After having a baby, some women are absolutely clear that they will be going back to work. Others know that they want stay home. But there are many women that are seriously considering their options after having a baby. If you live in Canada and have used financial support during maternity leave, you may be going back to work after one year. Or not. It’s really up to you. For women who are ambivalent there are many things to consider when making this important decision.
1. Personal Values
For every choice we make, that choice has the potential to bring us optimum fulfilment. That is, if we are aligning our choices with our deepest personal values. The more we live in accordance to our values, the closer we are to feeling satisfied and happy. “What is most important to me?” is a question worth exploring when it comes to making key decisions, such as going back to work or staying at home. For an exploration of your values you can go visit MindTools.
2. Family Vision
When you look ahead five years, ten years or twenty years down the road, what does your family look like? What kind of upbringing and opportunities have you given your family and yourself? Taking some time to envision your family in the future will help connect the dots. The decision that you are making today creates a trajectory for the future.
3. Budget and the Cost of Daycare
The cost of daycare varies greatly in Canada. From a low of $152/month in Quebec to a high of $1676 in Toronto*. The bottom line is that the decision of staying home has a financial consideration that is hard to forget. If you want to stay at home, it is important to budget for your family and understand what you may be giving up as a result. There are lots to gain by staying at home and it also may require some changes in your family expenses. Knowing what you are getting into financially is important.
4. Flexible Work Arrangements and Job Requirements
If you are leaning towards going back to work, but are concerned with some of the job requirements, you may want to consider looking into flexible work arrangements with your employer. Depending on their culture or their programs, some companies can support you in establishing work arrangements that will help you meet the needs of your family as well as those of the job. Whether it’s work-from-home, a modified schedule or simply a boss that understands when you need to leave to go pick up your child – there may be a way to arrange your work differently.
5. Creative Options
It’s not always one or the other. It’s not only you either go back to work or stay-at-home, there could be other creative options. The world right now is filled with opportunities. An open-minded person realizes that there are many ways to create a balance between work and family life that can be unique. Entrepreneurship, consulting, home businesses, part-time work, etc. are all interesting options to look into if you want the satisfaction from work engagement, additional family income and the delight of being with your kids.
Although this decision is important, remember that whatever you choose is never really permanent. Nothing ever stays the same. There will be some fine-tuning along the way. Family needs will change over time. Companies and jobs are constantly evolving also. In the end, you always have a choice.