Anyone Regret Getting Back to Work After Being SAHM ? Need Some Advice..

Updated on April 08, 2013
M.L. asks from Saint Paul, MN
23 answers

I am a mom to an almost 3 year old son. I started working part time when he was 6 months old. And a year later, I quit. The guilt of leaving him was too much for me even though I was only working part time. He used to cry everytime I dropped him off at daycare. (he used to be fine somedays , but mostly wouldn't want me to leave). It was a very good daycare that I had choosen for him. But then winter came and he started falling sick very often. That was when I decided to stay home with him.
Now almost 1.5 years later , I think I might have this opportunity to get back to my old workplace. When I quit my manager did ask me to contact him anytime I want to return. I got to know through a friend, that there is a opening right now. I might not have to even go through the interview process! This seems very very tempting because all I have to do is let them know I want to go back.
But then , I don't know if I want to leave my son at daycare again. I am looking for preschools for him now and plan to send him half days. He really needs the social interaction and I think he is ready for preschool. But if I get back to work, he will have to spend the whole day there. Also now I am spending all my day with him. But once I start working I might get a maximun of 2 hrs everyday , that's it. Cooking, housework,cleaning takes a lot of time for me as I cook fresh daily or at the max, every 2 days. Also, my son was not eating well at all at daycare before. So I am worried about the same this time as well.
I am leaning towards not going back to work. But somewhere I know this is a great chance to get my career back on track and I won't get this chance again. Due to some other circumstances , I am at a place where if I don't get back to work now , I will be home the next 2-3 years atleast. At that point, getting back to work will be very difficult after such a long break.I am a IT professional , so experience counts a lot in my area of work.
So I am very confused. I always pick my child over my career , this time too. But somewhere in the back of my mind I feel it might be OK to send him to daycare now that he is 3 years old. He is not a baby anymore and will be going to preschool anyway.
My husband refuses to help me here because he wants this to be my decision. He is fine either ways and money is not an issue for us. All my friends and colleagues with kids same age as mine are working. Am I only one to feel this way? I know they are managing work and kids , am I the only one to feel so sad about it?
Anyone been in my situation , got back to work because of a good opportunity inspite of not being quite ready for it ? Whats your experience been after that - are you happy to be working or do you miss being home for your kids when they get back from preschool/school? I know this has to be my decision but I really need some help making that decision. Please write to me on what your thoughts are. Thanks in advance!

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answers from Kansas City on

People only work for 2 reasons....they 'want' to or they 'have' to. It doesn't seem like you 'want' to or 'have' to. So don't. There will be other opportunities!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Myers on

My son is three as well and I was working part time. I recently went to work full time and it hasn't been working out. I put my son in preschool full time and he likes it, but now that he's exposed to all these other children he's sick all the time! I was prepared for him to get sick a couple times, but I've had to leave work early 4 to 5 times in the past 3 months to pick him up from school due to illness, then scramble to get someone to watch him the next day or two while he's ill. He was never sick before he started school. My boss has been very understanding, but I just told her I need to go to part time because I can't commit fully when I'm getting calls from his school all the time. Also, the house is a mess, I'm exhausted, and we're not eating healthy home cooked meals very often because there's no time to cook. You'll have other opportunities and it'll be easier when he goes to elementary school.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Don't let those mommies with their "don't let someone else raise your child" guilt trip get to you.
My BFF went back to work when her kids were six weeks old and she is a happy, fully engaged mother with two awesome kids (happier than a lot of the SAHMs I know, that's for sure.)
Do what YOU want to do, what works for you and your family, and your child will see that as "normal."
My kids are older now, so I have known many, many families and kids over the years. Guess what? There is NO difference in the kids of working vs. non working parents. Happy, smart, well adjusted kids come from happy, smart, well adjusted families. Period.
I wish I had gone back to work sooner, by the way. Try being out of the workforce for 18 + years. I manage to keep myself busy enough but it sure would feel good if someone actually wanted to pay me for my time :-(
But I guess the grass is always greener, right?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If you don't want to or have to, but can, I think asking your boss about part time to match your son's 1/2 day preschool is a great idea. See if it could happen.

If you do go with the full day, 3 is a good age because they do love to play and they are able to play with others. They can talk to you a bit about their day.

