What would have kept you in your job?

Here's a question for anyone who did not return to their former job after having a child, whether you planned to or not: Why did you not go back? And is there anything that could have kept you?

And don't be afraid to list things that would have kept you, no matter how unrealistic they seem. (For example, when I left my last full-time job, the only way I'd have stayed is if my job duties had completely changed, I'd have gotten a different immediate boss, and I'd gotten a 75% percent raise. Not realistic at all.)

Feel free to comment if you left a job at any point after having a child, even if your child was way older than baby age when you went.

Also, please put whether  you're in the US or in a country with longer maternity/paternity leave. I have a suspicion that countries with longer leaves experience more parents going back to their previous jobs, but don't know if that's true or not.

183 thoughts on “What would have kept you in your job?”

  1. * I loved my immediate boss, but I hated his boss.* The corporate culture of the company I worked for was straight out of 1955.
    * There were ridiculous rules about sick days and doctor visits which seemed downright draconian for anyone with a child.
    * I worked in a open cubicle, where to pump? Bathroom was not private at all. (I mean, private for women, but no way to have privacy within.) Everyone had an open cube except my boss, who probably would have given me his office twice a day were it not for his boss/corporate culture. I didn’t even ask.
    * It was publishing, so the pay sucked; I would have barely broken even (if that) after paying for child care in my neighborhood.
    * I had other issues, like not being promoted the year before I was pregnant, although I was doing the work without the title (and the pay).
    I liked the work I was doing; I actually pitched a proposal to go freelance/WAH for them, but my boss’s boss looked at me like I had three heads and wanted to know on the spot if I’d be coming back after my six weeks of disability.
    I took my disability, then the four weeks of vacation I was owed (earned the previous year–you got it on June 1 or July 1 for the previous 12 months), then I quit.
    I’ve actually toyed with the idea of contacting my boss to see if they’d freelance with me now. The company is a bit of a dinosaur because it was founded in the late 1800s and has lost a lot of ground to companies that did not spent decades coasting on their reputations but actually kept up with the computer age.

  2. I’m a freelance artist, and so maternity leave is completely non existentI have to say I could have got back into my projects had paternity leave been an option; which for my partner it was not. He didn’t even get a week off, when our son was newborn. I always knew that it was going to be me at home with the baby; but as a creative person I longed for that stimulation and tended to deflect into cooking the evening meal. After a year its started to wear thin, and I was going quietly mad.
    So now I am back in some projects and because the financial rewards are so crappy I’m paying more for a sitter than I am earning; but at least I have an outlet. Before, I tended and still do look for job satisfaction in motherhood. It exists; but its so different. There is a large margin for failure when you seek self esteem from being a SAHM; especially when your baby doesn’t sleep or goes off the boob or any amount of all the crazy unpredictable things they do. But our generation of women were brought up to find self esteem in work and productivity; and suddenly its a strange conundrum to find yourself in; where the work of motherhood meets the expectation of a generation that wants to succeed at it the same way they succeeded at their old job

  3. I left my job as a high school English teacher as soon as the school year ended when I was pregnant with my son (first baby).Why I left:
    -My husband and I had decided before we got married that we think it is best if one parent is willing/able to be home with the kids. I wanted to stay home; he didn’t. He also made A LOT more money than I did, so financially, it was no question.
    -In my opinion, teaching English (especially where I was–academically rigorous school in affluent area with demanding parents), is not easily compatible with being a parent. I can’t even talk about the number of hours I spent grading papers, preparing lessons, in parent conferences, tutoring after school, etc. I have nothing but respect for people who can be good English teachers and good parents at the same time.
    -Pumping would have also been very difficult. No good place to pump, no good time to pump regularly.
    What would have kept me:
    -If my husband had wanted to stay home.
    -If I had been the primary breadwinner.
    -If I could have figured out a good pumping place and times.

  4. I stayed at work and can say what made the difference: part time for 6 months (I’m a professor, so it meant teaching a half load and is easier given academic schedules). Also, very high quality on-site daycare, private office to pump. And the support of my partner and friends– I only had a few “how can you leave him at daycare” from family members and it was completely crushing each time, even though I knew I made the right choice for me. There’s a great book by a sociologist about this, as it relates to higher income women who technically have a choice because of affluent partners: Opting Out? by Pamela Stone. She does a good job explaining the work impediments women really face to child-rearing and how companies would need to change to accommodate this (Deloitte Consulting is apparently a good model).

  5. I’m in the US.I did not go back because I wasn’t ready to leave her with someone else.
    At 10 weeks old, it was way too soon for me (I had to start my disability early because at 38 weeks I was having contractions and the doctor made me stay home; I ended up going past my due date but it didn’t change the 12 week disability).
    My boss was great and we’d talked about me going back part time at the end of disability to sorta extend it a bit, and ease me back in. But in the long run? I didn’t make enough money for it to be worth it. It wasn’t a dream job and as much as I was appreciated there, as much as I liked the people I worked with and for, I wanted and needed to be home with my child. Partly, I’m sure this has to do with the struggles we had to get her in the first place; suffering a miscarriage really changed my priorities as a mom and how I value my time with her.
    On her first birthday, they asked me back for part time work from home but pretty much once that project ended, my boss transferred out of state and my WAH opportunities dried up with them.
    To have kept me there, they would have pretty much had to turn my job into a work at home opportunity with no time in the office; I seriously didn’t make enough for quality child care.

  6. I’m looking forward to reading the comments on this post as I’m 3/4 of the way through my maternity leave (Canada – 50 weeks paid at various percentages of your salary), and am contemplating my next career move.I’ve already decided that I don’t want to go back to my specific job (our department has been deteriorating for years, I’ve hit the ceiling in terms of promotions, a lot of the good people were driven out by my former boss who is now gone, I’m not motivated, or inspired or energized by my job anymore), but I would like to find another position in our fantastic company. And I’ll also look outside for comparison. In all honesty, I’ve been wanting to leave our department for a few years, so the baby is just the icing on the cake in getting me to move on it. Also, I find it’s easier to try to switch right when I go back…less messy. They’re already used to me being gone.
    I do want to go back to work for my own head space (even if I’m loving my year off). But, if we won the lottery or something, for sure I’d start my own business again (pt until DS was in school), instead of going to work for someone else.
    Probably the only thing that will make me consider not going back is if we can’t get any daycare for DS. We have no grandparents in the city. I would crunch the numbers to see what it would be like if I took an extra 6 mos, no pay (we can extend our mat leave here). But for sure, this wouldn’t be very rosy financially.

  7. I’m in the US. My 2nd child is due in 4 weeks, and I don’t plan to return after my 4 months’ maternity leave is up. My commute is hellish (90 minutes each way), and the only way I’d return is if they:1. Physically moved the building to within 30 minutes of my home;
    2. Allowed me to work completely from home; or
    3. Beaming technology became a possibility, and I could instantaneously beam myself into the office in a nanosecond.
    I make more than my DH, so we’re exploring several things at once to make it possible for me to stay home…selling our beach house, selling our primary home and moving somewhere cheaper, etc.
    Long-term goal is for both of us to work our own hours out of the home on our own graphic/web design company.

  8. I don’t really have data points because I returned to work, but am thinking about leaving. It’s hard because I really love my work, but what I really need right now are:1. Compensation tied to production rather than face time.
    2. No stigmatization or career advancement impediment for switching to part-time.
    Am thinking of starting my own firm. I have a great book of my own business. I don’t mind working full-time but what I want is the flexibility. I’d like to be home every day by 3 – I can always work in the evening because my son goes to bed early. But non-traditional work hours aren’t comment in my practice field unless you are self-employed.

  9. I’m in the US, but in California, and we have some nice laws that make my experience a little different than, say, Kate’s. Employers are required to give you a private, non-bathroom place to pump and time to do so at least twice a day. And with our state family leave, I could have gotten up to 5 months off with at least some pay. I also am a little bit older, so more established in my career and was able to negotiate with my employer for what I wanted. Also, I make enough to easily make it financially sensible for me to keep working and pay for day care. I don’t think that women should necessarily stay home if they don’t make enough money to cover day care (there’s the growth in earnings over time and the issue of personal satisfaction to consider), but it is certainly easier not to have to justify the finances.I ended up taking 3 months off completely, the next month I worked part time (at the office 3 days out of the week), and after that I had a 35 hour/week schedule that let me take every other Friday off until I left my job and took a different one when Pumpkin was about 10 months old.
    I was bored at my old job, so really the only thing that would have kept me there was a more interesting project. I did have a private office at the old job, which made pumping easier. I pumped for about 9 months here at the new place, though, using the lactation room.
    My experience was that going back to work helped me settle into my new identity as a mother better- I got my old identity (which was based on what I did for a living to an extent that surprised me) back and was able to understand what had changed and what had not. I also felt competent again, because I certainly did not feel competent at home with a newborn. Those first 6 weeks were the hardest of my life. (For anyone in those weeks now- for what its worth, I usually feel competent as a mother these days.)
    In my circle of friends (mostly scientists), the only mother who didn’t go back to work was the one who lived in England and had a year off. She went back just long enough to satisfy the terms of her contract or something like that, then quit. The rest of us have taken about 3 months off, maybe with some part time/flex time at the end, and all seem happy working.

  10. Opted to be laid off when the girls (twins) were 8 months old (they wanted to keep me, I wanted to go).* Culture of rolling layoffs every six months was emotionally deadly
    * Upper management drank too much kool-aid, and all thought they were fabulous, and that everyone else was just whiners (or so it seemed)
    * so much turnover in the upper-to-middle management level that it was clear they didn’t know what way they wanted to go, and everyone below that level stopped listening because it was all just going to get dumped at the next layoff
    * Preponderance of yes-men in the Board, nobody willing to kick up a fuss and demand change (those ones who tried were all asked to leave or left)
    * Change of emphasis from ‘if we keep our employees happy, they will keep our clients happy’ to ‘if we keep our shareholders happy, we’ll get a fatter paycheck at the top’
    * Loss of vertical visibility. When I started, the entire Board knew me by name. Four years in, they still did. When I left, they didn’t know me from Adam.
    * Stagnation in product development following a single product as essential, with no real side development (pipeline of ONE – even with many flavors, and even while a good product, not all that useful for future passionate engagement of staff)
    * Benefits management went from being ‘how can we help you get what you need to stay happy, healthy, and engaged?’ to ‘how can we save the company maximum benefit dollars, and why are you calling us about THAT?’
    * Did I mention the rolling layoffs?
    * And the lack of management with a spine, character, ethics, or rudimentary communication skills?
    Er. Sorry about that.
    For a good couple years before I took the layoff, I would come home, say my soul had been sucked out my eyeballs again that day, and epeepunk would tell me to quit. And I didn’t quit. And didn’t quit. I’d been there for years and years, I liked the people, I even liked the product and mainly liked the work – just not the tone, culture, or attitude.
    And now… I just signed my offer letter for this new job, and I am finding myself strangely ambivalent about being an EMPLOYEE again, rather than a contractor. I like the company a lot, I like the work they do, I like the fact that they’re fighters and willing and direct and value communication, I like that they have a good business model and a good culture and young management (very very young CEO)… but even almost four years out from that other place, I still can feel the scars from spending too many years in a corporate morgue.
    Plus, I like consulting.
    Still, I am absolutely LOVING my current job (except yesterday, where I needed to kick someone, but today is better), but good : bad is about 7:1, from where I stand, and many of the features I really like (like visibility and the ability to make an impact) have been handed to me on a big silver platter.
    Benefits are good, too. Hours, not great.
    Both companies (old and new) have some schedule flexibility built in – working from home, working odd hours, not a problem. That is huge when you have kids.

  11. I’m in the US.I had a wonderful job that I loved! I worked in my profession 9 years before we had our first child (now 15 months old). But, it had always been our plan for me to become a SAHM until our kids get into school (We just found out we’re pregnant with Baby #2…Eek!! – Two and we’re done, btw). So, obviously nothing could have kept me at my job because I honestly loved what I did, truly enjoyed 95% of the people I worked with (and still keep in touch with many of them), and made a ridiculous amount of money (I say that now because I can. I make $0/year now! 😉 I actually made more money than my husband, but we also think it’s important in our household that Mom is at home.
    In our life, the amount of maternity leave would not have mattered. We really don’t want to leave our kids with someone else. Even when they’re in school, we think I’ll do something fulfilling to me, but part-time (e.g., teaching associate’s or bachelor’s college classes) because there is just so much that has to be done to keep a family happy and together and functioning well and I don’t think I could do all of that if I had full-time job responsiblities as well. But, something to fill in the gaps when school is in session = perfect.
    Sorry about the tangent. Nothing could have kept me at my job.

  12. @Joceline — My story is EXACTLY the same, down to just about every detail. Except NOTHING would have kept me there. NOTHING will lure me back, either. ‘Burnout’ is putting it mildly — which was a big motivator behind all the other legitimate reasons.

  13. I don’t have children (heck, I don’t even have a real job yet…grad student), but I think this is a fascinating topic. I can’t comment on your original question, but I can add a bit about the suspicion you mention at the end. I live in Austria, where you have up to 3 years maternity leave for the first child and 2.5 for each additional child. The leave begins 8 weeks before your due date and once the baby is born it can be taken by either parent or split up and shared between the parents (mom stays home for the first year, dad stays home the following 2 years or whatever).Anyway, on to the point. I found a study about family friendly measures in businesses conducted for the Austrian government and released in 2008. It found that 92% of women working for large companies, 98% of those working for middle-sized companies and 72% working for small companies returned to work after their maternity leave. Some women already return a few months after the child’s birth, 70-100% of women with children work part-time and many take advantage of some kind of telecommuting. That is all it said about women returning to work after having children, but I thought it was interesting. Maybe there is some kind of US study as well?
    Also, my roommate is substituting for someone at an NGO while that co-worker is on leave after having twins. My friend will take over her position for 2.5 years, then her hours will be reduced by about 8 hrs a week so the original employee can gradually return to work and after 3 years the plan is that she will have her old position back full-time.
    I am looking forward to what everyone has to say. This is a great question.
    (Maybe I should also add that the childcare options for children under 3 here are almost non-existant.)

  14. I’m in the US, though I’m not from here originally.I left my job because I was moving out of the state anyway, four months after my baby was born, so I just planned to take my FMLA and not go back. If I had been staying in the area, I would have considered going back on a part-time basis, especially if I could have worked from home or taken the baby along (my boss would have been open to this, but with my high-needs nurser, I couldn’t see how it would have worked).

  15. realistically, probably nothing could have kept me, as I felt so strongly about needing to stay home with my son. But seeing how mothers in my department were treated definitely helped make up my mind. There were not adequate accomodations for pumping mothers if you weren’t in an office with a door–a solution was jury-rigged for each woman, often including wandering the halls with pump in hand looking for an empty office. This was an office with LOTS of young women, so it would have made sense to put a solution in place across the board. Instead, one was made to feel as though one was asking for unreasonably preferential treatment; multiple times the suggestion was made to just pump in the bathroom.I also would have appreciated the ability to work from home two or more days a week; more growth potential my position, both in terms of salary and responsibility, and the complete absence of the sinking feeling that my organization wasn’t going belly-up within the next five years.

  16. also, at my salary level I would have been working to finance daycare, and that just didn’t make any sense to me at all.

  17. I’ll tell you why I *did* return to work:- even with the cost of childcare eating into my salary, we would have had to significantly change our lifestyle for me leave my job and lose the salary.
    – I work for a fantastic organization that allows me to a) work from home 2 days a week (which really means get as much done in the office as possible the other 3 days and then work evenings and weekends as necessary) and b) leave every day at 3:15 to pick my daughter up early enough to get lots of time with her before bedtime.
    – My company went out of their way to provide a Quiet Room in which to pump, and to install blinds on my office window so that I could pump in the office if I wanted.
    – I was able to take 3.5 months off (unpaid) after she was born and then work part time for 2 months, and then come back to full time.
    I am extremely lucky.

  18. I went back to work full time when my son was 3 months old. I didn’t love my job, and would have preferred to stay home, but my husband was in graduate school and working full time, and my income/health insurance was a necessity for the part of the country we live in. I work in an academic library, and although I could have taken up to 6 months off, I only had about 1.5 months paid through my saved vacation/sick time. I was able to pump at work until my son was about a year old, and then continued nursing him at home until 16 months. They had a pumping room, which was a pain to get to, but with my flexible work schedule (I could leave my desk, mostly I was a computer programmer at this job) I could take the breaks I needed.I am now working at a different university, with a shorter work week and better commute, and I am expecting my second child in about 7 weeks. I am planning on going back to work at least initially, but am also hoping to be able to stop working fairly soon. My husband is finishing school and we’re hoping to adjust our income and living expenses to make it easier for us to live off of one income. It is difficult to figure out how to adjust your budget when you are used to two incomes.
    Factors for me about why I want to be at home, why work isn’t worth it for now:
    -I am not particularly passionate about my job, or career path at this point.
    -I never have enough sick/vacation days to cover all the sick days I need to take when my son gets sick.
    -Work stress/politics does not seem worth it for my quality of life. I don’t have the energy for it most of the time.
    -I would like to find a part-time or work at home option, but it is difficult in my field to find such opportunities.
    -It is hard to find professional development opportunities that don’t require me to be away from home at conferences, and I prefer not to be away from my children, especially while nursing.
    -I want to be home at least initially, to soak up this time with my children.
    Anyway, I appreciate all the comments! I am always interested in hearing what others are doing/thinking. So many challenges to navigate as parents…

  19. I left my job simply because I was bored with what I was doing and if I was going to leave my baby, it was going to be because I had a job that gave me personal fulfillment. I stayed home with my daughter until she was 20 months. It was tight financially, but I’m glad I did it. I think I was slightly depressed as a SAHM though and when my dream job came up, I took it because it was also super family friendly. I wouldn’t work if I couldn’t work some hours from home, have flex time, have a boss that is family friendly, no matter what the money is.

  20. I’m going on the assumption that those of us who returned have something to offer too.I sort of did both: I went back to my old job and said I would likely quit, but negotiated a change in responsibilities and a part-time WAH schedule.
    After 8 months of that, I was offered a dreamier FT WOHM job and took it.
    The most important factor for me, besides financial fear, was that I learned a lot about myself during that time. I really thought I would be a serene SAHM with tons of ideas and resources. What I found was that I was actually a bit of a neurotic SAHM. I am my son’s best and only mother and time with him is really important, but I did not do well being his entire world, nor he mine. It’s been humbling and joyous to find that actually the world is a good place beyond the borders of our home.
    So my data points:
    • Canadian; took the 15 weeks EI-funded maternal + 35 week parental leave (either parent can take this) myself
    • Chose not to return full-time at 12 months in part because I couldn’t find a care situation for 12-18 months old that I was happy with, and in part because I felt strongly compelled to try to work something out that involved staying at home
    • Another factor at play was that my company was taken over by new/old management at that time and I was not super keen to work with the new/old management too closely
    • During the PT option I could afford nanny care for half the hours I actually needed to work, which was workable but also stressed me out. It also stressed me out that it felt very dead-end; both luxuries, I admit.
    • When idly browsing job postings due to a really nasty encounter with the CEO of my company, I found two jobs a few weeks apart that were both dream jobs. I didn’t get the first but I got the second and I love it
    • By then my son was old enough to go to the lovely small daycare that begins at 18 months that my friend had recommended, so I took the leap, with much angst and despair. Haven’t regretted that, although 10 hrs less a week would be good.
    • I have almost quit several times due to basically feeling of inadequacy, illness (my son’s the first year and mine over the last six months), and general stress. That includes the “second shift” work that my husband often manages to get out of.
    • Why I haven’t: I have good good childcare. I love my job, or a lot of it. My bosses have been occasionally annoyed but generally very supportive. My husband, despite not stepping up with chores, has TOTALLY stepped up with parenting and it has improved our marriage.

