I recently had to make a tough decision a lot of new moms make: Do I go back to work?
Since our family started when we were in our early 20’s, we don’t have much in the way of savings. My husband and I were also accustomed to 2 incomes so subtracting 1 income and then adding 2 new members to our family made it so we always felt strapped for cash. In addition, my husband and I are planning to buy a home in the next couple years so we can (a) have more space for Sadie and Wally to play and (b) not have to tip toe around at night. And, I missed working and seeing adults. These were the reasons I decided it would be best for me and my family if I got a job. (Despite my heart feeling very anchored at home with my little ones.)
Once I started my search, there were 3 important qualifications I had to have to justify leaving home:
-The salary had to cover the cost for a nanny with money leftover
-Relatively close location
-Flexible work hours
I will be the first to admit, it is HARD to motivate yourself to apply for jobs after taking care of a baby and a puppy all day. I set a manageable goal of 1 job per night (I wrote cover letters for each application) and would apply right after Sadie fell asleep so I could have “me time” after I submitted my application. I was also able to network with some family friends which helped me at least get interviews instead of continually adding my resume to the stack.
When I was asked to interview, I always coordinated with my mom’s schedule (who lives in-town) to respond with times I was available. This way, my mom could watch Sadie during the interview so I could focus and be professional. Typically, I would bring Sadie to my mom’s so Wally would stay home in his crate. I kept rotating the toys in his crate so he would have something new to chew while we were away. Only one time did this go terribly wrong (see below) because we were gone for a long time and I didn’t padlock his crate. Lesson learned.
After about 5 months of searching, I accepted an offer! At first, I was very excited. And then my emotions can be summarized extremely well by this excerpt from What to Expect: “Guilt that you’re leaving your baby. Relief to be away from your baby. Guilt that you’re feeling relieved to be away from your baby. Missing your baby [already].” Luckily for me, I have a few weeks before my start date to spend a little more time with Sadie (and Wally) and find them a nanny we’re all comfortable with to help make the transition easier.
Have you recently started a job search while being a stay-at-home mom? Did you go back to work after staying home? Please share your stories and any tips in the comments section!