But don't do it just because the people you know are - they may not be in the same position financially or whatever. Do what works for your family. Explore your options, talk to the boss and go from there. It will take several weeks and there will be crying, but I know my son enjoyed it - I had to stick around one day after I dropped him off (crying) and 10 minutes later peeked in the door - he was fine, playing. It made me feel better.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have to say, I had the worst time working while my eldest son was at home. I have now been home for 5 years and have three kids. I feel so blessed that we are financially able to do this. I do not regret quitting my job to be with my kids...BUT I admit there are times when I am a little saddened at the loss of my career (because I did love it before I had kids). I have done some freelance work here and there to keep my resume current and I am always on the lookout for a potential "work at home" opportunity.
A few months ago a friend called me and offered me a really amazing job. It would be two steps up from where I was when I quit and really great money. However, it would be full time and then some...lots of hours. I knew that there was never going to be a chance like this again...I struggled with it for a month or so. Then I sat down and really envisioned myself getting ready for work every morning while getting the kids ready for daycare/school. I envisioned them spending all day with someone else who gets to see them grow up and share all of the cute moments I love throughout the day. I just couldn't do it. SO...I'm still keeping my eyes open for the right opportunity, but it was a tough decision!
There are so many amazing women out there that get a lot of fulfillment out of their careers and have no problem balancing being moms & working. I think you have to really love what you do - make the decision based on you love it enough to make a few sacrifices on the home front? If so, take the job! If you are really unsure, it might not be the best time...

Side note: A while back Oprah did a show comparing working moms to SAHM - studies showed no difference between kids raised in either situation. Also, as someone else said: quality, not quantity - they said that 20 minutes of complete quality time a day is enough for a child to feel cared for an loved by a parent. My dad worked A LOT when I was a kid and yet, I thought (and still think) he is the greatest Dad/human being alive :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I worked part time, also, and found it to be the perfect balance. I was not happy as a SAHM. I love my kids, don't get me wrong, but I was just so much happier when I was able to work part-time.

The opportunity for a full-time job came up, and my husband and I talked about it a lot (really, really talked about it a lot). It was a unique opportunity. My oldest was starting full-time PreK, and my youngest was
2 1/2. We decided to go for it. It's not always easy (our house is always a mess), but I do like my job and we really did need the money.

It does sound like you are not 100% sure you are ready to go back to work. That's fine! You have to be ready for this.

It's important not to let yourself think it's now or never. That is very rarely true. It's so easy to get that idea stuck in your head. Opportunities come up all the time in various forms. It might not be this exact job or this exact company, but there will be other opportunities.

I wanted to take the job. I do miss not seeing my kids more during the week, but as a teacher I am with them all summer. That was a huge deal for me.

Try to relax, take a step back, and remember that it really isn't a once time deal. If you're not ready, you're not ready and that's ok. Another opportunity will present itself, and it might even be better than you think!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

If you don't HAVE to work then I don't think you should if you don't want to. Jobs come & go. Your child will only be little once. The regret of leaving your child will always be more than the regret you'd have if you passed up a good career opportunity, I guarantee it.

Being a full time working mom is MUCH more stressful than doing part time. Other moms may be able to do it and balance it all, but honestly, who cares what anyone else is doing? I honestly don't know one working mom that feels 100% happy or fulfilled with working full time. Do what you feel is right in your heart. If you can do part time, why not have the best of both worlds?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Billings on

I think if you have any doubts you should stay home with your child. You will never look back and think "gee, I wish I would have spent less time with my child when he was younger" I like to look at my options with "what will I regret the least"

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Are you going to have a 2nd child? If so, I wouldn't go back as it sounds like that will mean full time day care for an infant... Likely you've thought about that though. But what about hiring a nanny? If you're going back almost 100% to secure future employment vs you need the money, maybe you won't be banking that much after you pay the nanny (or maybe you will) but it would be a long term investment in your career and you'd avoid full time daycare. At 3, full time preschool is kind of daycare... I've never stayed home but have a similar issue to you that if I quit my job now, I could likely never get back into my field and certainly not in the lifestyle position this job offers me. So it's kind of a now or never. I've done it now for 8 years and don't regret it bc we've always had a full time nanny and I don't work long hours and am very close to home. So I'm still with my kids a lot, have housework and cooking done for me to a large degree which cuts stress a lot, and my kids haven't spent long hours away from home. While we don't need the money really either, my job is also the main income so I'm happy we've built such a nice savings while my kids have had it pretty good. So maybe there's a compromise you can find. Working full time and having to bring a child to daycare every day, pick him up, manage the house yourself is a lot for the whole family. If that was my option, I likely would have stayed home. Btw - even with a nanny, we had our kids in some part time preschool once they were old enough and seemed to want the interaction.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