  21. I also should have added that once I actually had my baby, I couldn’t fathom someone else doing the “work” of baby care. Nursing her became the hugest thing in my life–and far more fulfilling that what I had been doing. (But I had been on a different career path, who knows?) Luckily we were in a financial position that I did not have to go back to where I was or find something else.Now that my littler one is almost 3 I would love to pick up some more freelance work to once again feel like I am connecting to adults–and that I am contributing to the tuition payments. As of September I’ll probably have whole mornings free! I won’t know what to do with myself.

  22. I’m in the US.I would have contemplated staying had the following been true:
    1. Really loved my job
    2. Enjoyed the people I worked with.
    3. Had more than three months of leave.
    4. More money was at stake.

  23. I’m in the US. I’ll also preface by saying that I had always planned to stay at home with any future babies. Like my plan back to childhood.We had been discussing having my husband go to grad school. We’d have to move about 2 hours away (back to our college town) and I would work and support us. Around application time, I got unexpectedly pregnant. We had let it be known at our jobs that we were probably moving that year. I was contacted by a former boss to see if I wanted a job at her new company – our potential move was a bonus in her mind if it didn’t work out.
    Pregnancy changed our plans – we now planned to move 2 hours away, but back to our hometown to be near my parents for help with baby care. That need resonated with everyone we knew – having kids without grandparent support is hard.
    I started that new job when I was about 6 weeks along. I left when we moved when I was 7 months along.
    To stay, hmmm:
    -my parents would have had to move to our work city. Or my job would have had to be in our hometown. When that baby was about 2 months old, I started going back to work city every few weeks. If that distance would have been possible to overcome, I probably would have been ready to go back to work. Baby #1 was hard. I was unprepared. I was competent at work and did not feel competent at home.
    – I ended up freelancing for that company and still work with them 8 years later. I didn’t have access to the bonuses or nice benefits. But I also didn’t get laid off.
    In my own life lessons file, I think I might have looked for work after college in our hometown. I was determined to move away. But for a long time, I had great contacts in our work city and felt unmoored to job search in our hometown. (When baby #1 was 2 months, 6 mo, 10 mo, 1 year, 18 month…once I got pregnant with #2 I stopped thinking about looking for work. And baby #2 was easier so being home was happier.) I am also a freelancer and I would have had more contacts in our work city as well.

  24. I will also give my data points re why I *did* return to work:(1) Mental sanity. I am not fit for SAHM
    (2) I live in Canada, so I was able to take 12 months paid, and then an additional 6 months unpaid. I returned to work when my son was 18 months.
    (3) I work from home so have a ton of flexibility, allowing me to drop my son at daycare around 9am, pick him up around 4pm, and be home with him whenever he’s sick without a problem from my employer.
    I should mention that this is not my dream job. My dream job I had and I left when I became pregnant because it involved frequent travel to Africa. I would love to return to that but can’t imagine leaving DS for weeks at a time until he is much older. So, I returned to work, but not to my profession. This is a job, not my profession, if you know what I mean.
    I also love this question because, since having a child, I have come to believe that it’s impossible for both parents to continue on with high level professions AND be very present / available parents. Something has to give. That was disappointing for me. I always imagined that I would keep up my demanding but so rewarding profession while still feeling like I was being a great mother.
    Last, I just want to comment on the system in Austria detailed in a comment above. I think it’s interesting, because a lot of people would read that and think oh how wonderful for women, because the system supports you in motherhood, but I would actually find if very oppressive to not have child care choices available and culturally acceptable under 3.

  25. I went back to work when first kid was 4 mos. for a company with a 95% female workforce and a female president. I pumped twice a day in a handicapped bathroom stall where I kept a small chair. I have a fine arts degree but was working a secretary job just to make ends meet and pay off our huge debt. I liked my boss and the job was boring but tolerable, but HATED being away from my son and always had wanted to stay home with my kids. About 6 months in, I turned in my letter of resignation, ran into the president that same day in the break room and she asked me if I’d consider working from home part time. I tried it for a while, and if my job had been such that my physical presence at the office was not as necessary as it was, it may have been an ideal situation. However, I struggled getting any work done at home with my son vying for attention, and my boss grew more and more frustrated at my not being instantly accessible, so I quit 5 months later and opened a daycare in my home.For me to stay, 1. They would have had to double my pay in order for me to hire a mother’s helper to entertain my son while I worked and went in to the office as needed.
    and 2. We would have had to be much more financially stable.
    I’m sure if I had stayed, I could have climbed the ladder and had much more interesting actual work, but now eight years later I know I need to be doing something artistic and creative, and not in a cubical jungle. (And I can totally identify with Lucy above about the going quietly mad, even today as I continue the home daycare gig and will until my kids are at least all in school. And I’m currently 6 wks. pregnant.)
    I know I am rambling, but these are my data points, for what it’s worth. I know I’ve said before… I totally love being home with my kids while they’re little, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, but I feel unfulfilled it other ways.

  26. I was a high school English teacher and would have stayed if:*the school moved closer to my house so that my commute wasn’t 30 minutes in heavy Kansas City downtown traffic
    *my job changed so I didn’t have to bring home dozens of student essays to grade every week, since all of my plan time during the day was spent…lesson planning
    *my salary doubled so that I could pay for an excellent caregiver and A MAID
    Totally unrealistic! I calculated that if I subtracted from my salary the price of gas, professional wardrobe and childcare, I would have been working for minimum wage! (calculated at 40 hours per week) and less than minimum wage given that I actually spent more like 50 hours per week doing my job. So it was a no-brainer to quit.

  27. I’m in the US.I returned to work at three months, pumped three times a day in my office (which is glass-paned, so I used a cover) but ultimately quit when my daughter was six-months-old so I could freelance.
    Although the separation was tough, what I couldn’t handle was just how sick she was in day care. My husband and I had countless, “How on earth does anyone manage this?” conversations. At the time, we didn’t think we could financially swing a nanny and didn’t understand what a nanny share was (in retrospect, that would have been perfect for us), so the day care environment seemed our only choice.
    My office was actually quite generous with maternity leave, giving me three fully paid months off. And they were very understanding of all the time off I had to take once I returned. They were sad to see me go, but neither side broached having a more flexible work arrangement, which would have kept me there.
    But fast forward six months. Freelancing is not going so well for me, and the replacement for my old job did not work out. My office is eager to have me back, working four days a week (at very slightly reduced pay but full benefits) with flexible hours. So that’s where I am now and things are much saner. We have a nanny, who is wonderful; although we are not actively accruing debt, money is incredibly tight. Still, life feels so much more balanced now. Having that fifth day off really has been a godsend for us.

  28. Totally didn’t answer the question.NOTHING would have made it worth staying in that job. A lot of people took really fat paychecks to stay if they were important to the product success. HUGELY fat paychecks. It smacked of selling one’s soul. Yes, the money is useful, but worth it? No. I was being paid quite well, all in all, and it still wasn’t worth it. They tried to get me to come back as a contractor, and I set the bar so high that they basically went looking elsewhere (okay, so I wasn’t terribly good at hiding how much it would cost me personally to go back, and I think they took offense at that, too. Ah, well – I feel bad about offending them, because it wasn’t respectful or kind. I could have done it better – but going back would have been a bad scene.)
    So, without a total overhaul in the business function and capacity, no, nada. Even after they were bought by another firm, still not a chance. Even though they have been looking for my replacement for years now (I kept seeing the job posting reappear on Monster).
    I will say that despite a short maternity leave, they were pretty mom-and-family friendly. Lactation room, no question about pumping, flexible hours, working from home, all that was good. It was the other stuff that mattered.

  29. U.S., 14 weeks maternity leave (12 weeks paid), went back on part-time (jobshare) schedule, which kind of made my jobshare partner and me trailblazers because nobody had done it before.It sucked.
    Partner quit, I went back full-time (son was 12 months then), worked full-time until son was 20 months and then quit altogether. So even though I did go back to work, I quit eventually, and I might have stayed for the following reasons:
    -completely different job where I wasn’t doing completely meaningless tasks
    -company did anything at all to boost morale (bonuses, free lunches, holiday parties)
    -no commute
    -higher dosage of Prozac

  30. I think this is a continually fascinating conversation, as I am constantly weighing my choices and trying to balance my future decisions.I have basically 2 wildly differing careers – physicist and piano teacher. When I married, I knew we wanted children and abandoned physics due to what I perceived as a very family-unfriendly environment. There was just no way I’d finish my phd while I was having babies… So I returned to teaching piano and music classes (my first love). Loads of fun, but once baby started walking (at 9 months!) and I had to find childcare, it just stopped making sense.
    I’ve been relatively happy and sane as a SAHM, and rarely feel unproductive or cooped up. I was never very driven in either career, but I am passionate about mothering; definitely a calling for me. The big drawbacks are financial – we’re scraping by, and won’t make any headway debt or savings wise until I go back to work. Thank God DH has high job security.
    So, what would have kept me working? In physics it would be:
    1. Living close to family, for childcare and other support
    2. Some semblance of normal working hours
    3. Some (ANY) peers who were in the same boat. I was one of only 3 women in the dept, and the other 2 were older and unmarried.
    4. A really great project.
    For music, all I needed was better compensation.
    I am kind of (OK, really) terrified about reentering the workplace so long after I left it, with little experience and no references. I would love to hear some re-entry experiences… Boy do I wish our culture didn’t view motherhood as a career gap!

  31. Canadian who took all of the 50 week mat leaveThere is probably nothing that would have gotten me to go back to the job I had other than an entire restructuring and attitude change of the non-profit for which I worked. The only reason I took it (well, besides more money) was because it was closer to home although still an hour commute. I actually planned on getting pregnant and leaving after one year, which fortunately worked out.
    I was actually the breadwinner, so we’ve really struggled for the past year and a half, and only now are starting to get on our feet financially. If my husband hadn’t found a job when he did, I probably would have looked for something because of the money.
    So, what would entice me to go back full-time? The only thing I can think of is finding a job I love. I have yet to hold a job about which I’m completely passionate. I enjoy teaching; I didn’t mind fundraising. Neither of those really drove me though. I do find it hard to be home because I thrive on structure, and it’s hard to always be self-disciplined. Also, sometimes I get bored watching my guy drive plastic cars around, but I’m working on it.
    With all that, I should say I teach at a university one day a week, and my husband and I have a farm for which I do the bookkeeping and marketing, besides caring for my 21-monther. I find the teaching intellectually-rewarding, but I’m not sure it’s worth the toll of trying to balance it with parenting, housework, and farming. I don’t know if I’ll look for another class next year.

  32. When my son was born, I was a freelance stage manager living in NYC. We did the math and every single penny I made would have gone to pay for childcare if I’d returned to the theatre where I was working steadily before he was born. Had I gotten on a bigger contract (like a Broadway show), it would have been more worth it to return to work because the pay is so much higher, but the hours would have been much tougher. My husband teaches at a university, so we never would have seen each other. We moved away from the city when my son was about 6 mo. old. My husband got a new job at a new university and I opted to stay home for a while. I was home all of the fall semester, then started teaching one class this semester. I’m gone for 5 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays and home the rest of the time. It’s a GREAT situation. I make enough as an adjunct instructor to pay for childcare on the days I’m working and to cover a couple of our bills each month. And I still get 3 whole weekdays and every weekend with my son. As he gets older, I’m hoping my course load increases (maybe to a full time position some day?), but for now, this is a great schedule for us.

  33. I was in the middle of a career switch when my son was born so I didn’t really have a job to go back to, but I didn’t look for full-time work as a teacher because I knew the salary would barely cover the cost of child care, and I knew that as a beginning teacher, I needed to devote a lot of time to developing my pedagogy and I was too distracted by parenting to do the job justice.

  34. I second the recommendation for the book Opting Out mentioned above. It is a rigorous research study, but doesn’t read or feel like one to read – it is very readable. The author found that mothers who always planned to stay home were happy, but mothers who felt forced out by the lack of flexibility in their jobs or the conflicting demands of life and work – even if they chose to quit – were not as happy.When I was pregnant with my second child I looked at the finances of quitting my job, which was underemployment for me and sometimes tediously so, but with a partner in graduate school it was not financially reasonable – the major reason being health insurance. I still think about quitting my job now (a different job, but similar underemployment issues) because our lives feel so rushed and frantic and nothing ever gets done right or sometimes done at all. But I do have long term career goals, my current underemployment is with the organization that I’d like to be employed at long term (and they seems to like me, so I don’t want to diss them), our child care is cheap right now, and it feels irresponsible to quit a job in this economy – who knows when I’d find a new one? And my employer couldn’t fill my position, due to a hiring freeze.
    Dream job? 20-30 hours, doesn’t need to be from home. Meaningful part-time work doesn’t exist in my field, though.

  35. I went back after my girl was born. This was because:1) I enjoyed the work and was an expert at it
    2) I was offered more work in exchange for an attempted promotion and raise (I make slightly more than my husband already and this would have made us a lot more likely to be able to buy a house in our crazily expensive area)
    3) I had a good long leave – 5 mo-ish – and was going crazy by the end of it, with not enough outside stimulation and no real understanding that this was a totally normal feeling faced by lots of SAHMs. And no family to help out within 1500 miles of where we live.
    4) I found a care situation with which I was totally comfortable (nanny share hosted in our home with a FABULOUS nanny)
    5) I live in California so, as previously mentioned, we have laws which require lactation rooms which definitely helped me feel I was still providing for her.
    6) I had always been able to work from home frequently before my leave, and felt that my manager would have been ok if I needed to take last-minute time off to take care of my daughter. And she said she would be.
    Now I am T-11 weeks from ejecting baby #2 and I can say definitively that I will not go back to this job afterwards – UNLESS my husband loses his job in the meantime. What’s changed:
    1) Cost-cutting and org change have turned my job from something I love to something that makes me want to rip my eyeballs out. This is not healthy.
    2) Said promotion did not materialize even though I basically doubled my workload and responsibilities (and thus my output) while also mothering a newborn. And now that promotion opportunity is gone forever to me. It’s not a wait-and-see thing. The organization has changed to the point where I would need to walk on water before I could get a promotion.
    3) I now know enough about myself as a SAHM (I think). I get that I need to take the little ones out of the house and interact – it’s better for my daughter to get out, and way better for me. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom.
    4) I love the daycare my daughter transitioned into a few months ago, and it is cheap enough that she can actually still go a day or two a week to get her kid-interaction even after I become a SAHM. So I feel like we have a good plan.
    5) I haven’t been able to work from home basically at all for the last year so my schedule is crazy with no rest. And my bosses have been much worse than expected about my need to take time off to care for my daughter when she’s been sick. I just can’t deal with their inability to understand that, when she has a 103 degree fever, she CAN NOT GO TO DAYCARE and i have NOBODY ELSE WHO CAN CARE FOR HER BUT ME. My bosses have older kids so I think they’ve forgotten the total inability to control my daughter’s health situation. And when she has a 103 degree fever, no, I can’t still attend every single dumb last minute meeting you put on my calendar where I have nothing to contribute anyway (ie, they just want me to prove I’m working). Basically, if I had the flexibility I used to have, then I would be more likely to stay.
    6) PART-TIME SCHEDULE! I just don’t get what’s so hard for my employers to understand about this. Probably they just don’t care. My organization would laugh hysterically at me if I asked to work four or three days a week or job-share. They just don’t “do” that, even though I am very good at my job. They would rather lose me altogether than go through the paperwork associated with cutting down my hours.
    Wow, this turned into a vent session for me. Sorry!

  36. Reading the other comments, so adding in what other factors were involved…1) I did take the summer off when I was laid off – four kids in daycare? Even with a nanny, it’s pricey, daycare/camp is a no-go.
    2) The first go-around, ep took the at-home work, and I went back to WOHM work. So he was SAHD for the first year of parenthood for us. We learned a lot, it was a great idea, and we found we were actually okay with daycare if we found the right one. Right one being someone we actually cared about ourselves, who loved our kids, enough that she bent her life around to make it possible for her to take on the twins even though she didn’t have a home daycare anymore (she watched them at her daughter’s house along with her grandchild, like a nanny-share).
    Job I love is a good thing for me. Plus we have a passion for Montessori early childhood education, which isn’t cheap with more than one or two kids…
    Actually, since starting this job, I’ve mainly gone off the supplements to maintain my mood. I can feel a little drift now and then, but I clearly just function better when WORK is better. I function terribly as a SAHM.
    Okay, now back to work…

  37. i went back, three times, all to the same company. took 4 months leave, with 6 weeks paid short term dis + whatever vacation + the rest was unpaid FMLA.my reasons to go back:
    1. flexible work schedule- i work from home one day a week, and can whenever theres a doc appt/school function/etc.
    2. our lactation program- there are “mothers rooms” in locations across our fleet of buldings that are staffed by an LC once a week- the rooms have six private stalls with lactina pumps. all you need is tubes/horns/bottles. theres a basket with supplies if something broke/you forgot. the staff is on call for you 24/7 if you need an LC. obviously, me leaving three times a day to pump is zero of a big deal. ( newest baby is 5.5 months)
    3. i like the money and using my brain.
    4. the hours- i leave the house at 8 and am in the door by 5:05. that includes commuting.
    5. we have a wonderful nanny that is like part of our family. we have no family in town, and i like that our kids have other people besides mommy and daddy close by who love them as their own.
    6. the people i work with help. 5 women who are AWESOME. my direct boss is a woman, and we all report into a family oriented man with four kids of his own.
    think that sums it up.

  38. I’m in the US. I worked for the federal government and asked for 6 months off (combined 6 weeks paid maternity leave, whatever I had of vacation/sick leave, and the rest unpaid). Luckily I worked in a very family-friendly office (my boss was a part-timer with 2 kids herself and several other women in our office had taken 6 months off after having their children).Well, I think in my heart I always knew I would not be going back, but I did not want to outright quit and be stuck with no job, just in case. We are fortunate enough that my husband can support us on one salary. I enjoyed my job and the people I worked with, but I was not passionate enough about it to sacrifice being at home with my children in their early years. Also my commute was 90 minutes each way, which was also a factor.
    I do want to do some kind of work after my children start school in a few years, but I will probably not be going back to my old career. If they moved the office closer to my house, and paid me the same salary, and offered more flexible hours, then maybe. But that’s not going to happen!

  39. I’m three months pregnant with child #2 and currently wrestling with what we are going to do. I’m an attorney for (US) state gov’t and I drive 3,000 miles per month to try cases in 8 large rural counties. What would guarantee I stayed on? Fewer counties/lower caseload, like cut the 2 farthest ones. More support staff, let me have an law student intern or 4. Pay me at the top of the scale, not the bottom. Longer maternity leave, say 3-4 months. State car, mine has 240,000 miles on it and I have no extra $ to replace it even without the second child’s daycare expense.

