Returning to Work


Finding Balance
Both at home and at work, balance your demands and resources. Look at the demands on your time and the resources you have to handle them -- your partner, family, friends, money. What can you delegate? What can you skip? You don't always have to do things as your mother (or your prebaby self) did.

Focus on the good things in your life, not just the conflicts. So much of what you read about working mothers emphasizes stress. You rarely see quotes like: "Before I had kids, I wasn't as patient at work. But I've learned a lot of patience from my children." Women also say that negotiation skills learned from work help them at home.

Joyful Interludes
With so much to do it's natural to try to be as organized as possible. But trying to control every single minute can cut you off from unexpected pleasures such as your baby's discovery of her toes as you're dressing her. Think of these as joyful interludes, not interruptions.

When you're with your baby try to be totally "present," not preoccupied with all the other things you need to be getting done. Enjoy cuddling him, singing to him, bathing him. But put him to bed early enough to have some time alone with your partner or some time for yourself.

When the going gets tough, remember that mothers who work and those who stay home have surprisingly similar problems with leisure time, their partners and learning what their baby needs. As one mother said, "Now that the baby's older, I realize that every earache wasn't because I was working."


For more information, read The Home-to-Work Transition.

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