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How to be Super (Working) Mom

You have exactly 62 minutes to get to work for your weekly meeting. As you make your way out the door, your three-month-old bundle of joy is crying to be fed—again. And, of course, you’ve forgotten to pack the diaper bag. Sometimes being a new mother and a cog in the corporate machine can instigate a full-on identity crisis.

More than half of the 80.5 million moms in America return to work within four months of giving birth to their first child, according to the latest statistics issued by the U.S. Census Bureau. The first 30 days of returning to work after having a baby can be a struggle as you adapt to the role of working mom.

Choosing the Right Childcare

In your successful return to work, perhaps the most essential factor is making the right childcare arrangements. If you are considering daycare centers, attain suggestions from fellow parents and pay unannounced visits to each recommended facility during business hours to see how they are run.

When selecting a babysitter or nanny, be sure to use a reputable agency or other resource. In addition to education, work experience and first aid knowledge, ask the prospective caregivers about themselves, including their hobbies and goals for the future. If your baby is present during the interview, notice how the candidate interacts with him or her.

Melissa Murray, an attorney in Atlanta, figured interviewing for a nanny for her newborn would be child’s play. “I thought it would be easy to tell which one would be the right fit for our family,” she says, “But my husband—who is also an attorney—and I couldn’t agree on which one to choose.” Trusting her intuition, Melissa chose to hire a less qualified, but friendlier babysitter. Three years later, she has never regretted her decision.

According to psychologist Robyn Landow, Ph.D., the key to making your childcare situation work is to establish your communication needs early on. “I recommend going overboard in terms of communicating at the beginning,” she says. “You can always cut back later.” Also, if your childcare provider’s performance is lacking, it is perfectly acceptable to request time off from work to find a more suitable caregiver.

Posted: 10/3/07