  40. well. I’m in the US. The town I live in is notorious for overeducated and underemployed trailing spouses, of which I am one. Something like 37% of the town’s population holds a phD or other terminal degree.Actually, I “only” have a bachelor’s degree, but since my current jobs are sewing baby slings and selling fruit(I coordinate a CSA), so even that is probably superfluous. I’m actually thinking of going back and getting an AS in nursing so that I’m more employable for decent wages.
    At the time that I got pregnant, I was working at a non-profit for 7.50 an hour. This was low but not atypical in the field for which I am educated (historic preservation/museum collections management). I was often entry-level because we moved around a lot to pursue my husband’s degree and subsequent post-docs. There was NO WAY I was going to worry about finding adequate childcare on that income.
    If, in my wildest fantasies, I had been working in a job that I loved, we would have made adjustments so that I could continue working even if it was for little profit. That was part of the initial negotiation of our marriage. My husband is an academic, and we agreed that as long as I agreed to move with him wherever he found a job, he would agree to support me in my life decisions, even if they weren’t always profitable. So, if I wanted to be a SAHM, go back to school, work full time and put the kids in daycare, etc. it was *my* choice based on my personal priorities/need for independent identity/etc. It’s worked out well for us, though sometimes I have to remind him of the agreement when he grumbles that he makes 100x what I do and he’s not sure why I bother and why it has to affect him in the least (like, for instance, when he has to pick the kids up at 6 pm because I work until 7:30 and they need to eat and go to bed). I currently take the kids with me while I work but as they reach school age, I’ll probably try to work more during school hours (they’re two and four now).
    Oh, and also. I’m young. I had my first at 26 and my second at 28 (and am probably done). One of the reasons we had kids when we did was because I can go back to school and start a new career by the time I’m 35 (when they’re in school full-time). Much easier than starting over at 50, at least in my fantasy world. 🙂

  41. When I became pregnant with #1, I was head of a department in a non-profit museum, making not-too-much $$$. I liked the job well enough, the people were fun to work with, and the place was flexible. But I also knew I wanted to be at home with the baby. So I negotiated to step down from my boss-lady position and work part time in the department. (Ironically the woman who took over my job told me she was due with her as-yet-unannounced pregnancy 3 months after me, but she wanted to continue full-time. We had an interesting conversation about how we *both* felt we were “copping out” by making these different choices.)As mentioned, I made peanuts, so my job wouldn’t have covered much after daycare. At the time the husband was working nights, so we thought with me at work part-time in the mornings, he could handle baby duty while I was at work, then crash out for the rest of the day. No need for childcare, then.
    We never got to find out if this plan was insane. When the kid was 3 months old, I went in to work to iron out the details of my return. That was on a Friday. The following Monday, the husband was offered a job across the country. He left for 5 months of training a month later, and I packed up, sold the house, and moved to our new loaction with the kid. I had no intention of trying to seek employment at that point, since I was parenting alone in a totally unfamiliar place for almost half a year. After he rejoined us, we agreed that I should continue to stay home. Since I seem to lack career ambition of any kind, here I still am….
    I think part-time work would be ideal for me, especially once both kids are in school, but it seems hard to find/negotiate for a part-time position with a company you haven’t previously worked for full-time.

  42. I’m in the US, on the west coast. I never went back, and it was a get out of jail free card for me.* The job turned out to be almost unrelentingly data entry despite the fact the were paying me a good salary for a professional position.
    * My colleagues were vocally unhappy, and I had trouble not participating in their unhappiness.
    * I had 4 hours of commute a day.
    * There was no opportunity to come back part time.
    * My daughter was being treated for hip dysplasia (in a cast that covered most of her body) and I couldn’t imagine letting anyone else care for her in that state. (In fact, the division head may have held the position for me until the treatment was finished, but I didn’t want to.)
    * There was nowhere practical to pump.
    What would have led me to go back?
    * A sense that I could be mentored and learn something in the job.
    * Less infighting among my work colleagues.
    * A shorter commute.
    * Nearby family I could have trusted to care for my daughter.
    A few months after Katie was born a friend asked me to take up part-time contract work to cover her while SHE was on maternity leave, and that has led to much less lucrative but much more rewarding telecommuting work. I’m rueful about sidelining my career, but if I’m honest, I’m much happier in this work.

  43. My former employer couldn’t have done anything to help me work at that time. The only way I would have continued working after having a baby is if I had had a different child – mine is a high need/spirited baby who didn’t sleep well (me getting 3 hours/night was normal for months and months and months), refused to drink from a bottle, and demanded so much energy and attention that finding the right caregiver would have been very challenging. I wasn’t able to think clearly for over a year – I say I had ‘postpartum confusion’ during that time – I would have done terrible work if I had gone back.When my son turned 2 years old, I was sleeping enough that I could think again, he was ready to spend a little time away from me, and I needed some time to myself. I found the perfect job: work I love, nice people to work with, very part-time (10-20 hours/week), office 5 minutes from home and preschool, easy to work at home, no problem when I need to stay home with a sick child, good money, etc. I’m 6 months into the new job and still can’t believe how lucky I am.

  44. I was working as a paralegal for a solo attorney when I had my son. It was the only job I have ever had that I truly loved. I fully intended to return to it full-time, but could not find acceptable (to me) child care. What would have brought me back: better daycare center options or a pay raise that would have covered a nanny for my son’s infancy.Instead, I negotiated with my boss to do his legal research and deposition summaries from home on a contract/as-needed basis. He hired a new legal assistant for the rest. I’ve been able to keep my skills up to date and stay engaged in my professional life while not missing a moment of my son’s first two years. I’m looking at re-entry now, and am interested to see how recruiters view these choices.

  45. I’m in the US.I did not want to come back to the same job I held before I had my daughter. I was thinking of starting to apply for a new job right before I got pregnant, and the pregnancy somewhat forced me to stay in my position. I did tell my employer that I was not going to come back after having the baby, and they subsequently put together an offer of a new position that I could fill once I returned from my maternity leave. I declined, and this is what would have made me stay-
    1. Longer maternity leave, no question. I really did not feel comfortable leaving my daughter 12-14 weeks after giving birth.
    2. Flexible work schedule. My boss was only willing to let me work from home if I also had full time childcare. There was no accommodation for working at other times of the day or on weekends.
    3. My mother being available to watch my daughter while I work.
    4. A higher salary. If I had to enroll my daughter in daycare or pay a nanny, well over half of my salary would go towards that.
    I don’t miss working, but I am planning on taking some graphic design classes and doing some freelance and volunteer work to keep my marketing skills fresh for when I do eventually return to the workforce.

  46. I was working as a consultant for a bank in Canada. I thought I would be rushing back after my year of parental leave but had quite the epiphany when my daughter was born…My husband and I, both had very good and well paying jobs, but both worked insane hours and traveled quite a bit for work.When my daughter was born, we both realized that this was not the kind of life we wanted to perpetuate for her…As a baby, the only time he really got to see her was when he took the 5 weeks offered by the Quebec parental leave plan…Because, the rest of the time, if he made it home before she got to bed, it was nothing short of a miracle…We both figured we had worked long and hard enough that we could afford for one of us to stay home…
    Our dream was to find work overseas, my husband having the better chances of landing a job overseas, made it that I handed in my letter of resignation. It was hard, but it I think it was hard because I knew I would disappoint them in not coming back. The weight lifted from my shoulders the moment I handed in my letter was enormous and for once I felt very free and light…I had not realized how much stress I had been carrying around from my workload til the day I officially quit!
    I loved my job and loved my field of work and wholeheartedly plan to go back when the kids go back to school…I have a Masters degree that I figure no one can take away from me and there’s nothing stopping me from getting a refresher later on, should I feel the need…I have been tempted back with some awesome job offers, but have declined them as I can’t imagine exchanging this very special time with my kids (honestly, I would probably not be having this same conversation even one week before my daughter was born!)…
    In the end, I got pregnant with our second child not long after I officially quit. We had planned for my husband to take the full parental leave afforded by the Quebec parental leave plan, so he would not miss out on our second one’s first year as he did for our daughter, but then something wonderful came along…7 months pregnant and my husband got a job offer overseas! We had our second baby here and haven’t looked back! The work hours are much more reasonable here, as are the vacation standards (it’s ok to take 5 weeks in a row should you desire it, no questions asked!!!) and there’s a strong family/work happy medium culture here…
    In the meantime, I’ve allowed myself to do a few contracts once in a while, analysis that can be done from home allowing me to keep my skills up-to-date and challenge me…I’ve also discovered this whole other side to me in which I love to teach and craft (embroider, sew, knit,….) and have indulged in that with my kids, showing them these skills and discovering our new surroundings together…Without forgetting to mention, learning a new language, me through Language School and them through interaction with other kids at parks and what nots…
    I’m just happy that we can afford to do this for a little bit, appreciate that we’ve been given this time to find ourselves as a family (allowing for family time and not rushing about would we both still be working in our respective fields), and finally focusing on the day as much as possible while figuring out our next step…
    Nothing would bring me back to work right now!

  47. I guess I’ll chime is as several others already have–I did go back to my job on schedule and here’s why:-I liked it
    -I had employees I felt responsible for
    -they had great support for pumping and lots of other new moms doing it
    -I was in a position to negotiate 6 months of leave, mostly paid (in California)
    -the money and hours were both good
    -I am definitely not suited for long-term SAHM status
    I so remember the lightness and excitement of being back in my work clothes with only a couple bags to carry, on the train by myself. And of course I missed Mouse by the end of the day, but then the reunion was lovely.
    I think I could have gone back at 4 mos if I’d had to, but earlier than that–no way.

  48. Old workplace was kind about pumping time, but the absence policy was ridiculous. I was literally about to be fired, and I had a child who was not sick terribly often.My immediate supervisor played serious favorite games. In retail hell, there are certain places that are easier to work than others, and others that are downright miserable. We rotated every two hours, and if supervisor lady didn’t like you, you would start on the miserable side, 15 minute break and then she would send you back. That is a very tiresome day, especially when you see other people on the easy stuff all day for no particular reason.
    Pay. It was lousy.
    I stepped down from a very stressful mental type job (sitting on my butt crunching numbers) a year before I was expecting my daughter, to a more physical job (working on the floor helping customers and cashier work). When I was at the very end of my pregnancy (when the standing was making the sciatic nerve pain unbearable) they had me do that job again, to help me and them and I appreciated it- but when I came back, I was auto- backup for that position but with no pay increase. It was shady of them to ask it of me and not offer any reward.
    What they could have done to make me stay: pay increase, fire the evil supervisor, rewrite what the supervisors are entitled to do and invalidate the stupid absence rules.

  49. I’m in the US.I work, and to be honest it isn’t out of choice. We need my income to stay on top of things. I do love my job, and that helps, but if I really had the choice I’d choose to teach my own kids rather than everyone else’s.
    This is a rather new place I find myself in- I’ve spent over 10 years building my studio, I honestly never thought I’d want to stay home fulltime, but as we talk more about homeschooling I’ve come to realize that I really would be able to give up my studio to do that with my kids.

  50. I never planned to be a SAHM, never thought I could be happy and fulfilled without a serious professional life. Then I had my son. There are only two things that could have made me return to what has always been my career dream: not loving staying at home as much as I did and/or not being able to manage life on one income. Oh, I’m in the US.

  51. @Johanna, is your company hiring? Seriously.As far as why I came back to WOHM:
    I came back to my job when Bubs was 4 months old (in retrospect, ack!), and I thought it was all about the paycheck. While I realize we all have choices, it was more important for us to stay in our current city and be close to my family than to move to a cheap place far away with no support system. The Catch 22 for us is that I don’t think I could be a SAHM in our current, tiny apartment – I’d go nuts. But of course a bigger place or a yard is more expensive. So here I am, mostly for the paycheck, and for the ability to work 4 days a week, and partly for the fulfillment/outside activity. But when I win the Lotto (or the HGTV dream home), I will definitely *not* be coming back.

  52. I was working in the US as a middle school English teacher and had been for six years prior. I was working at a school that was right out of the 1950’s and was completely content with the status quo. They will be making the same curricular choices as they are now in 20 years, I firmly believe. I was so burned out by that place and ready to leave that the baby was a nice way to say adios without giving them the finger and telling them what I really think of their curriculumless school! I was also tired of the life of a teacher–major time commitments helping kids/parents before and after school, grading papers and writing assignments, not being able to go to the damn bathroom when I wanted and the thoughts of making pumping and childcare and all of that work with a new baby just seemed ridiculously unlikely and made my head hurt. A lot.Also, I finished my Master’s in Admin. in August of 07 and baby was due in September of 07. This seemed like a good time for a break from work because I couldn’t imagine interviewing for an administrative position at a different school when I was 6-8 months pregnant. Who the hell would have hired me…probably no one. Furthermore, my husband was actively searching for a job on the other coast so we knew that it was likely that in the months after baby came we would move (ultimately, we did).
    My husband and I had decided before we got pregnant that we wanted one parent to stay home and it was much more doable for me for many reasons.
    In a perfect world I would have gone back if:
    –There was an on-site, quality daycare provider(such as in a University setting) where I could have left the baby, checked in on her when I felt like it and breastfed her during my work day OR my mother could retire and keep her full time!
    –My assistant principal who was, hands-down the worst leader EVER, had been fired and replaced.
    –I had been given a lighter load in terms of outside of the classroom responsibilities (coaching, lunch duties, team leader, etc.)
    Totally unrealistic, which is why I never went back and will not go back to teaching. However, I am just beginning (after 16 months)the search for a new position. But not just any position. It has to be a great fit in order to give up the benefits to my daughter of staying home.
    Interestingly if you had asked me if I’d have made it this long as a SAHM, I would have laughed in your face. But, it’s been pretty good. Different from WOH, FOR SURE, but I see it as a short term sacrifice for the greater good.

  53. US here-Why I left my pre-baby job:
    *Maternity leave too short. I was not ready to return to work 8 weeks after having a baby.
    *While I liked many people I worked with, including my boss, he was a very needy, demanding person. I always gave 100% and thankfully knew myself well enough that I wouldn’t be able to do that after the baby was born.
    So. I knew I didn’t want to go back there. But I would have stayed if I didn’t have another option but, luckily, I did. Through a friend, I was able to find a better fit for me:
    *Current job is a job-share where I work 2 days/week with full benefits. And the pay level is the same (of course, since I’m working half the hours, it’s half the paycheck).
    *Husband is self-employed so he was able to handle DS all on his own while I was at my job. We’ve saved a lot of money on child-care (have since had a second child and are glad to not shell out $1000+/month for a part-time nanny even though a break would be nice).

  54. In Canada – took my full year mat leave.Honestly, I stayed at my job long enough to get my 5 year gift, qualify for EI and have full benefits during my leave. My company paid them while I was away and I reimbursed them when I quit (no biggie as the vacation time owed covered it). I worked retail and didn’t make enough to bring home anything extra if I had had to pay for daycare, so we opted for me to stay home.
    Never really wanted to go back full-time. It was my job during university for tuition money and then got trapped at it after I graduated (need for money vs. forking out more for grad school).
    Note: I am going back now on a very p/t schedule so that I have some time away from a very clingy 18mo. old. Not exactly “me-time”, but hopefully will make me more sane, not to mention that my husband and son get some quality time together. Oh, and the extra income is nice even though we just get by without it.

  55. In Canada – took my full year mat leave.Honestly, I stayed at my job long enough to get my 5 year gift, qualify for EI and have full benefits during my leave. My company paid them while I was away and I reimbursed them when I quit (no biggie as the vacation time owed covered it). I worked retail and didn’t make enough to bring home anything extra if I had had to pay for daycare, so we opted for me to stay home.
    Never really wanted to go back full-time. It was my job during university for tuition money and then got trapped at it after I graduated (need for money vs. forking out more for grad school).
    Note: I am going back now on a very p/t schedule so that I have some time away from a very clingy 18mo. old. Not exactly “me-time”, but hopefully will make me more sane, not to mention that my husband and son get some quality time together. Oh, and the extra income is nice even though we just get by without it.

  56. I left when my son was 9 months old. I am in the UK, and therefore we at the time had 6mo maternity leave (we now have 9 months). I could have taken an additional 6mo unpaid had I chosen to. I was in the occupational maternity scheme, which meant that I got far better paid maternity leave (90% salary for 6mo, as opposed to 90% for 6 weeks), but I was contractually required to go back for at least 3 months. Because of the leave I’d accrued, I managed to leave after 2. And it wasn’t soon enough. So. Things that would have made me stay.1) Change of boss. I had a grievance against my boss for bullying and sexual discrimination (the former happened because I reported the latter). I couldn’t have gone back to full time work with that person. I was off with severe antenatal depression as a result, and postnatal depression also. Guh.
    2) Despite the fact I worked with none of the others in my office (I was international support) and could do all my work remotely, I was made to do the 4.5hr commute into work. I left before my son woke up, and came home after bedtime. That was SO harsh. If I could have worked from home exclusively with some ‘office days’ built in monthly, I may have stayed.
    3. I was breastfeeding my son when I went back to work, and spent most of the time I was at work pumping, which made point 2. above so crazy (had I been working at home, they would have got back the hour+ of pump time each day). So, being made to feel *guilty* for pumping just made me hate the whole thing so much more.
    Well it’s pretty clear that I wasn’t going to go back apart from the bare minimum necessary to qualify for maternity leave. But I miss it hugely, despite the horrific time I had with work, during pregnancy and after. I miss being able to have a conversation with an adult without being interrupted by a small child. And being able to go to the bathroom by myself. ANd having a cup of tea when it is still hot. And being able to afford sushi. Oh, and keeping my brain from going to mush 😉

  57. I left when my son was 9 months old. I am in the UK, and therefore we at the time had 6mo maternity leave (we now have 9 months). I could have taken an additional 6mo unpaid had I chosen to. I was in the occupational maternity scheme, which meant that I got far better paid maternity leave (90% salary for 6mo, as opposed to 90% for 6 weeks), but I was contractually required to go back for at least 3 months. Because of the leave I’d accrued, I managed to leave after 2. And it wasn’t soon enough. So. Things that would have made me stay.1) Change of boss. I had a grievance against my boss for bullying and sexual discrimination (the former happened because I reported the latter). I couldn’t have gone back to full time work with that person. I was off with severe antenatal depression as a result, and postnatal depression also. Guh.
    2) Despite the fact I worked with none of the others in my office (I was international support) and could do all my work remotely, I was made to do the 4.5hr commute into work. I left before my son woke up, and came home after bedtime. That was SO harsh. If I could have worked from home exclusively with some ‘office days’ built in monthly, I may have stayed.
    3. I was breastfeeding my son when I went back to work, and spent most of the time I was at work pumping, which made point 2. above so crazy (had I been working at home, they would have got back the hour+ of pump time each day). So, being made to feel *guilty* for pumping just made me hate the whole thing so much more.
    Well it’s pretty clear that I wasn’t going to go back apart from the bare minimum necessary to qualify for maternity leave. But I miss it hugely, despite the horrific time I had with work, during pregnancy and after. I miss being able to have a conversation with an adult without being interrupted by a small child. And being able to go to the bathroom by myself. ANd having a cup of tea when it is still hot. And being able to afford sushi. Oh, and keeping my brain from going to mush 😉

  58. I had 10 weeks of leave, 8 paid, from a non-profit organization. I went back to work part-time (30 hours/week), with two days a week working at home and my daughter in Mother’s Day Out for six hours a day, twice a week.After about a year of this arrangement, the agency ran out of funding for my job, so I was laid off. I was able to get freelance work for a few months, but our financial state eventually required that I get full-time work. Competition for marketing jobs here (in Dallas) was fierce, and after my husband was laid off in August, I ended up taking an administrative assistant gig to make ends meet. Our daughter is now in full-time day school at the church where I work. It’s not ideal, but it’s what has to be done for now.

