When Did You Have to Go Back to Work?

Updated on May 22, 2010
J.G. asks from Colorado Springs, CO
23 answers

Hey, when did you newer moms have to go back to work after having your baby? Or when are you planning on going back if you haven't had your baby yet? Were you looking forward to it, or dreading it? If you did/do get to stay home, how will you survive financially? What alternatives have you considered? I'm just curious to hear what others have done, or what they are planning. Thanks!!

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answers from Denver on

I cried all the way to work the first day and I was able to bring my son! It just didn't work for me. I found a company that gives me great balance and allows me to bring in an income and stay at home. I own a virtual franchise and I love it!



answers from Chicago on

I took one year off after each child, we have three. I work at home and watch two or three other children in my home. This way I am always home for my kids, and they always have playmates. My older ones are in school all day. So, I try to find families that will be able to pick their kids up by 4:00. That way my big kids have their space and/or all of my attention when they get home from school. It has worked out great for us!

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answers from Myrtle Beach on

We decided for me to be a SAHM 3 1/2 years ago, Luckily my husband makes great money, so the money I made from my part time job, was extra spending. There are days I would love to get out of the house and makes some extra money, but overall I LOVE staying home a sacrificing the extra money. I don't buy myself anything, other than getting my hair done.... I love that I am the one that says I taught that to my daughter. If you decided to go back, that is great! A lot of my friends couldn't wait to go back after their baby was born, and that doesn't make them bad people, everyone is different! Good Luck on your choice!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

We had decided we wanted me to stay home with our first and then when he came 8 weeks early that made the decision for us. But I wouldn't have had it any other way. My hubby was in school full time and couldn't work so we lived on meager student loans, didn't go out to eat, I watched sales, used lots of coupons, cooked lots from scratch because your $ goes farther, learned to make meals that would go far for little like rice and beans, stir-fry with whole wheat pasta (so we got protein without having to include meat), cloth diapering and breastfeeding are huge money savers, looking for free things to do in the place we lived.

I wouldn't trade being home for anything in the world.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I took 8 weeks off when my daughter was born. It was extremely hard for me to go back (she is our first), but my husband works swing so he stayed with her during the day which made it a little easier. After a few weeks of getting used to it, I was happy to be back and have a break. Its funny now that we think of work as a little break, but it is. I get to interact with adults and then the time with my daughter is extra special because I make the most of it.
I think I am a lucky working mom though because my job has been so flexible, they let me work part time when I need to (which I did last summer) and I got to purchase extra vaction so I have about 30 days to use throughout the year...so I am guilt free about working!! (now she is 2 and in daycare part time and that has been a great experience for her, she gets to play with other kids for a few hours a day 3 days a week)


answers from Detroit on

I had to go back to work right when my son turned six weeks old. I was truly a single mother so i had no choice. I lucked up though because my cousin's aunt-in-law(lol) ran a home daycare and I didn't have to look any further. I had got fired when i was 7 1/2 months pregnant and started the union process in between then and birth time so the day after I had my son I got the letter from my job that they had to give me my job back. They owed me back pay but I knew they would procrastinate on giving me that money( and they did) so i had to get back to work! I don't regret my decision, I had to do what I had to do.



answers from Denver on

I think I am very weak, when I had my first son I was VP of a very large corporation, making well over 6 figures. Once I had the baby I did fine with the notion that I was going back in 3 months. After all, I worked hard for this job, I am living up to the income level, I had to go back. We moved into another house when my 1st was a month old (great time to move, I didn't have to do anything), as soon as we got settled in, I started to dread the transition back to work. The president of the company even came over to visit and gave me an additional bonus package to come back to work. By the time it was time to come back I couldn't do it. I called and told them I wanted to step down from my position and go to work three days a week. At the time my mother could take my baby one day and my neighbor could take him two days - perfect solution. My company allowed me to come back under part time terms and a cut in pay. Ultimately, I lasted 4 months and quit.

I have worked a bit here and there for companies on a contract basis, but ultimately have not held a job in 10 years. I do freelance for extra money and yes, I am broke. I now have three kids and one on the way. I miss the money but will never regret my decision.

I can always go get a job, I will never get the chance to raise my kids again.

Hope this helps.