What is your long run plan? To stay home while he is in FT school from K-12, or to re-enter at some point? If I was planning to re-enter in the same industry I previously worked in, i'd go for it now. But, I'm open to doing pretty much anything that is of interest and a good schedule/pay, so I don't really need to hurry back to work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

i went back and regretted it. I actually enjoy my job enough and having a money cushion is good i guess, but really if I had to put my kid in daycare or even long day preschool, I wouldn't do it. Being my kids mom is important to me, and i personally couldn't do that very well if someone else was raising them. My kids are old enough for elem school and mil gets them off the bus and stays with them for 45 mins until i get home but it is not ideal at all. luckily my work is seasonal and soon I'll have a cycle were i'll be home for a few months. My advice to you would be to stay at home and NOT do it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Can you work PT?

I worked PT after my oldest was born until I had my youngest daughter. Since I had my youngest, which was 10 years ago I have been a SAHM. I love it! I have a masters degree in business but I don't intend on ever having to use my degree if I do go back to work. Over the last couple of years, I've realized I don't even like business;).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I think if you were ready, you would jump at the opportunity. I don't think you'll be happy if you go back to work right now. Of course you have to make this decision by yourself. This may sound kinda cheesy but make a pros and cons list. Maybe it could help you in your decision.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

In the end, you really do have to go with your gut. But, daycare is not evil! At age 3, he does need socialization. He might even LOVE preschool. My mom said when I was 3, I'd cry if I couldn't go to daycare! Also, a friened once told me that its not the quantity of time you spend with your child, but the quality. If you go back to work, make the most of every free minute you have with your child! I would personally go back to work-you might not get this opportunity again! But, its a very personal decision taht only you can make. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I have to say that if you don't have to work and you are happy at home, then why push it? If you feel the need to work but are not sure if you are ready pick another part time thing (not the one you could go back to) and see if you are ready. That way if you decided it's still not the right time, the old company won't have any hard feelings, with you leaving again. If the job thing goes well you can then call the old job and go back. Personally, I love being at home and now that my kids are in school, I have an opportunity to help in the classroom and parties, etc. SAHM is always the job that I wanted, but you have to do what makes you happy. Just because some one else is happy working doesn't mean that you will be too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Davenport on

I am a SAHM with 2 kids, a girl, 6, and a boy just turned 4. I have been at home for over six years, since I got put on bedrest 3 months before the first was due. I started to work very part time ( 2-3 four hour shifts a week, and only while DH could be home with the kids) again, when she was 9 months, and worked there till I had my son, 1.5 years later. After having him, I took a 6 month "maternity leave" and then work there again for another 9 months, the same very limited schedule - 8-12 hours a week, and only while DH could be home with them instead of me, so evenings and weekends, either 5-9 pm or 10 -3 pm on a Saturday.

I LOVED THAT JOB. It was local (I could walk to work) I didn't need a fancy wardrobe, it was fun, I met and talked to people....I worked as a librarian, and a website designer for the library. BUT it wasn't a "career" move, and I only made minimum wage. I would love to have that job again, but only if I could be home or DH could be home when the kids were home. I don't want to work just to make money to pay a daycare or babysitter, and be miserable/missing out on my kids lives.

I think my DH thinks I will try to get back on at his place of work where we met, where I worked pre-babies, once the kids are both in school full time - once little man is in full day Kindergarten, in 1.5 more years. I don't know if I want to do that, unless we can arrange our schedules so that one of us stays later in the am to take care of breakfast and get the kids to school/school bus, and the other leaves extra early and comes home early to get them from school and start on homework/supper. The money is good and it is a secure place to work IF I can get back on after 8 years absence, BUT it is not worth the extra stress on the family and extra drive and whole new wardrobe if we would all be miserable.

If you can find a way to balance it, work part time, or move your schedule and get more time with the kiddo, I think that is the best choice, or try it full time and see if you like it. Talk to the hiring person about your concern and love of being a mom and see if there is a way to be flexible, IT is a field where that is possible, depending on what exactly you do.

