Returning to Work

My husband and I disagree about my staying home.

Question

I don't want to return to work, but my husband is putting pressure on me to do so. I feel strongly that I should stay home full time to care for our new baby, but my husband doesn't want our economic situation to change. How can we possibly reach a compromise?

Answer

Ah, this is a thorny issue, one that has troubled many a couple. I'm glad to see you used the word "compromise," because if each of you were viewing this as a battle to be won, then no one would win. The issue would remain unresolved, and in the end the relationship could be damaged.

To avoid falling into win-lose battles, follow these guidelines: First, each of you must explain your reasons for taking the positions you have. You have expressed a strong belief that your child will be best served by your staying at home with him. Perhaps you can think this through a bit more and supply your husband with specific benefits your child will receive by your being there. Next, listen to him as he explains his position. Are his economic concerns just fears or are they based in reality? Will the two of you have enough money to raise the child on one income? Or is he striving for an economic security that goes beyond just making ends meet?

Finally, come up with possible solutions, taking into account each of your concerns. Look at all the options available to you and explore the pros and cons of each. Is it possible for him to change his work schedule so you can go out to work when he can be home with the baby? Is telecommuting an option for both or either of you?

Keep the following principals in mind:

1. Neither of you is right; neither is wrong.

2. Try not to judge the other's opinion. Just listen. People need to feel heard and understood.

3. Be confident that eventually something can be worked out that takes everyone's needs into account.

4. Don't forget to include your child's needs in the equation. Ask yourself what is in your child's best interest.

This is not the last time the two of you will disagree on issues that affect your child's well-being. How you handle this issue can set the stage for future interactions. Keeping the above principles in mind, you can be assured of a good outcome.

 

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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