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Would you choose your baby over your career?


As we get closer and closer to having our baby, we are adopting from Japan, I can’t help but feel that when we have that little bundle of joy in our hands, I will not want to work.

I have spent my entire adult life building my career, and now that we are adopting, I am leaning towards being a stay at home mother.

All my collegues think I’m crazy to even consider it, but I just can’t even see myself putting the baby down, let along going to work every day.

What is more important: Baby or career?

Replies

I would not have understood it until I had my first child, but I definitely think baby is more important. It is kind of one of those things when you look back on your life will you be happier about your career success or the beautiful memories you will create with your child?

For me, the answer is definitely child. Maybe as my child gets older my opinion will change, but for now, I love being around her as much as possible.

Posted by Kathy in Georgia on Mar 12, 2011 at 9:14am

I’m 39 and had too spent my entire adult life (until I married 3 years ago) focusing on my career.  Now I feel like I’ve been there, done that… and I also feel like waited too long for my family to come together, and I don’t want to miss a single thing!

I love being a Mom - and its my current career.  I figure that our son will go to pre-school and I’ll get back into the workforce, but I personally can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else. 

Jennifer

Posted by junofoxtrot on Mar 12, 2011 at 9:17am

I have to agree, CHILD.  We (as adopting/adoptive) parents have had a long, emotional road to becoming parents and we need to take time to drink in all the love, warmth, reward of finally becoming a family.  Everyone always says to pregnant (and adopting) parents, enjoy EVERY moment because it goes by in a flash.  Well, it is true!  Enjoy every snuggle, cry, wet diaper, etc. This is the Joy of Parenting. *smile
If you have been a career woman, perhaps you can continue that, but do it from home ~ (computer/teleconference/webinar) so you can have your cake and eat it too.
Frankly, that is what I did!  I had been in magazine publishing and advertising for 25 years and changed careers to business coaching and then niched that to Adoption Coaching.  Putting both of my LOVES together…parenting and adopting.  My best advice would be remain flexible to what the Universe presents to you AFTER you have had a good, long time to enjoy your new child.
Blessings!
Meg

Posted by myadoptioncoach on Mar 12, 2011 at 9:24am

For me, the answer is definitely child too!  I’ve always felt this way because I reaped the benefits of having a stay-at-home mom and my husband experienced always-working parents.  So we both want one of us to be a full-time parent.  But even more so now, after we’ll have waited over 5 years for a little miracle to come into our lives… day care just isn’t something I aspire to.

I’d say don’t be hard on yourself, whatever you decide.  Everyone is different.  And your feelings may change after having the baby for a few months or even a few days.  I am planning on being a stay-at-home mom but I am leaving the option open to use child care 2 or 3 days a week (be it at a day care facility or child care in our home) while I do my freelance job part-time from home.  It feels good to consider this scenario and give myself permission to do this now, so I don’t feel badly if this is the route I choose.  Maybe you are comfortable waiting and seeing how you feel after your maternity leave ends.  I know quite a few new moms who changed their schedules so they now work half-days on Wed and have Fridays off.  This seems to be more and more common. 

Whatever you choose, best of luck and your child will do great any way you slice it!

Posted by Colorado Mama on Mar 12, 2011 at 9:27am

My opinion is definitely baby over career. Ask yourself what you would regret more. Would you regret putting your career on hold to spend as much time with your child as you could, teaching them everything they need to know about growing up and not feel like you’re missing out on their childhood? I don’t think any parent would regret that. Would you regret going back to work to focus on your career and leaving your child with a caregiver? A career is something you can always go back into. Raising a child is not something you can reverse and do over again. Think through both options and imagine looking into the future when your child is grown up and try to imagine which option would be regratable. I don’t criticize parents who choose their career, I’m just speaking from my own experience. I have not had any regrets about the time I’ve spent with my child.

Posted by Connie on Mar 12, 2011 at 9:38am

If I HAD to choose, I’d say Baby trumps Career.  BUT… fortunately in this day and age we don’t really have to choose.  You can stay home with your little one until he or she starts school… Or you can stay home with your little one three days a week and work the other two part-time… Or you can work half a day…  I’ve always taught part-time and also worked at home (I write novels for teens and kids, so this was manageable for me) and stopped writing when the kids got out of school…  When they were babies and toddlers I was gone about three hours a day, three days a week, teaching, and wrote during their naptimes!  Somehow it all worked out, and you will find a way that works for you, too.  And it changes over time.  Have fun, and never feel it has to be all or nothing!

Posted by VintageMom on Mar 12, 2011 at 11:03am

Your family should always be more important than your career.

