1. Don’t feel guilty
Many mums feel guilty about returning to work, especially after having spent months bonding with the baby. “Guilt causes stress,” says Lorraine Thomas of The Parent Coaching Academy, an organisation helping parents to reach their potential both at work and at home. “Focus on the benefits of your choice. Earning money helps support your family, and letting your child go to nursery helps her build social skills.”
2. Spend quality time
Instead of worrying that you’re not with your children all the time, commit to quality time every day. “Turn off distractions like your mobile — and let your tots choose what they play with,” Shah says. Research has found that just 12 minutes a day with your kids maintains your bond.
3. Rest well
As a working mum, your brain is on constant red alert. “Time management is key,” Dr Wang notes. “But also ensure you have sufficient rest, so you’re not overworked and overwhelmed.”
4. Do exercise
“The rhythmic nature of walking puts you in a meditative frame of mind,” Mutanda writes. It doesn’t require as much concentration as running or other forms of exercise, so you can think about what’s bothering you.
5. Take control
Don’t worry about the things you have no control over. “If your babysitter’s late, accept that there isn’t much you can do about it,” says Fiona Clark, founder of inspiredmums.co.uk, which encourages mothers to reach their potential at work. “Instead, find a way of using the time constructively, such as doing a few chores.”
6. Share the load
“Even with both parents working, it’s not unusual for women to take on the bulk of the childcare issues,” Shah observes. Take turns to be “on call”, so you aren’t always the one who has to dash out of a meeting if your child is ill.