The Big Question

Cloth or disposables?  Breast milk or formula?  Cry it out or not?  Stay home or go back to work?  All of these are questions that new moms and dads have to answer, along with about a hundred others.  For me there was no question that I would be going back to work after maternity leave.  The major question for me what, how much should I/do I need to work?

I always knew I wanted children, but I never really saw myself as a stay-at-home mom.  My main reasoning for this, honestly, is that I knew I could never justify taking out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans to then not work. If money was never an issue I would maybe think differently about staying home, but I will never know! In addition, I do like my job.  I’m a pediatric speech-language pathologist, and I missed my kiddos at work when I was on maternity leave.  While all kids can get on our nerves, I truly have fun each day.

Now, I would be lying if I said I didn’t always wish that I could work a bit less.  Right now I work 3.5 days (comes to 80% time), and I know I have been heard on more than one occasion that it would be SO nice to only work half time.  However, right now that is just not possible.  I look forward to that day!

The real question is, do I feel guilty for working? Nope.  Do I miss Jessa after I drop her off at daycare?  Of course!  It would be awesome to spend more time at home, playing with her and teaching fun things.  However, I know that part of the reason that I have a very social, easy-going baby is because she gets to hang out with her little friends at daycare three days a week.  We also have had great babysitters on Tuesday afternoons (my half day), and I know Jessa is well taken care of and has a fun time.

I have friends and acquaintances who knew that they would not have children until they could stay home with them, as they would NEVER put their children in daycare.  That is great for those women, but I have never felt that way.  I am sure we could have a great debate on this topic, but I know that working at least part of the week is the right thing for me.  We all do what to have to!

I worked at a daycare for three years during undergrad, and I am lucky that Jessa goes to that same daycare.  She is even cared for by many of the same people I worked with!  Each daycare is different, and I know we are lucky that we found one that I know so well and love.  This isn’t true for all childcare facilities, and we count our blessings every day.  Having such confidence in our childcare situation is obviously another reason I can work basically guilt-free.

Baby Using Computer
Microsoft Images

What is your work/childcare situation?  If you stay home, how do you make it all work?  We already try hard to spend less on groceries, cut back on eating out, and save on our electric/water bills.  However, we would have to make some major changes (i.e. move to a smaller house) if I were to stop working or work quite a bit less.  How do you stay-at-home moms and dads do it?!  If you work full time, do you ever struggle with guilt or wishing you were home more?  Please fill me in, as I love to hear from other working moms (and in this case, stay-at-home parents) on this issue!

Lana Criswell is a born and bred Hawkeye fan who has lived in Iowa City for almost ten years! She came for college and never looked back. Lana has been married to her husband, Tom, for two years and is momma to Jessa (3.5 months) and Charlie, the dog. She finished graduate school nearly four years ago in speech-language pathology and works at Children’s Center for Therapy in Iowa City. She is excited to be able to work 80% time now and have some “girl time” with Jessa each week. Lana loves spending time with family and friends, cooking/baking, going to Hawkeye games, going on walks around the neighborhood with the dog, and reading.


  1. Thanks for this article!!! It is always great to hear people’s opinion. I really like that we can al read your article and the opinion of others and not feel the need for a debate. This is a safe zone! haha!

    Like you, I have a Masters degree so I understand the time and money that it takes to earn a graduate degree. I am home with our 3 little ones and although some days I think that it would be easier (for me) to drop them off at daycare I would not change a thing. My husband and I both agree with what we believe God wants for our marriage. We wanted me to be able to stay home with our children. So what we do is live below our means while being thankful to God for what He has given us. We live in an apartment with all the amenities but we can’t be completely free to make a ton of noise as we respect our close proximity neighbors. The kids are learning to be conscious of those around us. One day in the future (years away as we continue to save and emergencies don’t happen lol) when God blesses us with a house (we already have a home-our apartment) we know that the children will continue to take with them what they have learned.

    Again, it was never my desire to stay home I just submitted to God. I cannot say that He requires the same thing out of everyone but I have to say that He does require that from me. Perhaps one day I will return to the work field after my children are older. I do enjoy participating in their entire day. (I have 1 school aged child and one who will be entering prek in the fall). For the first time in a while there will only be 1 at home with me for a few hours until it’s off to pick up my prek’er! Anyway, already I have noticed that these years are FLYING by so while work will ALWAYS be there…the kiddos will one day leave the nest. I never want to regret the time that I could have had with them teaching, learning, and of course loving.

    My husband and I lead a lifestyle that comes with sacrifice. I once heard David Ramsey say ” Live like no one else so that one day you can live like NO ONE else!” My husband and I subscribe to that saying and see no need for a big house, huge closet with designer everything right now or maybe even ever. But we enjoy these years with our children even if the grass seems greener on the other side. Or maybe I am just looking through green sunglasses:) lol

    Thanks again for this article:)

  2. I am a full-time working mom and the breadwinner of our double income family. Not working isn’t an option for me, not only financially, but for my overall wellbeing. I knew I wasn’t meant to be a stay at home mom – I needed something of my own to focus my energy on as well. It makes me stronger as a woman, as a parent, and as a partner. I had always dreamed of working part time to take care of the kiddos, but they came a little sooner than we were ready for to make that possible. I’ll always be a full-time working mom and that’s what’s best for our family. I do feel twinges of guilt, if my daughter throws a fit when I drop her off at daycare and says the ever so painful “Mom, I just want you”, or I hear about how my husband took them to story time during the week – something not readily available for the M-F working mom. There are pro’s and con’s to both situations. It’s important just to find the balance that’s right for your family, considering all the factors.

  3. I am a full time SAHM. Both my husband and I wanted this for a children, even before we met each other, so it was a conversation we had when we were young and began dating. Because this was always our plan, all our decisions were made with this in mind – we worked hard to always live on one salary. When we first got married, my husband was in law school, so we were just on my salary and when he graduated and we were two income, we just saved the second salary as much as possible and used it to build up a nest egg for when we decided to have children. We bought a house we could afford on one salary. When we had our first child and I quit work, cutting out 50% of the income we previously had coming in, we actually didn’t feel it that much because we had always planned on it. I know not everyone are like my husband and I, but it always crazy to me when I talk to friends who are pregnant and they are JUST now having the talk about staying home or working with their husbands and find out they have a difference of opinion. It is not easy being a SAHM and I do miss aspects of working. I LOVED my career and since we didn’t have kids until we were 30, I worked for a good while, but I cannot imagine not being with my babies everyday and being the one who nurtures, teaches and watches them with all their ‘firsts’. We “made/make it work” by always having the main goal of our family (me being home and our children as priority) in mind when all decisions were/are made.


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