Work After Baby: Should You Stay Home or Should You Go Back?
To stay at home or to go back to work is a dilemma so many moms-to-be face. Chances are you’ve asked yourself this question. Are you happy with your choice? Or are you feeling like you’ve made the wrong decision?
To get a better perspective, let’s look at some questions about both working outside the home, and staying/working at home.
If you’re a new mom who’s planning to go back to work, no doubt you have some questions and concerns. There are so many benefits to working, of course; earning money and having time away without children are two big pluses. But do these benefits outweigh the anxiety you may have after Baby arrives?
Worry: I’m concerned that if I don’t choose to work, I won’t be able to afford a comfortable living.
What the Experts Say: “I’ve had clients who were in dire financial straits and making half a million dollars per year, and I’ve had other people with a modest income who have really prioritized,” says Kate Wolf-Pizor, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Palo Alto, California. Those who felt they were in a terrible situation were spending as if they were both working, without taking time to anticipate finances.
She says, “Setting priorities and goals both for now and for the future can help a couple (in any income bracket) to put together a life plan which will be a valuable tool for spending and saving. The actual income needs should be established before folks decide what they must do.”
Whether or not you feel comfortable is really a subjective thing. What does comfort mean to you? Mothers have to tell themselves, “I’m not going to be comfortable if I’m not doing what I think is right,” says Wolf-Pizor.
What You Can Do: Mothers who work in order to have a financially comfortable living need to consider their happiness and the happiness of their family when considering going back to work. Wolf-Pizor says that mothers need to let their children see that what they’re doing is going to help support the family, and that is a good thing. If Mom is worried about working, then her children will also feel that anxiety.
Wolf-Pizor points out that working moms contribute directly to their family’s well being and if they’re feeling apologetic about going to work, they may not share positive work experiences with their children. A great way to get kids to understand what mom is up to is to show them. Bring your kids to the office and let them see where you sit, eat, and work. Also, explain to them what you like about working.
As well as having a choice to make about working personally, you also have to decide as a couple if you’re making the choice that’s right for both of you. Making solo decisions can hurt your marriage; both you and your partner need to participate in this decision-making process. “Any time we take action before we’ve talked it through with our partners, the less likely we are to have it come out well,” says Wolf-Pizor.
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