22 answers

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....

What can I do next?

More Answers

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:)

2 moms found this helpful

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!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,

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)

K. W.

1 mom found this helpful

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:
play dates
work from home part time
volunteer somewhere
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. :)

1 mom found this helpful

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!

1 mom found this helpful

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.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.! If you can do it. Stay home with your child. I have two: Michael will be 6 next month and Katelynn is 4. I have been the primary breadwinner in my family their whole lives and it has been breaking my heart. I finally came up with an opportunity where I can replace my income and work around their schedules instead of working them in around mine. If you are interested in learning more about this opportinity (to keep the independence that you crave:-)), please check out this presentation: www.presentation4women.com and if you would like more information, then please send me an e-mail at ____@____.com luck and congratulations on your daughter:-)

I'm in the same spot, i feel exactly how you do regarding the husband thing, and being independent...but in my case.. i got fired for being pregnant.. so i will not be going back to that business.

good luck and i hope you decide what you are comfortable with.


Stay home! Honestly, if it is in your heart, go for it. You can always work again later if you figure out it isn't for you, but you will never regret giving it a chance. You could commit to staying home for a year and seeing how you like it. It takes a while to get into the groove of being a stay-at-home mom.

I was nervous about it at first too and was sad to give up my career, but I can go back again someday if I choose to. No, it won't be the same position or company, but I still have earned my education and work experience and no one can take those away.

If you do stay home, make sure to reach out and make connections with other stay-at-home moms. When my oldest was the age of your daughter, I went to new moms' groups at nearby hospitals and from there met moms to create a playgroup once our babies graduated. The playgroup was a lifesafer. We met once a week and it was so nice to be with moms with children that were the same age and going through the same things. Once our kids started preschool, we stopped meeting regularly, but I loved having the support during the first years. Another idea is looking into MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers, which is birth to kindergarten). Go to www.MOPS.org to look for one in your area. I just made sure I had *something* to do a few times a week- playgroup, play date, Gymboree class, MOPS, OMSI, the zoo, etc- to make sure I didn't feel isolated.

I am so happy to be at home with my kids and feel so, so blessed. Yes, it is hard and people that work ask, "What do you do all day?" But at least I don't have to ask my kids what they did all day without me, because I was there to experience it with them. I know a lot of people don't get to choose to stay home for whatever reason and it isn't for everyone, but their childhood goes SO FAST. I want to be with them to enjoy every milestone.

Good luck!

I know exactly what you are going thru with this struggle. It is hard to decided. Our situations sounds very familiar. I had a 17 year career, worked since a young age and had my daughter at age 37. I chose to be a SAHM and it has been one of the hardest struggles I have ever dealt with. It is such a change from being a career oriented person. I think you deal with identity issues, independance issues, and a myriad of other things. It has taken me about a year to adjust but I will tell you that I am so happy about my decision. So for as many struggles as I had, I had as many joys. I feel so blessed that I have this opprotunity to raise my daughter. I look at it like a life change and a time to figure out a new chapter in my life. I do plan to return to work when my daughter is older. I also kind of feel like this new job as a mother is the hardest job I have ever had too and will probably list it on my resume!!!! LOL. With all the things we do as mothers, I am quite impressed with my new skills!
Good luck in whatever you decide to do. And know which ever way you go, you are completely blessed with a beautiful child and will be an awesome mom.

Hey S. -
I think I am going to pretty much agree with what everyone else has said. I have two children, ages 2 and 5, and they are with me all the time. I am also a full time nanny for a family (1,8,12 year old kids). I am a very busy woman, but I am also making money to help financially with my family. Most men, I think, really enjoy having their "women" at home, holding down the fort and raising the kids. I know my husband does, although I have to keep reminding myself that I do work full time. maybe there is a way that you can find a job that you can take your child with you. I agree with a lot of the mothers, i would have been heartbroken missing the first steps, rolling, eating, talking, smiles, and if you are breastfeeding it's much easier than constant pumping!! I know that the woman I work for (and it is a FULL-TIME job, with a paycheck) wanted someone that had children, so her kids would have kids to play with, and then mine do too. One woman said that she didn;t want her kid bonding with the nanny too much, which is silly too. Do you want you child to be miserable when you are not there, or LOVE the person that is watching them, and then be beside themselves with happiness when you get back?
okay, i am rambling. Final thought...My older son complains when we have to go to work because he doesn't want to go everyday, me either. Other kids will complain if you aren't there. Sometimes I feel guilty that I take them with me everywhere, but then I remind myself that when they get older they will be able to say that I was there for EVERYTHING they did growing up, and I missed nothing. I think that's pretty important. Good Luck!

