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How to Decide Whether to Be a Stay at Home Mom or Working Mom

by Ryan Guina

My wife and I are expecting our first child, which means we have a thousand and one things to do before our little one arrives. One of the things we can check off the list is deciding whether or not my wife would continue working after we have our child or if she would be a stay at home mom. I’ll save the suspense – we have decided it is in our best interest for my wife to be a stay at home mom and raise our child at home.

Should you be a stay t home mom, or working mom?

Can you afford to be a stay at home mom?

The decision for us was fairly easy – we had been preparing for it since we got married 2½ years ago. Shortly after our wedding we began preparing to have one parent stay at home. We paid off all our debt and started living on less income than we earned. Shortly after paying off all our debt, my wife took a job that paid less, but offered a better quality of living. We decided at that time to live on my salary and split her salary between saving for retirement and building a nest egg.

But the decision isn’t always an easy decision for everyone to make, and there are many factors that come into play. Here are a few things to consider:

Should you be a stay at home mom, or a working mom?

Can you afford it? This is the first and most obvious factor many people consider. Giving up a salary is hard to do, especially in a difficult economy. But you might not be giving up as much money as you would think. After you take into consideration the costs of daycare (anywhere from $4,000 – $15,000 per year), taxes, commuting, professional wardrobe, eating out, and other work related expenses, your take home pay may be less than a third of your actual salary. If you can afford to give up that amount of income, you may decide it is not worth the headache of juggling the stresses of work and raising a family.

Do you want someone else raising your children? This was the deciding factor for us. My wife and I prefer to raise our children instead of shipping them off to day care for the first few years of life (we do not have any family close enough to help out). Your situation may differ if you have a relative who can watch over your children while you work either full or part time. But we want to cherish the time we have when they are young.

Will being a stay at home mom hurt your career? This is an important question to ask. Taking a several year hiatus from the work force can set your career back if/when you decide to return to the work force. But that doesn’t mean you can’t remain active and work on your skills while you are a stay at home mom. You can work as a freelance writer, remain active in professional organizations, obtain professional licenses or certifications, teach online courses, teach evenings at a local community college or university, go back to school, start a small business, etc. There are many other proactive things you can do to lessen the affect of being out of the traditional work force for several years. You may even decide to use this as the launching point for a new career.

Should you stay at home, or return to work?

You will probably get an opinion on this from just about everyone, but this is a decision that should be made by you and your spouse. For my wife and I, the decision was easy. But I know it is a difficult decision for many people.

I would love to hear your thoughts on being a stay at home mom, or returning to the work force after having children.


Published or updated November 19, 2012.
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{ 215 comments… read them below or add one }

1 DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad

Great post! It sounds like you are well positioned for the stay-at-home approach.

This is a tough decision for most people. First there is the quality of life question. Then the question of costs. It really depends on how much a mom makes and how much child care would cost. There is also the child care tax credit and flex spending benefits to offset the costs of care . . .

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2 Mindy

It baffles me to no end when I hear someone mention the words “quality of life” in reference to whether or not to be a stay at home parent or not. Seriously? Quality of life? Let’s examine, shall we, what that really means. Quality of life for some may mean “things…possessions.” Is that what we want to teach our children? That possessions are as, if not more important, than they are? Is quality of life NOT what you make it as opposed to what you have/own?

There is no question that choosing to stay at home with your child(ren) is a financial sacrifice, but what are the dividends? Don’t they far, far outweigh what is lost? The dividends are having a child who is much more emotionally secure in who he/she is. A child who learns it’s values from the one(s) blessed to have given him/her life. Or…would you prefer to have someone else instill these things into her/his life? Miss Daycare Betty? So give up a bigger house, a nicer car, nicer furniture, “better” this, “better” that in order that you might raise your child yourself. Isn’t he/she worth all of the sacrifice? And, please, pleeeease, don’t give me the sad song about you being a better parent if you DON’T stay at home because you are too stressed and that that’s just not good for your child(ren). Really?? So, it’s stressful. If part of that is because you feel as though you’ve lost part of who you are, perhaps your definition of self was previously far too narrow. Stress is part of any sacrifice and certainly part of the most important ones. Learn to manage your stress. Do make time for yourself each week and schedule date nights for you and your spouse (if applicable). Don’t define yourself by career accomplishments, but instead by the incredible person you are for doing what you are. You have been given the blessing and gift of a human being who’s life you are investing in, day in and day out. It may seem many days an impossibility that changing poopy diapers, wiping up the umpteenth spill of the day, or singing “Jesus Loves Me” again, carries any real, lasting meaning. The truth of the matter is that it carries and holds more meaning than anything that you could ever do career-wise. Anything! This child is a precious human being whom God has entrusted to you, especially. He chose you for your child and your child for you, knowing full well that you were perfectly designed for one another, faults and all. Had He wanted this child to be raised by Childcare Betty, don’t you think He would have given her/him to her?
Your value as a Stay At Home Parent far exceeds any value that you could every carry anywhere else on this planet. You have been given the amazing privilege of loving, teaching and helping to form this perfectly innocent child.

Should you choose to stay at home, which almost anyone can do if willing to make necessary sacrifices, the rewards to both you, your spouse (if applicable), and most especially to your child will far FAR outweigh any sacrifice that you could ever count.

Your child IS worth it!

For the smaller percentage who truly have no choice because of life circumstances such as a parent who has been left by the other to raise the children alone, please know that I am not including you in my writing here. God has special grace for you. I know it!

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3 Mary

We need to clarify that just because your child(ren) is in daycare does not mean they are being “raised by” others. Absolutely not. Both of my daughters are in daycare and I can assure that I AM RAISING them. I AM their parent, role model, instilling values, and spending most of their week with them. I love, teach and help to form them – feed them, bathe them, rock them, teach them, read to them, take them to church. They are very emotionally secure and confident young children. They have the capacity to learn from and be loved by not only their parents, but other wonderful, caring adults. It doesn’t matter if a parent has to go work to make money, or chooses to go to work, either way s/he should not be made to feel bad about it. Children were meant to raised by “the village.” We need to stop judging each other’s choices and start supporting each other in our mutually difficult job of parenting.

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4 Money Beagle

Very good post. My wife is expecting our first child in less than three weeks (gulp!) and we made the choice for her to stay at home. A lot of the same thoughts went into our decision as you mentioned. My wife was in a low paying job (ironically, taking care of children) so the net income that we would have had would have been practically a wash.

One thing that’s important to is to have this decision made before you even start thinking about having kids. My wife and I discussed this during our engagement, over three years before we even got pregnant. That was key for us because we knew that we were on the same page, which avoided any surprises or disagreements, and it also let us start planning financially for it from the very beginning of our life together.

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5 Hank

There is also a cost / benefit analysis that goes into the decision too. My wife just got her first job since graduating from college. She was a stay at home mom, but now there are a lot of additional costs that have also eaten into the decision for her to go back to work. Between outragous childcare costs, vehicle and gas costs for a 30 minute commute, more income taxes, etc., my wife is almost breaking even for the luxury of going back to work.

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6 Baker @ Man Vs. Debt

Don’t forget about Stay-At-Home-Dads! We sold our real estate business a little over a year ago, so that I could stay home with my daughter for the first year. My wife went back to school as a teacher when she was around 3 months old. I was hesitant at first, but this was one of the best decisions we could have made!

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7 Ryan

Baker: I haven’t forgotten the stay-at-home-dads. In fact, I offered my wife the opportunity to stay in the workplace while I stayed home to take care of our child. I earn money from my websites, so we could maintain benefits and two incomes. But she didn’t take me up on my offer. :)

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8 Alison

I am a work-at-home mom who really had to work hard to stay with my kids since we couldn’t afford to live on one income. It was totally worth it, even though it required a lot of work early on. You also gave me a good jumpstart for my new blog. Here’s a snippet:

“So, to those who are contemplating staying at home vs. working at home vs. working outside the home, there is no right or wrong answer on the whole. But there is a right answer for your family. First, you decide the answer; then, you decide how to make it work.”

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9 John

I recently got married (December 2008) and my wife and I decided that if/when we have kids, she would stay home and raise them. Neither one of us liked the idea of shipping our young ones off to day care. We are lucky enough that we can survive on my income alone . .

We don’t have any kids yet (or on the way), but in the future we might decide to have kids . .

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10 Kristen

I am hoping to be a SAHM eventually. Since we just got married in August, bought a house in September, and are now expecting a baby in October, everything moved a little quickly for us to get our finances in order for me to be able to stay home right away. Our plan is for me to return to work full-time for another year, and then I’m going to look for either a part-time job or a work from home job. I’m hoping to build up my freelance writing work to the point where that would be a sufficient second income for us.

One good thing is that my husband and I have opposite schedules, so we won’t have to use daycare. We’re going to look for a private sitter to cover the occasional gaps in our schedules, and we have family nearby who will help.

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11 Miranda

My husband maintains that every man should be primary caregiver for awhile. ;) He was for the first 18 months of our son’s life. I am fortunate in the fact that I am a WAHM (work at home mom). Right now, while my husband finishes his Ph.D., I am the primary breadwinner and the primary caregiver. And I do it at the same time. (It helps that my son is in school now — but I’m not sure what I’ll do during the summer.) Of course, this means my husband helps with cooking and cleaning…

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12 FFB

We made a similar decision last year. My wife went back to work for a while but leaving our little guy in the care of others didn’t seem right. When the summer ended (she works in education) we made the decision for her to stay home to raise the kids. She’s loving it! And it also makes the household much less stressful! No more are we running around at night trying to care care of everything for the next day or waking up super early to get the kids ready and out on time.

We already had money saved up in case we needed it but we’ve surprised ourselves by managing to get by and still save some on just one income.

I agree every situation is different and there is no black and white in this. Many families just don’t have the opportunity to have a parent stay at home. Others have close family that can help out.

As for stay at home dad, that’s actually something we’re considering now as we’re expecting our third in July. We’ll see (I may be calling myself a “pro-blogger”).

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13 My Journey

Wow, great post. The Wife and I are currently heading into this phase of our lives as well. Luckily, my wife works from home, so I am hoping she would just scale way back but still bring in some sort of income. She is sort of set on not working, so it will be interesting what kind of compromise we work out.

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14 Four Pillars

I took 4 months off after both of my kids were born – you couldn’t pay me enough to do that full time. 12 hours a day of going to parks, drop-in centers, reading kids books etc. It just about drove me insane.

I was thrilled to go back to work. :)

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15 Carrie

I was thinking I was crazy to want to go back to work. 14 hrs a day to entertain a 3yr old and taking care of a 8 wk old is going to be the death of me. It takes special people to do this for a living!

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16 Daniela

I only have one three year old (but I’m 41) and this is the best but hardest job I’ve ever had (being a SAHM). I gave up a big career that I worked 15 years after college for to stay at home, but I am really exhausted. We even have our child going to school 5 days a week in the mornings and I’m still beyond exhausted. My husband travels constantly and when he is in town he works long hours -I am very fit and active for my age, but am wondering if age really does play a part in being so tired.

Trust me though, this was career suicide. I’ve put feelers and applications out there to see “what if” and it is not a pretty sight. Fortunately I had years to build my nest egg and my husband did too and is established in his career. I think the best option is to work part time in your field. Good luck in corporate America though -I would tell anyone who wants to have children to be a teacher or nurse or anything in the medical profession where there is some flexibility in scheduling. I have no flexibility.

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17 SassyMommy

I think it is crazy for women to stay home unless your children are disabled. Has anyone read “The Feminine Mistake” by Leslie Bennetts. It is a great book. Leslie makes the point that taking care of children is a temp job, children will grow up and leave. (Unless they are sick) . The longer women are out of th workplace the harder it is to enter it. Women need to realize and accept that with men can leave or die and you do not want to be dependent on anyone for basic food/clothes/shelter. I married with two boys, 6 and 8. It has been hard to work and take care of my boys/husband but I make it work. If something every happened to my husband I would have to work anyway.

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18 Ryan

SassyMommy: Interesting comment. I haven’t read “The Feminine Mistake,” but I don’t think it would affect our position. My wife and I believe it is a blessing that one of us is able to stay at home to raise our child according to our beliefs and what we feel is best.

We have a partnership and we take care of each other. We share in chores and responsibilities – cooking, cleaning, shopping, finances, etc. It has been like that since day one and we have no plans of changing that. Should something happen to me or to her, then hopefully life insurance would take away some of the financial strain.

Regarding careers, my wife was a professional in the medical field and lived on her own for 10 years before we were married. Her plan is to remain current with her licenses and training and she can reenter the workplace when she is ready.

In addition to remaining current in her professional field, my wife has plans to help me with my small business (this web site and others). This will give her a job to help grow her current skill set, and will help us continue to grow our business after our child arrives.

I understand your view point, but my wife is fully capable of taking care of herself should something happen to me. For us and for our situation, this is the best decision, and it isn’t so crazy in our opinion.

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19 Margarita

I agree with you in that women should not make being at stay at home their only job. I also do not look at staying at home and raising my children as a career choice but instead I view it as lifestyle choice. However, I do not believe, nor do I want to give others the impression that they have to do it all alone. It is not realistic. Most of us cannot be at work and with our kids at the same time. The fact is that you just cannot “do it all” (e.g. career and children) alone. If parents decide to work they usually have to pay someone to help them raise their children, or if they are lucky enough they will have reliable family members who will help them in this process. I am attempting to earn a master’s degree with a one and two year old. My husband’s job is very demanding so he is not home very often and I have no outside help yet. Believe me it is not easy. Once I find a day care, or family member who will help me care for my children I am sure things will be easier. Now I do not believe that everyone has to be at stay at home mom. People should do what they feel is best for themselves and their family. My mother was a working mom and we have always been close. However, I do not believe that you can juggle two important tasks such as career and raising children alone.

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20 Trish

I am currently a SAHM who just watched her youngest start Kindergarten. I have stayed at home with my children since my first was born 10 years ago. I had a very successful career in Advertising prior to having children, however I knew that I wanted to be the one providing everything for my kids, not a sitter or daycare provider. Fortunately, my husband and I were financially able to do this.

The reason I am even replying to this string of posts is that I find it very frustrating when women judge other women over their decision to either stay at home OR work outside the home. First of all, it is a very personal decision that should be made by a woman and her partner. Second, I feel that as women we have a hard enough time with judging ourselves and living up to our own standards that we should not be judging another woman for any choice she makes. Third, typically any woman who judges another over staying at home vs. working outside the home has her own insecurities as the basis for her criticism. (That observation goes for both sides. Women who stay at home say that working moms are callous and not involved in their children’s lives. Women who work outside the home say how simple and boring to be a SAHM with no life of her own.) Finally, I believe a true feminist would want to empower and uplift women, not ridicule or judge because of her life choices.

Quite frankly, I don’t care what anybody else chooses to do. Life is hard enough without having to worry about the judgement of others. Now that my kids are in school, I am focusing on my next phase in life. It might be going back to get my masters’, get involved in charity work, volunteer at my kids’ school or lay around, eating bon bons, surfing the net and getting weekly mani/pedis. The beauty of it is, it’s my life, my decision and everbody should worry about their own life choices.

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21 Carrie

Amen sister!!!!

22 Daniela

Right -but you must have a job that works around your day care. I gave up my corporate job (I’m older -did not have my son until I was almost 38) after a fifteen year career (in management)…there was no flexibility and tons of travel and long, grueling hours. There would be no way that I could leave in time to get my son by 6:00 day care. My husband travels 85% of the time and we have no help. So unless I would find a nanny, I would need to be home. Maybe you are younger and not as established in your career to have such strong opinions. I’ve already put in 15 years and do not feel I’ve made a feminine mistake. Please don’t be so quick to judge.

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23 Independent Beginnings

I think there is much more than money considerations that need to be thought through when making this decision. I personally would go crazy staying at home every day with kids. I need to get out of the house. I need to have a part of my life that belongs to myself. I could not handle being a stay at home mom. I think it is important that BOTH parents share in the work of parenting. For some, having one person stay at home will work better than both working, but I know that I could not do it. Make sure you think about whether or not you would enjoy what you are doing.

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24 Kristen

Good response to SassyMommy, Ryan. I get really upset when parents start nitpicking at one another and criticizing other parents’ choices. There are so many parenting issues where everyone gets hypercritical of one another (work vs. stay at home, day care, breastfeeding). What works well for one family may not work for another. Calling another parents crazy, selfish, lazy, uninterested, whatever, accomplishes nothing.

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25 Daniela

Thank you!!! Very well said!

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26 Kristie

GREAT post. I think your first line says it all – you PLANNED. We started planning before we had kids too, and it is the only way we could ever have done it feasibly for a decade. It wasn’t a permanent move, but it was a season and I have not a single regret.

I was a SAHM for 11 years and now work for a daycare. I love being pseudo-Mom and I love those kids and I do the very best I can for them, but they deserve better…their family. We can love and comfort them, but they want their Mommies and Daddies. And expecting a toddler or preschooler to be in a social routine for 8-10 hours a day is ridiculous. As somebody who comforts tired, lonesome little kids every day it may seem worth it for the parents, but often it isn’t for the children.

It’s never said in so many words, but the staff are encouraged to minimize (if not leave out) the reality if a child is frequently having tears, loneliness or aggression, so the parents feel better about their choice. That is so wrong. When I gave birth, I took on the responsibility to make my choices only in my best interests.

Daycare is about numbers to stay within the law, and less about the well-being of the children. Here, the law says we can have 10 preschoolers to every care worker. Have you ever tired caring for 10 children alone at once? You can’t watch them all – they’re busy! But that’s the law. Since that is the factor that decides whether or not our centre can stay open, that is where the emphasis is. We count heads constantly..every time a worker needs to pee or grab lunch, a child needs to be removed for toileting or have other needs tended too. We count. That takes precedence over learning, over playing, over outside time. Numbers. When you put your child in daycare, we fight every instinct to do it, but ultimately the system is set up to make your child a number. “Feminine Mistake” or not…it boils down to this…Is that REALLY the best we can do for our children. I can only say NO.

Not everyone is cut out to be a SAHM..I know that. And I don’t expect everyone should. But I like articles like this that at least encourage people to consider it as a option. Great job!

