TOUGH CHOICE FOR MUMS TO WORK OR STAY AT HOME?

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Having a baby is among one of the most sacred and valiant achievements any parent could ever hope to attain and with it, the grand expectation that children will not only fill your days with purpose, but also happiness for all eternity. However, did you know that there is a dark side to becoming a parent that people never talk about? Here are just a few…

Being a New Year, becoming a new mother or even having additional kids is possibly one of your desires. Motherhood is a wonderful gift and a great source of joy and satisfaction that also comes with its share of additional responsibilities.

In many instances, most mothers would love to work from home, have part-time jobs or flexi time. This is because the intricacies of balancing careers and family can be difficult for women especially during their children’s formative years.

Many mothers don’t have the luxury to work from home, have part-time jobs or flexi time and therefore they are often faced with the predicament of choosing between their jobs and taking care of their families.

And it doesn’t help that whichever choice a woman makes, she will still be criticised for it. If you are at this juncture in your life, the following insights will come in handy in your decision-making.

Financial implications. For working mothers, getting a job may not be a luxury they can decide to forego as this is a source of income that helps them provide and care for their families. In some households, mothers may be the main or only breadwinners so it makes sense to pursue a career.

For some mothers even though they can afford to be stay-at-home mums, they choose to get a job as pursuing a career and having some financial independence is a part of their identity.

Since this is a decision that will impact your family’s finances, it is worth giving it serious thought. For instance, being a stay-at-home mom may demand that you cut on your expenditure especially if you have to survive on the salary of one spouse, irrespective of the rising cost of living although this is something some families are still able to do.

For single mums, the situation is even trickier as they may be the sole breadwinners.
In her book Lean in: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, points out the risks of taking time off work by warning that,

“Women who take time out of the workforce pay a big career penalty as only 74 per cent of professional women will rejoin the workforce in any capacity and only 40 per cent will later on return to fulltime jobs. Those who do rejoin often see their earnings decrease dramatically.”

You ought to pay attention to the fact that should you want to resume work years later, you may need to upgrade your skills to match the job market requirements in order to gain decent earnings. It is worth noting that some stay-at-home mums manage to work or operate a business from home.

Time factor. Many working mothers express guilt about leaving their children most hours of the day under the care of a nanny and thereby not being present to witness every milestone their child makes, or even watching him grow.

Working mums are constantly plagued with trying to juggle work and family life in different seasons. For instance, toddlers demand more attention although this changes as kids grow up and begin school thereby demanding less of one’s attention.

Being a stay-at-home mother on the other hand can enable you to attend to your child every day and get to know them better. If your kids are of school-going age, it also means you will be able to attend plenty – if not all – of their school events such as sports days, academic days and clinic appointments.

Should you decide to pursue a career, consider having the right support system at home as this will give you some peace when at work and allow you to give your work the attention it deserves while remaining somewhat assured that all is well at home.

Whichever path you choose, understand that none is a better choice than the other. At the end of the day, it is whatever works best for you that counts.

Published January 2017

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