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Going Back to Work After Being a Stay at Home Mom

Updated on April 10, 2015

Going back to work after being at home with my children for six years was one of the hardest decisions I had ever made. I struggled with so much mommy guilt I almost made myself sick. I wanted the perfect job to come at the perfect time.

I'm happy to say the perfect job did come, but a little earlier than I expected. I was nervous about leaving my youngest in the care of other people, when he was still too young for school.

When I was finally offered the job I should have been thrilled. It was really the perfect job for me and my family, and with the tough financial times it was going to release so much pressure and help my husband and I 'stay above water'. The people who I would be working with were fantastic people, and I knew the environment at work was going to be positive, so why was I so afraid? Because after six years of being with my children non-stop I was having trouble letting go. I was having trouble letting someone else (who many times would be my mother or my husband) play a bigger role in my childrens day.

In life we make tough decisions and we don't always know if they are wrong of right at the time. Sometimes we need to trust our instincts and have a little faith in our decisions. The truth is the future holds many questions and nothing is ever certain. Keeping a positive attitude about the things we do control, and the decisions we do make, is essential when life starts to change. After talking to some wonderful friends of mine who work full time while also being excellent moms, I began to relax and realize that going back to work may be an adjustment, but it was not going to hurt my kids or my family. In fact there was a good chance it would be good for us.

Keep that positive attitude. In order to help deal with the anxiety that I had about going back to work I decided to focus only on the positive. I reminded myself that this was a GREAT job and I was very fortunate. Financially it would help our family tremendously. My kids were well adjusted kids and they loved going to play with grandma and friends, so for them it was probably going to work out perfectly, it was me I worried about.

Here are some tips to help mother's deal with the adjustment of returning to the work field.

1. Think about the positive reasons you are returning to work. Try to focus on these reasons. It is hard to be away from your kids but if you remember every reason that you are doing this (most likely it is for them) then it helps you to cope with the day.

2. Make the time you do have with your children high quality mommy time. When I was a stay at home mom high quality mommy time was probably harder to find. I was home all day, and usually I was searching for that break in the day when I could just sit and have a cup of coffee without running after one of my children. When I would get home from work I would make myself play their favorite game, cook their favorite dinner, and just fully express to them how much I love them.

3. Don't worry so much about housework, its not going anywhere. One of my first articles is about letting go of my clean house. Saying Goodbye to My Clean House. I have a couple goals that I try to meet each night, dishes being clean and enough clothes for the kids to wear the next day. Other than that, housework during the week is hit and miss depending on my energy level. Another thing I do is try and get my kids involved in my chores so that way we are spending time together and getting some things done.

4. Get everything ready the night before. Make lunches, set out clothes and set the coffee machine. Anything that you can do the night before to help you not have to rush in the mornings, will help make the mornings run smoother.

5. Enjoy work. It's hard enough to be away from your kids, but if work is a negative environment then it will make it worse. Find a job that is enjoyable, with co-workers that you get along with, and a place you feel comfortable. Working doesn't have to be a 'bad' thing, in fact many moms work full time and are excellent mothers. There are many needs some mothers have (including an adult conversation every now and then) that can be met in the work place, making it easier to spend quality time with their kids when they are with them.

There is no right or wrong decision

Regardless of your choice to return to work, if you are reading this article you have probably at least considered it. With tough financial times it has become necessary for many stay at home moms to return to the workplace. Stay organized, spend quality time with your kids when you are not at work, and let go of that mommy guilt. You are not alone and you are NOT a bad mommy for taking care of your children and family by providing for them. Good Luck!

After experiencing both being an at home mom, and a working mom; I ultimately decided to stay at home because my financial situation allowed me. However, the time I did work I was able to see the benefits of being a working mom. I think we as moms, regardless of our situation, deal with the guilt that we are never doing enough. We need to embrace what we do have and work towards showing our children how to be strong, independent and loving individuals.


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    • Happymommy2520 profile image


      20 months ago from East Coast

      I really enjoyed your hub. I went back to work after nine years and it ended up being a really positive experience. It was only part-time though. I wish you lots of luck in your adventures!

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Thanks so much for your great article because I have also stayed home for 6 years and feel thankful we could afford to by cutting a lot from expenses like not getting my hair cut, buying clothes I didn't"need", and no cable TV. Now I am anxious about going back to work and not making enough to justify the expense of Afterschool care. But you are right...when the right job comes along you have to take it and everything will be ok. I am trying to keep positive it will work out right for me and I can provide fir my children the occasional camping trip we had to forfeit over years because even campingvus really expensive now!

    • Happymommy2520 profile image


      2 years ago from East Coast

      I really enjoyed this hub. Did you stay at work full-time and revert to being a stay at home mom? Both decisions are awesome. I am too faced with going back to work full-time after being home for eight years.

