Let's talk: How soon should mums go back to work?

The debate about working mums and how soon they should return to work, has once again flared up in the media.

This morning Channel 9 tweeted this quote from Weather Presenter Amber Sherlock saying “I went back after 4 months for my first child, 5 for my second, and I needed my family to pick up and help me.”

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Earlier this year Kate Jones’s, Queensland’s Education Minister, ousted the then-Premier Campbell Newman from his Ashgrove constituency. It was only the second time in Queensland history a premier has lost his seat. Quite a feat, but she was criticised for returning to a job that required so much commitment, soon after giving birth to her second child, who was only a few months old at the time of her win.

Ms Jones – who is the mother of two children – said it was the impact on her family that weighed on her mind when deciding whether to recontest. “I wouldn’t even have contemplated doing this if I didn’t have the full support of my family and close friends,” she said in a recent interview.

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Going back to work is a really difficult balancing act for women and their families today. Working mothers contribute to the household income, enjoy the sociability and satisfaction of the work place but something has to give, and often that’s family life. Children are put in to day care and family life is a perpetual rush as everyone struggles to pick up the slack and keep on top of the chores.

Grandparents, especially grandmas, are often the first port of call when we need help. They provide childcare at all hours of the day and night, help out with shopping, chores and meals, but are they doing that at the cost of our own time, health and happiness. Of course they love to help with their grandchildren, but how many of them feel guilted in to raising grandchildren? Is it really up to them to provide all this support, often for free. They do a great job, but shouldn’t that help be an add-on to the care of their mum and dad, rather than a replacement?

So, when should mum’s go back to work and how did you cope when you had your children? Did your mum and mother-in-law help you out?