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MANN: Making the decision to return to work after having a baby

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April 05, 2018 - 12:00 PM

OPINION


Most of the moms I have met in my short time of being a mom, were employed in some capacity prior to having children.

They worked with charity organizations, at different universities, a few were teachers and a number were lawyers.

Some were entrepreneurs, many waited tables and a few dealt in customer service.

They were working towards achieving their career aspirations (or enjoying their jobs) and creating identities.

Then came the time where they decided to expand their families (or like everything else that is great, it just happened), and soon those strong, professional women found themselves experiencing a new baby. 

And if they were lucky, they were able to take a maternity leave that included at least some financial assistance and a job to return to (or at least the option would be waiting for them if they so desired to return).

I should break here for a moment to acknowledge any brave men on my list, who have ventured into the world of paternity leave. Just because I am making references to women, I really mean anyone in that position.

At the end of a maternity leave (in my opinion when you are FINALLY starting to do a decent job of being a parent), you then have to decide the next step.

Is it back into the workforce or staying home to raise your child?

It is not an easy decision for everyone.

The world we live in is complicated. Instead of chasing down our food or acquiring goods through bartering, we have to pay for things with cold hard cash.

And for some reason it never seems like there is enough.

We also have more options than ever it seems, more activities to take our children to, and more opportunities to expose them to.

Options cost money.

So we have to make choices about working verses nurturing full time and what is best for our individual families.

And let’s not forget some people love their jobs and can’t wait to get back to the familiar sounds of busy-ness.

I am sure a number of moms literally stay ‘mum’ about how much they want to return to work for fear of being judged.

Others look forward to being back in the workforce but have to deal with the awkwardness of being away. The job didn’t just cease to exist because they were gone. Someone was filling that role, and maybe even doing a better job. That’s an intimidating thought in itself.

Then there are those women who are sick to their stomachs, riddled with guilt, imagining someone raising their child and having to give up a significant amount of control.

We are so fortunate to live in the time we live in and our children are experiencing so much more than I could have ever imagined, but there is still no clear answer to how you can have it all — how you can keep all the plates spinning without dropping them? How can we show our children they too can have it all?

It is not only terrifying to make a decision on what to do after a maternity leave, but it is even more alarming to wonder if in the end you made the right choice.

— Becky Mann is a 30-something, red haired, mother of two, trying to navigate this life as best she can. She enjoys talking to people and discovering their stories. Still trying to balance her personal and professional life, she juggles work and play. In her spare time Becky can be found visiting with friends, spending time with her family and saving time by reading while walking. She knows there is so much more to come and is looking forward to the continued adventure.


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