Overcoming Back-to-Work Anxieties for New Moms


Content as a working parent

Taking Your Baby to Meet Your Coworkers
Quality time is for the enjoyment of both child and parent. But a special treat for a mother is to show her baby to the people at work. So plan to stop by the office for a short visit before your maternity leave is over. The best time to visit is during a coffee break. Be sure you take these precautions:
  • Call ahead to get your supervisor's permission—Mention that your visit will be short.
  • Call to see if anyone in the office is sick or has been exposed to disease—Remember that a baby, especially in the first three months, doesn't have a fully functioning immune system.
  • Bring a fully stocked diaper bag.
  • Dress your baby in layers, rather than in heavy garments—Protect the baby's clothes with a bib until you get there. Remove the outer garments once you re there to avoid getting your baby overheated.
  • If you don't feel up to bringing your baby to work, have work come to you—Invite people at times that avoid you having to cook a meal for them. Pace your visits. See them only when you want to.
Controlling Stress and Becoming a Contented Working Parent The kind of pressured existence that working parents live can rob everyone of the opportunity to enjoy life together. What is worse, so much stress can make us irritable, and that has a corrosive effect on families. The following suggestions will be reminders from time to time of the kind of parent you want to be:
  1. Approach your challenges with a sense of joy—You'll find the first few weeks after childbirth much easier to deal with if you keep this in mind. Celebrate your victories and remember them on days when you feel like a failure.
  2. Accentuate the positive—Some days will be difficult if not downright infuriating. On those days, try to think of the positive side of motherhood. Focus on the many wonderful things about your child. Keep funny or endearing photos in your wallet. Look at them when you re having dark thoughts at work.
  3. Seize spontaneous moments to play with your child—A short play period with your baby after you get home from the office is a great way to release tensions and irritations. Children treasure many experiences that don't take much time or don't need to be scheduled.
  4. Focus on your child when you're together—Don't get into the habit of thinking about something else when you're with your child. Requests will begin to feel like interruptions, and your child's very presence may feel like an intrusion. Once you're at home, put away the problems of the workplace. If you have trouble controlling your thoughts, put your concerns on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope, and seal it. Tell yourself you won't think about it until the envelope is opened.
  5. Accept your own decisions about your child—If you worry every time you make a decision concerning your child, you'll be under unnecessary stress. You can't be right about everything you do. Make your best decision, and if it's wrong, make another one to correct it.
  6. Schedule your own needs—Take the time to discover what refreshes you and makes you feel good about yourself. Nurture your body and soul with things like reading, napping, painting, bathing, cooking, or writing. You will be amazed by how much energy and patience you will have after having a rendezvous with yourself for one hour.
  7. Diffuse your anger—Find ways to avoid the angry moment. If your child starts crying when you pick up the telephone, save your call until nap time. Give yourself a time out when your toddler is driving you up the wall. Put your child in a safe place, then go into another room. Breathe deeply,count to ten, and hit a pillow. Do whatever you need to do to safely release your anger.
  8. Be a good role model—You have the chance to teach your child how to handle stress by your example. In the long run, this will make parenting much easier. Take things in stride, be patient, keep a realistic perspective, and set a good precedent.
  9. Get support—Everyone around you, at home and at work, may be good resources for information, advice, and help with your child. Don't hesitate to ask for help. Also, look for a nearby parenting center, or a mother's support group off-or online to help you through bad times.


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© 2005 by Marla Schram Schwartz. Excerpted from The Working Woman's Baby Planner with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

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