Quality Time at Home


While you have to spend your time at work away from your child, you should utilize the rest of your time wisely in the best interest of your child. You should breast-feed the child while you are at home and you may leave expressed breast milk for him before leaving for work. The expressed breast milk may suffice for only one feed and you should leave clear instructions for the remaining feeds.


You may also like to sterilize the bottles and keep other articles ready for your baby's feeding, as far as feasible, before leaving for work. You need not feel guilty about not being able to give whole-time care and attention to your child. Millions of working mothers have successfully combined the twin tasks of pursuing their careers and bringing up their children.


What matters in the final analysis is the quality of care and not its quantity. Many non-working mothers while away their time at home neglecting the are of their children. In fact, many studies in the West have shown that a mother's employment can have a positive effect on both her children, especially girls.


Employed mothers are often better pleased with themselves than mothers who stay at home. They enjoy time spent with their child more because they are not with him the whole day. Children of working mothers have been found to be more independent and have less stereotyped ideas about sex roles. Working mothers serve as successful models, especially for their daughters whom they tend to orient towards careers that are not traditionally feminine. In any case, as a working mother you must not spoil your child to compensate for any perceived guilt to make up for your failure to spend the entire day with him.


Combining Motherhood with a Career


While you, as a working mother, are engaged in the pursuit of a career, you need to strike a proper balance between, the pressing and essential needs of your child and the demands of your job. This task becomes comparatively easier if you live in a joint family and there is the child's grandmother, an aunt or some other relative available to look after the child while you are at work.


Alternatively, this job can done by a good ayah (nursemaid) though it is becoming increasingly hard to find and afford one.


Training Your Ayah on Child Care


The ayah should be adequately trained by you so that in your absence she can look after the child intelligently with understanding, affection and ready responsiveness to his needs. You should instruct her regarding the preparation of baby feeds, his schedule of feeding, toilet care and strict adherence to hygiene. Where necessary, you may put down the instructions in writing.


At the time of recruitment you should get the ayah medically examined, including her chest X-ray and stool examination, to exclude the possibility of chest, intestinal or other infections. A small baby is extremely prone to catch such infections because of his low body resistance. You may sometimes need to exercise a lot of patience and good communication skills in order to bring around the child's grandmother or an old, so-called 'experienced' ayah to you point of view.


Making Adjustments


Both parents should try to arrange their work schedule in a way that one of them can stay with the child. This may, however, not be always feasible due to fixed office hours of most government and other establishments.


The mother may then like to choose a lighter job or a part-time job in the initial years of her motherhood, or if possible, take a long leave in order or be able to stay with her child longer. Alternatively, she may choose to place her child in a good day-care (creche) during her own working hours.


Father's Role


You can do justice to both your work and taking care of your child with thoughtful planning and the support of your husband and other family members (and sometimes the help of professional child-minder like and ayah).


The child's father should appreciate the difficulties of his working wife and the fatigue she experiences and should readily share her burden. The mother would not only get much needed relief but would also feel comforted and happier to carry out her own arduous tasks.


Mother-Child Bonding.


The first two to three years of a child's life are particularly important for his optional development and growth. A close and affectionate bonding between the mother and her child during this period plays a crucial role in this vital process.


Over the years, the number of working mothers in India and many other developing and developed countries has grown considerably. Progressive industrialization and a higher level of education and awareness about their rights have contributed towards this significant change. Many mothers take up jobs to supplement the husband's income in order to meet rising living cost. Professionally qualified mothers want to work to satisfy their intellectual needs and for emotional and social reasons. A few of them such as doctors, engineers, architects and managers may have spent many long years in highly competitive study and training to acquire specialized professional skills and subsequently are keen to derive sense of fulfillment through the practice of their professions. On the other hand, a few divorced, widowed or otherwise single mothers have to work to bring up their children.