How Do You Know When Its Time to Stop Working??

Updated on January 21, 2019
L.M. asks from Schenectady, NY
12 answers

I’ll start by saying that I don’t need to work. I work because I want the social interaction and love the money. I have a good job with a great company and make a good salary for what I do and I have great benefits. I’m not just working to pay daycare. I’m not passionate about what I do and I don’t have aspirations to grow professionally. Its just a very well paying 8-5 gig. However, I cry almost daily because I miss my 2 year old SO much and get to spend a total pf 2.5-3 hours with her daily and the time I’m with her involves dressing her, feeding her, bathing her and getting her ready for school and to go to bed. I’m so over it and I don’t know what to do!

I’ve now come full circle. I quit my job (with the company I am with now) after maternity leave because I just couldn’t imagine leaving my newbown under anyone’s care. So I stayed home with her for 10 months. I was too depressed staying home and decided to return to work. I couldnt return to my employer because there were no opportunities at that time so I got a job at a small company close to home with a very flexible work schedule (I could make my own hours and work from home). Well, that job (while they were super flexible) became too much for me so I quit and took an easier job with less responsibility for a very big company. I was a contractor with nothing to do. It was horrible but at least I had every other Friday off. I get a call from an ex-coworker from my old company with a great opportunity (FINALLY). All I ever wanted to do was come back after leaving and I finally got the chance. And now I’m thinking I made a huge mistake.......

My company is at least 35-45 minute commute with bad traffic, its not down the street but not too far. They are very traditional and do NOT offer flexible work schedules. Its a very butt-in-chair kind of job where you cant leave when you want or work from home. I’m about 3 months in and its KILLING me to not have the flexibility. I didnt think it would be a big deal but it is. My husband handles daycare dropoff and pickup. He feeds her dinner, plays with her, rescues her from daycare and spends every other Friday home with her (he has 9/80). My daughter wants nothing to do with me. She prefers him over me and Its so upsetting.

I just want to spend more time with her. I want to be home with her. I’ve come to the conclusion that I NEED the flexibility 100%. I want to work but scale back and work 20-30 hours or have a job where I work from home. Why is parenting so hard?!?!? Its a lose-lose situation either way. I just came across a unique part-time opportunity but its a massive paycut. I would still need daycare and we are paying alot for daycare now. What would you do?!? Is this just working mom guilt that I need to get over?? I would be giving up such a good job and money if I quit and would feel like such a jerk quitting after 3 months. Life sucks. Thanks for reading my rant!

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answers from Springfield on

When I was a SAHM I definitely missed working, the social interaction, being with other adults, etc. When your child is very little (like 2 or younger), it's especially hard because they are not old enough to really do anything in a group.

When my oldest was about 18 or 21 months, that' s when we started doing things. We joined a playgroup that met once a week. We signed up for 2 classes (park district & YMCA) that were parent/child classes. These things help! I had a chance to interact with other parents (mostly moms), and it got us out of the house a little.

You might also consider a part-time job. You likely wouldn't make much money, but you would work less hours. Or do some volunteer work - at your church or a neighborhood school. What are you passionate about?

This is a very short season in your child's life. It's not always easy to be a SAHM. It can be very isolating. But it won't be long before you can take a class together. It won't be too much longer before your child can go to preschool a couple of mornings a week.

It's so unfortunate that it feels like your only options are to be a SAHM or to work Full Time. Try to think outside the box a little bit. What else could you do that you would enjoy?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i read your other question first. i wish i'd seen this one.

i think you have to wake up to the cold hard fact that you can't have everything. you are in SUCH a fortunate position to be able to make choices. i'd have killed for that. i worked 3 jobs sometimes when my kids were little, and they were in daycare from 6am until 5 or 6pm.

i'm still baffled by your desire to work and have your own money, and your stated goal to save up so you can stay home when your child starts school. why will doing your own household chores, which you say you don't enjoy, be better then? if you miss your baby now, why not spend the time with her now while she doesn't need to be in anyone else's care?

curiouser and curiouser.


5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Lots of "I Wants" in your rant: I want money, I want flexibility, I want to spend time with my daughter, I want to work, I want to socialize, I want, I want, I want.

Figure out what you NEED rather than what you want. What you want doesn't exist (well, very rarely).

Also, please keep in mind the following:

1. Your daughter preferring husband could happen even if you were home full time - that's just life with a 2 year old.

2. What about weekend time? It sounds like you work straight eights, but you don't mention why you don't feel fulfilled after a weekend with your child.