But that doesn’t mean that you should give up work. Some parents are very happy to stay at home. Other parents are happier when they work. And that makes them better parents than if they would stay at home.

My advice? You cannot know before it happens how you will feel when you are in the midst of it. Be thankful that you are in a position to choose. But wait. Do not quit your job yet. Take your maternity leave and see how you feel. Perhaps you will want to quit your job. Perhaps you will want to go back. Perhaps you will want to change your hours or change to a different job with different demands for your attention.

But don’t make any decisions yet.

Good luck!

Posted by Global Librarian on Mar 12, 2011 at 12:31pm

If I could afford to quit completely I would do it in a millisecond.  I am down to parttime and we are scrambling to come up with the cash to pay off all our debt so that I can quit completely.  Even though I am only working part time now, I cried for three days straight when I had to leave our daughter and go back to work.  I have been back for three weeks now and I still get sick at my stomach when I have to leave her. At least I am leaving her with my husband, mother or mother-in-law and not a daycare.  We are selling our boat and cutting corners in every way possible to get things paid off asap. 
That being said I was never career oriented. I have always worked hard and worked my tail off, but I have always wanted to be a wife and mother first and foremost.  I think it is completely natural for women to stay home with their children. Call me old fashioned, but I think it makes for more stable children, families and society… I wish I had been more fiscally responsible as a young adult and stayed out of debt so that I could be with her all the time now. 
You have to do what is right for you and I agree that you shouldn’t do anything until after the baby is here. Take your maternity leave and see what you feel like after that, but if you are able to do it, really consider it. Your life will never be the same.  Being a mother completely changes your perspective on what is important; I’m sure you have heard that before ,but it is about to become a truth you can only understand once you experience it.  It is the greatest feeling in the world when you hold that little on in your arms and know that he or she is yours.  You will do ANYTHING to make them happy and keep them healthy and it suddenly becomes your single priority. I thought I was prepared for the emotions but I certainly wasn’t.  I also thought I was prepared for the sleep deprivation but no one can prepare you for that smile  You will know what you need to do.  Enjoy your little one and if you do decide to go back, make the most of your maternity leave!

Posted by impatientobe on Mar 13, 2011 at 10:01am

Family over career…no question.  I’m so sure of my answer that I followed through on it way too early!  I quit my high profile career to start a family, not having any idea how difficult that would be for me.  4 years (3 of them consumed with failed infertility treatments) and several part-time gotta-feel-like-I’m-accomplishing-something jobs later, I’m finally on the right track with adoption.  I’m all for going back to a more traditional picture of family life, with the mother at home and dad bringing home the bacon, IF it’s the right choice for that individual couple.  But, in hindsight, I was a little too gung-ho.

Posted by Upstate2Africa on Mar 14, 2011 at 2:59am

You will know which way you want to go once you have your little one in your arms.  I probably have a different opinion on motherhood than some because I never did quit my job when I had my boys and I won’t quit when we are able to adopt during this process…

Family always comes first and you should never feel like you are making your family fit your job - you should find a job that fits your family.  I love my kids more than anything - but I am proud that I work too…I am a better mom when I work and I enjoy showing my children how proud I am both with what I do for them and what I do at my job. 

I feel that there is a lot of pressure to quit when you have kids or adopt… like it is the “right thing to do” and I don’t buy into that for a second.  Raising my kids is the most important thing I have ever done or will ever do but the fact is that I can see dozens of benefits to them having been in childcare…not because I had to work but because I chose to work.  I won’t ever be ashamed of my decision.

I have spent a long time building up my career and for me both are important.  Obviously the family comes first but I agree that we are in a day and time where you don’t have to just have one or the other.  I still volunteer at school, get them to their activities and all sorts of playdates.

Just go with your gut.  At the time I had my first child I could have stayed home (I didn’t make much money at the time) so it was actually more expensive for us to put him in daycare.  But, I knew after being home for a couple months that working was the right decision for me and I was comfortable enough with the homework I had done on daycare and the flexibility I had at my job to know I had taken the right path.

We can all provide lots of advice…but you will know in your heart what is right for you…whatever you choose will be the right decision.

Posted by MNWaiting on Mar 14, 2011 at 6:37am

I agree with the person who said you can put your family first and still have a career.  It’s great that you get to choose but don’t let anyone pressure you and be honest with yourself. 
I did not like staying home during my family leave.  I felt very guilty. I thought I would love it, everyone at work and all of my friends were always saying how upset they were they had to come back to work. I practically skipped through the door my first day back.  I could not tell anyone that I liked being back to work - that was somehow wrong like I wasn’t a good Mom because I did not want to stay home.  My pediatrician finally told me that it was OK not to love being home.  Once I gave myelf permission to say it was OK that loved being Mom and I loved my career, a great weight was lifted. 
Having a career makes me a much better mother.