  59. I had 10 weeks of leave, 8 paid, from a non-profit organization. I went back to work part-time (30 hours/week), with two days a week working at home and my daughter in Mother’s Day Out for six hours a day, twice a week.After about a year of this arrangement, the agency ran out of funding for my job, so I was laid off. I was able to get freelance work for a few months, but our financial state eventually required that I get full-time work. Competition for marketing jobs here (in Dallas) was fierce, and after my husband was laid off in August, I ended up taking an administrative assistant gig to make ends meet. Our daughter is now in full-time day school at the church where I work. It’s not ideal, but it’s what has to be done for now.

  60. Duh – the question was what would have kept me there! If the agency could have funded my job, I probably would have stuck with it until I found something higher paying.

  61. Duh – the question was what would have kept me there! If the agency could have funded my job, I probably would have stuck with it until I found something higher paying.

  62. In the US. After my daughter was born 2 years ago and after my son was born 3 months ago, I took 6 weeks off, worked part time the 7th week, and back full time the 8th week. I cried for a week when I left my daughter at my babysitter’s house, even though it is a very awesome situation. Still, my husband does dropoffs because I have a hard time leaving them there. I came back because my husband works for himself and so does not have a steady paycheck or benefits. I also really love what I do, and accommodations have been made so I can pump. However, I would be MUCH happier and not searching for alternatives so often if there were some flexibility to my hours or was able to work at home some. I don’t even care if I cut down on the hours, I just would like to have a lot more emphasis on what I get done, rather than face-time. Much of what I do could be done from anywhere, but I just don’t think that would ever be allowed.

  63. In the US. After my daughter was born 2 years ago and after my son was born 3 months ago, I took 6 weeks off, worked part time the 7th week, and back full time the 8th week. I cried for a week when I left my daughter at my babysitter’s house, even though it is a very awesome situation. Still, my husband does dropoffs because I have a hard time leaving them there. I came back because my husband works for himself and so does not have a steady paycheck or benefits. I also really love what I do, and accommodations have been made so I can pump. However, I would be MUCH happier and not searching for alternatives so often if there were some flexibility to my hours or was able to work at home some. I don’t even care if I cut down on the hours, I just would like to have a lot more emphasis on what I get done, rather than face-time. Much of what I do could be done from anywhere, but I just don’t think that would ever be allowed.

  64. I’m in the U.S.Oh, I wish that I could have not returned to my job after my son was born (he is now almost 13 months). As a workplace my job is pretty good, it’s just the job itself that is so boring and unrewarding and not worth it to me personally to miss kid-time for. Plus they changed my leave plan at the last minute and I still hold a grudge about it. But, the money is essential.
    I had planned on taking 6 weeks fully off and then working from home for 6 weeks before returning to the office full time– and that plan got killed at the last minute, thanks Boss for changing your mind on that one when I was 38 weeks pregnant. So, I took three months of unpaid leave that I was “so generously” given. My business is small enough that it does not have to comply to FMLA or the state version either, though it chose to do so.
    I do admit that after returning to work that I was/am treated pretty awesomely. Hugely flexible schedule, no problems pumping in a private room with a fridge, no attitude regarding missed days to due to munchkin or personal illness, appointments, etc.
    Not returning was never an option, we simply could not have afforded it. I make more money than my partner, and we had just bought a house two months before our son was born. Our daycare is outrageously fairly priced, especially for our area, and it helps tremendously that I love our provider who has an in-home center. Seeing my son’s eyes light up when I drop him off definitely helps with the guilt factor (now it does anyway, at first it was terribly depressing that he could enjoy anyone’s presence but my own of course).

  65. I’m in the U.S.Oh, I wish that I could have not returned to my job after my son was born (he is now almost 13 months). As a workplace my job is pretty good, it’s just the job itself that is so boring and unrewarding and not worth it to me personally to miss kid-time for. Plus they changed my leave plan at the last minute and I still hold a grudge about it. But, the money is essential.
    I had planned on taking 6 weeks fully off and then working from home for 6 weeks before returning to the office full time– and that plan got killed at the last minute, thanks Boss for changing your mind on that one when I was 38 weeks pregnant. So, I took three months of unpaid leave that I was “so generously” given. My business is small enough that it does not have to comply to FMLA or the state version either, though it chose to do so.
    I do admit that after returning to work that I was/am treated pretty awesomely. Hugely flexible schedule, no problems pumping in a private room with a fridge, no attitude regarding missed days to due to munchkin or personal illness, appointments, etc.
    Not returning was never an option, we simply could not have afforded it. I make more money than my partner, and we had just bought a house two months before our son was born. Our daycare is outrageously fairly priced, especially for our area, and it helps tremendously that I love our provider who has an in-home center. Seeing my son’s eyes light up when I drop him off definitely helps with the guilt factor (now it does anyway, at first it was terribly depressing that he could enjoy anyone’s presence but my own of course).

  66. I’m finding it interesting to read everyone’s responses. I love the diversity- it is so obvious that what is right for one family would be totally wrong for another.Anyway, I want to comment on the PP’s observation that it would be hard to have two high-powered careers and still feel like good parents. I definitely agree that we have to make choices, and once we decide to have kids, we have to put their needs first. I also experienced the shift in priorities that comes with having a baby, and it is a shift that no amount of reading other people’s comments would have prepared me for. But I also know that reading things like this scared the crap out of me when I was in grad school and trying to figure out what the rest of my life would be like. So I want to say: we’re a lot more resourceful than we give ourselves credit for. If you want a particular career AND kids, go for it. You and your spouse might just figure out how to make it happen. Or you might decide it is no longer what you want- but you probably won’t know that until you’re there. Looking back, I am a bit amazed at how much my Hubby and I have worked out since our daughter was born. In our case, we both downshifted our jobs slightly, but we are both still pretty dedicated to our jobs. I’ve also been amazed by the backbone I’ve suddenly grown with respect to turning down requests to stay late, etc., and by the fact that no one has ever made me feel bad about that.
    I also think that we have to start working for the changes we need so that workplaces are more friendly to families. I don’t have the time or energy now to really agitate on things, but I have been surprised what just speaking up can do in some cases. In some cases, management is just clueless, not evil.
    Oh, and I want the set up Obabe described. Onsite lacatation consultants? Supplies baskets if you forget your pump parts? And here I was thinking I’d had it pretty good because I got us a computer in the lactation room….

  67. I’m finding it interesting to read everyone’s responses. I love the diversity- it is so obvious that what is right for one family would be totally wrong for another.Anyway, I want to comment on the PP’s observation that it would be hard to have two high-powered careers and still feel like good parents. I definitely agree that we have to make choices, and once we decide to have kids, we have to put their needs first. I also experienced the shift in priorities that comes with having a baby, and it is a shift that no amount of reading other people’s comments would have prepared me for. But I also know that reading things like this scared the crap out of me when I was in grad school and trying to figure out what the rest of my life would be like. So I want to say: we’re a lot more resourceful than we give ourselves credit for. If you want a particular career AND kids, go for it. You and your spouse might just figure out how to make it happen. Or you might decide it is no longer what you want- but you probably won’t know that until you’re there. Looking back, I am a bit amazed at how much my Hubby and I have worked out since our daughter was born. In our case, we both downshifted our jobs slightly, but we are both still pretty dedicated to our jobs. I’ve also been amazed by the backbone I’ve suddenly grown with respect to turning down requests to stay late, etc., and by the fact that no one has ever made me feel bad about that.
    I also think that we have to start working for the changes we need so that workplaces are more friendly to families. I don’t have the time or energy now to really agitate on things, but I have been surprised what just speaking up can do in some cases. In some cases, management is just clueless, not evil.
    Oh, and I want the set up Obabe described. Onsite lacatation consultants? Supplies baskets if you forget your pump parts? And here I was thinking I’d had it pretty good because I got us a computer in the lactation room….

  68. I was incredibly fortunate (?!) that a hurricane hit my town only days after the birth of my first child which allowed me to stay home due to an insurance claim on our slate roof. Before the hurricane I had no idea what we were going to do.I would have returned to my old job if my hours were cut in half and I was given the same pay. My job could have been done in a quarter of the time I spent there. I might have also stayed if there was in-house childcare and I was given a more meaningful full-time position.
    I’m in the U.S.

  69. I was incredibly fortunate (?!) that a hurricane hit my town only days after the birth of my first child which allowed me to stay home due to an insurance claim on our slate roof. Before the hurricane I had no idea what we were going to do.I would have returned to my old job if my hours were cut in half and I was given the same pay. My job could have been done in a quarter of the time I spent there. I might have also stayed if there was in-house childcare and I was given a more meaningful full-time position.
    I’m in the U.S.

  70. I really, really, really wanted to go back.But I did not want to travel for five days in a row until after my son was weaned. (That was the dealbreaker on both sides, which really pissed me off. There were 18 others in our department–I counted–who were qualified to go on these 5-day trips who did not have any children. And I made clear I would do them again, just not until my baby weaned.)
    I could not enroll my son in any of the three child-care facilities I liked. There were others, but they were dirty, or used more TV than I did, or had other dealbreakers for me.
    What I really wanted was to jobshare. There was another newish mom (her baby was about a year old when mine was born) and we would both have done 60% time, sharing Wednesdays, with no benefits, saving the department big money overall. We were waved away that it was “too confusing.”
    I’m still stung that someone with no experience in my field was considered more valuable than I was with eleven years of experience. But, he was male, and straight, and both of those things were very appealing to my boss.
    To be fair, they were lovely about giving me a long (albeit mostly unpaid) leave when the baby was born. He was born in fall, and I didn’t need to do anything again until spring, and the official “separation” didn’t happen until June.

  71. I really, really, really wanted to go back.But I did not want to travel for five days in a row until after my son was weaned. (That was the dealbreaker on both sides, which really pissed me off. There were 18 others in our department–I counted–who were qualified to go on these 5-day trips who did not have any children. And I made clear I would do them again, just not until my baby weaned.)
    I could not enroll my son in any of the three child-care facilities I liked. There were others, but they were dirty, or used more TV than I did, or had other dealbreakers for me.
    What I really wanted was to jobshare. There was another newish mom (her baby was about a year old when mine was born) and we would both have done 60% time, sharing Wednesdays, with no benefits, saving the department big money overall. We were waved away that it was “too confusing.”
    I’m still stung that someone with no experience in my field was considered more valuable than I was with eleven years of experience. But, he was male, and straight, and both of those things were very appealing to my boss.
    To be fair, they were lovely about giving me a long (albeit mostly unpaid) leave when the baby was born. He was born in fall, and I didn’t need to do anything again until spring, and the official “separation” didn’t happen until June.

  72. I returned from maternity leave when my daughter was 4 months old and stayed for 1 month before I quit. You would think I had the dream job–I worked from home as a technical writer. Fortune 500 company. Good benefits, yadda, yadda, yadda. I hated it. I hated it before I got PG and I hated it even more after I had my daughter. Nothing would have kept me there. I think I returned because I thought I “should” (easy job, get to be at home, brought in some money).I am now working a job that I don’t love, but I definitely like it more than my previous job. I still work from home, my hours are flexible (library & park outings during the day, work in the evenings), the pay is better, and the work is more personally fulfilling.
    The thing is, I have NEVER, in all my life, ever wanted a career. I have always wanted to be a SAHM. I do have a master’s degree which may come in handy some day, but I am counting the days where I can just be home with the kid(s?) all day.
    I’m in the US-West coast.

  73. I returned from maternity leave when my daughter was 4 months old and stayed for 1 month before I quit. You would think I had the dream job–I worked from home as a technical writer. Fortune 500 company. Good benefits, yadda, yadda, yadda. I hated it. I hated it before I got PG and I hated it even more after I had my daughter. Nothing would have kept me there. I think I returned because I thought I “should” (easy job, get to be at home, brought in some money).I am now working a job that I don’t love, but I definitely like it more than my previous job. I still work from home, my hours are flexible (library & park outings during the day, work in the evenings), the pay is better, and the work is more personally fulfilling.
    The thing is, I have NEVER, in all my life, ever wanted a career. I have always wanted to be a SAHM. I do have a master’s degree which may come in handy some day, but I am counting the days where I can just be home with the kid(s?) all day.
    I’m in the US-West coast.

  74. I wasn’t planning to return to work after I had my son, because we wanted one parent at home with him (and for financial reasons, that had to be me), but even if I’d wanted to, I couldn’t have. My son wouldn’t take a bottle; there would have been no way to feed him.What would have kept me working:
    A year off for maternity leave, or six months off, but with a further six months of part-time work that I could do mostly from home. (Not by any means impossible; I’m a writer, so there’s no reason to have me in the office every day.)
    Nothing else could have done it, given the bottle problem; I guess on-site daycare might have helped, but the thing is, I still would have wanted more than two months to spend at home with my baby.

  75. I wasn’t planning to return to work after I had my son, because we wanted one parent at home with him (and for financial reasons, that had to be me), but even if I’d wanted to, I couldn’t have. My son wouldn’t take a bottle; there would have been no way to feed him.What would have kept me working:
    A year off for maternity leave, or six months off, but with a further six months of part-time work that I could do mostly from home. (Not by any means impossible; I’m a writer, so there’s no reason to have me in the office every day.)
    Nothing else could have done it, given the bottle problem; I guess on-site daycare might have helped, but the thing is, I still would have wanted more than two months to spend at home with my baby.

  76. I am in the US. Nothing would have made me go back. My DH and I believe that a parent should be a full time caregiver. We factored this into our decision to have children. I get 4 or more job offers a week with pay of $75,000 plus (I’m a speech pathologist). It is nice to know I could have a job tomorrow if my husband were to get laid off and become the stay at home parent.

  77. I am in the US. Nothing would have made me go back. My DH and I believe that a parent should be a full time caregiver. We factored this into our decision to have children. I get 4 or more job offers a week with pay of $75,000 plus (I’m a speech pathologist). It is nice to know I could have a job tomorrow if my husband were to get laid off and become the stay at home parent.

  78. I live in a Europe.I did not return to my job, because I wanted to never have the stress of feeling torn between job and kid. Stresses like, my child is sick…is she sick enough that I should take time off, will my boss be upset that I am taking so much time off, I cannot bear not to comfort her even though she does not have a fever, should I call the grandparents, is it necessary to keep her home from school, what will happen with this project that keeps getting delayed because I need to take time off? I realized (thankfully before I had kids) that I focus really well on one important task at a time. Not that I cannot multitask with the best of them, but for major tasks, I have to limit myself to one.
    I liked my job lots before I had my daughter and was very devoted to that job. But I could not do that job and be free internally to embrace motherhood. I very much admire the moms and dads who can do this!
    I live in Austria. There is great support for mothers. 2-3 years is the average age of a child when a mother returns to work. Women wishing to return earlier have options of childcare from “rent a grandma” to “day mothers” to private childcare centers. State run childcare is usually available from age 1.5.

  79. I live in a Europe.I did not return to my job, because I wanted to never have the stress of feeling torn between job and kid. Stresses like, my child is sick…is she sick enough that I should take time off, will my boss be upset that I am taking so much time off, I cannot bear not to comfort her even though she does not have a fever, should I call the grandparents, is it necessary to keep her home from school, what will happen with this project that keeps getting delayed because I need to take time off? I realized (thankfully before I had kids) that I focus really well on one important task at a time. Not that I cannot multitask with the best of them, but for major tasks, I have to limit myself to one.
    I liked my job lots before I had my daughter and was very devoted to that job. But I could not do that job and be free internally to embrace motherhood. I very much admire the moms and dads who can do this!
    I live in Austria. There is great support for mothers. 2-3 years is the average age of a child when a mother returns to work. Women wishing to return earlier have options of childcare from “rent a grandma” to “day mothers” to private childcare centers. State run childcare is usually available from age 1.5.

  80. In US. Before I got pregnant, work rocked and I imagined I’d be there for years. Then I got pregnant and started spending a lot of time online at work. No one noticed & I even got a raise. Then DS arrived and I took paid 4 months off, then went back to work 3 days/wk. DS went to corporate daycare (Bright Horizons) and we loved it.Then four months later, DH was offered and accepted his dream job thousands of miles away, we miraculously sold our house, and I woke up one day and realized that somewhere along the line I had just totally stopped giving a shit about work! So I quit, and am now a WAHM in a completely different field.
    Is there anything that could have kept me? Nah. Given our cross-country move and my change of heart about working for other people, there’s pretty much nothing my former employer could’ve done to keep me. But here are some areas for improvement:
    – Hire HR/Benefits people who aren’t total effing idiots.
    – Let me work from home all the time with absolutely no face-time requirements. (hah!)
    – Don’t nickel & dime me over stupid expense report items. (Cause guess what – I kept score and always made sure I got my money back somehow…)
    -Hire competent women into positions of actual authority, instead of V.P. of Bunnyrabbits, etc.

  81. In US. Before I got pregnant, work rocked and I imagined I’d be there for years. Then I got pregnant and started spending a lot of time online at work. No one noticed & I even got a raise. Then DS arrived and I took paid 4 months off, then went back to work 3 days/wk. DS went to corporate daycare (Bright Horizons) and we loved it.Then four months later, DH was offered and accepted his dream job thousands of miles away, we miraculously sold our house, and I woke up one day and realized that somewhere along the line I had just totally stopped giving a shit about work! So I quit, and am now a WAHM in a completely different field.
    Is there anything that could have kept me? Nah. Given our cross-country move and my change of heart about working for other people, there’s pretty much nothing my former employer could’ve done to keep me. But here are some areas for improvement:
    – Hire HR/Benefits people who aren’t total effing idiots.
    – Let me work from home all the time with absolutely no face-time requirements. (hah!)
    – Don’t nickel & dime me over stupid expense report items. (Cause guess what – I kept score and always made sure I got my money back somehow…)
    -Hire competent women into positions of actual authority, instead of V.P. of Bunnyrabbits, etc.

  82. @Hush – you totally crack me up! Seriously, I think you are my soul sister. HR/Benefits people who arent total effin idiots – Word!VP of Bunny Rabbits. Bwhahahaha!! T
    That post is going to get me through another week of work at least.

  83. @Hush – you totally crack me up! Seriously, I think you are my soul sister. HR/Benefits people who arent total effin idiots – Word!VP of Bunny Rabbits. Bwhahahaha!! T
    That post is going to get me through another week of work at least.

  84. I’m in the US.I would have considered staying if it had been financially feasible (ie. I made WAY more money than I did) or could have worked part-time and had available child-care accordingly that wasn’t outrageously expensive compared to my income.
    I also was okay with leaving because my boss was nuts. My immediate supervisor (who I loved) got moved to a different department while I was on leave and I was glad to not go back to a new person I didn’t know, etc.

