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Work It, Sister…Or Not? Is There Career After Mom-Hood? by Jacki Christopher

Should you go back to work after the birth of your child? What if they’re toddlers? What is the right time to take up that briefcase again? At Welcome Baby Care, we make it our business to let that decision be your business. You don’t need our validation to head back to work or to stay at home—that’s the hardest part of the issue. Can’t someone tell us that the decision we are making is the right one, that we’re on the right track, and that everything is going to play out perfectly? Sorry, moms.

Moms that stay home wonder if there is something they are missing. Moms that go back to work wonder if there is something that they are missing. The issue can be fraught with emotion, expectation, guilt, and animosity. Even when moms dare to state their own personal reasons for doing one or the other, other women are quick to read it as judgment against their own decisions.

Here’s my thought: try it. As you’ve probably figured out by now, parenting, and life in general, is about trying things to find out if they work. So many women are trying so hard to micromanage the universe and make the perfect decision every time. You may need to learn this one experientially—why don’t you let yourself? The women who are most content are those who figured out what worked for them and their families by just doing it. For example, a mom might be languishing at home with her child(ren), just ready to tear her hair out, she desires to get back to work so intensely. So she discusses it with dad, and they make a plan, and set up the childcare, and she reclaims her job, and goes through all of the steps of to try to balance her career and her new role as mom.

For many women that new system works and everyone is happy with it. But some women realize that going back wasn’t what they had imagined. While they were successful, competent, work-ready women, they decided that where they wanted to be was in the home with the Kleenex and the dirty diapers and the Cat in the Hat. Was it a little inconvenient to prepare to go back to work, do it for a couple of weeks or months and then head back to home headquarters? Maybe. But it allowed them to make an informed decision and they weren’t left wondering what life would have been like if they had gone back to work. They found out. We always talk about how short life it, but in truth there is actually plenty of time for mistakes, detours, and recalculations—allow yourself the privilege.

And consider that work may look different now that you’re a mom–and that can actually be a lot of fun. Many women find ways to supplement the family income and occupy the higher-level parts of their brains through work they can do from home. It may be arts and crafts, or online consulting. The internet is full of forums for women who have made it work. Home Based Working Moms is a great site to check out.

And one thing I would want to remind moms of is this: your worth is not tied to your title or your salary. As a woman, as a mother, you have inherent worth beyond anything that you accomplish or turn out or any amount of money you make. Embracing this truth can be liberating because it helps you to decide what is really best for you and your family, outside of what you imagine others may think. When you are committed to honestly living out your purpose, whether at home or in the office, you thrive…and your family does too.

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