Many new moms are torn between returning to work and staying home after they have their first child. What are the pros and cons of each decision? A primer in helping a new mom weigh her options.
1. A steady income is always nice. Babies are expensive! Diapers, formula, new clothes, doctors’ visits, medicine, toys, books. It costs a lot of money to raise babies. If you don’t work, will you be able to provide everything you want for your children on one salary? If you do quit your job, how difficult will it be to find another job in your field when you want to return?
2. Health insurance. Who in your family provides the health insurance? If the working mom is the one providing it, who will be able to maintain insurance if mom stays home? If dad has insurance available to him, what is the plan description? Is it as comprehensive as mom’s plan? Does it cost more to maintain?
3. A sense of pride. Some working moms pride themselves on “doing it all” and being able to work and raise a family. They believe their children will grow up and see them as role models because they were able to provide for their children and parent them. Other moms who worked full-time during their children’s childhood later resented the fact that they were not able to be there for all of their children’s big moments.
4. Childcare. While you work, who will take care of your kids? Do you have a willing mother or mother in law? Having family as caregivers is cheaper but comes with a whole other set of problems. Interested in a nanny? How will you trust someone, who is not related to you, taking care of your baby? Plus, they are expensive. What happens when the child gets attached to a nanny and the nanny suddenly quits? Daycare is always an option. Babies will socialize and learn to interact with others at a very young age. They will also be one of many in one room, do not receive the same personal attention that they would receive if being cared for one on one, and are frequently exposed to illness. Which option is right for you?
TO STAY HOME:
1. You get to raise your children. You are the one deciding the food they eat, the games they play, the children they meet, the televison they watch. You are completely in control. There is no one else setting the rules and no one else to interfere with how your children are raised.
2. You get to be there for the important events. The first time a baby rolls over is something that only happens once. It can be videotaped, or relayed to you, but nothing is as special as watching this the first time the baby does it. This applies for all new milestones. You will also be there to take your child off the bus, attend after school sporting events, and help with homework.
3. Your day is your day. Stay at home moms have more flexibility in their day. They can clean the house while the baby sleeps, start dinner, and pay the bills. Working moms have to cram all of the mundane, everyday tasks into nights and weekends. It’s difficult to spend quality time with your kids when you are vacuuming at the same time. Sure, you can turn grocery shopping into a lesson on fruits and vegetables, but wouldn’t it be nicer to leave the kids at home with daddy and go to the store on your own?
4. You have the luxury of time. Too many working moms feel like since they don’t see their children during the weekday, that they want to spend every minute of their weekend with the kids to make up for this lost time. Many working moms give up friendships with other women because they do not want to waste their precious weekend time with anyone else but their kids.
This is the tip of the iceberg and a good starting point for having the discussion whether to work or to stay home. Next up: childcare and the working mom.