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To work or stay at home mom

Stay at home or working: which is best for you?
Stay at home or working: which is best for you?
Getty Images/Chris Ryan

When a woman is pregnant, her world is nothing but a laundry list of questions. Starting from choosing the right birth plan, selecting names, decorating the nursery, and deciding to breastfeed or not. The list goes on and on. For many women the hardest one on that list is deciding whether to be a stay at home mom or continue to work and find child care.

First is to evaluate what is not only going to be the best for your child but also for you.

Finances are at the top of the list for a family who is leaning towards having one parent stay at home. Can they afford it? Of course new parents should go ahead and budget in how much the basics will cost. But that list should also include additional doctor visits, an increase in the water bill with more laundry, and an increasing grocery bill as the little one grows. It’s always good to keep in mind these little things, like your child, will grow over time.

Another thing to consider is if the mom-to-be is ready to be alone with a small child all day long. Many people say it’s the environment they grew up in and they want their child to have the same. But they soon learn it’s hard dealing with the lack of sleep, little alone time and the lack of adult conversation.

For some woman staying at home with their child may not be an option or a choice that is right for them. The biggest challenge they face is finding good child care and learning to trust someone else to watch their child. They should first consider what kind of facility is best suited for what they are looking for.

The State of Texas licenses several kinds of facilities, such as Home-based care and Center-based care. The difference between them are as simple as to what kind of environment one might be looking for, how the child’s needs are met, and sharing child rearing philosophy and learning practices between home and daycare. The next step is to visit these facilities see how they are run, are they clean, are the kids happy, what kind of activities are they involved in and the list goes on. These visits can make or break any parent’s selection.

After picking a facility, also remember to ask about the price. Nearly every facility in the Amarillo area has a fee to hold a spot for your child. If the price is an issue, submit a Child Care Financial Assistance application to see if the cost can be reduced.

If you are still on the fence, talk your employer to see if they can work a part time employment deal with you. More and more employers are becoming open to the idea. The company’s Human Resource department will know the company’s policies for such concerns. They might give you an opportunity to work part time for a few weeks, months, or for the first year. But don’t spring the idea on them at last minute, discuss the idea months before maternity leave starts.

Finally, sometimes the best place to seek advice is from the people “who have been there and done that”. There are countless moms on both sides of the issue who can say it was the best decision for them or a total mistake. Find out why they feel the way they do. It may or may not apply.

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