To Work or Not to Work?: 6 Dilemmas and Solutions

Staying at Home

The transition to becoming a full-time mother can be just as tricky to navigate as juggling work and family. Unlike at a regular job, no one takes the time to show you the ropes (and there's no free coffee, either). And though you may be delighted with the fact that you're caring for your baby 24-7, being a full-time mom -- whose bonus is often a hot shower instead of a paycheck -- is a far cry from the workplace. Fortunately, the take-charge skills you learned in the workforce will serve you well in solving stay-at-home-mom problems.

At-Home Issue: You're Bored and Frustrated
Taking the majority of responsibility for caring for a baby, feeding your family, and establishing some semblance of order in your household is a completely different lifestyle from enjoying the stimulation of working life. At some point, you may realize you liked sitting in traffic during your commute better than folding laundry and watching the Elmo chicken dance video again and again!

The Solution: If you're going to make it in Mommyville, you need to find ways to feel stimulated and honor your mental abilities, says Craddock. If you don't do it for yourself, no one else will do it for you. This may mean arranging for a sitter so you can take a class, joining a book club, or volunteering for a cause that means something to you. If you miss the regularity of a work schedule and the camaraderie of coworkers -- not to mention the easy access to adult conversations -- create a system that meets these needs. Reach out to other mothers in your area: Look up the people you met in childbirth class, revisit your town's newcomers club, or just troll the local playground to connect with other women in your same situation. To get over the anxiety of having a free-floating schedule, find activities that anchor your day, such as regular exercise, reading the newspaper, or doing errands, and schedule them on a calendar. Being a stay-at-home mom will start feeling like a full-time job in no time at all.

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