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Work After Baby

Updated on March 12, 2013

Many New Parents Struggle with the Choice

After the little bundle of joy arrives and maternity or paternity leave starts drawing to an end, many new moms and dads are faced with choosing whether or not having a parent stay at home or return to work is best for their family. I know I felt a strong pull to quit my job and make maternity leave a permanent venture, though I did return to work.

This page is meant to be an interactive debate where we can learn and grow from each other. I believe this is an extremely personal decision and there is no right or wrong side of the fence to be on. There is no one size fits all answer so to speak. However, it's still a choice that can be an extremely difficult one to make for any number of reasons. Having information and recommendations from real people may help guide someone into making the best decision for themselves and their family.

Bonding with baby is so important in those early months and it can be crushing to return to work after a leave of absence, allowing daycare to take over your daytime parenting role. In the same respect leaving work may be a set back to your career or financial well being, and even more so if you take an extended leave for the first few years of the child's life.

For every Pro in one direction you're met with a Con in the other. Please help us hash out a good Pro and Con list on this family and life changing subject.

Photo used under Creative Commons from ECohen.

The Pros & Cons of Staying at Home

Focus on the advantages, special experiences, and memories that would not have been created if you had no made the choice to be a stay at home mom or dad.

Pro: Stay at Home Mom - What are the benefits of being a stay at home parent?

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    • draik profile image

      draik 6 years ago

      The biggest advantage is that you can breastfeed (direct latch without using a pump) your baby for as long as you like. I breastfeed my baby for 3 and a half years (you can check my lens) and get to watch him grow. I am the first person to see him roll, sit, climb, walk and I am always there when he fell sick. These are the things that will not repeat in your life and I think it will be different even when you have a 2nd kid.

    • mr1902 profile image

      mr1902 6 years ago

      It is better for the child to have that one-on-one quality time. The first five years are the most important for physical and mental development. It is also the most important time for discipline...the longer you wait the harder it is to discipline, and then you end up being "that" family in the store with the screaming kid who is pitching a fit because he/she didn't get the "whatchamajiggy" of the week.

    • MagpieNest profile image

      MagpieNest 6 years ago

      You can live life at a slower pace and don't have to worry about letting work down when a child is ill or you have a school play to attend.

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 6 years ago

      You don't miss out on those special times :)

    Focus on the not so great or annoying aspects of not returning to a career after baby.

    Con: Stay at Home Mom - What is the downside to being a stay at home parent?

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      • draik profile image

        draik 6 years ago

        You may forget most of the things if you decided to go back to work. Facing a crying baby 24 hours, 7 days a week is no joke. You do not get annual, bonus, time off, salary, increment or colleagues to talk to.

      • mr1902 profile image

        mr1902 6 years ago

        If you are struggling financially, and you don't have a plan to get out of the mess, then being a stay at home mom would be a con, unless you are like some of the stay at home moms on here making the big bucks! I would suggest getting on a budget to be able to live on one income.

      • MagpieNest profile image

        MagpieNest 6 years ago

        I have a lot of stay at home Mom friends. Not by choice, they can't afford childcare in the UK. Most of them are losing the plot. I seem to enjoy my kids far more than they enjoy theirs. They are all worried about paying the mortgage and don't like being financially dependent on their partners.

      • hayleylou lm profile image

        hayleylou lm 6 years ago

        Hard trying to get back into work after a break (if you can call being buried in Diapers a break !), lol

      The Pros & Cons of Returning to Work

      Focus on the advantages, special experiences, and memories that would not have been created if you had not made the choice to return to work. Are you a do it all Careerwoman and a Supermom? How do you make it work?

      Pro: Working Mom - What are the benefits of being a working parent?

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        • draik profile image

          draik 6 years ago

          I have just return to work and I think one of the pro is the salary I receive every month. With the salary, I can let my boy go to art class, swimming lessons or buy more expensive toys for his birthday. I can also start to think about my own retirement.

        • mr1902 profile image

          mr1902 6 years ago

          If you are not in good financial standing then you would need to work to increase your income in order to help provide for that little one that you love so dearly. Since you won't spend much time with them, the time you do spend together will probably be more quality time!

