Point blank. Women are champs.
I can't imagine how painful it must be to literally push out a seven pound creature out of your body. I shudder just thinking about it.
So kudos to all of you mothers. Also, I know what you must be thinking.
What advice could this crazy guy possibly have on this issue?
Well, I'm obviously not a mother. But I sure do know plenty of them. They've taught me a lot.
A million questions are swirling around in your head right now. When should I go back? What if I don't get back soon enough? Will my career be in jeopardy? If I go back, who's going to take care of the baby?
...And so on.
The best thing I can tell you is to compartmentalize your decision into tiny and manageable bites. Don't worry about getting the answer right--there is no right or wrong answer. The point of this is to self-reflect and deduce what your stance is on the big issues. And once you do that, you're inching closer to making a decision.
I. Your Feelings
Can you handle being away from your baby? How high-up is your career on your priority list? Will you feel crappy if you miss out on your baby's major milestones.
II. Your Plans
Assuming you decided to go back to work, is your kid going to be left with a nanny or a daycare? Is your partner willing to help out? What about a relative?
Maybe you haven't decided to go back yet, but it's still important to consider these issues in advance. If after all of that self-reflecting you still can't come up with an ideal scenario to go back to work... well, then maybe you shouldn't.
III. Your Dough
Let's face it. Money may not bring happiness, but it sure does simplify life. So staying at home really isn't much an option for most mothers. But you can think about how much you can work. Calculate if you can afford to quit your job or take on fewer hours. Budgeting is key.
How much do you need for fixed expenses? And will you need a little extra dough on the side for the occasional night out?
And will the money made offset the costs of earning it? (lunches, childcare, gas, clothing-- and no quality time with the baby)
...And that's basically it.
So let's assume you decide to go back.
Remember these two things:
I. Hang Tough
It won't be easy when you first get back to work. Some days you'll decide you can't manage... and then you'll want to quit. That's normal! Experts say the majority of moms need some "acclimation" time when confronted with a new routine.
If several months later you're still struggling, just talk to your head-honcho about a flex schedule. One that allows one or two work-from-home days a week. Maybe even a part-time arrangement? Whatever you propose, make sure it's a rock solid plan, something mutually beneficial.
II. Get Some Mommy Time... With Mommies
You miss your circle of fellow moms. Understandable. Make sure you haven't forgotten about them once you get back to work. Everyone needs some kind of a support group! So arrange for the occasional weekend get-together. Maybe even take up some yoga with them and grab a cup of coffee afterward.
To all of you mothers. You are my heroes.
And I hope this bit of advice has shed some light!
Keep kicking butt.