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Working vs. staying home: A new mom’s dilemma

As you approach the birth of your baby, you may be having second thoughts about continuing your career once your maternity leave ends. Many women struggle with the decision, and when it comes down to it, you have to decide what is right for your family.

Although you and your husband are making the decision together, you may be the one who feels the impact the most, and the changes in your life could be permanent. Before you quit your job, consider these factors.

Finances

It may seem as if the pay cut will not be that significant once you adjust for work-related expenses and the costs of child care. When you begin putting it on paper to see if you can afford to stay home with your child, though, be careful not to leave anything out. For example, if you lose your health insurance when you quit your job, adding yourself and your baby to your husband's policy could seriously affect your budget. On the other hand, the income change could drop you into a lower tax bracket or even the outcome in other ways.

Job satisfaction

Staying home with your baby may be the most satisfying job you will ever have. However, you may discover that you miss adult conversations, the challenges of your career and tangible rewards such as promotions and raises. Try to set the emotional aspects of the situation aside as you determine whether you will feel unfulfilled or bored after a few months at home.

Career

Once you step away from your career, it may be difficult or impossible to rejoin the workforce at the same place you left it. You may have to begin several rungs down the ladder from where you were, or you may even have to start over completely. If something happens to your husband, and your family no longer has a breadwinner, the earning potential you lost when you quit your job could lead to a significant drop in quality of life.

Security

The loss of earning potential also makes you more dependent on your husband for the long term, which could tip the balanced relationship the two of you currently have. Forbes magazine points out that to ensure that your spouse is as committed to the decision financially as you are, you may want to suggest a postnuptial agreement. This document identifies what you are giving up and the protection you will have in case of divorce. 

An attorney can explain what you should include in your postnuptial agreement, and how to draft a document that will hold up in a North Carolina court.

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