Becoming a mother is probably one of the most fulfilling responsibilities a woman can have. The depths of love and happiness you'll feel are immeasurable. A cliche, maybe, but true. When you're experiencing the months and years of motherhood, however, you'll discover that keeping your identity and your own interests are very important. This is why it can be crucial that mothers continue to work. Here are some reasons to consider:
The "mother" identity is all-consuming, intense and beautiful. But the issue is just that: it can consume all of you, leaving the person you were a distant memory. When you return to work after an appropriate amount of time off, you get to return to your previous identity. That person still exists: she has wants and needs that have nothing to do with being a mother. Attend to her. She can happily co-exist with your new identity as a mother. When you're at work, you get to identify your goals on the job, your financial ambitions and where you'd like to be with your career. Your career goals shouldn't have to fall by the wayside once you have children. Allow yourself the personal satisfaction of seeing your own goals fulfilled. Build a career, be creative and continue to learn. Develop "you".
Having two incomes is incredibly important. Firstly, it takes the stress off the one parent who is working. Secondly, the family gets to do a wider range of things, like take vacations together or have week-long road trips. There is also extra money for kids' extracurricular activities. You'd be surprised at how expensive soccer lessons, gymnastic lessons or piano lessons can get. On one salary, there is very little spending money. On two salaries, the family gets to breathe a little. Plus, studies show that a dual income leads to greater satisfaction in the marriage.
Financial independence in a marriage is important, too. Do you really want to have to ask your spouse for money when you need tampons? And what happens when you've had a two-day argument and you need money? Will you have to go crawling on your knees to ask for it?
A working mother gets to socialize at work with work friends who are not solely "mommy" friends. Conversations aren't centered around play dates and nursing. Conversations are about work, politics, life; and it is important for you as a mother to be part of that. It gives balance to your life and puts your mother identity in perspective. Yes, being a mother is beautiful. Yes, it has changed your life. But it's still only a section of your life. You need to pay attention to the other sections of your life. Studies show you'll be happier as a result.
So if you are deep into breast feeding, changing diapers and catching up on sleep, put aside some alone time to brush up your resume while your little one naps. Send out queries, explore the job market and get back into the real world again. It’s possible to be a mother and a career woman, too.