Being a working mom is one of the hardest things in the world. It gets even harder if your little bundle of joy is still in that adorable baby stage. Not only do you have to worry about missing those first milestones, but you also have naysayers telling you that you’re a horrible person because you’re letting strangers raise your kid. Here are some tips for working moms with babies to help your life suck a little bit less.
Dealing with Unsolicited Advice
Once you have a baby, it seems like everyone and their brother has some advice for you — whether they have kids of their own or not. I’ll give you the same tip that my own mother gave me for dealing with these unsolicited ‘experts’ — smile, nod, be polite, and then do whatever it is you were going to do anyway. Everyone will have an opinion on how you should be raising your baby, and most of their views won’t align with the most important one — yours. If someone gives you some good advice, feel free to take it but for everyone else, smile and nod. Spend Some Time On Meal Prep
The only thing most of us want to do at the end of a long work day is spend time snuggling our babies. No one wants to waste that time slaving over a hot stove. When you’ve got some free time on a weekend, wrap your baby up in a carrier and prep some meals for the week. There are thousands of meal prep recipes that you can make ahead, freeze, then reheat when you’re ready to eat it. If you prefer something fresher than reheated freezer meals, you can always invest in a meal kit plan that delivers everything you need for a quick hot meal right to your door. Many of their recipes can be prepared in as little as 30 minutes, giving you plenty of time to snuggle your littles.
Know Your Rights
As a working mom, especially if you’re breastfeeding, the idea of asking your boss for extra breaks to pump or feed your little one while you’re on the clock might seem daunting. Don’t be afraid to ask — you’re protected under the Affordable Care Act if you’re not a supervisor. Most bosses will be happy to accommodate you as long as your pumping breaks aren’t impacting your job. If you are a supervisor or your boss is just refusing to assist you, don’t quit. Take it up the chain of command and talk to HR. If they don’t help you, talk to a lawyer about a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. In most states, employers aren’t allowed to discriminate against you for being pregnant or breastfeeding, so you do have avenues that you can explore.
Ask for Help
I get it…I do. As a mom, we want to be a self-sufficient a possible, even if we’ve got a partner at home to take on some of the burdens. Don’t try to do everything yourself. You’ll burn yourself out, and that isn’t conducive to being a good mom or a good employee.
Ask for help, even if you don’t want to. Chances are you’ve got plenty of people who are willing to lend a hand, whether that means taking your baby for an hour or two so you can nap, or giving you a ride to work when your car is in the shop. Don’t hesitate to ask for help — the worst they can say is no, and the next person you ask might say yes.
Take Care Of Yourself
If you’re spending all day working and all night taking care of your baby, you might start to feel a little bit like Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings:
I feel thin, stretched. Like butter scraped over too much bread.
Make sure that you’re taking time to take care of yourself too. Mommy self-care, whether that means a glass of wine and a bubble bath or just 10 minutes to use the bathroom by yourself without a baby in your arms or a toddler knocking at the door, is just as important as taking care of your little ones. Taking care of yourself will make you better equipped to be the best mom to your kids and the best employee for your boss.
I’m not going to lie to you — being a working mom to an infant is probably one of the hardest things in the world. Don’t think of it as sending your kid to daycare so you can chase your ambitions. You’re doing everything that you can to build the life that your children deserve, and if that involves going to work five days a week, then that’s what you do. If anyone doesn’t like it, tell them to go have their own kids.