Hi S.,

I don't know that I have and advice per se, but I can share with you what I've experienced. When my first son was born I was a single mom. I had no choice but to work, and it was very very hard to do. I cried many times while at school or work missing him.
When he was 4 years old I got laid off from my job for, oh, I don't even remember, several weeks, maybe even 2 months....anyway. I LOVED being home w/ him for the first time and found some at home work to do. Then my employer called me back to work, and I went.
Within a few more months I got re-married and pregnant again, and when the company announced they were going to have to do some lay-offs, I volunteered.
It was nice to be home w/ my little boy, and later his little brother, BUT we struggled very hard to live on just my husband's income.
Over the last 5 years I have been home predominantly with a few stint here and there to go "back to work" only to discover the price of working just wasn't enough. After paying daycare and gas, and buying work clothes, and eating out more because I was too tired to cook, I wasn't making a thing. (Granted, I'm talking part time, but well paying jobs, around 30 hours a week.)
In that five years my husband and I have started our own business which is growing, and had another son.
Just this last September I decided that I needed to go back to work to help with the expenses, and also to get back some of my old self.
My two youngest are in daycare, and 90% of what I make goes straight to my provider. The other 10% goes to groceries, gas, eating out, really I probably don't make anything at all, but I am greatly enjoying my freedom. I'm enjoying the fact that I can use the hour or two after work before picking up the kids to run adult errands without them, to volunteer, and to run my business. I'm enjoying my moments spent with them even more, and concentrating on quality time, not quantity.
HOWEVER, and this won't be something you have to deal with if you plan to only have one.....but Summer is coming and my oldest will need somewhere to go all day every day. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do because that extra 10% left over from my checks isn't going to pay for a provider for him. We are now in the situation to decide if I pay to work 3 months out of the year just to hang on to my wonderful job and my freedom, or if I quit work again knowing that I won't get my job back.
Anyway, the reason I posted all of that is so you can see the long term effects for both decisions. It's not an easy answer, and the answer may change from year to year, or month to month. You have to make the right decision for your family. Hopefully the financial side isn't a problem for you the way it is for us, but honestly, I don't know how anyone affords daycare for more than one child. It's very very expensive if you don't have family to help...I don't.

You have already received much wonderful advice and encouragement. I have been home with mine for 21 years with no regrets. I have a degree in Engineering but chose to stay home. I have heard many people regret not having more time with their children and that would love to be home but can't; yet I have yet to hear someone express regret that they stayed home to nurture their children and put aside a career, and later said they wished they had done differently. Not to say it has never happened but it is not typically what you hear. What a blessing that you have the choice. I have had the joy of helping my husband with a business he had and now we have a home based business together that we love. It is called Spreading Hope From Home and will soon be listed on the business page. It is very similar sounding to what someone else wrote of with their home business. Economists say the paradigm is shifting back to more people working from home which I think is a wonderful thing for families. There are many options our there.

I am excited for you as I would not trade those years of mothering my little ones full time for anything! It brings tears to my eyes as I think of it! M. F

Hi S.,

Go with those feelings, not the thoughts of what you should do. What do you feel in your heart? I couldn't go against my feelings and leave my little girl. She is now 5 and she is a very balanced stable child with a bright future because I was there for her when she needed me. I found a good company to work for at home and I can work around her schedule and be there when she needs me. Thank you for your post and feel free to contact me if you need to talk. Contacts on my website. Blessings



Hi S.,

You have received some excellent advice already. I totally agree with weighing your pros and cons, and suggest you really look at the family budget. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover (if that's a factor).

I have worked literally my entire life. I grew up in a family owned/operated business and don't know what it's like to not work. I really don't care for the notion of being "dependent" on anyone either. That is truly scary to me.

I used to manage a naturopathic office and take my daughter to work with me. After spending 15 years as a nanny I was determined to raise my own children and my boss wanted me back so she got a package deal.

However when my daughter turned 9 months I just couldn't do it anymore. She was starting to be more alert and needed/deserved more of my attention. So I quit to stay home. That was a weird mental adjustment to make let me tell you.

I had started a business with a party plan company and really put my focus on that for two years. Ultimately I lost a lot of money trying to make a go of it because of the constantly changing inventory, catalogs, etc.

I did through my daughter's issues with eczema end up finding another business to work from home and it's been an absolute answer to prayer.

You probably know a lot of people who met their spouse when they "weren't looking". Well that's what happened with me and my current business. I wasn't looking but it landed in my lap and it didn't have ANY of the pitfalls of the MLM/party plan industry.

For 3 years now I've been working from home with our daughter and now our son next to me, on me, etc. I can work while I wipe tooshies and have worked while I was changing diapers (but fortunately we're past that stage now) lol.

Is your career something you can come back to in a few years? Is it something you can keep an hand in, in some fashion (staying current through CEU's etc.)?

I am blessed everyday in what I do that I am able to help others. I have an ad on mamasource that I invite you to check out. Many of my business partners have reviewed it.

