Saturday, 31 October 2015

Returning to work: The pros and cons of being a working mother

I am coming to a bit of a dilemma at the moment. I've been home with my daughter for the past year and while I love it, financially it is tough living on one income.

Unfortunately I never had the choice to return to my old job. I was on a contract before I had bub and my organisation was trying to cut staff, so a non-permanent employee having a baby was a cheap and easy way of cutting down on personnel. As a result I have come to a bit of a crossroads as to what I should do now.

I am contemplating going back to university to do more study, in a completely unrelated field to where I have previously worked. This would be my 4th university degree (yes, I'm crazy). My other option is to find a new job and part time work is not easy to find! The final option is to remain a stay at home mother and continue to live on a shoe-string budget.

I have been thinking about the Pros and Cons of returning to work. Here's my little brainstorm.

Pros:
  • The extra income is a big pro. With a mortgage, kids, life... the world is getting more and more expensive. Living on one income just often isn't viable anymore.
  • Building your career. I worked for so long and so hard to build a career and to climb that ladder a little. As a mother, taking time out of your career can be a big challenge. Have your colleagues lost respect for you? Have things changed in your field? Is taking time off going to set your career back? Are you even still able to do your job!
  • That feeling of doing something more than just being a mother. Not that there is anything at all wrong with being a stay at home mother, but I feel the need to do more.
  • Using your brain again, as stimulating as Sesame Street is... 
  • Adult conversation. I do miss talking about politics and the world and other peoples lives... I'd even love a conversation about the latest episode of 'The Bachelor'.
  • The change in routine. Breaking up the monotony of changing nappies, cooking, cleaning and entertaining a small child.
  • Feeling useful. As a stay at home mother, its easy to feel like you aren't really 'useful'. I find myself saying sometimes 'I'm just a mother'. I know that its the most important job in the world but sometimes its great to feel like you're helping the wider community and to get a little recognition.
  • Maternity Leave. Returning to work may mean I have maternity if we decide to have a second child soon. Not returning would mean that a second child just wouldn't be possible in the near future.
  • The sense of satisfaction. When I was working and completed a project or got a promotion or even just delivered a killer presentation, I felt super satisfied and proud. I miss that feeling of accomplishment and personal achievement.
Cons:
  • Childcare. It will eat up half of what you earn, if not more... and that's if you can even find a spot! Then there's spending all that time visiting 1000 centres only to find they cant even offer you a place until 2018. 
  • Finding work. Especially part time work. It is not easy! If like me you don't have a job to go back to, you spend all your 'free time' applying for jobs. Between looking after a house, a child and applying for jobs you are lucky to even have time to sleep.
  • Missing milestones. What if I miss those first real words? The first time she jumps, ties her shoes... I've been lucky to spend a year with my bub and I've seen nearly all of her first big milestones, but I hate the idea of missing things and not seeing every little new thing she does.
  • Missing your little person. I love being a mother and I love spending time with my baby. She's an awesome little person with such a beautiful cheeky personality. I love spending time with her, playing with her, taking her places, going on playdates. I hate the idea of not spending so much time with her.
  •  Working long hours and on some days barely even seeing your baby. In my last job I would sometimes work from 8am til 6pm. If I did that now I would rarely see her awake. I also have a very long commute to work. How do you cope with only seeing your child on weekends, especially when you are used to spending all your time with them?
  • Guilt of having someone else raise your child. Ok exaggeration? Maybe, but don't you feel a little guilty that someone else is doing a lot of the hard work of looking after your baby when its something you should be doing? Or is that just me?
  • Maintaining a work life balance. How do you keep all your commitments at work and at home. I feel like work used to take over a lot before I was a mother. How do you keep the balance when you return to work?
  • Feeling overwhelmed! I have a lot of anxiety and its only got worse since having a child. I just wonder how I can do my job as well as I should, especially after having been out of the workforce for a while. Meanwhile trying to look after my child and keep my house clean and be a good wife. How can I do everything!! I'm stressed even thinking about it!

What did you do? Did you return to work quickly? Were you lucky enough to work for a supportive organisation who was generous with maternity leave? Or are you a full time stay at home mother?

