Tribune Media Services
May 14, 2012
Jane Swigart, Ph.D. and author of "The Myth of the Perfect Mother: Parenting without Guilt," (McGraw Hill, $14.95) says new moms re-entering the workforce should be aware of the pitfalls – and offers some practical solutions to help cope with the changes:
1. Take care of yourself: If working mothers are guilty of anything, it is self-neglect. Carve out time to take care yourself every day, whether this means rest, a new haircut, meditation or exercise. Learning to care for your baby is about learning to nurture yourself.
2. Be rational: Working mothers often feel dread, guilt, longing for their baby and relief from their pressing needs. Seek out the most stable, loving childcare arrangements to help you feel more confident at work. When you are with your baby, give yourself over to the moment. Do whatever it takes to enjoy time with your child.
3. Jealousy is OK: Form a close alliance with the caregiver and know that feelings of jealousy are normal. Talk with her frequently. Give her photographs of yourself with baby to show your child while you're away.
4. Housework, schmousework: Put nurturing first. Forget household projects. They aren't important in the grand scheme of things and can make home as much as a treadmill as work. If you are married, work toward equal division of labor. Buy prepared foods, like frozen lasagnas and use paper plates. Make bonding time with your baby as stress free as possible.
5. Make time for baby: Prioritize your time so that you can maintain the closeness every infant needs. Make yourself available before and after work and on weekends. Plan activities that are enjoyable and nurturing for yourself as well as your child. Strengthen that precious, loving tie everyday but learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes we all make.
6. Time out: If you work full-time, keep it to eight hours. Protect yourself from insensitive employers and co-workers by learning to enforce your boundaries. Fighting for your rights as a mother is the same as fighting for your child's future well being.
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