This is my last week as a full-time, stay-at-home Mum!

On Monday I am starting back at work, for the first time since having my second bub.

Obviously there will be some women who will choose not to return to work at all, who prefer to be a full-time, stay-at-home Mum forever.  My mother was a full-time mum, and I’ve certainly given it a go. I had three-and-a-half years at home with my first child and almost two years with my second child, but it’s not for everyone.  At some stage, most of us will look at returning to work.

How do you know when it’s the right time to return to work?

I think this is one of the areas where new mums often find that reality is a little bit different to what they might have expected.  I’ve seen women who were determined to be back at work after three or six months totally change their mind when they realise how much they love being at home with their baby.  And I’ve also seen women who thought they’d never go back to work finding that they go totally stir-crazy at home.  But for most of us, there comes a time when we need a bit more stimulation (or income!) and if you’re in that position, then going back to work might actually help you be a happier, better Mum.

What about childcare?  There are so many different types, how do you choose between them?

Long day care, occasional care, family day care, getting a babysitter at home – they’ve all got pros and cons, depending on the age of the child, what kind of hours you need and what’s available in your area.  The good thing about long day care is that it’s very flexible with pick-up and drop-off times and they’re always open, but you might also end up paying for hours you don’t use.  I’ve gone more with family and babysitters and just one day of daycare at this stage, because I want Molly to have some quiet days at home, one-on-one.  But for older children, who are looking for more socialisation and structured activities, daycare or pre-school might be better.

 You often hear Mum’s talking about mother-guilt, but if I think there can be lots of positives about Mum working.

I’m really happy for my girls to grow up knowing they have choices about career and motherhood and knowing that both can be rewarding in different ways.  I want them to see that women can make a positive contribution inside and outside the home.  There are still many places in the world where girls don’t have access to the education and opportunities that boys have. I also want them to learn that there are different seasons in life, good times, tough times, times to take it slowly, times to ramp things up and meet new challenges.

One of the things I’m really excited about for Molly is that she’s going to have some wonderful new role models in her life.  For the past two years, she’s spent most of her time just with me, which has been lovely, but now she’s going to have more time with Daddy in the mornings, more time with her Aunties and also a couple of days a week with some really wonderful, experienced, caring Christian women who are going to babysit her while I’m working.  I’m excited that Molly is going to learn different ways of doing things and seeing things from them, and that she’ll have these people building into her life, loving her, praying for her and spending time with her.   I’m also really looking forward to coming home to big cuddles and hearing all about their adventures at the end of the day!