Would you return to work soon after the birth of your child?
My husband and I are both from overseas, so we don’t have family support nearby. As we grew up in developing countries, we are both very driven to be financially secure and want to support our families overseas. We also agreed early on that both of us would care equally for our children.
Both times I had children, I returned to work six months after giving birth. My husband cared for both the kids full-time the following six months, even though he earned more.
It was of great moral support for me to go back to work and progress with my career, and more so, to set an example to our children and our community that dads are just as great as carers.
Now we both work full-time and use kindergarten, childcare and au pairs to accommodate the standard corporate days. We both believe that children need more than their mums or dads. If we could, we would have our entire family here (grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins). As this is not possible, we created our own village by hosting au pairs. Not only are they loving older “sisters” to our kids but they give us the flexibility to enjoy quality time with our children.
Knowing that many families face a similar challenge, having to work and lacking family support, I even started a community, 99aupairs.com, where families can find au pairs as flexible in-home childcare support. It takes a village to raise a child and while we don’t always have family support, we create flexibility by hosting au pairs.
My husband and I always wanted for me to be a stay-at-home mum until the girls started school. It has not been easy financially but we managed. After all, if I were to go back to work, the majority of my wage would go towards paying the high costs of childcare—we did not think it was worth missing out on precious time with our kids for that.
We chose for me to be a stay-at-home mum because we wanted stability for our girls. We wanted to be there when they got sick and not feel pressured about work. We wanted them to bond with each other.
My plan was to get back into the workforce when the girls were both at school, but I also wanted to be able to take them to their after-school activities. Two years ago, when they were five and seven, I looked at jobs that would still enable me to be part of my girls’ day-to-day routine. It was impossible! I realised the only way I could manage this would be to start my own business and be flexible with my time. It took me nearly two years, but last year, in July, Feyre Home was officially launched.
I hope that by being there with my girls in their early years we have given them stability, strength and confidence. I am confident they have a good grasp on life. I don’t know if it’s because I was a stay-at-home mum when they were young, but we are both happy that I did.
I consider myself very lucky and I will treasure those years spent with my girls. I would not trade all those cuddles and beautiful memories for anything.