If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about maternity leave or already at home with your new baby. Congratulations! Being a mother is one of the greatest, most challenging adventures of your life. And one of the toughest decisions for many working moms is how and when to return to work. There are so many considerations: How long does your company allow for maternity leave? Will you be expected to dive back in like you never left? Who will take care of the baby? How will you be able to squeeze everything in? Do you really want to return to work at all?
Take a deep breath. Let it out. And again, deep breath. And out. Try to relax. You can do this and you may have more options than you realize.
Returning to work, whether it’s after a few weeks of maternity leave, a few months, or a few years, can be overwhelming. You may get a twisting feeling in your gut when it’s time to leave your baby. You’ll probably wonder if the baby (and you) will be okay.
Just like every child is different, every mother’s experience will be different. Some women are ready to return to the workforce and happy with their childcare arrangements. Some women decide they won’t be okay leaving their baby, no matter the child’s age. And some women need to get back to work but just aren’t ready quite yet…
For moms who want to stay home longer, there are more reliable options than winning the lottery! Some companies offer flexible work-from-home opportunities that let you work around your home and family schedules. These offer some pretty compelling benefits. You can:
- Work on your schedule, around the baby’s nap schedule or your partner’s work schedule, so you can still be a full-time mom;
- Contribute to the family budget while saving money (no childcare costs, no commute costs—the list goes on);
- Work from the comfort of your own home instead of adding a stop at the daycare center to your commute;
- Build on your prior work experience and keep your work identity so that you can be a business professional and an amazing mom.
You may find that what starts out as a way to extend maternity leave, turns into a long-term solution for you and your family. Imagine being able to contribute to your family finances while still having the flexibility to attend baby classes or playdates during the day. Or being able to increase your hours as your child grows and goes to school, while still being home during school vacations.
And don’t discount the value of independent contractor opportunities. These are often the most flexible work-from-home options. You make it what you need it to be. And having that flexibility still can still pay the bills.
Congratulations on welcoming a baby and choosing to find flexible work that allows you to be the amazing mom you want to be.