  85. I’m in the US.I would have considered staying if it had been financially feasible (ie. I made WAY more money than I did) or could have worked part-time and had available child-care accordingly that wasn’t outrageously expensive compared to my income.
    I also was okay with leaving because my boss was nuts. My immediate supervisor (who I loved) got moved to a different department while I was on leave and I was glad to not go back to a new person I didn’t know, etc.

  86. I’ll add my why I *did* return to work points* I need adult conversation
    * My mom is able to do child care for me
    * We couldn’t pay the mortgage without my salary
    * Incredible health insurance coverage
    * Great bosses who let me flex time when I need to
    * A mother’s room for private pumping, although my boss would have let me use his office too
    * I enjoy my work and my coworkers
    * My refusal to be completely dependent on another person.

  87. I’ll add my why I *did* return to work points* I need adult conversation
    * My mom is able to do child care for me
    * We couldn’t pay the mortgage without my salary
    * Incredible health insurance coverage
    * Great bosses who let me flex time when I need to
    * A mother’s room for private pumping, although my boss would have let me use his office too
    * I enjoy my work and my coworkers
    * My refusal to be completely dependent on another person.

  88. I live in the U.S.I knew I wanted to stay home. I feel lucky that we have that luxury where we can live decently on one income.
    My job was interesting but it wasn’t terribly satisfying. (I spent a lot of time helping obscenely wealthy people plan dinner parties and luncheons. While some were lovely people, others were just insane or incredibly rude.) The money wasn’t terribly good and my entire income would have gone toward child-care if I had gone back to work.
    I sometimes miss the day to day stuff of work -mostly the people I enjoyed working with but I also like not having to put up with incompetent bosses, fickle personalities and other chaos.
    It took awhile to get the hang of breastfeeding and sort through the issues that came with it. I think of other women who might have similar issues and having to return to work so soon -and just how hard that must be. It isn’t a surprise that so many women give up breastfeeding so soon. The lack of genuine maternity leave in the U.S. seems to leave a number of women in frustrating situations. (I think of a woman I knew who had to fight her boss for pumping time as her state didn’t have any laws to protect her.)
    I think one reason I knew I wanted to stay home is that for me to be the best Mother I could be, I needed to be there full time. I can’t hold any judgement against a woman who returns to work, because she is likely doing it to be the best Mother she can be.
    Being a SAHM can be emotionally exhausting at times. (but then it is probably that way for women who also hold down other jobs) But I really love being able to spend this time with my son. The second one is on the way so that will be a new adventure in chasing a toddler and tending to a baby.

  89. I live in the U.S.I knew I wanted to stay home. I feel lucky that we have that luxury where we can live decently on one income.
    My job was interesting but it wasn’t terribly satisfying. (I spent a lot of time helping obscenely wealthy people plan dinner parties and luncheons. While some were lovely people, others were just insane or incredibly rude.) The money wasn’t terribly good and my entire income would have gone toward child-care if I had gone back to work.
    I sometimes miss the day to day stuff of work -mostly the people I enjoyed working with but I also like not having to put up with incompetent bosses, fickle personalities and other chaos.
    It took awhile to get the hang of breastfeeding and sort through the issues that came with it. I think of other women who might have similar issues and having to return to work so soon -and just how hard that must be. It isn’t a surprise that so many women give up breastfeeding so soon. The lack of genuine maternity leave in the U.S. seems to leave a number of women in frustrating situations. (I think of a woman I knew who had to fight her boss for pumping time as her state didn’t have any laws to protect her.)
    I think one reason I knew I wanted to stay home is that for me to be the best Mother I could be, I needed to be there full time. I can’t hold any judgement against a woman who returns to work, because she is likely doing it to be the best Mother she can be.
    Being a SAHM can be emotionally exhausting at times. (but then it is probably that way for women who also hold down other jobs) But I really love being able to spend this time with my son. The second one is on the way so that will be a new adventure in chasing a toddler and tending to a baby.

  90. I ended up leaving mostly because of PPD. At the time, I felt like I had no choice because I couldn’t pump, and I didn’t want my son to have to go to formula just so I could go back to a job I didn’t really enjoy anyway.So in order to keep me, they probably would have had to allow me to bring him with me. Or let me do my job from home. Neither would’ve been an option, of course.
    While the circumstances weren’t ideal, though, I don’t regret the path on which I ended up! 🙂

  91. I ended up leaving mostly because of PPD. At the time, I felt like I had no choice because I couldn’t pump, and I didn’t want my son to have to go to formula just so I could go back to a job I didn’t really enjoy anyway.So in order to keep me, they probably would have had to allow me to bring him with me. Or let me do my job from home. Neither would’ve been an option, of course.
    While the circumstances weren’t ideal, though, I don’t regret the path on which I ended up! 🙂

  92. (Hello to a previous poster who is also in Ithaca!)With Child #1 I went back to work much earlier than expected at about 16 months as the company had onsite daycare and was a family friendly company, and I was concerned about my “career”. The job turned out to be mind numbingly dull. Child had major behaviorial issues in the daycare and it was a tough time. But even worse than that, I felt very discriminated against as the ONLY mother in my department. I was unable to be part of the company culture which meant participating in a lot of dangerous outdoor pursuits becuase who could care for my child if I had broken limbs? I was penalized for this over and over (was directly told I wasn’t promoted due to this) even though I was very good at my job and did good work. I left after 2.5 yrs to freelance but that didn’t work out financially. Took “dream” job in publishing, worked 80 hrs week, traveled every month and became very ill due to stress. And quit. Ultimately I sometimes wonder if I should have stuck it out in the 1st boring job just for the ease of the work/onsite daycare. But I was withering away inside.
    Child #2 – moved coasts for a cheaper COL so I could stay home. Am much more prepared this time for the SAHM life. Plus there isn’t so much competition between the SAHMs and the WOHMs. Am in a very family friendly community and that has made all the difference.
    Would not go back to previous job under any circumstances. In fact I’d only take any job in the future if I could somehow find out if there were other mothers in the company/department. Not having peer support has been a big factor for me

  93. (Hello to a previous poster who is also in Ithaca!)With Child #1 I went back to work much earlier than expected at about 16 months as the company had onsite daycare and was a family friendly company, and I was concerned about my “career”. The job turned out to be mind numbingly dull. Child had major behaviorial issues in the daycare and it was a tough time. But even worse than that, I felt very discriminated against as the ONLY mother in my department. I was unable to be part of the company culture which meant participating in a lot of dangerous outdoor pursuits becuase who could care for my child if I had broken limbs? I was penalized for this over and over (was directly told I wasn’t promoted due to this) even though I was very good at my job and did good work. I left after 2.5 yrs to freelance but that didn’t work out financially. Took “dream” job in publishing, worked 80 hrs week, traveled every month and became very ill due to stress. And quit. Ultimately I sometimes wonder if I should have stuck it out in the 1st boring job just for the ease of the work/onsite daycare. But I was withering away inside.
    Child #2 – moved coasts for a cheaper COL so I could stay home. Am much more prepared this time for the SAHM life. Plus there isn’t so much competition between the SAHMs and the WOHMs. Am in a very family friendly community and that has made all the difference.
    Would not go back to previous job under any circumstances. In fact I’d only take any job in the future if I could somehow find out if there were other mothers in the company/department. Not having peer support has been a big factor for me

  94. I’m in the U.S.After the birth of my son and 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, I went back to my work-at-home job because:
    * I got to work from home
    * My son was at home with me and a sitter (grandmother)
    * I had great health benefits, vacations, holidays
    * My boss was nice
    * I could do the job in my sleep (and with a small child, I sometimes did)
    This sounds like the ideal situation. It was! I did this for 20 months then I quit because:
    * A person was hired on-site to do the same tasks I was doing (hmmm)
    * He was incredibly annoying, yet talented.
    * The boss would not let me switch to other assignments (I asked several times over several months for different projects and was told no)
    * My child was becoming much more interesting to me than my job* My husband’s income was increasing and he had health benefits
    * I was getting into contracting and realized I would rather be independent contractor than put mindless hours into this company.
    I would have stayed longer if Mr. Annoying would not have been hired.

  95. I’m in the U.S.After the birth of my son and 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, I went back to my work-at-home job because:
    * I got to work from home
    * My son was at home with me and a sitter (grandmother)
    * I had great health benefits, vacations, holidays
    * My boss was nice
    * I could do the job in my sleep (and with a small child, I sometimes did)
    This sounds like the ideal situation. It was! I did this for 20 months then I quit because:
    * A person was hired on-site to do the same tasks I was doing (hmmm)
    * He was incredibly annoying, yet talented.
    * The boss would not let me switch to other assignments (I asked several times over several months for different projects and was told no)
    * My child was becoming much more interesting to me than my job* My husband’s income was increasing and he had health benefits
    * I was getting into contracting and realized I would rather be independent contractor than put mindless hours into this company.
    I would have stayed longer if Mr. Annoying would not have been hired.

  96. This is such a meaningful topic, a must read for our family values politicians out there.I’m in the US and I actually have 2 years of maternity leave as a teacher. In the beginning I had planned to go back at 6 months, but I couldn’t handle the pressure of a non-sleeping baby and the thoughts of getting up at 5AM every morning to tend to the baby and get to the job, also where to pump as I travel between 2 schools and don’t have a dedicated space at either one. At 1 year, I offered to go back part time, but due to the union contract, it’s full time or nothing. I extended to take the full 2 years. Now, I would like to stay home, but with the economy faltering more and more every day, I am asking myself if I’m crazy to not take this job, it has incredible health insurance and it has been the cost of health insurance, currently $10K/year for just the premium, that has been the hardest for DH and me to financially manage. But I’m truly enjoying life with a toddler these days, much more fun than the first 12 months. I sometimes feel like I live with my head in the sand…tending to a young child is so labor intensive, but that’s what I want to do right now. I have a few more months to make the decision. If healthcare were more affordable, I would stay home.

  97. This is such a meaningful topic, a must read for our family values politicians out there.I’m in the US and I actually have 2 years of maternity leave as a teacher. In the beginning I had planned to go back at 6 months, but I couldn’t handle the pressure of a non-sleeping baby and the thoughts of getting up at 5AM every morning to tend to the baby and get to the job, also where to pump as I travel between 2 schools and don’t have a dedicated space at either one. At 1 year, I offered to go back part time, but due to the union contract, it’s full time or nothing. I extended to take the full 2 years. Now, I would like to stay home, but with the economy faltering more and more every day, I am asking myself if I’m crazy to not take this job, it has incredible health insurance and it has been the cost of health insurance, currently $10K/year for just the premium, that has been the hardest for DH and me to financially manage. But I’m truly enjoying life with a toddler these days, much more fun than the first 12 months. I sometimes feel like I live with my head in the sand…tending to a young child is so labor intensive, but that’s what I want to do right now. I have a few more months to make the decision. If healthcare were more affordable, I would stay home.

  98. I was laid off when my daughter was 2. I should have left long before that, but hung on desperately because they had a very generous paid time off benefit (5 weeks vacation and 2.5 weeks sick, every year, plus holidays and half day Fridays in the summer), big retirement contribution (10%) and paid 2/3 college tuition for your dependents. So yes, I was basically miserable and unhealthy because I thought I could hang on 18 years and reap the tuition benefit.I have never been happier or healthier since being laid off.
    However — I am looking for work. I have to, that’s just the way our finances work out. So here’s my ideal, unrealistic as it might be:
    part-time job (15-20 hrs/wk) at $30 an hour.
    retirement contribution and some paid time off. good people, good product/cause/mission. partial telecommuting as an option wouldn’t be bad!
    I’ve had two part time offers, but both would put me in the negative after daycare. Awful.

  99. I was laid off when my daughter was 2. I should have left long before that, but hung on desperately because they had a very generous paid time off benefit (5 weeks vacation and 2.5 weeks sick, every year, plus holidays and half day Fridays in the summer), big retirement contribution (10%) and paid 2/3 college tuition for your dependents. So yes, I was basically miserable and unhealthy because I thought I could hang on 18 years and reap the tuition benefit.I have never been happier or healthier since being laid off.
    However — I am looking for work. I have to, that’s just the way our finances work out. So here’s my ideal, unrealistic as it might be:
    part-time job (15-20 hrs/wk) at $30 an hour.
    retirement contribution and some paid time off. good people, good product/cause/mission. partial telecommuting as an option wouldn’t be bad!
    I’ve had two part time offers, but both would put me in the negative after daycare. Awful.

  100. when this conversation comes up…I am always struck by how many women say their husbands earn(ed) more than them. Why does it skew so far in that direction, man? I mean, I have an answer, but it sucks.

  101. when this conversation comes up…I am always struck by how many women say their husbands earn(ed) more than them. Why does it skew so far in that direction, man? I mean, I have an answer, but it sucks.

  102. As usual, a fabulous topic Moxie…I just read everyone else’s comments and totally forgot what I was going to say!So I am in the US. I went back to work when my first son was 4 months old. I hated being away from him but I didn’t think I could afford to stay home. Then, we he was 7 months old we found out I was pregnant again (ack!). At that point it became clear that we could not afford full-time infant care for TWO babies.
    Fortunately, I have a WONDERFUL boss who worked out a great WAHM plan for me. I did take a pay cut, but I NEVER have to go into the office. We do a lot of conference calls, online meetings, etc. Working at home is super hard…I do not have child care during the day, although my oldest is now in preschool 3 mornings a week. The hardest part is just balancing the press release that needs to go out (I am in PR), the baby who is pulling all the cans out of the pantry, the laundry, the cleaning…etc etc etc.
    But as hard as working at home is I am not sure that working full-time would be any better, for me…I remember those days when my son was younger and those were hard too – just in a different way.
    All of that said I am actually in the running for a BIG job…a 40 hour a week plus job that would almost TRIPLE my income, but it would take me away from my kids.
    The push/pull of work and motherhood is something I deal with everyday…some days I think I can’t possibly leave them with ANYONE all day, everyday. But then other days I want to SCREAM because I have not been alone (completely alone) in months and I have literally had poo, snot, and pee on me all within the span of an hour. Those days I think maybe I could be using my two degrees and 15 years of experience a little better.
    I haven’t been offered the job yet…so the debate between mom-at-home and fully funded college funds rages on.

  103. As usual, a fabulous topic Moxie…I just read everyone else’s comments and totally forgot what I was going to say!So I am in the US. I went back to work when my first son was 4 months old. I hated being away from him but I didn’t think I could afford to stay home. Then, we he was 7 months old we found out I was pregnant again (ack!). At that point it became clear that we could not afford full-time infant care for TWO babies.
    Fortunately, I have a WONDERFUL boss who worked out a great WAHM plan for me. I did take a pay cut, but I NEVER have to go into the office. We do a lot of conference calls, online meetings, etc. Working at home is super hard…I do not have child care during the day, although my oldest is now in preschool 3 mornings a week. The hardest part is just balancing the press release that needs to go out (I am in PR), the baby who is pulling all the cans out of the pantry, the laundry, the cleaning…etc etc etc.
    But as hard as working at home is I am not sure that working full-time would be any better, for me…I remember those days when my son was younger and those were hard too – just in a different way.
    All of that said I am actually in the running for a BIG job…a 40 hour a week plus job that would almost TRIPLE my income, but it would take me away from my kids.
    The push/pull of work and motherhood is something I deal with everyday…some days I think I can’t possibly leave them with ANYONE all day, everyday. But then other days I want to SCREAM because I have not been alone (completely alone) in months and I have literally had poo, snot, and pee on me all within the span of an hour. Those days I think maybe I could be using my two degrees and 15 years of experience a little better.
    I haven’t been offered the job yet…so the debate between mom-at-home and fully funded college funds rages on.

  104. Okay then. I did go back to my job, and here are the reasons:1) I love my job.
    2) I’m in Canada; I stayed home until my baby was 9 months old. (I would have been allowed a slightly longer leave, even, but 9 months was a good time to go back.)
    3) I make enough that my husband (who made considerably less, and didn’t especially love his job) can stay at home with the little one now that I’m working.

  105. Okay then. I did go back to my job, and here are the reasons:1) I love my job.
    2) I’m in Canada; I stayed home until my baby was 9 months old. (I would have been allowed a slightly longer leave, even, but 9 months was a good time to go back.)
    3) I make enough that my husband (who made considerably less, and didn’t especially love his job) can stay at home with the little one now that I’m working.

  106. I ‘m in the U.S. and went back. Things that have made this good include (in no particular order) …1. Allowed to extend last-month (of 3) of maternity leave out over 2 months of (instead) very part-time work … i.e., to ease back in.
    2. Went back @30 hours. Full benefits.
    3. Private office for easy pumping.
    4. Flexible hours and can do some work from home.
    5. Found great in-home daycare for 2 days/week and have grandparent care 2 days/week (day 5 split with DH as I’m now working 35 hours)
    6. DH also has family-friendly employer and flexible schedule, so can be home with sick kid, etc., i.e., we can rotate/take turns as needed
    7. Little or no travel required for work.
    8. We do need the money … I earn a bit more than DH. We really couldn’t get by without both our incomes.

  107. I ‘m in the U.S. and went back. Things that have made this good include (in no particular order) …1. Allowed to extend last-month (of 3) of maternity leave out over 2 months of (instead) very part-time work … i.e., to ease back in.
    2. Went back @30 hours. Full benefits.
    3. Private office for easy pumping.
    4. Flexible hours and can do some work from home.
    5. Found great in-home daycare for 2 days/week and have grandparent care 2 days/week (day 5 split with DH as I’m now working 35 hours)
    6. DH also has family-friendly employer and flexible schedule, so can be home with sick kid, etc., i.e., we can rotate/take turns as needed
    7. Little or no travel required for work.
    8. We do need the money … I earn a bit more than DH. We really couldn’t get by without both our incomes.

  108. I’m in France and have been doing a long-term compromise: I took my 16 weeks leave (6 weeks before delivery, 10 after by law at the time) an extra month for “rest & breastfeeding” and some vacation time. Boo started with his nanny at 5 months old. I went back to work 4 days a week which has been perfect – I get outside stimulation but still get a little just him and me time.At the same time a major sea change took place: I thought to myself- why should I be working here, where I’ve been mildly to extremely dissatisfied for the past 5 years ? I’ve taken part of my disposable income and invested in a career coach to help me transition to something that is more creative, not in a cubicle, will let me work at home but with less money. My transition is long – I want make financial jump downward gradually if possible.
    Now that I’m pregnant with #2 I know I will face the decisions again: My current plan is take the same 5-6 months off of various leave / unpaid leave if necessary and then go back 3 days a week so I can start working in new career. It will be a juggle but french law dictates that part-time work is guaranteed up to 3rd birthday so I’m trying to take advantage of that.
    Oh – and husband works same place I do, makes about 40% more than me so we consider my salary the “lifestyle” salary – it lets us do something we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise (vacations, home improvements etc).

