Every mom approaches her work life differently and every family has different needs and challenges. For many women, staying at home is simply not an option. Here are a few words of advice for anyone mulling over what to do.
Give it a Try
If you have the luxury of trying the stay-at-home life, try it while you can. You might decide to go back to work, but it's an experience few women get to have, so take advantage of it.
Talk to other stay at home moms - get advice.
You are not the first stay-at-home mom, and you won't be the last. Engage other mom's that have made the transition and seek out their advice. There are more than a few tips to make day-to-day life easier and feel great about yourself and the decisions you've made.
Whether you stay at home or go back to work, your choice will have benefits and consequences. Find out as much about each situation as you can beforehand and make this decision with your eyes wide open.
With you being at home you'll need to keep a tight reign on finances and be very organized.
Enjoy the Time
Enjoy the moments you have with your baby. Even if you know you're going back to work, treasure the time you have with your newborn. A baby is only baby for a short time (in the grand scheme of things), it's important to load up on memories for later.
Give Yourself Time to Adjust
If you go back to work, you may not have the same drive and ambition as you did before you had a little one to return home to. It takes time for your nerves to adjust to the transition - your old work self probably never worried about whether her baby was gumming germy toys at daycare or diving headfirst off the changing table while in someone else's care.
Keep Track of Your Accomplishments
Try keeping track of every diaper change, bottle feeding, play session...for 24 hours. You'll be amazed at how much you have done when it's written down in front of you.
Help Your Spouse/Partner Recognize Your Accomplishments
Talk to your spouse about what you do and how much it takes. Better yet, get your spouse to watch the baby for a weekend morning. A couple of hours alone with baby and he'll have a better idea of why you're not waxing the kitchen floor or cooking five-course meals anymore.
It's important that they realize you aren't just sitting around all day while they're at work!
Get out of the house
If you're staying at home, getting out and interacting with other adults may be your biggest challenge. Find a play group or sign up for some sort of class - a baby's first music class, or mommy-child swim lessons, which you can start when your baby is as young as 3 months - anything that will put you in touch with other adults.