S.R. asks from Everett, WA on March 19, 2008
To Go Back to Work or Not to Go Back to Work....
I have a 4 1/2 month old baby girl. I just recently returned to work for a 2 week time period (because my husband is off and can take care of her) and after the 2 weeks is over I will take about 6 weeks of vacation. During this time I will have to make the decision to go back to work.. or be a stay at home mom... I am SOOOO struggling with this!!!!!
I have worked at this particular company for 17 years.. and have been employed non stop since I was 14 years old (now 36).. the thought of NOT working scares me so bad.. since I am so independant. I hate to even say this but the thought of having to rely on my husband for everything scares me too...
On the other hand.. my baby girl is my first child.. and probably only... and I don't want to miss out on anything ... and the thought of putting her in daycare.. scares me too...
Does anyone have ANY advice?? I am just in such turmoil about making this choice...It always seemed like it would be easy (pre-baby) but now that I am here I am really doubting everything....
E.K. answers from Seattle on March 19, 2008
In the end what is it that matters most to you? Is work a necessity for you or something you are just accustomed to doing? I had to make the same decision recently so I understand your predicament. Make a list of your financial needs/goals and then write out the different ways you can meet them (ie. you working pt or your husband looking for a job with better pay so you can stay home etc). Sit down and discuss all the options with your spouse and then choose the one that gives you both the most peace. Always remember what's most important--being with your daughter seems like the most important:)--and remind yourself of that when things get stressful. Time is the one thing you can never get back so live with no regrets for what you should've done! Good luck:)
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J.B. answers from Portland on March 20, 2008
I don't think you'll ever regret being with your daughter. It's one of those add 10 or 15 year things. In 10 to 15 years, where will you be? Work will always be there...but our kids grow up so fast. I know the first 4 months...actually year seems so slow. But my kids are growing so fast now and I can now understand what so many people meant when they told me they grow so fast. I missed working for a few years...and still do sometime...but that is usually when I want something outside our current means. But that will never satisfy...and there will be plenty of time for that later. Being a SAHM mom really can be hard...but I have found it to be exceedingly rewarding. I now feel bad for my husband that he HAS to work.
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K.S. answers from Seattle on March 19, 2008
I was in your EXACT situation - and the thought of relying on someone else was terrifying . . . even though that someone was my hubby. I got my first job at 12, and worked full time from the age of 16 to the night before I had my son. (Yep. I worked until 8:30 pm the night before my oldest was born.)
I had also worked in child care while going to college and saw the way different children were treated. I knew darn good and well that day care wouldn't be an option because day cares are much more cold than I would ever want to expose my child to, but to hire a nanny? (The thought of my baby bonding with another woman made me really jealous.) A friend gave me the book "Parenthood By Proxy" and that really cemented the deal for me.
I decided that I'm not "giving up" my career. I'm putting it on hold. (The world will need lawyers in five years, just as much as it does now.) I keep fairly active in the legal world, though. I do legal research and writing projects in the evening, after the kids have gone to bed. And I volunteer through a service that provides free legal help to people who can't afford attorneys about once per week. I'm confident that I'm doing enough to keep my brain active, and keep my resume current. When all three kids are in school, I'll start working part time. My husband will be eligible to retire in about seven years. At that point, he'll be the primary parent (stay home when the kids are sick/have appointments, etc.) and I'll be the primary breadwinner.
I guess what tipped me into the SAHM category was my total and complete arrogance! After all, NOBODY on this planet would ever be capable of providing better care for my children than me. (See what I mean? Arrogance!!!) Seriously, though. As much as I loved my job, craved my independence, etc., I figured that being a parent was the most important job my husband and I would ever have so it was okay to let go enough to let him be the breadwinner to allow me to be the mother.
It's been over four years since I made that leap. I can't deny that I've mentally role-played what would happen if something happened to my husband or marriage - since he is the financial provider for our home. But I know that my experience and education would allow me to get a job immediately - if I needed one.
It's not a one-size-fits-all solution, but this is what works for us. I wish you luck with your decision!
