Return to work or stay at home?

One of the more difficult decisions for new parents to make is determining whether to return to work or stay at home with the baby. For some, the choice is made for them, as finances warrant the fast road back to work. For others, numerous factors emerge that contribute to the final decision. No matter what the outcome, families are oftentimes plagued with guilt. A surefire way to combat this useless and taxing emotion is to accept one's own choice, while supporting the varied decisions made by other parents.

For those able to stay at home, the rewards are many. One of the most important benefits is being able to observe and contribute to the child's development. Often, parents perceive that the care provided at home is more comprehensive than the standard day care. In addition, the stay-at-home parent has the assurance that the child is being raised in a healthy, positive environment.

However, staying at home is not always an ideal answer. Delaware mother Jeannette Larock explains that, "Sometimes I feel like I've done myself a disservice because I was able to make significant contributions to the company that I worked for." While Jeannette acknowledges that her daughter "has a mom who is devoted to her needs," she also points out that her decision to stay at home continues to be a difficult inner struggle.

In John Rosemund's article, "Women Need to Keep Promises, Too," printed in the Marin Independent Journal, the journalist states, "women became persuaded that the mother who paid the most attention to and did the most for her child was the best mother of them all. As a consequence, the mother-child relationship, is more often than not, dominated by the child." While the article does not specifically point fingers, such opinions can create doubts among stay at home parents about how their presence will ultimately affect the child.

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