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27 jane

perhaps at your center you find it impossible to watch 10 preschoolers at once… but perhaps you just lack experience. it’s about finding a balance. it’s not ideal, but there are ways to supervise without sacrificing interaction. if they aren’t free playing all day long, they should have many opportunities to do group learning activities. it is our job as childcare teachers to find ways to engage them in learning during much of their day. if you’re alone with 10 children, then it’s your job to find a way to balance the kind of supervision you’re talking about, which is watching them during free play (where they choose learning centers to play in and move freely between them) and the kind of supervision which involves getting the whole class (if you’re alone) or groups in the class (if you have a co-teacher working along with you) engaged in activities that make learning fun and productive.

if you can be a stay at home mom, that’s fabulous. in reality, as hard as we try, we’re not one on one. but if you must or want to work (and there is nothing wrong with choosing either path in motherhood), then for heavens sake spend less time beating yourself up for your decision and more time carefully choosing a quality learning environment for your child. ask questions, make lists of your preferences and requirements, and don’t enroll until you find one that makes you feel comfortable.

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28 Dan

Sassy,

First things first: My mother was not crazy.

Taking care of children is not a “temp” job: The influence that a mother and father have on a child will mold him/her into the person that he/she will become for life. You are the person you are today based on how and by who you were raised.

Everyone’s situation is unique, and if being a full-time working mother works for someone, I certainly wouldn’t hold it against them. But please don’t make a blanket statement and refer to all stay-at-home moms as crazy just because Leslie Bennetts sez so.

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29 jenny

i beleieve there should always be one parent at home .you can work on line while baby sleeps or untill partner comes home . there are a lot of good companies to work for . the most important thin your little one comes first . its hard to make it on one income . even if the partner just makes enough to buy the groceries. that takes a hunk nowdays . get a rutine around babys wakeup and it will be a help . i know i had 5 children . the computer jobs are available . most you work at your own pace . theres even jobs on there to pick a shift . work 2 hours here and there . you can do it .

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30 Miss M

I earn too much to be the stay at home parent, these sort of arguments assume that the woman is the lower wage earner. The wage gap will likely start shrinking now that women are going college in greater numbers than men. I cant wait till men have to start doing the number crunching to decide if they should give up their careers to stay at home!

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31 Ryan

Miss M: I volunteered to be the stay at home dad but my wife wouldn’t let me! It’s becoming more common though, and I think that is a wonderful thing!

Gus: My article is by no means mean to be judgmental regarding anyone’s parenting decisions. I realize there are people who prefer to send their children to day care, and there are people have little to no choice in the matter.

I don’t think day care is the right or wrong solution, only that it is not the full-time solution for my wife and I at this time. I’m not opposed to sending our child(ren) to day care part time when they get older. I’m sure it would be good for them to learn social skills.

My wife and I feel blessed that we have the option of one of us being a stay at home parent, but we know the decision that works for us doesn’t work for everyone.

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32 Daniela

Well, not in my case. I made over 6 figures in Pittsburgh (that goes a long way), but with that money comes a lot of travel and long hours in corporate America. So it did not make sense in my case to continue working after a 15 year career post college -I would never be able to get my son out by the end of daycare…plus my husband travels constantly. Before you are so quick to judge, realize that there are other situations out there.

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33 Gus

I have never considered “shipping” our son off to daycare. Instead I just drive him there or take the train. Maybe I should consider the shipping option?

In all seriousness, I love how some stay at home parents consider daycare as some massive child factory where poor children are shipped by their thoughtless and insensitive parents. I would imagine that most parents that send their child(ren) to daycare want to cherish the time they have with them when they are young too.

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34 Gus

I just tend to notice in blogs, articles I read, and in conversations with stay at home dads or moms, that daycare has such a negative conotation and if you send your kids to daycare you notice that the stay at home parents constantly insert little jabs or make assumptions about your parenting based on the fact that you send your kid to daycare.

But I was being too harsh and I apologize Ryan. It’s a tough topic. Ideally we would have some family around to watch our son, but we don’t and my wife doesn’t want to quit working. So we sucked it up and got on multiple waiting lists (some over a year) and visited multiple daycares to get our son in one we were comfortable with. And now we pay $1200 a month in “tuition” (seriously, they call it that) for daycare, but my son absolutely loves the place (or they have brainwashed him) and has made wonderful friends out of the deal. So it is what it is and we are happy with it so far.

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35 Kristie

Sorry – I just read my response again and worded it wrong. I said
“When I gave birth, I took on the responsibility to make my choices only in my best interests.”

What I meant to say was that I GAVE UP the responsibility to make my choices only in my best interests.”

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36 Henry

Wow, it’s amazing that so many people have the option. For most, they couldn’t afford to do this whatsoever. Personally, as a father, if I could choose to not work, I would have in a second. But that’s not most people’s situation, nor is the money for daycare a wash with what a person can earn from even a parttime job

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37 Michael @ The Life Insurance Insider

We took the same approach. Before we had kids we focused and budgeted so we could live on my salary and saved hers. We bought our house knowing we’d have to pay for it on one salary. My wife loves raising our children.

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38 Ryan

Michael: Glad to hear it! It’s amazing how many people don’t plan these things in advance. It’s a major life decision and major financial decision! :-)

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39 Becky@FamilyandFinances

Put me in the “planning to stay home” group! My husband and I will hopefully have a family in the next couple of years and I am really looking forward to being a mom. I guess it’s just my personality, but I’ve *never* been a career woman. I’m almost 30 and I’ve been looking forward to full time motherhood since I was 18! :)

Financially, we have been saving my income since we’ve been married. We also plan on getting some hefty life insurance policies.

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40 Julie

My husband and I both have low-medium 6-figure earning potentials, but we barely even discussed whether I would stay at home with our kids–it was pretty much assumed that we wouldn’t have kids until we were ready to live on his single salary. As a consequence, we are older (38 and 40, having our third and final child in July), but very happy with our decision. We have since decided that I’ll be homeschooling my kids, so I may never go back to full-time work, (given my age +20 more years) but it’s something we’re prepared for. I recently took on a work at home permanent consulting job in technology evaluation and commercialization. I will probably average $1000/month until I can pick up more hours in a couple of years when my kids get older (they’re currently 4, 2, and fetal). I’ll probably peak at $2500-$3500/month which is enough for us to meet our saving and investing goals. After a few years, I am thinking about becoming a patent agent to make some more free-lance type money and keep my resume and mind active–you just never know if life is going to work out the way you’d like and there’s always a chance I could be in a position where I have to work full-time to support my family.

I definitely advise people staying at home with their kids, whether you think it’s going to be short, medium, or long term, to keep up with your skills and keep an ear out for opportunities for free-lance type work. It’ll make you feel good to know you’re contributing financially to your family (taking some pressure off of the other parent) will keep your educationally/vocationally mind active and keep you connected to the non-parenting world.

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41 Ryan

Julie: I think it’s great that you found a way to work from home while being a stay at home mom. You are keeping your skills and resume fresh, contributing to the household income, and getting some professional interaction to challenge you and keep your mind sharp.

My wife has similar plans with maintaining her medical licenses and staying current, and she also plans to help me with our small business. I hope it works out as well for us as it has for your family! :)

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42 Lesley

I gave up a high paying high-tech job to stay home for 5 years.
It was the best decision – for our family, & I loved being home.
Career wise, I got right back into the swing of work – and love it.. 3 years back now.
My tips : keep your resume up-today .. add in volunteering, community involvement, try to take a few classes or workshops to stay current.

When you are at home — get to know your neighbors and parents at the school. This network is a huge help when you are back to work.

Best wishes to all of you

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43 Ryan

Lesley: I’m glad to hear it worked well for you and your family! Thanks for adding the great tips. :)

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44 Margaret

Congrats Ryan & Mrs on finding a way for someone parental to be home for the CRITICAL birth to 3yrs stage. I’m an elementary teacher & worked 6 mos in the 2-yr-old “class” at a daycare. Like Kristie, I enjoy being a pseudo-mom (I LOVE it when my 2nd graders slip and call me ‘mom’ once in a while; it’s a HUGE compliment) All the research we’re taught in continuing ed indicates that school success is pretty much set by what happens from birth-3.

Most people reading & commenting on this forum I feel safe to assume would do (if possible for their families) the stay-at-home thing the “right” way. By that I mean read and talk to their children, do or let them do crafty things and play outside, play with things rather than electronics and monitor the TV/Videos being watched, and feed them as nutritiously as they are able. That kind of B-3 experience makes for happy school years, but the kind where the ‘parent’ parks the kid in front of the TV and/or game console with a junk food meal and whose goal is to keep the kid quiet so their TV show can be heard is not the kind of B-3 experience that makes for good school years. The second kind of parent would be better off getting their child into a daycare as soon as possible.

There is a difference between “daycare” and “preschool,” by the way. Preschool takes a more active role in prepping kids for Kindergarten and is generally for older children (3s & 4s) and you’re assumed to be there every day the full time (half-day preschool & rest of it daycare, if offered at the facility for those who need it) At a place like that, your payment truly is tuition, because these children start Kindergarten ready to meet the high expectations our culture has of this ‘grade’ now.

Daycare, is more like what Kristie described, and what I worked in – they start with infants and go up from there. Parents can be flexible in bringing and picking up their children through the day and that’s why the constant counting is necessary – the numbers fluctuate. As soon as it drops to 10 in the afternoon, the 2nd person is often sent home. Many will have their staff do circle time where letters & numbers and songs take place, but it’s not the main emphasis of the facility. Some of those children adapt to Kindergarten well & some learn there for the 1st time all the social expectations of school such as sitting in a desk or at a table for more than eating and paying attention to what a teacher says.

That said, one thing I would like to throw out for all you parents is to consider that transition from home to Kindergarten. We have much higher expectations of 5 year olds than ever, and if you are able, it would be helpful for most children to prepare by being in a preschool (half day!) that last year before Kindergarten to learn all the ‘school’ skills that a teacher with 18 or more Kindergartners needs them to be able to do. There is a big difference between learning at home and learning as one of many in a classroom (Yes, homeschoolers, I know, that’s one of the reasons why you homeschool ;-)

That said, kids are pretty adaptable, and if you know what is going to be expected of them once they hit school, you can plan ways for them to be able to meet those expectations whether your family has someone at home or not. As several have commented, planning is the key, not reacting to the situations that arise.

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45 Ryan

Margaret Thanks for the excellent comment. I just learned a lot!

My wife and I have discussed sending our child to day care part time when she gets a little older. I think it will be important for her to learn social skills and also give my wife a break. :-)

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46 Abby

I’ve been a SAHM, a WAHM and a full-time working woman with a baby on her hip. I agree that there’s no perfect solution, but after four years and two kids, my husband and I are mapping out a third way that I rarely hear discussed.

We’ll both work, probably full-time, but we’ll both work at less demanding jobs.

Given our educations and professions, they’re tough to find – no one believes you’re willing to halve your salary for quality of life – especially in a shaky job market. But earlier this year, I managed to land a full-time job in a flexible, family-friendly workplace just four blocks from home. (And two blocks from our church’s fabulous childcare center.)

Now we can afford for my husband to give up his private sector job for something less lucrative, but more accommodating.

For us, the most important equation was figuring out how to get the maximum hours together as a family. As with me as a SAHM, it meant daddy spent too many hours at the office for us to feel like it made sense for all of us.

IMHO, the biggest issue isn’t necessarily the choice to work or stay-at-home – it is the fact that it feels like such an all-or-nothing equation for both parents. When did 60 hour workweeks become the norm?!

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47 kellen

abby,

i am really intrigued by this third option. my husband and i are trying to sort that all out right now. i just went back to work about 3 month ago doing something that has been my dream. it is amazing that i have this option. my husband has been home with our son for these months but is starting to get a little anxious and wanting to have some professional development as well.

We want as much time as a family and as much time home as well. We have both hated this all or nothing mentality and are trying to think of ways around it. We really want to look at the role of parenting as equal and the pursuit of our career paths as equal. As our son gets older it is easier, he is almost 2. Of course things will change again and again as we think about expanding this family.

Any good resources, thoughts, etc for those on this road would be well appreciated. It seems like the only options and examples out there are the extremes…we are just hell bent on finding another way.

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48 Ryan

Kellen, I don’t think it has to be one or the other, or any extreme. That is just the way much of society is set up – for instance, there are many companies that will not allow people to work from home, and not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur or freelancer. I think it takes a lot of creativity, fortitude, and sometimes luck, to make it work. But if there is a will, there is a way. Best to you and yours.

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49 Ryan

Abby: I love that you and your husband were able to find a solution that works for your family. I wouldn’t be opposed to taking a pay cut if the situation made sense, and quality of life is one of those situations where I would consider it – if it meant more time at home with my family.

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50 plonkee

I’m not a fan of women staying at home to look after children. I respect the decision that you and your wife have come to together, and I hope that it all works out for you.

On a practical note, giving up work means a serious setback in your career. I see that you mentioned this, but I think it’s something that people don’t consider enough. People just tend to see the immediate costs, paying tax, childcare, commuting, etc rather than considering all the other things that come with employment in the long term – a growing income stream, retirement contributions, social security payments, etc.

People deride daycare, and it makes me wonder whether they really believe that if you put your children into daycare those kids will be confused as to who their parents are. I’m not sure that happens, certainly hasn’t happened in my family.

Finally, and on a purely selfish note, the prevalence of women giving up work for kids perpetuates the assumption that women earn less, all love children, and are less interested in their careers. None of those things are true. I wouldn’t ask someone to stay in work just to please me, but I still find it annoying.

Ryan, you are a sensible person, I’m certain that you’ve considered this all carefully. It read to me that most people commenting were those who made the same decision as you, so I thought I’d be awkward and disagree. If I had kids, I suspect my experience would be like Four Pillars – don’t forget to review your options regularly.

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51 Ryan

plonkee: I understand your position, and I think it’s great that you know what works for you. My wife and I thought about her career and we came to the conclusion that she could more or less get back into the workforce if/when it became necessary. She works in the medical field and there are almost always positions available (though maybe not exactly what she would want to be doing at the time). Still the option is there.

Regarding stereotypes of SAHM’s, I could care less. Heck, I even volunteered to break the biggest stereotype and let my wife continue with her career while I played SAHD. Of course I would still bring in some income from my small business, but stay at home dads and working moms still isn’t a common arrangement in the US.

Regarding day care, there are certainly pros and cons. We chose to raise our children for the first few years of life, but I am sure we will place them in day care for a few hours or days per week when they grow older. It will be good for their social growth, and also give mom a much needed break!

I appreciate your comment, plonkee. Everyone has a situation that works best for them. The key is to find it and make it work. :)

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52 Emma

I was in a position to be able to stay at home with my son, however became anxious about my career and all the work I had put in prior to his birth. I took a position in an area that interested me greatly and felt I was well on the path to success and reaching my goal. However after three months away from my son, I was unable to continue, I missed him very much. I resigned from the position and I am starting to really enjoy my time with him, and my other three children and we all seem relieved to have the pressure alleviated. It is correct that you have to do what is right for your own situation. I thought I knew what was right for me, until one morning my son said momma, I struggled to get to work that morning…

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53 Chosethislife

I have jumped out an airplane 86 times, I have raced motorcycles, I travelled to China for a whole summer alone. I have worked in radio both on-air and off, been a professional project manager and checked off all the cliche’s about youth that one should while I was in my twenties.

I’m a stay at home Mom with two kids 4 and 2.5 and this HANDS DOWN is the scariest, most challenging thing I have EVER done in my life. Yes… there are days where I have stood in the middle of my kitchen and screamed “WOULD YOU JUST STOP CRYING!!!” (’cause we all know how much THAT helps). And then there are times when I’m sandwiched between the two of them, both with their little heads on my shoulders when I think “Yeah… THIS is what it’s all about!”

No one can prepare you for the intensity you will experience if you stay at home… rage, dispair, hate, pain… these feelings happen almost on a daily basis when you have little kids… they are transparent little beings and most of humanity has no freakin’ clue what to do with such raw emotions. But I do. Most of days, all can be resolved with “Wow, you really, really are _____.” Then I pick them up, give them a cuddle, breathe and low and behold, they jump down and life moves on. And then there are those days when I haven’t gotten enough sleep, or food, or exercise or time alone or all of the above where the incident in the kitchen happens. It does happen… and guess what. It’s ok. Because hey… we’re all learning over here. We’re all just learning.

There is one thing that gets to me… our society does NOT value parenting… big houses, double car garages yes, but parenting not at all. This is a freakin’ TOUGH JOB PEOPLE… and yes, it’s not for the faint of heart. But so is being a doctor, or a lawyer or a judge… And we all accept what personal sacrifices these professionals have to make…

And ok – I get it… you “can’t handle staying at home”… but consider this… child care workers are some of the lowest paid workers in our country. Yes, there is quality child care out there, but it is far from common and far from being accessible to the majority of working families. Now… if YOU as the one who loves this child the very most “can’t handle it” how do you think someone who is being paid minimum wage is going to “handle it”? And that worker doesn’t just have ONE “it” to handle… they usually have six! SIX to ONE – and that’s considered to be a GOOD ratio!

So, yes… every family has different needs. Fine… sure. But what about the needs of the child? But seriously… your CHILD…. this is YOUR child. A priceless, unreplaceable being that you created. Would you give your mercedes to someone to drive 40 hours a week?

Just read, read, read and make an informed decision. Just don’t tell me “I can’t handle it” again – what job is there on earth where it’s all rainbows and sparkles every day? Zero – that’s how many (ok – one – the cookie factory worker).

But I promise you… when you die – and you will someday die… the last words you utter will NOT be “Gee… I wish I would have spent more time at work.” It will be the name of the one most precious to you… maybe your wife, maybe your kids, maybe the one you loved but let get away… you’ll reach for that one person who guarded you and protected you through those turbulent times…
hell… you might even call for your mama.

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54 Diana

Speechless! Thank you! My husband and I have been married fifteen years, tried for a baby fourteen years, adopted the most precious baby last year. My husband has given me the option of staying home with our baby. I am a teacher of fourteen years and very nervous about leaving my profession. My husband doesn’t want me to look back and regret that I didn’t take the opportunity to spend these precious years with my baby. The plan is that I will go back to work afer our little one starts school. I guess I am scared that I won’t be the teacher that I have been when I return. Until now, I ate, drank, and loved every moment with my students. But I absolutely adore my precious child that I have waited so long for. So again, thank you for your comments. I need to hear what you had to say.

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55 Lisa

I have come back to read the post by “Chosethislife”‘ several times. You are inspiring, passionate and realistic! Thank you so much!

