Things Every Stay at Home Mom Should Consider Before Going Back to Work

I am one of many women who has been fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my children through their infancy. I am blessed with a husband who was willing to give up some things he enjoyed and a family who also has made sacrifices so our children could have a lot of what our single income household could not provide. But as the children get older and more eager to socialize I have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to direct my efforts towards bringing home a little extra bacon. As we get birthday party invites and requests for dance lessons, I find myself biting my nails and pouring over the accounts. Raising happy, involved, well-rounded children can cost.

Going back to work is not something I take lightly. No one should; don’t think most people could… take it lightly, I mean. There’s a lot to think about before you send out that first flurry of resumes — personal feelings, finances, time management. Before you go diving headfirst into the daily grind, these are some things you want to consider.

Is it worth the money?
Yay, you’ll get a paycheck! Subtract sitter for kid(s), gas to get around, doubles of most necessities so the sitter has one as well, lunch for yourself on occasion (cause you didn’t have time to make it) and take out dinners on occasion (cause you didn’t have time to make that either). What’s left in your account after you do all that?! -$232.00? It could happen if you don’t think in terms of all the extra you’ll need versus what you’ll be getting. Make sure the ends justify the means.

Is it worth the stress?
Initially I was thinking, “I’m up anyway.” Truth is, I’m not up at 5:45 which is when I will have to wake up if I want to have myself work ready, my kids sitter ready, everyone fed and out the door by 7:15. And the typical time of getting off at 5 PM lost its luster when I thought of crawling through traffic, picking up kids, and getting home no earlier than 6… only to make dinner. If you are not the type of person who can go, go, go on a DAILY basis, consider that in your job hunt. Part time might be the better way to ease back in especially if handling stress and children isn’t your strong point.

Can you live with yourself?
I was surprised at how quickly the pang of guilt I was feeling dissipated. I was so sad to think of leaving my littles with someone else but I thought about it and realized it could very well make me a better mother. I may be a little more attentive when time is a commodity. I may be a little less stressed when there’s more in the pocketbook. I may be a little happier because I’m shaping MY life and shaping them. That is my reality. Yours may be different.

Can they live with you?
I have to admit my feelings were a bit hurt when my daughter told me she wouldn’t be sad if mommy went back to work. However, the greater part of me felt a relief. I know it seems silly to want a toddler’s blessing but her opinion and happiness matters to me. If I thought that she wasn’t ready for it or that her brother would suffer, I wouldn’t dream of doing it. But they seem as eager to go about their lives as I am to enhance my own. Again, this is my reality. Yours may be different. 

When all is said and done, only you can say when you are ready to get back to the rat-race. We do live in a society that affords all types of flexibility. Virtual work, writing, data entry are all ways to work from home. Telecommuting is a great option. There are also many workplaces that offer perks and assistance for employees with children. Weigh all your options and then step on out there. There’s still a world waiting for you.
*For great work-at-home job leads, I recommend visiting Workplace Like Home. They have solid advice and opportunities in the forums.


Work-at-Work Mommy? Maybe So!

What I’d basically be doing… 

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine contacted me about a job opening at her office. A pure case of good karma and great people had thrown opportunity on my doorstep. Though I had no experience in this particular field I was more than familiar with what the position was basically about. The more she told me about the job the more confident I was that I could do it. So, I threw caution to the wind, grabbed a quick “power” outfit from Macy’s, printed out my work-related goodies and headed off to meet the boss. 

Interview Day Bandana bib — can’t cheesesteak up my blouse

After meeting with the owner/founder of the company (no pressure, right?) it was decided that I would come in and shadow then work a day to see how and if I fit. I read up on the parts of the job I was not familiar with and did as much research as possible on today’s most relevant issues. I was determined to come in and be ready to go. As shadow day approached I found myself visualizing success — and that is what I had. 

I read this and think, perhaps I oversimplify. I neglect to mention that I was a big ball of nerves for days, wrought with doubt and fear that I’d lost too much over the past 3 years to really make any type of decent showing. I neglect to discuss how tempted I was to just run back home and crawl into the comfort and understanding of my sweats and (really tired and beat up) robe. I forgot to bring up the hand wringing over finding a sitter and the possibility of leaving my children with someone else. I cried, for sure. But I put my big girl pants on and I did what I had to do. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am by no means sure of whether or not I got the job, but I can say that I am confident that I did well. I am proud of my end product and I am pleased with the work I did. Regardless of the outcome, I pulled myself together and got back out in the world. And I must confess it felt good. I held my children a little tighter when I came home. I thanked my husband with more sincerity. I fell asleep with a different sense of accomplishment; one that was all my own. I am hoping for the best but even if this isn’t in the cards, I know that I’m ready for whatever else may come my way… and something is definitely headed my way!