If you're wanting to stay home but still have something to call your own and maintain that self-sufficiency I would love to share what I do with you. You may or may not be interested. Rest assured I don't use any high pressure tactics.

You can find my ad under the Local Business Reviews Section, Employment Category and Subcategory: Home Employment. My business name is: www.BeHappierAtHome.com

Best of luck in making your decision!

C.-WAHM to 4 y/o virtual twins

I know how you feel, but I highly recommend staying home with your baby. This is the only chance you'll EVER have to do this. You don't want to miss it! It really is a nearly impossible decision. So hard! I have been stuggling with the same thing ever since my first son was born 4 years ago. Good luck!

I began staying home with my two little ones and gave up a career in my twenties to do so. For me, being home with my children was really important because I did not want to miss anything. On this end of things I can tell you time feels slow when you are in it, but at the other side your baby will grow up in what feels like a few long summers. I can't even believe that some of my children are grown. It was a precious fleeting time and I would not change having been home with them for the world. But, I remember how hard it was to make the decision, and it was a financial sacrifice, worth every minute. Good luck!


A little about me: An early forties mom to 6 children ages 24, 23, 21, 19, 16, and 2.5.

Hi S.,
Boy, this is a tough one. With my first babe, I was working as the director of a Head Start center and LOVED my job. I thought for sure I was going back to work once she was born. But once I went back it just didn't work at all. All of the sudden, I hated my job! It is hard to rely solely on my husband for our income, and I was afraid we wouldn't make it financially. But to my delight, once I quit, we saved so much money by not driving in every day, eating out, buying clothes, etc. we didn't even notice the lost income. The main thing is to do what your heart tells you is right. Don't worry about your brain. Take the time to really ask yourself what you can live with later, what you won't regret. There will always be time to work, you've been working all your life and this time with baby is limited. There may also be a compromise, so talk to your employer. Maybe you could get someone to help out in your house and telecommute? Maybe work a couple of days a week? Maybe take a year sabatacle (sp?)and come back later? There's always a way to make it work! Good luck! L

weigh the pros and the cons. i think the idea of going back to work part time is a great idea and day care in that part time that you are away will give her time to be with other children. you need to find a way that is good for your child but fulfilling for you too. another idea would be to work at a daycare. as long as you are happy your child is happy.

the advice so far sounds great. If you can afford it, why go back to work.

being financial dependant on your husband can be hard. I have been there, but what does that mean to you? Will your husband not let you have money if you aren't working? Have you talked to him about it? Is it that you are accustomed to some luxury items and might have to give them up? Is giving them up worth spending more time with your baby?

You have been with the company for 17 years, so if you stayed at home even for another year or so, would your chances of getting rehired be good? Have you asked them? Could you work part time there, or at a similar company? What about a home business like Pampered Chef or Mary Kay, so you could have grown up time and money?

Just remember. You don't have to be 'giving up your career'. It could just be letting it go for a while during the years that your child needs you most. (you'll have to give it up again when she is a teenager!!)

You decided that a baby was what you wanted, now is the time to follow through and make her the most important thing. What is best for her?

Deep breathe! I went through the same thing. I went back to work after having my first two months after he was born. It lasted about three months. I couldnt handle it i was soo tired and i wanted to be there for him. Not to mention the cost of daycare kept me on relying on family and friends to watch him which wasnt easy. On the daycare topic...if you put her into daycare expect her to be sick ALL the time. Ill get to that in a minute. When i found out i was prego with number to i was relieve to be a sahm and was excited i would get to enjoy actually being prego. After having the second i need to go back to work just for time for me and to get connected with other grown ups and make money at the same time. I worked part time at motherhood maternity. then I decided that work there was going so well i would commit to somethinga bit permentant and went to work full time putting my boys into daycare. Daycare was good for my older one on the social side but both of them had nonstop colds from the time they started until after i pulled them out which ment alot of sick days for my hhusband and myself becasue they cant be at daycare even with a small fever or the pukes. i found out while working full time i was prego with our thrid and in Jan of this just called it quits...it is easier for me to be at home and the kids like it soo much better. So with all that being said my advice to you is to stay at home especially since she maybe your only. You want to be there when she rolls for the first time and sits up and crawls. And what you could do is get something that both of you can do. I signed up to bea secret shopper and that way i dont rely completely on my hubby for money and it gets all of out of the house. I is a hard choice to make i know and you will make the right choice for you and the family!!! good luck!!

Is it possible to go part time or work from home? I didn't want to completely give up my job either, so I work one day a week and some from home too. My husband stays home with then on the day that I work, which is great for little girls, to be with Daddy! It is nice to get out of the house once in a while, no matter how much you love your kids! Not to mention getting dressed up, talking to adults, using your brain :)

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.