Having a new baby or being a mother is a trying and testing time for any parent, combine that with the working parent and the stress is insurmountable. Finding the best work-life balance, is always a bit of a battle for people in general, with the cost of living rising, the need for new and expensive luxuries and being susceptible to wanting the finer things in life. As the world is evolving, people are too, not always in a good way, society as a whole has taken on a new level of expectation; we want more, we always want more.
Take away the luxuries and you’re left needing to afford the necessities. How do you do this when you have a new child to nurture, to care for, to make sure they don’t go hungry? Chances are, you have to go back to work at some point. The guilt, the overwhelming thoughts that the nanny is an ogre or the childcare is mediocre and your child won’t flourish because they miss their parents.
All these thoughts are natural, you bring a child into the world, it is you who should be caring for them for most of their lives, not the nanny, not the daycare; but then reality slaps you in the face that you need to eat, and they need to eat. So, unless you were born into money and have plenty in the reserves, you will need to work. Alternatively, you could emigrate to Finland or Sweden where they have some of the best parental leave laws in the world. Okay, of course, I’m being facetious, It’s not exactly as simple as upping and leaving, so I think we should take that option off the table.
Some things that I can recommend to pinch those pennies, from one working mother to another. Strip it back, a child doesn’t need the finer things in life. As nice as it is to put them in a $400 sleepsuit designed by Ralph Lauren, a baby doesn’t need it, and I’m going to tell you something that won’t come as a surprise, it will get dirty, so that $400 is far better spent, warming your home or stocking up on essentials. Babies need attention, they need food, they need clothes and that’s pretty much as far as their list of demands go. Older kids need time, activities, and plenty of attention.
There are many things you can do on a budget, buy second hand if you want to, personally, it works, a baby isn’t in it long enough for it to be ruined and with an antibacterial wash, it’s good as new. As adults, we have been accustomed to buying the newest, top of the range stuff because society and clever advertising has made us this way. Your parents and their parents didn’t need top of the range stuff, they lived with what they had and look at us all turning out fine. I’m not saying don’t strive for luxury or for the finer things in life, I’m saying, work with what you have and build up.
Being a full-time working mother can lead to feelings of guilt and considerable stress because you need to learn how to divide attention between work and family. There really is no magic formula, every family is different but you need to come to terms with the choices you make regarding life and career. Accept it and move on to more important things in life.
I’m going to be brutally honest here, being a mother is a full time job, being a mother who works, and who wants a career, yikes! No one prepares you for the emotional roller coaster, and, it isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Oh, and don’t even mention the trill of speaking “adult” to a coworker about interesting topics especially, an adult with no children. Remember, you’re needed at home no matter what but the reward of seeing your child’s face light up when you enter the room is so worth it. There are many days I want to curl up under the duvet but financially I can’t. And I am okay with that as my kid is so happy, smiles all the time and kissing that adorable face when I get home reminds me, "we’ll be okay."
Don’t be so hard on yourself, don’t try to be “Super mum” on the weekends either, the laundry, grocery shopping and dry-cleaning will still be waiting. A child will appreciate being fed, clothed, spending time with you and feeling loved so take the guilt off yourself.
Enjoy parenting, enjoy being you, and give yourself a "time out" when needed, Understand that by you going to work, it is mostly a necessity so please be kind to yourself.
You are stronger then you think!
By Guest writer: Lisa L. Lane