You’ve been mulling this over for a while, and now the time has come to decide whether you should stay at home or go back to work after your maternity leave ends. Whether this is an easy or tough choice for you, the unconditional love and care you have for your child will weigh heavily into your decision as you consider these common factors.

Here’s what to consider when deciding if you want to stay home or go back to work after having your baby:

Consider your overall financial picture

Can you afford not to work? Now that you have additional expenses (medical bills, food, day care, life insurance, college planning, etc.), you may have to get calculative in your decision.

You’ll also want to consider how much you need to make for it to be worth it for you to go back to work considering all the expenses you’ll make as a working mom, such as cost of day care, before and after care for your child, your commute, food, etc.

That said, if you chose to stay at home and forgo a working salary, you’ll still have many of the same items to account for, as well as some child care needs to budget in as well.

Communicate with your partner

If you have a partner, the two of you should decide what’s best for you as a family. Communicate your feelings, thoughts and concerns related to all these other factors that will weigh into your decisions. 

You and your partner will need to define and discuss this together and come to a place where you both acknowledge, accept your decisions and own your responsibilities.

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Understand your work environment + benefits

As a new mom, your values and priorities will shift. Consider all things related to your work environment and your career.

You’ll like need to take half days or full days for your child’s medical appointments, snow days and other things you cannot plan for. It’s important ensure you’re working in a supportive environment and for an employer who will not trigger an ounce of guilt in you.

Research childcare options

Another huge factor to consider is all things child care, including the cost and your comfort and confidence of having someone else look after your child. Whether your child will be cared for by a day care facility, a nanny, an au pair, a friend or family member, the good news is that there are a lot of great options to choose from.

Check in on your emotional readiness

As your return to work draws near, tune into how you’re feeling. Are you dreading the day, or are you excited to get back?

Many women tie their identity to their career. They like the prestige, power and sense of purpose that comes with it. They crave the connection and productivity they feel working in an office.

Other women feel uneasy about returning to work. They couldn’t imagine separating from their child at this time and giving their attention to work.

Whatever your perspective, your feelings are valid and will help guide you in your decision, as you take into consideration the factors mentioned above. There’s no right or wrong answer, mama.

Own your decision and step into your role with confidence. There is power in your ability to choose and how you go forward in your decision will make all the difference

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