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To Quit or Not to Quit: Deciding Whether You Should Go to Work or Stay Home

Cherylyn Ng

From the first doctor's appointment to the first outfit, there are so many decisions to make when you have a baby. One of the most important (and heavy) decisions a mother can face is whether or not to return to the workforce after having a baby. Between traditional gender and family roles, the idea of missing out on milestones, and weighing the added responsibility of parenthood - it can be difficult indeed to decide the right choice for you.


It’s important to remember that no matter what your friends, your family, or society says - it truly does come down to making the right choice for you. There are so many weighty factors to bear in mind. Here are 4 of the most common concerns that we’ve found:


Missing Milestones

It’s only natural to feel a bit guilty that, by returning to the workforce you may be missing out on events in your children's’ lives. Working doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on these important events, but on the other hand, you won’t be there for the everyday. The only right answer here, is the one that’s right for you.


There are few things to take into account here. Daycare is an extra expense, but unfortunately many mothers find themselves in a place where they have no choice. Weigh your current expenses against the added expenses of daycare if you return to work part time or full time. 


Putting Career/Dreams on Hold

We all have lives before we have children. Some of us dream of being mothers, some dream mostly of careers, and still others dream of having it all. This is the time for a little soul searching. Many studies have been done on how women are affected by this decision and the overwhelming factor in future happiness is alignment with preferences.

 Traditional Family and Gender Roles

Although ultimately, the decision rests upon you and your family, many women wrestle with the opinions of others. When it comes right down to it, traditional family and gender roles color the way many people perceive our situations, but what makes you and your family happy is the only thing that matters.


Studies show that embracing happiness as a major part of the decision is key in how women look back on the decision to stay at home or work. ‘"It's not about simply being employed versus being a stay-at-home mom that makes the difference," said Suniya Luthar, an ASU Foundation professor of psychology and leader of the research group. "We found that women who were living in sync with their own preference exhibited overall positive adjustment. Conversely, the 'misaligned moms' experienced considerable distress and unhappiness."’ (


It’s important to remember that, regardless of your decision, happiness is not a side effect of living life, but a necessity of living your very best life. It’s a vital part of being fulfilled, healthy, and productive which will, in turn, lend itself to being the best parent you can be.