When I stepped out of my house three months after my baby, I felt terrible about leaving her behind, though she was in good hands of my mother. I felt guilty for depriving her of her feeds, sad that I would miss out on her ever changing moods and an underlying fear that she would get detached to me. But, I was excited at the prospect of catching up with my colleagues and getting back into the office groove. Nevertheless, before taking a firm stand about resuming work, I had to prioritize my goals, ask myself certain questions and voice my concerns with my husband.
In many families, where money is at a premium, going to work is not an option but a necessity. Financial constraints force women to resume work as soon as their maternity leave is over, although in some cases, depending on the baby’s health, they may be forced to extend their leave and join office later.
In order to get a right perspective about your dilemma of whether to stay home or resume work, you need to weigh the pros and cons of both situations.
Do you need to go to work to sustain a comfortable life?
Going to work has its rewards like earning money and taking a much needed break from sleepless nights caring for your baby. Besides, you need to work to provide for your baby and lead a life of comfort. Although each woman may consider ‘comfort’ as a subjective matter, it is up to you to decide whether it is necessary for you to do your bit about contributing to the family’s finances and give your husband all your support and help.
If your long term plans for your family deems it necessary for you to resume work, you will need to explain the situation to the rest of your family, especially if you have other children. You could take your children to show your place of work in order to make them understand better. Your family’s happiness is undoubtedly of paramount importance and nothing is worth sacrificing that over. In the end, it is really a decision that you and your husband have to take together. Involving your husband in any decision making that affects the family is very important as the aftermath would affect him too.
Are you worried your baby would be attached to your mother/babysitter more than you?
As long as you are nursing your baby, you would not encounter this problem because breastfeeding always strengthens the mother-baby bond, which starts at birth. In fact, you may find your baby eager to come into your arms to feel your warmth and love. In any case, you can have your mother or the babysitter to give you an update of everything your baby did while you were at work so that you don’t feel being left out of your baby’s activity. When I stepped into my home after work, my baby always gurgled and cooed, flailing her arms, urging me to carry her and that smile was a panacea to all my problems.
Do you feel you are neglecting your baby?
Admittedly, it is a wrench to leave your baby and resume work. You probably have to leave watching him cry and you feel worse when you get an update on how your baby was crying constantly, refusing the bottle, not sleeping etc. At times like this, you will be strongly tempted to quit and stay home with your baby. It is certainly an extremely difficult decision to take but you are your best judge.
In my case, I extended my leave for another three months until my baby had turned older. During that time, I had gradually started weaning her away from her day time breastfeeding and introduced her to solids so that she was better prepared to be separated from me.
If you are unable to get off from work, you could keep your baby in a daycare that is very close to your place of work so that you can check up on him during your lunch hour and tea break. Alternatively, there are companies with office policies that allow employees to bring their baby to work as a new modus operandi of getting better work productivity from the workers.
You must also remember that it is important to find some time for yourself too in order to recharge your batteries, as it were, enabling you to get back to baby care, among other things.
You are afraid you might not be able to resume your career if you took a longer break after having your baby
It is normal to feel you may be unable to recapture your sharpness or office skills after spending many months nursing, cleaning, washing, cooking and loads of other housework that might take a toll on your interest to resume your career. Coupled with that, would be the anxiety of being unable to contribute to your family finances.
You can start working from home, which will give you the flexibility to choose your hours without your boss breathing down your neck. There are scores of online jobs available and you can try your hand on something you are good at. The jobs range from online writer, transcription, fashion designer, accountant, virtual assistant and so on. Run a search on google and get started right away.
Working online from home will sharpen your skills and keep you focused on your goal, which is to go out to work when the time is right. Staying at home could make you save much needed money on childcare as well as earn the added joy of your baby’s company.