Work After Baby: Should You Stay Home or Should You Go Back?
Worry: I’m concerned about my son being closer to his caregiver than to me.
What Moms Say: A mother of two, Allison Schut worried that her son Nathon would be confused about who his mother was; he spent all day at the sitter’s house and cried when Schut came to pick him up.
What You Can Do: “I found a sitter who was excellent about giving me detailed updates on [my son's] day, everything from his moods to his sleeping, eating, and pooping. That makes a really big difference when it comes to feeling included in your kid’s day,” Schut says.
Schut adds that she was able to work only the shifts that she wanted to, so she still spent a lot of time with her son. Being a nurse meant that Schut was able to work a “casual” shift (she wasn’t actually scheduled for regular times every week). When she was called in for work, Shut could say yes or no to the shifts she was offered.
Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly, MD, a clinical psychologist, author, and founder of Womenspeak.com in Missouri says not to worry. “Bonding begins at birth and depends on the mother-child interaction,” she says. “There is no research to suggest that the more time she spends with the baby will ensure bonding will be better or worse.”
Worry: I’m concerned that if I go to work I won’t get to enjoy spending enough time with my kids.
What the Experts Say: “The same old problem that we have—to work or not to work—is one that keeps us not feeling very good,” says Wolf-Pizor. Very often, working women worry that they’re not giving their children the same quality time stay-at-home moms offer.
What You Can Do: According to Wolf-Pizor, the most important thing for moms to ask themselves is, “How is my child going to be cared for, and by whom?” Wolf-Pizor says that the parents and the larger family (grandparents and close friends) need to make these decisions together so that Mom doesn’t need to face this decision alone and without support. When a mother knows that she’s not isolated in making these choices, especially when considering childcare, she can relax and worry less about being away from her child.
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