Some people have a hard time realizing that when you become a parent, you don't cease being *you.* You'll still have all the other aspects that make up your life - your memories, your job, your marriage, your good and bad habits, etc. - but you'll have the "mom" role as well. It sounds to me like your mother is so focused on the upcoming "mother" aspect of your life she's forgetting about the "likes her job" and the "is her own adult" aspects.
I agree. It seems your mom wants you to dump your job and just be a mother and the way she goes about it is by making you feel guilty. I know several mothers who have a child in daycare, but it is a hard decision. Nobody just 'dumped their baby and forgot about them'. Some mothers have to work and other enjoy it. I don't feel it is necessary, nor do I feel a woman should give up the other areas of life that are important to her once she becomes a mother. I love my DD so much and being a mother is one of my most important roles, but it isn't my only role. I am still a wife, have a part time career, and other interests and I try to stay balanced. One of the best parts on the days I work is when I pick DD up and see her sweet smile and she running the best she can (she is 14 months) to see me. I imagine I would drive DD crazy as she got older (as well as DH) if I was just a mom at the expense of the rest of my life.
If she continues to act like this, I think you should confide in her less. If she says "well you should cut back your hours at work by half", say something like "that mom, I'll think about it" then change the subject. Let her know the daycare comment was insulting to you and hurtful. You described your mother as otherwise 'nurturing' so I assume you have a close relationship
. If so, be honest in letting her know that her judgmental comments will make you less likely to confide in her in the future. It is one thing to be concerned, for example asking a few questions about how you are feeling or sending you an article on finding good day care. It is another thing for her to insult you or accuse you or not being a good mother because you aren't making the parenting decisions she wants you to make. If she continues to be judgmental, I think you should be vague with her and just avoid topics that will set her off. For example, she asks "Are you dumping the baby in daycare while you work?" reply, "The baby is happy. Did you catch American Idol last night?". If she asks again, tell her the topic is closed.
It is hard to say the reason somebody would act like this. Gramma dishes points out that maybe she wants to reassure herself she did the right thing. Maybe she truly feels the way she did it was is the only right way to be a good mother.