Featured Article

5 Reasons Why You Should Pick up Your Crying Baby

Return to Work or Stay Home with Baby

Mom and Dad Kissing Baby

How to Choose 

Many moms and some dads struggle with the choice of whether or not to return to work after the birth of a child. Some parents feel torn between giving up a career that contributes to defining who they are or giving up the opportunity to be the sole caretaker of their child. Some parents struggle with deciding what to do because choosing to stay home with the baby may mean making more adjustments to the lifestyle they are accustomed to. One way to make the best choice for the family is to prioritize, envision the beneficial and negative effects each choice might have in the future, make a list of all pros and cons, as well as, any other options that might produce a more desirable outcome.

How to Live with Less Regret

Sometimes people make poor decisions because instead of leading their lives in the direction they want them to go, they follow the direction their lives steer them in. For example, instead of setting goals and working toward a career path that someone chooses, they may be offered and accept a position in another field while allowing their original aspirations to fall by the wayside. In some cases, these choices of convenience may work out for the better. However, many people live with wonder and regret when they fail to set goals and work toward achieving them. Many parents find that there will be some regrets whether they choose to stay home with the child or return to work.

Create Hierarchical Lists of Priorities

Each parent might start with three separate lists. One list may be to prioritize individual changes and accomplishments you hope to achieve. A second list could put into order what you want for your child. A third list may help you recognize the importance of your role in the family and the outcome you hope your contributions will have on the family as a whole. When the lists are complete, take a look at all three and determine if everything could be attainable or if you might have to sacrifice one thing in order to attain the other. The following is an example of how three lists might start.

Individual Priorities                    Baby Priorities                       Family Priorities    
Practice Kindness to Others        Become a Kind Person          Show Affection     Stop Bad Habit                            Learn Good Behaviors        Support Each Other 
Complete School Course             College Fund                        Purchase Home      
Get Promoted                              Feel Secure and Loved         Share Quality Time 

In the example above,  this mom or dad's highest individual priority is to change the way they treat others. The highest hope mom or dad has for the child is that the child learns to be a kind person; and, the highest hope for the family is that they all express their love for one another. By forming lists you can organize your hopes and goals for yourself, your children, and your family.
Mom with Kids

Determine Probable Outcome of Choice

Consider how the choice of staying home with baby and the choice of returning to work might affect any of the priorities each parent has for the future. For example, if the person above chooses to stay home with baby, their self-esteem may take a blow when they can no longer hope to be promoted. In addition, saving for the baby's college fund or to purchase a home may become more difficult. The parents may need to minimize the amount of money they spend by eliminating some of the extra things they have become accustomed to having. As a result, they might decide that the rewards outweigh the sacrifices.

In contrast, choosing to return to work may help provide the family with the funds needed to purchase a home and a college fund; however, the parents may have less control over the lessons the child learns. When you write out all the pros and cons of each choice and you have a good idea of how those choices will effect each individual member of the family and the goals for the family as a whole, the decision made will better reflect what's most important for the family.

The Option of Work from Home

While working from home seems like the ideal alternative, it may not be the best option for some people. The work from home positions available may not be in fields of interest or experience of the parent looking to work from home. In addition, it may take a while to start earning a decent income and many of these positions do not offer any insurance benefits. On the other hand, if the parent finds a work from home position that works for them, this could be the best choice for the family. 

Many parents feel that they are not doing their part if they decide to stay home with the baby. However, taking care of children and positively influencing the person they become is one of the most important and rewarding things anybody could do. Likewise, many parents feel guilty if they leave their child in daycare while they go to work. One way to minimize the guilt is to look over your list of most important things you want for your child and try to match them up with a caregiver who provides those benefits. It helps to either have a caregiver who you have seen around children or to ask other parents how they feel about the care their child has received.