P.S. I thought my husband was going to have a heart attack when I told him but he and I made it through with flying colors.


answers from Richmond on

With my first child, I waited about 3 months to work and it was SO HARD!! With my second, I had no choice, I went back to work when she was 3 weeks old. That was harder, because she was soooo young and I was BFing. With my 3rd, I didn't skip a beat, because I work from home. I literally took 3 days off, and those were the days we were in the hospital and our first day home. I learned to always have pictures of baby around for when I was feeling sad (or guilty), and that I actually could enjoy the 'time off' from baby, even though I was working. I always kept it in the front of my brain that my children were my reason for working, so that kept me going. I had bad days, but the good days were what kept me going! Hope that helped, good luck!



answers from Stationed Overseas on

Up here in Canada we have a 1 year maternity leave. In order to qualify for it though you have to have worked 900 hours in the previous 52 week period. Doesn't matter how many jobs you've had to get that, but that's how you qualify. Because I was laid off just before I got pregnant with my second child, I used the hours for unemployment insurance instead, which we actually call employment insurance or EI, so I didn't qualify for maternity leave this time around. Maternity leave, if I had qualified for it, would have been 55% of my gross income.
So at the moment we are living off of my husband's income. My son is now 3 1/2 months old. I am looking for part time work at the moment. I have considered work at home options such as Avon and Mary Kay but haven't totally decided what I'm going to do.
Financially we are barely making it at the moment. Part time work would definitely make a difference. At the moment though, because I've sort of been spoiled by the Canadian system with my first child, I can't stand the thought of working full time yet. So even if I can find a way to pull in an extra few hundred dollars a month that will keep us a float.
Good luck to you.



answers from Denver on

J., when my son was 10 months old I felt like I needed a little more outside the house time and we needed to money. I put my resume on Monster.com looking for a part-time job in the evenings. I found the perfect job! But. . . . (of course there's a but) another company saw my resume and offered me a full-time job that was too good to refuse. I took the job and immediately found out I was unexpectedly pregnant with number 2. Now we needed the income because the economy was going downhill. I am now "trapped" in a full time job that I really don't want because I don't want to work full-time. What I'm getting at is be very careful about going back to work. You might just end up working more than you want to. Of course, your situation may be totally different than mine but it is difficult to stop working once you have started again. Best of luck with your decision!


answers from Denver on

I am a working Mom and my husband stays home. I managed to stay home 8 weeks with our last baby (short term disability & a well-timed bonus) & it was way too short. I'd switch with hubby in a heartbeat.



answers from Austin on

With both of my children my employer provided 16 weeks of FMLA. The first month was at full pay, the last portion I could either take 50% pay or use vacation and sick time. I decided 2 years ago to stay home (after my youngest turned one) and haven't regretted it.



answers from Denver on

My daughter is 4 now, and I've just had a second, I stay home and here's how I came to the decision.

I had 3 months maternity leave, I told my supervisor that I'd let them know if I was coming back to work midway through. I agonized over this decision, 'cause I was raised in a family with women who do it all and are hard core highly educated professionals.

My husband and I sat down and crunched the numbers:
my salary
- childcare
- personal upkeep
- food
- misc
- fuel cost
= very little extra brought home each month.

So the hidden costs of working + day care would mean I'd only bring home an extra $200 a month, and that's not worth it for me to miss my first baby growing. The firsts that I got to see being home full time with her more than made up for the budget we had to live by---and they still do.

Also, I asked myself, "Why do I feel the need to return to work?" and when the answer came to me it was "because work would be easier". There's always an answer at work, there won't always be an answer if I stay home...a totally unfamiliar challenge.

I decided to keep it simple. Being home with my kiddos, and running the household is more than enough to keep me busy. Now and then I still get questions from my aunts or my mom regarding when I'm going to get a masters, or go back to work. It may be hard for them to understand, this was a decision I made with my heart and I'm happy with it---wouldn't trade a moment.

Good job mommin', J.!



answers from Provo on

With my first, I kept working for the same place and changed from full-time to part-time and got them to allow me to work from home. I think they were hoping it would transition to working full-time in the office again, but here it is 5 years later and I still work part-time from home. I'm lucky that what I do allowed for this kind of transition, and also that I worked hard enough and had a good enough relationship with my boss to arrange this. Also, we only needed part of my income and I was already covered on my husbands insurance, so the switch to part-time was easy for us.
For me, I would not have considered anything less than what I got. I sometimes fantasize about being a full-time SAHM, but part-time work helps me keep my sanity and since I work from home I don't miss out on anything with my kids.Good luck to you! This is a hard decision and a hard transition no matter what you are able to do.



