There is big decision every new parent has to make when their time at home is coming to an end. Do I return to work or do I become a stay at home parent. Depending on your situation the decision can be quite easy, but in most cases it’s one of the most difficult ones to make.
In Canada we have a year’s paid maternity leave ( government unemployment insurance that we’ve all paid into), but as the months ticked by I became increasingly more anxious about what to do. I made lists to weigh pro’s and cons, tried making all kinds of alternative budgets to make either decision more feasible. I started seeking other better paying employment opportunities, and work from home options. I had countless notebooks compiled with endless information and plans on what I was going to do, yet still I was hesitant on making the decision.
My biggest dilemma with returning to work was daycare. First the cost, then the availability of spaces for infants were two big hurdles. I applied for subsidy daycare through the City of Toronto and got Miss E onto as many wait lists that were affiliated with the program. I figured that if I qualified ( that’s a big “IF”), I might be able to go back to work, seeing as how the average daycare in this city can run you more then a months rent (avg $1850 a month). Retail merchandisers don’t make a whole heck of a lot of money , so this plan was stringent on my success with the Subsidy board. After not hearing a peep from the city for months, I called them relentlessly for weeks trying to get an appointment, so I could get an answer out of them, which in turn would allow me to give the all to important answer back to my boss if I was indeed returning or not. Anyone else going through this process please do not wait on the city of Toronto they’re like that guy who doesn’t call you back. You have to be the aggressive one in this pseudo relationship. After weeks of calling, being put on hold and eventually hung up on, I finally got through scoring my meeting with the board. I then scrambled to get all my paper work together. During this whole process my one guaranteed daycare spot was given away. I had already confirmed with my boss that I was coming back, I had a start date for my return to work. Within a two day span I was cold calling daycares around the city, applying to more wait lists, filling out countless applications, and paying silly fees that I would never get back. My head was spinning and this whole thing was driving me crazy.
It was the weekend before my meeting, that Mr. H and I had a few to many glasses of wine, which prompted a serious slightly boozy discussion on what our plan was. In our haze we sat down on the beaten up couch and crunched numbers and honestly considered what our future might be if I did go back to work. We calculated that even with support from subsidy there would still be too many additional costs and variables that would end up digging us into the financial hole every month without a ladder to get out. If I had the potential to be making a higher income it could have worked, but it wasn’t our immediate reality and didn’t make any sense returning to a job with very little prospects. So, the decision was made, I would become a “Stay at home mom” or “SAHM” as we liked to be abbreviated. I meet with my boss the next week and resigned my position, canceled my subsidy meeting and took our daughter off all the wait lists. It’s now official I’m a SAHM.
It would have been nice returning to work, I’ve always been one of those weird people that enjoys working, but being at home with my babe will be one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had the privilege of doing. In a way though I will be a working stay at home mom. My plans are to work for Mr. H helping out with the paper work, study to become a real estate agent in my spare time and of course writing. Who knows maybe you’ll see my words on another site somewhere and think.. hmm I know that voice. Until then the Hepburn’s will be living modestly, until this Momma starts making some dough. If anyone out there needs a writer/merchandising consultant/ buyer/ stylist/ personal shopper I’m your woman.
Ultimately there is no right or wrong in being a working parent or one that stays at home, it’s really all about what works best for your family in the end. Either way both paths are a full time jobs, just in different environments. Whatever you choose don’t let others shame you about it, hold your head up and tell them it’s your life and it’s none of their business and if you decide to stick your tongue out give em’ a big old raspberry you cheeky devil.