3. Your daughter will be starting school in about 2 years. If you burn every professional bridge now, what are you going to do when she is in school all day?

I'm not knocking working moms or stay at home moms. However, having realistic expectations are really kind of necessary to solve the problem.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia and motherhood!

if you don't have to work but need to work for the interaction. You're caught between a rock and a hard place.

I work from home. You are WORKING - so expecting to get paid to spend time with your daughter is wrong. You need to make some decisions here. DO you HAVE to work or do you WANT to work? there is a balance. You need to find it.

You couldn't stand being a stay-at-home mom - I get it - it's NOT an easy job. I was there.

Personally? I think you need to talk with your husband and see what HE wants as well. if you don't NEED to work? Then why are you? If you WANT to be with your daughter all the time - why aren't you?

I personally wouldn't give up a job after 3 months for a "Bright shiny object" and that's what this new "opportunity" is - a bright, shiny object. You need to figure out what it is you want and need. You already know you are making a mistake. So you KNOW you need to stay where you are.

Why not find a day care near your work? you can spend the time in the car with your daughter and laugh and talk....

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You don't need to work - you want to stay home - but you find that too isolating - so you work - and then cry almost daily because you are working and not with your child.

Perhaps you need to re-think how you socialize.
Instead of working you could volunteer or join a club.
I think talking over all these conflicting impulses with a counselor will help you figure out what you really want to do.
Wanting to stay home when the maternity leave is up is something we all feel - but I think few actually act on that impulse - we need the job to pay the bills.

You've jumped several jobs since then.
The crying, the work hopping - it's all not really stable.
A counselor might be able to help you figure out if you just haven't found the right situation or whether you have some latent bipolar tendencies manifesting or some sort of hormonal imbalance.
Your child deserves a parent that's not crying so much.
Get some help so you can get more settled.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I've done both - full time, and at home. I found both challenging.

What helped was a really terrific child care situation - where I didn't feel guilty. Knowing my kids were super well taken care of, in an environment where they thrived (great facility, care givers, socializing, etc.) helped. I felt much better at work knowing my kids were loving where they were - and when I picked them up they didn't want to run to me (that actually was a great sign).

You're torn of course. That's natural and all moms feel that. Give yourself a break.

The thing is - I love what Gidget says. I wish there were more options for moms. I find our options are so limited. A sister of mine picked a profession where she could work part time. They are not easy to find (not in my profession for example - if you do, you weren't readily accepted, not really). It also depends on the company etc. You might have to really put out feelers and accept that you will be overlooked for promotions etc. For some people, that will really upset them long term. I was treated very badly when I became a mother at one company - just was. It really pissed me off so I left. At the next place, I didn't talk about my kids at all and moved up the chain. It's sad how companies don't really consider that work life balance for moms who want to include our kids in the mix more. That's life for many of us.

You might want to consider a career change, working part time in some other related field (find one where that's an option), volunteering if you don't need the money - that might lead to a part time job (did for a friend of mine), etc. There are options as Gidget says - but you won't find them if you're upset.

Sometimes talking to a counselor - to get out the rants - is a good thing. It's a good place to start. These emotions have to go somewhere, and at least it allows you to breathe ... and be more positive around your child. :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think you're stuck where a lot of us are stuck at some point in our lives. We learn pretty quickly that we can't have it all. We can have all of it at some point in our lives maybe, but not at the same time. You've discovered that you aren't really happy with any of the existing scenarios, and I imagine it's causing you not just stress but also some depression.

First off, don't worry that your child seems to prefer your husband. And yes, I know how incredibly hard it is to hear "don't worry"!! Most kids go through phases of preferring one over the other, and it's not a reflection on your parenting.

I think you have to clarify some things. You say you don't need to work, but later you say you can't really pay for the daycare. So which is it? Which is most pressing?

Next, you have to prioritize. That's where you're stuck. You don't like being home full time, you don't like working full time, you don't like a stressful job, and you don't like a boring job just because it's close. I think you also have to reconsider the "work from home" idea - it's still work, you still need child care, and kids get in the way of work a lot. So you're going to have to give something up.

You might look into some Mommy & Me groups, programs at the library, or a gym that provides cheap day care while a parent works out. You'd meet other moms and have the social connection you crave. You might even find that you could exchange some babysitting play dates so you had some time to yourself and then could swap with the other mom. At my gym, I was in a very social class of women of many ages, and some had their kids in the babysitting room for 90 minutes 3 times a week. Many of the class members became friends, had pot luck dinners, and generally formed a nice social group.

