whose place no one else can take."
-- Cardinal Mermillod
After you become a mother there are a whole lot of questions that you have to find answers to. Apart from how to take care of a small and demanding human being (which is confusing and challenging enough) we are faced with one major dilemma "Should I go to work or stay at home looking after my baby?" This is a very important question that most mothers ask themselves even before the baby arrives.
Just like most mothers I too asked this question to myself umpteen number of times before my baby arrived. After awhile I tossed the question over to my partner and started to torture him with this at least once in a week. No matter what he suggested I wasn't satisfied with his answer and this just lead to discussions that would end in more doubts and questions.
If he said "you decide" to me....I would say - "let us try part time". I was so caught up with the idea of working on a part time basis in the same company. And this was not a good solution as my husband pointed out that they would not reduce my workload but they would conveniently reduce my salary and I would be expected to meet deadlines in the given span of time. It was difficult for me to digest this fact and I kept constantly bringing up the 'part time' option.
Then one fine day, tired of my repeated "What will I do after baby comes?" question my husband finally said "Let the baby come and then we will decide".
Me: I want to be prepared before he/she arrives.
He: Ok!! we will see how it turns out. If you can and want to work then you can work or just stop for a while and get back to it later. If baby is in safe hands, good babysitter, baby is happy and all and if you can handle the parting with him/her to go to work then you can work. If not then will resign and try later OK?
Me: (not completely satisfied) but what about part-time.
He: No way...it will just stress you out. Less pay, equal or more effort and you can never get back to a full time after that.
End of discussion......
After about 4 months sitting at home with my baby..... I extended my leave to be with him as he was too small to be left with a baby sitter (according to my conscience)....I began to get bored. Thoughts like "I should maybe start working!?!?" began to flood my head. Then finally my office called me back when my son was in his 5th month. They needed someone to complete some urgent work and I was asked to get back to work.
I said to myself that it was a good thing that when most people were loosing their jobs my company was asking me to join..... while most of the women who took maternity leave were asked to extend their leave or were terminated from service I was called to office.....I should be grateful and thankful for this opportunity and thank my lucky stars for still possessing a position (right?). Armed with a thousand reasons for entrusting my baby in the hands of a stranger (babysitter) who I presumed would look after him in my absence I joined work.
Did I feel bad? Hmmm...in the beginning I was concerned about how my baby would handle the separation and if he will be safe and will he be crying, feeding, sleeping and so on.....and then I got into a calmer frame of mind when I saw that he was doing quite good in my absence. My mind was at rest and I continued working till date.
All this narrative is to assert the fact that "To work or not to?" is a question that sometimes you can't find answer to without trying out what works for you and your baby.
Many a times women staying at home looking after their babies are asked why they are not working and many a times women who are working are asked why they are.....by strangers or family members or friends or anybody or nobody.
Don't feel guilty or feel bad about leaving your child with a babysitter (ensure that she is a good one) and going for work. And those of you who love to be home caring for your bundle of joy needn't feel like they are wasting life or being non-productive because you chose to stay with your baby....it is your choice....you can always get back to work when ever you feel you and your little one are ready. Don't let others decide what is best for you and your baby......it is completely a mother's choice.
I chose to work because I want to. I am happy and so is my son.
You have chosen not to work. You are happy and so is you baby.
Well that is what matters....isn't it?
Whatever it is that you decide on doing....staying at home or going for work....let it be a source of joy rather than a cause for tension.