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56 Emily

Wow, thank you. I have had a similar “past life” as you, had both my boys after 35, and never in a million years thought I would want to be a stay-at-home Mom. Surprise! Even after #1, I was ready to go back to work and returned promptly after 3 months. But now, after #2, I don’t want to do it anymore. In the past, I worked gigs, night jobs, things the world deems as less stable (but really exciting!) but offered me more time with my first son. But then after #2, I decided to get a little more realistic with my career choices and chose a day job as a means of career longevity, and ironically my taking it has actually had the opposite effect. I joined the 9-5 world–which I learned is really actually 8-6–(when did that happen?!). The day care we chose is awesome, really really amazing, but having them there 9 hours a day is quite excessive. I can see that both boys are exhausted emotionally when I pick them up (as am I, actually). The tuition is yes, $1500/mo for both of them, which is just about half my take home salary for the month. I’m currently in the process of trying to figure out how to separate, how to make this happen. We, unlike many of you, did not plan on this, and that does not mean that we are not planners. When my husband and I met we did talk about our plans–we knew we wanted to have kids and I very plainly said that I had no intention of staying home, period, and that my career made me a more valuable parent and that he’d have to deal with that. I went to day care from day 1 and both my brother and I turned out just fine (true story). The nice thing, actually, is that even after agreeing wholeheartedly to that statement some 8 years ago, that now he’s kinda sorta starting to be on board with actually doing the opposite. In a perfect world, I’d stay home, do part time work, the kids would still go to “school” 2 days a week–because for real, it really is that amazing. Can we survive it?? I guess we’ll find out.

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57 Rebecca Rivera

Raising my boys is my career. I am so blessed to be a mom and have them in my life. My oldest is already 11, it goes by so quick. I don’t want to look back and think I worked too much. I am a single mom so I have had to work, so I opened an in home daycare (it helps that I love being with children.) It is alot of work (about 60 hours a week in childcare, paperwork, and planning.) But I am with my children. Plus for the families in my care, I treat them all like family and love them as such. The parents feel confident at work since they know the children are with me. I also do a preschool curriculum so all the children love learning (it is all very hands on.) I have a teaching degree, but if I worked and paid daycare I would make no more than I make now. I am licensed through my state to do childcare, just like a larger daycare.

I think our society needs to realize how important raising children is. Even if you work full time, still make your children your priority, not your career.

-Becky in NJ

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58 Meri

Who said anything about working parents choosing to prioritize their career over their kids? Seriously. You had to find a way to earn an income so you of all people should understand that life is expensive. You found the gray area of working from home, so why are your last two sentences of your post so black and white?!

Totally shaking my head at your comments.

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59 Melinda

Yay, for all all stay at home parents!

It’s amazing how the natural progression of looking after your own progeny, (particularly in our case) equates to then taking care of Alzheimer’s Parents once your own are happily off at school.

What a blessing it has been for all!
We have 2 children aged 11 & 8 and both maternal grandparents up to ANZAC Day (25 April) this year (where we lost Mum).

However, now Dad requires extra special care & love and we are honoured to do that………………

Furthermore, how important it is for your children to see you caring for others in need.

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60 ScrapperMom

I am in the SAHM camp but was working part time at home before the economy took a nose dive. I had been working 20 hrs a week. I’m a professional engineer and was able to work for a very small company while my first born napped (the house was never clean!). It was an excellent situation for over 1 1/2 yrs. Helping us pay down debts quicker and increase our emergency fund. Now with two, I’m not sure if working from home would be possible, but my husband and I are in the “prepare to SAH” camp, Unfortunately, since my boss could not keep giving me 20 hrs, I did not even have an opportunity to try it with the 2 kids.

That being said, I always knew I wanted to stay home. I do love my work and liked going downstairs to do grown-up things and work, but I am a real homebody and would have it no other way. I don’t enjoy cleaning, but love to cook and play with the kids. The way I figure it, I might never be a partner in a company, but I can return to work at some point and still have plenty of time to be an engineer. Right now my children need me and I want to be there for them. This is something that has always been important to me and my husband and I had discussed this from the beginning.

I think if you want to stay home and can pull your finances together to do so, there is nothing as rewarding. I had considered (if I didn’t get laid off) sending my daughter to childcare a few days a week so I could work, but am now thinking about joining the homeschooling camp as well.

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61 Ryan

ScrapperMom: Thanks for sharing your story! There are so many options out there, and the important thing is that you and your husband found the one that worked for your situation. The opportunity to work will always be there. Like you said – you may never be a partner or CEO, but you will always be a mother!

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62 Ginna

Interesting forum with inetersting views. I have been married almost 3 years and my husband and I are considering starting a family end of this year. I have a Masters degree and am working as a Family Nurse Practitioner full-time right now. I already know I plan to stay home with our children. My mom did it, my mother-in-law did it and so do all of my sister-in-laws. I think being a mother is a priceless and rewarding job and have always dreamt of being one..God willing.

While I understand that some mothers must work due to financial circumstances I think staying home is really important. I have had a lot of friends go right back to work just weeks after having their baby. I just dont think it is enough time to bond. Women have babie for a reason, it is why our bodies are built to do so. Your children bond with you more closely because of this than your husband, at least in the beginning. Plus, what do all these mothers who go back to work do about breast feeding? It is argumentally the most important thing for your baby. Even more reason to stay home.

I have struggled with the fact that I just spent years in school and will have only been an NP for 2 years before having a child if all works at. Dont get me wrong I will probably go back to the workforce once my children are in school. But i just can’t justify not staying home with my young one. Luckily my husband has a job that can afford me to stay at home.

But as everyone has said each mother has to do whats best for them!

Thank you for getting us thinking and debating!

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63 Ryan

Ginna: Thanks for sharing your opinion. Best of luck with your decision when the time comes!

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64 beth

I take issue with the “shipping them off to daycare” bit. My Mom offered to take care of my little one if/when I went back to work but I prefer he be in licensed daycare. I want him to make himself some little pals, learn new things, try stuff that I might not think of for him. I think daycare can be good prep for school, which comes up pretty quick. We’ve worked it out that he’ll spend 3 days/wk at daycare and the rest with me or my husband or both of us.

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65 Erin

Sassy I never knew being a mom was only temporary, to think I thought it was a life long commitment. LOL On a serious note I have been mostly a Stay at home mom for the past 14 years. But I will admit curiousity got to me and I returned to work at the Public School as a Secretary/ Teachers Aide. I thought being a career mom would be exciting and finally when people asked what I did I could say something Important. All I can say is after being a working mom I realize its very tiring and it was not for me at all. I am doing something Important and it has taken me quite a few years to realize my being at home is what is best for my entire family. I will say being in the School system children that come from stable parent involved homes (mom or Dad) at home are very balanced and well mannered. Call me crazy but I love being ” Just a Mom’ besides sassy my career will never come visit me in the old folks home but my boys will! Love staying home!

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66 Melinda

Kristie,

How true your post rings for me.

I chose to work in a Daycare for a half a year (the worst 6 months of my life – EVER) I previously had been a full-time Nanny for 3 different families over 10 years. (The best working years of my life – EVER)!

After 6 months of looking after other people’s children in ‘the numbers’ environment I had to get out! I had 15 children aged 3-5year olds under my sole care. That was unreasonable! Please explain to me where the quality for the children is in that!

I plan to be a stay-at-home-mum forever! Those children of ours (11 year old girl, 8 year old boy) need us more as they get older and face the pressures of teenage angst & temptation.

I Praise the Lord everyday He has give us the where-with-all in the form of ‘simple living’ to do just this!

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67 Tricia Smith

I am so happy for you both that you have the option( financially) to have a parent at home! I myself, am a working mom with a broken heart. I’m trying to complete my schooling so I can have only 1 great paying job instead of 2 O.K paying jobs and maybe not have to work as many hours. Thankfully I have two grandmas who help out a lot and I can avoid most of the expensive daycare costs. I also know they are being well taken care of which helps me not feel like a failed parent. Best wishes!

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68 QuickSilver

I think there is something else you should take into consideration: which partner makes more money. Whichever one makes more money than the other, than that partner is probably better off staying at home to raise the kids. But one of the things that I hate about the stereotype of working moms, is that without moms at home, the kids would be latchkey kids or whatever. I hate these stereotypes of working mothers, like working mothers are supposedly bad mothers.

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69 Ryan

I think whoever earns more is a good factor to consider, but I don’t think it should be set in stone. As long as the family has enough money to live comfortably, then the mother and father should work it out and decide the best solution for their situation.

And I agree, I don’t think there should be a stereotype about working mothers, or fathers. Each family should find what works best for their situation and roll with .it. :-)

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70 jj

I plan to be a working mom for several reasons. I think it’s admirable that you and many others point out that a SAHM can keep current on their skills and prepare for the return. However, the reality I’ve seen among my friends and colleagues is that the ones who stay home do NOT keep current and are unable to find a decent job afterwards. Just my 2 cents. I think the years of staying home changes a person a great deal, making them less prepared for the pace and deadlines of the working world, and many employers believe this also (fairly or not).

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71 Daniela

Oh my goodness…as a fit and energetic 41 year old with a 3 year old (SAHM -formerly an executive in corp America)…you must have never done the SAHM thing. This is the hardest job I’ve ever had -I can surely handle the pace and deadlines of the working world after this. You have no idea…

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72 angie

I have been a stay at home mom since my oldest was born 10 years ago. Itwas the best decision we made, but every family is different. For us, it works wonderfully. We have 3 kids ages 3,7 & 10. I do babysit for another family part time (1 day or sometimes 2 days a week) for just some “fun” money. I will most likely return to part time work once my 3 year old is in school full time. I doubt I will work full time as I find caring for my family & home to be very rewarding. I see my future part time work as a means to help fund college accounts & pay for a nice vacation every year. I have a college degree, so it’s not like I don’t have options should something change for us financially. My husband is an engineer & he works much more than your standard 8-5 workweek. While he works a lot, he also has a very secure & well paying job. I think it would be very stressful for me to work full time given his hours. I don’t mind, since I enjoy being home.

I can certaintly understand many families decision to have both parents in the workforce full time. Life is expensive, and I think any situation can work. I dislike people who take one side or the other as the “RIGHT” way to parent. My goodness I know wonderful children who have stay at home moms & I know just as many equally wonderful children who have moms who work.

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73 Mum-to-be

Great topic!

Gee…I am so jealous that it is an easy decision for you!

I am pregnant with our first child and it really changes everything or on how I view things now. I used to be the ‘No-I will work and achieve my dreams no matter what happens’…or ‘I can’t stay at home doing nothing’…. However, now…the baby changes everything.

I am a geologist and used to work on offshore rigs on an on call basis and usually be there for a month and then back on land again. After discovered I am pregnant, they put me in the office which is dreading because I am not used to office environment..feeling unproductive because very new in office environment. 4 years being offshore and now in the office?? Meanwhile, my husband is a sailor and is usually at sea for at least 3 months (duh!!) and on land for a month.

The main thing that has been playing in my head is if I should stay at home and concentrate on the baby once delivered? I used to be a very outgoing person and then slowed down when I discovered that I am pregnant. I am not sure if staying at home will be sort of a culture shock for me or not.

I do not have any close relatives around. Parents still working. Maids/nannies are pretty expensive and I don’t think I trust our child to being in the hands of foreign maids when nowadays in my country there are cases of maids/nannies abusing kids. Even when I am working in the office now and after delivery, I will probably only have around 4 hours to spend with our baby before going to bed because the road traffic is horrendous that it takes 1-2 hours just to get home. And after back from work, probably will get busy cooking preparing for dinner at 9 pm (and this haven’t even spend time with baby yet!). After dinner, then probably I can actually spend time but maybe tired. And I usually get to bed by 11 pm because I will need to get up for work at 6.30 am. So lets see…..2 hours only with the baby????? And I think it will be just me and the baby when husband is off sailing…

The thing is now…we are not financially stable yet. I don’t think we can survive with only one income which is from my husband as he also has his family to support (his mum is a single mum with 2 schooling siblings and one mentally challenged sibling). We have lots of commitments to pay off and we don’t even own a house yet! Just renting. Money is mostly used on traveling expenses to work (1/4 of my current salary just for traveling expenses!). The rest are on utilities..things for the house (to make it look more like a house!)..

The things that are running in my head right now is..

1) After all these years of schooling, college and having a degree in geology..I am afraid that I would regret the decision of staying at home (because so used to outdoor life) and having to have your own money without having to ask from your husband.

2) In the same time, I do not want to regret having not spend much time with our baby and worst thing is if they favour the nanny more! (which does happen) This is going to be our first child and of course I would like to witness the progress of our baby..first step..first word..etc.

My heart says to stay at home and spend time with kids. I have been thinking about working from home. But still not sure what kind of things/activities should I do. Unfortunately I am not the type who sews..or knit etc. I play drums and guitars, and I doubt the baby can sleep with noises at home (if I ever planned to teach at home!)

I would appreciate if anyone can comment on this. I have heard lots of advice and read posts here….however, I just can’t stop this feeling of fear…

Thank you…

Mum-to-be.

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74 Ryan

Mum-to-be, Thanks for sharing your situation. This is certainly a decision you and your husband will need to make together. It is not an easy decision, but it is definitely one of the most important decisions you will make in the next few years.

I encourage you and your husband to talk openly about your plans, goals, desires, and expectations. You may also find it helpful to speak with friends, family members, fellow church members if you go to church, or online forums.

I wish you and your husband the best of luck with your decision. :)

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75 Melinda (Aussie-Girl)

Mum-to-be,

Heart goes out to you…………….
Staying at home can be …………..very isolating.

However, there are so many options at your fingertips and it’s so exciting for both you and your soon-to-be child to be involved in.

For example, in Australia we have this great support network called ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association) Sure, it helps you if you breastfeed, but the support it offers at all levels is phenomenal.

A Playgroup where like-minded parents meet together informally in a hall, someone else’s home or community centre is another option.

Toy Library is big here also – borrow toys which babies and children use for such limited times & return 2 weeks later for a small annual fee of appox. $50.00

Dear Mum-to-be don’t limit yourself as to what you can do…………
Embrace yourself and your gorgous new bub and try new things together…….
You’ll be amazed at how far it will take you both!

PS: I’m still A Stay-at-Home-Mum and my darling husband & children (11 & 8) bless me everyday for this decision.
We still live on one wage with husband’s wage not changing much in nearly 2 decades – God always provides………
Furthermore, I’m taking a well needed break for the rest of the week because I’ve over-commited myself to my pastoral, family & school community.

God bless you in all you do, Melinda

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76 Mum-to-be

Wow…thank you Ryan & Melinda for your advises.

Well, I guess it all comes back to priorities (more $$?or family?). And yes, thank you for reminding me that God provides…I know that He said not to worry about tomorrow because he will take care of us…and also just have faith in Him. Even when I know those words..I think I just need to be reminded especially in this kind of situation.

I have talked to friends..parents..etc..and everyone has got different advises. Most of them would say that it is such a waste to stop working after all these years of going to school etc… but you know what, I think it will be up to my husband and I. It is already bad enough for the baby only get to be with the dad after few months and off again.. what more to say with me only going to spend 2 hours a day with baby (if I am still with my current job)? And being a mother ain’t a part time job!

And yes, I think we do have something like the ABA in Malaysia..I just found out just now.

Will discuss with my husband when he gets back from sea!

Thank you Ryan & Melinda..

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77 Lola

Well, I have three babies…3 months, 2 and 4. I was offered a long term/whole school year sub. position in a school district an hour away. In this neck of the woods the only way to get hired is to know someone on the school board or sub for a really long time. I have not worked full time since we had our first–I have not worked at all in over a year. I have been taking care of our children at home. I am not sure at all of what I should do. I know that I want to be with my children–they are only little for a little while–makes me so sad when I think of leaving them. But then if I do not take this job I will be screwing myself of ever getting one in this field.

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78 Ryan

I agree with Melinda in many respects. If you need the money to get by, then you should probably take the position. If you prefer to be a stay at home mom for another few years and can do without the money for the time being, then you can probably afford to wait awhile. It is very possible a better position in a closer location may pop up in the near future, which would be better for you and your family (an hour commute each way is a long way to go each day, and removes you from your family for an extra 10 hours each week).

Best of luck in your decision. :-)

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79 Melinda (Aussie-Girl)

Lola,

It appears your last comment is causing you to hurry into something you may not really want at all.

“But then if I do not take this job I will be …………..”

There will be a job there sometime, someone has to take maternity leave, someone will retire, someone may have another offer elsewhere.

If you possibly can, don’t let the ‘sense of urgency’ drive your decision.

Obviously, if financially, things are looking pretty grim you may need to review but you will not regret ever spending those precious years with your babies.

Good luck and God bless in whatever you decide to do!

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80 Lola

Yes, I am down to the wire here on this one. I only have about an hour before I have to let the school know my decision. The problem is that they asked me last summer and have since hired people that were well below me on “the list” of subs. And if I pass this one up I most likely will never be asked again and will move on to the next sub. (I think they asked me out of a favor of my father–who works at the district)

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81 Mum-to-be

Lola,
I am not a mum yet but I have a friend who has the same situation as yours. She has to work to support herself and her 3 kids. Her neighbour is babysitting her kids when she goes to work.

However despite that, you don’t sound like you are ready to leave your kids to go to work. Like what Melinda said, I think there will be other jobs for you at the right time. I don’t think that is the only job in the world for you. Maybe next time even better?

I have got a friend who stays at home for few years but still has a job because she keeps on updating her CV..by teaching tuitions at home just for 3 hours a week. I am not sure if that works there.

Good luck in whatever decision you make!!

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82 Lola

I have to call in less than ten minutes! See my husband is a police officer and we are living paycheck to paycheck right now. But between the sub pay and the gas money, and the money I will spend on getting my room ready, also 3 days a week child care, my mother in law would help two days (if I help her out with the grocery bill)–I just dont know if I can really afford to work! Thanks for all your help. Will let you know what I decide.

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83 Lola

I have to call in less than ten minutes! See my husband is a police officer and we are living paycheck to paycheck right now. But between the sub pay and the gas money, and the money I will spend on getting my room ready, also 3 days a week child care, my mother in law would help two days (if I help her out with the grocery bill)–I just dont know if I can really afford to work! Thanks for all your help. Will let you know what I decide.

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84 Briana M.

i feel that moms should work and let the children go to day care!

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85 Daniela

Thanks for your opinion! Glad that is what makes you happy…but please realize there are other options and opinions as well.

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86 Karen

My fiance and I have talked extensively about this topic. We finally came to the decision that, when we have children, I’ll stay at home and raise them, as well as homeschool them (for K-8 years, and then private school for high school). I plan to go for a masters through an online program or start my own home business (or write a book) while at home. With a masters and continued community involvement, it will help me to stay career viable in the event of a family crisis (medical bills for children/spouse/self, layoff, house burns down, etc).

