Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why do parents who don't need the money go back to work?

[Previously published for sfgate.com/moms]

I was talking to a mom at a baby shower who explained why she chose to go back to work even though she didn't need the money. As she told me the story, tears swelled up in her eyes. She works at a company that offers a year maternity leave (amazing, I know). She took the full year with her first child but returned to work after three months with the second. She said that she couldn't handle it. Two kids were too much for her. She felt like she would snap at any moment. So she hired someone to do the job for her. She said that she feels really guiltly about her decision.

The reality of her situation saddens me. People have kids but don't want to do the work or feel someone else could do a better job. She loves her children but she can't be with them all day long. My interest in her story stems from my own mom not wanting to be with me or my two siblings. My mom left my dad and the three of us young children when I was only four years old. She gave my dad custody and went to live in Florida to get her Ph.D.

Maybe it's good that my friend at the baby shower went to work. If that's what keeps a family together, then so be it.

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