If your option is to stay at home to care for the baby, it may well be a good time to demonstrate work skills at home, and develop other strengths that you have. For stay-at-home-mom Ivy Ong, the biggest challenge she faces is feeling alienated from the rest of the world.
“Staying home 24/7 to care for Letitia and Danica, there are days when I don’t even have a proper conversation with another adult and that can get rather depressing,” she confesses.
At other times she feels unappreciated. “Everyone expects me to put my life on hold, and having given up my career five years ago, I doubt it’s possible to go back now,” she adds.
Stay-at-home-moms who feel this way can overcome these negative emotions, says psychologist Daniel Koh from Insights Mind Centre.
One of the ways is to apply your work skills at home. If you are good with handicrafts, selling jewellery online can bring you additional income and help chip in to the family budget. Or if freelance writing is your cup of tea, you can work from home while taking care of the baby.
Alternatively, you can engage in activities that make use of your organisational and social skills, such as forming a support group and helping other new mums. To keep up to speed with things happening around you, keep in touch with friends and find time to have dinners with them.
All these will make it easier for you to return to a full-time job next time, should you decide to do so when your child gets older. Taking a break from fulltime work is also a good opportunity to re-valuate your career and assess what you want out of your work, says Angela Quek, a recruitment consultant.
“You can now re-assess whether it is the challenges, achievements, stimulations, social interactions or fame you are seeking in your work.
“You can also assess if you can still resume the long or erratic hours if your job calls for them,” she explains.
For most mothers with young children, traveling for work could also be a struggle and with these new conditions now in place, taking a break can help you to re-focus on the next career path that you may want to take, says Angela.
Before you take the leap to become a stay-home mum, think about:
• Can we survive on my spouse’s income alone?
• If not, what can I do to supplement the family income, should I decide to quit my job and stay home to look after the baby?
• Could we make changes to our lifestyle to live on a smaller budget?
• Do we have a contingency fund of about six months in case of emergencies?
• Would I be comfortable with staying at home and leaving the familiarity of work life?