A Working Mom Shares Her Tips for Juggling Work and Motherhood
Motherhood is the most important job in the world. One that’s filled with an equal set of challenges and rewards. Going back to work after the birth of a baby adds yet another set of challenges to the mix. Yet, advanced planning and lots of support from your partner, family and friends can help.
Abby Molchany of Catasauqua returned to work as a sales learning consultant with ADP after the birth of her baby, Lily. Below, she shares how she juggles it all with the help of her husband, Jon, and support from their family.
Work and pregnancy
Abby works from home and occasionally travels to her office for meetings. Her work week is 40 hours long, yet her schedule is flexible enough to spread those hours throughout the day if needed. Working from home during pregnancy allowed her to be productive even when she wasn’t feeling her best. “I heard horror stories about how sick you can be and was worried about how I would balance work and pregnancy. I had a lot of morning sickness for 12 weeks. Then, like a switch it was gone.”
Tip: Abby scheduled obstetrician appointments first thing in the morning to minimize work disruptions. If she had trouble sleeping, she logged in early to start the day. “If I wasn’t feeling well, I was able to get up, move around or drink some water. And if I needed to, I had the flexibility to take my lunch break early.”
Arranging child care
Child care is the first consideration for any working mom. Abby, and her husband, Jon, are fortunate to have support from their mothers, Diana and Gyda who care for five-month-old Lily on alternate days. “I always knew my mom would help. She left her job to care for her grandchildren part-time and my mother-in-law said she’d love to help too.”
Tip: If your child is being cared for in another home you may want to consider purchasing frequently used items in multiples. Abby purchased three sets of baby gear to help mornings run more smoothly. Before Lily arrived, she scouted yard sales and second hand shops for deals. “Having everything Lily needs at each house eliminates early morning stress and the chance I’ll forget something.”
Whether you’re taking your child to daycare or a loved one’s home, preparing everything you need the night before will help mornings go smoothly. “I stay organized by packing Lily’s diaper bag the night before with clothes, diapers and bottles of breast milk to make it easier to get out of the house in the morning.
Tip: Molchany’s diaper bag includes a journal that Diana and Gyda use to log Lily’s activities for the day. “Everyone uses the same journal to log how much breastmilk Lily is getting and how many wet and dirty diapers she’s had during the day.” The journal keeps Molchany connected to Lily’s care and reassures her that she’s eating enough.
Divvying up household responsibilities helps the Molchanys get chores done and still have family time together. Abby pumps breast milk during the day to get bottles ready for the next morning. At night, she breastfeeds Lily while Jon cooks and washes bottles. Together, they bathe Lily, then settle down for the night as a family.
Tip: The Molchanys keep family time special by turning off their phones and TV to make time for each other. “When the weather is good, we walk at a park with our retriever, Thor. At night, we lay a blanket on the floor and settle down to snuggle and read books together. It’s my favorite time of the day.”
Going back to work
Molchany always planned to go back to work after the birth of Lily. Yet it was emotionally harder than she expected. “Staying home with Lily wasn’t an option. I’m surrounded by reminders of her all day and really miss her. The hardest part is thinking I may miss one her firsts, like her first smile or laugh.”
Tip: Abby gets the emotional support she needs by talking through her feelings with Jon and the rest of her support network. On difficult days, her mom will send photos of Lily. When sadness turns to tears, Jon reassures her they’re doing the right thing. “Being able to work full-time from home feels like I have the best of both worlds. But some days are hard. It helps to be able to lean on other people and share how I’m feeling. I’m grateful for my family’s help and their support.”