The relentless question that always afflicts working but soon-to-be-mothers is, “Should I go back to work when this baby is born?” This is a question which should ultimately be made by you and your partner. Some women prefer to stay home and watch their children grow and achieve milestones in front of their very own eyes, while other women find it necessary to keep their careers going and therefore leave their children in the care of someone else. Neither one of these options will make you a better or worse mom.
I recently gave birth to my first child. I found out I was pregnant shortly after I started my new job and I was overwhelmed with what to do. Should I keep my job? Should I leave and become a stay-at-home mom? I had no idea what to do.
I was also afraid of what my boss would say once I told her that I was pregnant. When the time was right, I told my boss and she was thrilled about the news. She told me to let her know what my plan would be. I felt so at ease and not pressured at all. But once my boss knew, I really had to sit down and lay out the pros and cons of staying at my job versus staying home with my child.
Would I be considered selfish if I went back to work and left my child in the care of someone else? That question haunted me. My husband told me to stay at my job and to leave our child in daycare. We could afford it and it would help my career (because every military spouse knows how hard it is to find a job wherever you move.) I also turned to my mother for advice, and she said the same thing. Like me, my mother struggled finding a job wherever we moved; she didn’t want to see me searching endlessly like herself.
Balancing Going Back to Work and Daycare…
After weighing my options, I decided I was going to stay at my job and put my child in daycare. I know now this decision does not make me less of a mother. I make it my priority that when I pick up my daughter from daycare, I spend all of my free time with her; playing with her, holding her, feeding her, giving her a bath, etc. My attention is on her. Plenty of women have done this, so why would I be any different? It’s all about balancing, organizing and prioritizing your life, and it can be done because it has been done.
I make sure I shower and have her clothes set up the night before. I prep her bottles but do not mix the formula until we leave the house. I wake up earlier than normal to give myself time to get ready: hair, make-up, etc. I then proceed to wake up the baby, feed her, burp her and let her lounge around so I can let the dog out and feed her. Because of my OCD anxiety ridden tendencies, I have to have things done by a certain hour, therefore I depend a lot on time because if something is not done by a certain hour, minute or second, I know I am running late. The last thing I do is get myself dressed, so that I can avoid any last minute spit up.
Don’t judge yourself if you decide to go back to work and leave your child in daycare or if you quit your job and become a stay-at-home mom. Every mother is different, but we all have one priority and that is our children. Whether we work or not, the ultimate concern is our children’s well-being.
If you would like to read about my daughter’s first day at daycare, head on over to my blog, Discovering Ines.