  109. I’m in France and have been doing a long-term compromise: I took my 16 weeks leave (6 weeks before delivery, 10 after by law at the time) an extra month for “rest & breastfeeding” and some vacation time. Boo started with his nanny at 5 months old. I went back to work 4 days a week which has been perfect – I get outside stimulation but still get a little just him and me time.At the same time a major sea change took place: I thought to myself- why should I be working here, where I’ve been mildly to extremely dissatisfied for the past 5 years ? I’ve taken part of my disposable income and invested in a career coach to help me transition to something that is more creative, not in a cubicle, will let me work at home but with less money. My transition is long – I want make financial jump downward gradually if possible.
    Now that I’m pregnant with #2 I know I will face the decisions again: My current plan is take the same 5-6 months off of various leave / unpaid leave if necessary and then go back 3 days a week so I can start working in new career. It will be a juggle but french law dictates that part-time work is guaranteed up to 3rd birthday so I’m trying to take advantage of that.
    Oh – and husband works same place I do, makes about 40% more than me so we consider my salary the “lifestyle” salary – it lets us do something we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise (vacations, home improvements etc).

  110. I did go back. The biggest reasons why:*I could work part-time: 10 hours at 7 months; 20 hours at 1 year. (Actually, I was working part-time even before becoming a mom.)
    *My mother-in-law lives a few blocks away and is delighted to provide childcare
    *I enjoy my job and am a better mom if I can have some time away from the baby and in the “adult world”
    *My husband has a stable and well-enough-paying job that we can afford to have me working for a pretty small salary.
    *Despite being part-time and having no benefits at all (including no maternity leave), I was able to take time away and still have a job to come back to.
    I’m in the US; I’m an adjunct professor — but at a school where adjuncts are actually valued and paid only somewhat badly.
    Interestingly, if I’d still had a full-time, tenure-track position, I’m a little less certain that I’d have gone back. With twice the supposed hours but at least three times the workload (and admittedly three times the pay) … I think I might have gone over the deep end. Plus I don’t know if Grandma would have been able to do full-time care.

  111. I did go back. The biggest reasons why:*I could work part-time: 10 hours at 7 months; 20 hours at 1 year. (Actually, I was working part-time even before becoming a mom.)
    *My mother-in-law lives a few blocks away and is delighted to provide childcare
    *I enjoy my job and am a better mom if I can have some time away from the baby and in the “adult world”
    *My husband has a stable and well-enough-paying job that we can afford to have me working for a pretty small salary.
    *Despite being part-time and having no benefits at all (including no maternity leave), I was able to take time away and still have a job to come back to.
    I’m in the US; I’m an adjunct professor — but at a school where adjuncts are actually valued and paid only somewhat badly.
    Interestingly, if I’d still had a full-time, tenure-track position, I’m a little less certain that I’d have gone back. With twice the supposed hours but at least three times the workload (and admittedly three times the pay) … I think I might have gone over the deep end. Plus I don’t know if Grandma would have been able to do full-time care.

  112. @shirky- I hear you about the discrepancy in incomes. I think the reasons are more complicated than they used to be, though.I make more than my hubby- always have, and probably always will unless one of us changes career paths. The reasons are partly education (I have a PhD, he has a MS), but mostly career path choice- I went management, and he stayed technical. And some of it was dumb luck of my happening to have picked a hot field to get interested in and graduating in demand- don’t underestimate the impact of a few extra thousand starting salary after about 10 years! Raises are all percentages, after all.
    Anyway, even if I didn’t make more money, I think I’d have gone back to work. We could have made choices that would have allowed me to stay home if I wanted to- if we hadn’t bought the house, we could live on either of our salaries. We bought the house when Pumpkin was 5 months old. I was back at work and knew that was where I belonged.
    Similar to what one of the PPs said- I’m just not cut out to be a SAHM. I have HUGE respect for those that are, but pretty much zero guilt about my choice not to be. I’d be a far worse mother if I had to be a SAHM. It was humbling to admit that when I first figured that out, but it is true.
    I don’t mean to make this all about me, me, me. I keep coming back to read more because I find it so interesting to read everyone’s stories, and then I think of something I want to say and can’t help myself!

  113. @shirky- I hear you about the discrepancy in incomes. I think the reasons are more complicated than they used to be, though.I make more than my hubby- always have, and probably always will unless one of us changes career paths. The reasons are partly education (I have a PhD, he has a MS), but mostly career path choice- I went management, and he stayed technical. And some of it was dumb luck of my happening to have picked a hot field to get interested in and graduating in demand- don’t underestimate the impact of a few extra thousand starting salary after about 10 years! Raises are all percentages, after all.
    Anyway, even if I didn’t make more money, I think I’d have gone back to work. We could have made choices that would have allowed me to stay home if I wanted to- if we hadn’t bought the house, we could live on either of our salaries. We bought the house when Pumpkin was 5 months old. I was back at work and knew that was where I belonged.
    Similar to what one of the PPs said- I’m just not cut out to be a SAHM. I have HUGE respect for those that are, but pretty much zero guilt about my choice not to be. I’d be a far worse mother if I had to be a SAHM. It was humbling to admit that when I first figured that out, but it is true.
    I don’t mean to make this all about me, me, me. I keep coming back to read more because I find it so interesting to read everyone’s stories, and then I think of something I want to say and can’t help myself!

  114. Wow this is fascinating. Especially all the moms from different countries chiming in! When can I move to Austria?I am in Canada and took a one year maternity leave, getting the max from govn’t benefits which is about $450 a week. I can’t even fathom going back any earlier. I would have quit for sure.
    Still, it’s not easy going back after the first birthday. I believe 12 months is a really tough time to go back to work for the child who is in full separation anxiety mode. Also, childcare for a little one under 19 months is harder to find because the govn’t requires a 2:1 child to caregiver ratio.
    I had really hoped to job share but I couldn’t find anyone to do it with. I can’t justify quitting now because with my husband working evening and weekends, our child is home with us everyday but 5 a month, when she is at my mom’s house.
    So I am back full-time and trying to get pregnant again so I can get another year off. Then I will quit. The only thing that could make me stay is a part-time opening or finding someone to job share with me. I’d like to stay because of the union environment, the 10 minute commute, the feeling of “being at work” and the good pay.
    Full-time work is too hard with a family. I feel totally overwhelmed even working five days a week, eight hours a day. I never seeing my husband, I am cleaning the bathroom at 11 p.m., I am rarely spending time with other moms and I am dealing with the hard stuff about a toddler alone.
    While we are dreaming, can they pay me my full time salary for part time work? That would help us out a lot with the mortgage.

  115. I live in the US. I am an academic scientist.I did go back, because:
    1. I had always assumed I would. I have friends who are mothers and have the same position, and they and their children are thriving.
    2. My career is an integral part of who I am
    3. I really enjoy my job
    4. My job isn’t one that I could easily quit and then ‘get another’ like it. It’s one of a kind.
    5. I took off 3 months completely, then went back very gradually until 12 months. Was able to exclusively breastfeed- pumped once per day in my private office. Twins were cared for at home by grandma or a close friend, then at 6 months we found a wonderful nanny who comes to our home. We have close to zero commute, so I come home every day for lunch and never go more than 4 hours without seeing them. I was able to not travel for the first 18 months. Husband has a similar job, we split hours, to maximize time with them.
    6. I put absolutely everything else on the backburner. My free time is all about the boys. We pay to have the house cleaned, etc.
    Still, I know my career has suffered, and I also would love to stay home with them. I seriously considered not going back, despite having assumed I would. I get frustrated with my job, and then ‘angry’ at it for taking my time away from my babies. It’s so hard! Way longer maternity leave is really the way to go.

  116. I live in the US. I am an academic scientist.I did go back, because:
    1. I had always assumed I would. I have friends who are mothers and have the same position, and they and their children are thriving.
    2. My career is an integral part of who I am
    3. I really enjoy my job
    4. My job isn’t one that I could easily quit and then ‘get another’ like it. It’s one of a kind.
    5. I took off 3 months completely, then went back very gradually until 12 months. Was able to exclusively breastfeed- pumped once per day in my private office. Twins were cared for at home by grandma or a close friend, then at 6 months we found a wonderful nanny who comes to our home. We have close to zero commute, so I come home every day for lunch and never go more than 4 hours without seeing them. I was able to not travel for the first 18 months. Husband has a similar job, we split hours, to maximize time with them.
    6. I put absolutely everything else on the backburner. My free time is all about the boys. We pay to have the house cleaned, etc.
    Still, I know my career has suffered, and I also would love to stay home with them. I seriously considered not going back, despite having assumed I would. I get frustrated with my job, and then ‘angry’ at it for taking my time away from my babies. It’s so hard! Way longer maternity leave is really the way to go.

  117. Nothing. I started counting the days as soon as I found out I was pregnant! I did have a job that I loved, but I have long felt that my true calling is to be a mother. I miss my co-workers and my daycare kids, things like that, but I have loved every second w/ my daughter and gleefully look forward to more time w/ her and our future kids. DH and I are also licensed foster parents and being a sahm has allowed me the time to devote to taking in other kids as well. I have a degree in child development & think w/ taking in foster kids, I will be a professional mom forever!

  118. Nothing. I started counting the days as soon as I found out I was pregnant! I did have a job that I loved, but I have long felt that my true calling is to be a mother. I miss my co-workers and my daycare kids, things like that, but I have loved every second w/ my daughter and gleefully look forward to more time w/ her and our future kids. DH and I are also licensed foster parents and being a sahm has allowed me the time to devote to taking in other kids as well. I have a degree in child development & think w/ taking in foster kids, I will be a professional mom forever!

  119. Jojo brings up a big reason for me to keep working – my parents split up when I was 8 (and had siblings 5 and 2) and my mother really struggled financially (despite my father’s responsible payment of support). As a result I want to be able to support myself and my children financially whatever might happen, by myself if necessary. Continuing to pay into retirement and social security is also a big deal to me – SAHMs out there, please make sure you are not neglecting your own retirement funds (IRA) since you have a job in your family, too.My husband makes twice as much as me now. The discrepancy started when we chose college majors – engineering versus classical archaeology. Hmm, who is more likely to end up rich?? It was interesting the change when he finished his PhD – while he was in school I earned more than his stipend – and he got a job and started to earn. (He is a post-doc for the government, so it’s not like we’re all Paris Hilton – he could make way more if he’d gotten a job in industry right our of college – but still.)

  120. Jojo brings up a big reason for me to keep working – my parents split up when I was 8 (and had siblings 5 and 2) and my mother really struggled financially (despite my father’s responsible payment of support). As a result I want to be able to support myself and my children financially whatever might happen, by myself if necessary. Continuing to pay into retirement and social security is also a big deal to me – SAHMs out there, please make sure you are not neglecting your own retirement funds (IRA) since you have a job in your family, too.My husband makes twice as much as me now. The discrepancy started when we chose college majors – engineering versus classical archaeology. Hmm, who is more likely to end up rich?? It was interesting the change when he finished his PhD – while he was in school I earned more than his stipend – and he got a job and started to earn. (He is a post-doc for the government, so it’s not like we’re all Paris Hilton – he could make way more if he’d gotten a job in industry right our of college – but still.)

  121. I’m in Norway, and I never considered NOT going back to work. My husband is American, and I got that question a lot from his relatives when we were over there visiting. The interesting thing is that NOBODY asked if HE would continue working 😉 I grew up with a stay at home dad, so for me that would be a perfectly reasonable question to ask!I’ve never been asked this question in Norway as hardly anyone stays at home with children past one year old anymore (since our parental-leave benefits improved). A lot more women than men work part-time though.
    I always knew I would go bonkers being a SAHM, so I went back to work 50% when DD was 7 weeks old. The Norwegian system allows for 54 weeks off at 80% pay or 44 weeks at 100% pay, and most of that can be split between the parents, so once I was back at work, we split child care so that I had her in the mornings, my husband had her in the afternoons, and my dad stepped in about 5 hours a week to make the pieces of the puzzle fit. This worked wonderfully for us until she started daycare at 12 months old and we both went back to full time.
    (Side note: in Norway, you are entitled to a place in daycare, at about US$350 a month, if the kid is 12 months old. This system works OK (the daycare you get into isn’t necessarily the closest one, and they’re still working on getting enough availability in some places), and the day care centers all have to conform to certain standards in terms of hygiene, outside time, educational programs etc.)
    She LOVES her daycare (although the first couple weeks were rough), but I know I personally wouldn’t have been comfortable having strangers look after her while she was still very young.
    For me, the 10 weeks I was at home (3 weeks before the birth, 7 weeks after) were frustrating, if rewarding, and I was very happy to be back at work part-time for the “grown-up” time. IME, being at work exercises different parts of your brain than childcare does, and I’m glad I get a bit of both!

  122. I’m in Norway, and I never considered NOT going back to work. My husband is American, and I got that question a lot from his relatives when we were over there visiting. The interesting thing is that NOBODY asked if HE would continue working 😉 I grew up with a stay at home dad, so for me that would be a perfectly reasonable question to ask!I’ve never been asked this question in Norway as hardly anyone stays at home with children past one year old anymore (since our parental-leave benefits improved). A lot more women than men work part-time though.
    I always knew I would go bonkers being a SAHM, so I went back to work 50% when DD was 7 weeks old. The Norwegian system allows for 54 weeks off at 80% pay or 44 weeks at 100% pay, and most of that can be split between the parents, so once I was back at work, we split child care so that I had her in the mornings, my husband had her in the afternoons, and my dad stepped in about 5 hours a week to make the pieces of the puzzle fit. This worked wonderfully for us until she started daycare at 12 months old and we both went back to full time.
    (Side note: in Norway, you are entitled to a place in daycare, at about US$350 a month, if the kid is 12 months old. This system works OK (the daycare you get into isn’t necessarily the closest one, and they’re still working on getting enough availability in some places), and the day care centers all have to conform to certain standards in terms of hygiene, outside time, educational programs etc.)
    She LOVES her daycare (although the first couple weeks were rough), but I know I personally wouldn’t have been comfortable having strangers look after her while she was still very young.
    For me, the 10 weeks I was at home (3 weeks before the birth, 7 weeks after) were frustrating, if rewarding, and I was very happy to be back at work part-time for the “grown-up” time. IME, being at work exercises different parts of your brain than childcare does, and I’m glad I get a bit of both!

  123. I did go back, under these circumstances:-I work for a non-profit that can be pretty flexible
    -I work an 80% schedule, which means T-Th afternoons off, and took a pay cut to do it; my husband is home with my daughter those mornings
    -I really like my job
    In some European countries, Scandinavia being the area I know most about, there are virtually no long-term SAHMs — there are far superior benefits as far as LONG, paid maternity and paternity leaves, ability to work reduced schedules, subsidized daycare, payments from the state to help support children etc. Beyond that, though, the reality is that it’s simply not possible for most families there to make it without two salaries, because the tax rate and cost of living are so high. (This is not, BTW, a value judgement — though I for one think it’s worth it — just a statement of fact.)

  124. I did go back, under these circumstances:-I work for a non-profit that can be pretty flexible
    -I work an 80% schedule, which means T-Th afternoons off, and took a pay cut to do it; my husband is home with my daughter those mornings
    -I really like my job
    In some European countries, Scandinavia being the area I know most about, there are virtually no long-term SAHMs — there are far superior benefits as far as LONG, paid maternity and paternity leaves, ability to work reduced schedules, subsidized daycare, payments from the state to help support children etc. Beyond that, though, the reality is that it’s simply not possible for most families there to make it without two salaries, because the tax rate and cost of living are so high. (This is not, BTW, a value judgement — though I for one think it’s worth it — just a statement of fact.)

  125. (Hejsan Inki — posting at the same time — married to a Swede, living in the United States, but we’ve lived there too).

  126. (Hejsan Inki — posting at the same time — married to a Swede, living in the United States, but we’ve lived there too).

  127. Although I was in my dream job, I was *not* in my dream library. I had several reasons:- The management style was not a good fit for me. I am trying, as nicely as possible, to note that it is not a good thing when the entire department staff turns over three times in 5 years.
    -I had ONE week of paid maternity leave. One. I had two weeks of vacation I could have used, but there was no way I was going back to work 3 wks post-partum, and I was angry I couldn’t even get 6wks off paid. I needed to save my sick days for the inevitable days my son would be kicked out of DC for illness. Obviously, I am in the U.S.
    – The drive was far, the pay was lower than I would have been able to get closer to home and I was just DONE with the politics.
    – Nowhere to pump. I would have been given the time (I think), but would have had to pump in the janitor’s closet. There was just nowhere else.
    I would love to go back to work now, despite being 23 wks pg with my second and seeming undesirable due to showing. I’ve applied for jobs further away from the listed ones, just because of higher pay and nicer environment.
    Thanks, I needed to vent that.

  128. Although I was in my dream job, I was *not* in my dream library. I had several reasons:- The management style was not a good fit for me. I am trying, as nicely as possible, to note that it is not a good thing when the entire department staff turns over three times in 5 years.
    -I had ONE week of paid maternity leave. One. I had two weeks of vacation I could have used, but there was no way I was going back to work 3 wks post-partum, and I was angry I couldn’t even get 6wks off paid. I needed to save my sick days for the inevitable days my son would be kicked out of DC for illness. Obviously, I am in the U.S.
    – The drive was far, the pay was lower than I would have been able to get closer to home and I was just DONE with the politics.
    – Nowhere to pump. I would have been given the time (I think), but would have had to pump in the janitor’s closet. There was just nowhere else.
    I would love to go back to work now, despite being 23 wks pg with my second and seeming undesirable due to showing. I’ve applied for jobs further away from the listed ones, just because of higher pay and nicer environment.
    Thanks, I needed to vent that.

  129. Shelley has a good point which I had not even considered – it is true for Norway that it would be hard for families to make it on one income. Things are a lot more expensive here! But I don’t get the impression that a lot of people would want to stay at home to look after the kids even if it was feasible economically – at least not in my circle of acquaintances. Work is typically seen not just as a way to make money, but as a means of self-fulfillment. Of course, we’re also lucky to have shorter workdays (the standard week being 37.5 hours) and longer vacations (5 weeks a year), which makes work a lot more bearable even if you don’t enjoy it.

  130. Shelley has a good point which I had not even considered – it is true for Norway that it would be hard for families to make it on one income. Things are a lot more expensive here! But I don’t get the impression that a lot of people would want to stay at home to look after the kids even if it was feasible economically – at least not in my circle of acquaintances. Work is typically seen not just as a way to make money, but as a means of self-fulfillment. Of course, we’re also lucky to have shorter workdays (the standard week being 37.5 hours) and longer vacations (5 weeks a year), which makes work a lot more bearable even if you don’t enjoy it.

  131. I went back at 8 weeks with each of my boys. It was both possible and necessary because:1. Husband works in a very low paying profession – my salary is 3x what his is and I essentially pay the full mortgage and all other major expenses
    2. husbnad was able to take off 3 weeks unpaid leave to delay starting daycare.
    3. I don’t MIND my job (don’t love it, but it’s not painful) and I’m very well compensated for the amount of time/energy it requires.
    4. I can work from home 1 day a week and have general flexibility for sick days, early daycare pickups, etc.
    5. Although I’ve never had the luxury of choice, I don’t think I would be happy or effective staying home full time — which means it wouldn’t be ideal for my kids either.
    6. we found a great daycare where both kids are happy 99% of the time
    7. I’d rather work as much as possible now, before the boys start kindergarten so that I have more options to work partime and greet them when they come off the schoolbus. For me, the needs of schoolage children seem more compelling, and benefit more from a PARENT rather than another caregiver.

