Ditch the Child Care Drama
For moms, worrying comes with the territory. Try these proven ways to manage your anxiety.
The freak-out: What if my baby loves the caregiver more? "I felt so sad in the beginning, because our nanny was the one getting to spend all the time with my son."
Elise Bender-Segall; Livingston, New Jersey
Fear not! "No matter how close the baby gets to his caregiver, your mother-child bond can't be replaced," says Lisa Noll, Ph.D., a psychologist at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, who's helped soothe many a new mom. Also reassuring to know: Babies of full-time working moms don't suffer from slower development (as previously suspected), according to a study by the Teacher's College at Columbia University School of Social Work.
The freak-out: Baby needs me! "I was concerned that the day-care staffers looking after my baby wouldn't know all the particular things he liked. If he cried, would they remember that looking out the window at the trees calmed him down?"
Hannah Ross; Reston, Virginia
Fear not! Create a little "book" about your child -- Introducing Emily! -- and list the toys, songs, and other stuff she likes, and dislikes, suggests Dr. Noll. Tell the caregiver about techniques that soothe your sweetie; she'll be happy to know.
The freak-out: I'll be out of touch with my child's life. "I didn't want to go back to work and have someone else take care of my baby -- I knew and adored her every move."
Sara Brosious; Wilmington, Delaware
Fear not! Create new mommy-and-me rituals, like reading at bedtime. Also, ask your caregiver if you could leave a disposable camera with her so she can capture the major milestones.
The freak-out: I'll miss my baby too much to focus on my work. "I put my son into day care when he was 12 weeks old. I hung his pictures on the wall outside my cubicle. That way, they were a topic of conversation and not the subject of a pity party!
Alisa Bonsignore; Plesanton, California
Fear not! Besides photos, Dr. Noll suggests a baby journal: At lunch, or during moments when you find yourself thinking about something adorable your munchkin did, write down your thoughts and feelings, then go back to your day. And plan special after-work time (dance party in the living room!) so you have something to look forward to.
The freak-out: I won't miss my baby -- and I should, shouldn't I? "I was thrilled to be home with my newborn, but after eight weeks I was ready for adult conversations again. When I went back to work, I felt guilty that I didn't feel guilty!"
Donna Williams; New York City
Fear not! Enjoying work doesn't make you a bad mom -- in fact, your goal is to be so confident that your baby's well taken care of that you don't worry at all. "A child who is well cared-for and emotionally well adjusted will thrive," says Noll.