Good Luck, it is such a hard choice. Occassionally I wish we lived back in the old days where we weren't expected to do EVERYTHING, where we could be "just a mom" or "just a wife" and that was OK! I hate that there is pressure to do it all!




answers from Minneapolis on

I would go back, in your shoes. Pick a great daycare center for your child --they are out there. Try to let go of your daycare fears. I have worked in several, and the best ones are great places for children to be, with loving, responsible, thoughtful teachers. My sons went to a fantastic Montessori daycare, and we've never regretted it.

As for crying, I've been through that a million times, and 99% of the time, the child stops crying and starts playing in a few minutes. The other 1% of the time, a child cries longer, but then stops doing it at the beginning of the day within a week.

What about you? Don't you want financial security? Don't you want adult time? To feel purposeful and appreciated for your smarts and skills? If something happens to your husband, you'll need to be able to support the family, and the longer you wait, the harder it will be to get a good job.

I have a master's in early childhood education, and teach preschool in a public school. I love what I do, and my sons have not suffered from having a working mom.

I want you to try to put yourself first for once. Your son will do well either way.



answers from Honolulu on

IF you don't mind changing your job field... MANY Moms at my kids' school, get jobs AT their child's school. Then that way, you have the same schedule/vacations as them.
Think ahead, and perhaps you can get a job with your son's elementary school that he will be attending.
I work at my kids' school part time.
I am also a SAHM.
And it works out great.
I can still be home with them after school etc. and am off on their same school schedule.

At 3 years old, Preschool is best, versus Daycare.



answers from Parkersburg on

Honestly you may never have this same career opportunity again. However, you definitely won't have these sweet early childhood years again. It still has to be your choice and you need to decide what YOU will regret in the long run. The loss of a career opportunity or the loss of time with your little one.



answers from Sioux Falls on

I think by three years old your son will do well back in daycare/pre-school. I used to feel so bad when I would drop off my son at daycare (he started montessori at one year of age). He was home with me for his entire first year so it was a big change, especially since he was there from 7am to 5pm. But everytime he cried, I asked the teachers how long he cried and they said only until I left. He is now three and he fusses about going every now and then but as soon as we get to the daycare, he is off to play with his friends. I think the socialization at their age is really important.

I also took a year off for my second son. (We also don't need the money but it provides a nice cushion.) He will be joining big brother at daycare soon. While I've been at home with my younger son, my older son is still going to daycare, from 8:30am to 3pm. I do feel bad about going back to work but everyone always tells me how well spoken and well behaved my older son is - I totally credit that to the daycare. It is really important to find a good daycare. We visited actually had television time in the infant room (!!!!!), one was chaotic and loud, one had the kids eating right by front door all in a row and was super camped. But then we visited the montessori and it was full of light and laughter and the kids were so well behaved. We pay A LOT but it is a great location.

Yes, I hate only having a few hours every evening with my son but as my youngest has gotten older and doesn't sleep all day, I now spread out the housework throughout the entire week and I prepare dinner the night before (I don't cook it, just have everything prepared for the following day). Of course, that leaves me with about 30 minutes, if that, for myself but right now, it's all about my two boys.


answers from Washington DC on


If you aren't ready for it - you won't be giving your employer your best. So you need to think long and hard on this one.

If money is not an issue and you plan on going back into the work force, then now would be a good time.

They are only young once. It's a hard decision. For me? I had the opportunity to work with my kids at was a great opportunity.

Your husband is right. This is YOUR decision. No one else can help you. You need to find out if the wages you earn will be enough to pay for day care or pre-school - also if it will be enough to carry the other costs of working - wear and tear on care, gas, clothing, hair and nail care, etc. cleaners (it really does help when you work outside the house to have a cleaning crew come in once a week to clean).

Right now - I'm lucky - I get to work from home. However, my kids are now 10 and 13 and are pretty self-sufficient. I have a lot of flexibility in my job.

If you enjoy being a SAHM - and can afford to stay home - then do. Only go back to work if you know you are ready for it. You want to be able to enjoy your job - you gotta love it - love what you do - if you don't? then you won't be doing your best and be a disappointment to yourself and your boss.

Write out the pros and cons of you working...what would you gain out of it by going back to work? What would you lose? Is this a "dream job" for you or is it just another job?

Good luck!!



answers from New York on

take it. if i had your opportunity (and money is not a problem for us either) i would take it in a heartbeat.



answers from New York on

If money isn't the issue, I would just experiment with temping and part-time.

I am in the exact opposite situation. I HAVE to work but am unemployed--long-term.

Good luck. Follow your heart.

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