By Lori Mihalich-Levin
Heading back to work after having a baby comes with a pretty expansive set of dilemmas, doesn't it? Some of these dilemmas are of the logistical variety, of course: "How will I get out the door on time, without spit-up on my clothes, and not forget the 100 things my childcare provider needs to have for the day?"
But there's also the emotional variety: "I'm sad about leaving my baby with a stranger! What if he forgets who I am? What if I miss a milestone?!" It doesn't help that the person to whom we'd like to explain where and why we're going each day can't possibly grasp the concept of mommy-goes-to-a-workplace-to-earn-money-and-returns-at-the-end-of-the-day. How can we possibly communicate with our baby what's happening and offer reassurance that everything will be okay?
For me, the answer is through storytelling, which I've found to be an excellent way to weave together the work and home parts of my life. Here are my three top tips for talking to your baby about work in a way that can help bring your anxiety down and help your relationship with your little one flourish.
- Start early. I mean, really early! When your baby is in utero, you can begin talking to him or her about what you're up to, where you are headed and why, and what happened during your day. We know they love the sound of your voice even in the womb, and if nothing else, it gets you in the habit of starting to create that running narrative for them. Also consider taking baby to your office for a visit while you are on maternity leave to help make "work" part of their comfort zone.
By telling your workday stories, you are not only helping your baby learn more about the whole, integrated version of yourself from the very beginning, but you're creating a fun and wonderful storytelling tradition that's likely to be one of your favorite parts of family life.
Photography by Lindsey Belle for Well Rounded NY.
This piece was originally published by Lori Mihalich-Levin on Well Rounded NY. Lori Mihalich-Levin, JD, is the Founder of Mindful Return, a blog and e-course that helps mamas returning to work after maternity leave to feel present - both with their babies and in their careers. (Sign up for Saturday Secrets, her weekly tip for making life as a new working mama just a tiny bit easier!) She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two little redheaded boys and is a partner in the healthcare practice group at Dentons US LLP.
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