so she is up anywhere between 5-5:30am, since she is potty trained, so as soon as she used to wake up I would make her do potty.
It was followed by playtime with daddy, since I would be busy with early morning chores, I wanted her to understand that this was daddy & baby time together, with no intervention from mumma. That is a flip side that she has learnt lots of “not so good stuff” from daddy like “how to burp loudly”, “how to help daddy brush his teeth” or “how to say.. Aieeee” , like really who teaches that to babies, but my husband did!
During this hour, I would instruct the cook for breakfast and lunch, clean Pihu’s stuff- bottles, rattles, sipper, nibblers etc and most importantly make “Chai” – just the way I want it!
Post chai, there would a quick handover of baby from daddy to mumma. I would then massage her, and feed her. And then Pihu also preferred to have little bites of breakfast from daddy’s plate.
After all this hustle bustle in the morning, I would go and handover her to my mumma, sharp at 7:30am every morning without fail. Because I leave for office at 7:30am, I wanted her to understand this very well that mumma leaves me here early.
I would come back to my home, and stayed there till noon time, used to join Pihu and mumma for lunch and then used to pick her up by evening. I did all that I wanted to do during my free time for that one week, and thankfully she adjusted well to this routine.
Fast forward to present day, it was my first day at work after almost 6.5 months and without seeing Pihu. I made the first call to home at 9am and she was sleeping and got a piece of mind from my Mumma! She was taking care of her in the best possible manner but my heart was with her.
When I reached home, I was welcomed with open arms from Pihu and she refused to leave me till the time she slept which was about 9:30pm. Yes, she made my guilt very strong!
Day 2: I didn’t call mumma, instead she called and updated me about Pihu at around noon, saying she is fine, she ate well, and she is sleeping now. I was relieved, and since I was very busy at work I really did not realize that the day ended so fast. When I reached home, Pihu saw me gave me a smile and was back to playing with her drum, I was happy that she has understood that mumma will not be there during day time. She played with me like any other usual day, did not demand any extra attention.
Day 3 & 4 also went without any major bout of throwing tantrums, Infact when I go to drop her at mumma’s place, she starts smiling and is very happy to my mumma and papa, and immediately grabs her favorite toy – drum and plays with it. Thankfully, she doesn’t throw tantrums around eating with my mumma as much she does with me. ;
So, this is the whole story, but I want all of you mothers to know certain important things before you join work after your maternity break:
1. Plan your caregiving back-up earlier than later. The sooner you figure out, and get your child into the routine the better it is.
2. If you are planning to leave your baby at daycare then try and see if you can see the baby through CCTV whenever you want throughout the day and if the baby is with family member, then do not pester them throughout the day for updates!; If you are planning to leave the baby with maid for the entire day, I suggest you get CCTV installed at home because safety comes first!
3. Make them understand the eating pattern of your baby, though my baby stays with her Nani, I still direct her what all should be fed to Pihu during the day, it is important! Plan your baby’s meals at least a day before.
4. Look at your work arrangement, see if you can either do Work-from-home for some days, or you can opt for reduced working hours (with pay cut), or flexible work timings. In my case I opted for flexible work timings, so I am in office from 8am to 4pm every day!
5. If you are still breastfeeding the baby, define a pumping schedule for yourself. I was an exclusively pumping mom. If you pump, you can store the milk in fridge and ask the caregiver to feed the baby that milk. You can also pump the milk at work, carry that back home in an icebox and refrigerate it, please remember you should not break the chain of refrigeration. You can store bm at room temp for 4 hours ( room temp should be around 25-26 degrees)
6. Seek support from family, and most importantly from your partner. There will be days when both of you will be equally tired and baby will be supercharged, just take turns to handle the baby. Trust me, there is nothing more beautiful than a baby looking at you and smiling, lot of couples out there are struggling to experience this joy, you are blessed that you have a baby, so don’t end up fighting, be mindful of your feelings and ask for help/support.
7. Every baby is different, so give time to your baby. And most importantly babies are much more resilient than we are, they understand routine well, but they need to be put through it every time.
8. And most importantly, give time to yourself and don’t let any guilt overtake you. If you have decided to join back work then the game is on! And if you have decided to quit then still the game is on! Whatever you chose be proud of your decision
I am happy how first week turned out to be.
Please share your thoughts, how did your first week turned out at work. Because we learn from each other!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect BabyChakra's point of view. BabyChakra does not assume any responsibility for the views expressed in the article and the photograph in this article is original and belong to the author. Reproducing it in any form without the permission of the author will not be allowed.
Also read: Getting Back to Work? Read this!
Explore the entire collection of articles: Career & Baby
#returningtowork #workingmoms #careerandbaby