Women all over the world face the same dilemma at one stage of their life – to work or not to work? This problem can have a tacky solution. How can a woman arrive at a solution without having any guilt of leaving the child or quitting the job? Read on to find a solution.
I am a young professional with a good career ahead of me….or so I thought. Now on maternity leave with my new baby, I feel torn over going back to work and staying home to look after my baby. What should I do?
To come to a decision that will make you comfortable, (it is unlikely that you will be truly certain that you made the right choice) you have to listen to your heart carefully. Are you the sort of person that will go out of her mind if confined to the walls of her home with only a baby for company?
There are many of us who do not cope well with staying home. Would you be bored, long for external stimuli, travel and meeting new people? Or would you be content to be a homemaker, to be around to enjoy that first step, that first word, of the baby?
There are other factors that would also assist you in making the decision:
(1) Economic Situation
Is your income helping towards holding your home together? If it is your income that your home depends upon, you have little other option than to continue working. If your home is not dependent upon your income, but requires some of it for extra expenses or savings for the future, then you have the choice to continue with your work or to look for alternative, part time employment.
(2) Family Situation
Do you live in a nuclear or joint family? Are there family members who would contribute to looking after baby in your absence? Please remember, any family help should be volunteered. You cannot foist your child onto a relative and expect that relative to be happy to give up her hard earned time and freedom to look after your child.
(3) Support System
A lot of working mothers depend entirely on either a creche or their domestic help to look after their children in their absence. There are some domestics who get attached to baby and do a darned fine job of looking after baby. But then again, a lot of them do not. You have not only to be comfortable about leaving your child to a creche or a domestic, but you also ideally need to have a friend, relative or neighbour look in once in a while to ensure that all is well. You also need to relieve your domestic of all chores at least once in a day (when you get back from work) to enable her to refresh her mind and to relax. Give her an hour off every evening, to go for long walks or to chat with other maids downstairs. Remember, a cheerful care giver makes for a happy child.
(4) Own Needs
Are you an ambitious, career minded individual? Do you identify yourself as being somebody in your field? Do you thoroughly enjoy applying your skills in your area of expertise? Do you look forward to climbing the corporate ladder? The reality is that if you quit now, you will have a lot of making up to do whenever you get back, whether in the form of a changed working environment, new bosses and colleagues, new skills or otherwise.
As a working mother, you will miss some important events in your child’s life. On the other hand, in a few years, your child will be grown and you may have missed career opportunities. You need to weigh the pros and cons and arrive at a decision that will suit you personally.
I have decided that I cannot stay at home any more. I must get back to work before I lose my mind. But my friends say that my working will have an adverse effect on my child. Can this be true?
In short, absolutely not. It has been found that working moms have a positive impact on their children. Not only do they grow up with a healthy attitude towards working, but they learn to value mom’s time and presence more, too. Working mothers make good role models. Such mothers tend to emphasise the importance of education. Further, thanks to a dual income, standard of living is higher than it would have been on a single income. Research has shown that kids do not suffer if their moms are career women.
However, jobs can be demanding in terms of time and also energy. Working mothers tend to spread themselves very thin. If you are always too tired after work to spend time with the children, (and this includes children of all ages), then they feel they have to compete with your job for your attention and will sooner or later resent your job…. or you, for this. If both parents are not spending enough time with their children, it can have an adverse effect on their children’s development.
Quality time spent with the children is a wonderful thing but it must be spent doing activities BOTH parties enjoy. If you spend your evenings nagging them to clear up or screaming at them to finish their homework, they would probably rather you worked late!