Returning to work after maternity leave? Here’s how to stay in touch with your child…
Returning to work after having a child can be a confusing time for parents. There are so many conflicting emotions to deal with. On one hand, you may feel guilt and heartache at the thought of leaving your child and on the other, excitement and relief at the thought of returning to work.
Many parents are concerned that returning to work might cause them to miss out on some of the key developmental stages in their child’s life. They might even fear that they will be ‘replaced’ by the care provider.
These feelings of anxiety, which are completely normal, are intensified by our desire to be perfect parents and stellar employees simultaneously. Initially, separation is often more difficult for the parents. It might help if you remind yourself that you are opening your child up to a whole range of positive new experiences, including the opportunity to make friends, participate in new activities and develop trust and confidence in other adults.
While you might not be able to be there to watch your child meet all of their milestones, regular feedback from your chosen care provider will hopefully make the separation a little easier.
Many child care services keep daily logs about what their children get up to during the day. Requesting simple information such as when your child napped, what they ate, when they went to the toilet and if and when they cried will help you stay in touch with the happenings of your child’s day. This information can also be useful in helping you plan your evening with your child.
Some centres take photos of their children’s various activities with the scope of showing parents what they got up to during the day. Seeing your child immersed in an interesting activity or playing with friends will help to reassure you that your child is happy and you will feel more in tune with the smaller parts of their life.
After picking your child up at the end of a busy day, take a few moments upon arrival to sit with them and do something which makes both of you feel close and connected. Depending on age this could be anything from feeding your baby, to reading a book, cuddling or just chatting about each other’s day. Make this part of every day… before rushing to your next round of jobs such as bathing, cooking or bedtime routines.
Leaving your child in care may be emotionally challenging at first, but with time it will get better. By regularly talking to your child and their carer, you can stay completely up-to-date on your child’s achievements even if you can’t be there to see them.