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Working vs. Staying Home

Let's face it: most of us would love to work part-time. But few of us have that luxury. Instead, we must choose between staying at home or working full-time. Both scenarios have their pluses and their hardships. Here's a look at one of the biggest decisions you make as a mom.

Full-Time Job

For you It's gratifying to know your 6-month-old loves you and so does your boss. Although you cherish your family, you'll appreciate that not everything in life revolves around them. Working also keeps you in the game career-wise, helps you stay connected to the larger world, and satisfies your natural yearning for intellectual stimulation. Because, while you love your baby to bits, she doesn't read the morning paper.

For your kids Your baby won't understand the benefits of that extra paycheck, but there's another perk she will enjoy. "Our babysitter adores my children," says Holly Gordon, a New York City mother of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. "And I am convinced that the more people who love them, the better." You may even find that your kid learns to do things for herself earlier and faster than the kids of stay-at-home moms (though some working moms feel just the opposite!).

For your marriage It's easier to stay in sync when you and your partner are both clocking hours on the job. He understands what you do all day and knows how hard it can be. He doesn't assume you should be on diaper duty after work, and he's less likely to take you for granted when you're on the home front. Keeping the spark in your marriage may also take less effort than if you stayed home, because part of you  -- the savvy working woman  -- still resembles the person he married.