Is It Time For Me to Go Back To Work?

I hadn’t planned on going back to work yet. I’ve been a stay at home mum since my eldest daughter was born 6 years ago, and I thought I’d carry this on until my youngest child starts school. That’s still 2.5 years away.

And yet I’m now faced with a choice…

The perfect job

I’ve just seen an advert for the perfect job. I think I could search for years and not find a job that suited me as well as this. But is that a good enough reason to go back to work?

I would be in charge of teaching music at a local nursery. As a bit of context, I studied Music and Primary School Teaching at university. I also run the local baby & toddler group and have been teaching piano and singing (around my mummy duties) for several years.

It’s also only 20-25 hours a week so I wouldn’t be away from my kids for the whole day.

I’ve just rung and spoken to the nursery and the lady on the phone urged me to apply. It seems like she feels I would be a good fit too.

But I’m not remotely prepared for this.

What if…?

This has come completely out of the blue. I wasn’t searching for jobs – a friend of mine shared the job on Facebook.

And yet the second I saw it, I knew it was the perfect job for me.

What if an opportunity like this never comes up again? What if this is my one and only chance to get back into the workplace, in a job that I love? What if my whole life has been leading up to this point?

The choirs I’ve run, the toddler group I’ve organised, the music I love – is it finally all coming together? Should I be running to embrace this change? Is this where my life is heading?

But at the same time, what if Charis (2) isn’t ready for nursery? She’s a shy little thing and has always found disruptions and busy settings stressful. What if we lose the close bond that we have? What if I lose the ability to interpret her “words” and to predict her feelings?

Will I forever feel guilty for putting Charis in a nursery a year earlier than I did with her older sister, Jenny? Will Charis think that I didn’t enjoy being with her as much? Will she think I’ve abandoned her?

back to work laptop typing

Back to work or stay at home mum?

I love being a stay at home mum.

  • We have the freedom and time to explore Charis’s interests
  • She always knows that I’m there for her
  • I know my daughter better than anyone else
  • In unfamiliar situations, I am her constant
  • It’s a privilege to see her learning and developing
  • I can bring her up with the values and morals that are important to me
  • We make each other giggle
  • We enjoy spending time together
  • I have the time and energy to prepare crafts and activities for us to do
  • I know she is safe 100% of the time
  • I can read to her 1-on-1
  • We can go wherever we like, whenever we like
  • She will always run to me when she is afraid or sad

Is going back to work worth jeopardising all of this? I’m not sure that we’d be much better off financially, once childcare is factored in, and yet I’d have to sacrifice so much.

Plus there are the practical things to consider – what would I do about Jenny’s (frequent) hospital appointments if I was working? What about school pick-up? Where would Charis go to nursery?

Do I apply?

And so I’m left with the dilemma – do I apply? What if I decide that YES this is something I really want to do, and then I don’t get the job? I don’t want to get my hopes up.

And yet, I don’t even know if this is really something I want to do. Do I want to do it, or do I feel that I should do it because it seems like such a great opportunity?

The application is filled in and sitting in my inbox…





Add yours
  1. 2
    Heather Keet

    I say go for it, if it doesn’t work out you can always leave the job. I ran an infant daycare for years and some kids who were really shy would blossom when mom wasn’t around, others didn’t do well and we always strived to get them a better placement where they could blossom. This could be her, and your, opportunity to do something you both love. Good luck on the decision, no matter what you decide you will make the one that is best for your family 🙂 #BlogCrush

    • 3
      Lucy At Home

      Thanks for the encouragement, Heather. My eldest was sooo ready for nursery – she skipped in every morning with a beaming smile – but my youngest is a very different story. Having worked in schools, though, I know you’re right that lots of children are fine once their parents have left

  2. 4
    Fi - Beauty Baby and Me

    This is a tough one and as a stay at home Mum I can fully understand your wariness. But I am a great believer you don’t want to look back with any regrets… go for it. Nursery might be great for your daughter. Better to have a life of Oh Wells then a What If xx #blogcrush

  3. 6

    no-one can tell you what to do but I’d go for it. I’m sure your little girl will be fine in nursery, you’ll be surprised how shy little girls cope in a place with children of their own age. It’s not very often the perfect job comes along so surely it’s worth a try? #BlogCrush

  4. 8
    Madeline (This Glorious Life)

    I would say you should definitely go ahead and apply, because you can always turn it down if you decide you don’t want to do it if they offer you the job. I’m a believer in things coming along for a reason though! Ultimately though, you have to go with your gut and your heart on this one. x #BlogCrush

