As a working mom and someone who loves being active most of the time, the first year of my little one’s life, in addition to being incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, also felt confusing, to say the least. On one end, the nine months of pregnancy and the first couple of months of bonding and finding our routine strengthened our bond beyond my wildest dreams – I couldn’t imagine myself being away. However, my need to grow and go back to work one day at a time caused conflicting emotions. I was overwhelmed by guilt, worry, and a constant urge to call and check on my baby.
I know I’m not alone in this rollercoaster that is early motherhood, so now, with a new perspective a few years later, I can finally share how I managed. Perhaps some of you will appreciate the tips, and I genuinely hope you’ll find your own system to cope and overcome separation anxiety.
Talk to your loved ones
There’s no need to force yourself to hide your emotions and your struggle. I’ve had dozens of different conversations with my spouse as well as my parents, since my mom often volunteered to take care of our baby when we craved for some time alone. It helps when someone points out a different perspective, showing you that your baby will benefit from those experiences, and that they are as natural as your maternal instincts.
My husband would soothe me just by listening, and he’d always know what to say to a whole range of my chaotic thoughts. These conversations helped me process my emotions, acknowledge them, and find the best way to face them each time.
Take baby steps
This may be one of those universal steps that all moms need to go through in order to find their feet in the first year of their baby’s development. The learning curve of being a mom is steep, and it always feels as if you’re mastering yet another new task. Then, suddenly, you need to take some time away from your child and you have no clue how to go about it.
The best thing to do is plan for it, and try doing little “separation” exercises during the day. If your baby is having fun with their favorite toy, you can go to a different room for a couple of minutes. You can also try leaving the baby with your caretaker of choice for ten minutes while you take a walk around the block, and then increase your time away as much as you can. Slowly, you’ll see that both you and your baby will enjoy these experiences and appreciate the time you do spend together even more.
Find reliable caretakers
Another huge milestone for me was when I realized that our parents cannot be the ones to take care of our baby once we decide to go back to work full-time. So, instead of going into that “full panic” mode, I started looking for an early learning center near me where my child would have fun and get the care he needed.
I wanted the best possible environment for baby care, but also plenty of learning opportunities for when he gets a little older. The nearby location was an added bonus to my piece of mind, making it an easy choice, since I could be there in a matter of minutes if anything happens – and as a mom, that is always a priority.
Of course, you focus on your baby almost non-stop and they occupy your every thought, it’s in our nature to always listen and look for signs that we need to help them somehow. However, in all the rush to care for out little ones, we tend to neglect our own well-being.
In those early stages of adapting to separation, choose to fill that time with self-care activities such as a bubble bath, going for a walk in the park, or enjoying a revitalizing massage. Do something that will relax you and help you heal, and prevent you from frantically checking your phone every two minutes. For me, yoga classes were the ones that helped me cope, even though I’d always be eager to see my baby boy as soon as possible after the session.
On a final note
Look for the positives! We all need to find our own tempo of adjustment, listen to our emotions, and focus on what truly matters, and that’s your and your baby’s health. I hope you’ll find some use of these tips, or that they’ll inspire you to discover other solutions that will help you enjoy every precious moment of your little one’s babyhood!
The Article is provided by Sara Solomon, the writer of High Style Life