by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
It's a question millions of couples are forced to grapple with upon the arrival of a new baby, a question that illicits heated debate, all kinds of guilt, frustration, even anger.
For many moms and dads it boils down to an obvious choice – raising their children themselves or not. The choice can be the result of simple mathematics: staying home means no babysitter, daycare or nanny, OR going to work means maintaining an income that is now even more important because of a new addition? One thing for sure, it is never an easy decision.
That is unless you ask yourself – what do I really want? And answer that question honestly.
I stayed at home with each of my three children for one year. Then, my husband and I put on our engineering hats (we are not engineers!) and figured out how we could facilitate me working outside of the house on a part-time basis while keeping our babysitting/nanny expenses to a bare minimum. We somehow always succeeded in figuring it out – where there's a will, I guess.
After my first son was born, I worked a 3-midnight shift. It was perfect. I was home with him all day til 2:30pm when the nanny walked in. My son would be napping. He would normally sleep until just before my husband got home from work at 5:15. In effect, our little guy had no idea he was being looked after by anyone else during that time period. Even when he woke up, he was with the nanny for such a short period of time, he didn't know the difference.
When I asked myself the question – what do I want, my answer was clear – I wanted to work, satiate my creative juices, meet people, be part of the world outside diapers and breastfeeding. I also wanted to be with my son.
So my solution was working part-time.
It has been the best decision we've ever made. Keep the career afloat, maintain my financial contribution to the family income, illustrate to our kids that hard work inside and outside the home is important and maintain a balance.
What's more – I firmly believe that working part-time outside the home makes me a better parent and helps our kids be more appreciative of hard work.
Don't get me wrong – it is a juggling act requiring deft organizational skills some days, and it is not for everyone. However, I truly believe it is extremely worthwhile and merits consideration by anyone wrestling with the stay at homE or go to work choice.
I've been working part-time for 14 years now – as I grapple with soon being the parent of a teen – yikes!
Employers are also more open to it than ever before. Do your research and math, figure out your approach, then ASK them.
Part-time work is really the best of both worlds…it keeps you fresh and energized in both environments.
It's precisely what has kept me sane at home and at work all these years!