  132. I went back at 8 weeks with each of my boys. It was both possible and necessary because:1. Husband works in a very low paying profession – my salary is 3x what his is and I essentially pay the full mortgage and all other major expenses
    2. husbnad was able to take off 3 weeks unpaid leave to delay starting daycare.
    3. I don’t MIND my job (don’t love it, but it’s not painful) and I’m very well compensated for the amount of time/energy it requires.
    4. I can work from home 1 day a week and have general flexibility for sick days, early daycare pickups, etc.
    5. Although I’ve never had the luxury of choice, I don’t think I would be happy or effective staying home full time — which means it wouldn’t be ideal for my kids either.
    6. we found a great daycare where both kids are happy 99% of the time
    7. I’d rather work as much as possible now, before the boys start kindergarten so that I have more options to work partime and greet them when they come off the schoolbus. For me, the needs of schoolage children seem more compelling, and benefit more from a PARENT rather than another caregiver.

  133. Canadian living in the UK (where maternity benefits are great by US standards).I didn’t go back because:
    1. I wasn’t passionate enough about my work
    2. We are fortunate in that my husband is very generously compensated for his work and we didn’t need my income.
    3. I truly enjoy being home with our 22 month old.
    4. We are likely to go back to Canada within the next 12 months – didn’t make much sense to start work again for just a short time.

  134. Canadian living in the UK (where maternity benefits are great by US standards).I didn’t go back because:
    1. I wasn’t passionate enough about my work
    2. We are fortunate in that my husband is very generously compensated for his work and we didn’t need my income.
    3. I truly enjoy being home with our 22 month old.
    4. We are likely to go back to Canada within the next 12 months – didn’t make much sense to start work again for just a short time.

  135. I went back too (3x) and here’s why:I like my job/line of work. I’m an attorney and my work is important to me.
    I wanted to be a good role model for our kids, especially our daughter.
    I don’t really believe “on-ramping” five-ten years later is possible or at least I wasn’t willing to gamble that it was.
    I wanted to have my kids (relatively) early so I didn’t have a lot of experience under my belt if I did stay home and went back later.
    I had on-site day care (for first two) and ideal pumping situation. Also went back to work PT and did that for four years. Work was very accomodating.
    My husband and I felt it was important for BOTH parents to be actively involved, which for us means being home for breakfast and dinner, activities, doctor’s appointments, etc. If we lived on just one salary (let’s assume his), we would have to live farther away to afford housing/schools and that would significantly impact the amount of time that he would spend with the kids. This one is probably still my most important reason and I am always surprised why this tradeoff is not mentioned more.

  136. I went back too (3x) and here’s why:I like my job/line of work. I’m an attorney and my work is important to me.
    I wanted to be a good role model for our kids, especially our daughter.
    I don’t really believe “on-ramping” five-ten years later is possible or at least I wasn’t willing to gamble that it was.
    I wanted to have my kids (relatively) early so I didn’t have a lot of experience under my belt if I did stay home and went back later.
    I had on-site day care (for first two) and ideal pumping situation. Also went back to work PT and did that for four years. Work was very accomodating.
    My husband and I felt it was important for BOTH parents to be actively involved, which for us means being home for breakfast and dinner, activities, doctor’s appointments, etc. If we lived on just one salary (let’s assume his), we would have to live farther away to afford housing/schools and that would significantly impact the amount of time that he would spend with the kids. This one is probably still my most important reason and I am always surprised why this tradeoff is not mentioned more.

  137. I quit and never went back. I remember telling my husband, “We’ll cancel the cable and eat nothing but pasta, but I cannot leave my baby in daycare.” I just couldn’t leave my kids. I needed to breathe them, you know? My husband didn’t make a lot of money at the time, but I knew where I wanted to be. There was no amount of money that would have been enough to keep me away from them.

  138. I quit and never went back. I remember telling my husband, “We’ll cancel the cable and eat nothing but pasta, but I cannot leave my baby in daycare.” I just couldn’t leave my kids. I needed to breathe them, you know? My husband didn’t make a lot of money at the time, but I knew where I wanted to be. There was no amount of money that would have been enough to keep me away from them.

  139. My job was done alone in my office on the computer. Very rarely was contact with anyone else required. I would have stayed had they allowed me to spend 2-3 days per week working from home (with childcare). If they had at least let me try it for a couple of months, I probably would have stayed even if it turned out that it didn’t work out. However, the unwillingness to try at all made me decide to leave.

  140. My job was done alone in my office on the computer. Very rarely was contact with anyone else required. I would have stayed had they allowed me to spend 2-3 days per week working from home (with childcare). If they had at least let me try it for a couple of months, I probably would have stayed even if it turned out that it didn’t work out. However, the unwillingness to try at all made me decide to leave.

  141. I’m in the US.I had three months of maternity leave most of it unpaid. I went back for health insurance for me and the baby.
    My partner’s employer offers DP benefits but only covers dependants the employee can claim on a federal tax return. right.
    The cost of private health insurance was just too much.

  142. I’m in the US.I had three months of maternity leave most of it unpaid. I went back for health insurance for me and the baby.
    My partner’s employer offers DP benefits but only covers dependants the employee can claim on a federal tax return. right.
    The cost of private health insurance was just too much.

  143. I’m a Canadian, living in the U.S..This thread is awesome and I find all the reasons for returning and not returning equally as fascinating.
    I went back to work after having my first and I intend to go back after having my second, although because I’ll have 2 in daycare, I’ll have to go back to work sooner than with my first. Here are my reasons:
    Like MLB, I wasn’t sure if I could go back to work after 5-10 years out of the workforce. I’m not an attorney, I certainly don’t make as much money, and frankly, my work isn’t on par with that level of importance (or passion, on my part)–I’m an in-house graphic designer for a well-heeled non-profit. I know myself, and I HATE job hunting–I dread it. I also think that my professional confidence would totally go down the tubes during a long absence.
    I think that our family income would have taken a much bigger hit in the long run if I had opted out of the job market. Basically, all my income will go directly into daycare when I have 2 enrolled. In the short term, it might be the same financially, but I would suck as a SAHM and my son loves the social stimulation of daycare.
    Our daycare is very high-quality. It’s not perfect, but the teachers are very caring and I never worry about DS while he’s there. This is important since we have no family around for childcare.
    I have almost no commute: my office is 20 minutes away, DH’s is 11 minutes away. Daycare is 25 minutes away from my office, 15 minutes away from DH’s office, and 35 away from home. These times are all BY FOOT, so no traffic (although we do take the car, especially in the winter, when it’s too dark and cold for strolling).
    I was able to negotiate 9 months of part-time after my 12 weeks of disability leave (6 weeks paid, as per policy, but the other 6 weeks were also paid because of leftover sick/vacation days–normally, they are not), which in theory, was great, but was very stressful for me. 4 hours a day to do 75% + of my regular job was intense and then I had to rush back home to relive the nanny, who had to leave at 2:30pm SHARP! Plus half-time = half-paycheck, so all of my earnings went into childcare back then, too. Plus, I would be admonished by my husband if I tried to catch up on a little work at home (“You’re only paid for 20 hours a week!”). There’s just more slack built into an 8-hour workday.
    I was relieved when I went back full-time–adult conversation, haircuts, eating lunch undisturbed, occasional email and internet use, maybe a lunchtime swim or pedicure? Heaven! And then I get to spend all evening with DS? Bring it on!
    Because my job generally doesn’t demand much of my post-5pm life, I can be a much better, more patient, more creative mother at night and on weekends.
    Breast-feeding was a bit of a problem, but my office seemed OK with the pumping (I would borrow an office), and they seemed OK with the nanny bringing DS in every day at 11am for a bf session (again, I would borrow an office, since I work in a cubicle) since no one was successful at giving him the bottle. I’m afraid Kid #2 will also refuse the bottle, but we’ll deal with that when we get there.
    My office seemed OK with the frequent abstenteeism associated with having a kid (doctor’s appointments, illnesses), but my husband and I would usually negotiate who would take the morning shift and who would take the afternoon, so no one would miss a full day of work unless necessary.
    My mother regretted that she couldn’t be a SAHM for me and my siblings for financial reasons. She is a very different person and had very different life circumstances (recent immigrant to Canada, much younger when she had children, my father was bad at saving money, she didn’t like her job, etc.), but I don’t regret going back to work. I think my kids are better off in daycare and I’ll be better off–career-wise and personal fulfillment-wise–when they start school.

  144. I’m a Canadian, living in the U.S..This thread is awesome and I find all the reasons for returning and not returning equally as fascinating.
    I went back to work after having my first and I intend to go back after having my second, although because I’ll have 2 in daycare, I’ll have to go back to work sooner than with my first. Here are my reasons:
    Like MLB, I wasn’t sure if I could go back to work after 5-10 years out of the workforce. I’m not an attorney, I certainly don’t make as much money, and frankly, my work isn’t on par with that level of importance (or passion, on my part)–I’m an in-house graphic designer for a well-heeled non-profit. I know myself, and I HATE job hunting–I dread it. I also think that my professional confidence would totally go down the tubes during a long absence.
    I think that our family income would have taken a much bigger hit in the long run if I had opted out of the job market. Basically, all my income will go directly into daycare when I have 2 enrolled. In the short term, it might be the same financially, but I would suck as a SAHM and my son loves the social stimulation of daycare.
    Our daycare is very high-quality. It’s not perfect, but the teachers are very caring and I never worry about DS while he’s there. This is important since we have no family around for childcare.
    I have almost no commute: my office is 20 minutes away, DH’s is 11 minutes away. Daycare is 25 minutes away from my office, 15 minutes away from DH’s office, and 35 away from home. These times are all BY FOOT, so no traffic (although we do take the car, especially in the winter, when it’s too dark and cold for strolling).
    I was able to negotiate 9 months of part-time after my 12 weeks of disability leave (6 weeks paid, as per policy, but the other 6 weeks were also paid because of leftover sick/vacation days–normally, they are not), which in theory, was great, but was very stressful for me. 4 hours a day to do 75% + of my regular job was intense and then I had to rush back home to relive the nanny, who had to leave at 2:30pm SHARP! Plus half-time = half-paycheck, so all of my earnings went into childcare back then, too. Plus, I would be admonished by my husband if I tried to catch up on a little work at home (“You’re only paid for 20 hours a week!”). There’s just more slack built into an 8-hour workday.
    I was relieved when I went back full-time–adult conversation, haircuts, eating lunch undisturbed, occasional email and internet use, maybe a lunchtime swim or pedicure? Heaven! And then I get to spend all evening with DS? Bring it on!
    Because my job generally doesn’t demand much of my post-5pm life, I can be a much better, more patient, more creative mother at night and on weekends.
    Breast-feeding was a bit of a problem, but my office seemed OK with the pumping (I would borrow an office), and they seemed OK with the nanny bringing DS in every day at 11am for a bf session (again, I would borrow an office, since I work in a cubicle) since no one was successful at giving him the bottle. I’m afraid Kid #2 will also refuse the bottle, but we’ll deal with that when we get there.
    My office seemed OK with the frequent abstenteeism associated with having a kid (doctor’s appointments, illnesses), but my husband and I would usually negotiate who would take the morning shift and who would take the afternoon, so no one would miss a full day of work unless necessary.
    My mother regretted that she couldn’t be a SAHM for me and my siblings for financial reasons. She is a very different person and had very different life circumstances (recent immigrant to Canada, much younger when she had children, my father was bad at saving money, she didn’t like her job, etc.), but I don’t regret going back to work. I think my kids are better off in daycare and I’ll be better off–career-wise and personal fulfillment-wise–when they start school.

  145. To expand on hedra’s account:I’m in the US, I’m male.
    I went back to work after G was born and hedra was on maternity leave. Since I was in the middle of school to change careers (from programming to architecture) we had decided that I would be the one to stay home at first. Her career path was rising, and I’d have to start over anyway.
    It was an education: we went into debt (I was the primary salary), but I got to experience the process and gain appreciation for the SAH’s in the world.
    But finding the right daycare did make it possible to enjoy going to work. And now I’m unemployed but trying to make professional progress towards career adjusting and licensing. So I’m doing the after school pickup and dinner’s and the sick days (like today) which unfortunately interfere with my projects now.

  146. To expand on hedra’s account:I’m in the US, I’m male.
    I went back to work after G was born and hedra was on maternity leave. Since I was in the middle of school to change careers (from programming to architecture) we had decided that I would be the one to stay home at first. Her career path was rising, and I’d have to start over anyway.
    It was an education: we went into debt (I was the primary salary), but I got to experience the process and gain appreciation for the SAH’s in the world.
    But finding the right daycare did make it possible to enjoy going to work. And now I’m unemployed but trying to make professional progress towards career adjusting and licensing. So I’m doing the after school pickup and dinner’s and the sick days (like today) which unfortunately interfere with my projects now.

  147. I did not go back to work because:-I had reached the ceiling at my company, maybe not in terms of pay, but in terms of position/title.
    -My boss was nuts (seriously, probably bipolar).
    -The work, while generally stimulating for me, was not worth it. I just couldn’t imagine placing importance on it once the baby was born. I mean, we weren’t saving live or anything, but you would have thought we were.
    -The hours were long (I rarely got home before 8pm), and how can you do that with a child?
    -My salary, while not insignificant, was not needed for us to make ends meet. We were able to still live comfortably without it.
    We moved out of state when DD was 6 months, so even if I had stayed I would have had to have quit then. The new job my husband took made up for about 60-70% of the salary we lost when I stopped working.
    I would have stayed if:
    -The company was more family-friendly (paid maternity leave, better hours, ability to work from home occasionally, better benefits, etc.).
    -My boss became a completely different person.
    I do miss working sometimes, but I can’t imagine leaving my daughter every day and not being available to take her to music class, etc.

  148. I did not go back to work because:-I had reached the ceiling at my company, maybe not in terms of pay, but in terms of position/title.
    -My boss was nuts (seriously, probably bipolar).
    -The work, while generally stimulating for me, was not worth it. I just couldn’t imagine placing importance on it once the baby was born. I mean, we weren’t saving live or anything, but you would have thought we were.
    -The hours were long (I rarely got home before 8pm), and how can you do that with a child?
    -My salary, while not insignificant, was not needed for us to make ends meet. We were able to still live comfortably without it.
    We moved out of state when DD was 6 months, so even if I had stayed I would have had to have quit then. The new job my husband took made up for about 60-70% of the salary we lost when I stopped working.
    I would have stayed if:
    -The company was more family-friendly (paid maternity leave, better hours, ability to work from home occasionally, better benefits, etc.).
    -My boss became a completely different person.
    I do miss working sometimes, but I can’t imagine leaving my daughter every day and not being available to take her to music class, etc.

  149. I would have loved to stay, but:1) I made only $12/hour, and was repeatedly refused promotions to $18 (by a holdout who knew pretty much nothing about the quality of my work, over the objections of others who thought I was doing well)
    2) I had a rotating schedule, so I’d have had to get childcare for 7 days a week, not 5, because
    3) my husband works long and erratic hours, including nights and weekends, and could not be counted on for reliable childcare.
    I would have had access to reasonable pumping facilities and sufficient leniency from supervisors to take the time needed to pump. I worked soooo hard to get to that job, and I miss certain aspects of it daily. I was, however, also laid out on disability by various complications from about week 24 (initially related to my work), and so used up the FMLA and DL my job provided. I would have received only 6 weeks leave post-partum through DL at best (12 if I hadn’t used my FMLA ante-partum), and that would not have been enough, I think.
    It worked out, though, as I am fairly sure anyone not related to my little monkey would have killed her sometime in those first six months of unending colic. I wish I were joking.

  150. I would have loved to stay, but:1) I made only $12/hour, and was repeatedly refused promotions to $18 (by a holdout who knew pretty much nothing about the quality of my work, over the objections of others who thought I was doing well)
    2) I had a rotating schedule, so I’d have had to get childcare for 7 days a week, not 5, because
    3) my husband works long and erratic hours, including nights and weekends, and could not be counted on for reliable childcare.
    I would have had access to reasonable pumping facilities and sufficient leniency from supervisors to take the time needed to pump. I worked soooo hard to get to that job, and I miss certain aspects of it daily. I was, however, also laid out on disability by various complications from about week 24 (initially related to my work), and so used up the FMLA and DL my job provided. I would have received only 6 weeks leave post-partum through DL at best (12 if I hadn’t used my FMLA ante-partum), and that would not have been enough, I think.
    It worked out, though, as I am fairly sure anyone not related to my little monkey would have killed her sometime in those first six months of unending colic. I wish I were joking.

  151. @Jac – I love you, too, my Soul Sister! Don’t let the bastards get you down!@shirky – Yeah, I hear you, too. It’s really all about sexism, the way girls are socialized, and women lacking effective mentors, which totally sucks. But the good news is there are some strategies we can use (*sometimes*) to deal ourselves the best hand out of a deck that’s inherently stacked against us. And because if we really could “sleep our way to the top,” I damn sure would have! heh heh…
    My favorite book for those of us who can’t afford a career coach, and don’t have relationships with caring, honest, powerful mentors to help us along: “Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office” by Lois P. Frankel. The title sort of sucks, but believe me, the content is excellent. It’s the kind of nitty gritty, helpful, real world stuff no one ever told me, but I wish I had known a lot sooner. It’s a quick, impactful read & you’ll find yourself somewhere in the pages.

  152. @Jac – I love you, too, my Soul Sister! Don’t let the bastards get you down!@shirky – Yeah, I hear you, too. It’s really all about sexism, the way girls are socialized, and women lacking effective mentors, which totally sucks. But the good news is there are some strategies we can use (*sometimes*) to deal ourselves the best hand out of a deck that’s inherently stacked against us. And because if we really could “sleep our way to the top,” I damn sure would have! heh heh…
    My favorite book for those of us who can’t afford a career coach, and don’t have relationships with caring, honest, powerful mentors to help us along: “Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office” by Lois P. Frankel. The title sort of sucks, but believe me, the content is excellent. It’s the kind of nitty gritty, helpful, real world stuff no one ever told me, but I wish I had known a lot sooner. It’s a quick, impactful read & you’ll find yourself somewhere in the pages.

  153. great topic. . . interesting the someone above commented about the diversity of responses, what i see are a lot of similarities in terms of what would have helped new moms stay in the work force if they wanted to. Things like: longer leaves, a private place to pump, quality child-care, etc.I’m one of the many who went back b/c i was fortunate enough to have these things. And no, i’m not in Europe, Canada or California. Here’s why i was able to make it work:
    –i had a five-month leave (16 wks of accrued vaca and sick time, the rest unpaid)
    –my husband then had two months of leave (unpaid), so the baby didn’t enter child care until he was 7 mos old
    –my child-care was about 1/2 mile from my office, so i would jump a bus down there every lunch hour and nurse him until he was a year old
    –i have really high-quality child-care (but of course, we pay a ton for it, too)
    –our commute is about 20 min door-to-door, and child-care drop-off/pick-up is on the way
    –i like my job (not love it, it’s not my life, but i like it, and enjoy the fulfillment and adult interaction)
    -i’m compensated pretty well for a job that’s not all that stresful
    –i have great benefits that we wouldn’t have if i didn’t work
    –we couldn’t make it work on one salary.
    of course, this is with ONE child. if we decide to add to our family, who knows if any or all of this would be possible again. we got very lucky, i realize.
    it’s amazing just how critical the issues of quality child-care and parental leave are–and they’re just not really being addressed on a national level.

