The Shriver Report – Why I Looked Forward to Going Back to Work After Baby

Special Edition

Why I Looked Forward to Going Back to Work After Baby

By Catherine MacLean  


One of the most amazing things about being a mom is that it instantly connects you with billions of other women in the world regardless of ethnicity, religion, or demographics.

You connect through the same shared experiences and problems. Though we all fall into the same “mom” role, what we choose to do with our time outside of being a mom is what differentiates us.

I’m Still a Proud Mom

When I returned to work in the dental industry after my year-long maternity leave, I was thrilled to see my patients again.

I was excited to get caught up and share all my baby’s pictures with them. Though I was enthusiastically returning to the work force, I was still a proud mom and wanted to show my baby off!

I would say at least 75% of people had some comment about how sad I must be because I was returning to work, how hard it must be to leave her with a “stranger’” all day, how difficult my working-mom life must be. To them I say, no, and here are my reasons why.

Why I Was Excited to Return to Work

Though I am a mom first and foremost, being a mom is not the single defining factor of who I am as a person.

I am also a well-educated professional. This was an aspect of my life I wasn’t willing to give up just because I had a child.

I went to university for six years and while millions of educated women world-wide may choose to give up their careers after becoming a mom, for a multitude of reasons, I was not willing to.

I was so fortunate to be able to stay home with her for a full year thanks to Canada’s generous maternity laws, but I was excited about leaving the house and using my education again. I am in a career where I help other people. It’s very satisfying, and this isn’t something I didn’t want to abandon.

Choosing the Right Care For Your Child

Of course there was that aspect of choosing child care. And I wasn’t under any circumstances leaving my daughter with a “stranger.” The selection behind who was going to take care of our daughter wasn’t a decision we made lightly.

We interviewed people and very carefully made the decision. A decision I haven’t once regretted.

She isn’t a stranger. She is a very loving woman who cares for and protects our daughter while my husband and I are out pursuing our careers. She loves our daughter and more importantly our daughter loves her.

I’m of the opinion that you can never have enough loving people in your life, even if it comes in the form of a babysitter. My daughter’s child care provider actually enriches her life in a way that complements what we do as parents.

Balancing My Work-Mom Life

Balancing my work-mom life is anything but easy.

I admire women who choose to stay home with their children, but it isn’t a job that is for me.

And a warning to anyone who doesn’t have children yet, though I am confident in my decision to balance this life: you have to be careful about ever questioning a mom’s decisions, particularly when you don’t know the back story, the motivations, or the reasons for her choices.

Being a mom is important to me – as is being a professional in a society that can benefit from my skills. When something is important to you, it’s always possible to find a way to make it work.

This post originally appeared on

0b255aa69808d0a65349c9df9325da18After graduating with her second university degree in Dental Hygiene, Catherine and her new husband found themselves deep in debt. Fast forward a few years with the arrival of their daughter now impending, Catherine decided they needed to get real about their debt and started her blog Plunged in Debt to help keep them accountable. This is her personal space where she chronicles their journey and discusses all things personal finance, marriage and mommyhood. Catherine credits her blog and freelance writing career to helping her and her husband meet their monthly financial goals. Connect with Catherine on Twitter.