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87 Nita

Staying home is a personal choice. I never felt comfortable doing so because I loved working. I have four kids and a supportive husband who worked from home for 4 years while owning his own business. Also, the reason staying home didnt’ work for me was when my husband got laid off from his job, we were happy that I had a viable income such that the total financial burden of the home didn’t rely completely on him. Also, we perferred to send our kids to school by the age of 3 yrs. Also, we did the alternate work schedule for a time when he first started his at home business. After our youngest turned 3yrs, my husband was more than happy to work outside of the home and sell his business. Staying home is a matter of choice. I personally would have been unhappy doing so.

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88 Amanda

I’m not sure it is fair to say that those of us that have to use day care are “letting someone else raise our children.” I use day care and am absolutely positive that I – not the day care provider – am raising my 12 month old daughter. I understand why some people feel this way, but it isn’t a fair or accurate assumption. In fact, I sometimes think about staying home and have actually decided that my daughter might not be better off. I never would have thought this possible, but she loves being able to be around all the kids and loving teachers. Just wanted to note this for anyone reading this article. When I have my second, I still may stay home….it’s a tough decision for sure.

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89 Josephine

Sad to say but You are partially raising her.

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90 Lynn

Josephine: maybe you are partially mooching off of whoever pays your bills…

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91 Kimberly

I agree with the last comment posted. It really angers me when I hear comments derogatory toward working moms, such as “they are letting someone else raise their child if he / she goes to daycare.” Being a SAHM or working mom is a personal choice and no one should be made to feel guilty for the choice they have made with regard to that part of their life. Would it be better for a mother to stay home with her child and risk losing the house because financially the family will just be scraping by each month? Even if I were able to stay home, I would still want my son to attend daycare part-time each week. He loves playing with the children, making arts and crafts, story-time and all of the other activities offered at his school. I am confident that he is being stimulated and having fun each day while I am at work, and I spend each night loving him up and being a good mother. Whether I work or don’t work, does not have an impact on my mothering skills, and I am not letting someone else raise my child.

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92 Karen

My husband and I are trying to make this decision right now. I think that daycare is letting someone else raise your children. I mean, by the time everyone gets home, it’s almost time to go to bed and then how much time are the parents really spending with the children compared to the daycare worker. I would like to stay home, but we are finding it difficult to figure out how we can afford it. I earn more than my husband, but we both would rather me stay at home with the children. I am a certified k-8 teacher and could home school. Plus, with breast-feeding, etc. etc. I am the obvious choice :-).

I appreciate everyone’s input and I appreciate your honest opinions. I will let you know what we decide and why.

Thanks,
Karen

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93 Victoria

Yes, I do understand working or not working is a personal choice. We are in the age of “whatever makes Us happy”. We are talking about little lives being molded, by others. I’ve worked and stayed home. Let me tell you ladies, if I had the knowledge of the impact on my child’s life it was to have me home, I would do it over in a heartbeat with my child I left in daycare. It is a blessing to be home with the little ones. The only guilt being felt is the heartstrings being tugged by knowing what the right thing is to do. May all of you struggling with this decision choose what is right for your child. You can never get those years back. All I can say is Budget, Budget, Budget. With God All Things Are Possible.

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94 Jennifer

This really touched me. I’m struggling right now on making the right decision. I was a stay at home mom almost 5 years and I’ve been working a little over 1 now, and we realized how expensive it would be for both our children in summer day care. Although we would still profit me working in the summer, we started to wonder if I should be home again. I’m trying to make my decision before the end of the school year so I know exactly what I’m doing with my children in the summer. (Oh, by the way, they are 7 and 4.) My youngest will be starting kindergarten and I remember with my 7 year old, I watched him till the door closed and I was there when the door opened. If I choose to work, I’ll be dropping my 4 year old off through the “drive through” I call it. I know what is right for my children, but I’m unsure if we can honestly afford me not working. We would have enough for the bills and food and that’s it! It would be a major struggle and wonder if we can really do it.

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95 vijay kulkarni

in a few words comment on this the best way to making money without harrashment.

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96 Jenn

Being a working mom to a 3 year old, I struggle with this decision every day. I work full-time and hate it. IMO, working part-time is the perfect solution. It allows a foot in the door as far as the workplace and staying fresh but also allows the one-on-one time needed. Working full-time only allows limited time to spend with your kids because here is the reality of a day- get up, take kid to “school”, work, work, work, pick kid up, get home, start dinner, finish dinner, bath, small amount of play time, bed, and repeat X5. Then the weekends are for packing in family time along with ordinary household chores. There never seems to be enough time. Make certain to factor in commute time when making your decision but this does take a big chunk out of the day as well. This is just my input but it is coming from someone “living the dream” and it isn’t working for me.

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97 Daniela

(((hugs)))
I know -part time I believe would be the way to go. Unfortunately many professions just haven’t gone that way yet. It is very frustrating…

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98 ann

In today’s society we are expected to work and deciding to stay home to raise your children has no longer become a way of life. I am a stay at home mom of also 4 children. I can tell you now it has been the best decision we have ever made. No it has not been easy and most of the time exhausting, though it has been extremely rewarding and fullfilling to know that we have instilled our family values, faith. Our children are in their teens now and always thank us for the decision we made. Remember material things come and go, a childs love is priceless.

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99 Nathan

AMEN!

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100 Holly

I agree with Ann. It was refreshing to read your comments. It must be such a blessing to have your teens thank you for your decision to be there for them as their mother. I am also thankful for a mother who stayed at home with us 3. We are all in our 30’s now and I know each one of us thanks God for her patience, hard work and dedication to each of us. I know it is not easy. I am blessed to stay at home with mine as well.

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101 Vikki

First, thank you to all of the working mothers out there. Working moms who put their heart and soul into their kids after all day at work amaze me.

Thank you also to everyone who mentioned their desire and need to spend more time with their children. Being young, I feel so much outside pressure to continue with my career, to reach my potential, and too often I feel that many do not consider motherhood as a way to be successful. Being a mom in any context is important, but judgment on a personal decision on how to take care of the people you love the most is hurtful and nonsensical. Who could think that they could have more carefully or correctly analyzed your family’s situation then you, who cares more for them than anyone else?

God bless anyone who understands that ALL mothers love their children.

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102 KP in Minnesota

Vikki,

This is the most intelligent comment I have read on this board thus far. Thank you for recognizing that, in your own words, “ALL mothers love their children” despite how they might choose to raise them. You didn’t use phrases like “shipping the kids off to daycare” or “letting others raise your children” or “it’s crazy for women to stay home” which shows a level of maturity lacking in many others responses.

Food for thought…
When did it become okay to judge other parents choices? Because let’s face it, the phrases I mentioned above ARE judgmental and only serve to perpetuate the divide the seems to be growing between the “parents that do xyz…” and the “parents that do not do xyz….” If you use the phrases that have been thrown around on this forum in front of your own children, whether you send them to daycare or watch them at home (because that is the topic of this discussion), are you not shaping them to be intolerant of others lifestyle choices? Where are the good parenting skills in that scenario?

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103 Nicole

I would have to agree with Jenn on this one. I am a full-time working mother of four children ranging in age from 12-5 yrs old. I have been on both sides of the spectrum… I was a stay at home mom for most of the time (except seasonal or part time employment) up until about 3 years ago. I question my decision to work on a daily basis. Financially, it has been a huge help for me and my husband. However, I truly miss my kids. I work 9-5. My children leave for school at 8, then I leave for work. I get home at 530 or 6, make dinner, put them to bed by 9. Its stressful for all of us. I miss going on school field trips, taking cupcakes for their b-days, having my house clean all the time, having a nice meal prepared nightly (instead of just throwing something together quickly as soon as I walk in the door). However, when I didn’t work, we were really struggling and unable to provide more than the bare minimum for our kids. That was no fun either. :(

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104 Liz

First, I agree with all who believe that to stay at home or not, is first and foremost a personal decision. Unfortunately, for many of us parents, the financial situation we are in usually dictates whether or not we can afford to stay at home if that is your choice. I have a 2 yr old son, and before I became pregnant, I always thought I would like to continue working, and unfortunately, my husband and I didn’t plan for anything else. After my son was born, I had a huge wake up call and could not bear the thought of leaving him with someone else. We had no choice, however, as our expenses need the two incomes we provide. While we were lucky to have my mother/father sit for him the first year, and have a great daycare (albeit differences in teaching and ‘parenting’ do exist) that he enjoys very much, everyday leaving him with another provider has been a real struggle for us. We have been working to try and get ourselves to the point where I could stay at home, however, I am very afraid that we may not be able to do this before he goes to school and we will have lost many precious years together. Given this, I would strongly suggest to all who are pregnant or thinking of having a family to try and give yourselves an option and once that baby comes, you will have the freedom of choice to stay at home or not.

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105 Nathan

If staying home is an option…women should do it! The problem I see with this whole conversation is that no one is naming the elephant in the room. Today’s Moms/Dads have a totally different level of entitlement in their lives than their parents did…they want everything NOW. How many working Moms out there drive 30+k cars along with their husband…meanwhile the kids are in someone else’s care being sent the message that they are expendable…for the “good of the family.” What a bunch of bonk! Live within your means, stay at home if you can and raise your own kids! Your life will be much more fulfilling…it might not be luxurious but it will be quality indeed.

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106 Kristen

Wow, Nathan. A little self-righteous, aren’t we? First, of all, “women” should do it? What about the men? They’re parents too. Maybe they should stay home to have such “fulfilling” lives raising their children.

Furthermore, what an assumption to make that women who work feel entitled or somehow drive expensive cars and have a lot of things. And then to continue on that if you work you’re sending the message to your children that they’re expendable. Do you stay home with your children?

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107 Brittany

I also beleive that, if at all possilble, staying at home is the best option for both parents and kids. I worked when my daughter was younger, and I always felt something nagging me, tellling me that this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. After my son was born, we made the decision to say goodbye to a lot of things (financially) and give our kids what they needed most, time and love. It has been hard at times, and we may not have all the luxuries that some of our friends do, but our chilldren never go without and have everything they need. I do work 1 afternoon a week outside the home, and I do some odds and ends here and there (crafts, laundry, etc) to bring in extra income, which is helpful. I probobly wouldn’t remember all the fancy things I bought them if I worked while they were in daycare, but I would remember the time I lost while they were spending there first 5 years away from me. In the end it is certainly a personal decision everyone must make, and staying at home may not work for everyone, but it is definately the best decision my husband and I have ever made, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity! :)

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108 Rita

I have to say that I agree with Nathan. I have recently chosen to be a stay-at-home mom and I have to say it is one of best decisions I ever made. It seems that today’s parents are forgoing spending quality time raising their children to receive a paycheck to support a more luxurious lifestyle to keep up with the Jonses. I have even heard of parents letting their kids stay at daycare longer so they can have time to theirselves because they are so tired after work. I mean, why have children if all they’re going to be is an accessory? I guess their logic is: Babysitter=Able to Work=Lexus/$$$Clothes because they deserve it because of all their hard work. The real question is, what does the child get? Definitely NOT the hours of quality care and attention they need.

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109 mary

There are extremes. Balance is key. I think that we have to continually be evaluating and reevaluating what we are doing to stay in balance. Maybe for the working mom it is taking an afternoon off to spend more time one on one w/one of your kids. Maybe if you are a stay at home mom who is too stressed and needs extra income maybe she needs a partime job. See what I mean, I think that we should give a little if what we are doing is out of balance.
For some, they will find in staying at home that it is not for them and need to change. For others, they may find that working full time is not for them and that they need to change. So sometimes, a complete change is needed….but in every situation balance is needed.

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110 Mrs. R

Nathan, you are so correct. At my job there was a girl who got pregnant with twins and made sure to tell everyone she will be back. She went to school and received an MBA to work, not stay home she said. I cannot even imagine having and leaving my infant twins in a daycare. She assured me that the daycare was great. Um…I don’t buy it. Why have kids if you won’t make the ultimate sacrifice for them and raise them? Whether its the husband or wife?

Again, why have kids if someone else will raise them? I do not want another working mom tell me I am being judgmental. I am stating a fact. If you drop them off at a day care for 8 hrs, you are paying someone else to raise your child. If you are not with them during the day, who is raising them? Not you. You do not quit your job because you do not want to. You want the money. You want the house. You want the car. You want the clothes. You want the vacation.

If you cannot afford to stay home with the kids, work and save your money until you can. We all know what it takes to get pregnant. Deciding to have a child because you want one like a pet and then turning them over to a germ infested day orphanage is selfish.

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111 Leela

You have a very closed minded view and outlook. Some of the best moms I have known have worked. Not all children go to a daycare, and sir, I hope you have raised children of your own before judging others.

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112 Emma

Dear Mrs R

If I had not returned to work three months ago, and am now in the situation of missing my eight month old baby and pre teen girls I would be one of the women shouting you down about your comments. I believed I worked hard to get to where I was after staying home with my older children and I wasn’t staying home again, but there is the nagging that someone else IS raising my child. That I am being selfish, and I can in the future pick up where I left off, and I can study while I am at home to maintain my skills. I have had so many sick days I am sure my employer wonders why they employed me, my baby picks up every illness at child care and my pre teens are acting out, not believing I care about there needs, when I just don’t have the time…

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113 Candy

Hello. I’m 26 years old. Just had a baby. I can’t wait to go back to work. My husband and I are both in the medical field and we work 12 hour shifts. My infant will be at home with him while I am at work. I have chosen to be part-time. I am so sick of ladies saying that they need to stay home to take care of thier infant. You created your workload, no go and earn some money to buy diapers. I have a dishwasher, washing machine etc. and I buy my clothing. I do not knit my blankets and I won’t be making my own baby food. I cook, clean etc and I’m still bored. I don’t like freeloaders. BUT it is a personal choice and as long as children are being taken care of, than I don’t care that you are lazy.

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114 Ashley

Being a stay at home mother is not being lazy or being a freeloader. It is the most important job in the world. If you are bored with being a mother, then that sounds like a problem, because staying at home with your baby should be rewarding. If your job is so important to you, then why have children at all? It is a full time job caring for a child and I think it is irresponsible to give up your duties as a mother for money. What will your child get out of your parenting if you describe the time at home as “boring”?

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115 Trace

I have decided to stay home with our daughter and am due in a month with our second (another girl!)–today was actually my last day at work. I never thought before I had my daughter that I would want to stay home, but I had a big wake up call when she was born. My husband and I have made several adjustments over the last 3 years so we could achieve this. It’s a little scary with the economy the way it is, but we know we are doing what’s in the best interest for our family. I know in my heart that no one can provide the love and attention that I can to my kids. These young years only last so long and I’m willing to make sacrifices to be home caring for them myself.

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116 Jenn

I would love to be able to stay home once my fiance and I have kids, but (un-?)fortunately I am the one with an ambitious career track in a male-dominated field (engineering). My fiance never has any trouble finding jobs (even in the recession), but they generally don’t last much longer than a year before he gets bored and moves to another job. So when we do have kids, we’ve decided he will likely stay home with the kids, just because his jobs are much more flexible (he can essentially make his own hours for most of them). So even though we will be ‘raising our own children’ instead of putting them in daycare, I still will miss the opportunity to spend the whole day helping them grow and develop. But someone has to provide for them (while also paying off our student loans and saving for their college tuition). In our duo, it looks like it’ll have to be me.

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117 SLMB

I am currently at home now for 5 1/2 months due to a layoff at work. I love my kids and I am gratefuly my husband is able to provide basics while I am looking for work.(We lived pretty much on salary and saved my salary) I can’t wait to go back to work and help provide for my family. I feel like I have a BA degree and great work experience should use it to help support boys (now) and myself (late). Life is so uncertain and to stay at home and just clean house is driving me CRAZY. …… Everything is so expensive too… (Band lessons, basketball, clothes, food, doctor visits ) Now that I am at home, I realize I reallyNEED to work. ……

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118 Tisha

There seems to be a lot of judgment going around. Has any one here thought of being open minded about other peoples situations. Not everyone should stay at home with their children. Some people are better parents if they work. Some people are better parents if they stay home. But either way, we should all be teaching our children to be open minded, not judge others for their choices. So are you also going to judge your children if they don’t choose they same path you took when they grow up. Maybe that has something to do with what is wrong with our children now-a-days. They are being taught to not except people for who they are and choices that others have made. They are seeing their parents down others for not making the same choices they have made. That would make for a very boring world if we all said and did the same thing. We should all try to be more understanding of others. It doesn’t mean we have to always agree, but try to understand their point of view.

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119 mary

i agree. I am a stay at home mom and I think that it is not for everyone…I have also worked part time in the past and I do think that this is an ideal situation for me….still get to help out financially and spend time w/the kiddos. But this is very personal…sometimes the kids can drive you nuts and you can’t be all “lovey” all day cause you are just tapped….may be good to “spread the love around” by letting other Loving childcare workers watch your children too. If you’ve got the personality where you truly enjoy being w/your children most all the time than that is great, if not than I feel that you know that you are doing what is best for your child by working some times or full time whatever may be best in your situation….keep an open heart about how it is affecting you, and your children…whatever it is that you are currently doing.

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120 stacey

I agree with you Mary. SAHM is not for everyone. I always have loved kids when I was little and I always wanted to be a great mom when I have kids. I was fortunate to have a husband that provides enough, but just enough. I remember testing out and tried to save my portion of my income before my son was born to see if we can afford me staying home. It was nice to have a cushion when falling short. With this economy down turn, with no equity anymore, we can’t really downsize. Not much option there. I have to stress about budget and stress when property tax due dates come. I sometimes worry about not having enough money to pay the bills. It is hard to have financial burden and have a wonderful time with my child, especially when times that drives me nuts. (I got a lovely child as stubborn as me when I was little). However, I don’t regret staying home with him. I think it was the best decision I ever made for him. He feels secure and he learns a lot. I get to take him places and teach him everything my way, and love him the way I would like to be loved.
Now that he is 3 1/2, and he starts to need more interaction and thirst of learning, we are now putting him in a montessori preschool 2 full days a wk. He loves it there and he is more on schedule as to sleep and wake time. I was even planning to find a job to help with finance and afford him for full time. However, I am stuck with a dilemma. I was told by a very nice lady that I should stay home and enjoy my son and keep him until kindergarten. because she regretted the lost time and damage she has done to her son when she send him to daycare at 2. However, I feel that my son now is old enough to tell me if he likes and want to be in school. Should I listen to my son and put him in the hands of others? I am sure my son will miss me with the long days there. But half days costs almost as much as full days. I don’t see how the teacher there will provide a lot of attention to him. But I think he will enjoy learning and play time with other kids. And he knows how to tell me some of the things that happened in school. I find that now he is older, i am running out of stuff to teach him and entertain him. He can’t get enough play time too. And he can get addicted to video games starting when he was 2 1/2. I don’t let him play, but when he is home, he bugs me to let him play when he is bored. Lately, he doesn’t ask for it because he knows he won’t get it. I really want to make the best decision for him and our family. I also feel like stay home for me had caused me to be socially isolated. I do have playdates and friends, but it is not everyday and I feel that now my son is older, I need to tend to my needs too. Since I was always the one to take care of the family, clean, cook, bath, feed the pets, finance, and everything, I got so stressed out with my husband not sharing much of the work, at least, not all the time. He only helps when he remembers or feels like it. I do appreciate that, but it is not enough help. I don’t know if I work, I will be more stress tackling home and lack of time for family time and keep the house in order. I guess I really need some encouragement and find what is best for my family. With me working we can afford a lot more things which i think can be nice for my son. like a nice family vacation every year too.
I also think that everyone should decide what is for her family situation. I find that having a second baby would throw us all off and start all over again. I think now, I can provide more love and support with just one. If I have a second baby, then working is not even a choice since day care would cost as much or close to pay when subtracting tax and cost of food, more eat out, and clothings.

