Monica Reyes resides in Vancouver with her husband and neurotic dog. She’s also a soon-to-be first-time mom who is excited and terrified about her new life. Follow along as she shares her pregnancy journey.
A New York Times article recently provided an update on a group of women who had opted out of the workforce a decade ago to stay at home to raise their kids. The women featured in the article were highly-educated, at the peak of their careers and very well off. Most of the women who left their careers had a hard time re-entering the workforce if they didn’t have the right connections. Those that were able to find work often had to take a pay cut from their previous salary.
A popular question that I’ve been asked is if I plan on being a stay-at-home mom. I was certain that I’d become one because the expense of daycare alone would leave me with the tiniest take-home pay. From a financial standpoint, it didn’t make sense to work. I felt even more obligated to be a SAHM as my husband’s job sometimes requires him to work crazy hours and on weekends. My biggest fear was that my child would be more familiar with the daycare workers than us. And I knew that there were other factors that needed considering before making a decision. What would I do six years from now when my kid is in school? Would I want to go back to work?
If I ever wanted to transition back to work, it’s much harder to do so after being out of work for so long. In my industry, to be out of the field for even two years would be considered career suicide. Unless I kept my skills fresh, I would need to switch career paths. Part-time work allows you to still have that foot in the door, making the transition to full-time work easier.
In the Times article, many women returned to work because of the economy. I’m lucky that my husband has a great job, but it’s not the most stable. There can be a lag between jobs for a few months. Nothing hurts the pocketbook more than both parents being out of work. Even though my take-home pay would be small, at least my income is stable. Maybe from a financial standpoint, it made sense to work.
The upside to being a SAHM is that I’m able to spend so much time with my kids and watch them grow up. I hear from many working moms that would love to stay at home if they could afford it. While this is a huge positive, I do worry about the potential of feeling isolated being home all day. I’ve also heard from women on maternity leave, and they missed the social interaction with other adults. It’s refreshing for them to have a real adult conversation. This makes me realize that I need to have time allotted to just myself, whether or not I’m in the workforce. I need a life outside of children so I can feel like my identity is more than just being a mom.
Read more: The REAL lives of stay-at-home parents >
I’m still weighing the pros and cons of being a SAHM. For me, working part-time is a nice balance where I get to spend more time with my child, but still retain my work identity.
Did you opt out of work? Were there any regrets?