Taking a break from your professional sphere to nurture your newborn baby, is the best possible feeling. Indeed, the most memorable vacation. Motherhood is a beautiful experience, because you know that your baby needs you in its formative years to foster good health & to build a strong foundation. No one can take care of the baby like a mother does. So, it is imperative to take a maternity leave.
So, how long should you take a maternity break for? 6 months? 1, 2 or 3 years? By the age of 3, you would have enrolled your child in a play school. What’s next? The question comes up sooner or later for nearly every new mommy. Should I quit work to stay at home to take care of my baby? This is an individual’s personal choice. Albeit, it is influenced by your family, to a large extent. Every family is different. And so are their priorities. One of the key factors is how well our family supports us; especially our partner. Taking a long break does not mean the end of your career. You can bounce back & revive your career at any point in life.
A working mommy is often looked down upon by the society for choosing work over family. But, why this prejudice? Why should she be coerced to quit working? We spoke to about 40 women between 25-35 years of age and these were the top responses they mentioned to join the workforce after a maternity break.
- A happier person – the feeling of empowerment
It is an undisputed fact that life becomes stressful while striving to strike a good work-life balance. On the contrary, research has proved that psychologically, women are happier & develop a sense of empowerment, accomplishment & satisfaction when they continue to work after a maternity break. Appreciation of good work is rewarding for the body, mind & soul. You know that you have utilized your potential to the fullest. A stay-at-home mommy can display traits of low self-esteem, confidence & depression as she relentlessly juggles only between the household chores & nurturing her toddler.
- Managing the finances better
If it is fair to expect your husband to help you with changing the nappies, then, it is also fair to expect you to support the finances of the house. While most families in the affluent segment do not encourage women working after the birth of the baby; many middle class families thrive on the husband’s income & need a supporting income to lead a comfortable life. You may largely cut-down on your personal expenses. But does that really suffice to lead a comfortable? In most Indian families, sadly not. From education to healthcare expenses or even taking care of our elders in the family, we need money. If you can contribute by working, you will have a higher disposable income & save more for the future. Eventually, due to less financial pressure & tension, your partner feels more relaxed & spends better quality time with your & your kids.
- The “I” in the Individuality & Identity remains intact
Your identity as a wife, a daughter, a mother or a daughter-in-law will undoubtedly be reflected in the way you essay your roles & responsibilities. But, getting back to work gives you a lot more than just monetary benefits – it endows ‘self-esteem’. You derive immense satisfaction & gratification from being able to revive your career & confidence by interacting with colleagues & developing new skills. It saves you from the guilt of being just a helpless home-maker (unless it is by choice). Read how to unshackle & break gender stereotypes
There is no right age or barrier to learn new things. When you are working, your mind is occupied. It is horning its logical/analytical/reasoning skills which is necessary to deal with a specific task. Your zest to learn new things is trampled when you stop working. Developing the right skills will also help you take better joint decisions with your spouse. If you do not fence yourself in the four walls of your home, you will never doubt your credentials. When you encounter versatile situations at office, you augment your personality & groom yourself to be a stronger & smarter person capable of dealing with almost any situation in life. And that, in my opinion is the best learning in life.
- The world is a good place to be in
Agreed, no one can take care of your little one the way you do. But, sometimes you have to let go your worries. Your parents may not have the same energy levels to run behind the little brat, but eventually children learn to respect their elders & imbibe better values with their grandparents around. You can send your child to a nice crèche or a day care while you are off to work. You can find one that’s close to your workplace so that you can drop by when-ever required. It is tough, but a rewarding choice as your child learns to develop social skills – playing together & sharing together. Skills that will last a lifetime! Feeding your baby breakfast & dinner yourself can make up for good nutrition for the day. Thankfully, companies are very supportive by offering extended maternity leave, flexi-work options or work from home (in some cases) are enforced to retain good employees. So, weigh your options before deciding to quit.
- Become a “Jack of all trades”
The never ending turmoil of dealing with duties at home & at office can take a toll on your mental peace & health occasionally. But, dedicated efforts to deliver the best, with aplomb has a stupendous impact on your children. When your child observes that you manage your personal & professional life seamlessly & efficiently, you become their role model. Proper planning establishes an equilibrium & you can prove to your family & the society that marriage & children need not hinder your growth in the professional space.
P.S - It is not necessary for you to be a working mother to be an inspiration to your kids. However, an unhappy home-maker, fighting with her own blues cannot bring a positive vibe to the family.
- Independence & Confidence
Working like a robot, doing monotonous work incessantly at home may start making you feel that you are not worthy enough. Unquestionably, your husband maybe happy to pay your credit card bills. However, it is very liberating when you can bear your own expenses. You can spend almost guilt-free. You will start valuing money much more – because you have worked hard for it (which is a blessing in disguise). So it is a win-win situation! Most importantly, your family will not be jeopardized if your husband loses his job. You are always there to complement the finances.
- Build stronger social connections & a better social life
“Life changes completely after marriage” - You lose touch with many friends. And with most after you have a baby. Although, you love your little one the most, you will realize sooner or later, that no matter how busy you get, no matter how much joy your bundle of joy brings to your life, YOU FEEL LONELY sometimes! Socializing with people of your age, with people from different walks of life broadens your perspective. We learn, we laugh, we talk, we share. And that’s what makes every person happy.
Research has proved that a mother’s decision to continue to work or stay at home is not a good predictor of how her children will turn out, for better or worse (unless they are given substandard care). The ill-effects of over-parenting is known to all. The chances of over-parenting are far higher if you are a stay-at-home mommy, because your child is your only focus. Working broadens your horizon, your lenses & skill-set. A woman who leaves her child at the day care doesn’t love her child any less. Why add to her guilt? The society should cease to be judgmental. As a mother, you should consider all the variables & then follow your gut!
A doting mom to an angel, Social Media Specialist & Professional Blogger. She loves to share her thoughts with other parents in the same turbulent boat. She absolutely loves & adores her family & is learning to strike a good work-life balance. When she is not writing, cooking or busy taking care of her toddler, she probably is dancing to some good desi music!