Does a balance between work and motherhood exist?
Finding a balance between work and motherhood is not easy. Many women do it successfully while others inlcuding myself choose motherhood over a career.
I did go back to work after my maternity leave. It was very very difficult. Dropping off my 3 month old at day care while I trotted off to work killed me every morning. As time passed it did get easier but I still missed her everyday and all day. One of the biggest problems we faced was the commute time. It would take my husband and I (we drove in together) two hours from the time we left the house until we got to work. That meant 1 hour at least with the baby in the car one way. It also meant leaving the house at 7am and not getting back until almost 7pm. We'd get home, feed her dinner and put her to bed. It was so hard as we didn't get to spend any time with her until the weekends. For me it was easier as I was the one who would give her baths at night and rock her to sleep. I would reccomend if you are in the same boat you alternate nights with your child's father so that you both get time with him/her during the week.
Some other suggestions based on my experience:
Don't worry about having the cleanest house on the block. Spending quality time with your child as a family is the most important thing you should focus on. Try to put things away as you use them so clutter does not take over. I find that if you leave things for later no matter how small, they can quickly become large messes. I know this is easier said than done. Every week I'd vow to do this but by mid week the counters would be cluttered. It drove me nuts!! ***Get a maid/cleaning service if you can afford it.
Also be sure the house chores are evenly divided between you and your spouse/significant other. You both work and should both be responsible for chores. While you may not share the same opinion on how to clean or what is clean, it's important to not take on everything yourself.
If you have a long commute, try to work from home a couple of days a week. Or look for a job closer to home/day care. The quicker your commute the more time you have at home with baby.
Leave work at work (this was a hard one for me which is one of the reasons why I chose to quit). When you are home with baby focus on him/her instead of checking in on work.
We ordered in a lot when I was working which was bad for our waist line and our pocket book. Spend one night preparing dinners for the week. Wash all your produce, chop it etc.. so that week night dinners can be quick and healthy. If everything is washed and chopped you only need to do some quick grilling/baking etc to get dinner on the table. Also if you are making dinner on the weekends make large batches so that you can have leftovers one or two nights during the week.
Make the weekends count. Plan fun activities but also schedule in some quite home time.