Tips to help you choose - stay home or go to work

Are you struggling to decided whether to stay home or go back to work?

Whatever your choice at whatever stage, you have probably noticed that guilt about whether you are doing the right thing or not tends to creep in.

We've asked real mums their thoughts on the subject of whether to work or not and how to get the most out of either decision, and these are some of their really valuable tips:

  • Work out why you want to stay at home
    Once in a life opportunity to spend with your baby/children?
    Can't afford/don't agree with childcare?          
    Your husband has a job with extreme hours/travel?
    You have chosen to make a successful career as a full-time modern mum?
  • When you have worked out your reasons, examine them to make certain they are things that matter to you and your family.
  • Try to leave the guilt behind - especially any guilt others place on you.
  • Don't compare yourself and your values to those of your mother or other relatives or friends.
  • Network - stay in touch with work colleagues, other mothers, women you admire.
  • Stay positive - motherhood provides an opportunity to redefine yourself and your priorities in life.
  • Give it time. Whatever you choose to do, reassess your decision to stay home or to go with the first job - whatever you pick is not forever.
  • Get organised. Build a support network of family, friends and/or work colleagues to help-out with pick-ups, drop-offs etc.
  • Make time for yourself - it is the first thing to go when working and managing a family on any level.
  • Accept your decision and the trade-offs that come with it.
  • Remember the wheels will fall off every now and then - just accept this will happen and put them back - on when you can.
  • Choose whatever you enjoy doing - a job which makes you happy or more time at home.
  • If you choose to return to work from a home office or as a consultant, do your homework. Research suitable courses at TAFE or similar. Join a business network to avoid becoming isolated.
  • Going back after years at home - offer to volunteer in a job that interests you. A great way to colour a CV or find out if you really do enjoy it.
  • Discuss your choices with your husband/partner to ensure support when you make your move and talk to people who believe in you.