When I had my daughter in August 2012, I was caught in a dilemma in regards to if I wanted to stay home with my daughter or return to the work I loved. As a licensed social worker, I knew the many benefits of staying home and bonding, especially as a breast-feeding mother. Yet, I knew that I wanted to provide certain financial aspects for my daughter who needed my income. Plus, I enjoyed going to work and using the graduate degree that I worked so hard for.
Your choice. When considering what to do, tone other people out. It is great to talk to other mothers, but I realized that women can be very critical of each other, especially surrounding parenting issues. Several of my friends stay home with their children full-time. One told me that staying home was best and to find a way to make it work. Whereas, another friend, who was a new mom and working full-time, said that day care is a wonderful experience for her child and it helps her to keep her own sanity as a new mom. What I realized was that this is something that has to be a personal reflection and a family decision as to what is best for you, the baby, and the family unit.
Mix It Up. I chose to stay home for several months, not working at all. We had saved money in advance, as a way to not be hit too hard when I did not work. I loved being home with my daughter, but I had this unsatisfied feeling that I could not get rid of. I realized that I wanted to be with my daughter most of the day, but I loved to work. I could not go back to my normal full-time job, so I chose to use this time to branch out into new areas in my field and gain experience. I began to volunteer at agencies and took a job doing per diem work in a new area of my profession that I was interested in. I found that working and volunteering for about 15-20 hours each week provided me with that satisfaction of working while not feeling the guilt of not being home with my baby. I worked and volunteered in the evenings and weekends so I was able to utilize family as babysitters instead of spending money at a daycare facility.
Whatever you chose, there is no right or wrong decision. There is only a choice as to what is best for you and your family.