View Full Version : looking for advice about stayign at home vs. going back to work

05-27-2003, 03:25 PM
i had no idea where to post this. maybe there's a better area?
I am currently back at work and have been for about a month now. my son is 5 months old. I miss him but found great childcare and that si workign out well. I am just havign a terrible time decising whether it is worth it to be back at work. I miss my son and every morning I am upset leaving. I thought i would be haopopy about returning to work because I feel so good about myself when I work. Originally when i started working I was the sole/major breadwinner and now that is not the case. I never thought of myself as a good type to fit the stay at home role but maybe I am growing into it? I need some advice. Financially I can work it out staying at home we'll just have to tighten up a bit (a lot) but I fear that I won't be able to get back into work when I want to. I am so lost. Did anyone else go through this? any advice? factors I should be considering?

05-27-2003, 05:15 PM
I find that every woman has a different answer for herself with this issue. For myself I was offered a job by my father to work from home the friday before the monday I was to return back to my job. My heart was breaking to think I would have to give him up to someone else. Being home has been extremely challanging and absolutely wonderful. Every new thing I got to see myself, not told from a caretaker. My DH calls every day and I get to tell him how DS is doing. For us money was an issue and we had to have two incomes. But I have to tell you that if you can afford to stay home you really should. Not because you would be a bad mom if you didn't, but because your little one will never be a baby ever again. These times are so precious and when they are in school or pre school I think for me that is a good time to seek employment. I love being home and I wouldn't have it any other way. Your heart sounds like it is with your baby so why not make both of you happy. Forget the money, it's just money. But your baby's first crawl, first word, first step, those are moments of pure gold. That's just my thoughts. But if you don't stay home, this doesn't make you any less of a mother. Mom's who stay at home are just as good as you! So keep your head high, but it sounds like you already know what you want to do.

Best of Wishes!!!

05-27-2003, 07:20 PM
It sounds like you are having a hard time deciding what to do. This is a hard choice to make. I know what you mean about tightening up a lot. That's something we had to do when we decided that I would stay at home. We looked at our finances and I wouldn't really be adding that much to the household income if I was working due to all the childcare expenses and the expenses of working (eating out, clothes, higher grocery bills, etc.) I would look at your finances too. You would be amazed what you can cut out. The benefits of staying at home are seeing the developments of your children. From my personal experience, my mom stayed home more with me (she worked weekends) and switched her career when my brother was younger to a tax accountant. She missed a lot of my brother's development and she felt like she cheated him of her time, however she could afford a lot cooler toys for him, a bigger house for us, and we ate out a lot. There are a lot of factors to look at. If you really like working, maybe you can work part time.

I hope I'm helping. I'm going to post on the Lounge for people to give you advice too, because I'm not sure how many people look in this forum.

Proud Mommy to Martie 4/6/03

05-27-2003, 09:59 PM
I feel for you. It's such a complicated question. It's not just about staying home with a child vs. money. It's also about power in a relationship, career, keeping a piece of your individuality, knowing you can enter the working world again, and it goes on. I lucked out years ago by choosing to go into nursing which affords many more work options. But I still had to struggle with whether to stay in my full time faculty position and do daycare 10 months a year, or step back from my academic career. I'm resigning my faculty position, taking time off, then I'm going back for part-time off shift work at the hospital when my DS is 8 months. If I were 27 vs. 37 I'd probably be making different decisions. I feel very comfortable with my career and my status in my field right now. The one thing I'm not having a problem with right now that seems to effect a lot of stay at home parents is the lack of schedule/contact. Because I haven't worked a 9-5, 5 day a week job in over a decade I dealt with a lot of that isolation feeling and ways around it years ago. If you do plan to stay at home I would recommend trying to reach out now to mother support groups, play groups, etc.

Your partner also has so much to do with it. I'm harder on myself about not getting things done during the day than my DH is. He knows taking care of a baby is a full time job. I think that's the other complaint I hear a lot from stay at home moms, that their husband just doesn't appreciate the work they do. I just have to say I've seen so much in my career as a nurse I just felt that you never know when something will happen and I wanted to be 100% comfortable with my decisions. Once I thought of it in those terms my decision was clear, but still hard to make.

Mom to Harvey

August Mom
05-27-2003, 10:42 PM
I think this is a decision that you have to make with your heart more than your mind (assuming that financially you can make staying at home work out). If your identity is mostly shaped by your occupation, you might not enjoy staying home and having no stimulation from your work. Perhaps part-time work or working from home would be better for you. However, I can tell you that as a profressional woman (attorney), I have no regrets staying home full-time and I have no desire to work part-time from home even though my former firm gave me that opportunity. Taking care of DS really is a full-time job. We have rough days of course, but most of the time we have great days. Nothing does more to brighten your day than your baby smiling up at you and crawling over to you to be picked up. Plus, I know that DS is/will be taught the values and behaviors that are important to us, not those of my childcare provider. That is important to us -- that I be able to influence DS all day long. I'm sure that there will be challenges being reemployed when DS is older. I will have to explain taking those years off and away from the practice of law. Frankly, though, I'm not really worried about. I'll deal with it when the time comes. I'm not the first woman to stay home with my child.