You could consider a preschool soon - most of ours start taking kids at 2 or 2.5 for some short programs, increasing as the child gets older. You'd get a break, and you'd also meet other parents and form social connections. You could volunteer anywhere that interests you - use your brain and creativity but not necessarily for a paycheck.

Have you considered talking to a life coach? While not a counselor, life coaches specialize in helping you identify your strengths and fears, set some goals, and work out a plan. I think you might benefit from a half dozen sessions to clear your head of all these conflicting thoughts and then formulate a plan.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I worked half time when my kids were little (starting when they could be in 1/2 day preschool) and it was perfect for me. They are both in regular school now and I've upped my hours to 25-30 hours a week (from 20) this year. I love my job AND I get to be home when the kids get home. Also, I'm lucky bc my job is very flexible and I can do it from anywhere. (Note - my job is writing and keeping up a website for a small science research company.) So if a kid is sick or if I feel like it I can work from home that day. You said you don't need to work for the money. (Yet you noted the massive pay cut) If you really don't need the money then my advice is you might want to look for something half time that is flexible. What sucks is you just started at your new/old job and they would not be happy if you left so soon after starting.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Parent hood is SOOOOOO hard!!!!

I worked two jobs for the longest time for a variety of reason, then stuck to my more lucrative job for a few years before we got married and had our son.
I made the choice to stay home because I really wanted to after having to work full time with my 1st child from a previous relationship. It has never been easy, but I don't regret it.
While at times it's isolating and I would LOVE to bring in my own paycheck, because that was me well in to my 30s, I have been lucky to spend time with my kids even when it drove me nuts :)
You need to do what feels right for you. It make take a few times of quitting work, going back etc to know what kind of balance you need.
But as Mama, I'm sure your driven crazy by hubby doing the things you want to do. If you can survive with out your paycheck and you would feel more fulfilled as a mom, then do that. There's always time down the road when your child is older, and you won't feel like you're missing as much.
There's so much pressure on parents these days, do what feels right for you and your family. Don't worry about anything else.
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

The first 12 months with any baby is hard, whether you work or not. In fact, a lot of marriages fall apart in that first year.

Only you know deep down what you need.

Just listen to your heart. Take some time to just silence all the thoughts and focus on being calm. In there somewhere you will feel the pull of the right direction. The important part is making a decision and then sticking with it, through the struggles that always come, so that you can be there for the funner parts.

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answers from Anchorage on

In the end you have to do what feels right for you, and none of us can tell you what that is, all we can do is tell you either what we did or what we think we might do. I felt similar to you so I quit my job and I stayed home for the next 15 years. This had the benefit of having tons of times to be with my kids, and I made the most of it by taking them on outings, doing projects, etc. I had to make sure I found ways to get adult social interaction each day and to also find "me" time for my sanity. My career did suffer, I just recently went back to work but in order to work in my old field I would have to do more schooling then was required 15 years ago, and I was actually pretty burnt our on my old job when I quit so I decided to start a whole new career. The pay is not as good but I truly love what I do now and I will always cherish all that special time I had with my boys as they were growing up. My husband, while glad I had to opportunity, is saddened by how much he had to miss out on thanks to his career in the military when our boys were young. But, if our marriage had fallen apart or something during those years I would have been in a very vulnerable position, so that is a risk you have to be willing to take, but I refused to live my life in fear of a "what if".

I now work in child care and I do often spend more time with many of the kids in my care then their parents get too. I don't judge them at all, whether working is a must or a choice for them there is zero reason for them to feel guilty, but I know many do feel that way sometimes. In the end it comes down to what works best for you and your mental health.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

They are not little forever. And contrary to what you might think or be told, kids actually do need their moms, not just a reasonable facsimile.
Kids need quality time sure. But don't be fooled. They also need quantity. And it sounds like you and your little one are getting neither.
I was a stay at home mom. Yes it's tough. It's especially tough in isolation.
I later started work when they were in Middle school. Even then it was hard some days because, well, parenting is just hard any way you cut it.
But being home with them when they are small, as challenging as it can be, is nothing compared to trying to get through the day with a guilt feeling you can almost taste.

We experience guilt for a reason. And in many cases "working mom guilt" is justified.
Pay attention to it.

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