Going back to work vs. staying home with my baby

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by teachin4ever, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    Jul 19, 2012

    Hey everyone,

    I'm really struggling with this one. I just had my first baby in June. My plan was to have my mom babysit him so I could go back to work full time in September. The problem is I'm feeling really guilty about leaving him.

    He'll be less than 3 months old when I go back and I work 45 minutes away. Plus, I'll be teaching full time this year and they have given me a whole new teaching assignment. My fear is that I won't get to see him as much as I'd like. And that he'll forget who I am (which my husband says is ridiculous).

    On the other hand, I absolutely love my job and the school I work at. This will only be my second year at this school, so I'm still considered a probationary teacher. That means there's no way I can take a year off to stay at home with my baby and come back the following year. They only allow tenured teachers to do that. I don't want to just up and quit and than have to go through the whole hiring process again. It took a lot of hard work and persistence to land this job and I'd hate to lose it and then have to go through the whole (exhausting) process again next summer.

    Thankfully, my husband's job is successful enough to where I don't HAVE to work. We could make ends meet if I chose to stay at home for a year. This makes it even more difficult. I have a few friends who don't have the option of staying at home with their new baby - they have to go back to work to make ends meet.

    I know only I can make this decision, but it's so difficult. For those of you who have children, what did you do and if you could do it over again, would you?
     
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  3. melnm

    melnm Companion

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    Jul 19, 2012

    I have two children. I stayed home with both of them. I went back to teaching this last year when my youngest started kindergarten. We also didn't NEED my income, though we had to be careful with our spending. It was totally worth it for us though and I wouldn't change a thing.
     
  4. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    It's painful! You want to stay home with the baby, and you feel guilty when you leave, but you can do it! You'll cry a lot, especially at first, but with your mom there to watch him, you know he's in good hands. You might actually like being out of the house during the day. Some moms, myself included, need to work for their own sanity, not just for economic reasons. It doesn't mean we love our children less or care less. It's just a different personality. I believe I would have been miserable as a stay at home mom if I would have had that option.

    Anyway, I say go with your gut. If you can afford to stay home, your husband supports that decision, and it's what you really want, than do it. My mother used to tell me to always make decisions as a mother first. It won't always be the easy choice, but it will be the right one.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    .
     
  6. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Jul 19, 2012

    How lucky you are that your mother is available for baby sitting. I left my teaching job when I had my first baby and I thought I'd stay home for a year and then find another job. Well...easier said than done. So I ended up being home for 15 years but that's another story.
    I wouldn't turn the clock back on my years at home. It was great for my family but lousy for my career. Make the decision that works best for you.
     
  7. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Jul 19, 2012

    I hope you can find a way to ease the guilt. Our society makes it very difficult to parent children, and it's not your fault. IMO, the most important thing is that your son has a consistent routine and the same daytime caregiver. If you and your mom are close, that is probably the best possible place for him to be (if you're at work, that is). He will NOT forget who you are, oh, no. You're his mom, he knows you best of all.

    Whatever you decide, I hope you find support and peace with your decision. You can always go to work and re-evaluate at Winter Break or for next year. Getting tenure would ease this situation so maybe that should be your short term goal.

    Congratulations on your new lil one.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jul 19, 2012

    This is really a personal decision, so only you can decide what's best in your situation. I have always had to work. We absolutely cannot survive on only one income. However, I also never wanted to stay home. I don't know if I would feel differently now, but it was important for me to stay in the work place and have that independent part for me. Whatever you decide, I am sure it will be best for you and your family, and I wish you all the luck!
     
  9. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jul 19, 2012

    By the way, my daughter also stayed with family. If your mom is watching him, I don't think you have anything to worry about. Plus, it would be great bonding time for them. Again, you've got to do what's best for your family.
     
  10. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jul 19, 2012

    Congratulations!
    I know how tough this decision is, and in the end, you will do what is best for you and your family. That said, I had to work as we could not survive on one income. My father in law was on full disability, and he watched my son. I do not regret that decision, as the relationship my son developed with my father in law was worth it all. My son is very close to my husband and myself, but that grandpa/grandson relationship meant so much to my son. (Sadly, my FIL has passed away). My son still talks about his pap and the good times they had.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2012

    It is tough. I didn't have the choice to stay home with my daughter when she was a baby (I did end up staying home with her for a year when she was 3-4). It is a very personal decision. If you can stay home and that's what you really WANT to do, then do it. With your mom watching your baby, it would make it easier to go back to work though.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2012

    I was at home with my kids for 10 years and I don't regret a minute of it. We were fortunate that we were able to survive on one salary and I did home daycare for quite a few years as well. If my mom had lived close by and been able to take care of the kids, I may have gone back sooner.
     
