Returning to Work After Having Kids
Having a baby changes your life, this is no surprise. What many women don’t consider is the impact returning to work after having a baby will have on them and their family.
The effects of going back to work for mothers and fathers after they have had a baby are a mixed bag. There are some fantastic benefits but there are also downfalls too and this is what it makes it seems like a constant struggle.
Last month I returned to work after having my daughter and even though I work from home and can be flexible with my hours, it has been tough. Tough to find motivation, tough to find balance and tough to be a working mum with four kids including a new baby.
Since returning to work I have started thinking differently about why I write for a living, why I went back to work and why I thought it would be easier to work from home. (If you want to work from you HAVE TO read this warts and all reality check). My passion just isn’t there like it once was; it is wanting to go and play with the kids and snuggle the baby. I want to see the smiles on their faces and hear their fits of laughter but instead like so many other new mothers, I am working. For some, going back to work isn’t an option, it is a necessity. Their wage is needed to cover mortgage payments, insurances and just general living expenses. Their families rely on them equally as much to earn a salary as they do be a parent.
I am very fortunate that we don’t rely on my income to live or pay bills, the money I earn from working is typically childcare fees (if I wasn’t working I wouldn’t need this) and a little bit of extra cash to play with. We can go out for lunch, have a weekend away as a family or even just buy that ‘thing’ we have been pushing to the bottom of our priority list. While my wage is not ‘needed’ to survive, it makes our lives more comfortable. Unfortunately this doesn’t put the ‘Yes, the extra money is great, but do we ‘really’ need it that badly?’ thought to bed.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that I can work from home, schedule my day around the kids’ sports, schooling and appointments but it also means that I don’t get a break. There is minimal adult conversation because I don’t leave the house to work and the kids are ALWAYS there. Then of course there is the all too common ‘mummy guilt’. Of course I want to spend more time doing fun things with the older three kids, I want to embrace my new baby before she grows up and starts doing everything for herself.
In saying all this, going back to work has given me something for me. It has given me a little bit of independence and something to challenge me mentally. If my day consisted of just chasing around the kids, I would probably yearn for more in my day. This is my constant thought process because when I am overtired from being a full time mum, work at home mum and wife, I question whether I would prefer a simpler day without the stress or whether I need that challenge to keep me sane.
It seems that with each benefit of returning to work, there is a downside as well. With each gain, there is a loss. Newton’s 3rd Law I guess – “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”