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121 Alexia

To be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom is a personal decision. Some people are glad for the interaction with adults and career challenges at work. I know some women who would not want to be a stay-at-home mom and I don’t judge them. I understand because I felt the same way. I had a great nanny for my two children – she dealt with the day-to-day of raising them, potty training, wiping runny noses and such. I had evenings and weekends to be super-mom! It worked great and I had no mommy guilt about advancing my career. After all, why did I get a Master’s degree if I wasn’t going to put it to work?

Then I changed my mind. I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom. I’m currently morphing into a work-at-home mom while I accept some freelance work to keep my skills current. But, I made the big decision of “opting out” of the workplace to be with my kids!

For my family, it was personal. My son is heading into Kindergarten with a chronic health condition that is life-threatening (but not terminal). When he had a near-fatal incident (again) recently, I decided that I could not continue to work full-time and I wanted to be the one to manage the little details of his everyday life. I no longer wanted to pay someone else to do it for me! His condition and that recent incident spurred me into re-evaluating my life’s priorities.

This works for me. Like I said, the choice is personal for each of us and on a case-by-case basis. The debate about whether to stay at home or work is about as useful as debating whether thousand island or ranch dressing is best.

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122 Sally

Everyone is definitely entitled to their own opinion and however the situation may be in their household, we don’t judge others based on what decisions they make on what they think is best for them and their family.

I work PT (2 days per week). I have 2 children who are 14 months apart under 2. I had a 3 month mat leave and in those 3 months, I LOVED not working and staying home with the children but my decision to go back to work is having that temporary break from home, a break from the kids, a break from stress and being frustrated from all the tantrums and fits that get thrown at you 24/7, and it’s also having that ME/adult time even if it means going to work. Work is what keeps me sane. Now, a lot of people may not understand that but it works for me. You can nurture your child and still work. I want to praise all moms that stay at home full-time, I think that’s awesome and good for you guys that you are able to do that! So, whatever decision you make, do whatever you think that makes you happy and don’t base your decisions on what people tell you to do.

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123 Mary

As a working mom, I have to say that I do feel as if someone else has raised my daughter. While I take advantage of all the time I get with her, it’s someone else always telling me things about her I didn’t know. It’s not like I work 80 hour weeks either. I’m a teacher and have fairly good hours compared to many.

I often feel guilty for not volunteering to help with more committees and groups at work because I don’t want to take even more time away from my daughter. I often miss programs and other activities and have to explain to a teary 5-year-old why mommy has to work.

I’d give it up in a heartbeat to be with her. She’ll never be a child again and I don’t want to be missing it!

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124 Hannah

I am a SAHM , I have been for 2 years now. I love being able to stay at home with my daughter. I believe that if you can afford & are able to stay at home with your child you should. I believe the reason why my daughter can talk & do more than a regular 2 year old is because I stay home with her and get to teach her things one on one. I stay home with my daughter everyday and she has an amazing sleep schedule and does not even have any separation anxiety. I feel some children with both working parents do not get enough quality time with parents. This is just my opinion.
-Noey’s Mommy?

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125 Lisa

I have been a stay-at-home mom for several months. When people ask me how it’s been, I tell them that, so far, it has been wonderful (but not always easy).

After my son was born, I went back to my full-time job for just a few months and was missing my son too much. I then took a part-time job, which I took because it was part-time, but it was an awful job. So, I took the leap and resigned. It is an adjustment to be home. I was pretty career-focused before having my son and have my master’s degree. But, I love having so much time with him. I also love that our family life is less stressful.

Having a husband to support this transition is such a blessing. If your husband has fears about how it will be or how your family will make it, keep talking to each other. You will get there.

I recently read the book, “Sequencing” by Arlene Cardozo. It’s an excellent book for those interested in establishing a career, then focusing on their children by staying home, and then re-incorporating a family-friendly career into their life after their child(ren) are in school full days.

Another helpful book is: “Staying Home: From full-time professional to full-time parent” by Martha Bullen. This book answers a lot of questions and addresses fears, etc.

An earlier post by “Chosethislife” (posted on the previous comment page, May 5, 2009) sums it up perfectly. Right on.

As for me, I need to secure my license in a new career field before it expires, so I will work part-time for a year (1-2 days per week) in a few months if I accept this PT job. However, I interviewed for a full-time position recently, and it would be a great job. BUT, I don’t want to work full-time. Not right now. It IS hard though to pass something up… and you just have to hope it will come back around when you are ready…

I was very scared about making the “leap” to stay home. “What if I go too nutty? What if I can’t find a job later?” So many “what ifs”. But, to me, it would be worse to look back to ask: “What if I would/could have been with my children more?”

I may work PT for a little while, but I am so thankful that I have experienced staying home with my son for this short time because now I know that this is the direction I will take for him and our future children.

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126 Pete Johnson

Another often overlooked factor is taxes. All of the additional income earned when a spouse returns to work is taxed, and all of the expenses are paid with after tax dollars. Unless the job is highly paid, a family may be financially better off with having a stay-at-home spouse and saving on daycare expenses.

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127 Leela

This topic is interesting to me due to the many wonderful women in my life. My mother was a dentist when I was born. I grew up with my grandparents from 0-5. I do not regret this because they showered me with so much love, attention and affection – something that my siblings missed out on. In our culture, it is normal for parents to have children, work and have grandparents be with the child until he/she goes to school. Grandparents have more time and are in a position to give the child the time he/she needs.

Later, my mother was forced to stay home due to income issues and not having anyone to take care of us. It was hard for me to see my confident, sophisticated dentist mom put aside her dreams and not contribute to society as she was best suited to do.

My husband and I talked about this when we got married. His mom was a SAHM and his folks seemed to think that was the way to go. I told him that this was something I would not do unless necessary. Surprisingly, he simply agreed. He said there is no point in educating a woman to stay at home and that some women made their best contribution outside the home.

As we get closer to our due date, we are very happy we talked about this upfront. People seem to have so many opinions and its hard for us to say “We are going to do whats right for us and the baby” when there are so many opinions and expectations thrown at us. (Not that any of the opinionated people have experience or are willing to help out; In our case, they only pass judgment) I just think that each mom will find a way to be there for her child even if she does work a 70 hour work week. Thats our motherly instinct. Therefore, each woman should do whats right for her, and generally thats what is right for the child too. The worst message you can send your daughter is that she has to put her dreams on the backburner to be a mom. An unhappy mom is the worst type of mom.

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128 Tori

I am 4 months pregnant and currently work 3 days a week during the school year. I love my job, but I long to stay at home with this baby. Today 12 people in my school district lost their jobs, but mine was not cut. This is extraordinary considering this was my first year (I’m at the bottom of the ladder), and I am a music therapist, which is a very unusual field to even have a job in anyway. The senior music therapist in my workplace has been there 23 years and worked very hard to get/maintain my halftime position. If I left, there is a possibility that my job would be unfilled, which would create more work for my colleagues, who are already overbooked. Under these circumstances, I would feel EXTREMELY guilty to give up my job. However, I am blessed in that I do not need to work, as I don’t contribute much to the essential things we need (mortgage, 1 car payment, groceries, etc.). We feel that my husband’s job is secure, and we have savings if he lost it. I have crunched numbers, and the expenses of daycare, diapers, etc. plus gas for my 1.5 hour/day roundtrip commute would cost about half of my income. I would make roughly $8K+/year, or about $100/per day of work. (Mind you my job is “20 hours” a week but I usually spend 25-30 hours total including planning and documentation. From a financial point of view, if we don’t need the income, it doesn’t make sense to continue to work so many hours for little payoff + time away from my child. I have nothing against moms who work or daycares…my mom worked, but I had quality time with my grandmother and wouldn’t change that for the world. However, my family lives 8-9 hours away, so my child will have limited time with family, even more so with me working and limiting our “away time.” Plus, I really want to breastfeed and can’t imagine pumping in the car on my lunchbreaks (I travel between 8 different schools). If life doesn’t have to be so hard, why should I make it that way? I think that the only thing stopping me from quitting is that I have a fear of being judged by my co-workers (who are obviously all working moms and thankful to have jobs) and guilt in general for leaving my job in this economy. Any thoughts?

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129 Ryan

Tori, I understand your concern and the potential feelings of guilt. My wife and I have gone through similar emotions when making career decisions, including my wife’s decision to become a stay at home mom. My wife’s situation was similar in that several other positions were cut, but her’s was unaffected. But we decided the best thing was for my wife to be a stay at home mom and it’s a decision we haven’t once regretted.

Your corkers may exhibit a range of emotions if you resign your position, some of which may be negative, and others which may be positive. But you can’t let the thoughts and actions of others dictate your life, your family’s life, or your actions. In the end, you need to do what is best for your family.

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130 Lichi

It is nice to read this Article. There is not a lot to read out here on the internet for making this decision. I am currently working a contract job but I ask this question to myself almost everyday, should I leave the job and raise my little one or should I focus on my career? It is a painful task for me to come to work since I don’t like my kid to go to daycare. I have raised my first kid myself and he still has never gone to day care. Hence, with my second kid I am debating if I should wait for few more years to start the work. I may just want to continue work for building a career rather than financial security. It is so hard to decide what to do. I totally miss being with my young one. I want to cherish all the moment of her growing up and the sad part is that she also feels the part when I leave after dropping her to the day care. I feel like I am wasting my time at work, but on the other hand I have never done any job for longer than 2yrs due to being a SAHM before, so I also feel pressured to stick to one job which would mean losing all the fun times of raising the younger one.

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131 Lichi

I am also in the similar position like Tori’s. We can live up to my husband’s income but I feel good to have gotten this job in this economy and don’t want to lose it since I may not get this same opportunity again when I want to start back up. I believe the only hard part here is that when you want to start the job again it is not going to be easy as having been out of the work force for some long times.

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132 alyssa

ok, so you wanted comment on being a stay home mom. I think all children should have a mom to be there all the time till they move out and then after. Mom’s should never work. Their only job is being Mom.

When the kids were little I thought I would go back when they are all in school. Then my husband left me. As they are approaching teenage years, I see the NEED for me to be home. Between schoolwork, harmones, etc… I don’t know, I can barely keep up. Then if you dare toss me into the workforce, I would loose my kids compleatly!

Before kids I had a promising career. I’ve been home with them since 2000, and now noone wants me to work for them. It’s ironic to live a simple life when it is so complicated to keep.

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133 Michael

I think it all depends on if you agree with your spouse/ that’s what you think you’d enjoy doing. If it creates a stressful home, that won’t be good for your children. But if it’s something you really want to do, and your spouse agrees, go for it. Being home with your child can be very beneficial for their self-esteem and creating that child to parent bond.

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134 Marcia Reagan

As a daycare provider for fifteen years, I’ve heard this discussion take place many times before. My feeling is that if you are a parent who wants to stay home with your child and can financially arrange that, you are a very lucky person. Many parents would love to stay home with their children, but can’t do it financially. But then, there are also those parents who are willing to admit that they can be a better parent if they are not home all day, every day with their children. It’s better for the child if they get their time away and can spend quality time in the evenings and on the weekend. I commend these parents also for being willing to admit this fact.

In reference to the comments made regarding “having someone raise your child”, I have to agree that that is a very unfair comment. I don’t feel like I’m raising people’s children for them. But I am a very important aspect of their parenting choices. When you choose to use daycare, it’s so important to find a provider that shares your beliefs and values so that the techniques used at home and daycare are consistent for the child to learn.

So, from someone who considers themselves a very high quality daycare provider and the type of person I would want to leave my own children with if I had to make that decision, there is nothing wrong with using daycare as long as you do your research and find quality daycare!

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135 Jaime @ Eventual Millionaire

I know what it’s like to want to be home with your children and not feel like you can do it financially. When I became pregnant with my son I wanted to be a stay at home mom. The problem was, I made over 2/3rds the income. (I made $100,000 and our taxes showed we made $130,000 net)

Long story short, we paid off over $70,000 in debt. I was able to quit my job and work only a few hours a week at home for some friends.

Now I have two kids and work part time from home. To me, this is the ideal situation. We have a nanny (watching the kids downstairs right now), I am building a business, and I have plenty of time to go to the beach, and play with the kids too.

I’m actually writing a book about how I did it, since I’ve had a ton of people ask me about it! I really think almost anyone can do it financially if they are willing to work for it.

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136 Krissy

So if a good quality daycare is considered as “someone else raising your child”, does that mean if I send my child off to grade school, it would be considered “someone else raising my child” also? Should I home-school my children? Just a thought…

I think whatever your decision may be, it all boils down to what kind of parent you are, whether you choose to work or not. Circumstances vary. So whatever your decision is, always remember to be the best mom you can be.

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137 joy

What I worry about is if something happens to the working husband and he can’t work (or passes away, God forbid) do you all worry about trying to get back into the work field to be the main supporter?

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138 Lisa

Joy, you do raise a valid point. However, I think it is important not to make decisions based upon fear or anxiety. Something horrible (i.e. disability, death) could happen in life. That’s a fact. I love having so much carefree time with my son. It would be a shame to give that up because I fear the “what if’s”. There are so many horrible aspects of this world nowadays…. it can be scary to even HAVE children. However, most of us do. And, we love them and raise them the best we can. And, we make the best decisions for our families. :)

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139 Minnesota Mommie

I totally agree with you…..!!!!! I am a college educated, married mother of two beautiful boys. I believe as a mother you should work to make sure that you can take care of yourself and your children. If something happened to your husband (Men leave, die, become disabled….) You should be able to have roof over your head (your children), clothes on your (their) back and food in your (their) belly. Although I have been laid off now for 8 or almost 9 months, I looking for another job and going back to school in two weeks to make sure I can take care of my boys now and myself later….

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140 Lisa

Referencing above, I would never have the audacity to state, “As a mother you should _______.”

Working-for-pay or working-at-home caring for children is a decision made based upon a woman’s personality, values, family dynamics, etc. It’s not my place to protest what another woman/family should or shouldn’t do.

Of course, there are positives and negatives to any decision. For me personally, the positives of having lots of time to share with my child nullify what others may see as negatives.

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141 Ross

As a soon-to-be-first-time-dad, this question is one that my wife and I have considered and reconsidered many times and will continue to reconsider sometime after our first-born arrives. I agree with the previous posters who say that this is a _personal_ decision; there is no blanket answer to this question for everyone.

One thing I think is important to realize is that many people say “I was to stay home because _I_ will miss my child”. I think many people mistake their feelings for the feelings they think their children will have and in turn feel guilty. There is nothing wrong at all with wanting to stay home and be with your children 24/7. My wife and I both would love to do that. At least some_one_ has to work though and perhaps some_two_ for many people because that is providing best for their children.

There are so many factors that should go into this decision for everyone. Something I’ve long ago learned, is that people are going to judge you for your decisions no matter what you decide; you shouldn’t let others’ opinions make your decisions.

Anyone who thinks they can answer this question for someone else has a lot of learn.

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142 Lisa

Thanks, Ross! I agree with your sentiments. The purpose of this discussion posting, in my opinion, is to help families consider options and to better understand what conflicts other parents/mothers (doing paid work or not) may have.

Reading postings from other full-time moms was/is helpful to me as my husband and I decided that I would stay home.

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143 Esther

I posted something before this when I was pregnant. Now I have a 5-months old son. And yes, no matter how much I want to be at home at look after my son, I have to put food on the table-work. I have relatives looking after my son- brother, brother in law, sister in law, mother in law..fortunately they were all having offs at different time. Soon, I will have to look for somebody else to look after my son-another relative. Husband is a sailor and takes care of son when he signs off ship.

But anyway, the observation I have is that..my son is not clingy. And yes, everytime back from work he still wants the mommy-me. He is friendly with everyone and a happy baby. I guess it is because he is surrounded by everyone who loves him. I used to feel guilty and all and often being depressed thinking about me not being able to be there. But you know, it is not too bad. At work, my relatives takes care of him (I do not have maids)..and after work I take over completely. And we go out together on weekends and even bring him to baby spa for massages-he enjoyed it because he was gigling all the way. I do not allow anyone else to handle him on weekends. Even when I spend 10 hours at work, he still wants me by the end of the day. It is not that bad..

But I still envy those who stays at home taking care of their child…

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144 Tasha

I am pregnant with my 2nd child. My first is 16 (soon to be 17yrs old). I often worked two jobs and very long hrs when my oldest daughter was growing up and missed out on much of her life. I always regretted that, but I was a very young single mom and had no choice. Now that I am blessed with another chance, I really want to stay home, but my partner doesn’t make alot and is not very supportive of the idea when we discuss it. He refuses to work more than one job to make up the difference in pay….I’m not sure what to do, I just know that I see the effects it had on my daughter, and I don’t want to make the same mistakes. I’ve also took the budget into account and daycare/babysitting expenses would make it almost pointless for me to work. My family are in a different state, and his mother works the same hrs I do….Please give suggestions on how I can explain this to my partner so he can understand my feelings, and possibly any suggestions on how I can make it work financially if I do stay home????

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145 Lisa

Hi Tasha. Just a few thoughts. Is this your partner’s first child? If he doesn’t seem to understand your strong desire right now, that may change after the baby comes. Now, I understand that doesn’t necessarily help right now, but when your partner experiences the awesome responsibility of taking care of the baby and sees you and the baby bonding, that may create a different perspective for him. Also, a couple other reasons a man may be hesitant about a woman staying home: 1) He becomes the sole provider financially, which can feel nerve racking 2) He wonders how the dynamics of your relationship will change.