  5. 10
    pam lorimer

    I say go for it! Such a rare opportunity…but its got to be your decision and one that you will be comfortable with. Hope you don’t stress too much what will be will be of you dont feel ready then dont keep it in your head that you have missed out because you never know, another better opportunity could be round the corner. Much love. #blogcrush

  6. 14

    I’d feel confused just as you do! I’d say go for it, if you miss the deadline you might regret it and if you get the job you don’t have to take it. And if you get it and decide it’s not working you can always leave. I’d bet your youngest won’t mind being in nursery earlier than her sister, she won’t know any differently and children adjust very quickly! Good luck! X

  7. 16

    Gah, this is almost impossible. All I can do is say what I’d do in this situation. I think I would ummmm and errrrr for ages asking every single question you did, then, if I hadn’t talked myself out of it I would send in the application. I think I would need to see if I were good enough to get the interview. If I got the interview I’d reassess how I felt then.
    I’m one of those who thinks fate gives us stuff, I’d be inclined to think fate had gotten my friend to share the link even if it’s only to get you as far as an interview and prove to yourself you’ve still got it. (if that makes sense). Good luck in whatever you choose to do #blogcrush

    • 17
      Lucy At Home

      You’re totally on my wavelength with this one – it’s exactly how I’ve been feeling. I applied and was so pleased that I got an interview (just to prove that I could do it!) but I’ve not had “the call” yet. I hate waiting! Haha

  8. 18

    Do it do it! Get the job first… decide after. You list the things you think you’ll lose, but think of the things you could gain…
    good luck whatever you decide lovely xx

  9. 21

    A very tricky situation – I’m constantly living in the ‘should I/shouldn’t I’ scenarios – I think if you fill the application in you’ll start to know how you feel. Remember you could be offered the job and still be able to say actually I’m not ready. All I can really say is trust you gut instinct – its usually the right choice.

  10. 22
    Peachy and her Mommy

    You should definitely apply. If you apply and don’t get the job, nothing changes. If you do get the job you can decide if you want to take it. If you do take it, you can leave whenver you want. I don’t know what you should do in the long term but I know that you should definitely apply. Applying buys you some time to think about it and gives you possible options. Not applying opens the door to a lifetime of wondering what could have been. #BlogCrush

    • 23
      Lucy At Home

      This is great advice. I did apply, and I had an interview. They haven’t rung me with the outcome yet, and I change my mind everyday about what I want them to say in that phone call…!

  11. 25

    You have nothing to lose by applying and even going for an interview. You don’t have to make any decisions until you get the job. You can always say no. Someone said this to me once and I try to remember it at times like this. The perfect job doesn’t come up often, or at all for some people. You sound excited by the idea. Go for it! If it’s meant to be it will all work out. Even if you get it, and you don’t like it things go back to how they are now. #BlogCrush

    • 26
      Lucy At Home

      Your comment has really stuck in my head, Helen – “The perfect job doesn’t come up often, or at all for some people”. I think you’re right. You have to at least try when you see such a fab opportunity. Thank you for pushing me to apply!

  12. 27
    Alana - Burnished Chaos

    Only you can decide hun. The fact you’ve called it your dream job though kind of suggests you should. Regardless of your end decision you should still apply. like you say, you may not get it, in which case all this agonising over the decision is pointless. Or you could get it and see it as fate. You could even start the job on a trial basis and if it doesn’t work for you or Charis, then quit. Trust your gut instinct x

  13. 29
    Debbie Roberts

    Hi Lucy, whenever I’m faced with a dilemma I try to imagine how I’d feel if I missed out on the opportunity. If I can say with hand on heart that it wouldn’t really matter then it doesn’t, but if I feel I would kick myself for the lost opportunity I know it’s something I really want. Couldn’t you apply and see how you feel if they offer you the job? If they do offer you the job and you find yourself filled with thoughts of all the things you’ll be missing at home, then you could always politely turn it down. If it’s what you really want, it will work out.


