Motherhood requires sacrifices.
While some moms choose to hire a nanny to help with taking care of their children, others feel more comfortable sending their children to crèche from a young age. There are also some mothers who would much rather be care for their kids full time by quitting their day jobs for a year or two.
But what is it like transitioning from being a working mom to one who stays at home with the kids?
Chanté (29) is a former nurse and mother to a one-year-old and a two-month-old. After six years of nursing, Chanté decided to quit her job and take care of her children full time.
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“It took my husband and I some time to conceive, and I told myself that as soon as it happens I’d like to look after my little one – or now, little ones – for about two years,” she tells DESTINY.
Chanté shares that while the adjustment wasn’t smooth sailing, it definitely wasn’t an impossible challenge. “I knew I would no longer need to get up for night duty [as a nurse], but I would have a different kind of night duty, a more personal one,” she says. “I see it as a great privilege to be able to look after my little ones because I know for sure what kind of care they’re under 24/7. I also use this time to bond with my children.
“While it’s the best decision I could have made, it’s not the easiest thing. When you’re in that situation, it’s not as smooth as you perceive it to be. You need to be proactive and think on your feet. Also, you’re almost always tired because you think you’ll get to rest, but you’re on a 24-hour shift.”
Getting back into work mode is something Chanté would like to do, only this time, she hopes to work a 7am–4pm job rather than night shift hours. She says her family has needs and in order for them to be met, she’d have to go back to work.
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Still, this mother of two is grateful for the time she’s getting to spend with her children. “I’ve bonded with my kids on a level I wouldn’t have done had I been a working mom. I don’t want to miss out on their milestones.”
Chanté says she couldn’t have done any of this without a solid support structure. She has a nanny helping her during the day and her husband helps with their daughter when he comes home from work at night.
Actress and TV personality Phumeza Mdabe took time off from work in 2015 for a different reason – to look after her two-year-old son who was diagnosed with cancer in December 2014. “I couldn’t work because I wasn’t comfortable leaving him with the caregiver,” she told DESTINY in a previous interview. “Someone else might not have been strict [about] giving him his medication on time. Sometimes he mustn’t get water for so many days, etc. I was paranoid about those little things.”
Life coach Dora Prevost says working moms often decide to resign because they aren’t able to cope with taking care of the kids in addition to the demands of a job. “You end up dividing yourself between work and home, and because hours are long, you don’t have enough time for your kids,” Prevost says.
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She adds that stay-at-home moms get to spend more quality time with their kids and are able to follow their education more closely.
Not all mothers choose to be stay-at-home moms and Prevost advises exploring the option of adjusting your work hours to make it a part-time job. If you’re not able to do so, she suggests working on managing your time to the best of your ability. “I work for myself. I consult, so I manage my own time and decide when to see my clients.
“Spend some time with your kids after work, have supper with them and ask about their day,” she advises. “After all, it’s about the quality of the time you’re spending, not the quantity.”