'I went back to work 3 months after having my baby - and I don't regret it'

Jess Bovey and her son.
Jess Bovey and her son.  Photo: Supplied

I'm just going to come right out and say it: it wasn't for me and I didn't enjoy it. I love my son with all of my being but I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home mum.

I know those who are unable to do so for various reasons will most likely get annoyed by this.

I did not choose to go back to work for financial reasons; I choose to return to work for me, so I am able to provide an even better future for my child. I suffered from postnatal depression and being at home really affected my health and wellbeing.

The intention never was to not return but I kept my plans loose so I could see how I felt about being a stay-at-home mum.

I went on maternity leave back in July (my boy was due in August). He was only 11 weeks old when I made my decision. Does that make me a bad parent? No, but after reading various articles online people sure act like it.

There seems to be a lot of guilt associated with making the decision to put your children into some form of care, especially when they're under 12 months old.

Before I became a parent I admit I used to wonder what stay-at-home mums did. I used to think they had it easy. They don't.

Caring for a small human day/night is extremely hard work. My decision to return to work is not because I can't hack it, I know many don't have a choice and simply have to return to work because they financially can't afford to stay home.

Making a tough decision


I am doing what is the best option for me and my child long term. I need adult conversations, I need to be challenged and I want to continue building my career while providing for my family.

For some people, like me, being at home all the time can get really lonely. Yes, you have your little one there but if you're accustomed to the camaraderie of being around other adults, the drastic change can lead to bad feelings. Endless dirty nappies and washing become frustrating and it's hard to find a sense of accomplishment.

I have a few close friends who have found themselves in similar situations. We're good mums and our children will thank us one day.

If you're facing the tough decision and are weighing up your options, do what feels right.

If you enjoy being a stay-at-home mum, I take my hat off to you. Do whatever possible to stay home with your little one, look into work that you can do from home.

But if you aren't enjoying it, it's okay to return to work. Your child isn't going to love you any less.

I put my child into daycare. He lasted two days before I withdrew him from the centre. Was that a sufficient amount of time for me to make an informed decision? For me, yes.

I know there will be lots of people out there who will disagree with my decision, but it's exactly that – my decision. It didn't feel right. He felt too young in comparison to the other children. Maybe I wasn't ready ... maybe he wasn't ready.

Getting mentally prepared

I am fortunate enough to be in a job/career which allows me to be pretty flexible. So the decision was made that for the time being, my son will come into work with me.

It's been about two months and it's working well. The staff love him and it's so nice to have him here with me while also being able to have those adult conversations I have so desperately missed.

I often worry that I might annoy the other staff but B is a pretty good baby and very rarely cries for no reason. Plus, I have a nice big office so we've set up a mini-nursery away from home, and he has everything he could possibly need here at work with me.

Clients are extremely welcoming of the idea. Since having my child, I have become 100 per cent more productive with the time I do have to get things done, so I know I am doing my bit to contribute.

Will I put him back into care? Yes, eventually. When? I don't know - when I feel both him and I are ready.

There will be people out there who will think I am mad, who will straight away jump to the assumption that it came down to me not being ready. I don't think this is the case. I was so mentally prepared to drop him off on his first day. Part of me wishes that it did work out but, as the saying goes, everything happens for a reason.

I will make the most of my current situation and realise how lucky I am to have the best of both worlds.

You can read more about Jess Bovey's experience as a first-time mum on her blog, newmumclub.com.

This article first appeared on Stuff Nation