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J.B. answers from Medford on March 20, 2008
It has always been my priority to be home with my children, since before I had a kid. I am now an only parent of an only child. He is now 13. When he was born, I wasn't working, his dad worked, but never steady. When my son was 1 1/2 I had to get a job, so I got a job at a day care so I could take my son with me. I wan't leaving him with strangers to raise. Shortly after my son turned 2, I left his dad, moved to Grants Pass, and went to college. He was in the day care at my school for less than 17 hrs. per week. He was 2.5 anyway, so it was preschool and he got to socialize. I didn't get welfare, but financial aid, food stamps and Hud. We were very poor, but I was getting an education and raising my own son. By the time I graduated, he was in school. I now work as a life skills trainer for adults with developmental disabilities and I sub for the teachers' assistants. I mostly work while my son is in school. I don't get any assistance, though some would be nice. When my son is an adult, I will be looking for full-time work. But for now, it is more important for me to be home with my son, know who his friends are and what he is doing, than to own my own home and all those things that you can do with full time income.
So, my avice is to be home with your sweet baby. Watch her grow, right before your eyes. See her first step, hear her first word. Some ways to stay active and social are:
work from home part time
telecommute where you work now, but part time
So, what does hubby think about it? That is important also. Hopefully, he would be honored to work and support you and his dd, while you hold down the fort and raise the dd. SAHM is an important job, even though it doesn't pay your bills. And it costs alot to send kids to day care. Kids get sick, especially at dc centers, so you or hubby would be taking more sick days. If you are already home, no one has to miss work when dd is sick. You all will be healthier if you are home cooking your meals rather than nuked food or restaurant food.
You can still get a sitter once in awhile so you can go have some time to yourself. Maybe trade with another mom, taking turns watching each other's kids so you could go take a nap, shop, spa, whatever you feel you need to do without dd. You may have to make some sacrifices, but it is worth it in the end, when they are towering over you and you feel sad because they are all grown up and you miss them being little, not sad that you missed them when they were little. The sacrifices aren't much anyway when you consider the cost of child care, bottles (if you are at home you can nurse for free), taxes, gas (no gas to stay home with dd), clothes, lunches (if you eat out, or save time packing them in the morning if you bring them), getting to watch your child grow-priceless.
I know I rambled, sorry. I hope this helps. Best wishes to your new family. :)
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M.C. answers from Seattle on March 19, 2008
Coming from a different view being a young stay at home mom who spent only 10 years in the work force and going to school full time for half of that. That it is very hard to make the change from working full time to being home with your kids full time. I also struggle with my husband being the sole bread maker. I have gone through periods where I don't feel like I am contributing to the family. But really we are saving a lot of money with me staying home and I know what kind of things my kids are learning and how they are being treated and to me that is priceless. I don't know how my husband can leave for the day knowing what he is going to miss. Just remember that there are only 6ish years of your child's life where you can enjoy every moment before they are off to school! Those 6 years can make a world of difference in their lives. So if financially you can afford it I would say stay at home and enjoy the time with your daughter. But that is just me! I trust that you will do what is best for you and your family.
The company might even take you back after your kids go to school. You never know!
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K.W. answers from Seattle on March 20, 2008
You have to do what's right for you and your family, and I totally respect that, but I will offfer my opinion.
I'd say if you can afford it, stay home with her. There are always ways you can find opportunities for some "you" time. For instance, there are some volunteer opportunities out there that have childcare available. Plus, there are playgroups, mom groups and the like, where children are always welcome, so even if she's attached at the hip or chest, you can still have adult interaction and stimulus, plus she gets playmates. When you and the hubby want a night out, you can get a sitter. You can open a seperate saving and/or checking account in your name only, and squirrel some money in there on a regular basis, so you can maintain some sort of control over your financial future, and you can tell your husband about it, or not.
BUT, I think someone else mentioned that once you miss that first....whatever it is they'll do, it's gone forever. You might be the second or third to see the new thing they're doing if they're in daycare. I am still sad that I missed potty-training my son. No big deal for some folks, but that is one accomplishment that I wish I could take credit for. Thank God I didn't miss anything else. My fear was that I didn't want any of my children doing any milestones in a room full of kids where no one else noticed them either. The times I have worked, I didn't have any choice, but if I had had the chance to stay home with them at least until they were old enough to go to school, I would have.
So, do what you feel in your heart is best for your family, but know that there is no wrong way as long as you keep that in mind, that it is what's best for everyone in *your* family.
Good luck. :o)
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