How can a mom decide if she's ready to go back to work?

Now that you've spent some time as a stay-at-home mom, you might be thinking about returning to a job outside the home. Even if you've missed the office while at home with your young child, you definitely want to think about some things before running back to one.

First, be realistic about what it will take to be working outside the home while also raising a child. As you are considering what kind of job to take or type of organization to work for, think about whether it's a situation that works for your needs now, as a family. A job or company that may have been a good fit for you before you had a baby may not be the best choice for you now. You also need to think about how you may have changed as an employee. Before you had a baby, you would never have been distracted at work worrying about what your child may be up to at day care. You would never have had to leave work at a moment's notice because your child was sick. So you'll have to assess how well you'll adjust to being a different kind of employee.

If you're on maternity leave, make sure you've kept all your options open so you can return to the same job if you discover that's what you want. Take the time while you're on maternity leave to think honestly about whether leaving your job to stay at home is the right choice for you. If you've been a stay-at-home mom for a while now, you'll have to think honestly about whether your professional skills have atrophied and what kinds of obstacles you might face in trying to return to the outside workforce after having been away for so long. In either situation, talking with former stay-at-home moms who have made the transition back to an office can be invaluable.


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