Thursday, December 07, 2006
Leaving Maternity Leave?

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This is my first week back from maternity leave, and even though it's the fourth time I've done this, it's always a challenge. There are the emotions of leaving a little baby; the logistics of finding care; the struggle to locate, for the first time in three months, socks that match. Here's some advice from Linda Mason, author of "The Working Mother's Guide to Life"; the Mayo Clinic; and a few thoughts from myself and my mommy friends:

1. Go back to work midweek. As Mason says, "going back to work can be overwhelming. If you know you only have to do two or three days, you can make it through."

2. Work out child care way in advance. The last thing you want to be doing in your final days of maternity leave is interviewing nannies or visiting day-care centers.

3. Mason suggests taking a picture of your baby on your cell phone every morning so you have a very current photo every day.

4. Accept that you'll feel sad or guilty sometimes. There's really no way around it.

5. Here's one from me: You'll be a better worker and mommy if you spend a little time on yourself. Develop a 15-minute exercise routine you can do at home (15 minutes of yoga, 15 minutes on the treadmill, or lifting weights). Let's face it: For a few weeks at least, you'll never have more than 15 minutes each day to exercise, so why set yourself up for failure? And if you do find more than 15 minutes, I don't want to hear about it =)
When I gave birth to my twins, I was stuck at home for months and trying to breast feed twins was a total nightmare. I couldn't go out in public because I would leak all over my shirt and dear Lord my boobs hurt, not to mention my back. I think in order for mothers to fight depression, they got to do something to make themselves happy. Playing with the kids can be fun, but sometimes mommies have to know how to make them selves laugh. During my maternity leave I started making comic talk websites. I guess I had some time on my hands at that time cause I was stuck at home, but to me it was kinda fun, making comic sites on the press. I just want to tell the staff at CNN, if I didn't like ya I wouldn't make fun of ya.

PS: And I'm glad I don't have to milk myself anymore before I walk out in public. To all new mothers, I promise you life gets better. There will come a time when you will not feel like you are a walking dairy cow, to crying infants. Your boobs will shrink back down, your back will stop aching, and at some point and time the baby will fall asleep. Just hang in there momma. See the babies get easier as they grow. After a while they stop spitting and pooping on you.

Merry Christmas CNN staff
Why don't you try living on a little less and spending time with your kids by not working outside the home? Really, putting a picture on your mobile phone so you can see them is pathetic. As a mother, you should feel guilty...that is nature's way of saying "Don't have a kid if you can't afford it...and if you have to work and put your kid in a nursery...YOU CAN'T AFFORD IT!
Thanks for writing this. I'm in the 8th month of my first pregnancy and I'm working out the details of my maternity leave right now. I'm already having guilty feelings for even wanting to go back to work even though financially I don't have much choice. I'm also fairly sure I'll go truly insane if I stay at home all day.

But it's good to know that there are helpful things you can do to make it a bit smoother and also that it's just inevitable that there will be some sadness and guilt, but that too shall pass.
Mazel Tov Elizabeth! You are amazing! I miss having babies. Bring your newest over here if you are ever in a bind as I love babies!
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was a recent transplant in a city without any family besides my husband. I was petrified to leave my child with total strangers and no day-care seemed to be good enough (and home day-care settings didn't work for our schedules). But I sat down one day and realized that I was not the only woman in the world who was forced to leave her 6 or 7-week old infant in the care of well-trained strangers. So I kept telling myself that over and over, and then I didn't feel QUITE so bad. Other women have had to do it and they and their children have turned out okay, so who was I to think I was something way beyond any other normal, working mom? That same strategy also worked when I didn't have any paid-time-off left for when my child got sick and had to stay home with my husband. Even though I love my husband and I know he'd never hurt our son or neglect him, I just wasn't sure about leaving a young baby with him all day long without me there for assistance (I know, shame on me, but I'm being honest). But I told myself, again, I'm not the only one who was in this situation. So I calmly left my son and his dad home, went to work that day, and managed to only call him twice during the day. :)
It's hard, but as long as you realize you are hardly the first woman in your situation, you realize that maybe it's not so bad because others have gotten through it, so you will, too.
Good luck to all the other moms out there!
Stacie,
maybe you should spend more time with your kids and less time on the computer..
Stacie, people like you are the problem with this world. Having children is a choice. Working is a choice. Thank God, women in this country are allowed to make those choices. And those choices, by the way, are none of your business.