I agree with the recommendation of finding a playgroup if you do choose to stay home. That gives you a planned activity and adult interaction. It's really important to get out of the house.

Staying home is not for everyone but I have no doubt that it was the right choice for me.

Good luck in making the right choice for you.

05-28-2003, 12:20 AM
The only reason - and I do mean ONLY - I work is that DH and I are on opposite schedules and we work for the same company. I work days 7-3 and he's in 4-midnight, so Aidan is always with one of us. It was very important to DH that we share completely in the care of our son, and I have to admit it, he's usually better at it than I am! I feel better when I am working because I know DH is getting quality time with his son and he feels the same way when he's working. However, this work schedule is murder on a marriage and we're lucky in that we've usually worked like this, so we were prepared to have a little more of a strain than usual. It's been rough, but we're managing. I almost decided to stay home, but I realized that I was just a better mom when I was working. It's a hard thing to accept, but at least he's home with Daddy when I'm not there. It's made a world of difference for me.

Mom to Aidan Christopher 01/28/03

05-28-2003, 09:48 AM
I think that every mom is torn like this. It is a hard decision. Here is a recent thread where some of us talked about leaving a career to be a SAHM.


There is no right answer to your dilemma. And I agree with whoever it is that said if I had been younger when I had DD, I would have probably made a different decision. Having her at 33, I felt like I had made a good start in my career. When (and if) I do decide to go back to work, I know I will have to start over in many ways. But for me, that isn't so important. I have the confidence now that I can succeed in the business world. My view is that my baby is only a baby once, and I only have ONE chance to be with her as she grows up. I have lots of time to continue my career after she (and other children) are older.

There is the age old adage, that when on their death bed, no one says "I wish I had spent more time at work". I really thought about this. I have also really come to believe that while you can "have it all" you may not be able to "have it all at once". Some people are able to manage the stress of work and raising a child, but I think I would be a disaster at it.

Good luck in your decision!

05-28-2003, 10:06 AM
Your responses almost brought me to tears! You are so right about missing those moments and babies only being young once. Jonah is my first and only but if I have the opportunity to stay at home now—when I don’t have three or four (hopefully!) tuitions to pay and a mortgage, etc.—I should grab it. And you are all right—I have pretty much made up my mind it’s just that I am just paralyzed with fear that I am not thinking everything through. But I know in my gut what I want right now and I shouldn’t think of it with such finality. I am pretty young (25) and if I wanted to get back in the game later on, it might be tough, but I’ll find a way.
In terms of finances, the truth is I really am not bringing home so much after childcare, etc. And most importantly—I don’t LOVE my job. I like it fine, but I am a pretty happy person overall and I’d be okay doing many things. Right now I am going to work part time for a while to see how I like that. I am lucky that my office offered that. It will be tough (I am a journalist so I will be handling the same requirements just in a shorter timeframe) and if it gets too much to handle, then I will take some time off. I have a feeling (strong feeling) that that is what is going to happen. Jeanne you are so right that it is so much more than money vs. staying home. And Jennifer—wow! That sounds like an incredibly tough and incredibly impressive schedule to handle. I have a lot of options so I am really thankful that my hands aren’t tied.
I am also going to go over our finances (again!) and see what else can be cut. If it means that he can’t have the newest toy, but I can be around to play with all day, then it is an obvious choice. (although I really love buying those Lamaze toys…)
It is so helpful to hear all your experiences. Although I have many friends with young kids, almost all of them had short term jobs and decided way before having a baby that they would be home full time. So thank you so much!

05-28-2003, 10:13 AM
I love the not "having it all at once" idea. and just to make this thread fit into the mommy fit column, when i stayed home for the four months after jonah was born, i managed to lose all the weight I had put on, and being back at work I see it creeping right back on--i have a pretty sedentary job--so running after my baby might be a bit more helpful in that area. just another thought...

05-28-2003, 11:04 AM
There was a commentary on Morning Edition on NPR about this today. I think this is the link:


I'm fairly technically challenged, so I hope that works!

Mom to Truman 11/29/01

05-28-2003, 01:54 PM
It sounds like you know what you want to do. The only thing that I would have to add is this:

The decision to stay at home is not irreversible. If you find that staying home is not working for you, you can look for work again. And there are lots more options than just the 9-to-5. You can work part-time, work at home, start your own small business (easier than it seems), freelance... there are lots of ways to generate income and a little adult brain activity without necessarily giving up your whole day.

