Being a stay-at-home mom was a part of my plan from the very beginning. Everything about it just seemed wonderful. I imagined myself playing games and singing songs, making healthy lunches, cleaning the house while I caught up on TV, and joining various mom groups around the city. At the time I just couldn’t think about leaving my baby in the care of a stranger for 40 hours a week. Not to mention that financially it just didn’t make sense. Newborn daycare in my city is more than my mortgage and my income wasn’t so great at the time. My mind was set, I was going to be a SAHM! But then, in the last month of my pregnancy something unexpected happened- I got a promotion. Now, I’m not talking about a big, huge, life changing promotion here. But it was enough to make me think twice. As I mentioned, this happened in the last month of my pregnancy. There were so many other things on my mind at the time besides work. So, I put it off until the last possible moment. At the end of my 3 month leave, I knew it was time to make a decision. Ultimately my husband and I agreed that me returning back to work would be the best decision for our family.
I’m sharing my list with you today in the hopes that it might make your decision a little easier. I found so many articles and blog posts online talking about all the wonderful aspects of being a stay at home mom, but hardly anything about the positives of being a working mom, which made me feel extremely guilty and scared. However, I am here to tell you that returning to work after birth doesn’t have to be a scary or sad thing, and wanting or needing to return to work doesn’t make you a bad mother. Check out my list of the top reasons to return to work. Can you think of any other reasons to add?
- Extra $$$ – My returning to work means I can put away a couple hundred extra dollars each month. This is a huge bonus, and frankly one that my family could really benefit from. Those extra dollars each month could be the difference between going on a family vacation each year or not, or doing fun ‘extras’ like going to the aquarium, seeing the newest Pixar movie, or meeting friends and family out for dinner once a month. Those extra dollars could also be put towards a savings fund for college. For me, those extra bucks each month mean that I can enjoy some additional peace of mind. I don’t have to worry about a restricted budget or feel guilty if I want to buy a Super Grande Mocha Frappachino come Monday morning.
- A Reason to Get Dressed in the Morning – During my three month leave from work I put on makeup once, maybe twice. I laid around all day in my button front PJs and let me tell you, it was fabulous! However, by the end of my leave I was itching to get out of the house. I would volunteer to go to the grocery store just so that I had an excuse to put on pants. Now that I have returned back to work I really enjoy getting ready in the mornings. Also, it gives me an excuse to keep up with my hair and to buy a new outfit every once in a while. I feel so much more confident and comfortable when I take the time to look put together.
- Extra ‘Me Time’ – My husband drops the little one off at daycare in the mornings and I pick her up after work. Typically my husband leaves an hour before I do in the mornings. This allows me to take a long hot shower, blow dry my hair, do my make up, eat some breakfast, and maybe even catch up on last night’s TV. This extra time in the morning is the perfect way to start each day. Not only do I find I have more ‘Me Time’ in the mornings, but during the day as well. Before I returned back to work there would be days when I didn’t eat lunch. I would watch the clock waiting for the second my husband returned back from work so that I could pass off the baby and finally inhale some food. On the rare occasion that I was able to find time to make lunch during the day, it would typically mean chowing down a sandwich in record time or dumping a bag of Doritios into my mouth. Now that I have returned back to work, I can take a nice leisurely lunch break during the day. I sit outside most days and take in all of my surroundings. Some days I even meet my friends out or pop in my headphones and listen to an audiobook. And if I’m being honest… I still stop in to see my baby girl at her daycare twice a week!
- Consistent Stimulation and Socialization for You and Baby- One of my favorite things about returning back to work is that both baby and I can enjoy some quality time with peers. As much as I love spending all day at home with my baby, I also enjoy getting to spend time with other adults. For a lot of people your coworkers become your ‘Work Family’. This is certainly true for me, I look forward to working with my teammates each day. However, I’m not the only one who enjoys spending extra time with peers – my little girl LOVES other babies! Its so fun for me to peek in on her at daycare and see her smiling and cooing at the other infants. Daycare is not only great for socialization, but also for exposing your little one to new experiences and opportunities. I feel great knowing that the teachers at our daycare (even in the infant classroom) are creating lesson plans and working on developmental milestones with our little girl.
- Opportunity for Advancement – Yes, if you decide to take a few years off from work you can always go back into the work field. Perhaps, you might even be able to get a job back with your old company. However, think about this… In those 5 years that you take off, how many promotions might you have passed up? What will your opportunity cost be? Also, will you still be at the same level when you return? Will you be able to keep up with the new systems and practices in your field? Many careers, like teaching for example, require continuous education to stay up to date on your certification. Some women find it hard to return back to the workplace because they haven’t been able to stay ‘current’ in their field.
- The Time you do Spend with your Baby is so much Sweeter – When you are the primary caregiver who spends all day with your little one, it is easy to get frustrated and take for granted the time you have with your baby. Now that I am back at work, each second that I get to spend with my little girl is so much more special because I know that it is limited. I truly treasure it.
These are my top reasons for returning to work after having a baby. Hopefully this post will help those of you who are still on the fence!