Going back to work – a bunch of other things to consider!
Your own or your family’s health can be a big driver for women in deciding to return to paid work or not. Everyone’s situations are so unique, but if you, your partner, or one of your children has a chronic health problem, weigh up carefully the pros and cons or you returning to paid work. Again, look into what kind of support may be available to you from local support groups and the government. If in doubt, your GP or Well Child Provider may be able to give you advice on this too.
Guilt, attachment, love, abandonment, strangers, trust, Wow, these are pretty full-on words aren’t they? My fingers are twiddling nervously and my heart is beating that little bit faster, just from hearing them. Am I a bad mother because I go to work in an office on some days? Am I a bad employee because I don’t work late as a matter of course, wanting to get home to my family? Am I hands down, a terrible person because I am not all things to all people all at the same time? No! No! and No!
Whatever options you are considering for paid work, at home time, care for your children, there will be people who are diametrically opposed to it (i.e. their way is the best and only way!). It’s realistic to assume that if you go out into the paid workforce, there will be people who think you are an uncaring money-driven corporate slave. Then again, if you stay home full-time, others will think you are a lady of leisure who is living off both the government and your husband’s hard earned money. It’s hard not to care about what others think, but try try try to shrug it off and be motivated by what is important to you and yours. If you are going to spend hours at work, staring at photos of your baby and crying in the toilets, maybe it’s just not for you. If you are going to burn with resentment staying at home full-time feeling like a drudge, consider going back into the paid workforce.
Guilt is surely the lifelong companion of parents all over New Zealand. If your own choices are unacceptable to you, then change them! But if it’s only unacceptable to other people, forget them!
Changing your mind
A final note – don’t be afraid to change your mind. If you go back to work and hate it, you can always quit. If you have decided to stay home and then your dream job comes up, you can always take it. Parenting is all about change and flexibility – nothing is absolute. Give any new situation a few weeks to iron out the kinks, but if after that it’s still just not right for you, change it.