While it’s easy to throw a fist bump and proclaim, “You go girl” in celebration of a woman rocking her career, such is not the case when that same woman decides to have a baby.
Sure, we may have progressed as a society and women are killing it in the different industries that they’re working at, but a woman who decides to have a baby is often left to choose between her work and her family.
Many women feel that they deserve to continue furthering their career after they have had a child, but find that balancing between the two roles is often difficult and many times one area suffers.
A woman professional faces a tough predicament: staying at home prevents moving up in your career, while working keeps you away from home, your child and all of their precious milestones.
Return to your job or stay at home to care for baby?
If you were working before you became pregnant, it can be a struggle to decide whether to return to your job or to resign and spend your days caring for your child.
Someone who has spent years building her career and decides to stay at home may resent her decision to put her career on hold for her child.
On the other hand, if she decides to return to work and misses bonding with her child she may regret not taking the time off to spend those crucial years at home with her baby.
Studies show that the higher your level of education and experience, the greater the cost you will pay economically if you decide to pause your career to focus on your child.
This finding makes sense; a woman with a low skill level will not earn as much as a woman with a higher skill level – especially if the higher skilled woman has advanced certification and many years of experience.
If you’ve decided to go back to work after you have your baby, Malaysian law allows you 60 days paid leave.
Working away from home means you have to fork out money for childcare, such as a baby sitter or a day care.
The cost of a baby sitter depends on whether you use a service to find your nanny or if you locate her on your own.
A service will cost you a bit more; however services do thorough background checks and evaluations on each nanny to ensure they are competent and able to care for children properly.
Wages for a baby sitter can range from RM1, 500 to RM3, 000 a month, which comes with its set of pros and cons. If you’d rather opt for a group setting, day care ranges from between RM1, 000 to RM1, 500 per month.
Breastfeeding or bottle?
Once you have found a reliable childcare option, working again may be relatively easy for you. While you will be missing your little one, getting back into the groove of work may only be interrupted by your overflowing milk ducts.
You may be aware that you’re back at work, but your breasts will be under the impression that they must still continuously provide milk for your new-born.
If you are concerned about breastfeeding your child, there are machines that will allow you to pump breast milk for your baby, which can be refrigerated for later use.
A single, manual breast pump can be bought for about RM30 at a reasonably priced baby store. More advanced electric pump kits cost around RM130.
You can pump during breaks at work and take the milk home, or pump at night and store the milk for your nanny or daycare to use during feedings.
It can be a struggle to determine when or if you will return to work after you have given birth, so remember that the choice is a personal one.
Ensure that whatever decision you make is the best for you and your family and follow through with it, regardless of what others may try to influence you into doing.
Motherhood is a wonderful journey – one that you must decide the course for.
This article first appeared in The New Savvy.
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