I knew as soon as I saw this article that some self-righteous person would post saying that women should stay home with their kids. It's always surprising to me when that comment comes from a woman, because it sounds like something that should come from some pig-headed, misogynistic man, but here it is.

We don't all want to be stay-at-home moms. Some couples decide that the dad wants to stay home. Some couples decide that they both want to work, or have to. I don't have kids yet, but when I do I plan to go back to work. I'm not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom. And I DARE you to tell me that I shouldn't have kids, then.
Stacie:

How rude. How dare you tell people who aren't wealthy that they can't have kids? Working parents love their children and provide for them quite well; plus, a stay at home mom is not always in the best interests of the child.
I was a stay at home mom for 17 years. Most of the time I loved it. But that was MY choice. The whole point of women's lib was so that women had choices to make. I am not back in school and will be going to nursing school at the age of 45. Again, a choice. Why can't women stop judging each other? We are all on the same team! We want to raise happy, healthy, responsible and compassionate kids who become happy, healthy, responsible and compassionate adults.
Hi Stacie,

I will presume that you do not mind only having male doctors, dentists, pediatricians, store managers, nurses, fire fighters and so on to work with when all the mothers are home with their children.

Signed one of those lady doctors with kids
I'm sorry but I don't have kids by choice since I have seen enough female colleagues suffer with guilt, bad health, dysfunctional marriage problems when they have nannies or worse case day care that isn't always reliable- it seems like a full time job and you can't be in two places at one time so if you are TIME poor not just money poor you might want to build your financial life before you have babies, since they are permanent part of your life and not a career achievement that is temporary...and Yes when i have my babies i will be staying home full time--too educated to let anyone else raise them
Stacie:

I know a lot of kids who were raised by stay at home moms who ended up just great. I also know a lot who were sent to daycare, who are equally as good, if not more so, because they were allowed to socialize with children other than their siblings on a day-to-day basis.

If only women who could afford to stay home with their kids had kids, then there wouldn't be very many babies born in this country. I think that it's great that some people are able and want to stay home with their kids, but that's just not an option for many women. My mother worked, and I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world. We all have that choice, and it doesn't make us bad parents for choosing to work.

I am pregnant with my first child now, and I will be returning to work. As long as you can adequately provide for your kids, and you love them more than life itself, then that is what makes you a good mother.

P.S. The comment about taking a photo of your child each day is more of a security measure, not a momento.
Stacie,

Wow. How very dark ages of you. It is not natures way of saying she can't afford kids it is our society. Please don't confuse the two. You're free to voice your narrow minded opinions but don't expect everyone to like them.
Very glad that there's always the freedom of opinion and choice. Some prefer career and some prefer what's in the best interests of their children. As a father of four, this discussion is highly interesting to follow. Baby needs a trusted person, caretaker, at least until the age of three to feel very comfortable (ideal situation) and of course this is not possible for most career-oriented women there. Luckily we all turn out different, mostly good - despite how much care and love we have been given. Children are unbeliavable when it comes to adaptation to new situations and changes if their lives. Here in Finland we're very happy to enjoy fully paid maternity or paternity leave for the first year and then receive government subsidy whether rich or poor until the child is three years of age. This of course if either father or mother so decides. Anyone can start working when they want but life's quite short and children grow quick. Difficult decisions? Not to me.. says stay-home father.
If we could only stay home.... I didn't get a college education for nothing. I am a full-time RN working 40 hrs a week and I have 4 kids, 14,10,7,17 months. My key to making it all successful is a wonderful husband and great parents, grandparents, aunts, friends, and Church daycare. It truly does take a village to raise a child and you shouldn't feel guilty about asking for help. I am setting a good example for my girls and I always tell them if they marry one day and don't want to work, they shouldn't. They should, however, get a college/tech school education as a back up plan.
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