Posted by MaryInCA on Mar 15, 2011 at 11:41am

Oh, that is hard.  We have been trying to expand our family for 6 years and have not yet been successful.  Initially, I started working part-time thinking we would have that big family I have always dreamed about.

Recently, I decided to go full-time because I thought, might as well make more money until our child comes along.  Now, I love my job AND the pay and can’t imagine leaving when we do have a family.

I agree with the person who said choosing your child over your career doesn’t mean not working.  By working and making a lot of money in order to spoil my child with whatever they need and want, I feel like I am putting my child first.  Staying at home with your child is nice, but it doesn’t feed them and put clothes on their back.  Of course, my husband supports me no matter what I choose and we realize I may change completely once I have our long awaited child in my arms!

Posted by faithful33 on Mar 19, 2011 at 1:11am

I would suggest that it might be best to look at this question from the view of what might be in the best interest of your child- to- be. If you can afford to have the option of one parent staying home with your child, I would recommend that you strongly consider doing so for at least the first year after placement. Your child will
have experienced caregiving changes already in his or her lifetime. He/she needs to have the security of attachment without interruption with at least one parent
to develop a comforting bond and relationship. You are adopting a little person who will be called upon to make a huge life changing adjustment to a new set of
care givers, new sounds, language, smells, voices, sleeping conditions, food etc. Why add onto the challenge by making more changes?  If you can be the constant, reassuring presence make this the priority. You are building the foundation of your relationship and providing a sense of security that is
vitally important for your child’s well being and future ability to connect, trust and love. You need to give
this relationship the space and time to develop for the long term sake of your entire family. But, especially for your little one.

Posted by maybementor on Mar 20, 2011 at 10:29am

I would suggest that it might be best to look at this question from the view of what might be in the best interest of your child- to- be. If you can afford to have the option of one parent staying home with your child, I would recommend that you strongly consider doing so for at least the first year after placement. Your child will
have experienced caregiving changes already in his or her lifetime. He/she needs to have the security of attachment without interruption with at least one parent
to develop a comforting bond and relationship. You are adopting a little person who will be called upon to make a huge life changing adjustment to a new set of
care givers, new sounds, language, smells, voices, sleeping conditions, food etc. Why add onto the challenge by making more changes?  If you can be the constant, reassuring presence make this the priority. You are building the foundation of your relationship and providing a sense of security that is
vitally important for your child’s well being and future ability to connect, trust and love. You need to give
this relationship the space and time to develop for the long term sake of your entire family. But, especially for your little one.

Posted by maybementor on Mar 20, 2011 at 10:29am

This question and another blog I recently saw made me do some thinking . . .I ended up with a blog post smile 

http://balancingmotherhoodcareer.blogspot.com/2011/04/am-i-bad-mom-if-i-want-it-all-career.html

I think every mother needs to make the right choice for her and her child. I don’t think there is one right choice. I think we mothers should support each other’s choices because motherhood is hard enough (and of course incredibly, totally worth it!!).

Posted by Ellenore Angelidis on Apr 03, 2011 at 5:52am

Hello Ellenore Angelidis and all those who commented,

Thank you for sharing your blog. I think you struck a chord with me.  That’s exactly what I want.  I do want it all.  Career and a baby.  Most importantly, I want the TIME to do both right.  Of course, right is a very subjective term.

I don’t want to miss an expression or the baby talk as the baby gets older and older.  Yet I spent a lot of time building my career and I don’t want to give that up either. I love what I do.

However, my work can be stressful and I don’t want to be one of these parents who is too exhausted or stressed to enjoy the time with our baby.  That is where a personal decision has to be made: How much stress can I take to be an effective parent and mother.

I made a career change to a less stressful and challenging position in order to ready myself for parenthood.  Unfortunately, we are still waiting for our baby and I’m wondering if I made the right decision.

I know we can’t spend our time second-guessing ourselves, but if any of you are like me, I do it all the time.  In hindsight, I think it might have been best to stay put continuing to do what I was doing, living life day to day.  But I’m a planner and I didn’t want to be unprepared. There was no way of planning for the possibility that the country you are waiting to adopt from, Japan, would have a horrible disaster.

On the positive side, I would not have found this site had I been so busy in my former position.  I would not have been able to vent my fears and frustration as we wait to adopt.  I would not have had so much to think about and imagine ourselves as parents.

