Horribly Conflicted About Returning to Work- Need Advice!

Updated on March 25, 2008
J.B. asks from Portland, OR
19 answers

My son is 11 1/2 weeks old and thus my maternity leave (12 weeks, unpaid) is about to end. I am a Nurse Practitioner at OHSU- I have a very busy and much sought after position. It is a dream job. BUT now I have my dream baby and I don't want to leave him! I talked to my boss a few weeks ago and he agreed to let me return to work part-time for about 2 months, but it is not a long term solution. I don't know what to do! Ideally I want to work part-time but it would be a struggle for us financially long-term. When do you moms think it's "okay" to put a baby in daycare? How hard should I fight to stick to my idealism? My mother tells me I'm unrealistic. I say, screw that! Moms were MEANT to be with their babies until weaned...

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R.G.

answers from Seattle on

Hi J.,

I, too, have a little boy named Ale, for Alejandro (he is my 2nd son, now 4 yrs old)! I say stick to your idealism! I have three boys now - the youngest, Mateo, is 11 months and I run my own business. Everyone said I was shooting myself in the foot by getting pregnant right after launching a business, but by sticking to my gut and getting creative, it all worked out beautifully. I my case, I set up a small childcare in my office and shared a part time nanny with my assistant (who had a baby w/in 3 days of Mateo) and my husband watched the 2 boys in the morning. I realized that my situation was quite particular, but the point is to try to quiet your mind and all the voices and try to envision what the ideal situation would be, no matter how crazy it sounds. Then, try to make that happen. Maybe it's a matter of your husband making more money. Maybe it means researching other ways you can use your experience as a nurse practitioner to allow for more flexibility and/or more money. The system in the U.S.A. is terribly UN-family friendly and my heart goes out to you. Also, you might look into the series that Parent Map is offering. I know there is a big event in May all about the work/family balance and it might give some good resources or ideas. If you go, look for the Salmon Bay Lending booth - I'll be there!

All the best-
R.

1 mom found this helpful
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M.R.

answers from Spokane on

I'd say give part time a try, in 2 months you'll either know the day care thing is working, and can decide if it's worth putting him in full time.... or maybe your boss will realize you can work parttime on a permanent basis... you never know! and you can always decide this feels wrong, i need to be with my baby, and adjust your lifestyle to the change of income for a few years. good luck and trust your motherly intuition! what does your gut say?

1 mom found this helpful
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K.A.

answers from Portland on

I too was conflicted about returning to work after my twins were born. I am an educated mother with my masters degree and was planning on cont. to work until I held my babies and my thoughts changed. I went back to work after they were 10 months and found it really difficult to balance out everything. Then got pregnant again when they turned 1yr! My husband is on a teachers salary and I desperately wanted to stay at home. I am here to say it is NOT impossible to be at home/work part time to see your little one grow. It does take a change in mindset how to make it work. I started looking at in-home businesses and after looking at many... found one that works for me. I sell the best quality of linens bath and spa items...my website: K..privatequarters.net. Totally different than what I ever dreamed I would be doing however my children are more than I ever dreamed of having!! I work around my families schedule and contribute to the family funds. I am there for my kids and husband and it is satisfying. I wish you the best of luck as I know kids change your life! Parenting my kids is the best job I have ever had! I wouldn't want to have it anyother way! K.

1 mom found this helpful
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D.M.

answers from Anchorage on

You are not unrealistic! I think it is wonderful when a parent can stay at home and so rewarding. Do what works best for your family. You may find you work not so rewarding anymore, or you may find that you can have lots of quality time in the evenings.

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S.S.

answers from Seattle on

Hi J.,

That is a problem we all face as mothers! It's so difficult to leave our babies!! I'm not sure if this would be of interest to you but visit my website at www.praibeautyproducts.com. I work part-time for a wonderful company with amazing products and I am doing very well!! It's still in the ground-floor stages so you would have an amazing position. We are only in approx.14 states and need additional help in other parts of the country. I'd be honored to have you on my team and help you to be able to stay home with your baby and still make an income. Check it out and let me know what you think!

S., PRAI Beauty Advisor

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M.B.

answers from Portland on

i agree with melissa from the first post. speaking for myself, i don't think i really knew what i wanted until i did it. before i stayed home i thought that being a sahm would be so fun and i'd get so much done and i'd save money like one of the posters said. but, i honestly think i was happier (and therefore a better mom) when i was working. after being with the kids all day, 24 hours a day with hardly a break (and i have an awesome husband who pulls his weight at home)it's really hard. i don't feel very well rounded and balanced like i did when i was a working mom. and i like to do things with my kids, and that's expensive. we go to the zoo and omsi and jj jump and the indoor playground and out to lunch and coffee with other sahm's and all of those those things cost money. yes, there are free things too, but don't forget that you might want to do some of these other things too and when you're working you wouldn't really be paying for these as much. i'm not saying you shouldn't stay home, i just think if it were me i'd go for the part time work for two months and then take it from there.

good luck!