answers from Phoenix on

I have a home daycare, but took 6 weeks off after my daughter was born. I hired a second full-time assistant and the daycare stayed open while I was on my leave. I really didn't look forward to going back to work, even though my baby would be staying with me and my commute was only 13 stairs, just because I knew once I was back working in the daycare she wouldn't be getting the majority of my attention. It was hard for a while, because I felt like I had spent barely any time with her even when she was right near me all day, but we can't survive without my income.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I was torn on whether to go back to work or stay home, and after a VERY stressful last few weeks I decided to stay home. What we're doing to help supplament our income is I have started taking an online course for Medical Transcription so that I can work from home. I have a few friends who do that and they love it because you have a lot of control over your schedule, and since most companies pay per transcript that you do you can also control how much income you need. If you're struggling one month, ask for a few more jobs to do, or if you need to go on vacation ask for less. So far the class is going great - most people will finish the class in 4-6 months (it's self-paced online) but you have a whole year to finish. I know that there are several schools out there that offer the program, but if you're interested then look into them and just make sure that they're accredited. The site I am taking the course through is http://careerstep.com. They also have Medical Billing and Coding, but I've seen those coding forms in a previous job and personally I didn't want to go near that, but some people like it better, so just do some research and you can make a decision.

Anyway, whether you go back to work or stay home or try out a work-at-home possibility I wish you luck and hope that you're happy with whatever your decision is! :)




answers from Minneapolis on

I work in "corporate america" and had 6 weeks of short term disability covered leave, and 6 weeks of unpaid leave. I always think going back to work is somewhat easier than being home- the work is very different. Every company is going to be different. We were fortunate after we had our daughter to be relocated which allowed us to make "lifestyle" changes that changed our budget requirements and allowed fo rmy husband to stay home. When we factored the cost of daycare for 2 kids we figured it was almost a wash! Best of luck to you!



answers from Denver on

When I was pregnant with my first I started thinking about staying home but thought we could not afford it. So I decided to have my entire paycheck deposited into a savings account while I was pregnant and see what we could do on just my husbands salary. It took a lot of sacrafice and scrimping but we cut our budget in 9 months to make it work as we both felt strongly about not having a daycare raise our children unless necessary. The extra savings paid for all our medical/delivery expenses and some extra stuff we needed when my son arrived. After he was here there was no way I could leave him for at least the first four to six months. If you can I would try to see if you could make staying at home work. Start by knocking out debt the fewer manditory payments you have the better! As far as medically I had a C section and healed quickly. I was home in two days and able to drive and clean house after a week (not that being on infant time allowed me to LOL).



answers from Washington DC on

I was in the military when pregnant with my first and I still had 5 years on my contract so I had no choice. I had to go back to work at 6 weeks or go to the brig and it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I swore that I would never do it again. So, after my divorce I met my current husband and he agreed that we wouldn't have another child until I could get out of the military so I could be at home with the kids.

We both got out when I was pregnant with my younger son and my husband went to work for military intelligence again, just as a civilian this time making about three times what he used to make. I actually got out of the military on a medical retirement due to an injury I got at work and subsequent surgeries I had on my back from it (with associated partial paralysis of my left leg), which means I get a small pension and retain military benefits. So we're doing good financially even though I haven't "worked" since the beginning of my second trimester with my younger son, three years ago.

We bought a house about two years ago in a country neighborhood in a small, rural county and I'm a SAHM now just like I always wanted to be. I homeschool my older son and will start some formal homeschooling with my younger son in about a year. I've coached my older son's soccer team (with the little one in a Chicco baby carrier on my back! lol!) and I've taught my own children to swim. I get to cook a really nice dinner every night since I'm home and can manage some of the more complicated recipes and even make my own up. I cook a lunch for my husband every night after he's asleep and leave it in the fridge for him to take to work, as well as ironing his work clothes, for the next day. The boys and I get up late, so my older son gets to stay up late at night and we just hang out and spend time together reading or watching movies or playing video games. My house isn't always spotless (after all, the boys and I are here all day messing it up) but it's clean enough and usually tidied up by bedtime. The boys and I do a lot of experimenting with making our own products, like soap and I've been able to take up sewing and crocheting again. I have the time to preserve my own freezer jam again each spring which I'm thrilled about and we're planning to start a vegetable garden and can our own veggies for the winter etc... I'm not saying that a working mom can't do all of these things, but trying to when I was a working mom wore me to a frazzle over time and I was always in serious need of re-charging.

