Deciding Between Work or Baby

If you’ve wondered whether or not you should go to work or stay home with your child, you are not alone!

I’ve struggled for a long time with my decision on whether or not to keep working now that we have a baby to care for. I’ve gone back and forth between this decision so many times I’ve lost count.

My situation: I have been blessed with the option to work from home while still being able to care for my baby. We are also in a financial position where we are able pay the bills were I to quit (though it may mean a few less splurges on Chinese take-out, or that cute – but probably not necessary – baby dinosaur outfit).

When Torben was born, work was easy. He slept most of the day and just laid there when he was awake. That is no longer the case because the older he gets, the more attention he needs, the more mobile he becomes, and the harder it is to keep doing both!

I pride myself on being a competent, proficient, even outstanding employee who contributes to the company and people I work for. I thrive when my work is praised, and I love feeling like I have contributed something useful. I truly enjoy working! However, as Torben has gotten bigger, I’ve been putting in less hours. Putting in less hours has resulted in less contributions at work.

Because of the recent changes in my life I have officially reached the point where I don’t feel like I provide the quality of work that I should be able to. It makes me feel bad and truthfully think that the company would most likely be better off hiring someone who can put their full time and attention into the position.

My conclusion?

I can’t be a full time employee and a full time mommy.

I’m not saying that others aren’t fully capable of this. Some mother’s need to work so that they can provide for their child. Some mother’s are able to balance both aspects of their life. Mother’s are strong in ways only another mother could understand, and working in no way determines whether or not someone is a good parent.

That being said, for me personally, it’s not something I can handle mentally or emotionally. It’s a decision that’s been long coming and one that I still sometimes doubt. The “what if’s” play over and over in my head, but I can’t ignore what is right in front of my eyes.

The downside to my working from home is that my attention is constantly divided between my child and my work. Torben has grown aware and I see him watching me while I stare at my computer when he wants to play, or using my phone as he looks to me for praise after accomplishing something new.

When he looks back to his childhood, I want him to remember the times we played together. Explored together. Laughed together. And got dirty together! I don’t want his childhood to be filled with memories of me paying attention to “things” of little matter. “Things” that he sees as being more important than him.

This decision is not just for him, but for me too. A decision for our family and our future. Sure, I am going to spend a lot less time talking to adults (and may need to find a new motivation to get ready in the mornings). It’s also one less stream of income coming into our home. But all that being said, I gain invaluable time with one of the most precious things in my life — my baby.

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