Hi! I'm a new mom of a sweet little boy. He is 10.5 weeks old. I am all about attachment parenting, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering and am looking for advice and opinions on all things motherhood. I soon have to return to work (at least for a while) and am dreading it. I am praying my head off and staying open to a job change that would allow me to have an income to help support my family AND be a full time mom. I am desperately trying to accept that, right now, I'm in a situation that I have to choose between the two, but it is VERY hard. I'm hoping to find some moms who have similar views and have family's that both parents work away from home. I am feeling very alone in this right now.
New Mom soon to return to work :(
Welcome to MDC! I was in your exact same situation, and had to return to work when my son was only 12 weeks old. I am also a huge fan of the AP approach to mothering, including babywearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, etc. Returning to work and having to leave my baby was absolutely the hardest thing I ever had to do (even harder than labor I think). I probably cried every day for the first few months that I was back at work. What helped me to get through it was to keep baby wearing, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping when I was home so that I could maintain that close relationship with my son. I pumped for 17 months at work, and my son is now almost 19 months and still breastfeeding and co-sleeping. He's almost 30 lbs now, so DH does most of the babywearing. The good news is that I am now able to work from home a few days per week, and I really think that my son needs me more now as a toddler than when he was an infant and I first had to leave him. Hang in there mama, and lots of luck to you. Make sure to enjoy every remaining minute of your maternity leave.
I completely understand. I still think of my 12 weeks of being a stay at home mom as the happiest I've ever been, and going back to work the hardest thing I've ever done. It's really hard when working is a necessity but your heart is with your baby. Nursing/pumping definitely helped, for many reasons but in part because it let me feel like I was really doing something for my baby even though I had to be away. I also felt that co-sleeping was really important because it provided the closeness that was missing during the day. My daughter nursed at night right up until 13 months when she abruptly stopped nursing altogether, so being able to nurse without really waking up helped with getting sleep and having that closeness.
In terms of the job, I was really set on finding a way to not have to leave every day. It took awhile, but almost a year and a half ago just before my daughter turned 2, I found a job that let me work from home almost exclusively. Telecommuting comes with its own challenges (and absolutely still requires childcare) but for me it's worth it because I feel like I am not so removed. It's still a little hard sometimes when my daughter wants me or asks repeatedly if I'm done with work yet, but I'm glad to be there to answer her instead of not there at all.
I would probably still opt for being a mom only for awhile if it was an option, but it really just isn't, so I'm happy with this arrangement for now. So I totally understand where you are coming from and how hard it is. I did the working away thing for almost 2 years and hated it, but even when things aren't the way you want them to be you can still know that you're doing everything you can, and your baby will be connected to you because of the things you do when you are with him and when you're away. I think using an AP approach is the healthiest thing for both the parent and child, even though to some it may seem more difficult. My husband kept telling me that it's not the quantity of time you spend with your child but the quality... I still wanted the quantity, but there is some truth to that and you are still a good mom even if you have to work. Enjoy the rest of your leave and know that you've set up the foundation that will keep your connection strong after you return to work.