One of my biggest fears of returning to work is that my baby would start to love his daycare teachers more than he loved me. He would be spending almost his entire day at daycare with them while I sat at my desk. I made a conscious decision to prioritize bonding with him while we were together so we wouldn’t lose that special mom-son relationship we had built while I was on maternity leave.

My son has been at daycare a few months now and his face still lights up every time I come to pick him up. He is still as excited to see me and spend time with me as ever. I believe that this is because I follow a few rules that help me balance my work and motherhood.

1. Don’t Be Distracted By Social Media

I’m definitely guilty of being on social media too long while with my baby. I have to remind myself that he is what is most important right now. He needs me to be on the floor playing with him instead of scrolling through my newsfeed on my phone. I don’t want to miss any new milestones or skills and I can always check on Instagram when he’s asleep.

2. Housework Can Wait

Try to keep from doing your household chores until the baby is asleep. It will be easier if you can simplify them as much as you can by using autopay for bills, meal prep, and grocery shop online. This will allow you to spend more time with your baby.

3. Involve Baby

If you do need to check some to-do list items while the baby is still awake, try to involve them as much as possible. If you need to pick up around the house, put your baby in a baby carrier so they can snuggle up next to you. If you need to cook dinner, put your baby in their high chair and move them into the kitchen so they can watch you and taste test if they’re old enough.

4. Be Strict With Work

You might have been able to clock in long hours at the office before you welcomed home your bundle of joy, but now you’re a mom and your job needs to know that you have time commitments elsewhere. Show your boss that you will still be a hard worker and get your projects done, but you can no longer be called on to burn the midnight oil. Also, make it known that you will be unavailable to answer work calls and emails while spending time with your child and will respond either the next day or when the little one goes to bed. You only have a few precious hours between daycare pickup and bedtime, so set boundaries with work early on.

5. Ask For Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if the pressure of work and motherhood seems to be getting too heavy. Ask your husband to help with chores around the house. Ask a coworker to help meet a deadline. You are juggling so much and there’s no shame to have someone else help carry the load.

Your baby loves you so much and you are a great mom! You are providing for your child and should never feel guilty about that. All your baby wants to do is spend some time with his mama. So snuggle that baby a little closer mama!