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Advice on how to manage ‘mummy guilt’

Advice on how to manage ‘mummy guilt’

Advice on how to manage ‘mummy guilt’

For many new mums, it can be hard returning from maternity leave, which is why we’ve put together a few tips on how to manage mummy guilt.

Mummy guilt comes in many forms – from what you feed your little one, to how you should spend more time doing amazing arts and crafts projects like your coffee group friends do with their kids. But for many of us, weighed down with high rents, mortgages, and the ever-increasing cost of living, one of the biggest causes of mummy guilt is the need to return to work.

The decision to place your baby or young child in childcare is a very hard one to make. As a parent, you may simply need to cover the weekly bills, or you may have other motivations or obligations. Whatever your reason, you know that are making the decision that is ultimately in the best interests of you and your family.

PORSE, an organisation with a workforce consisting predominantly of working mums, has helped thousands of families as they transition out of maternity leave and back into work.

Based on the science of attachment theory – how the relationships between children and the caregivers in their life impact on that most critical period of brain development, from birth to age three and beyond – here are a few tips for reducing your mummy guilt:

Know who is caring for your child: Choosing your childcare provider carefully is the first step to alleviating guilt. You need to feel confident that your child will feel safe, secure and loved because that is what they need for healthy development. Knowing that they are in their ‘home away from home’ also keeps the guilt and stress at bay while you are at work.

Your children are influenced by those who care for them, so focus on the person and place less importance on the facilities (excluding safety of course!).

Reduce your child’s separation anxiety: Separation anxiety is a normal part of childhood and reflects the attachment relationship your child has formed with you. Take the time to let your child build confidence with their Educator by staying with them until they seem comfortable.

PORSE Education & Training General Manager, Erin Maloney says that one thing that has worked for her was to leave her son with something he associated with her – like a photo, a piece of jewellery, or a scarf to look after while she was at work. “It allows him to still feel connected to me when I’m not there, which eases my mummy guilt about going in the first place.”

If your employer is willing, it’s also beneficial to transition back into work – either doing a few hours from home or working part-time and building back into full-time hours.

Stay connected with your child: Once you are back into the swing of work, find ways to keep fuelling that special connection with your child. When you aren’t working, be present with your children (and your partner) and have a strategy for leaving work stress at the front door.

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