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.
- 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.
- 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?