Career Path & Kids

Dear yayas,

I have been lucky enough to get to stay home with my daughter who recently turned 1 but to be honest, I’m a little nervous to stay home with my now toddler. I am considering going back to work in the Fall and it makes me feel guilty, but also a little scared. While there would be many benefits (financial security, the ability the travel, saving to stay home with baby #2, upgrading my vehicle, getting a bigger home), I’m really worried about the connection that I would have with my daughter by spending less time with her. We have a strong bond and I don’t want to affect that. I’m also worried about time management while working full time (which is already an issue), as well as finding quality, affordable childcare. While picking up bad habits is inevitable, I have no idea where to start when looking for amazing care in my area.

Do you amazing mamas happen to have any advice, tips, or tricks for mommies who are returning back to work? I really want to make the best decision for myself and my family, but I want my daughter to get as much benefit from my decision as well. I’m not sure how much longer staying home will be an option. It’s not necessarily just the dilemma on staying home, but making the right career choice to suit my family. 

– Career Conundrum

Hi Career Conundrum, Let’s get the guilt issue out of the way first! I don’t know what it is about becoming a mom that makes women feel guilty no matter what they choose, but there sure is something to that. It is hard and you don’t need to feel guilty no matter what you choose because you are devoting yourself to your family either way.

Now let’s address the scared part: it is soooooo natural to feel scared for change and the unknown. It’s ok to let yourself acknowledge that, but don’t let it overtake you! You are more than enough for your daughter, for your family. Do know that you will still be able to strengthen the connection with your daughter, even if you choose to go back to work. You’ll find ways to make it work. Quality time is a real thing. You may have to adjust schedules to spend more time together, but there are mamas who do it successfully everyday.

Childcare: there are so many different options. I would probably ask for recommendations from friends or a moms group. They may be able to give you local leads on where to look. Make sure you tour and check the ratings of any facility you are considering. Kids can pick up behaviors or words from the playground. They are growing moments because as parents, we get to set the standard and be our children’s number one role models at that age. Be real with your daughter and should she come home exhibiting a behavior that is not ok with you, address it but also model the behavior you’d like to see. Kids learn so well from example. Good luck with your decision. No matter what you choose, it will work out! – Cortney

While I don’t have personal experience, yet, in returning to work after being a SAHM, I do know that it will be a big transition when it happens. I think it’s healthy that you’re starting to think it through and consider all of the options. Whatever you decide, know that your personal happiness is so very important and must be a part of your decision-making. – Diana

I was in a similar position with my daughter so I understand the challenge. I work at home for a company who opened a second office while I was on maternity leave and wanted me to relocate. I actually applied for a position but didn’t end up taking it because I wanted to stay home with my daughter. She was six months at the time and I just could not imagine leaving her. Well, now she is four and I still work at home. While this did push back my career, I do not regret staying at home with her for one second. It is unfortunate that as women who also want to have a career we are forced to make these difficult choices. In the end you need to go with your intuition. It sounds to me that you are not ready and, if at all possible, I would take a little more time to go back to work if it is financially do-able. The upgrades to your lifestyle are nice, but you will not get this time back with your daughter.

Are you able to do part time from home and from the office to transition? Or are you starting with a whole new company? I would reach out to your HR manager, if you are currently employed, to way out all of the options. A lot of things change and there may be a benefit that wasn’t offered before. The company I work for now has a shortened work week for new moms but with full time pay (which they didn’t offer before). I hope that helps and either way, you are doing the best for your family.

As far as childcare, I wasn’t ready to send my daughter to childcare until she was three and would have waited another year if my work schedule hadn’t changed. I would seek recommendations from friends and start looking sooner rather than later. – Nadia

Making the transition to return to work after maternity leave is not an easy one for many mommies. Returning to the work world in a new position after time home with your little one can be even more difficult. I have done both and found that I knew if it was a good fit or not in the first month. It is important to have a friend, partner or professional to talk to during the transition. Reflecting on how things are going and checking in to make sure everyone (including yourself) and remaining balanced with the change is key. – Bernie

Going back to work after baby is a challenging transition and one that causes a lot of anxiety in moms. Our children follow our lead and pick up on how we feel or view a situation. If you’re confident in your decision, then they will be confident about it, too. I tell you that not to put an extra burden on you, but to give you one more reason to find peace with whatever decision you make. I went back to work part-time after baby #1 and baby #2. I worked from home both times, but also helped grow our family business at the same time. It was a hectic season, but we powered through. It’s still hectic, just different. Same chaos, different day.