How long did you stay home with your babies?

xo

Linking with:
Honest Mum
Ultimate Rabbithole

14 comments:

  1. Such a huge dilemma. I'm going through the same thing, no words of wisdom for you, sorry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. tricky decisions isn't it! Hope you work it out :)

      Delete
  2. Brain stimulation! I've recently gone back to work part time, and it is lovely to be able to have grown up conversations and not have toy cars thrown at me! Best of luck finding the balance that works best for you and your family x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha yes adult conversation would be lovely wouldn't it!

      Delete
  3. Lu, I went through this and I have three darlings now, with the youngest being 1. Finding part time work was hard, but simply through networking I was able to find some writing work. There are many opportunities for virtual assistants and online copywriters. Your blog acts as a resume for you. Consider all options. For me, being with my girls during the day is important so the flexibility of working from home suits me... although life is busy. Good luck with working out exactly what you want to do. And don't ever feel guilty about childcare. Life is different these days where two parents need to work to make ends meet. Daycare is fabulous at keeping little minds entertained and it helps them build their social skills with other kids while looking after them so you can work and make ends meet to provide for their needs. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to do some more copywriting or similar but I'm not stellar at the networking thing... that's great you could find some writing work, that would have been fabulous for you! Childcare will have its upside I bet, it'll be nice to have some socialising for her.

      Delete
  4. It's a hard one. And one I don't have to face luckily. I do work from home when my son is at day care twice a week, but I don't need to. I work purely for something else to do than being a mother, but I don't need to financially. I feel for you Lu, as it would be hard to leave your daughter to work, but you really have to weigh up the options. If you really want another child, then maybe it's something you have to do? If you start looking, something perfect may pop up. Even if you can do something from home, and just put her in care a couple days a week? Good luck anyway. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love to work from home, if I had any idea how to get some work lol That's great that you don't have to work, I'd love to not need to work, but I think I would anyway like you do. I've been looking for a while, but after we moved to a small town a fair distance from anywhere with jobs (particularly skilled jobs I would actually want to do) it isn't easy. Fingers crossed the perfect part time work shows up!

      Delete
  5. Oh it is such a hard choice and you have to do what feels right for you. I have three kids (a daughter and twins). After having my eldest I went back to work 4 days per week. My mum looked after my daughter for one day and my husband reduced his working week to 4 days so that he could have a daddy day every week. It was harder to decide what to do after having twins as the childcare costs were such a big factor. I now work two extra long days in the office and two evenings working on line from home. I like the challenge and the stimulation of having a work part to life but there are days when it is exhausting! Good luck in finding what works for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aww a daddy day would be great, I bet he loves spending that extra time with the kids! Sounds like you've found a great balance for yourself :)

      Delete
  6. Oh Lu, it's a tough one. I've returned to work after having each of my three children. I've only been back about 2 months now. I find the balance of part time work suits our family best. Even though childcare takes a big chunk of your wage don't forget things like superannuation and annual leave and possible maternity leave. While I feel torn about it, I've really valued and treasured my time with my kids much more when I work part time. Good luck with your decision xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think part time work would suit me the best as well. The trick is now to find it lol Glad you found your balance!

      Delete
  7. Such a dilemma and no matter which way you go there will always be guilt I'm afraid. I took 12 months with each of mine and went back part time 3 days per week after both. Im lucky my employer supports flexible working otherwise I would have had to find a full time job elsewhere (there are no good part time marketing roles unfort). So I do feel a but trapped in that if I want to leave and pursue something different I'd have to go full time.
    Its also really challenging working part time. You miss things and feel like your always playing catch up. You also feel like a burden to your colleagues when they have to change meeting days to suit you. My confidence took a big dive too and it's taken me years to get that back. Gosh I make it sound terrible but somehow you just make it all work and it does give you that sense of self. Good luck working it all out. And thanks for linking up to the ultimate rabbit hole xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds tough :( I'm feel that going back part time I'll have to take a lower level position than I was previously and that's really hindering me at the moment, I worked so hard to build my career and will probably have to take a few steps back. Its horrible in this day and age that working mothers have to feel like their careers take a dive to have kids. I'm sorry you've had such a struggle with it. I hope everything is on the up for you now!

      Delete