Our childcare is provided entirely by my parents + my in-laws—but part of me still worried

I felt like going back to work meant the end of my time being my daughter's mom. In that way, it felt like her grandparents were going to become her new parents and I'd be chopped liver.

Our childcare is provided entirely by my parents + my in-laws—but part of me still worried

Our childcare is covered entirely by grandparents. I know, we're the luckiest. My mom watches my daughter three days a week and my in-laws watch her two days a week. We don't have to pay for childcare, we never have to worry that our daughter isn't feeling loved every second she's away from us—and we trust our caregivers fully.

So how could someone as lucky as I am feel anything but fortunate?

In the midst of preparing to return to work from maternity leave, I struggled with giving up my full-time caretaker responsibilities for my daughter. What surprised me even more was that I struggled to cope with the fact that her grandparents would care for her more during the weekdays than I would.

As grateful as I was to have family eager to help us, I also felt jealous that they got to step in and—as I rationalized it—take my place.

This made me feel insecure about our care situation, and I struggled with figuring out how to appreciate something I knew I should be beyond grateful for. Fast forward a year and a half later to the present, and I wouldn't trade their role in my daughter's life for the world.

Like much of what I've experienced with the transition back to work, the anticipation and build-up were much more difficult than the reality. But in the build-up, I had a hard time reconciling the fact that other family members might know my daughter better, or have a more significant role in her life, than I would.

I'm lucky to have parents and in-laws who went along with the hoops I made them jump through as I prepared to return to work. One night, after lying awake in bed—anxious, stressed and unable to sleep—I decided that although our parents had successfully raised numerous children, and were total naturals, they needed to be certified just like any nanny or daycare staff would be.

So I made them enroll in a 3-hour infant safety class. Like the amazing grandparents they are, they happily attended without compliant. And then, a few days before my return to work, I invited them over for a full-day baby boot camp.

I had spent days writing a 14-page baby manual (complete with a table of contents). I can look back at it now and chuckle, but in the moment, this thing was my lifeline. If I wrote every detail down about my daughter, they'd have to absorb every word of it and care for her exactly as I did—right?

During our full-day boot camp, I took them through every word in that 14-page manual and taught them how I wanted them to care for my daughter. Again, they were happy to oblige my demands and somehow didn't disown me.

Though this may sound like an extreme approach, it was how I was able to cope with handing over such significant responsibility to anyone who wasn't me. In a way, I felt like I had to still establish that I was the mom—and I was trying everything possible to leave my mark when I wasn't physically present. In that moment, this process helped me cope.

But here's the silver lining. As I reflect back on that volatile time, I see that so much of what I stressed over before returning to work has transformed into the things I value and appreciate most today. For example, I felt like going back to work meant the end of my time being my daughter's mom. In that way, it felt like her grandparents were going to become her new parents and I'd be chopped liver. I'd think to myself, they already had the chance to raise their own children, and now they get to raise mine too.

In reality, this couldn't be further from the truth. Mama is always mama, no matter how many close relationships your children develop in parallel. I truly love how close my daughter is to her grandparents and I'm grateful they have the opportunity to be present and active in her life. What I most feared has now become one of the things I most cherish.

I was worried that they'd be better at raising my daughter than I was. And that when we were all together as a family, they'd take over and I'd be stuck on the sidelines watching everyone else parent my kid. In reality, it's been humbling to learn that they are in fact better at a lot of things, and that I don't have to fear not being the expert. Their patience, zest and creativity far surpass mine.

I was worried that I'd lose control over how I wanted my child raised—that they'd do it their own way and it wouldn't match my wants or values. In reality, there have been only a few situations where things have happened that my husband and I haven't agreed with. It's been hard to speak up, because it's always more sensitive with family involved. But when we have, it has always been well received, respected and acted on.

I was worried that they'd care for her in ways that didn't follow my 14-page manual. And in reality, they did. Because they're human, and have their own methods and instincts. While the idea of it stressed me out initially, I've come to value the diverse ways we all care for her.

Truthfully, I think it's one of the best gifts we've given our daughter. She's adaptable and well-rounded, which I chalk up to the fact that she has so many different people watching her during the week. I've swallowed my pride, and have started to appreciate all of the different ways we each approach raising our girl.

When I think about all the things I feared or stressed over, I find that most revolved around the impact on my role as mom. While I want the absolute best for my daughter, I don't want to compromise my experience as her mother either.

The biggest lesson I've learned is that the amount of time I spend with my daughter isn't what makes or breaks my role as her mom. It's my responsibility to fill her life with wonderful people and experiences to nurture and support her as she grows. I am one of those people, but I don't have to be the only one.

And I know that so much of her wonderful personality has been shaped by the many people who help raise her. I'm thankful for my village who loves my daughter unconditionally, and is shaping me into a better person and mother every day.

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We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!

A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.


A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.


A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.


A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.


A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.


A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.


A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.


A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.


An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.


A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.


And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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Talking to kids can come so easily. They have thoughts about everything and stories for miles. They see the world in a completely different light, and could ask enough questions to fill an afternoon.

But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

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