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  Work –Deciding whether to go back
I love being at home with my baby but am under a lot of financial and social pressure to go back to work. How do I decide what the best decision is for me and my baby?

While motherhood can be incredibly fulfilling for many women, being with your baby all the time can also seem tiring and unrelenting. Giving up a pay cherub at the end of the month can feel like losing a part of your identity. You may know logically that earning a salary does not make you any more of a person, but there may be a part of you that does feel that way! But going back to work may entail guilt and anguish as you hand your precious baby over to a carer. Neither choice is easy, and only you and your partner will be able to work out what is the best decision in your individual case.

If you are uncertain about this decision, try to structure the situation so that you do not have to choose immediately. If you are able to keep your options open, you may find that once the baby is born the decision is simpler. For some women, being with the baby is fulfilling and wonderful and they are sure that this is the role that they would like to fulfill. On the other hand, many women do not realise how much they value their career and the stimulation it involves until they at home with the baby.

Once you are closer to a decision you can start to create a structure that supports the life you plan to build. If you are going to stay at home you need to find groups that will provide you with the support you need to do this. People you can talk to about the every day joys and frustrations of staying at home with baby. If you look at your finances carefully you may find that you can be frugal enough to be able to afford to stay with your baby for the time being. The cost of transport, smart work clothes and child care can add up surprisingly fast. Be careful not to get isolated and unhappy. If you are going back to work, a solid support structure is vital. This should include a carer that you are happy with and a back up system where the baby will be cared for if either you or the carer have a problem.

One option that you should investigate is a way to have your cake and eat it – many companies are willing to consider flexible working arrangements such as job sharing. If you can find a way to work part of the day or part of the week, you can ease the financial burden, enjoy the stimulation that a job provides, and still be a hands-on mother. It is definitely an option worth exploring.

Whatever your decision, the most important thing is that it is the best decision for your family unit. You need to have the support of your partner to make it work, so communicate your needs and opinions, and take those of your partner into consideration when you make the decision.

See also:

Work - Baby showing discontent

Work - Baby’s relationship with carer

Work - Childcare decisions

Work - Choosing a carer

Work - Financial implications

Work - Guilt at wanting to work

Work - Important considerations

Work - Making the first day easier

Work - Missing baby’s milestones

Work - Returning to work part-time

Work - Spouse doing his share

Work - Stay at home regrets

Work - The downside of working from home

Work - When to return to work

Work - Work from home

Work - Working with baby present

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