Valerie Aitchison, a family lawyer, Portland, Ore.
Married to Will Aitchison, a lawyer, and mom to twins Alex and Luke.
Decision she faced: Whether to go back to her very demanding legal career or stay home with her twins.
How she worked it out: Aitchison thought she wanted to stay home with her children full time. “My husband and I both felt that would be best for them,” she says. But she wasn’t completely sure staying home would be right for her. So she decided to take a year off, then re-evaluate her decision. “But after four months, I’m definitely feeling that I’ll be able to continue doing this at least until the twins are in school, and I won’t need to go back to the office,” she says. A nanny comes in weekday mornings to help with the twins.
Pros: Having so much time with her children. “I feel very fortunate to be able to be here for them all the time and watch them grow and nurture them along,” she says. “It’s a good thing for me and for them.”
Cons: Aitchison intends to return to work someday, and when she does, she’ll have a lot of catching up to do. “While I’m out of the workplace, the field of family law is advancing without me,” she says. She’ll also have to learn how to balance the demands of her career with the needs of her children, who will be accustomed to having a stay-at-home mom.
Financial issues: Fortunately, the family isn’t dependent on Aitchison’s salary.
How she feels about her decision: “I’m very happy,” she says. “Having twins is more difficult than I ever anticipated and makes it even more clear to me that this is where I want to be on a full-time basis.”
Her best advice Be aware that your feelings about working may change after your child is born. “If you have the option to stay home, it’s important to remain flexible about the decision to return to work until after you’ve had some time with your baby.”