Being a mom is challenging in so many ways. Whether you work full time, or stay home with your baby, it’s all just hard. I only have the perspective of being a working mom, which has brought me a unique set of challenges. I remember after my first baby, someone asked me if I had difficulty bonding with my baby because I worked. Talk about triggering extreme panic and anxiety for a first time mom! After three babies in a row, I have learned a ton about having a bond with baby as a working mom. The main thing to understand is this: YOU CAN HAVE A STRONG BOND WITH YOUR KIDS EVEN IF YOU WORK. You absolutely can have the bond you want to have whether you work or not.
Being a working mom has not impacted the strength of my bond with any of my babies. Yes, kids may form close bonds with their daily caregivers, but those connections can’t compare to the bond they have with their mom. More people to love does not diminish the love they have for you. With my first baby, I worried my daughter would forget I was her mom when I went back to work. Nope. I am here to tell you to let go of every single fear you have about your bond with your baby if you are a working mom. You will have to be creative and adaptable with your time due to how much you are juggling. Sometimes you will have to make hard choices. But you can have the same bond with your baby as any other mom, while still chasing a career. You can bond with baby as a working mom in tons of easy ways.
Maximize Your Flexibility
This one doesn’t work for every working mom, but it is GOLD for me. If you have flexibility with your job, USE IT. If you don’t currently have flexibility, see if there are options to ask for it. I work my schedule around my babes when I can and I often use my down time at work for mom time. Dipping out on my lunch for a visit or a nursing session. Coming in early and leaving early for pickup. Taking a meet in the car on my phone for a preschool event. Any ways that you can be creative and flexible while still getting all your work done means more time for bonding with baby.
Integrate Your Hobbies Into Bonding Time
For adding bonding time, look for ways to incorporate your baby into your favorite activities. For me, it is important to have exercise in my weekly routine. I became a runner and ran my first half marathon while I was pregnant with my first child. I love to squeeze in time for running and made it an activity I can do with my kiddos. Whether you enjoy reading, watching movies, playing an instrument, or painting, find ways to include your baby in your hobbies when you can. While sometimes I run for “me time”, it is also wonderful when I can bond with my girls while getting something done for myself.
Master Saying No
Another hard one for me, and many other moms I know! I am always overcommitting and assuming I can do more than I have time for. When you have a baby or little ones at home and you work full time, any time left at the end of the day is often directed towards family time. When I am working with a newborn, if I can’t take the baby with me to something I say no. It gets easier the more you do and its TOTALLY OKAY to say no to things. There will be a time for those things again at some point, but during a busy season you need to prioritize your time. I am looking forward to all the friend time, family gatherings, and volunteer activities in the future. But for right now, I am exactly where I need to be with my babies.
Special Moments With Baby
Those little “mom and me” moments are the things that stand out in your kiddos minds when they are older. It could be sharing breakfast every morning before daycare. It could be a special song before bed. Maybe its a secret handshake or special bath time routine. Your nursing sessions with baby are special moments too. Find something that is yours, and make it part of your routine. They will look forward to that moment everyday, and so will you.
With my first baby, I went into work before she got up. He would facetime me every morning as she was getting dressed for the nanny’s house and I would sing her a good morning song. Even at 3 months old, the smiles and giggles I got every morning via facetime are moments I will never forget. Now I have special songs and dances with each baby, an individual bedtime routine, and fun games that are just for us. Find little ways to have special moments with each baby on a daily basis and stick to it. They will forever be ingrained in both of your memories.
This one is a work in progress for me as an extremely hardcore enneagram 3. When I am home from work, I try to be as present as possible with my kiddos. Between work priorities and all the things going on in my head as a busy mom, unplugging and just being there is tough. I have made it a point to schedule kid-focused time without electronics every night and weekend to ensure I am giving my whole self to my kiddos. While I can’t do that all the time, being intentional with them by scheduling protected time shows respect for them and for myself. The days fly by quickly, so savoring those moments
Baby Wearing Is Life Changing
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I did not register for a baby carrier. I assumed that because I would not be home with the baby during the day, I would not get much use from a carrier. Ha. Joke’s on me! I am now the proud owner of a Tula, Lillebaby, and tons of Wildbird slings. I babywear constantly between newborns and toddlers. It allows me to be close to baby constantly and still manage to take care of things at home. Whenever I get home from work, I pop the baby in the sling for the evening. On the weekends, all three of my kiddos rotate between the various carriers so that one of them is always with me.
Lower Your Expectations
Another hard one for me, but one I have gotten better at over time. I used to have high expectations for myself when it came to running the household. Keeping up with a certain level of cleanliness and clutter. Daily home cooked healthy sit-down dinners for the family. When you work all day, your time with your family is limited. Plan for quick and easy meals to ensure everyone is properly fed and don’t fret about the presentation or elaborate meals. Lunch meat sandwiches with a side of fruit and frozen veggies is a great weeknight meal that takes minutes to prepare. While you might enjoy cooking a large meal occasionally, let go of any expectations involving cooking.
The same goes for cleaning. Tackle a few cleaning tasks that are most important to you, such as running the dishwasher or packing for the next day and forget the rest. If things are not dusted or mopped regularly, everything will be fine! Bonding with baby takes precedent over an immaculate house.
Quality Baby Bonding Over Quantity
The biggest thing to remember is this: your time with your baby MATTERS. The quality of the time you spend with your children matters more than the quantity. If its working for you and for them, that is all that matters. You can work, and you can raise your babies well. You don’t have to choose. And choosing to be a working mom will not impact your bond with your baby. You got this, mama!
All the best,