We got a family membership to the YMCA which has three hours a day of free childcare so long as you don't leave the building, so I have the opportunity to work out, or swim, or just sit on the couch in the locker room for a half-hour and read. I even sometimes use it to just take a long hot shower. I never leave them for the full three hours, it's usually just an hour for working out a couple times a week, then I take them swimming. That's a valuable resource for a SAHM if you have one close by.

I'm really very happy, and more importantly, I know that my children and husband are too because I can be the glue-that-holds-everything-together mom/wife that they couldn't survive without. It feels good and for me it's very fulfilling. It makes me feel empowered that I have the ability to make our house a home and to set the tone and mood within that home. Mom holds the heartstrings of this family but I'm very careful with them. To me there is nothing more important than the next generation and I feel that I didn't have children just to hand them over the strangers for the majority of their day. They're my children and I'm the one actually raising them, so I feel I am doing the right thing. Others may feel differently and that's their prerogative, but for my family, this is the right thing.



answers from Denver on

I have 3 kids and had 3 different experiences.

Honestly, I went back to work with my 1st because I wasn't ready to stay at home full time and was fortunate enough to have a great employer who let me cut a day with each of my first 2. It was hard to leave them, but I loved my work, and Mom's mental health was a consideration (I am an older mom and work is something I've done since I was a teenager). Staying home was a big transition, even though I was only working 3 days a week when I finally made the jump.

With my oldest, I took 12 weeks unpaided leave, and returned to work 4 days a week. Putting her in daycare was hard (my husband dropped her off in the am, I picked her up, making it much easier on me and allowing us to have her in daycare for fewer hours because of our work schedules). I went back to work at 10 weeks with my second (had to use 2 weeks before she was born), but cut my hours to 3 days a week. With my third I was a full time say at home mom, my oldest had started 1/2 day kindergarten, and it just wasn't worth the commute and daycare with a third on the way.

We get by on 1 income by driving older cars (no car payments), coupon shopping, not eating out and vacationing inexspensively (camping, vacations with family), trading clothes for the kids with friends (I have friends who give me clothes, and pass ours onto others), and shopping consignment stores for the kids.

You do what you have to do, and make it work for your family. I have days I miss work, and more days that I don't know how we would make it work at this point. Being at home has allowed me to volunteer at school, scouts, and involved and volunteer in the community - things I couldn't do as much of if I was working outside my home.



answers from Seattle on

My employer offers 3 months FMLA and 3 months of maternity on top of that. I took the full 6 months and it was still hard to go back.
I eased back into work by initially working PT (first one day a week, then two...etc) and my mom was with us for 3 months, so my daughter actually didn't start daycare until she was about 8 months old (here again, we eased into it PT).
Financially it wasn't so much of a problem, because we had saved up some money during my pregnancy and we live within our means - so for a limited period of time we could make it work.
I like my job (to a degree) but I hated leaving my daughter in daycare. Still do. It just isn't right in my eyes, but we all do what we have to...
Good luck!



answers from Denver on

I teach music lessons, so I was able to go back after 6 weeks. I was teaching school classes about that time. I only taught for the first year, and then decided it was too much. (I was taking baby with me and letting him play in Daddy's office.) After #2 and #3 I'm just home, with a very few private students. I only teach during nap time. I totally have loved being at home with the kids. I'm totally for staying home, now! I wasn't before kids. Then I thought it would be nice, but not possible financially. We've been fine, although we have had our fair share of tight times.

The best advice I have for survival is to set a budget and live by it. Then you can truly enjoy buying clothes or eating out, and don't have to feel guilty about it. Couponing helps, too. When you look at it, be sure to include all the hidden costs of working -- gas, childcare, extra meals eaten out, extra prepared meals instead of fresh meals, cost of work clothes, etc. Often it's really cheaper for Mom to stay home.

You didn't mention what you do for work, but working from home, if possible is really a nice compromise. A few hours a day is reasonable -- 3 or so, maybe.




answers from New York on

My company is not large enough to qualify for FMLA. So I was only given 6 weeks maternity and I took 1 week PTO for a total of 7 weeks! It was terrible! I do work from home FT now, but it is a legit job, not one of those online scams. I've been with my company for over 6 years now and we were recently allowed to work from home!!!! We have a babysitter come into the house while I work.

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