3 Ways to Make Post-Baby Career Decisions

3 Ways to Make Post-Baby Career Decisions

I never thought I’d have to plan post-baby career decisions. I hadn’t really been after a career in the first place. I assumed I’d get married during my twenties, have babies, and stay home with my children. So when I took a job as the assistant editor of a children’s magazine after college, I thought the position was temporary.

I stayed in that job for 10 years. I was promoted twice and developed a variety of skills in my field.

Nine years in, I met and married my now-husband, Kevin. He shared a desire for me to stay home with our children someday, so we kind of assumed there wouldn’t be much “planning” involved when that time came.

But six months into marriage, when we learned we were expecting, our situation didn’t seem quite as simple. I still wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom after the baby was born, but as a store manager at a coffee chain, Kevin didn’t pull in quite enough income to cover our basic expenses.

During the previous years, I had gotten the impression that staying home with my children would be easy to do, but when the actual time arrived my husband and I had some realities we needed to consider. Here are a few basics couples should consider when making post-baby career plans:

Set Your Priorities

Up until the birth of our son, we had lived on two incomes, which allowed us “extras,” such as eating out, travel, and entertainment. We both agreed that we were willing to give up some things so I could stay at home. Disposable income — and the fancy lattes I enjoyed — went lower on our priority list, while me being in the home with my baby went higher.

In my book, Expectant Parents, one mom, Denise, talks about the priorities she and her husband, Andrew, came up with:

There are certain realities we just have to deal with, such as the economy, but we asked ourselves, “What are the things we know the children need?” Stability, love, security. There are different ways you can provide that and still be a God-honoring parent.

Even though Denise had to return to work to provide for her family’s needs, she and her husband came up with a solution where they were able to trade off caring for the children in the home. In this way, they upheld their family’s priorities.

Leave Your Options Open

It’s impossible to predict exactly how you will feel after your baby is born. You may go through pregnancy with one plan in mind only to discover you desire something else once that bundle of joy is in your arms.

Think through a few different arrangements that might work for your family. Maybe you can tweak your budget to live on a single income. Or perhaps one of you can bring in supplemental income from home, or work a more flexible schedule.

Even though Kevin and I couldn’t make ends meet on one income, we figured out how much money I would have to bring in each month through freelance work and decided that we could make it work for me to stay home.

Seek the Lord

God has a calling for your family. Both career and raising your children are a part of that. Spend time in prayer with your spouse about these important decisions.

When my son was born, my husband and I believed God was calling me to quit my full-time job and stay home. While I was pregnant, our pastor delivered a sermon on the Lord’s Prayer and the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread.” He asked us to write a prayer to God expressing trust in Him to provide for us. I wrote that I trusted Him to supply our daily needs as we took the leap of faith to go to a single income. I still keep that prayer in my Bible as a reminder of how God has been faithful these past four years. We have never been in need.

God will honor you as you put Him first in your career and family decisions. Seek Him, set priorities that are close to His heart, and allow Him to help you come up with creative solutions that work for your family.

expectantparents

For more practical ideas on how to welcome a new baby into your family, check out Suzanne’s new book Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood.

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About

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a regular contributor to Thriving Family magazine and Boundless.org and writes children’s resources for several publishers. After having three children in fewer than five years of marriage, Suzanne and her husband, Kevin, who is a children’s pastor, consider themselves on the family fast-track — a blessing they wouldn’t trade for anything. Gosselin is the author of the newly released, Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood.


  • Good things to consider, Suzanne. And very excited for your new book!

  • Suzanne

    Here’s a question: One criticism of the book is that I don’t come down hard on the man needing to be the main provider/breadwinner. I do believe men and women have separate and different roles within the marriage and family. However, is “who brings home the bacon” an area of freedom in Christ, a wisdom issue (as in it may be more wise for the man to be the one to do this for various reasons), or is it biblical for the man to be the breadwinner, without exception.

    • I would take that criticism as a complement, Suzanne.

      I do not believe it is biblical for the man to be the breadwinner without exception. I don’t think this is exemplified in scripture at all. I do believe that scripture teaches the man is bears the weight of responsibility for his family, materially and spiritually, but this is an intangible weight that works itself out in tangible ways differently in each family.

      Have you read “The Measure of Success” but Carolyn McCulley? I’ve got it on my to-read list, but I heard her speak. She makes the very good point that we cannot place our 21st century ideas of home and workplace and insert them into the biblical text. Home and work looked completely different in biblical times than they do now, and to extrapolate that women shouldn’t “bring home the bacon”l isn’t in keeping with what we know about that culture. Work and home life were completely tied together during biblical times and during most of western history up until the Industrial Revolution when work went “outside” the home and tax laws changed.

      Men, women, AND children worked incessantly for the family’s survival, income, and provision during most contexts of the Bible. Whether farming or mending tents, the whole family took part in whatever “industry” the family made money from. Not only that, but Paul constantly partnered with business women like Lydia to share the Gospel!

      Not to mention we need wisdom about the future. We don’t go into marriage thinking the worst possible scenarios, and yes, we can trust God to care for us, but wisdom is still needed. God does work through common sense and that is not unspiritual. Sickness, disability, and divorce exist in our world. My mom and my mother-in-law have both been forced to provide for themselves when their respective husbands left them for other women after 20+ years of marriage. They were both stay-at-home moms with no college degrees. They have had a very HARD time providing for themselves. My mother-in-law now lives off of the federal government now that all her alimony is gone. My mom never received any alimony from my dad and in her 60s now must work physically very hard as a care taker for the elderly. Neither of them regret staying home with their children, but I do think they regret not finishing their education and/or keeping up marketable skills.

      Sorry for the long comment, but it’s a subject I am passionate about! And check out that book if you haven’t!

      • ashslater

        Danielle, I think you responded so well to this. I have read “The Measure of Success” and it is a fascinating look at how work has changed over the years.

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3 Ways to Make Post-Baby Career Decisions

by Suzanne Gosselin time to read: 3 min
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