I have been a SAHM since DS was born in April. The transition has been difficult for me for many reasons, mostly because I feel like I abandoned a career I was really starting to love. However, I love being a SAHM. I always have the opportunity to do part time work, and DS would stay with either my MIL or DH if he was home from work (he gets out at 2pm, so I could definitely work afternoon hours). However, I am still mostly BFing, and I struggle with the idea of missing milestones and things like that. I am currently planning on starting some part time work (2 full days a week) when DS turns 1. Financially, we could probably swing it so that I could stay home full time even longer, but we're on a tight budget. I do miss our old lifestyle where we didn't think twice about spending money for vacations, shopping, etc., so extra money would put us back in that place, but it's not completely necessary. Besides money, I miss the interaction with other adults.
This is really a struggle for me, so I'm curious what all of you have BTDT feel about going back to work. Was it worth it?
Mom to Kevin, : born naturally 4-7-10
I have lived just about every combination of work/SAH - I have worked a traditional 5 day, 40 hr work week, a 3 day, 12 hr shift week, a weekend only job, a part time evening, part time night, part time day, SAH with no work. I honestly felt my favorite was a part time, one to two days/week. I made a little money, but if for some reason I didn't bring home as much due to sick/vacation etc it wasn't a big deal. I kept current with the job, kept networking connections, and had a little adult social time. In fact, right now I work every other Saturday and pick up a evening or two every month holding open house and I look forward to it- rather than when I was full time I half dreaded going in, and my days off were stressful trying to keep up with everything, and there were major logistical obstacles every day getting everyone to activities, dinner, housework etc. I also felt resentful that over much of paycheck was going to childcare, where now any $$ I make from working is total gravy ;)
I had the luxury of returning when dd was almost 7mo so it felt right for both of us, especially in regard to bfing. What makes it great is that dd with with my mom, sister or dh so we don't have to pay for childcare and she gets some special time with them. I also feel like if I "miss" something, it will at least have been seen by someone who will be just as excited. If we had to pay for childcare, I probably wouldn't do it.
Lastly, I looooooooooove to see dd's reaction when I come home. Selfish, I know, but it fills my heart with new energy every time!!!
Hth! Let me know if you want more info on how we make it work. Good luck!
Thanks for the replies! I would also be getting free childcare if I did the 2 days a week. I don't think I could ask my MIL to watch DS 5 days a week for free, and I don't know if I can handle the early mornings, or spending most of my time prepping for the next day if I worked a regular 40 hour workweek. I guess part of my decision is making it so that DS has almost the same kind of day as he would with me if I were home. My MIL is great with him, so I have no problems leaving him with her.
I really enjoy spending my days with DS, and I try to do all kinds of things to keep us busy, but as Sfcmama mentioned, it would be nice to have 2 days where I actually have to shower and be professional for at least a few hours.
So I guess my next question is, would it make sense to wait until DS is one year old to re-enter the workforce part time? I would love to maintain my BFing relationship with him, but by then I'm sure he'll be eating SOME solids on a regular basis, so I won't have to worry about pumping a full day supply for him?
Also, I'm sure I can make a schedule that works for me...what kind of schedule do you like? Working a few full days? Spreading out hours across 5 days? I figure 10-15 hours a week would be fine, but I don't know how I want to distribute those hours. I'm thinking 2 full days would be best, only because I can have the rest of my week open for anything I want to do with DS.
Finally, for those of you who had the choice between leaving your DC with your DP or with another family member...did it work better to just drop DC off with someone else? I feel like whenever I leave DS with my DH, it doesn't feel like I'm officially "off duty" for some reason. But it would be much easier to just leave my house instead of having to drop DS off with my MIL, even though she is very close. I just feel like after working all day, DH will just sit around the house with DS because he's tired, whereas my MIL will do other things with him. Maybe I can do one day with my MIL, one day with DH. Hmmm.
Thanks for all the input, I feel a little better about making some kind of plan!
Mom to Kevin, : born naturally 4-7-10
I am currently SAHM-ing and studying part time, and I used to work 16 hours a week (for 6 months). To be honest, it definitely wouldnt have been worth it if I had not desperately needed the money at the time...I got so stressed and it definitely affected my parenting, although at first, while it was still a novelty, I did appreciate my son more and enjoy him more when I did see him. But it was the rushing-out-the-door at certain times and dropping-him-off-at-whoever-was-taking-him-that-day that really got to me, and also the work was sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end (with some adult interaction too, which I did really enjoy), which I find draining. So I guess, it depends on what you are doing and if you love it or not. I tried one full day and two half days but it felt like I was always going to and fro from work and the half days left were taken up with logistics of getting ready for the next day. I felt frustrated by not being able to do anything 'proper' with DS in terms of going out, as soon it would be dinner time etc (I worked 10-2). I am a single mother though so my situation is different, b/c I had no one on the home front helping so it was all me... but anyway, I definitely found it better when I changed to two full days. I paid for one day of childcare and the other was free (DS with his dad or with a friend I did swaps with) - the childcare costs made it not very worthwhile at all. To tell the truth I found I started getting very burned out although I'd thought 'only 2 days, what's the big deal', but the thing was I had no quality time just for myself, ie not 'on' either as a working person or as a mother. I guess the amount that mothers need of that varies widely, though, but I'll just say I learned that really I need at least a half day a week in addition to work time, that is 'off' from mothering.
How much does your son BF still? At a year my son was still feeding a lot and in fact I couldn't leave him with anyone till he was two for longer than a couple of hours. But if he has already cut down to only a couple of feeds a day by then, then it could be doable. Good luck!
Your situation sounds so similar to mine!
Including commute, I'm gone about 6 hours twice a week. It works out well for me bc I only pump one or two bottles (sippy cups, actually - dd never took to the bottle) and make sure I nurse her before leaving. She's starting to actually eat solids now (like for hunger not just fun) which makes it even easier. Bc we've never had supply issues, I don't even pump while I'm gone as long as I pump or nurse right before leaving. I'm sure I couldnt do this everyday but a few times a week hasn't been a problem for us.
I sometimes have to split my work week over 3 days and it really throws me off. Something about having to get ready and somewhere on time an extra day... It really throws me/us off the normal routine.
DD goes to my mom once a week and with DH or my sister the other times. She definitely does more with my mom than with DH so it throws her naps off a bit but I think it's a fun change up to her week. I'm a family therapist so DH can't get really get ahold of me (except for emergencies) so I don't feel like I'm on duty the days he's with her but I could totally see myself calling every 10mins if I had the kind of job that allowed it ;0) It is really great, though, for DH and DD to have their regular special time together. It's made him much more confident (I think) as a parent and its cool to see them doing things their own way.
As for when to go back, I'm glad I went earlier than later bc separation anxiety has started to set in a very little bit but I don't worry about her bc I know shes in a familiar routine. If I were trying to start back to work with an older, more clingy baby, that might be harder for me emotionally.
Also, I don't know if this is possible for you, but I was able to slowly build up my hours. I started 3 hours twice a week or something like that and then added clients until I got to what felt like our max as a family. I'm really thankful for that and think it's been a crucial part of our success.
Well, enough about me ;0) I hope this helps. Whatever you do, I'm sure it'll be fine since you're given it so much thought and preparation. I keep reminding myself this is only a small chunk of or lifetime as a family but yet so prescious. Feel free to keep me posted!