The most important thing is to keep communicating to each other. My husband wasn’t sure it was the best thing for us when I first talked with him about wanting to stay home. But now, he really likes it, and our life is much less stressful and I am much happier. I was in the same situation as you are: no family available to help…. so that’s when I decided that I wanted to be the one to be with my child. I hated that he was at the babysitters for 9 hours a day. Then, we are both exhausted in the evenings and get the worst of each other. I am so happy it is different now. It’s such a different lifestyle… took some getting used to. :)

Financially, you both need to sit down and seriously analyze all your money: how much is coming in, how much is going out, what are you spending your money on that are not necessities, where can you cut back, etc. Neither my husband nor I are financial gurus, but all you need to do is start with a simple Excel spreadsheet and list all your bills, etc. Some bills are always the same, some vary. This will help you see where you can cut back. Also, if you have any smaller debt that you can starting trying to pay off, do that now. If it is almost pointless for you to work, then review this with your partner (on paper). Men are visual beings… they need to SEE this stuff, not just talk about it.

Hope this helps.

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146 Tasha

Thank You for your response, sorry it took so long to respond but I work long hrs and haven’t been on in a couple days. To answer your question this is his first child. I actually read what I wrote and your reply with him. He is becoming more receptive to the idea. I am considering getting a babysitter license and possibly watching a couple kids later on for extra income if I chose to stay home. It was very reassuring to hear your story and I will keep you posted of the outcome in the coming months. Thanks again… :)

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147 Riddle

I have a question for the stay-at-home moms: if you stay at home that means you’re not contributing to Social Security, won’t have savings, 401k, marketable skills, etc. How are you going to support yourself in old age?

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148 Ross

I’m not a stay-at-home-mom, but I’m going to respond to your question anyway.

This seems like a loaded question with an agenda to me.

I think the answer to your question (that we all already know) is that stay-at-home-moms will have a hard time with these things. That is why wives typically get large divorce settlements in the event of such a terrible happening (divorce that is) – because they’ve scarified these things and become totally dependent on their husbands. If the husband has no net worth, then the woman is screwed as far as retirement/support. I don’t think most people go into a marriage or stay-at-home situation expecting this to happen…and if they did; their marriage/relationship/etc. isn’t going to last long.

Assuming there is no divorce/etc. the stay-at-home-mom depends on the retirement savings of her spouse and this seems okay to me as long as they are meeting the financial goals that they have.

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149 Lisa

Planning.

I worked for 14 years before having children, so I have contributed to Social Security. My husband and I have established a nice savings, and continue to contribute to it albeit less than we used to. I have a good size 401k from my previous employer in addition to an IRA to which we still contribute. My husband also has a 401k.

I will be a full-time mother while my children are pre-school age. When my children are all in school, I will return to work. In the mean time, I am keeping up my skills through seminars and staying current with the literature. I’m also very experienced in networking. I’m sure it will be transitional when I’m ready to go back to paid work. For example, I’ll likely land a part-time job first, which will be fine with me. From there, I will re-establish myself further into my career.

In an ealier post, I recommended the book, “Sequencing” by Arlene Cardozo. It’s an excellent book for women interested in earning their degree(s), establishing a career, and then focusing on their children by staying home, and then re-incorporating a family-friendly career into their life after their child(ren) are in school full days. The author has great suggestions for how this works. I highly suggest this book. It is an older book, but completely relevant.

The difference between women who stay home now and women who stayed home in the 1960s is drastic. Women do it by choice now. We want to participate in full-time mothering. We are educated and have goals. We focus on our children and not on polishing glassware.

I feel completely confident about supporting myself when I retire. I know that I will look back and treasure the time I spent following my maternal instinct and focusing on my young, precious children rather than trying to keep up with the American rat race.

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150 Daniela

I worked for 15 years after college in a professional position and put a ton of money into the system. I am taking a few years off and then will go back to work in some capacity. We have life insurance and savings….and I will find a job if I need one. Not worried.

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151 Joanne

I am probably going to get blasted for saying this but here it goes. If you can’t afford to stay home with your kids then you can’t afford kids and should consider postponing having them or not have them at all. I have stayed home with my kids for the past 14 years and will continue to do so until they are 18. I have twins. We have home schooled for the past 5 years and they are starting high school next week. I made the decision to have them and their wellbeing is totally on my and my husbands shoulders. Anyone who thinks that if they send them to daycare the daycare isn’t raising them is completely mistaken. If they are at a daycare for 9 to 12 hours and then with the parent for 2 or 3 where are they getting their cues from? Just because their kids love playing with the other kids and the “loving” teachers doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love playing with their siblings and their “loving” parents even more. Knowing they have people to count on who will always be their for them rather than people who are in their lives and out of their lives. Society is just so selfish today and I am sick of the justifications people go through.

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152 KP in Minnesota

I am sorry to have to say this Joanne, but your post is what paints SAHM’s in such a negative light by our working mother counterparts.

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153 Dan

We faced the same decision about 21 years ago (Gawd, has it been that long!?) and we decided that my wife would stay home. Never regretted it for a second.

Granted, we didn’t do as much “stuff” as we once did, like going out to eat and buying stuff when we wanted, but we didn’t suffer either. There were some minor sacrafices, but we would do the same thing over again for sure.

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154 Mom2Be

I truly wish I or my husband could stay home. Unfortunately, with the cost of everything where we live, and considering the fact that we both spent 7 years living completely paycheck to paycheck in a dead-end field (print journalism) and were unable to save any money during that time even while living frugally and within our means, we both need to work just to cover our expenses.

His 15-year-old car burst into flames on the highway last year after 225,000 miles, and because we knew we were going to be starting a family, we invested in a reliable new four-door car with a 7-year extended warranty. It’s not fancy, but it wasn’t exactly a cheap beater. With the non-stop heat this summer and me being 8 months pregnant, electricity bills are ridiculous. To live in a decent apartment in a nice neighborhood (and by NICE, I mean safe, not fancy) costs $$. My husband is also diabetic, and even with fantastic insurance through my job, we still have to do co-pays for his pills and shots, not to mention our portion of expensive heart tests to make sure everything is OK.

My husband works part-time, so at least our little one will only be in daycare for 6 hours or so a day, and we chose a place about 2 blocks from his office so he can stop in for hugs.

I was actually starting to cry at my desk here at work thinking about bringing our little girl to daycare at 3 months old. I don’t WANT to, but we did the math and there is no way we could pay all of our bills and have $ left over for food and diapers, etc. on my salary alone. I wish we could. It breaks my heart that we can’t. I wish I hadn’t stumbled upon this little set of snarky, judgemental comments because it’s making me feel even worse.

I would love to present my family’s budget to any of you, share with you how much I bring in and how much my husband brings in after taxes (which, by the way, are getting hiked Jan. 1), and have you share with me how we could make it work on my salary alone. Because believe me–I clip coupons, I look for deals, I don’t buy anything that isn’t on sale, I maintain good credit that got us our car at 0% financing, etc. If there is anything else I could be doing so that we could keep our little girl at home, I’d love to know.

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155 Mom2Be

Oh–I forgot to mention that we spent the first two years of our marriage paying off my husband’s credit card from college before trying for a baby, but we are still stuck with his crazy student loans for the next 20+ years, at least. Got to factor that into the monthly equation, too.

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156 Tori

Mom2Be,
I don’t think you should feel guilty about continuing to work, and it’s unfortunate that some people’s opinions about this matter are pretty dogmatic. It’ would be one thing if you had been irresponsible with money and now have no choice but to work, but it sounds like you have been modest and forward thinking about starting a family, and it’s a fact that sometimes it is not possible to make it on one salary given the cost of even modest living. There are merits to being a working mom and merits to staying home, and I think the most important issue is that you are thoughtful about that decision, and you can always reevaluate if circumstances change. Enjoy your 3 months staying at home, and don’t put undue guilt on yourself for an already tough decision.

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157 Mom of 2

I have enjoyed reading these posts. I am a SAHM, and have never regretted it. I am college educated and worked for 4 years before my husband and I had my first child. Three years later, we had our second. I have been at home for almost 15 years. My advice would be to be as available as possible for at least their preschool years, staying at home if possible or working as few hours as possible. They grow up so quickly and before you know it, they’re in kindergarten! I taught both kids to read, we did music, and art. We loved story- time at the library, too. I had them in 1/2 day preschool two times a week to give them socialization. We wore clothes from Walmart – they’re not bad! And it doesn’t matter now, anyway, because I was with them. My friend who worked with her first child almost decided not to have another because “I can’t put another infant in day care”. She quit her job and had her second baby and stayed home until she went to kindergarten. She said it had been too painful dropping her toddler at daycareat 7 picking him up at 6, and having him fall asleep in his high chair before bath and bedtime. She never saw him! I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad. Now that my kids are 14 and 11, I realize you never get that time back. If you are 35 and you stay home until the baby’s 5, you’ll still have at least 25 years to work. You can’t get back those preschool years.

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158 kati

I never wanted to stay home with my kids, but that’s what I have been doing for the past 5 years (I have a 5 yo who just started K and 3 year old), and I have to say I like it. I had my first right after college and hadn’t yet established a career, so it made economic sense since my husband was already working. I am so glad it worked this way for us because I have the energy to devote to my full-time job as a mom.
I can see how it could seem boring to some if the TV is on all day and the adult and child are sitting around at home. However, that is not what most SAHMs do.
Most SAHMs consider themselves their childs 1st teacher and guide. Cooking from scratch with the child, teaching them to help clean, playing board games, taking them places like the library and the park, reading to and with them, art projects, etc. There is never a dull moment because these experiences are useful and necessary! Both children and their caregivers need these kinds of experiences. And the child has someone who deeply cares about them to show them these things, one on one.
Obviously some need to work and shouldn’t feel guilty for providing a positive example for their children by taking care of them financially when they need to. Some parents also shouldn’t be home with their kids because they don’t enjoy it! My mom was like this, and to this day can’t stand to be near the grandkids.
Whatever works for your family is fine for the kids if you’re fine with it, they seem to do fine in any situation thatl is nurturing and positive for the family!

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159 Arete

My husband and I have always valued the idea of one of us being home with our baby girl. I work from home and bring in about half of our income. Our problem is, after a year of keeping up my home business and taking care of my 15-month-old’s needs, I’m quickly becoming aware of the fact that I can’t do it all. We are currently processing the idea of my quitting my work for the next few years so I can fully focus on being a well-balanced stay at home mom. Because right now our lives are anything BUT balanced with me trying to juggle working at home while at the same time caring for a toddler’s needs.

The implications of my quitting work are far reaching though. Not only will I need to learn how to manage our household on a VERY tight budget (like I said, I bring in half our income right now), but we would also have to default on our mortgage and either do a foreclosure or short sale. Ethically speaking, I have always firmly believed in NOT waking away from this financial commitment. But at the same time, I just can’t keep up this unrealistic schedule I’m currently in. My family is suffering. I guess I’m looking for input and thoughts. My family’s health is more important than a stupid house, right? My credit is perfect and will be tanked because of this decision. I hate that thought. But being able to raise my daughter and not send her off to daycare is such a huge value of mine. Plus, if I send her to daycare I would essentially be working just to PAY for daycare, and that defeats the whole purpose. Is short-selling my home just totally wrong, since quitting my job is in fact a choice? Or is it the right choice because my family should come first?

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160 Sb

Um I’m a working mom and *I* raise my child, not my daycare provider. He is at daycare 40 hrs a week… So I have him for 128. I teach him his abcs, morals and values. Daycare teaches him other things. So in a way he is getting the best of both worlds. When your kids go to school will you consider the teachers to be raising your child and not you? It’s very offensive to suggest working parents don’t “raise” their own children.

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161 Jennifer

I agree with the comment above. My daycare does not “raise” my child.

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162 Lisa

I think you are mistaken about how much quality time you actually spent with your children after you pick them up at daycare, make dinner, clean your house and then put them to bed. I’m sure it’s much less.

Stay at moms truly get the opportunity to spend the quality time with their children.

For me it was a no brainer. I felt going back to work was quite selfish. If fact, I have spoken to many working moms who loom forward to Monday, when they get to back to the office and get a “break”.

-keeping it real

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163 Jessica

Hi there, I’m struggling with the decision on whether or not I can afford to continue working. Currently my husband is in the construction business as an electrician, and is very close (less than 1 yr) from becoming a journeyman, but as of now and probably for the next 3-6 months I make more money then he does, and my job is constant. At this point me working is not the greatest option because I am working to pay childcare for 3 young children, on top of child support for 2 older who live with their father, commuting costs and the stress of being gone all the time while trying to feel like my childcare provider is not *raising* my children. My concern is that with the inconsistency in my husbands current position we may not be able to make it! But he is in a career and I am not so the potential for him to be employed at a higher rate of pay is higher. Would I qualify for unemployment? If not would we need to get assistance from the state services such as food stamps, Lord knows I don’t want to quit my job and live off the system but it might have to be an option to consider at least for a short time. How can I make that choice? I have discussed it with my husband and he doesn’t have anything to say either way, he says whatever I think is best for the family.

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164 Ryan

Jessica, you usually can’t get unemployment benefits if you voluntarily leave your job. My recommendation is to contact the various agencies you may be seeking assistance from to determine the eligibility requirements so you don’t leave your job without a safety net. You might also try finding a different job that is closer or offers better hours, consider part time work, look for other sources of income, or try to find more ways to cut back on expenses. Finally, it might be best to try and wait until your husband achieves his Journeyman level, wait a couple months, then reevaluate your financial situation. I know it can be difficult postponing the decision, but it might be a good idea to be sure you really can afford to quit work.

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165 Tina

Being a stay at home parent is a blessing, at this point in my life I am blessed to have the best of two worlds. I am a Registered Nurse and work what they call a “Weekender” shift. I am off during the week Tuesday, Wed, Th, and Fri. I watch my daughter During my off days, and my Fiance watches her on the weekend when I work. So during the week I feel like a “Stay at home Mom” . I can watch her grow, and take her to appts, run errands and so forth. We recently made the decision to take her out of day care as it was getting too expensive. If you dont want to quit the “workforce” all together finding a non traditional work schedule is a great option. Having a 9-5pm job has never worked for me, I feel it takes up too much of my time, and you dont have time to breath. You at least need three days off a week to rest and get things in order. If I do go back to full time nursing my fiance will resign and stay at home to care for our daughter period. I feel at ease knowing my daughter is at home in the care of her parents…..:) I thank God I have a career where it is flexible and I can still make a descent living.

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166 Mary

I am a stay at home mom and will be returning to work next year, I have worked and stayed home a couple of times each and I can tell you that it’s a personal decision whether you want to work or stay home…Here are my reasons for wanting to go back to work permanently:

-Retirement: I need to work towards a comfortable retirement where I won’t burden my grown kids with my expenses or expect them to take care of my healthcare bills when I get to an old age (They will appreciate that and remember it a lot more than being in day care).

-College: I have paid off my son’s college plan when I was working and intend to pay for my second child’s college plan too, I also want to set aside 2 accounts for any extra college expenses (They will appreciate not having to deal with student loans a lot more than not going to daycare).

-Security: So many stay at home moms have received a wake up call during these economic crisis when their husbands were out of work and they were helpless as they could not provide for their families and had to give the roofs on top of their heads in foreclosures. Anything could happen to my husband (injury, accident, death god forbid…) what will I do then if I have no source of reliable income to feed and house my kids?!

Bottom line is; if you are a middle class mom then you better think before you stay home permanently as for me I always stay home with my kids for that first 1year and a half to 2 years when they are too little and need too much attention after that I am back to my job.

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167 Claudia

Hi everybody, I’m right now in this terrible decision. I have been married for 10 years, I have 3 kids, 9 years old, 7 years old and 7 months, I worked for 11 years in the oil industry in my country (1995 – 2006) when my first baby born in 2001 my mom was in charged of him, then in 2003 my husband was not working and he took care of my son of 1 year in that moment and my baby daughter, in 2006 he started to work again in other country and my mom moved to other place, so I decided to resign to my job and stayed home with my son of 4 years and my daughter of 3, but in 2008 my husband found a better job in oil company in the middle east and this year I received and offer from the same company, but now I have a new baby, she is now only 7 months and my other two kids are already 9 and 7 years old, is very hard for me to leave my daughter with a nanny or day care, I really don’t know what to do, please help me with your opinion.

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168 Danapell

I find the words “ship them off to daycare” pretty judgy.
Just because a child is in child care for some hours a week doenst mean someone other than the parents is “raising” them.

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169 bungan

Claudia,

Can you afford to not take the job? My husband and I work in the oil and gas industry too but not in the middle east, of course. Only that both of us used to work offshore but ever since I had my baby, I work in town. I will be having a relative from my hometown flying to my place here to take care of my baby. I can’t afford to take few years leave to take care of baby because it is not easy to get a job again with little years of working experience. And my company only gives you a max of a year unpaid leave. I was in depression before because I could not stop thinking if I should quit my job…if I don’t, who will take care…etc… I thought I could resign and look after my child but after calculating everything..household..savings..bills….I can’t afford to quit. Things are getting too expensive already. Plus, I am surrounded by broken families where their husbands left their wife and kids and it was very hard for the wife to get a job because she left the working industry for a long time. That kind of gives you an insecure feeling.

Which part of middle east? It is not easy because when you move to a new place, you have to familiarize yourself with the people first. I am sure there are other expats who send their kids to daycare or nanny in the middle east. Or probably some expats wife who isn’t working is willing to take care of your baby? You can ask around before you arrive there. For my side, it is never easy to send your baby to someone else to look after but it seemed that being around with other babies makes him adapt to new environment pretty fast. For me, I have to work for security.

It is entirely up to you to take the job or stay at home looking after your kids. I know the offer to work in the middle east is very tempting. Don’t you have anyone / relatives from your country willing to follow you to middle east and help take care of your kids? Or maybe you want to consider looking after your baby till at least 2 yrs old?

things I said may not be helpful but if I were you, Id sit down and calculate household monthly expenses..kids schooling…nanny…savings…with only one person working or if both are working. The pros and cons and weigh them. How many years you plan to stay in middle east? 5 years? Have you checked the education system there? I have got few friends worked in middle east but came back because ‘it was not the kind of place to raise children’.

If it is hard for you to let daycare or nanny to look after your daughter, then don’t work yet. Give it time. You are in a new place.

But anyway, hope things go well..

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170 Katie

I was recently laid off from a full time job in October and since then have been staying home with our 8 month old daughter. I have days when I feel completely guilty that my husband has to go to work every day and work over time as well to support us and all I do is stay home. I would love to know about these fairly lucrative stay at home jobs you’re all doing so I could hopefully contribute more to my family. I love staying home with my daughter but I also don’t like the feeling of relying on my husband for everything. If someone could help me out that’d be great.