  14. 31
    Mrs Lighty

    A massive part of me is silently urging you to apply, although I know it’s a difficult one. Although I was due to go back to work after maternity leave, I was in a slightly similar situation. One of my NCT friends shared a job on Facebook, and out of the blue, a month before I was due to go back to my old job, I applied, but knowing what the salary was or what the job even entailed. I went to the interview and instantly knew that I’d love it, as have never looked back. Apply, please; at least if you go for the interview you’d get a feel for the job and can then make a decision? Could Charis go to the nursery you’d be teaching at? Please let us know what you decide to do xxx #blogcrush

    • 32
      Lucy At Home

      Oh this is an encouraging story! Thank you! I bet you’re so glad that you went for it. The update from my end is… I applied, got an interview, have been to the interview, and am now waiting for a phonecall…

  15. 33
    Squirmy Popple

    Definitely apply! If you get offered the job, that’s when you can start really considering childcare, practical issues, etc, and deciding what the right choice is for you. Plus actually going to the interview, seeing the place and talking to the staff might help you decide whether or not it’s a good fit for you. #DreamTeam

  16. 34

    I think you should go for it!! it sounds like its perfect for you. If you don’t get it, it wasn’t meant to be. But you will never know if you don’t try!
    I’d love to be a stay at home parent. unfortunately I like to be able to shop as well lol!
    You are so luck in you might have the best of both worlds!
    Let us know what happens!!

  17. 37

    Apply, you can always turn the job down if you change your mind. You don’t want to find yourself regretting not going for it and, you never know, your daughter might end up loving nursery xx #BlogCrush

  18. 39
    Bridie By The Sea

    Oh lovely it’s such a hard decision to make – I did this five months ago and decided recently to give up my job. It’s not working for us as I am having to commute to London and that’s just becoming exhausting. That said, I don’t regret it and really feel that Emma has developed leaps and bounds since being at nursery more. She loves it and I’m sure your little one will too. It will be a change being away from mummy but they sometimes enjoy that independence and being around other children too. I would say listen to your heart and trust your instincts 🙂 xxx #coolmumclub

  19. 42
    Mum in Brum

    Such a difficult one. I often think I want to go back to work and then wonder if it’s actually more that I feel I should…I do think sometimes we don’t know our own minds until we’re backed into a corner. I say you should apply and you’ll know how you feel about it if you get offered it…and if you don’t, then just think it wasn’t meant to be but at least you tried. Good luck with whatever you decide xx #coolmumclub

  20. 44
    A Mum Called Lucy

    From one Lucy to another, hello!
    It is a tough one, it really is. I gave up my part time job about 6 months ago to be at home full time. I only worked 3 days a week and even then I felt like I was missing out.
    Since I had been at home with my 3yr old girl, I feel that we have become closer, and I wish I had done it years ago when my boy (now 6) was little. But at the time is was necessary for me to be bringing a second income in.
    If you can afford to stay home financially, maybe hang on a bit longer? You will never get those years back, but if it is a necessity for financial/sanity(!) reasons then please please don’t feel guilty. You know what is best for your family. Good luck with the decision #coolmumclub x

    • 45
      Lucy At Home

      Thank you for your advice, Lucy. I think this is my biggest fear – knowing that I will never have this time back again. But 6 years as a single-income family is taking it’s toll, so that’s definitely something that we need to factor in. Aaargh I’m rubbish at making decisions!

  21. 46

    Oh Lucy, I could have written this myself back in January when I stumbled across a job that seemed too good to be true. I did apply for it – although like you I agonised over what was the right thing to do.
    I didn’t even get an interview.
    It made me realise that there’s no point stressing until you get offered a job. Also, sometimes, things will just go the way they are meant to be.
    I think for now, apply for it. Go to the interview. Find out more about the role – you should see it as interviewing them too. The right answer will come to you in time, so just get into the process maybe and let the answer rise to the surface.
    Good luck! Thanks for sharing with #MMT (If you get it you’ll have to change your blog name!)

    • 47
      Lucy At Home

      You always write such wonderfully encouraging comments 🙂 I know I agonize over far too many things and, as you say, in hindsight, it was a waste of energy, but it’s so hard not to worry in the midst of it.

      P.S. I totally hadn’t thought about the blog name issue! Eeek! Hahaha

  22. 48

    As the saying goes ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’. Even if you just go through the interview process then it’s all good practice right? #DreamTeam

  23. 49
    Susie at This Is Me Now

    Oh that sounds tricky. Honestly, I’d probably give it a go and if after a few months its too hard or not working for your family you can always leave and be back at home. You’ll never know if you don’t try and may always wonder “what if?” but if the sacrifices are too great then don’t do it. Only you can decide! #BlogCrush x x

    • 50
      Lucy At Home

      Thank you for this reminder Suzie – I only need to be in this job for as long as I choose to be (well assuming I even get it – I’m still waiting to hear back from the interview) #blogcrush

  24. 51
    My Petit Canard

    Did you apply? I hope you applied! My advice would be apply and see what happens. Let fate decide and go with your gut. You would know if it felt right or not.. 🙂 Emily

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