Returning to work after having a baby is one of those tough parenting roles that is certain to cause tears - for the parent in particular.
But more often than not it is a necessity for the financial wellbeing of the family.
I returned to work on a part-time basis when my firstborn was about seven months old.
I'm not going to lie - it was horrible. Not the work of course - I loved my work. However, leaving my baby for any length of time weighed heavy on my heart.
Now don't get me wrong, he was in a safe and caring family day care environment. I just struggled with separation anxiety.
However, the financial boost that a return to work provided for my family was invaluable. It was also great to re-enter an adult world and expand my interests once more to subjects other than all-things-baby.
But without a doubt, being away from my little one for several hours over three days each week was not easy. Adding to the challenge was the fact that I continued to breast feed for several months while working so I needed to set aside time in each work day to express milk.
However, I can't help but still believe today that my greatest obstacle to overcome was the sense of guilt I felt for leaving my baby.
Of course such guilt was unwarranted, but it was a feeling I simply could not shake.
In fact, I spent more money on clothes, toys and other items for my baby because of that sense of guilt. Luckily I was back at work and earning a little more, although my guilt-spending no doubt defeated the financial purpose of returning to work just a bit.
I was also - for a while - that mother that would call the carer every day to make sure my little one was okay. Again a behaviour driven by my sense of guilt.
In retrospect I am well aware that the carer was probabaly cursing me under her breath. And no doubt thinking to herself "of course your child is fine. I have your phone number if I need to contact you for any reason. In the meantime leave me to do my job of caring for your child and others, rather than answering unnecessary phone calls."
For the record she never said this to me, I just suspect she may have felt like saying it at times. And if other parents were as needy as me there is a fair chance she had her hands full managing the parents rather than the children.
With this in mind I extend a special thank you to all those child care workers who have made the transition much easier for both children and the needy parents.
Despite my mini-spending sprees and needy phone calls, it still took time for me to overcome the sense of guilt I felt leaving my baby while I went to work.
I told myself all the right things - "you are doing it for the family", "it is good for bub to interract with other children and people", "it is good for mum to interract with other people" - and the messages of encouragement, from myself to myself, continued.
So did the guilt for a while, but eventually it became easier.
I realised I was enjoying my time at work, mixing with other grown ups and doing what I was trained to do.
I also realised that my baby was completely happy when I dropped him off each morning and when I picked him up in the afternoon. I think that was a saving grace for me. I'm not sure if I ever would have coped had he cried every time I dropped him off at the carer. My heart goes out to all those parents faced with such a challenge.
I began to appreciate the working mother role that had been successfully navigated by many parents before me and would continue to be an experience for many parents after me.
I cast aside my drama queen qualities and began to get on with the job.
And then I fell pregnant again.
Of course returning to work after a second child also has its challenges. In my case the guilt lingered in the background but I had learnt to better cope with it. I was also well aware of the positive for both myself and my children.
The greatest challenge moving forward was organising myself and the children for the day ahead, but it wasn't long before I had developed a good routine.
In retrospect the best tip I have for any parent struggling with the guilt of returning to work is to make the most of quality time with your children when you are not at work. That is when precious bonds, and memories, are made.
Mumma Jak has three children and is familiar with the challenges of parenthood. She is well aware that every child is different, every day can be different and a parent's approach needs to be different according to the situation at hand. She is happy to say she fumbled through, motivated from the perfect starting point - unconditional love. The good news is that all three of her children have become normal functioning adults.