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Stay-at-home mom or working mom? Either way... judge not

Maria is a licensed clinical social worker and a mother of two who has devoted her career to helping new parents make the most of their first moments with baby and beyond.

The best thing you can do is to try to quiet your inner critic and be realistic about your options.

work at home mother

Photo credit: Hero Images/Hero Images/Getty Images

There are so many difficult decisions for moms to make from the moment we decide to have our first child until the day our children decide to make their own way in the world as adults. One of the first big decisions moms need to make is whether or not to return to work. Many times this is not even a choice for women; like it or not, it's back to work after a few weeks of maternity leave. For those who have the luxury to choose, this can still be a stressful decision to make. There will be critics either way you choose. Just beware of your biggest critic... you. The best thing you can do is to try to quiet your inner critic and be realistic about your options.

Here are a few ways you can make it easier to decide whether or not returning to work is in your family's best interest (remember every family and each situation is unique).

  1. Together with your partner, create a household budget. How much do you need to live comfortably each month, and can it be done on one income?
  2. Calculate whether going back to work part time can help meet household budget requirements.
  3. Research child care options (day care, nanny or the best case scenario, helpful family members) and include this in your back-to-work budget.
  4. Create a pro and con list for going back to work full time, part time or not returning to work at all.
  5. Explore your feelings about each option and how your roles may change or stay the same. It's important that you feel confident and comfortable with your decisions and with yourself as an individual, a woman, a mother, a partner, a worker and all the many amazing things that make up who you are.
  6. Communicate clearly with your partner about how you are feeling and the challenges you experience as a stay-at-home mom or as a working mom. What can you do together to overcome those challenges?
Remember, you are a human being and humans need support and love from each other to feel stable and secure. This need does not vanish when a new baby comes into the picture. Reach out for advice and assistance if you're having a difficult time with the adjustment into parenthood or if you’re experiencing difficulties making decisions about your newly expanded family.

Being a parent involves making tough decisions and doing your best.

"Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later."

-Og Mandino

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