Did You Take Time Off to Have a Baby?

April Peveteaux

baby at work
Judah, 5 weeks old, with me at work
I was just reading this piece on babychums about how Lily Allen is retiring from the music biz to start a family with her boyfriend. Allen hasn't confirmed if she is in fact pregnant, but of course we all like to speculate about a baby bump.

But what really got me speculating was this idea of taking time off to start a family. It sounds so antiquated. Like something women did in the 1960s or '70s after they got their first job out of college.

Now it seems like the goal is to change the workplace so women can keep our jobs without losing our sanity. Most of us can't afford to not work, unlike pop superstar Lily Allen.

I have to wonder though, even if all women could stay home and raise babies without winding up on welfare or in massive credit card debt, would we?

I'm all for a 12-month paid maternity leave policy in this country, and would happily spend a year of my life with my babies 24/7 if I didn't have to worry about income. But four or five years, like Allen is speaking of, might drive me to drink.

I happen to get a lot of personal fulfillment from not only my work, but my contribution to my family's financial health. It would make me feel anxious if my husband were the only income generator, or if I had to depend solely on him for our financial security. This is my issue, I realize, and has nothing to do with his competence as an earner.

I also enjoy interacting with adults and switching up my focus in a day. Even though it can be chaotic, kids in the morning, work during the day followed by family time at night is a great way to keep me mentally and emotionally stimulated and in balance. I don't know how I would find balance for four or five years without that pattern.

So while I fantasized for a minute about taking four or five years off, I just don't think I could do it.

Moms who work outside the home, could you?

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