What drives you? Wakes you up in the morning with full force and gives you the passion to start the day? I have had a few of these in my lifetime, and I have to admit my current one is for my children.
I can work my long hours during the day and be awake for 7 am to give hugs and kisses to my daughters because I truly feel a passion for parenthood. They are amazing little creatures that grow and develop everyday and I don't want to miss a thing!
I spoke to a colleague of mine who is almost retirement age. She mentioned that after she had her daughter, she felt like she had to return to science right away and she did. However, she also felt she never really got to know her daughter during those precious first formative years. Her colleagues also with children started jobs 5 years later and the difference now is that they are at 25 years and she is at 30 years employed.They do the same thing and are paid the same, but they got to know their children...
I do admit that if you choose to and can stay at home, it is best to have one foot in the door as a consultant with part-time work, just to keep in touch with the advances in the field. I had a few years gap between professional conferences and yes, the amount of science that had progressed was amazing, Having said that, I felt right back in place after catching up with the latest. I also visited a career advice professional and showed him my CV.
"Do I need to add that I took time off for children?"
"Your CV stands on its own just fine. You can add one line in your cover letter if you like."
So if I ever find the dream job that takes me out of my home, it will have to be something that I really feel for, something that I am passionate about - enough to give up some of my mother-daughter time with my two other little passions.