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Stay at home versus back to work?

Let's face it - all parents work. Raising a child or multiple children is a full-time, non-stop job. Regardless of whether you've been enjoying maternity or paternity leave, the decision to return-to-work or stay-at-home shouldn't be taken lightly.

If you’re on the fence about returning to work, here are some points to consider:

1. Your finances

First and foremost, can your budget adjust to a decrease in income for your family? If you want to stay home and just can’t figure out how to do it, sit down and take a good look at where all of your money goes each month. See if there are ways to make changes that would make staying at home an option.

2. Childcare choices

Consider the cost of childcare when working on your budget. Will your working cause you to spend more than you make, effectively negating your salary? Are there waiting lists at the day care you most want to use? Would it be cheaper to employ someone in your home? Do you have a flexible job that will let you bring your baby along for the first few months?

3. Work options

Could you work some or all of your hours from home? Could you return to work part-time rather than full-time? Is job sharing (where two people split the hours and duties for one job) an option? Is your employer willing to let you work flexible hours?

4. Career advancement

How will not working affect your advancement in your profession? Some people consider “sequencing,” dropping out of the paid workforce while their children are young, and re-entering later when their children have all reached school-age.

Remember, it is your choice

Maybe before your baby arrived you had every intention to return to your job, but now that they are here, you can’t imagine leaving them every day. Or maybe your job's demands aren’t compatible with having a family, and you need to either find a different position or stay at home. Or maybe you decided even before birth that you wanted to stay at home. Whatever your situation, the decision-making needs to be planned for you and your family’s well being.

Written by Michelle, childbirth instructor, lactation consultant, and mother to 4 busy kids **

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