Staying at home or working

My maternity leave is coming to an end soon and I can’t help but feel a sense of impending doom. My husband and I decided that I’ll go back to work part-time but part-time already feels like too much time to be away from Emma. I surprised myself when I realized I wanted to stay home full-time.  I didn’t always feel this way. Once upon a time I dreamed of being a successful career woman that would never become a stay at home mom.

I finished university in my early 20’s and went on to become a cytotechnologist.  I started studying for the CFA but quit when I got offered a job as a clinical trials coordinator. The job as a coordinator took me to Berlin, San Francisco, and Toronto in the span of one year. I was learning a lot and exploring life as a scientist outside of the lab. This was what I dreamt of right? After a few years of working as a coordinator I took a position back in the lab as a manager.  I didn’t stay in that position for long as I became pregnant with Emma soon after.

Fast-forward to now and I don’t feel any push to have an amazing career anymore. At the same time I don’t feel like I’m giving up an amazing career (or the possibility of one) either.  Regardless of how I feel, my decision seems to be judged. These are the various responses I’ve gotten from people when I’ve told them I’m going back to work part time:

  • “You should be the only person who takes care of your children.”
  • “Part-time is good, that way you can still have a career when Em grows up”
  • “You spent all that time in school, and you’re just going to give it up?”
  • “What if your husband leaves you? That’s not enough money to live.”
  • “If you’re not home full time your children are going to grow up with different morals.”

Has anybody else heard these comments? I can only imagine the extremes if I choose to stay home full time or work full time!. Honestly, when it came time to make the decision regarding my career none of those comments played any importance. I made the choice with my husband based on what was best for us as a team. I feel like as mothers we are constantly judged by the decisions we make. I have the same amount of respect for the stay at home mom as I do for the working mom. It shouldn’t matter how much, if any, we choose work when our maternity leave ends. The only thing that should matter is that our decision is what works for our families. This is what my heart tells me is right.

As my life has changed, my dreams have changed with it. I said goodbye to a dream or being a working mom without even knowing it. Instead of getting ready to go back to work full time, I’m getting ready to work two and a half days a week. As mothers we’re all just trying to make ends meet and grow a happy family. So while other’s may voice their opinions a little too loudly, lets support each others decision no matter what it may be.

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