      I think working part-time or working at home is the best of both worlds.

    • TeachableMoments profile image


      7 years ago from California

      Thanks for this beautiful hub. You expressed your feelings perfectly. Mommy guilt is a tricky thing. It comes so fast and it hangs on so tightly. I appreciate your words "letting someone else (who many times would be my mother or my husband) play a bigger role in my childrens day." I think most mommys feel this way. You want to be "the one." You want to be there for all the small moments. Judging by this hub and the words you use to describe your love for your family, I am confident you are still "the one."

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 years ago from The Caribbean

      Practical, wise tips. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I appreciate your ongoing support.

    • g-girl11 profile image


      7 years ago

      I think the best tip is about being positive. It is so hard when your heart is torn in two! I was a working mom, then home with my kids for ten years, and now I'm back to work and looking for a permanent full-time job again. I can definitely relate to wanting to "stay above water" financially, which is part of the sacrifice a lot of times when a mom stays home. It is such a balancing act! Good hub and I loved the pictures, too.

    • GracieLake profile image


      7 years ago from Arizona

      I commend you for making a brave decision, which comes with its own costs and rewards. I chose to work for myself, from home, while my kids grew up, and I loved it. Your freedom and living a life of your own choosing makes you a hero to your kids, and they will carry that example with them for a lifetime.

    • Ruchi Urvashi profile image

      Ruchi Urvashi 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      I agree that it is very difficult decision to go back to work after being a full time mom. There are always choices that we need to make and I think you took a good decision. We need to trust others to help us and need to meet our own creative needs beyond home and family life. With internet and advancement, work is no longer limited to office job and there are many creative ways to make work and home a reality.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I stayed home for about six years, went parttime for another six or so, then went fulltime when the kids were middle and high school. The extra money was more needed by then their and I only took a job if it was within a reasonable drive to their schools. I saved a couple of vacation days to go on field trips since I couldn't volunteer any more. And I always took off the last day of school to celebrate - even their last day of high school!

      With my first raise I hired a twice a month housecleaner and it's the best thing I ever did. The major benefit was that I stopped taking it personally when the house wasn't perfectly clean. And it was an easier way to get the family to pick up the night before she came to clean.

    • Mandeeadair profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from California

      Thanks Sassydee,

      It was a very hard decision for us (both going back to work and staying at home) but I think most moms have gone through it and its nice to know we are not alone :)!!.

    • sassydee profile image


      7 years ago from los angeles, ca

      voted up, useful and awesome. I have been dreading the fact that now I am done with school for now and my children are old enough I should start to look for a job, but I don't know I guess it's that guilt you speak of! thanks for sharing great hub

    • Mandeeadair profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from California

      Thank you Alicia :)!

    • Alicia Blagrove profile image

      Alicia Blagrove 

      7 years ago

      Making the transition must have a been challenging at points. Congrats for staying focused and moving forward!

    • Mandeeadair profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from California

      Thanks for sharing that...I think many moms aren't sure when to return, and like I said in my hub there really is no right or wrong decision, I think its very different for every mom. Thanks for reading :)!!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Nice hub! I really don't think moms should feel guilty for either leaving the workplace or jumping back in. Kids are resilient and respond to your love. I chose to stay at home because I knew I had one shot at it, as I was almost 44. By the time I went back, I was over-age and had lost my edge. I had to accept less, but treasured the time I had seeing my daughter reach her milestones. If I had it to do over again, I would have jumped back in sooner. Probably at year 3 or 4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Mandeeadair profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from California


      Thank was veryhard to go back to work and I commend mothers who do. Have a great weekend too :)!! Thanks for reading.


      Thanks so much for reading and the is so difficult for moms to make this decision and I hope it helps some moms who do. Thanks for the votes :)!!


      Thanks so much for the wonderful comment and reading. I appreciate it :)!!


      thanks so much for the feedback and reading :)!.

    • mismazda profile image


      7 years ago from a southern georgia peach

      Good hub...I'm a stay at home for 3 yrs....I'm quite sure when I do return to the working world it will be hard....voted up and useful...

    • QudsiaP1 profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a brilliant article on the subject matter. It is hard enough being a woman some days and when we evolve into mothers it is a whole new battlefield where women constantly second guess themselves and in a matter of speaking completely dissolve whoever they used to be before being a mother.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      7 years ago

      Beautiful kids! It's so refreshing to read this side of going back to work. All to often women get defensive about going back. They deserve it, it's what being a modern woman is all about.... all while suppressing such massive guilt. I hope I never have to make the decision to work out of the house again, but if I do I will definitely use this hub to get me through it. Great job, voted up and useful ^_^

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania


      I am sure it was hard for to your leave your kids, and hopefully everything is going all right! The pictures of your kids are so stinking adorable! Have a great rest of your weekend!


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