It is time: you have to choose between your professional career or spending more quality time with your children.

You have dedicated all of your life studying and working hard to achieve your dreams. You are a smart and ambitious woman that have fought your way into the men’s world. You are respected in your field and a promotion is just around the corner.

You love your job and you are good at it, or you hate it but can’t afford quitting.

You are also a mother or a mother-to-be. You love your family and you would do anything to give your children the best upbringing possible.

You cherish your children and you want to be there for their first smile, for the first time they crawl and walk. You want to hear their first sweet words and teach them so many more.

But it is time. You have to choose.

Many families go through this dilemma. Working moms or stay-at-home moms, all have a common feeling:

What am I missing out?

Am I missing an opportunity to grow in my career?

Am I missing the most important time on my child’s development?

What to do? What to choose? Can you afford to choose?

There are a few things you need to ask yourself before making a decision of whether you will go back to work. You have to not only weigh your priorities, but also how your decision will impact your family.

  1. If you wish to stay at home, can your partner support the family?
  2. Would your partner be willing to or able to stay at home instead?
  3. How important is it for you to be at the top level in your job? Would you be willing to sacrifice that promotion so you can work less hours?
  4. Does your job pay you enough to support child care? Or are you ‘paying to work’?
  5. How long could you stay off the market and still get back at a similar level? Does your field allow for it? Would you be too outdated?
  6. Can you work from home?
  7. Can you work part-time?

You and your partner should work together to answer these questions and to find a solution that best meets your family’s needs.

It is possible that the best solution won’t be ideal for you, and you may still think that you are missing out on something. We all do.

But when you wonder if you had made the right decision, remember that life is in a constant movement: things and situations change all the time. You can always go back and re-evaluate and make a different decision or take a different path. You are not stuck.

Your children will grow and thrive, and they will love you despite of your career choice. You will find ways to bond with them, you will still be their hero and their safety nest.

Remember, you are not stuck! Different paths can take you to the same place. It might take you longer or it might be a bumpier ride but you will get there!