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Should I stay or should I go? The return-to-work dilemma

27 Nov, 2023

When we are contemplating having our first bub, for many of us, we are filled with sweet desires of parenthood filtered with thoughts of creating family, togetherness, memories and love to pass on into the future.

Many of these warm joys of becoming a new parent can also bring the shadow of possible financial issues plus the varied expectations of when is the right time to return to work.

A constant reminder of the increased cost of living drives many new parents to plan or return to work long before they wish to. There are new stresses of childcare costs, reliance on family members, the increased mental load of running a household, working and not to mention a baby that doesn’t sleep well throughout the night. It can be exhausting with every day presents a new challenge.

Then there are those parents who dreamt of being stay-at-home parents but soon realised that it was not for them, between doing the “right thing” of wearing the hat of parent, nurse, cook, cleaner, teacher and child-fun factory and a longing desire to be themselves in a world of adults. The parental guilt can be immense, building up feelings of resentment and unhappiness.

Regardless of your situation, striking a balance of needs and wants is paramount. Often, we have little choice but to return to work when the financial strings are tight. It doesn’t mean that you are less of a parent and cannot enjoy the moments of child-parent connection.

Many working parents claim they are better parents because of their employment. They are personally and professionally invigorated by the workplace, allowing them to be more engaged and attentive and develop strong bonding connections with their children despite not being with them 24/7. These sentiments are often the same for the parents who choose to return to work for their well-being.

Whether you are a stay-at-home parent, a parent who needs to return to work or a parent that wants to return to work, your decisions are unique to your situation. Releasing yourself from the guilt and judgement of others can restore your sense of family well-being that reflects upon your set of circumstances. Remember, families are all different and function in different ways, so be kind to yourself and respect the diversity of others.

Article supplied by Parentline.

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