I am a SAHM to a 2-year-old, and expecting another in November. I am also a freelance writer, and I do a fair bit of work-at-home during naps and in the evenings. It's tough going when I'm working to a deadline, but it's worth it to spend this time with my daughter. I'll probably tie it up for a year or so when #2 arrives. That being said, I try to have at least one evening a week pre-scheduled with an activity for me. I taught a night course for a while, then took a night course, and am now considering the next thing to do. If you are a SAHM, this is a great thing for your mental health. And the playgroups are an excellent idea too.

Hope all that helps! A little away-time from your career can actually start the thought processes going on where you'd REALLY like to be. All of us in our moms' group are talking about a significant career change; two are going into teachers' college part-time, one is studying to be an ultrasound tech, and I am switching from high-tech writing to medical writing. So the "down-time" can be productive that way too!



05-28-2003, 03:10 PM
It really does sound like you know already what you want and have gone through the steps of knowing how it will work out. I agree with the above posters that it is a desicion of the heart and that it is no easy desicion to make. For me it is a different situation since i am one of the young moms here. I am in law shcool and decided to give it up for a year so i can take care of ds for the first siz months of his life. Although this was the plan i am now re zcheduling my school sesion so i go in early and go out early and have no longer any plans to work after school. At first they were hard desicions to make since i had jsut graduated and landed such a great job position but to share experiences with my son was something extrememly important to me as i know it is for all mommys. I you know you can get by with just one income then i say being a SAHM is the best oportunity you can have, this is my opionion and i am extrememly biased about is as it is what i wanted to do. I agree with another poster about a part time job but i understand that day care expenses etc. can just make part time work seem not worth it but if it does give you a satisfaction to work it is an option. You will know the answer to this quiestion as i know it lies in your heart and your mind can take care of the other details..Good luck with everything, the important thing is not never regret the desicion you made.

05-28-2003, 04:17 PM
i just wanted to weigh in on this as a mom who made the choice to work. i gave this a lot of thought, and we would have been fine -- though it would have been tight -- if i had stayed home. my husband was supportive of whatever decision i came to, and i waited until i was well into my maternity leave to come to a final conclusion.

the sad fact is that there are no good choices, at least not for people in my field. if i want a challenging and interesting job, i must work full time, and i'm lucky if that means 9 to 6. but i decided to work.

it's true that my daughter will only be a baby once, and i hate the idea that my nanny will see most of her firsts before i do. but three things were important to me: (1) having a life of my own -- a real and separate life from my daughter and my husband, to make me feel like a real and separate person; (2) being the role model i want my daughter to have -- a working woman with a successful career. (that's not to say that taking care of a child/children full time isn't important or challenging work. it is important and some people find it engaging. but i just wouldn't enjoy doing it all the time. i love my daughter, and i want to enjoy every moment i spend with her. i don't want it to be a job.) and (3) i really wanted my husband and i to be EQUAL caretakers of our child. if i were at home, she would be much more attached to me, and i would truly be the primary caretaker. i'm not uptight in a feminist way about gender roles per se -- i do almost all the cooking and laundry and my husband does things like garbage and yardwork -- but it was super important to me that we truly share the parenting experience. she relates to us differently, but it's not lopsided.

then again, i miss her terribly and by the end of the week i am frantic to see her. and staying late at work is like a punishment that i avoid at all costs.

so i don't think there's a good answer. at least for people like me, i think one feels like something's missing either way -- staying at home or working.

good luck -- it sounds like you want to stay home and for some people -- including the women posting on this board -- that is a great choice. whatever you choose, find as much happiness as you can.


06-04-2003, 12:36 PM
So i finally came to a decision: I abandoned the part time schedule and took the plunge. come july i am officially a SAHM. and i am really excited! the best advice i have gotten: aside from stuffn here is thqat the decision does nto have to be 100% clear. you could be 51% leaning towards SAHM and that is enough to give it a try. so that's that! thank you everyone for your encouragement and advice.

06-04-2003, 03:04 PM
I AM SSSSSOOOOOO EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!! I hope it works out well for you. Remember on days when it's hard, that lots of gals here can sympethize with you. It will be wonderful for you, I am sure! Can't wait to hear more!

06-24-2003, 10:44 AM
i can't believe that in just 3 days i am officially a SAHM mom! i am so energized about it and i never thought i would feel this way! i am still nervous but i know that is just because it is going to be an adjustment.
i am goign to join a mommy and me class and i ma going to try hard to create a schedule because i find that if i don't know what i am doing when i end up not doing much...
thanks everyone for helping me make such a huge decision!

06-30-2003, 01:35 PM

take it that you freelance doing technical writing? i do too working for ibm. i have to go back ft in the office after labor day, and i am wanying to figure out my options if i really hate being away from my daughter. how did you get into freelance? What kind of medical writing do you do?

Would you mind sharing some of this info with me? maybe you could email me at [email protected]