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  • Transcriber: TED Translators admin

  • When I was pregnant, I just got very frustrated.

  • Don't eat deli meats, do this particular prenatal test.

  • Why did you make that choice? Why didn't you make a different choice?

  • I felt like I was being told to do things, and I never got the answer to why.

  • [The Way We Work]

  • Sometimes in the world of modern parenting you just can't seem to win.

  • If I go back to work, I spend less time with my kid.

  • What if they don't get the attention they need to adequately develop?

  • If I stay home, and give up my income stream,

  • will I look back and regret my decision?

  • There's a lot of conflicting advice out there

  • about whether to stay home or go back to work,

  • so trying to make a choice between the two can be confusing and emotional.

  • You love your kids and want what's best for them,

  • but how do you determine what best means when everyone has a different opinion?

  • There are many variations of parents that a household can have,

  • and I think more families should be asking the question

  • of whether it makes sense for the male partner to stay home.

  • But the truth is that in the current time,

  • most of the discussions about stay-at-home parents

  • focus on women in particular.

  • And it's usually the women who say they feel

  • that what they do during the day is gonna determine at a deep level

  • what kind of mom and person they are.

  • That is a huge weight to put on yourself as a parent.

  • And when you're met with the side-eye

  • after telling someone you're going back to work or not,

  • it can poke holes in your confidence.

  • I decided to dig in and find out.

  • Is it better to stay at home or go back to work?

  • It's an emotional decision, yes,

  • but as an economist I've learned that we can use data

  • to help navigate through those emotional decisions

  • and feel confident we're making the best decision for our family.

  • Specifically there are three main factors you should consider before you decide.

  • First, you need to think about

  • how this decision will affect your family budget.

  • Let's do some numbers.

  • Say your total household income is 100,000 dollars,

  • with you and your partner making 50,000 each.

  • That means you bring home about 85,000 dollars after taxes.

  • If both of you work

  • and the family pays 1,500 dollars a month for childcare,

  • your total disposable income would be 67,000 dollars a year.

  • Are you with me so far?

  • If you decide to stay home,

  • your family makes less but you don't pay for childcare.

  • Your disposable income goes down in this scenario,

  • but not by as much as it would if you didn't factor in the childcare.

  • It becomes more complicated if childcare is more expensive in your area.

  • A full-time nanny can run 40, 50,000 dollars a year

  • depending on where you live.

  • If that's the case in your neighborhood, in the scenario I outlined,

  • it would completely wipe out one parent's income,

  • and you'd be better off financially with one parent staying home.

  • Of course, this is only a short-term analysis.

  • Childcare is less expensive sometimes when kids are in school,

  • and you may make a higher income later, so you wanna factor that in if you can.

  • Once you've done the math, you'll know what's possible

  • and you'll be able to make a more informed choice,

  • which should feel empowering.

  • Second, it's time to talk about what's best for your child.

  • You may think this should be the core of your decision,

  • but there's actually no right answer.

  • According to studies from Europe and the US,

  • the decision to go back to work or stay at home

  • won't actually make or break your child's future success.

  • Research shows that two parents working full-time

  • has a similar effect on your child's future test scores and income

  • to one parent working and one not.

  • What seems to be most important is the environment

  • your child is in during their spare time.

  • As long as they're engaging in enriching activities;

  • reading, practicing their motor skills, interacting with other kids,

  • they're gonna thrive whether or not you're at home with them.

  • There is a bit of nuance in the data.

  • For example, studies have found,

  • that if both parents work,

  • kids from poor families are impacted positively,

  • and kids from richer families are impacted less positively.

  • So depending on your household configuration,

  • the effects on your child could be a little positive,

  • or a little negative,

  • but the overall impact is negligible.

  • Now I wanna call out an exception: maternity leave.

  • There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that babies do better

  • when their mothers take some maternity leave.

  • The early days with your child can impact their development,

  • so if you have paid leave, you should take it,

  • and if you don't, maybe consider

  • taking some unpaid leave for those first few months,

  • if your budget allows.

  • And finally, ask yourself, what do I want?

  • While this may seem simple,

  • it's the factor that feels most taboo to explore.

  • In talking to parents I find that when a woman chooses to stay home,

  • she often feels obligated to say

  • she made this choice for her children's optimal development.

  • Which, sure, can be part of the reason,

  • but a perfectly acceptable answer is, "this is the lifestyle I prefer,"

  • or "this is what works for my family."

  • The same goes for the working mother.

  • Saying, "I like my job, and that's why I went back to work," is enough.

  • If you wanna go back to work, that's great.

  • You're lucky to have a job that you love

  • and you have every right to keep it once you become a parent.

  • Be honest with yourself about what you'd like to do.

  • If you're upfront about that, you're guaranteed to feel happier,

  • which will allow you to be the best version of a parent you can be,

  • and isn't that the whole point?

  • There is no right and wrong when it comes to parenting.

  • The best decision is the one

  • that will make you -- and your family -- the happiest.

  • Up to you to decide what's next.

  • By acknowledging that the choice to stay home or not

  • is just that, a choice,

  • with factors pushing you in various directions,

  • we can ditch the guilt and enjoy doing what feels best for our families.

Transcriber: TED Translators admin

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新手爸媽重返職場前應考慮的3件事|TED系列之《我們的工作方式》。 (3 things new parents should consider before going back to work | The Way We Work, a TED series)

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    林宜悉 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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