Thanks to progressive labor laws, the majority of moms now receive a reasonable amount of maternity leave when they have a child. They have time to get to know their new baby, and they don’t feel compelled to rush back to work as soon as their child can be left with someone else to watch for a few hours. We’ve come a long way on this front in the past few decades, and we should all feel glad about that.
Just because we can take maternity leave, though, doesn’t mean we always do. Some mothers find that their whole life changes after childbirth and they never want to go back to work at all. Others seem to shake off the fact they’ve had a baby almost immediately, and want to go back to work within a few short weeks. There’s no right or wrong approach to this, but in either event, you’re likely to face judgment from friends and family. Give up work completely, and you’ll be looked at as weak and lazy. Rush back too quickly, and you’ll be thought of as heartless and uncaring. It often feels like there’s no way to win.
In truth, when or if you decide to go back to work is up to you. It’s not for anybody else to judge, and only you can make an assessment of your circumstances. There’s no way of knowing how much having a child will affect you, and even the most career-driven woman might suddenly find that their job just doesn’t seem as important anymore once they’ve brought new life into the world. There’s even the possibility that you won’t be able to return to work at all, which although unpleasant to think about, does happen in some cases where employers make it all-but-impossible to do so.
We’re not here to tell you whether you should or shouldn’t go back to work after having a child, or when you should do it. We can, however, offer you a few things to think about that may help you make up your own mind.
How Much Energy Do You Have?
Although everyone tells you that having a new baby will take every bit of energy you have, you don’t fully understand how tiring they are until you have one of your own. A good night’s sleep is now a thing of the past. Your attention is required every minute of every day. Having a baby is physically and mentally exhausting, and you can’t go back to work if you’re too drained to do so. Try to remember that going to work is like a drawn-out version of playing online slots on websites like Amigoslots.com. You can only get anything out of an online slots game if you have something to put into it, and if you have no energy, you have nothing to put in. When you’ve run out of money, it’s time to stop playing online slots, and when you’ve run out of energy, it’s time to rest. If you can barely keep your eyes open after a full day of looking after your baby, it’s probably too early to go back to work.
Can You Cope With Being Separated From Your Baby?
A lot of working mothers worry about how their baby will cope if they suddenly start to disappear from their life for several hours at a time on working days. In reality, they should be more worried about themselves. Various studies have shown that leaving a baby at home to go back to work takes a heavy mental toll on mothers – often one that they never saw coming. Your life completely changes when a baby arrives and – for a while at least – you spend every hour of every day with the brand new human you’ve created. During that time, you’ll form a very strong bond. Break that bond by returning to work, and you’ll often find that you feel acutely stressed and anxious. The best way to find out how this might affect you is to arrange for someone else to look after your baby and go away somewhere for three to four days to find out how you cope. If you’re too spooked by doing so, you might need a little longer with them before you’re mentally prepared to go back to your old life.
Can Your Finances Cope?
Although governments all over the world appear to be trying to cut back on welfare spending at the moment, there’s still financial support available for new mothers in the majority of civilized countries. In some of those countries, there’s financial support available for the entire time your child is dependent – usually through to the age of 16 or even 18 in some cases. That, coupled with your maternity pay from work, is your financial safety net. The big question is whether or not you can cope financially when the agreed maternity period ends. Do you have savings you could fall back on? Do you have a partner who earns enough to support you both? If not, would you be in dire straits if you weren’t back at work within one or two months of your maternity leave ending? Work this out in advance, and if you have to go back to work due to financial constraints, begin to mentally prepare yourself for it before it happens. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do to get by, but it’s easier to deal with if we know it’s coming.
Ultimately, if you can’t go back to work or don’t want to go back to work full time, it may not be the end of the world. The world is changing, and so is the nature of employment. If might be possible for you to work from home if your employer allows for remote working, and failing that you could even set yourself up as a freelancer if you get the ball rolling during the time you have at home on maternity. As we said at the start of this article, there’s no universal right or wrong answer to this conundrum – which means the only real ‘right’ answer is the one that works for you and your baby.