Help to overcome mum guilt when back to work
Childcare and mum guilt come up, understandably, a lot, when mum’s are going back to work after maternity leave. Your child starting in childcare, is without doubt one, of the hardest parts of going back to work. With most Mum’s moving from a space of being with baby probably 24/7 to only seeing them potentially for 1 or 2 hour s in the evening, which is normally witching hour when they are tired, fussy and cranky, is a cause of such anxiety. Here are a few ways to help overcome this guilt
Remembering your WHY
Remembering your why can be a real anchor for you when the mum guilt is overwhelming. Understanding your why and reminding yourself is important. And ensuring your partner or those around you also know your why. They will support you during those tough moments.
Why are you working? Is it for financial reasons, is it around the freedom it can bring, is it about your identity, is it mental stimulation. Now ask yourself why a few times. For example, why financial, why identity……And don’t forget, communicate your why.
What is your mum guilt?
Identify what exactly you are feeling guilty about. What aspects of your child going to childcare are making you feel guilty and why? There may be some elements that can be addressed when you break it down. For example, you are worried about not knowing what they do all day, eat, or sleep. Ask the childcare provider for a book with some details. Or some photos during the day to help your transition. To help understand the care they will be getting each day, ask what they do, their routines etc. Communication with childcare provider is KEY.
Once you have identified the guilt, re-frame it positively. Use a positive mindset and words when re-framing it. For example, the social interaction they will have, exposure to different toys, different environment, different foods potentially. Lean on others and talk it through with some friends/colleagues/family, allow them to share their stories of what helped them when they were navigating this part of their journey.
Recognising what you ARE doing
It is so important to recognise and acknowledge all the things you are doing. Say out loud or write it out, the things that you have done with your child that week. Do this weekly. Down to small detail, for example, sat on floor and read them a book….
Boundaries are key
Both Identifying and setting your boundaries is key. Firm boundaries when you come in from work is important so your time at home, you are present. Be realistic but also kind to yourself as some days will be better than others. It takes a conscious effort to put the phone/laptop away and be fully present.
Be your future friend
Be as prepared as you can ahead of time for that window you are home in the evening, so you are not trying to cook dinner, clean, unpack from the day. Have meals in slow cooker, batch cook at weekends. Delegate as much as you can, particularly when you first return, whether that is cleaning, meals,laundry. Anything that can help reduce the amount you need to do.
If you are returning to work soon and would like to explore how 1 to 1 coaching could support your return, you can book a free 30min consultation call HERE