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Returning to work after maternity leave or being a SAHM can be exciting, but also daunting. How do you stay sane?

Are you returning to work after maternity leave, or after years of being a stay-at-home mother? Some anxiety is inevitable — you'll worry not just about how settling back into working life affects you, but also about how it will impact your family. The phrase "you can't have it all" won't be unfamiliar to you if you're soon going to be a working mom (again), but while there's truth in the saying, you can still have an awful lot. How do you find that work-life balance, and how do you find your feet during those first few months back at work?

Working Motherhood Should Be A Guilt-Free Zone

Right or wrong, society — and we women ourselves — often see mothers as the default primary parents. Some women who took time out of the workforce to be with their kids and are now returning to employment outside of the home loved being stay at home mothers, and wish they could be professional parents forever. Others felt they sorely lacked intellectual stimulation and daily contact with a wide variety of adults, and are elated to be going back to work. Women in both camps often deal with guilt. Don't be one of them: you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty for. 

Research suggests that children benefit from working mothers in a variety of ways. Women raised by mothers who held down full-time jobs are more likely to be employed themselves, but not only that — they have better odds of being in leadership positions at work, and make more money. Men whose mothers worked out of the home, on the other hand, tend to play a more active role in their own families, doing their fair share of household chores and being more proactive in their role as fathers

Don't let anyone guilt-trip you into thinking going back to work is bad for your kids, in other words, and know that you're providing them with a positive role model that will continue to benefit your children for the rest of their lives.

Adjusting To A Different Kind Of Family Life

Once you go back to work, you'll be spending a whole lot less time with your kids. Is that a bad thing?

Just think about this one for a minute — if you've been on maternity leave or were a stay at home mom, your partner was probably working outside of the home full-time all along. Both you and your partner were probably working when you met, for that matter — did that impact your ability to spend quality time together? The answer is most probably "no". Nobody trots the idea that not spending all day with your partner is bad for your relationship, and there's no reason seeing less of your kids will mean having less fun together, or — the dread! — sharing a less meaningful relationship either. 

"I was worried I'd only see my kids in the evenings and during the weekends, and that our shared lives would come to an end," Brenda told SteadyHealth. "Though I do see less of my kids, the time we do spend together is actually better than it was before. Rather than taking each other for granted, we spend more time actually talking and listening to each other, as well as sharing important events like family dinners, football games, and hikes during the weekend. We get as much 'relationship time' in during the hours we have now as we did before, and perhaps even more." 

Yes, being a working mother will induce a change in the time you and your kids spend together, but that does not have be a bad thing, at all. 

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