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171 Dixie

After reading most of these comments, I’ve realized I’m in a bit of a unique circumstance. My husband and I are very young (23 and 25) and have an 18 month old son (a planned child by the way). We both graduated from college and my husband is now in law school. At this point in our lives we have to decide whether to live off of student loans (aka living flat broke) or sending me to work and letting our neighbor babysit. We’ve been trying the flat broke thing for over six months now and well, it’s tough. Really tough. And it’s not just the money issue that’s tough. What is really tough is spending day after day with no one but a child to talk to and the monotony of washing dish after dish and folding shirt after shirt. I finally decided to take a job paying minimum wage for a few hours a week just to get out of the house. I can honestly say that on those days I am a happier, better mom. I appreciate the time I have at home with my son more and I cherish every moment with him. When I go for more than a few days without working I become more irritable and less patient. I was offered a full time position making much, much more than minimum wage but I’m not sure I can commit to 40 hours a week away from my son. I think for most families it’s best for moms to just be moms. But it doesn’t hurt to have a satisfying outlet that isn’t your children either.

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172 Lisa

Hi Dixie. The experience of staying home with your child(ren) is different for any mom/dad based upon your personality, values, etc. However, I just wanted to offer a couple suggestions. First, yes, household work is important and does need to be done. But, studies have shown that SAHMs who are most focused on child-rearing activities and less focused on housework are happier in general. The 1950s SAHM was one who spent all day on her home because that is how you were “judged” by peers (i.e. does your fine china sparkle? lol). Times have surely changed, and we now see the option of staying home as a great opportunity to mother our children, not simply an “obligation” with no other alternatives (I recommend the book, Sequencing, by Arlene Cardoza. Older copyright, but excellent). If you do just a little housework each day (maybe an hour), hopefully you won’t feel like that is taking over your week, but you’ll still have a lot accomplished. Your house will always be somewhat messy with children, toys, etc. so that is just something to get used to. Someday, the mess will be gone because the children are grown, and we’ll be glad we focused our time on the children and not the mess :) In addition, I have found a lot of resources/activities through our local libraries. That has been great and has really added some nice experiences to our week. Finally, I recently joined the MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers, http://www.mops.org) organization, and it is awesome! The fee is very minimal (we don’t have $ to spare, and they do let you not pay if you simply cannot). There is child care provided for children for a few hours, and the moms get an opportunity to connect, listen to presentations, vent, get advice, etc. This can help add some more adult interaction into your life. It is Christian-based, but everyone who attends comes from a variety of backgrounds from very religious, to not religious at all (my friend who goes doesn’t attend church at all, but loves it). This is also a way to meet other moms with whom you could form play dates outside of the MOPS meetings (good interaction for your child too!). Anyways, good luck to you. I just wanted to add my 2 cents that there are other ways to get adult interaction other than going to work if you want…. takes some research and creativity, but well worth it. :)

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173 Nicole

I am a bit shocked by some of the judgment and negativity going on here. I found many of these posts helpful, but some were also really disturbing. I am 3 months pregnant with my first child. My husband and I have been trying for years so this is a real blessing for us.

When I met my husband, he was in a very dark place in his life. He had been through a lot of circumstances beyond his control which had caused him to practically be homeless (I’m sure I can hear more tongue clacking going on from some of the more jugemental posters here!) and had no car, no job and no quality of life whatsoever. Over the past five years that we’ve been together he has completely transitioned into a hard-working, supportive and very stable man.

I had to deplete my savings in the beginning of our relationship, mostly out of the goodness of my heart because I did not know at that time that he was going to be the man I would marry- I just wanted to help a poor soul down on his luck. He has proven to me that it was the best choice I ever made.

But now, we’re sitting on a lot of debt. I am college educated and have over 60k in student loans, we have two car payments, a mortgage, insurance, etc. Life is very expensive. Combined, we make about 60-70k a year, pretty much divided between us equally. We have started a savings again because having children and a family is very important to us and we know that we need to have something in the bank to ensure that we’re always able to provide them with the highest level of care possible.

My husband was laid off from the job he had since I met him (when he was down on his luck and unemployed- as soon as he found something, he grabbed onto it with both hands and didn’t let go until he had to!) last year for about 6 months and we relocated to another state where we knew NO ONE so that he could continue to work for the company that laid him off where we were living before. I tried working from home for awhile in anticipation of the family we were trying to build, but the income was not enough to stay current on all of our monthly bills and expenses, so after a few months I got a job in the same field I had been in previously.

Now that our little miracle is on its way, I am feeling a lot of mixed emotions. I want nothing more than to stay home with my child, have another, and another…. I do believe that it’s crucial to be present in a child’s formative years and I look forward to all of the rewards that motherhood brings. I have always felt like being a mom is what I was BORN to do… but due to our financial circumstances, we just can’t afford to lose half of our income. Even if we could and I did stop working, I then have worries that my husband’s income would be even less because he has a child from a previous relationship and she is always taking him to court for more child support (EVERY time he gets a raise!) and other expensive issues. How can I expect him to support me, our child, his other chid (and her mother, pretty much because she does not work and lives off of the child support and welfare!)

I feel very offended and outraged that some people would judge me for putting my child in daycare, because for my family, I feel that we don’t have another option. If I did have a choice, this certainly wouldn’t be it. We do not have any family where we live and any friends that we have are also working people or working parents. I am very concerned that it’s going to be extremely difficult for me to leave my child, especially considering that I will only get approximately 8 weeks off of wor for maternity leave. But if I don’t go back to work, we will either have to give up our home, transportation, food… staples of life for us right now that every child needs!

Being a working parent does not make you a lousy parent, or make you any less concerned about your child’d upbringing and well being. Do you think that we like the idea of missing out on milestone moments like the first laugh, the first word and maybe even the first step? I pray that I don’t miss those things, and shame on those of you who judge those like me that have no other choice but to return to work!

It must be nice to be blessed with the luxury of not having to work. Good for you! I would not normally judge you for it and give you kudos because you are very lucky to be able to be there for your children 100% of the time. But how dare you judge those of us that would love to be in your situation but can’t be! Life is not all butterflies and rainbows… some people actually have it harder than others. So stop judging people and things that you don’t understand. You pride yourself on being a good parent, but does a good parent teach their child to judge others for not being “just like them?” Just because you are able to do something doesn’t mean others can as well. And these are not excuses… they are relevant points. If I could be like you, I would, judgmental stay at home parents! Minus the judgment and criticism of others.

Those of you that choose to stay at home and don’t think one way is “right” or “wrong” over the other, I appreciate you! I envy you a bit lol… but thank you for understanding that we’re not all in the same boat.

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174 Mike

Another important consideration is whether you’re talking about children or a chicken. I work at home, and one day my wife brought home a baby chicken – she thought it was cute. It about drove me crazy with its constant chirping. After two days I decided I no longer wanted to be a stay at home dad, so the chick was given away to a loving family with a big backyard.

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175 RK

About 1 and1/2 years ago I decided to quit my full time job to stay at home. We had been having trouble with our au-pair and it was just eating away at me. So my husband and I decided that it was time for me to take some time away from work and spend it at home with our three children (4yo,8yo and 11yo). It has not been easy because I am so used to feeling important as far as finanacially contributing to my family. Now that I am at home I feel as if something is missing and I am going through a type of mourning. I can certainly tell you one thing though, I have finally REALLY gotten to know my children and their personalities. I know that they really appreciate having me home but I miss work or maybe just the thought of saying to others that I work. I do not think it is easy for a woman who works or who stays at home. A woman who decides to stay at home does a LOT of work that is not appreciated by society. On the other hand a woman who decides to work and still maintain a sane home life gets a lot of accolades about being a SUPERWOMAN. Well as a woman who has worked full time for almost 15 years and now is staying at home, I can honestly say that whatever decision you make as a woman it is not easy but at the end of the day you also must be happy with it. I really do not have the right answer for myself yet but I am working on it!

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176 Liz Sacks

This is a difficult decision, and I think you laid out the pros and cons quite well. I wish I could give your article to many mothers I know, who agonize over this decision, and wish they could be a SAHM. I don’t think many moms realize just what this decision entails, and how to make it. Good article!

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177 Joy

The comments that I have read here have been very interesting. My husband and I married when I was 32 and he was 28. We had our first child right away, our beautiful daughter, who is now almost 7. Four years later, we had our 2nd daughter, who is now almost 3. We had been fortunate for years to both have good paying jobs, AND we also worked nearly opposite schedules (good for the kids, but I know not good for us!), so we hired a private in-home sitter to watch our kids 2 days a week. Last year, my husband became unemployed, and remained unemployed for almost a year. It was wonderful because he was home with the kids all the time, AND we had that family time that we had missed out on for so long! He recently went back to work at a job that pays much less, and at his new job, his schedule is very similar to mine most days, which means the kids are at the sitters more. Our older daughter is in school now, so most of her days are spent there, but our youngest is there 3 to four days a week for several hours. This has left me pondering a possible part time job, only 3 days a week, as opposed to 4, and much closer to home. I would lose all my PTO, my health insurance, and would have to tap into our retirement account to pay off some debt in order to be able to afford to work part time. But the crazy thing is, despite how “financially stupid” it seems to do all this, I am ready to be here more for my kids. By paying off most of our debt, we would actually be able to start saving for retirement again, which got put on hold since my husband had been unemployed. There are so many options out there for people, and you have to keep your mind open to possibilities that are out there. Don’t listen to anyone who says things “have to be” a certain way. Love your kids, and figure out how to maximize your quality time with them and your spouse. Whether you have to work full time, part time, or not at all, your kids will feel it if they are loved and cared for.

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178 jessica

I would love some advice. I am 36 and my husband is 35. We have a 15 month old baby. I have been back at work since the baby was 4 months … and it has been killing me. We have a good daycare … its expensive at 16,000 a year. But, i do not feel comfortable with the arrangement … i feel as though 2 hours a day with my son is not enough … i cry every day. I am very depressed. It is causing a lot of stress for our family. I want to stay home so badly … i feel like the early years are so important and they are going by so quickly. My husband makes around 60 K and i make 72K plus a few thousand here or there teaching part-time. I have two master’s degrees and a “good” job … and am miserable. I dread going to work and leaving my son every day. We don’t have high expenses, our house is paid off … yet – my husband thinks we will be just scraping by if i quit and how do we pay for retirement and college educations in the future if i quit? It wouldn’t be forever … just until the baby (and any other children – still hopeful for that) would be in school. I don’t know what to do. I was always career focused before i had a baby but since … everything has changed. It means everything to me to stay at home … i wish i could … but my husband doesn’t see it as a good financial option and this devastates me. I never imagined I would feel this way until now. He has even said we will have to put off having a second baby if i stay home because we won’t be able to afford it. This breaks my heart. I keep searching to find solutions out there … or how other people have handled this.

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179 stacey

Hi Jessica, I totally understand your situation. Would you be able to cut back some hours from work and start with working part time? If your employer can give you this option, you would have a lot more time to spend with your baby. Is your husband making 60k pre-tax? What I did to convince my husband that we can afford for me to stay home is to do a budget and expense and monitor the exact incomes and expenses for the last 7 months of pregnancy and try to use only his income and save my part of the income. So the rest of my incomes would become our emergency saving.
You need to see the big picture of your financial situation, because most of the time, men is not good at budget. You can try to do it for a month and take out your earnings and put in savings and see if it works out and look for what you can cut back in certain areas. And if staying home is what you wanted, you would want your husband to have consensus with you to make it work. I am with you that the first years are too important for the child and parents, I have decided that I am not going to miss any part of it and I made sure I take lots of pictures for my husband so he won’t miss it too much. I am able to show my husband we can work it out, and I did went back to work when my son was one, but that didn’t work out. I did another budget and with the cost of daycare, I was not making a lot more and we have to sacrifice the time to spend with my child. I missed my baby so much and I was not comfortable having others taking care of him for me because he cried so much when we dropped him off and picked him up. My baby needs me the most and I don’t see any other arrangement would work. I worked for 3 months and stayed home until now. Now he is turning 4. Certainly there are tough times, and stressful times, but bonding with your baby and giving him/her the world through you is priceless. I hope you the best no matter what you choose to do and what works best for your family.

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180 jessica

Thank you, Stacey! That is a good suggestion. I am going to make a list of our expenses and i agree with you that if we can do it for a month with both of us on board, then perhaps my husband can see that while it is scary for him to be the only person bringing in a regular income … that maybe it is doable. I honestly do not mind sacrificing and going without things that we honestly do not need in order to have these precious times that are so fleeting with my baby. It is so hard to leave him every day. I understand that it is different for everyone. I work with women who tell me they would never feel complete unless they worked. I don’t feel that way – i feel as though it is going against everything that nature intended for me to be separated from my baby. I am going to have to go about this logically, though. Thank you for your response. I wish you the best, as well! I am going to make this list tomorrow!

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181 norma

Wonderful plethora of opinions on difficult issue. Here is my opinion: It seems the bottom line is we are all different in different circumstances so we need different solutions to raising kids. I think the hardest to decide area comes when you could (even if it is really tight)make it on one salary and you decide to work or not. When you have to work you have to work, the decision is not there. If you think other people are not raising your children in day care, you are by definition wrong. The people who raise the children are the ones who spend minute by minute with the awake child(period). People learn from what they see and experience in life we are a collection of experiences with which we make future decisions upon. So at best you are a co-raiser with your child care so choose your child care extremely carefully, probably the most important decision you will make in your life. From experience the first seven years are the most critical for shaping a well adjusted child. Part time work seems to be a good middle ground for one parent as the children reach school age. In order to make any good plan for your family work it takes alot of work, the best way to do a job is not always the easiest. Also as a side note not all people are cut out to stay home with young children if you know this about yourself or your spouse you should hands down choose child care. If you mentally cannot handle being home with young children do not. Do what is best for the child in your families circumstance and trust your own judgement. What works for one family often does not work for another. We are all different and we all need different solutions to raising kids please find what works for you.

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182 Jessie

I have made the choice to go back to work AND finish school and I really don’t care what anyone else thinks.

I have always had ambition and even more now that I have a daughter, she makes me want to pursue all my dreams even more. I want to give her a good life, have her education paid for.

I do get to spend time with her. Some SAHMs I know like to give me the guilt trip but it does not affect me one bit.

I am a human being AND a mom. I need to be happy with my OWN person too otherwise I am going to be miserable. Work fulfills me, just like going to school does… just like parenting does.

I was raised to be independent. My grandmother was from a poor country and had to drop out of school in the 3rd grade in order to help her parents in their farm. She married at 14 and had 5 children before she was 21. She raised me…and always told me she wish she had done the things she wanted to do, but she couldn’t because she was expected to be a housewife and a mother and nothing less and she had no education to accomplish anything.

I am a great mom and I am raising my daughter to know that she can be anything she wants to be; that she doesn’t have to put her dreams and career to the side in order to be a good parent.

Fathers go to work EVERY DAY. Other fathers don’t make them feel guilty do they? I didn’t think so.

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183 Daniela

Who do you have that watches your kids? You must be gone a lot…I don’t have the luxury of anyone watching my kids and would have to hire a live in nanny to do what you are.

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184 Logan

I’m not trying to be disrespectful and you can reply back to me privately in an email but I was wondering how much you make a year?

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185 Windy

I am a mother that works full-time. I took 9 weeks off after having my son and then off to work I went. I love my JOB and the people that surround me there. They are all very supportive, (even while in the bathroom pumping every 2-3 hours for the first year of my little guy’s life.
We had close friends and family watch him during the day and I would come home as early as I could. I cried everyday for the first week I returned to work. Just thinking of a way to stay home with him, but our finances just would not allow it. We pondered the thought of me watching him during the day and working part time at night, but felt that would put a damper on our marriage.
I missed his first steps, but his nanny caught them on tape. I missed his first words. I felt that I have a child now and I can’t raise him. It made me feel horrible. Why have a baby if you can’t be with them and raise them.
I am now pregnant with our second child. This one will be two years apart from our first. My husband and I are about to close on our first home. To say, we have a lot going on is a under statement. We found out that my mother will not be able to watch our son anymore after September. This came as a shock. This is the person that was going to watch both children and we trust her.
So my husband and I have decided for me to stay at home and raise our children the way it should be. We will make the finances work out.
When my son is sick or does not feel good he wants his mommy, if he is tired, he wants mommy to take him to bed. Not to say that he does not ever want his daddy, just in a different way. If it is a chore for you to be with your children and drives you crazy to spend the day raising them, chances are having a child was not the best decision for you.

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186 Lynn

I was a stay-at-home mom for 3 years and it was very good for me and my family.
Financial situations caused me to have to return to the workforce but our son was already old enough for preschool by then.

Ideally at this stage, part-time work would be best for me, but I take a lot of vacation days off and spend quality time with my family.

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187 Angel

I see the same undercurrent on many of the SAHM blogs. Daycare is bad, etc. And Ryan, your blog perpetuates that notion. So, let me chime in. If you pick the right one then your children will benefit more than solely staying at home with one parent. The same is true for camp once children enter school. There are huge benefits in personal growth for kids if you select the best camp for your kids.
The ideal is likely somewhere in-between but getting tired of hearing how working moms are uncaring, etc. as many of the responses you evoked.

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188 Ryan

Angel, I agree – interaction with other children and adults can go a long way toward enhancing a child’s personal development. My daughter is two, and she thrives on interaction with other people. My article wasn’t written to condemn anyone’s choice – simply to ask a question, and state that my wife and I are happy we have the opportunity to make the decision we choose, which is for my wife to stay at home. I realize many people don’t have this option, or choose not to do it. But it isn’t my place to judge, and I don’t. The comments you read here are not moderated and simply the thoughts left by people who have strong feelings about this topic. My only concern is that people do what is best for their family – and only they are in the position to make that decision.

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189 Ron

When we had our kids my wife did not work and stayed at home for 8 years. We rented out the basement to get some extra income and sometimes we just got by. In the long run you develop better relationships with your kids, so if you can afford to stay at home and raise your kids do it.

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190 Chris

Hmm. I did the stay at home at home with the kids thing, from birth til now. And loved every minute of it. They are now 23 & 22. I had the perfect little family. One boy and one girl. Never had anymore kids so it wouldn’t take away from the children, I already had. Bottom line is, they are pretty freaking spoiled, in many ways. I’m not sure they know what responsibility is. Never was drinking allowed around my kids, yet they both seem to think it’s party time. the kids had no responsibilities or chores, Mom did everything. Now honestly I look back and wonder if they would of been better off, if I had worked outside the home. Hopefully the problem is the age 23 & 23? I don’t know but I encourage you stay at home Mom’s to give the kids chores, structure and schedules. It’s easy to do none of the above, when there is no time , activity deadlines and Mom is capable of doing everything. No reason to make little johnny do anything. Ughh.