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T.G.

answers from Seattle on

I encourage you to take a look at some home-based businesses or direct selling companies. With these businesses, you can dedicate as much or as little time as you want to your business. The amount of time you will need to dedicate to your business each week really depends on how much you want to make each month. For instance, I sell Pampered Chef (if you want to learn more about it, contact me at [email protected]____.com and I will give you a link to my website). I'm dedicated to two shows a week and with an average show, I will earn about $100/show. That way I am still at home with my two boys. Although my boys are a little older, they still have places to be and I like to be there with them, if at all possible. It's the reason I got out of the military.

Feel free to contact me if you have other questions.

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J.T.

answers from Louisville on

J., I have a work from home business with Arbonne International. My National VP was a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. If you would like, take a look at www.arbonne.com and you can check out the business opportunity on the far right side of the page, Opportunity Presentation. Her name is Carleeta Nelson and after 4 years working her own business she earns over 70,000 a month. I know hard to believe, but this business DOES offer these results! I work full time as a nurse and make ###-###-#### a month just in my free time. Our team gives free training and support and there is a minimal start up fee of 29.00 plus shipping and tax. I was active duty Army when my daughters were born and both were in daycare by 6 weeks. I completely understand your situation and would love to help you. Let me know what you think and if you would like I can set up a three-way call with Carleeta so you can pick her brain as well! Best of luck and congratulations on the baby!

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J.M.

answers from Seattle on

I agree with your "screw that" statement. I worked in childcare when I was in college and I vowed that I would NEVER stick my child in a day "orphanage" if there was absolutely anything in my power to prevent it. (And I worked in a really good child care center. We were paid well, had a reasonable child to adult ratio, good facility, video camera monitoring of staff, etc. but the bottom line is that there is no real one-on-one with the children and of course some children were "favorites" while others were not.) If you have no choice, then you have no choice and you work with the hand your dealt.

I am also a well educated, licensed professional and it's hard to step away from that dream job. I have colleagues who claim that working outside the home makes them "better" mothers because the time they devote to their children is time they FULLY devote to their children and because they look forward to that time because they've stepped away from them for 9 or 10 hours each weekday. I think this is denial. Child care/mothering is a 24/7 job. Not a two hour per day "kiss kiss, mommy loves you and misses" session. That's visitation. If you had a 40 hour per week job but only had 20 hours you were able to work, your boss would fire you because you would NOT be a good employee.

You're almost certainly going to hear from people from the SAHM and working mother camps. And we each firmly believe that we are correct. But children are tough and will thrive in most situations - so ultimately this is going to come down to what is best for your family.

I believe that there is no way a paid employee can love and nurture my children the way I can and should but staying at home also makes more financial sense than you might think.

As a licensed professional, my income (when I was working outside the home) was pretty decent. But, when you factor in all of the work-related expenses working outside the home isn't that much of a financial advantage. The expenses: Child care, vehicle insurance (which is more when you drive to work), gas, vehicle maintenance, dry cleaning, professional clothes, lunch/beverages that you purchase during your shift, plus the take-out you are more likely to grab when you're on your way home from work because you're too tired to cook/go to the grocery store.

I've had some friends who realized they weren't actually bringing in any extra money.

Staying home can be hard and lonely, but there are so many benefits. (And there are so many other SAHMs you can meet.) My little guys are only going to be little for a short time. I can stay home for them until they are all in school. The working world will still be there when I get back!

Good luck to you in making your decision. That you are struggling with this tells me that you are a very good mother and your baby is lucky to have you!

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E.L.

answers from Spokane on

Hi J.,
I know it is hard to have to leave your baby.
I have Four.
Have you thought of working from home? There are great opportunities for moms out there with the same problem, I work from home, but unlike most of the other businesses, I don't sell anything and I didn't have to pay for any inventory or anything like that. Feel Free to visit my website www.themomteam.com/erinmarie. I think you might be impressed with what is out there. If you don't like mine there are many other options. (I like mine)

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V.G.

answers from Seattle on

Hi J.,

I can totally understand how you feel! I was fortunate to be able to stay home with my boys until they were in school. Like another poster suggested, I would look into a business you can do from home. With your background as a nurse practioner maybe doing some type of consulting work? What about teaching a health related class once or twice a week in at a local community center?

If you would rather start something totally different with a product and company that is already in place there are some great companies and products out there. Your background would help you with anything. Compare the profit margin, compensation plan, company and products to find one that fits you the best.

Personally I've been very happy for the past 2+ years as an independent distributor for Scent-sations, home of the cleaner-burning Mia Bella Candle! As a health professional it would probably be important for you to know that the candles are made with natural vegetable waxes. If you would like more information, feel free to contact me or visit:

http://www.bellamiacandle.scent-team.com

The most important thing to know is that if you want to you can stay home and be successful in a business venture! Keep reminding yourself of your reason for wanting to stay home, keep focused on your goal, be positive in your thinking and belief in yourself!

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E.W.

answers from Seattle on

This is a very hard choice to make and I sympathize.
I also strongly recommend that you spend as much time with your baby as possible.
He will only be a baby for a very short time, but you have years and years in the future when you can go back to nursing.
There is no one else on earth who can appropriately mother Ale', but there are any number of other nurse practitioners who could fulfill the responsibilities of your job.
Set your emotions aside and objectively examine your expenses and your income. Could you make lifestyle changes that would allow you to spend less money, and thus earn less money? Most likely, you could -- because most people are not very careful with their money before having kids!
There is a natural, or "god-given" reason why you are horribly conflicted -- you yourself SAID Moms were meant to be with their babies. It really is best. Good luck.