  13. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jul 19, 2012

    My opinion is, if any mother can afford to still stay home with her baby, to DO It, (even if financially, she is scraping by) because that time is priceless and can never be brought back. My mom certainly stayed home with me.
     
  14. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Jul 19, 2012

    You've been told this, so again, you must do what is right for your family.

    When my son was born, I had him July 2. I finished my master's degree session on July 15. I left him in the very capable hands of my mother for 2 weeks. Then I returned to work in August as planned when he was 7 weeks old. It wasn't financially possible for me to stay home and it wasn't the right choice for me, even if I could have. I make a lousy SAH mom. I know it, my kids know it, everyone knows it. I crave adult interaction and conversations. I have to have it, and my hubby doesn't talk much ;)

    I agree with the poster about the guilt that society pushes onto new mothers. There are so many debates: stay home or work, feeding, diapering, parenting style. I've felt torn so many ways. Bottom line is what works for your family is what counts.
     
  15. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Personally, my mother is THE ONLY person I'd trust with my baby if I had to go back to work. Of course, everyone does what they want.
     
  16. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jul 19, 2012

    Congrats on your little one!

    My son is now 20 months old...he was born in Nov. 2012 and I returned to work Feb. 2011. I was off for 14.5 weeks with him, and I spend every summer with him :) We didn't have a choice...I make more than dh, so there was no other option. Fortunately, I also love my job. We have a fantastic sitter up by my work (also 45 mins away from home like you)...and my dad is a back up sitter.

    There are days that its hard, but then I think about my time off during the summer and how much I love it. Also, I promise myself that I won't touch school work until Nicholas is in bed...and I stick to it 99% of the time.

    And I pumped while at work so I was able to give at least 50% breast milk his whole first year (and we supplemented with formula).

    Good luck with your decision!
     
  17. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    Jul 20, 2012

    Thanks everyone for your advice! I still don't know what I'm going to do, but I need to decide soon so I can give my P advance notice if I do end up quitting.

    I did email our HR lady to see if there were any part-time positions available. I think I would feel more comfortable going back to work if it was only part time rather than full time.

    My gut is telling me to stay at home and enjoy my baby. I figure I have my whole life to teach, but this is my only opportunity to stay at home and raise my baby.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Talk to your husband again and make sure he's really on board with it-- there's a lot of stress in being the ONLY breadwinner in the house. Is his job as secure as one could hope in this economy?

    Once you all get switched to his insurance, will your coverage be as good as it is now? Or will you have to factor in some extra money there?

    Can you ask your school to recommend you as a tutor, for kids who need outside tutoring? I did LOTS of tutoring during the time I was home, and it made a huge difference to us.

    Part time is definitely an option if you can get it to work out. For one thing, it would enable you to let the baby sleep in a bit more before dropping him off at mom's.

    The best of luck to you as you and your husband work out what's best for your family.
     
  19. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I've done it both ways. I stayed home with my son for a year and I went back to work 8 weeks after having my twins. Both seemed right for our situations at the time. If you don't NEED to work I think I would suggest staying home. My reasoning is that 45 minutes is a long way to commute and you'll most likely find yourself wanting a job closer to home in the future anyhow. Best of luck with your decision. It's not an easy one to make.
     
  20. e6789

    e6789 Rookie

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    Jul 21, 2012

    I knew a married couple who taught at the same school, who made a great decision. The wife took off the last 8 weeks of school (baby born in march), and the husband took off a similar amount of time as maternity leave at the beginning of the year. The baby was about 6 months old when he returned to work. Would that be an option for you? It would give you more time to make a decision.
     
  21. tb71

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    I worked part-time up until my oldest was in the 3rd grade and was able to take them to work with when they were babies this worked great for us, as we needed the extra income. I just got into teaching 3 years ago and work 45 min away and can say I miss out on a lot. If I could be a SAHM I would be in a heartbeat. Trust your gut and do what's right for you. Good luck.
     
