Whether or not to return to work is a very personal decision every mother has to make. The goal is to find the balance that works for you ⎯ most of the time anyway.

Baby or work — 5 points to help you decide

1. Money: What would the extra income mean to your family if you go back to work? How would it affect your savings and financial goals? If necessary, make a chart of your monthly expenses to see how you spend your money and where you can save.
If you don’t go back to work, can you manage financially? Can you and your husband make do with less? Make some changes to your lifestyle now to see if you can live with fewer luxuries. Also, consider this scenario ― what would happen if your husband lost his job and you weren’t working? Do you have enough savings to manage for a year while he looks for a new job?

2. Identity: How will you feel introducing yourself as a stay-at-home mum? Are you excited about spending your days with your baby? Do you need a regular job to feel fulfilled? Will you feel comfortable spending money that only you have earned?

3. Sharing Responsibilities: If you choose to work outside the home, to what extent will your husband share childcare and household responsibilities? Or will you end up feeling like you are handling two full-time jobs?

4. Childcare: If you plan return to work, have you checked out various childcare arrangements? More importantly, would you be comfortable leaving your baby in another person’s care — whether it’s Grandma, the maid, a nanny or at a childcare centre?

5. Career Flexibility: Will your employer allow you to rush off if there is a childcare crisis, or leave early for a parent-teacher meeting? Are you able to do some of your work from home? What other options can you create? Should you ask your boss for reduced hours? Can you work part-time at another job?What about temp work? If you stop work for a year, can you re-enter the workforce easily?

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