Is It Time To Head Back To Work, Stay-At-Home Moms?

Written By

Kiran Manral

Things to consider while going back to work or not-02 Loading


The lovely baby you birthed is now a sturdy six-month-old, and the maternity leave you thought would be an endless stretch of happy bonding moments has whizzed past in a blinking daze of feedings, burpings, diaper changes and colicky spells. You cannot wait to get back to work and speak in full sentences again and not be bathed in Eau de Barf. Or you’ve taken a baby sabbatical and now that your child is potty trained and in playschool, you feel the need to mail out copies of your updated resume to all and sundry, and get back to being an earning member of the citizenry.

 Wait a minute.

Is it really so simple to get back to work after taking time off to have a baby? We’re not even beginning to talk about the cat-o-nine tails of maternal guilt you will use to whip yourself in penance every evening when you return home from work.

Before you get those power suits out of mothballs and steam ironed, here’s what you need to factor in.

Finances. Do you have terrible things like EMIs and unmanageable expenses looming like the sword of Damocles over your head that mandate a double income? Is there enough being left over from a single income for savings after all expenses? Are you being reduced to counting out the small change for diaper money? Simple. If you need the money, get back to work.

Child-care. Who is going to watch your child while you go out to work? Will it be family, will it be a nanny, will it be a day-care centre? What sort of backup do you have in the event that any of these fall through on a particular day? Will your office allow you to work from home or remote working on the occasional sick days that children have a nasty habit of springing upon us hapless, unwary parents?

Your career and professional goals are important. Will time out on your resume for childcare be a liability when you get back into the workforce, will the field you are in grow so quickly in your absence that you feel like a newbie when you finally decide to get back? Will taking time out make it difficult for you to get back to levels you were at, and make you have to settle for less once you do? More importantly, will it make you resentful of your children? Have you kept in touch with the professional scene in the time you’ve been away, if you’ve been on a break of more than a year?

And, finally, that most important thing — what does your heart say? Are you ready to get back to work? Do you want to do it, never mind that work now seems like a good escape from the mind numbing slavedom that parenting sometimes feels like? Is your child ready to be away from you? Can you trust another person to take care of your child as well as you would, or would your heart be permanently lodged in your throat until you reached home every day?

If you have the answers to all these questions, you may be ready to take a decision. If not, just hang on, won’t be long before the children go off to college.




Kiran Manral was a journalist before she quit to be full time mommy. Her blogs were both in India's top blogs and she was a Tehelka blogger columnist on gender issues. Her third book All Aboard was published by Penguin Random House India in August 2015. She initiated the online volunteer network India Helps, post the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai and is also part of the core founding team of both (Child Sexual Abuse Awareness online initiative) and (Violence Against Women Awareness Month). She is on the Planning Board of the Kumaon Literary Festival and is an advisor on the Board of Literature Studio, Delhi. She was awarded the Women Achievers award by Young Environmentalists Group in 2013. She lives in Mumbai with her family and counts every day off the Nutella wagon as a successful day.

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