  154. @td- I was the one who mentioned the diversity of responses. I was thinking about the diversity in people’s reaction to whether they wanted to go back or not, which has run the gamut from people like me who can’t imagine NOT going back to others who couldn’t imagine going back. And lots of places in between.I totally agree that everyone should have access to quality child care, a decent place to pump, and longer leaves (6 weeks seems insanely short to me- I was still basically a wreck at that point). I wish all states had a law like CA that requires a place to pump. Clearly, it hasn’t driven business out of California or caused any great problems.
    In fact, the other diversity that is striking to me was the huge divide between what different people have available to them. I think the divide is partly geographic (as you say- Europe, Canada, and California…) but also economic/career path related. This may be resonating with me because I still remember the last breastfeeding support group I went to before I went back to work. The difference between what I was going back to (a private office and the ability to pump pretty much whenever I wanted) and what one of the other women, who worked at a retail store, was going back to (the mandated private room and two 15 minute breaks in addition to her lunch hour) was striking to me. We both really wanted to breastfeed to at least a year. I made it and am in fact still breastfeeding at 22 months. I have always wondered if the other woman made it.
    If so, she deserves serious kudos.

  155. MomAbroad, where are you based now? That sounds like where I’d like to be. :)I’m one of those over-educated, unemployed trailing spouses who never, ever, ever dreamed of being a SAHM. In fact, just weeks before we married my husband made a comment that made me think he was implying that I would stay home, and holy hannah did I rip into him…
    As it turned out, we moved to Japan just weeks after we were married for his job. I was in a dead-end transitional position at the time, so quitting was a no-brainer for me. BUT, I had just lined up an internship in my field of choice that would likely have opened the door for full-time work. I had my first while we were overseas, my second shortly after our return, and now I’m one of those slowly-going-mad-ripping-out-my-eyeballs SAHMs.
    Why have I not gone back (yet)?
    *My degree’s not all that portable; the good jobs for me are a 1.5 hour commute from where we currently live.
    *My husband’s theoretically willing to change jobs to make this more doable, but he works in the auto industry. Have you heard about this industry lately? Not great job security, no-one’s hiring, and it just doesn’t seem like a good time to walk away from eleven years of seniority.
    *There’s only one town in between our job locations, and it would still mean an hour commute for me each way. I’m not willing to live in BFE, and that is still a little more time away than I’m willing to take.
    *I’m open to doing something different, but have no idea what that would be. I want more than a dead-end job; I’ve had those. I’m looking for a career.
    That’s all. My husband makes enough that I don’t HAVE to work (this week, anyway; layoffs are unending) and I don’t even care about breaking even on daycare – I hate being at home and think that the career growth I’d likely experience in the next several years would make that a temporary situation, anyway. I just don’t know how to get back into it given our current situation.
    What would make me go back?
    *A change in location.
    *Part-time opportunity (not many that I know of).
    *An epiphany resulting in a new career path.

  156. @Meika- I’m sad for you, because I know I enjoy motherhood more as a working mom than I would have as a SAHM, and it sounds like you are the same. Have you talked to a career counselor? I worked with one once, and found it to be a very helpful experience. I ended up only slightly tweaking my career path, but she really helped me see what I wanted in a job and that made me consider some options I would not have thought of otherwise. It was an incredibly positive experience. If you’d prefer, I’d be happy to send you a list of some of the exercises I did with her that I found particularly useful. Email me at wandsci@gmail.com.Good luck.

  157. In California. Second child is 2 months now. I’m technically on unpaid leave, but working a few hours a week from home, because my unit is terribly understaffed. I’ve been debating whether or not to go back. I seriously considered not going back after #1, but did because I was given flexibility in my schedule and because I didn’t think I was that good at maintaining my mental health as a SAHM.After baby #1, who is now almost 3 years old, I was on unpaid leave for 2 1/2 months. The, my boss, a mother of a grown child, let me work PT from home. It was very paperwork intensive to get this approved, was supposed to be for a limited time, and very unusual, therefore somewhat resented, in our department. I milked it for as long as I could, going back to FT after 8 months. My boss had retired by the time I went back and I was not hopeful that the new boss would be as understanding about WAH, as it was a man, childless, ex-military, with a rather fearsome reputation. He was willing to try it out, if I would come into the office one day a week and for important meetings. It turned out he actually could distinguish between important and not-so-iimportant meetings, and for the last two years, he has been my champion, cutting me all kinds of slack regarding flexible hours, defending my WAH arrangement against his superiors on several occasions, and even strategizing how to help me keep extending my WAM status. Sometimes things do work out!
    Baby #1 was high-needs, with far less need for sleep than average. We had a nanny for her, starting when she was 2 1/2 months, with the idea that I needed childcare while working and could use a break when not. She quit at about 4 months because the demands of my child were so intense that she felt incapable of giving her what she needed. I continued to work PT with no childcare, and it very nearly killed me (and it was no picnic for DH to cope with insane me.) Thankfully, at 8 months, baby had mellowed somewhat and the nanny came back. She and my DD love each other now, and my husband and I often remark that we are incredibly lucky to have her super help. In fact, we can’t imagine finding another caregiver who would measure up.
    For us, pay isn’t that important. DH has taken a WAH job recently with a pay cut. We recognize the luxury, but we feel that given a minimum level of income, WAH for either/both of us is worth more than a bigger paycheck.
    What I’ve been thinking about in trying to decide whether to go back to my old job, find a new job, or neither:
    1. Continue to WAH, which is unlikely, given that my boss-champion will be retiring soon and new administration has changed to become even less understanding than the old
    2. Better leaders in my organization. It’s too frustrating to see the values they uphold, not just those relating to families. Even less likely than #1.
    3. Smaller workload and/or PT work. I suspect that one reason my boss has been able to defend my WAH is that I’m doing the work of 2 for the pay of a employee in a lower pay scale than either of those two. He has tried to amend this to no avail, but it’s an acceptable tradeoff to me. There has been a suggestion that I could be given higher pay when I come back, but only along with taking on yet more responsibility. I’d gladly trade lower pay for fewer hours. Obviously, this is so unlikely that the opposite seems to be the only option being offered.
    4. Our wonderful nanny continues to work for us. She may have to move away, due to considerations out of her control. Please, no!
    I expect I’ll push my current leave/PT WAM as long as I can while trying to finding a new job with a different department, even though it means giving up my profession. Or, giving SAHM another try, with more self-knowledge, a even more mellowed 1st child, and an inherently much less demanding second child. Just don’t know, but all these posts have been good to read.

  158. I wanted to add a few more data points b/c someone brought up the issue of the husband/father’s sacrifice. In addition to my strong desire to sah, when our baby was born, my husband was working a late shift (2.30 pm – 10.30 pm) & I was working the latest shift at my job (10 am – 6 pm). His job is 10 – 15 minutes from where we live (depending on how fast you drive/traffic) & mine was 30 minutes from where we live. When we bought our house, we bought one that we could afford on just his salary. It is big and nice (the house, not his salary, lol). At any rate, had I returned to work, dh would have only been able to spend time w/ our baby on the weekends. It would have been get up, get ready for work, leave w/ baby, work, come home, me and baby by ourselves all evening, baby into bed, dh comes home, time together, into bed. I worked at a daycare, so dd would have been down the hall from me ~ no problem there. Daddy never seeing his baby girl? HUGE problem. Also, minus all expenses, I would have been bringing home next to nothing, money-wise. So, even though my motivation to quit work was all lovey-dovey, there were also hard facts to back up my choice.

  159. @Foster I don’t entirely follow why your schedule (had you returned to work) couldn’t have been … DH spends mornings with BG and then drops her at your work (her daycare) before going to his … but I’m glad that SAH worked for you, which is really the important thing.Just to jump back in, as someone else said above, yes, planning to work PT once DS is in school and/or being able to take some time off once my (older!) DH retires so that we can travel are additional advantages to my having returned to work.

  160. In Canada here, and I took all 12 months of paid maternity leave and then didn’t return to work after my first son was born.I don’t think anything would have lured me back at that point. I was completely smitten with my son and motherhood, and couldn’t imagine leaving him at a daycare at the time. My salary was such that it would barely have been worth it.
    I did love my job though, and still miss it sometimes. However since it was an editorial position at a large consumer magazine, my boss offered me lots of freelance writing work if I didn’t want to return. I jumped on the offer and it’s been that way ever since.
    We moved cities soon afterwards(to be closer to family and have a higher standard of living in a cheaper place), so going back to that job isn’t an option geographically, though sometimes I wish it was. The money wasn’t fabulous, but the comraderie and the actual job were.
    If they had sweetened the deal considerably, I may have still considered going back and our lives would look very different today. This is what it would have taken:
    – immediate promotion that was long-deserved and widely acknowledged during my pregnancy
    – substantial raise
    – 3- or 4-day work week
    – really awesome, affordable child care
    The promotion was the only thing that was likely, and when compared with staying home with my child, is wasn’t worth it. Husband and I both agreed we wanted a stay-at-home parent to raise our kid(s). My heart just wasn’t in the job.

  161. I’m in the US, west coast. I went back after my (only) little one. Here’s why.I have a wonderful mother who works 50% so that either she or I am with him during the week (she works weekends and one week day).
    I have a wonderful boss who told me that while he wished I’d return to full time, he thinks that if husband can I can swing it and completely respects my decision to stay part time (3 week days and every other saturday).
    I’m happier (so far) balancing my life this way. We’re contemplating number two and I’ve thought a lot recently about what we’d do if that happens. It’s interesting reading other people comments about what works for them.
    Oh, and I miss Ithaca!

  162. In the US.I went back for a month but then resigned because
    1. Working night shift when you have a 12 week old baby and no sitter besides DH is INSANITY. I was getting 10 hours of sleep in a 72 hour period and this is not good, and it wasn’t even due to the baby!
    2. My job (specifically, the facility and department) was sucking my will to live. It was depressing and I would have quit even if I hadn’t recently had a baby.
    I waited a few months, basically just enjoyed the holidays at home without having to worry about getting time off. I started looking again in January, and I was just offered a new job. Still same career, but new facility, new faces, etc. I’m signed on PRN, so I’m only going to work a couple of days a week. That’s right, DAYS. 🙂 No more night shift for me!

  163. @Meika – I live in Sweden where the sun never seems to set in the summer, unfornately we must also pay for that glorious phenomenon, twofold, in the winter! Happily, we’re quickly heading back into the longer days and gaining about 5 minutes a day of sun!Sorry to hear that being at home is not working out for you, sometimes working in a different field than the one you actually trained in helps you re-align yourself…Actually, I’ve been doing translation contracts (something I did to help pay for university, totally NOT in my field) and have returned to it here as I can’t speak Swedish well enough to work…However, in doing so, I’ve actually ended up being re-discovered by new clients in that when they hear what I used to do, have offered me proper consulting contracts in my field of study (operations management)…I honestly believe that things can work out in the end, even when you least expect it too…Just make sure your spreading the word as much as possible in the meantime! (I am the eternal optimist…can’t help it…)
    Good luck and hang in there!

  164. Oh! I forgot that some people get PLACES to pump- I pumped in my freaking car. In the southern Alabama heat and humidity. AND I had to time adjust and clock out for however long past 15 minutes I took- then got docked absence time for not working a full day. I had totally forgotten about all of THAT- so maybe they weren’t as flexible as I remembered them to be. I even once got pulled to the back and ALMOST fussed at because they thought I had a purse at the register- big no-no- It was my Medela PIS, and there was no way I was leaving that $300 piece of equipment in the aforementioned Alabama heat and humidity.I am SO glad I don’t work there anymore.

  165. I’m in the US. I went back to work part-time because we needed some extra income. I work in the mornings, and my husband works afternoons and evenings. We split childcare duties which keeps our son out of daycare. I was personally appalled at how the US handles maternity/paternity leave. I truly hope this changes soon! It’s time to bring paid leave to our families!

  166. Child #1, born in 2004: I went back because:1. I loved my job.
    2. I loved my boss.
    3. Child #1 was and is a challenging kid, and the break work provided saved my sanity and made me a better mother.
    4. It also, like a poster above, helped me transition to motherhood, allowing me to succeed in my old role while adapting to my new one.
    Child #2, born in 2008: I was just laid off, for which I thank my lucky stars every day while praying for those for whom this event is a tragedy:
    1. I HATED my job.
    2. I HATED my boss.
    3. Child #2 is easier and I feel much more comfortable as a mother.
    4. A series of minor but time-consuming medical events made it so that I couldn’t spend lunchtime with child #2 at the daycare near my office any more, so I wasn’t getting enough time with him.
    I plan to freelance–child #2 has remained in daycare 2 days/week–and hope to be back in a good FT position in 2-5 years.
    Note that childcare did not play a role in my choice, and I’m not in a high-paying field (book publishing). First round we had a nanny; second round was daycare. I live in New York, and we have incredible options if you look outside the box a little. I feel for the woman in Austria who gets the three-year leave, but every mother has to stay home. That would so not have worked for round 1.

  167. I live in the U.S. and took three months off and returned to work four days a week. I wanted to stay home for longer – but we couldn’t afford to take the time unpaid (even if my boss would have agreed).There is an organization called Moms Rising that is trying to change the U.S.’s leave policies…

  168. I live in the U.S. and took three months off and returned to work four days a week. I wanted to stay home for longer – but we couldn’t afford to take the time unpaid (even if my boss would have agreed).There is an organization called Moms Rising that is trying to change the U.S.’s leave policies…

  169. I went back to my job but only because they agreed to let me stay part-time, they are paying back a huge chunk of my student loans ($500 a month!!), I have a 10-minute commute and my kid’s school is a block away.I will probably leave though once my loans are repaid but don’t tell. ;0

  170. I went back. I was lucky enough to have a job that is basically the perfect mommy-track position. Good pay, excellent benefits, flexible schedule (I currently work nights and it’s perfect), and if necessary can be done in one’s sleep. I got this job when I was 2 months pregnant and I’m still doing it 6.5 years later… that’s a good job 🙂 !Now that my son’s in public school and we’re not out megabucks for child care every month I am really enjoying being a working mother. When we were paying for cc and he was younger I was extremely stressed by all my various reponsibilities when I wasn’t working.

  171. I went back. I was lucky enough to have a job that is basically the perfect mommy-track position. Good pay, excellent benefits, flexible schedule (I currently work nights and it’s perfect), and if necessary can be done in one’s sleep. I got this job when I was 2 months pregnant and I’m still doing it 6.5 years later… that’s a good job 🙂 !Now that my son’s in public school and we’re not out megabucks for child care every month I am really enjoying being a working mother. When we were paying for cc and he was younger I was extremely stressed by all my various reponsibilities when I wasn’t working.

  172. I am a teacher, and I *never* considered not going back. But I am really, really, really lucky and here’s why:1) The (accidental) timing of my (unplanned) daughter’s birth gave me a 6-month maternity leave (born 16 weeks before the end of the school year: 6 weeks paid, 8 weeks unpaid, pro-rated summer salary)
    2) My inlaws pay for the most amazing (and YOWZO expensive) university-based, model day care imaginable
    I love my job. I love my students. I love teaching children to read, write, solve problems, compute, learn, grow, etc. I need a regular schedule, external deadlines and structure, a professional identity, and a professional community where I am not just __’s mom, ___’s daughter, ___’s wife, but instead Mrs. ____. I am a better teacher because I am a mother, and a better mother because I am a teacher.
    I hate how rushed our evenings are, though. That is the one drawback. We also pay someone to clean our house once a week. But I love my job and I am so grateful to be so lucky.

  173. I am a teacher, and I *never* considered not going back. But I am really, really, really lucky and here’s why:1) The (accidental) timing of my (unplanned) daughter’s birth gave me a 6-month maternity leave (born 16 weeks before the end of the school year: 6 weeks paid, 8 weeks unpaid, pro-rated summer salary)
    2) My inlaws pay for the most amazing (and YOWZO expensive) university-based, model day care imaginable
    I love my job. I love my students. I love teaching children to read, write, solve problems, compute, learn, grow, etc. I need a regular schedule, external deadlines and structure, a professional identity, and a professional community where I am not just __’s mom, ___’s daughter, ___’s wife, but instead Mrs. ____. I am a better teacher because I am a mother, and a better mother because I am a teacher.
    I hate how rushed our evenings are, though. That is the one drawback. We also pay someone to clean our house once a week. But I love my job and I am so grateful to be so lucky.

  174. OH! And this is huge — my husband is a fabulous, supportive, true partner. He does all the cooking. We share laundry duties. He makes our lunches in the morning, and so on. His contribution is essential and I don’t want to devalue it or take it for granted.Working full time and parenting is hard, no matter what. I am grateful to be in a situation where the positives outweigh the challenges, but I know we’re lucky.

  175. OH! And this is huge — my husband is a fabulous, supportive, true partner. He does all the cooking. We share laundry duties. He makes our lunches in the morning, and so on. His contribution is essential and I don’t want to devalue it or take it for granted.Working full time and parenting is hard, no matter what. I am grateful to be in a situation where the positives outweigh the challenges, but I know we’re lucky.

  176. so i have a job as a pastry chef in florida with many “hicups” i hate my job…i had to take early disability b/c my twin pregnancy ended me in ttts and i had to have surgery..after that one baby had a serious heart problem ,wanted another inutero surgery but at 26 weeks pre term labor sarted and for the next 5 weeks i was in and out of the hospital on magnisium,also at home having a terbutaline pump to try and stop the contractions along with twice a day contraction monitoring..i delivered via emergency at 30 weeks 6 days one baby is fine and dealing with just preemie stuff the other baby needs to have heart surgery and needs to wait till shes heavy enough and will need to be monitored the rest of her life…i’m coming up on 6 weeks post partum i’ll have to return after 8 weeks…these children cannot be daycare babies due to illness and her heart condition there not home yet and wont be for some time..does anyone have advice on how to get perminent disability from my job to take care of my sick child??? i don’t want to go back to work but if i don’t they will back bill me for pay and insurance, and my pregnancy was very expensive due to all my complications??? any advice please email Danielle.Poletti@gmail.com….

  177. so i have a job as a pastry chef in florida with many “hicups” i hate my job…i had to take early disability b/c my twin pregnancy ended me in ttts and i had to have surgery..after that one baby had a serious heart problem ,wanted another inutero surgery but at 26 weeks pre term labor sarted and for the next 5 weeks i was in and out of the hospital on magnisium,also at home having a terbutaline pump to try and stop the contractions along with twice a day contraction monitoring..i delivered via emergency at 30 weeks 6 days one baby is fine and dealing with just preemie stuff the other baby needs to have heart surgery and needs to wait till shes heavy enough and will need to be monitored the rest of her life…i’m coming up on 6 weeks post partum i’ll have to return after 8 weeks…these children cannot be daycare babies due to illness and her heart condition there not home yet and wont be for some time..does anyone have advice on how to get perminent disability from my job to take care of my sick child??? i don’t want to go back to work but if i don’t they will back bill me for pay and insurance, and my pregnancy was very expensive due to all my complications??? any advice please email Danielle.Poletti@gmail.com….

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