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M.D.

answers from Seattle on

One thing I did when I had to consider returning to work....the cost of my working. day care, lunches (knowing I would probably eat out a few times), fast/processed dinners, gas to/from work and day care, clothing for work, work related expenses, coffee/lattes, etc. many of these expenses would not exist if I was home...less gas used, no day care (that only saves $600/month), lunches I get to eat leftovers...two for one...use leftovers and spend no extra money, I get to cook healthier dinners, clothing....doesn't matter much...ok not that I wear rags, but it doesn't have to the best and socks/slippers work most days vs hosiery. I can make my own coffee/lattes etc.
This helped my husband and I see that my 'extra' income was spent very quickly! Not to mention the non financial aspects of housekeeping. Being home I can work on the house bit by bit. If I was working full time I would want/need to pay someone to come clean my home....afterall I would not want to give up more family time on my off time to clean house/do laundry.
all of this of course is secondary to mommy time benefits for my children and myself.
This paper/pencil activity just helped me and dh see what would be the cost/benefit of my return to work.

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C.T.

answers from Seattle on

The best piece of parenting advice I ever recieved was to listen to my gut. It's advice I've never ignored and it's never lead me wrong.

What would the p/t schedule mean for your family? Would it be possible for you to keep nursing? Could your care provider bring your son to you for a feeding? Would your p/t be in the form of a few hours a day or a couple of really long days? Are finances an issue? Let's face it for most people they are most American's have over $9k in credit card debt alone.

The answers to these questions will help you know where you're at and how to best prepare for what's ahead.

We struggled with infertility for 3 years there was NO WAY I was putting my child in care. Fortunately I had a job (as a office mgr for an ND/LM) that allowed me to take my DD to work with me. That worked for about 9 months or so but it wasn't the best fit and I left to stay home with her full time.

If finances are an issue I really recommend Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover. I'm in the process of reading it now. It's radical thinking but I've always been a non-conformist so it works for me.

My children are both four now (one each through the miracle of birth & adoption) and I'm home w/them full time. I also have my own business but I didn't start out looking for a business and I work by appointment only so I have the best of both worlds. A place for everything (figuratively speaking) and everything in it's place. With all the time freedom I need to be involved preschool field trips, etc.

You can do this, just remember no one knows your son the way you do and he can communicate better with you than anyone else. One of the reason I left my day job was I realized how unhappy my DD was there. When I clued into that, it was an easy decision. Best of luck to you!

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A.H.

answers from Portland on

I agree with a lot of the other comments. You should figure out a way to stay home with your child. Your baby needs you. It's the most important job in the world! :)

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T.M.

answers from Portland on

Hello J.... I have the same issue right now as well. I love my job. It's perfect for me. I stay busy in the community and I am always on the go. I will be heading back to work at 10 weeks which is only 4 weeks away and I am so nervous about balancing my #1(family) and work. I really don't have any advice since I am in the same situation, but I wanted to let you know that I am there with you. If you find a secret to success or if someone gives you some good advice, please pass my way. :))) My biggest focus is staying close to my little angel and making sure she gets everthing she needs. I love her more than anything else, so its hard to know what to do. BUT, I do know that it will all work out. It always does... :)))

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M.E.

answers from Portland on

Hi J.!

I'm with you, stay with Ale as long as you can! If you need the additional income and are interested in a fulfilling position where you can help others while working around Ale's schedule, please check out the following presentation: www.presentation4women.com. If you want to learn more contact me at [email protected]____.com you the best--good luck with your decision!

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D.W.

answers from Seattle on

I am a Partylite Consultant. I love what I do and have several Mom's with baby's that do this business. You can start for free by have some friends and family over for your Grand OPening show. With a $350.00 show, you get everything in your starter Kit Free. You can set up for people to view the current book online and take orders over the computer and by phone. Set up party's with your friends that also have babys and offer them a free shopping spree for doing so. They get free product and you get paid. We average $35.00 hr on up for doing this.
Partylite is a very supportive business that offers you to be the CEO of your own business. This is the Only Home based business out there that is Free to start, with no limits on income. My Regional Vice President makes a 6 figure income doing exactly what I'm doing.
If you are interested in learning more, contact me.
[email protected]____.com
www.partylite.biz/debywhalen
this is my website. :)

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J.W.

answers from Eugene on

Hi J. - I feel your pain. I had to return to work when my daughter was 12 weeks old. At first I was a little excited to return to work, although I knew I was going to miss her. I've been back to work now for 6months and it's only gotten harder. My job does not allow me to work part-time and I carry the insurance for the family so I feel there is no way out. I would love to be at home with my daughter, but feel I'd be irresponsible if I didn't give her insurance. It's good that you're boss will allow you to work part-time for now. I hope you figure it out. If you have any tips let me know as I'm always looking for a way out of the workforce. :-)

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