You are a mother and you have to face a question: To work, or not to work. There are fortunate people who just get to make their choice based on desire, and some moms have to work, or stay home, depending on the circumstances surrounding your situation.
Before I "grew up" I had an idea in my mind that I would stay home with my kids no matter what. My mom stayed home with us, she was always there at any moment, and many of the small and simple moments were molded into teaching tools. I was very firm in my decision, then I married a man who's mother went to work. He wasn't so sold on my conviction and began to plant ideas in my head and I wasn't sure what I was going to do.
My husband and I worked and planned around the assumption that I would stay home. We got out of debt, we stuck to a budget, we lived only on his income and everything that I made went to savings. It took about a year of this kind of discipline before we felt ready that I would be able to stay home with our children by sticking to this budget and careful planning and preparing.
I gave birth to my daughter three weeks before my final semester of school. Being an elementary education major, my final step to acquire my degree was full time student teaching. That meant that at three weeks I had to leave my tiny baby (happily in the care of her daddy for six weeks, and her uncle for the remaining months) and go to work. Sure I could have waited, but I'd come THIS FAR and I didn't want to wait. Who knows how long it would have taken me to get back to student teaching and to finish my degree.
I knew I was going to miss my baby but I didn't realize how much I was going to love teaching. It made me feel absolutely fulfilled, the kids brought so much joy in my life, and I was able to go home and spend many wonderful hours with my baby. Suddenly, I was filled with doubt. After all, I'd worked so hard to be at the point I was at. I was a soon to be college graduate with the potential to have my own classroom, we would be making a whole person extra salary, and I would be doing what I'd worked for and planned for before I became pregnant.
I won't go into the details, but it was a very painful process eliminating one of my options. Eventually, my decision was to stay home with my daughter. I knew that teaching would always be there, but these years with my daughter were short and precious. Even as I type this, I think of my good friends who are just completing their first year as teachers in their own classroom and feel a twinge of jealousy, but I know for my situation I made the right decision. It was not easy to make-- and at times I question it, but I know I wouldn't have it any other way.
I know for everyone it is a very personal decision. I would never judge a person on their decision to work or stay at home and I don't believe that you are a better mom for staying home with the kids, or going to work and providing financially for your family. Lets just support all moms in all situations.