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Conflicted about returning to work

  1. #1
    sherwes is offline Registered User
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    Unhappy Conflicted about returning to work

    Hi, I have a beautiful 7 month old boy and I am returning to work in about a month. My desire to work isn't driven by finances (we aren't rich but my husband has a good job) but rather because I find my job interesting and challenging (I work in funds management). Before I had my baby I was very career focused and, although I have absolutely loved spending the past 7 months with him, I am getting a little bit over the daily grind. My work will let me go part time which is great but as much as I want to work I will miss my little one heaps.
    I would love to hear from other mums who have returned to work by choice. How do you handle the conflicting emotions? Does not being around 24 hours a day actually make you more patient when you are there? How do you balance work and a baby? Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. #2
    aussie mum is offline Registered User
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    it is such a personal decision. I worked in investment banking before i had my son and, like you, was very career focused and quite successful. I went back to work when my son was 8 months old. I worked 4 days a week from 8 til 5 - previously my days were as long as 16 hours if they needed to be. I found the reduced time in the office difficult and felt that i no longer did my job as well. I also felt guilty about the time away from my son.
    I lasted 4 months - just in time to get paid my years bonus ;-) - and then I quit. I'm now a full time mum and I do miss the mental and social aspects of my "old life" but for now this is the best choice for me.....especially as baby #2 is due soon!

    Some of my friends have managed better than i did at getting a balance and they love having the best of both worlds. You may well be one of these people. Good luck.
    Last edited by aussie mum; 06-06-2008 at 06:32 PM. Reason: spelling mistake

  3. #3
    Buckeroo is offline Registered User
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    I echo what aussiemum wrote about it being a personal decision. Before having kids, I always assumed that I would still work even after having them... and I did go back to work, for about 3 months after my maternity leave. I had a very successful career in an industry that many consider "glamorous," great pay, my own office with a view of the harbour, great perks. Then I realized that I didn't care about any of that anymore. All I wanted to do was to be home and spend time with the LO. It just came to a point where I felt that if I continued on with what I did, I wouldn't be doing justice to either my clients or my child. So I decided to be a full-time mom. Best move I ever made and no regrets to this day.

    That said, I did manage to find something that I could do from home, be "productive" with my time outside of spending time with my LOs. I started my own business, which allows me to manage my own schedule around my children's (now have 2!) and this is allowing me to have the best of both worlds --being able doing something that I feel passionately about (outside of parenting) and still being able to be there for my children without feeling guilty about shortchanging my 'work.'
    -------

    I have good friends who went back to work and are coping well, able to find a good balance between work and parenthood. I do think it all boils down to finding a good balance --easier said than done, --but if you are able to do that (with support from your workplace, your family), everything will work out. Good luck.

  4. #4
    capital is offline Banned
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    I completely agree with Buckaroo that it is all about finding the right balabce, and that is different for everyone. I went back to workafter my first baby when he was 11 months and worked 5 days/week 8.5 hours/day. I felt guilty because I hardly ever saw him, by the time I picked him up after work and got ome, had supper he had to go to bed. He went from 2 naps to 1 nap at that time so he was exhausted when we got home and was fast asleep in bed by 6:30 pm. I saw him for about 2.5 hours/day total and that was the time I was getting us ready for work/driving to work and dayhome/making supper, etc. Not quality time together. by 18 months he was able to stay up to 7 or 7:30 so that was better. Weeknds were spent doing all the other things you have to do. Buy groceries, laundry, clean house, any errands, and supposedly try to have time with your toddler. I got pregnant 3 months in so ended up working for 1 year before my next mat leave. Then I went back to work again when my next baby was 10 months old. I lasted about 4 months full time again, then reduced my hours to 4 days/week, but it was still crazy, so then I quite 3 months later and now work 2 evenings/week only. Reducing my hours did give me 1 more day, but at work it is worse because you end up doing almost the same amount of work. I was tired of feeling like I was doing a bad job at work, and a bad job at home. Honestly it was a nightmare, and now I don't know how I lasted as long as I did. I guess I just put 1 foot in front of the other and trudged though each day. At this time I was also getting up to nurse my one year old 1-2 times/night. The second time back at work was a lot harder than the first.

    Childcare makes a big difference, I was not 100% happy with my childcare, it was "okay" but not the greatest that it could have been and I really didn't feel that putting him into a differnt home or daycare would be any better. Top notch care here is very expensive and 1 year plus waiting list to get into, and have to pay full time even if need part time.

    2 evenings/ week is perfect, as don't need any childcare and lets me off the hook for the bedtime routine twice/week, and my job is fun (I teach prenatal classes so everyone is happy, and pretty low stress type of job), I have lots of time for my family and can put the children into activities and take my child to preschool.

    I should add that it also depends on how much support you have. We have myself and my husband, that's it, no family anywhere near by and no housecleaner/helper/nanny.

    Good luck finding the right balance for your family.
    Last edited by capital; 06-07-2008 at 02:55 AM.

  5. #5
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i, too, started my own business.... a playgroup in tsing yi. i started it for many reasons, but the main one was that i could bring my own kids with me!

    i may be looking for someone to help out on a part time basis. if anyone is interested, please PM me and i'll pass on our website so you can learn more about what we do. maybe we can talk.

    i'm really interested in having someone in a similar situation to mine. that it isn't just a job, but someone who truly loves kids and doesn't want to be parted from their own all day long.

  6. #6
    sherwes is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for your thoughts. I am hoping that balance will be easier to achieve here in HK with a nanny and helper than in Sydney where we had no family. If I can outsource the "boring" stuff then I can spend the time that I do have with my beautiful boy rather than fitting in playing with him in between cooking, cleaning etc when I get home from work.

  7. #7
    Veronika is offline Registered User
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    I went back to work part time when my boy was 13 months old. I worked 8:30am to 1pm so part of the time I was away from home he had his nap and I didn't miss anything. For me this was perfect: Office in the morning, bub in the afternoon. We had a nanny who stayed only the time I was away, thus there still was housework left for me but that was OK. Working mornings only there is for sure no way to make a big career. I was always the last important person in the project but from the very beginning I didn't expect it to be otherwise. You can't have it all. But it was great to get different parts of the brain to work and it was also great to come back home and have the whole afternoon and evening with my baby. My baby was still my priority but the job definitely helped me to be more balanced. At the moment I am full time at home again because of number 2 and that is fine as well. But it is also good to know that the job is still waiting for me whenever I am ready to go back. Good luck for you and let us know how it goes!!!
    Veronika

  8. #8
    LeahH is offline Registered User
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    Hi there, I went back to work in an Inv Bank when my daughter was 7 months (had to financially) and so far it's been a good experience. I'm enjoying the stimulation and the balance, though difficult to strike at first, is pretty good.

    One major factor is my employer/boss and their policy of supporting mothers and flexible working. I work one day from home and one morning take her to a babyclass (which is not viewed as 'time off' as I'm frequently on evening conf. calls and the overall hours add up in their favour). I set myself a goal of working a max of 1-2 nights late per week and going home early on the other evenings. So far so good!

    For me, being in HK is what makes working possible - don't think I'd manage it in the UK. The short commute means maximum time with bub in the morning and evening and I agree with Capital that childcare/help makes all the difference.

    We have a helper that we completely trust with the baby (plus daily PT for cleaning) and between them they sort all the cooking/cleaning/shopping/dull stuff allowing me to focus on the bub 100% when I'm home and at weekends. The husband is the one that tends to suffer in all this!

    Good luck

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