        • MagpieNest profile image

          MagpieNest 6 years ago

          You are able to support your family financially and be a good role model for your kids. Our children are in a home daycare 3 days a week and we collect them at 4pm - they have a wonderful time and greatly benefit from the input of another adult who they have known since they were babies. Then they spend one day with their Mom and one with their Dad.

        Focus on the bad or downside to being a working parent? Do you feel like you miss out on certain aspects of home life?

        Con: Working Mom - What is the downside to being a working parent?

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          • draik profile image

            draik 6 years ago

            I feel that I have got no more energy left after work for kid cooking lessons, play lego and kids stuffs. I know that it will get worst when my son enter a proper school with examinations and stuffs. I have very little time for Squidoo, Zazzle, Cafepress and all my online venture.

          • mr1902 profile image

            mr1902 6 years ago

            Well since I am a working parent, here are my downsides: I don't don't get to spend the majority of my time with my little man. I would love spending more time with him. Missing out on breakfast and lunch with him. My wife not being able to have more of a break during the day is a big con. I know it gets stressful for her being home all day.

          • MagpieNest profile image

            MagpieNest 6 years ago

            The downsides for me are to do with my particular job. I have a senior role in a US company but live in the UK. Avoiding teatime and evening calls is a challenge - I have to say no a lot. And it's hard when the kids are sick - I have a full day of meetings to cancel. Everyone understands though, and the kids have rarely been ill in practice.

          • hayleylou lm profile image

            hayleylou lm 6 years ago

            You lose parts of your brain ! I am serious, I am living proof !

          What was your choice?

          We've worked through the Pros and Cons - Lets take a side on work after baby

          Which type of parent are you and why did you make that choice?

          Working parent.

          Working parent.

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            • MagpieNest 6 years ago

              It wouldn't have been fair to put all the financial responsibility onto my partner. This way we share everything. My SAHM friends have partners who don't take on equal parenting responsibility even at the weekends. I think that's really sad. My boys are very close to their Dad and he shares in day to day tasks. And my experience of childcare has been wonderful. I think it's arrogant to assume that being with their Mom all the time is best for children - what a narrow viewpoint on the world!

            Stay at home parent.

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              • draik 6 years ago

                I have been a SAHM for almost 6 years and I am now a full time working mom. I will still prefer to be a stay at home mom if I have got a choice. However, living expenses has been going up all the time and I cannot afford to stay at home anymore if I want a comfortable life for myself and my son. I am glad that I choose to stay at home for the most important 5 years of my son life.

              • mr1902 6 years ago

                I'm a working dad, I chose food on the table and a place to live. But my wife is a stay at home mom who works part time teaching zumba. And we chose that because childcare is expensive and we believe that the quality one on one time they get together to learn and experience life is much more valuable than the amount of money she would making working as a teacher in a school (thats what she majored in).

              • hayleylou lm 6 years ago

                I love being a Mom and didn't want to miss out on anything.

              Stay at Home Dads - Are becoming more prevalent

              If life were easy, and there were no what if's... - if only...

              Photo used under Creative Commons from jefield.

              Which choice would you make, if there were no cons in staying at home or working?

              See results

              Thank you so much for participating in this debate. I hope it will help parents trying to decide what will be best for their families and give them food for thought to lead them in the right direction.

              Still have something left to say? - Feel free to do so here. Thank for your sharing your thoughts!

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                • draik profile image

                  draik 6 years ago

                  Another thing to add is that it is really hard for me when I go back to work. I came back home feeling like a dead fish everyday until my body was used to waking up early and working. I took months looking for a job because I stated in my resume that I cannot work overtime due to family commitment. My feet hurts like hell because it was not used to being in a pair of "business" shoes all day long. However, my son was there to kiss and hug all my miserable days away.

                • profile image

                  anonymous 6 years ago

                  I was able to stay at home to raise my children. I was self-employed from the home also. Children are our future, and I didn't want strangers raising them, and didn't live close enough to family.

                • MagpieNest profile image

                  MagpieNest 6 years ago

                  Being a working parent takes a lot of planning. In my experience it's better if both parents work part time rather than one parent quitting their career. In our case we both work at the same place and live 5 minutes from work and our daycare is in the same road - that took some planning. (Great topic for a lens!)

                • hayleylou lm profile image

                  hayleylou lm 6 years ago

                  This will be a good lens to re-visit when you the debate starts :)