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191 Chrissy

I have 3 kids, ages 7,6 and 3 and have worked part-time (3 days a week, 8 hour days) since my first was 3 months old. I have no choice but to work to keep health benefits since my husband owns his own business (landscaping) and is too expensive to purchase health care insurance. I’ve found part-time with a short commute (15 minute drive and I work from home occasionally) has worked out well. I find amusing the comments “if you can’t afford to stay home, then don’t have kids”. Well, maybe I shouldn’t have gone to college and then I wouldn’t have had $110K in student loans that I am still paying off at age 41. We’ve never taken our kids on an airplane, or travel anywhere and still live paycheck to paycheck. I wish I didn’t have to work or even had the ‘choice’ but w/needing to work for benefits I’ve had no choice and am lucky to work in a company that offers healthcare insurance for part-time workers. I typically work tuesday, wednesday and friday and that has worked out all along and devote myself all day monday/thursday to my kids and their activities, playdates etc and they were in a great daycare through kindergarten on the other days and got to play with each other at recess. We live paycheck to paycheck and at some point I’ll have to go back to work full time if I want to contribute to their college but it’s crossed my mind not to pay for my 2 girls college and only pay for my son’s in case my daughter’s want to be stay at home mom’s and not have one more loan to pay for.

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192 Jennifer

I completely agree with Angel – there is always an ‘undercurrent’ that being a SAHM is the ‘correct’ way of raising children and should be the way people should choose to go if at all possible. Why is that always the best way? Couldn’t children have an extended circle of caregivers and still be happy and well cared for? There are excellent daycare centers out there where children go and feel stimulated, happy and secure. There are also some very poor daycare centers out there. Same thing holds for SAHM’s (or SAHD’s) – there are people out there who are great at being a SAHM/D and others who don’t do such a good job. Whether a family chooses to put a child in daycare or have a parent stay home is NOT the only determining factor in a happy family and happy child. Ryan – you say your article was not meant to condemn anyone’s choice but it’s pretty obvious you believe the ‘right’ way would be for a parent to stay home. Your paragraph about having “someone else raising your children” completely implies that those not staying home with their children are not raising their children themselves. Children don’t have to be with their parents 24/7 in order to be raised by them.

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193 Ryan

Jennifer, that is not the case at all. My belief is only that parents should be involved with their child’s upbringing. I believe day care, pre-school, and other arrangements are beneficial for children and enhance their social skills and ability to adapt to changing environments. To take it a step further – my wife is a stay at home mom and I have told her several times I would support her taking a day, or a couple days per week and placing our child in day care so my wife could have some time to herself and so our little girl could have more experiences interacting with other children her age. So far my wife hasn’t gone for that idea, but I think it would be good for everyone.

The point of writing this article was to explore the topic and listen to feedback from others – and so many people have shared wonderful and valuable personal experiences – far more than I did as a first time parent when I wrote this article well over a year ago. And as you can see by the comments, things that worked well for one family may not have worked well for another. Love your children and do the best you can for them. That is all that matters.

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194 Caitlin

A couple of things come to mind when reading through this blog. First, while parents play a huge part in raising a responsible and “good” person, they do not have as much control as they think. I think many make the assumption that by choosing to stay home or work they are determining the fate of their child’s future, which simply is not always the case. I have known parents who have stayed at home, devoted all of their time and resources to their children, and their children have not always made the best choices as adults. I have also known parents who have stayed at home and their children have commented, as adults, that they always felt consistently cared for as children. I just say this to point out that things are not black and white and that parents do not always have as much control as they would like to think. While they play a huge part in the development of their child, they are not the whole part. Personally, I was raised by a mother who worked hard, in helping professions, modeled a great work ethic, and a type of compassion that is rare. Her work was her life, but so was her family, they both existed harmoniously. I think people like to choose sides so that they feel certain that they themselves have made the “right” decision, when in reality we cannot always know that our decision was “right.” Finally, I do not have children, when I do, I may choose to stay home, I may continue to help others as a special educator, or I may find that God is calling me to do both, in different capacities. I believe what is most important is the quality of care that is provided, and that your children know they are loved. Just a couple of thoughts….

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195 Lisa

In response to Caitlin, I agree that it is not black and white. You discuss the decision for a mom to stay home more from the perspective of a mother who never works outside the home. From what I see, the modern stay-at-home-mom is at home while her children are under 5 years old (sometimes even working from home in some capacity). After the children are in school full-time, then the mom resumes working, finding something that works with the family and is a good balance. Currently, I stay home with my 2 small children. I am also educated in a helping profession: one in which I’ll be able to be with my children during the summers and after school, once they are older and I return to work. So, I just wanted to share that most women staying home are not doing this for all 18 years of their children’s lives; it’s more during the prime day care years (under age 5). Thus, I’m able to enjoy these great early years with my children, and model great work ethic to them later as well. The book, Sequencing, by Arlene Cardoza is a GREAT book for any woman who wants to have it all: be at home during the young years and then find a career to fit well with the family during school-age years. It helped me a lot and I highly recommend it.

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196 Derek Olsen

Great post. Hope you don’t mind that I linked to it as a reply to a comment on my 48Days.net blog.

-Derek

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197 Cyrile

Me and my husband here in UAE and our daughter in Phillippines and my mom take care of her, but the problem is my mom living in Phillipinnes and migrate in US so no one will take care of her so we decided my husband go home and take care of her because his salary is not enough to support for me and my daughter if i go home. Very difficult to decided what will we do,

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198 Working Mom - no apologies

Wow. This thread in unreal. The amount of judgement towards women who work outside of the home to provide for their family’s needs is . . . a bit shocking. I had no idea such closed-mindedness would be entertained for nearly 2 years. Really?!

I have 4 wonderful children (12, 11, 8 and 2). In my nearly 13 years of motherhood, I have had the pleasure of being at home with them full-time for periods. I have been financially required to work at times and now I have the pleasure of working in a job I love that is affording my children the opportunity to pursue their dreams and not leave them with debt and obligation when my husband and I are at the end of our lives. (That is my personal reason for working, not a judgement for those who don’t. I agree, planning is key!)

The truth is people, that this is a personal choice. So make that choice. But stop judging others who have made a different one. It takes all of us to make this world work. Not everyone can work from home. Not every man has what it takes to stay at home (I know my dad couldn’t have and he was still a great daddy), not every woman can stay at home and not every person can be an executive. We need eachother. The worst thing we can do is take a position against eachother.

Each of us mamas out there is just doing the very best we can for the little ones that we love more than life. How about a little support for eachother ladies?!

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199 Karise

First, my hats off to all moms and dads in all circumstances… why do I say this? I have been a SAHM mom amd a working mom. I PLANNED (with my husband) the staying at home. We saved. We didn’t buy new furniture or cars or any of that stuff. We scraped by and made it. I absolutely LOVED staying at home. I wouldn’t trade it.
I did NOT plan to get so sick that I amost died, to have multiple emergency surgeries or staggering medical bills. So, back to work. (Even the emergency fund didn’t cover the$$$) I am tired. I don’t have the same amount of time and energy I had staying home. But I love my kids just the same. It’s simply not logical to say that all of the sudden I don’t love them because I work. There is food on the table and roof over their head because I love them. There are clothes when they grow, and the dentist, and medical insurance, because I love them. There are not plush extras. I don’t have a fancy car. But God takes care of all of us. He loves us. Please , let’s give a little grace and mercy to one another. At the end of this day, do you children know that you love them? Then, good job! You did it! You are a GREAT parent! :)

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200 Giovanna

I absolutely loved this article and it showed me that I was on the right track when my husband and I decided I will be a stay at home mom when I become pregnant. Well 4+ yrs into our marriage the Lord blessed us with son and our boy is now 2 mo. old, though I struggle a little with being home cause it’s new to me, I don’t see me going back to the work field and leaving him in someone else’s care. I understand and know their are parents that can’t afford that desire, but I would advice make the most of it when your child is with you. God bless!!

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201 RK

Hi,
I am blessed with a baby boy (2 months old now) and my elder daughter is 5 years now. I am planning to take a break from work (atleast an year) to raise my kids. I am getting wonderful opportunites on my work front but me and my husband decided not to opt them for now. For my elder one also, I took 2 years of break from my work and I still cherish that time. It’s worth !!
I just can not think of missing all those lovely moments / mile stones which my younger one going to get in his first year..
Well I am planning to use this time for my PG degree and to have some side business.
It’s very good to read these articles and I can see that I am on right track :-)

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202 Rick

My wife stayed home for four years after the birth of our second child and I must admit, I was terrified the whole time. My sector was very volatile, and companies were going under right and left. I was scared the entire time that I would lose my job and we’d have no income at all for a stretch, and worked weekends and long hours to compensate for her lost income. I gained a lot of weight and probably aged 10 years in those 4 years. In this economy, I imagine many of us like the security blanket of two incomes, even if the net revenue is only marginally better when all the expenses are factored in. Just the knowledge that while one earner could be out of work, the other could still be bringing in substantial revenue would allow many couples to breathe a little easier every day. We risked it, but it took its toll on me and for a long while on our relationship. When the youngest went to school she went back to work and hated it, wanting to be home with the kids (she is an engineer and it is a male dominated world with a lot of after-work fraternization and guys taking care of their friends, etc.). She was resentful that she could not stay home and I was resentful that she was okay with me working 7 days/70+ hours a week and not being a part of the kids’ childhoods. I am just saying that their are stressors that must also be factored in. If my wife could have worked a couple of days a week as a contractor, or had some kind of home business, it might have helped. Additionally, we had no family in the area, so it was harder without any grandparents or siblings around for support.

On the other side, with both of us working, we often ate out/badly after the kids events (sports, music, school), we rarely spent time with each other. Often one took one kid to a game and the other took the other kid to a concert or lesson, etc. All of this can be a horribly stressful issue for couples, especially if the one partner feels strongly about staying home while the other is worried about money, and is forced to work long hours to compensate. My wife has a lot of pictures of my kids when they were little that I was not a part of, and have no good memories from that period.

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203 Technus

Must be nice.. to be able to make the choice. Us single mothers have no choice, we HAVE to work, no matter what, even if it means day care eats half our paychecks, at least we are getting some money back. After a while, as you move up in the world, it is not nearly a big chunk out of you paycheck, and you end up turning to friends and family alot to help watch your kid on weekends or holidays. It sucks, but what are you going to do?? nothing.. because we need daycare or we’ll end up in a box on the streets with DCF yanking our kids out of our arms and sending them to foster homes.

I’d love to spend more time with my kid.. I’d love to be able to home school her and raise her on my own. But I have no other choice.

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204 sdfa

children are not pets – if you’re going to get married, plan on having children, and plan on raising them – man must provide income, wife must take care of house and children

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205 marcia

I guess I am a stay at home mom now. I love being a mom and raising my kids, I prefer to keep my kids from having to be in daycare. however I am a dentist and spent several years in school. I love being a dentist, liked being a ble to go out and interact with patients and peers. The independence..I worked part time after having my 2 year old, and had the help of his grandparent. I recently had my second child who is now 4 months. I have absolutely no help.. I am unable to go back to work..I did not work through the entire pregnancy. its been more than a year since i worked at all. I am afraid of losing my skills after years of schooling. My husband is in the medical field and makes a good income. I hate the lack of independence, having to rely completely on him for everything…I feel trapped sometimes and depressed

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206 Ryan

Marcia, you might find it helpful to talk to your husband about how you feel. It may also be possible to work one day a week, or with some other arrangement, so you are able to keep your skills up to date and continue bringing in at least a little income. There are dozens of reasons why this might be a good idea, and not all of them financial (keeping your licenses and skills up to date, the social aspect of working, sense of accomplishment, fall back option in case something were to happen to your husband, etc.). I hope you are able to find a way to make things work.

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207 Cc

Of course. We have this lady at work who started as a contractor. After 2 year, we converted her to employee. That’s when she started come after 9am and leave early 4:30., with one hour away for lunch. You can count how many hour she is at her desk plus chatting on the phone from time to time. Now that she is pregnant, she has been working from home a day per week because she claimed she is sick. ( but then she just took a 2 week vacation to go to India). So she is not sick going long distant vacation but sick coming to work. And when she work from home , she keep her same working hour 9-4:30 with an hour lunch. Some people is just plain lazy and take advantage of the company and people she work with. Sad…

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208 Lena

Ryan – Your wife’s reasons for staying at home are identical to mine, primarily wanting to be the one to take care of my children in the early years. I also love exploring new job opportunities and new businesses, so I’ve used my past four years at home (we now have three kids!) to start a tax consulting business, a seasonal consignment sale, write articles online, and start three blogs. :) I also help raise money for a local children’s charity, Backpack Buddies. Being at home definitely doesn’t have to mean not using your brainpower or giving back to society. In fact, it really frees up your time because you’re not a slave to the work day and can incorporate your kids into lots of your own interests. The main difference between my story and yours is that my husband and I didn’t start off living on one income. If we had been smart, we would have, but we realized the error of our ways in time to turn our habits around right when we needed to. I linked to my story above. Take care! ~Lena

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209 JL

I am very surprised that not many folks had pointed the fingers at the Fed for their easy $ policy in the past years that had made it impossible for anyone to stay home. The 0% interest rate has fueled inflation – in food & medical costs! Even those families who had saved to prepare for staying home – only gets to see their cash eaten away by inflation & not earning anything in bank. Please add to this the possibility of having to help out your elder parents in the future as they will be on fixed income retirement (which would be eaten away by inflation too). Any candidate that can address this issue will win my vote this election!

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210 momof3

you know, it would probably be really good if you started lecturing people (really, that’s what you’re doing, with the language you use in the post and your comments) AFTER you’ve walked the walk.
I’m a mom of 3 and I’m not even going to bother telling you which ‘side’ I’m on in my life since that’s besides the point here. This decision isn’t one you make once and for all. There is likely a constant rebalancing, shifting of needs, schedules, financial considerations, siblings being born, etc, going on. Once you’ve done that for a while, I’ll be happy to listen to your perspective on things.

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211 baby4ontheway

This has been a very difficult decison for me as I have always worked and feel as though I am contributing more with my income. However we are expecting our 4th child soon and daycare is going to double in cost. plus my husband travels sometimes for months at a time so both of us are away from home alot as I work 60 hours a week at times. The hardest part for me in all this worrying we won’t be able to budget adeqjetly to make up for my lost income. I know having the kids at home would be amazing I am just scared of all the what ifs.

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212 jessica

For our family deciding for me to stay home was something we had to prayerfully consider. There are a lot of things you can do to help make the budget possible if it is something you are truly considering. I know for our family we started by cashing out my 401K to pay off our minivan, not having that large monthly payment was one of the only ways we were going to be able to make it! Then I started doing little things here and there to save us money, like couponing, I generally save $30-40 on average, I know that many people save more but I am still learning. I also cook from scratch way more then I ever did, and buying in bulk helps a lot! I have also started making my own laundry soap! Its so easy and works just as well as the name brand stuff! (I used to be a tide snob) the ingredients to get started are around $10 and that should be enough a family of 5 or 6 to last all year. Lastly, things like shopping at goodwill, and buying things from craigslist can help too. We can’t afford cable anymore but we do have Netflix so we can still have family movie nights. I wish you well on your journey no matter what you choose :-)

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213 rosie

I have enjoyed reading the various opinions on this issue. I have been married 33 years with eight kids ages 9 to 32. During the 80s, I loved being a SAHM and even ran a home daycare on base to make extra money while my husband served in the army. In 1990, at the beginning of the gulf war, I panicked, visualizing myself becoming a widow with 5 kids and nothing to fall back on. So I made a deal with my husband that if he left the military (after 10 years of service), I would go to school and learn a trade. So he got out in August, and in September, I started my first semester at community college while he worked as a fast-food restaurant shift manager. I still considered myself a SAHM since I only went to school part-time. It took me 7 years to get my Nursing degree and another 3 years to earn a Master’s. During this time, I also had 3 more kids. Though the lucrative salary of a full time RN seemed attractive, I valued being home with my kids and only worked weekends and a few evenings while my husband was home to watch the kids.
Then the unthinkable happened when my husband had a heart attack at age 40. He did recover, but I knew that keeping the burden of supporting such a large family on his shoulders while I had earning potential was not right for me. So when a full time position opened up, I took it. Mind you, I chose a job that paid less money, but was 10 minutes from home and my children’s schools. As a nurse manager in an administrative office, I had flexibility to take “long lunches” or get to work early or late to meet the needs of my children. Entering the workforce also gave me the advantage of networking, so when my company started hiring maintenance people, my husband was able to apply and got a job. We have worked in the same building on different shifts for the last 12 years! He loves his very non-stressful job. Because of his health, he does call in sick a lot and his paycheck gets docked, but it’s no problem because my income is steady. I have good retirement and health benefits and also take advantage of the healthcare savings plan to cover the extra cost of his medications.
I would have loved to remain a SAHM and I often feel sad that my 16 and 9 year-old sons did not have me at home as much as the other 6 kids did. But in the long-run, I thank God that he allowed me to pursue a career that could help me to take care of my family when it was needed.

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214 Mindy F.

I am a stay at home mother/wife. i have a choice i know i do, but i love being an at home mother i get to see my kids grow up and spend as much time as i want with the. Now my husband works and only bring home 500 $ a week, making a total of 2000 $ a month. It is still very hard for us to make it through the month with car payments, rent. utilities and most often Groceries. we struggle more now than we ever have. My husband use to work as a buyer for his brothers lot and was bring in almost 7 thousand a month..but one thing we learned was never mix family with business if you have different ideas and goals than your partner, this can put a strain on the family if not careful. so we lost our house and every bit of belongings we owned. we now live in a VERY..small 1 bedroom apartment with three kids and trying to pay off bills to make it into a real house. i offered to go back to work at the general store. my husband believes that we tried daycare and that had a very bad result to the end and we never put our children back in the care of others outside of the family.
I am currently looking for work online as i have been for the last 7 years, but have had little luck. i will continue to look as i go. The stay at home mother/wife lifestyle is almost every womans dream, not every but almost every. Financially with this economy we are having a bit of a struggle. but we make sure our children have everything they need before we take care of our selves.

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215 Anto C

My mom decided to set up her own business in order to bring up my two young brothers and stay at home. She experienced to having working and being far from me and my elder brother when we were children. She was (and is) upset for not having the chance of bringing us up. She felt very guilty because of that, so she wants to keep on working and at the same time to be with my other young brothers. It is really difficult as well, but she feels comfortable and safe to have their children close to.
Saludos desde Argentina :D

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