The Working Mom Dilemma :: Should I Stay or Should I Go?


I often hear working moms say that they wish they could spend more time with their babies. It’s a struggle experienced by moms of all ages, with children of all ages. For some moms, to quit their job is a no-brainer, and for others, it can feel like a total shift in identity. Those working moms that started to have children a little later in life often tend to stay on the career track because they don’t want their education and years of hard work to lose its significance. Or because they are the breadwinner of the family. The positives of staying in their careers are too great, so more time with their little ones ends up not becoming a reality.  

Recently, I experienced this dilemma, and I ended up making the decision to quit my job.

I spent over a decade single and career-driven. I moved across state lines, worked late nights, and sacrificed time with my family – all for my career. All around me, I saw working moms keeping it all together, but I didn’t appreciate the sacrifice they were making. I’m ashamed to admit, but I thought that if someone rushed out of the office at 5pm to head home, they weren’t truly committed. The positive side to that unrealistic, naive expectation is that my hard work did, in fact, pay off in the workplace. I became a director, the highest level I wanted to be. I truly felt that I was in my dream job. And then, I found out I was going to be a mother. 

I was nearing my 35th birthday, as a new mom with a 10+ year career behind her. The decision to go back to work looked different than it probably does for someone just getting started. I fully expected that I would go back to work, and I did.

However, there were some truths about myself that I discovered that the pre-mom, naive me did not anticipate:

  1. After years of throwing myself into my career, all I wanted to do was throw myself into being a mother. Not an easy task when you run a department in a high-pressure, fast-paced industry.
  2. I can’t stand not giving 110% to my job. But I also want to give 110% to my daughter. Doesn’t add up? (Total respect for single mamas and multi-kid working moms!)
  3. My daughter is everything. And when she was born, the stress of work immediately seemed less significant. But when I do get stressed (read: overwhelmed beyond belief), I know I am not the best mom that I can be.
  4. Becoming a mom has made me think outside the box and put myself out there in ways I never imagined I would. I knew I had to figure out a plan to work in more time with my daughter, and find more balance, and have a fulfilling career.

This is where it gets hard as a mom (as if it were ever easy!).

When it comes to making it all work, many moms either give up some control, accept a lesser version of themselves or just flat out survive. 

I’m convinced that no one really, truly has it all figured out.

I made a decision that I knew would work best for me. Making preparations for my next phase, I began freelance writing and editing last year. Also, I started a blog as a way to continue doing what I love. What I did was not exactly common for someone in my position. So, I found myself explaining my decision in different ways, tailoring the message to my audience. I got excited telling people that I knew would understand, and I tried to over explain it to people that I knew wouldn’t get it but I really wanted them to. And to some, I just fumbled my way through it. My career has been my primary metric for success for half my life. So processing my feelings on this change, while having to explain this unconventional decision to people, can be quite a challenge!

Now that this decision is behind me, I can focus on the things I am looking forward to: spending time with my daughter, finding balance for myself and my family, and taking the time to connect with people and serve my community.

And I will leave you with a few reminders, in case you need some encouragement along the way:

  1. The grass isn’t greener on the other side; just don’t forget to water the side you’re on.
  2. All moms struggle with work/life/family balance, to varying degrees. Period.
  3. We need to build moms up: working moms, stay-at-home moms, work-from-home moms. You’re all awesome!
  4. Should you stay or go, ultimately, the decision is yours! 

Have you made a similar decision recently? What words of wisdom do you have that might help other moms?



  1. Not everyone has to make such drastic changes in their lives, but I did, too! It is scary to turn down a new path, but when you put what is first first, you will be rewarded. The great thing is that it looks different for everyone. Congratulations on this brave new journey! You are such an inspiration to follow your heart even when it’s tough or seems crazy to some people! (Music from The Greatest Showman is playing loudly in my head! ????)

  2. Thank you for this message as it meets me right in the moment of making the decision to focus more on my faith, family and community. I am at peace with leaving my current position after 13 years. It was a difficult decision because like you I want to give 110% to both but I had to realize I am only one person. I know I will be more impactful in the lives of my family and my community by choosing to give 110% to them. I will still work but with the good Lord’s provision on a much more flexible schedule. Again, appreciate your sharing your story as it provides further confidence in mine.

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