Staying at home vs. Work: What should you choose?

18 Mar

Let’s face it: almost every woman has to face this dilemma where she has to make a choice between working full-time and staying at home as soon as she sees a positive sign on the pregnancy test strip.

While most women go with the flow and leave this decision till baby’s arrival, some of them have already made up their minds. There exists a large section of women who would love to work part-time, which seems to be a win-win situation. However, only a few of us have that luxury and the rest are compelled to choose between staying at home and working full-time.


If you happen to be a ‘desi (typically South Asian)’ mom, particularly the one living in Pakistan, I’m sure you’ll have your own stories to tell. We all agree that the most favourite hobby of our society (read: nosy, desi aunties) is to criticize others and we consider passing judgments our national right.

From the clothes you wear at your wedding to the man you marry, everything is deeply scrutinized by these overly watchful aunties. This habit of prying doesn’t stop here. Once you are married, everybody waits impatiently to hear the ‘good news’.

Well before the baby arrives, unwelcomed suggestions start pouring in from all directions and if you happen to be a working woman, the first thing you are told is to leave work. ‘Ab tou araam se ghar mein baitho (now stay at home peacefully)’, ‘Tumhe naukri ki kia zarurat? Shohar acha kamata tou hai! (Why do you need a job? Your husband earns well!’, ‘Ab azadi bhool jao. Ghar sambhalo aur bachay paalo (Now let go of your independence. Sit at home and take care of kids)’ ….. and the list is endless.

Whether you choose to stay back at home or join workforce, you’ll come across a great deal of advantages as well as hardships. Let’s breakdown pluses and minuses of each scenario to help you make the biggest decision of your life:

Working Mother


  • Even though you treasure your family and love having them around, you will cherish some ‘ME’ time once in a while. You will eventually appreciate that not everything in your life revolves around them.
  • You will be financially independent. Even the thought of it is an instant self-esteem booster and is as gratifying as seeing your little one sleep peacefully! Plus, your husband will feel less burdened and will appreciate your contribution to the household.
  • You’ll stay in the game as far as your career is concerned. Your work will help you stay linked with the larger world, and will satisfy your inherent longing for intellectual stimulus.
  • Your baby will not comprehend the benefits of that additional pay cheque, but there is another incentive he’ll appreciate: he’ll become independent sooner than the children of stay-at-home mothers.


  • You’ll feel guilty leaving for work on those mornings when your restless infant is clinging to your legs or is unwell.
  • You’ll miss spending quality time with your baby and hearing the delightful things he did while you were at work will probably make you sentimental.
  • You’ll be busy juggling between work and home which could affect your health.
  • Bidding farewell to regular home-cooked meals and impeccably folded laundry may not go well with your husband.

Stay-at-home Mothers


  • You’ll be there to witness every little smile and wipe away every tear of your child.
  • Staying at home will reorganize your life and you’ll feel less stressful. You’ll find time to cook delicious biryani for your husband and watch your favourite Fawad Khan drama.
  • You’ll be at more peace to see your baby growing right in front of your eyes. This will keep unnecessary concerns about his diet and poop at bay.
  • Your husband will love to see you all dressed up, waiting for him like a typical ‘mashriqi (eastern)’ wife.


  • On some days, boredom will kill you and you’ll get fed up of cleaning, cooking and poop talks. You’ll miss having some kind of intellectual stimulus.
  • Sometimes you’ll feel your kids are clingier than those of working mothers since, obviously, they’ll be relying only on you.
  • You’ll get to hear ‘tumne parh likh ke degree zaya kardi (you have wasted your degree)’ on an endless basis
  • You’ll be dependent on your husband for your financial needs


Mother using a computer and holding her baby

So, what should you choose?

Whether you choose to stay at home or work full-time, it should be your own decision and not influenced by the society.

If you can’t work full-time, search for part-time or freelance opportunities. How about getting a diploma or learning a new craft?

It’s important to take a break from motherhood once in a while and you’ll get back to changing nappies in a more energized way.

Remember, your kids will grow up one day and they’ll be absolutely fine. Trust your instincts. You are doing a great job, mama. Hang in there!

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