  22. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Jul 22, 2012

    I was lucky enough to be able to choose to stay home (I was in a different career than teaching at the time), and it was the absolute best thing for our family.
    Good luck with your decision.
     
  23. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    I personally would choose to stay home. You're beyond lucky that you can make it on 1 income. That is phenomenal and I'd love to be in your shoes in that regards.
    We can't make it on 1 income, so I work from home which helps us out some. Even though a regular great paying job would be awesome financially, I have no regrets as I'm able to spend a lot of quality time with baby without worrying about PTO, bosses, and other hassles that come with jobs.

    Best of luck on your decision, it's never an easy one.
     
  24. Jeky

    Jeky Comrade

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    Jul 22, 2012

    Ugh, such a hard decision!

    Like everyone else has said, it's a personal choice, whatever will work best for your family.

    Here is what we did:

    I also had my daughter in June (2010), so I then took the summer with her. When school started in August, my husband stayed home with her. Originally we planned for him to take 6 weeks of paternity leave (FMLA), but then his job allowed him to take an unpaid leave of absence until the end of the school year of 2011. It made it MUCH easier for me to go back to work knowing that he was at home with her.

    Of course I stayed home with her for the next summer (2011) while hubby went back to work. When I went back for the new school year, we had a family friend watch her (she was a SAHM with a 3-year-old who needed extra income) and now that she is 2, we found a great home daycare for her.

    If I had a choice, I probably would have stayed home with her for at least that first year. It just wasn't possible for us financially. However, now that she is older, I am SO thankful for the home daycare we found; she is one of those kids that NEEDS interaction; if I had to stay home with her now every day, we both would probably be crazy :p
     
  25. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Jul 23, 2012

    In the end you are the only one who can make the decision that is right for you. I was home with my children for ten years. It was what made sense for us after we had our second child. I wanted to be the one who was at home to see all those "firsts"! Also, I am proof that it is possible to get back into the classroom after a prolonged absence. Decide what is really the most important to you and do it!
     
  26. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Just wanted to offer you support, though of course I can't tell you what the answer is for you, I know how hard this is and it sounds like you really are in a tough spot!

    What worked for me had several aspects:
    1. We NEED my income. But for the time being, we don't need a full time, high-pressure-job type income. So one thing that helped this work was taking a part time job. I know this is not always a readily available option for teachers though... I do special ed so there are different types of positions out there.
    2. We also, thankfully, have a mom who watches our daughter. If I had to leave her with anyone else I don't think I could bring myself to do it.
    3. It took quite a bit of working out but in the end we managed to move both our home and my job into the same neighborhood (also same neighborhood as my mom!) so the overall time I spent away was way less, besides my life as a whole left more time and peace of mind for mothering/family/self because I didn't have to travel around commuting to work, dropping off and picking up baby, etc.

    I need to hang on to my work for my own sanity, I'm just not cut out for FULL time mothering and I like my work and career enough that I can't see just completely letting it go. But if income is not a major factor for you, I'd strongly look into any remote possibility of part time work, that way you can keep your professional blood flowing freshly and still not completely sacrifice your home life. Though I do know a lot of people who didn't have that luxury and did manage to balance it somehow, but I don't know how they do it! Your baby won't forget who you are, if you're efficient enough you can get back to him early enough in the afternoon to have a long evening together, weekends are still on, it's always reassuring to get that enthusiastic greeting when you get home from work (I bet stay at home moms don't get that kind of greeting every day! I am home for the summer and so jealous of the greeting my husband gets from our daughter after I'm the one who knocked myself out taking care of her all day!) but still the more time you can arrange to spend with the kid, the better, these are moments you won't be able to get back at any price later on.
     
  27. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Jul 24, 2012

    Oh and having babies in June so rocks for teachers! I see a few people on the thread had that! I would settle for even a later summer baby to not have to take a break mid-year, but June is awesome, three free months without having to use up any sick/personal days! Alas our first was late November (preceded by three months of bedrest, it was like not having a job most of that year!!!) and the next is anticipated in early October, thank G-d no bedrest as of now but still the beginning of my teaching year is basically screwed. Sigh. We tried :p
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    .
     
  29. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    To piggy back on Alice's post, I was very fortunate to have my father in law watch my son while I went back to work. However, many of my friends did not, and they found excellent daycare for their children. It takes patience, research and recommendations to find them, but they are out there.
     

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