I can find blessings in any decision that I make.  But now after reading many of the adoption blogs here, I have learned one thing; I will live my life as it is now without children.  I will be grateful for what I have and not sad for what I don’t have.

I will continue to believe that we will be parents.

Emma

Posted by Emma on Apr 04, 2011 at 11:21am

Hello Emma,

Thanks for sharing your perspective.  Good luck on your journey to “have it all” whatever that looks like for you smile  . . please continue to share. 

I am a planner too so I completely understand that urge.  I think you hit the nail on the head when you said we should do our best not to second guess.  If you don’t, you can drive yourself crazy. 

Plus, most of us have pretty good instincts which led us to the decisions we made in the first place.  We would often do well to trust those more.

All the best,

E

Posted by Ellenore Angelidis on Apr 04, 2011 at 12:40pm

I don’t care for the title “Baby over Career”.  To me it almost says, “Working Parents don’t love their kids”.  That is FAR from the truth.  That aside….  I would love to work less - a part-time job instead of a full-time job.  However, I realize that me working is better for both myself and my son.  It takes a village to raise a child.  My working allows that to happen.  My son learns so much from being in a good daycare.  Besides sharing, watching out for the younger kids, helping, listening, ... he learns that there are others besides family that love him and take care of him.  Daycare teaches in a way that is different from me.  That’s good too.  Daycare doesn’t “raise” my son.  There is no doubt that I am the one doing that.  There is no doubt that I am #1 for my son.  But there is also no doubt that I (no one or even two people) can provide everything a child needs.  So… don’t feel guilt about leaving your child.  (There are PLENTY of things to feel guilty about when you become a mother - just wait)  Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the working mom vs stay at home mom argument.  There are good and bad examples of both.  Trust your instincts.  Your child will be happy, healthy, successful, confident, loving, ....  with you working or you at home if you love him/her and he/she knows you are always there when needed - and if you are happy. It’s okay to be happy working.  It doesn’t mean our children aren’t the most important thing in the world to us - that the hug at the end of the day is what we live for.  It means we’re looking for a good balance for ourselves and our children.  We’re all exploring the world to become better people.

Good luck!

Posted by noahandme on Apr 05, 2011 at 12:38am

I have to say that I would always advocate, that if it is at all possible, to stay home. But I will say that, for me, the transition was NOT an easy one.

I decided to stay home after the birth of our oldest child. I made the decision because I had the conviction that it was the best thing for her. I see my children as my legacy, the most important and lasting thing I leave on earth after I die. Also studies have shown that developmentally those first five years are some of the most important and I really wanted to be the one doing the shaping.  Not that other people are not important and not that other people cannot provide for my child’s needs, because they can and are important in your child’s life, but it was important to me that I would be her primary caregiver and influence.

All that being said after about the first six weeks of being home, I was aching to go back to work. Being a Mom is TOUGH! There is no paycheck, no affirmation, my clothing had spit-up all over them, and I was exhausted. I felt that my baby would not care one bit if I was the one changing her diapers or a complete stranger. Truthfully I wanted to throw in the towel. Going to work, for me, in that moment, seemed much easier and definitely much more fulfilling. 

But I will tell you truthfully, that I have never regretted staying home. I believe that my children have been the ones who have reaped the most benefits. The transition was definitely bumpy but for me it has been rewarding. Now I would not want to be doing anything else.  Well somedays suits and a cubical are still VERY appealing, but only temporary. Plus, I know that there are seasons to a woman’s life and that cubical will still be there when I decide to go back to it, but my little ones will not be little forever. I am so thankful I did not throw in the towel too early. I am so very thankful for everyday that I get to spend with my children.

Ultimately the decision will be yours and thankfully today there are tons of options but just wanted to put in a word for someone who had a difficult transition from a career outside the home to the very important career inside the home and has not looked back. I think so often we think that the “right” road for us will be the one that is the easiest but more often that is not always the case.

Many Blessings to you as you find your path.

Posted by Rasbebe on Apr 06, 2011 at 1:12am

Why must women have to choose career or child- why not have both?

Posted by Tylisha on Apr 07, 2011 at 5:17am

I’m working part-time, and to be honest I think my children have the best of both worlds. They have a great daycare where they learn so much. Then when I am off they have a mommy that is completely excited and ready to experience life with them. I think I am a better mom working part time.

I do think it is different for everyone and you need to do what is best for your family.

Best of luck in your journey, enjoy each part it goes so fast.

Posted by D&K'sMom on Apr 08, 2011 at 11:41pm

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