As the story goes, some moms want to go to work while raising their little ones while others are dreaming of the stay-at-home mom lifestyle. Although there are some parents who think being a stay-at-home mom is a breeze, it's actually a full-time job in itself minus the paycheck (and the benefits... and the uninterrupted lunchtime... and the multiple adult conversations). But time will tell, and moms will do whatever is best for their family.
There are some moms out there who have always known that they wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Why pay someone else to watch those little ones grow, right? However, one day, these moms will probably return to work when their kids are older and that decision will come with a lot of ups and downs. There are pros and cons to both working and not working, after all.
If a mother is considering whether or not she should go back to work post-baby, there are some questions that she can ask herself. If she answers 10 out of these 20 questions, she's definitely ready to return to the corporate life. But if she doesn't, she may need some more time to get back on her feet.
Feature Image: YouTube/@thedodgefamily
20 Are You An Efficiency Aficionado?
You have a to-do list at home: buy milk, get the cereal brand that your kid loves (aka: that one brand), clean the bathroom, wash your sheets... When you think about going back to work after having a baby, you're going to have a to-do list at work, too: call that one annoying client, answer those emails, pitch some ideas, meet with your boss... Every day is filled with a list.
When you're considering a post-baby return to work, ask yourself this question: are you prepared for the balancing act that you'll be doing, and how organized are you?
As this post on Working Mother says, "You will be amazed by just how efficient you are now after you return to work." In other words, there will be tons to get done, but you'll find a way to do it all.
19 Does Your Financial Situation Make It Important To Go Back To Work?
Money is definitely a huge part of our lives. We grow up hearing phrases like "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life" (which still implies that you'll get paid, of course) and song lyrics like "She works hard for the money." We don't always want to talk about money and it can make us feel awkward, but we do love spending it!
PopSugar brings up this important point: it could be necessary to go back to work if your financial situation requires it. It's totally okay to say that you need a second income and that it's not possible to stay home all the time with your child. Many families can relate to this.
18 Are You Okay With Making Such A Big Adjustment?
It would be awesome if we could return to work after having a baby and have it be all butterflies, candy, and good times. Of course, that's not reality.
As this mom shared in Cosmopolitan, it's an adjustment: "It was at least two or three weeks before I felt like I could get acclimated at work and stop worrying about him all of the time. I told myself, 'This is my schedule, this is his schedule. The kids go to daycare, the grown-ups go to work.' Then I was able to concentrate on work, and when I came home, it was 100 percent baby time."
Are you okay with worrying at first and having to adjust? If yes, then you could be ready for this change.
17 Do You Have A Great Caregiver Or Daycare Situation Figured Out?
Thanks to Mom 365, we're reminded of this very important point: if you're thinking about returning to work after having a baby, it's crucial to figure out a good daycare situation.
These two things definitely go hand-in-hand; we can't go back to work if we don't have a family member to watch our child or a great daycare to send them to. It just wouldn't be possible. And since mom guilt is always a thing (and never seems to go away, as every mom would agree with), we can ease our minds when we know that our kid is having a great time and in the best hands ever. Phew.
16 Are You Okay If You Can't Do Everything?
Before you have a baby, you'll probably swear that you can do it all: be an awesome wife or girlfriend, cook beautiful dinners (that are organic and healthy), impress everyone at your office with how much you rock at your job, and be the greatest mom you know.
When you have a baby, you'll understand what the whole "mom guilt" thing is really about. You'll want to do it all, but also know that it's not always possible. Doing it all usually equals more stress.
Well, that's going to become even more difficult if you go back to work. As Working Mother points out, if you're going back to the office, you have to ask yourself, are you okay with not doing it all?
15 Does It Feel Like The Right Time?
PopSugar brings up the "timing" issue and it's not something that should be ignored here.
Many moms feel that it's great to go back to work when their kids are in school since, of course, they're gone during the day anyway. It will be an easier time to go to the office.
You have to ask yourself if it feels like the right time. Maybe your kids are in school so, yeah, that works out perfectly. Or maybe they're not but you still feel in your heart that it's a good time to make the switch. You'll make the decision that works well for you.
14 Is It Important To You To Be A Career Role Model?
This mom posted on Reddit and brought something really important up: being a role model. She said of her decision to work after having her daughter, "I want her to see that women can have successful careers AND be moms."
Is it important to you to be a role model for your kids and show them that you can totally work and be a parent as well? This might be something that you care about a lot and that could influence your decision over some of the factors that you're considering. It's really awesome and inspiring to see someone balancing work and family (while still understanding that it's best to take care of yourself and not get too stressed out).
13 Is It Cool If It Takes Some Time To Get Used To?
You might be worried that it'll be tough to get used to going back to work... and that's okay.
As this mom shared on Reddit, "It will get easier and better! You'll have more time with him as he grows older and things become a 'new normal.' Remember, this is a transition for him but it will pass. It may take some time, so be patient with yourself! Continue to show him love, care and support. It's hard but you are doing great and the best thing for your family!"
If you can answer yes to being okay with taking some time to figure it all out and get better at the balancing act, then going back to work could be in your future.
12 Can You Work Part-Time Or Freelance?
Is it possible to be a freelancer or work part-time? If yes, that could make your decision a lot easier since it'll be simpler to balance the work and kids thing.