You find your balance. The kids find their balance. It’s a lot to juggle, but many women do it. You’re smart to start thinking about this now. My advice is to make lists and research–brainstorm about job options, ask for childcare recommendations and start interviewing them, write out budgets, your needs, areas you will need support in, concerns, benefits, etc. Make the list and go through it. Researching could help you feel more prepared and show you where you need to spend more time/focus before making the decision.

All of that being said, know that you can always change your mind. You can start a job and find that the benefits don’t outweigh the stress. Or you could find that being away makes you a better mom. I’m curious about what makes you nervous to stay home with your toddler. I’d love to hear more about that in order to offer better suggestions. If you feel like it might be boring or overwhelming, you wouldn’t be alone. Many moms feel like they aren’t enough or don’t do enough when they stay home, but most of the time that is not the case. I struggled with that a bit but found that homeschooling (preschool level) and following a curriculum with my toddler & preschooler gave me a lot of peace. Homeschooling gives me easy to follow directions and activities to enrich our days together without the overwhelm of Pinteresty activities. If you do choose to stay home, I highly recommend joining mom/play groups and pursuing easy to follow activities (like Blossom & Root’s Early Years Curriculum). It helps the days feel more productive and engaging. Best of luck, mama! You’ll find the right fit for you and your family! – Lori Beth

Whatever you decide, do not feel guilty! The answer to this dilemma is different for every parent based on their family’s needs. If there is any way you can wait until your child is older before going back to full time, do it. Maybe start back into work part-time? You might what to start with gathering information to help you get clear on what will work and when. Write it out. Childcare at this age is challenging as you don’t want a toddler in a large group. Maybe find the right person to care for your child at your home until they are preschool age 3-4 years. Even at that age a small group is best. I had to return to work full-time when my daughter was 3 months and worked nights so I wouldn’t miss out. Then when she was a toddler, I was a single mom working full-time at my job and then coming home and doing housework. It’s amazing how much a determined mom can do! So don’t doubt yourself! Thinking back, I am surprised how successful I was at work and the promotions and recognitions I received and with never enough sleep! Haha.

Here are some ideas that might be helpful….When looking for childcare in a group setting, it is so important to observe the caregiver or teacher with the children. Insist on it. I went to all the preschools in the town I lived in and did this. When you find the right person, you will know it. At home I took naps when my daughter did! And she helped me with all the chores (we made them fun games). To help her understand my leaving and returning I kept our schedule as consistent as possible and had certain things that we did at the same time every day to help us both be prepared for my going to work. Good luck!!! – Taren

There are so many choices and none of them are “wrong,” it is more about finding the one that is right for you and your family. First and foremost, when you have children you are agreeing to provide a home, food, clothing and education for them. If you must work 5 jobs to meet their basic needs then that is what you need to do. Once their basic needs are met and you’ve got a little savings for a rainy day it becomes about balance. As a parent of teens I’ve had the privilege to work part-time from home, part-time out of the home and full time. The key to all of these formats has been finding work with the correct flexibility for my family at the time. Yes, there were times I sacrificed upward mobility as well as missing out on coworkers and the self worth you can gain from an outside job. But, I gained a close relationship with my kiddos and had the gift of being able to show up for them for big and small things. Personally, I wouldn’t trade that gift for anything. However, I also feel finding time to be an adult and feel valued can help fill the well you filled to be your best self for your children. And for childcare, trust your instincts. Honestly, when it is the right fit work wise the right childcare will appear, trust me, that’s how I met yaya Lori! – Karen

Leave a Reply