1. During your maternity leave, your general emotional state could be summed up as:
a) Non-stop happiness and giddiness.
b) Content and relaxed, albeit sleep-deprived and overwhelmed.
c) What maternity leave? I checked e-mail from my hospital bed.
2. Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest challenges for any new mum. How well do you function on very little or no sleep?
a) One word: Zombie. But thanks to the sleeplessness, my baby and I make perfect conversation partners!
b) I’m not at 100 per cent when I’m tired, so I perform in a mediocre way.
c) I’ve always run on not-enough sleep, coffee and Diet Coke.
3. Picture this scenario: Thursday, you have to make an important presentation, but on Wednesday night, your baby develops a low-grade fever and a mild cough, and becomes very clingy. What do you do?
a) Cancel everything without a moment's hesitation and tend to my sick child.
b) I’ll try to get the presentation rescheduled, so that I can take my baby to the doctor myself. If need be, I’ll schedule the doctor’s appointment around the presentation.
c) Get my husband or caregiver to take the baby to the doctor first thing in the morning. This isn’t the ideal situation, but I have to do what I have to do.
4. Your best friend is a stay-at-home mother who does baby yoga and visits the park with mummy friends on weekdays while you’re at work. How does this make you feel?
a) Her situation reminds me how much I want to be doing those same activities with my baby.
b) I feel a twinge of sadness, even jealousy, but then remind myself that I have a fulfilling career that makes certain things possible, financially, that wouldn’t be possible without my job.
c) Good for her! I don’t compare my situation to hers. People have their own reasons for doing what they do.
5. It’s a rainy day and you’re stuck in the house with a cranky baby. You:
a) Grin and bear it - there are worse ways to spend a day than with an irritable infant.
b) Drop the baby off at your mum’s house to give the baby a change of scenery.
c) Guiltily wish it were a workday.
6. How would your household fare on only one income?
a) We’d be just fine on one income. No more shoe splurges or bag buys, but so what? I can live with that since I get to mark every one of my baby’s milestones with her.
b) We’d have to budget, budget, budget, but we’d just be able to make ends meet with a little bit left over.
c) It would be impossible to make ends meet without my already-overworked spouse taking on a second job.
7. What is your main motivation for working right now?
a) I work only to add an extra “cushion” income to the household.
b) I work partly to make money and partly to fulfil my ambitions.
c) I love my career and find that it’s a big part of who I am.
8. When you try to picture a day in the life of a working mother who is juggling work, then coming home to care for an infant, how well do you think you’d cope?
a) I don’t know how working mothers do it, I can’t see myself juggling a baby and work.
b) I think it would be a constant challenge.
c) I’m a high-energy person and I’m sure I could balance work and family pretty well.
9. The billion-dollar question ― what babycare duties can you expect your husband to take on?
a) No doubt about it, I will definitely be my baby’s main caregiver.
b) I have a feeling that I will end up handling the majority of our baby’s needs.
c) My husband will participate equally in caring for the baby.
10. How will taking a few years off work to care for a baby affect your career?
a) I should easily be able to return to this profession right where I left off.
b) My career won’t be derailed, but it would definitely slow down a bit, or I’d start at a lower salary bracket upon returning to work.
c) I would be knocked way down the ladder when I rejoin the workforce.
If your answers are mostly:
As: Stay-at-home Mum
You’d be happy to stay home with baby, but being a full-time mum isn’t easy. While it is wonderful to have the opportunity to care for your own child, first-time mums can find new motherhood an isolating experience. Connect with other mothers to share experiences as well as advice. Keep in touch with your former colleagues, too ¾ not only will they be the link to your professional world, you may need to tap that network should you wish to rejoin the workforce some day.
Bs: Part-time, perhaps?
You’ll handle a return to the workforce fairly well, but you might want to consider working part-time or reducing your hours. You’re unsure how you’ll realistically be able to juggle both a baby and a career. Some women find it impossible to focus on work with a newborn in the house, while others feel it gives their existence a much-needed sense of normalcy. It appears that you need some time to first get used to being a mother. Why not ease yourself into the workforce by working part-time, freelancing or doing consulting work?
C: Career mum
Your needs, expectations, and/or abilities are in line with what it takes to be a working mum. Becoming a mother is a dramatic life change that leaves many women wondering what happened to their old selves ¾ and working can help make this transition easier. Many working mothers only half-joke that they go to work to relax! That said, it’s a challenging role because many demands are placed upon you ― physically, mentally and emotionally. Some days, you’ll feel torn between your baby’s needs and the demands of your job. But if you adjust your expectations and manage your time efficiently, you’ll be able to take charge of the situation.