This is a suggestion from Working Mother and it's a helpful one. Of course, it's not always possible, and just because you can't work from home (or lessen your hours) doesn't mean that you don't want to go back to work. It's just something else to consider. You want to know all of your options before you make a commitment, right?
11 Will You Still Be Doing Everything At Home, Too?
The reason why it's tough to decide whether you should go back to work or not is definitely based on how much work you'll be doing. You have your mom duties, you like to cook, you have to tidy up a bit, you have your own life to live...
If you can answer no to the question, "Will I still be doing everything at home?", then it would be much easier to go back to work (or not). Then you won't be stressed (or maybe not quite as stressed since there will be some tough moments). Things will feel so much more manageable.
10 Can Your Partner Help Out?
Before a couple gets married, they hope that they'll have a totally equal partnership where they both clean and cook, and no one person feels that the other one is taking advantage or making them do everything. An equal partnership is the best partnership.
We need to ask ourselves if our partner can help us out when we're considering going back to work. If our partner can chip in, then that could change the decision for us. It'll be awesome to come home to dinner already made and the house clean (or as clean as it can get, which all moms will relate to). We don't have to do everything and we shouldn't have to, either.
9 Is An Early Bedtime Realistic For You To Ensure You Get Enough Sleep?
We all love sleep. Moms know that sleeping like they did before having kids isn't really a thing that happens often.
As Parents magazine says, going to bed early can be a really helpful and amazing thing for working moms. This is something to ask yourself if you're wondering if going back is the best thing. Can you go to bed earlier? Can you get enough sleep? After all, sleep and rest are crucial for being able to do an amazing job and it's not something to ignore or brush off. If you can get enough sleep, then going back to work might seem possible.
8 Is It Okay If It Makes Your Relationship A Bit Trickier?
Many married couples feel that things change after having children. Yes, they're a team and love seeing each other as parents, but sometimes it can be difficult on a marriage. You swap date nights and lots of time alone for feeding your kids and picking up toys. It's wonderful but it is hard
The Bump suggests asking yourself if it's okay that going back to work could make your marriage harder. You'll be out of the house every day and be busier since you'll be working and taking care of your baby.
7 Can You Accept That You'll Miss Your Kids The Whole Time That You're At Work?
People always say that becoming a mother is a crazy kind of love that almost feels euphoric. Sometimes all it takes is thinking about your baby and you're crying.
You can probably already tell that you'll miss your kids when you go back to work. This is something that one mom wrote on The Bump. As long as you can accept that this is how you're going to feel, then you just might be leaning towards going back to the office.
6 Is Pumping At The Office Practical For You?
Parents magazine suggests figuring out if you can pump at the office as something else to focus on when you're debating going back to work.
If you're still breastfeeding (if not using formula) and this is something that is relevant to you, then this is a good thing to ask yourself before deciding on returning to work. It's one of those practical things that you have to consider. It might not be as fun as thinking about making money and doing the job that you love, but it's still something that has to be part of the equation.
5 Can You Make Everything Easier?
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, laundry, cleaning, playing, picking up toys... Are you tired just thinking about everything that you do in a day? Every mom can relate to this crazy long to-do list. Even when the day is done and it's time for bed and you're so tired, it's easy to feel like you should have done more (when, of course, you did the best that you could).
This is something to take into consideration when you're wondering about going back to work. As Happy You Happy Family puts it, can you make things easier on yourself if you go back to work? Can you freeze meals and forget the idea of cooking dinner from scratch every evening? If yes, then going back to work could, well, work.
4 Can You Ease Into A Full Day At Work?
Mom 365 says that easing into the whole 'back to work' thing will be a good idea.
The reason that you're on the fence about going back to work (besides the fact that you love your baby so much and can't imagine being away from them) is you figure it's going to be tough to balance everything. You know it's going to be lots of work, so if you can go in part-time for the first little while or figure out a way to ease into it, then that could be a really good start.
3 Can You Let Go Of The Guilt And Know That It's The Right Decision?
We know that all moms feel mom-guilt because they always want to be there for their children. They always feel that there is one more thing that they could be doing, they second guess their choices and actions, and it can be very stressful to deal with.
If you're wondering if you should go back to work after having a baby, a good question to ask yourself is if you can let go of the guilt and know that it's the right decision.
Yes, you love your baby and want to be there all the time, but it's okay to adore your career, too. There is nothing to feel guilty about.
2 What Would You Do In A Perfect Scenario?
Another great question is this: what would you do in a perfect scenario?
If everything went your way and the transition was simple, does going back to the office still sound like something that you want to do? Can you picture yourself going through the morning routine at home with your baby and then going to work every day... and then coming home and spending time with your little one? It might sound awesome or it might sound like too much and you really would rather stay home.
The thing to remember is that there is definitely no right or wrong way to think about this situation. Do what feels right.
1 Do You Really Want To?
This seems like an important question to ask yourself. Let's take money and any other considerations out of the equation. Do you really want to go back to work?
Sometimes we get caught up in thinking about what other people want us to do or assume that we should do, and we can forget how we actually feel. We might consider going back to work because we think that our family, friends, and partner think that's what we want... but we don't actually want to.
Once a mom figures out what she wants to do, the answer will come to them. Either way, do what makes your life (and your child's life) easier.
Sources: Workingmother.com, PopSugar.com, Happyouhappyfamily.com, Mom365.com, Parents.com, Thebump.com, Cosmopolitan.com