How do you know if you should go back to work or stay home with baby? Some women don’t have an option, but if you are unsure which way to go – I am afraid I don’t have the answer. BUT, I can offer my story about how I came to the conclusion to be a career mom.
First, I feel it is important to point out that there is no easy answer to this dilemma. Either way, you will wonder if you made the right choice because there are pros and cons to both decisions.
My husband and I talked extensively about our options and decided it was best for me to go back to work. We have financial goals we want to achieve within the next five years, such as saving for our son to attend private school, contributing to his 529 savings account for college, and also saving to buy a house.
Even if we didn’t factor in those financial goals, there is the consideration of health insurance. The health insurance benefits through my employer are significantly cheaper and cover more than the benefits offered by my husband’s employer, so it makes more sense for all of us to be on my insurance.
Another factor is my career status. I have the career I want and I have work life balance. Exiting my career to stay home would be hard for the following reasons:
1. If I am being completely honest…..I go nuts staying home all the time. I need mental stimulation and maybe a few adult conversations.
2. It would be very difficult for me to go back to the workforce if I left for any reason. It is the unfortunate symptom of our culture that women are not viewed in a positive light for choosing to stay home with the kids – as if that isn’t a real job! HA!
3. Our son is socialized at a young age and has strengthened immunity.
4. Baby has a chance to learn and grow in a social environment with chances to be creative and explore.
While these reasons are all good, they don’t replace the intense guilt I feel. I hate feeling as if I lose so much time with him – even if it is positive on some level. It feels as if someone else is raising him, and I cry more often than I care to admit.
On the flip side, I know moms who are upset because they stay home constantly and don’t ever get a mental break or mental stimulation outside of the world of Mommy and Me. It is exhausting to always be in mommy mode and never have a break or variety in the day.
Likewise, some moms thrive in that environment and feel it suits them. It’s best to do some soul searching and know what works best for your situation. It truly is different for everyone.
It is a personal decision that is largely based on financial status, personality, and family needs. The worst thing any mom can do is make this kind of decision during an emotional time. If you are having an off day, and can’t stop crying long enough to think clearly, do not make any big decisions. Save it for another day.
Talk it over calmly and logically with your partner, and voice any concerns about either decision. It may help to make a list of pros and cons if the right choice seems unclear.
No matter what you decide, it will be the best choice for you and your family. There is no easy solution, but you will get through this, mama. You really will.
The one thing that gets me through the day is knowing my baby smiles at me when I pick him up from daycare. It is truly one of the best feelings in the world. It doesn’t take away the mom guilt, but it does reassure me that my baby loves me and knows he is loved immeasurably. ❤️
Have you decided to go back to work? If so, check out Going Back to Work After Baby.