How did you choose between being a working mom or SAHM?

posted 2 years ago in Parenting
  • poll: What are you doing now that you have kids?
    I am a stay at home mom : (16 votes)
    26 %
    I work outside of the home full time : (33 votes)
    54 %
    I work outside of the home part time : (6 votes)
    10 %
    I work from home : (5 votes)
    8 %
    My SO stays at home while I work : (1 votes)
    2 %
  • Post # 2
    Member
    4043 posts
    Honey bee

    beetee123:  Well, we haven’t had any children yet, but we have discussed this at length and decided that either both of us will work full time or I will work full time and DH will work part-time.

    I make significantly more money than DH (about 40-50% more) and I am very ambitious in my career aspirations. DH is a hard worker and reliable, but he works for the sake of making money, not necessary with a specific plan. He will likely work full time, but may consider getting a job where he could work 20-30 hours a week and then stay home with our future child.

    I grew up in a home where both parents worked (they couldn’t afford not to) and we turned out fine. I honestly don’t have any interest in staying home full time, and neither does DH. While we could survive on my income alone, DH wants to work at least part-time. So a few things have factored into our decision.

    Post # 3
    Member
    7216 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I voted “I am a SAHM” but that means “I was a SAHM” because I went back to work once my kids got older (like in your possible plan).

    I disagree with your assessment that your degree is “going to waste if [you] decide to be out of work for over half a decade”. I was out of (paid!) work for a decade, but worked before and after that decade, so my degree didn’t at all go to waste. Plus there are plenty of people who do really well despite not getting into a decent career until well into their 30s (or later).

    Anyway, the decision to be a SAHM was based on the fact that we could afford it, and we thought it was important for me to be around looking after the kids before they started school.

    Post # 4
    Member
    872 posts
    Busy bee

    beetee123:  it really comes down to what you’re comfortable with and what you think you can swing financially. I worked full time for 8 years and am now on non-paid leave for 6 months. I’m debating taking the full year and go back to contractual work (part time 25 hours weekly) after that year. I’m also very aware of the great privilege I have to even have this as an option. For my husband and I it came down to what we were willing to sacrifice and what we were not willing to sacrifice.

    be careful with your assumptions that children in daycare are not “raised” by their parents. There are a lot of pros to children having experienced daycares and sitters as well as cons as there are to staying home with your kids. There’s no right answer on this, only what works for you and your family.

    Post # 5
    Member
    110 posts
    Blushing bee

    beetee123:  I didn’t vote, because we don’t have kids yet, but when we do, I will likely stay home. My FI has a very demanding (albeit successful) career which requires long hours and lots of travel, and it would just be too hard to have both of us working AND trying to raise kids (it’s almost too hard now, as I do a lot of the domestic/home stuff while he’s working/travelling on top of my 50+ hour a week job). My own job is getting more and more demanding as I move up, so something is going to have to give at some point, and since he makes a lot more money, it will probably be me staying home.

    We can afford to live pretty comfortably on his income, so fortunately, our concerns aren’t financial. However, I do worry that I’ll look back and feel disappointed that I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to in terms of my career. I am considering starting my own small business or finding a job that I can do remotely so I can continue working in a sense even when we have kids. 

    Post # 7
    Member
    42538 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    beetee123:  How did I choose? It was pretty easy. Do I want to have enough money to put a roof over my kids’ heads, feed them, clothe them etc. Alrighty then- working out of the home it is.

    Post # 8
    Member
    304 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: February 2012

    Same as Julies1949 it wasn’t much if an option for me. I have the better paying job, school loans that need to be repaid and I hold he insurance for our family. It order to give my daughter the best life I can, I need to work. Someday it’s very hard and I just want to quit, but it would be doing my entire family a disservice 

    Post # 9
    Member
    1849 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

      I do work full time, but I am a teacher. I feel like I get the best of both worlds. I go in extra early to get all of my stuff done in the morning (which is when he’s still asleep, so I don’t feel like I miss too much). I’m usually home by 3pm (and, as long as I work my butt off, I usually don’t have to bring things home with me), so we get a good chunk of time together. Then, I get time off during the holidays. I have at least one long weekend a month, and of course, there’s summer vacation. We talked about me staying at home and then going back to work when our youngest is in school, but I have my dream job right now. It would be very difficult to leave. I am 99.9% sure it would not be available to me if I were to try to return in a few years.

    Post # 10
    Member
    759 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2012

    Do whatever you and your DH are most comfortable with.  Raising children is wonderful with so many countless joys but very challenging in ways you will not be able to predict.  It truly is a team effort by the parents and whatever you decide together I am sure that will be the best for your family.  Every situation is different with unique considerations and trade offs.  Personally, I work full time by choice.  Either of us could stay home – we are very fortunate to each have a significant income but neither of us have chosen to stay home.  I truly admire stay at home moms, I think it is one of the most challenging callings a person can do, all of my friends are stay at home moms and they are absolutely fantastc moms and very happy with their choice.  However, for me, I am a better mom when I work.  My job is ok, it’s not the job of my dreams by any means but it is not terrible either.  It enables me to use a part of my brain that I enjoy flexing and provides me with intersting travel and experiences.

    Anyway, I am unique in that I have two teenagers and a newborn.  Through my three kids I have experienced daycare, nannies, and being at home.  Surprisingly, I don’t think one is better than the other – they each have their pros and cons.  In hind sight, I think my oldest would have benefited more from the socialization of daycare than being at home with me.  My middle child thrived in daycare and we thought a Nanny would be best for my youngest but having done that we decided that we are more comfortable with daycare.  I really think that much of the decision depends on the child’s personality and needs.  Now that I see my two older kids in their teenage years I firmly believe that if there is a period of time when you can be a SAHM, in your child’s teenage years is when you are needed the most at home. Now is when they need constant transportation to activities (sports, friends, etc.), and when you need to do the most communication with them to reinforce your beliefs, talk to them about big issues (grades, drugs, relationships, etc.).  It makes the infant/toddler years seem easy.  But there is also a huge price tag that goes along with raising kids, especially teenagers, the costs for activities – travel sports, electronics, clothes, spending money are staggering.  My childrens’ academics are a priority for me so I intentionally put them in the best schools I could find.  Again, there is a cost to this decision – tuition, expenses, and even the “normal” standard of living that they and their peers are used to is not normal at all.  Growing up in an economically advantaged environment has incredible advantages and disadvantages.  I would highly recommend that you consider your long term financial plan, not only when your child is young but think ahead 10, 15 years in terms of what you would like to be able to provide for your child and consider the opportunity cost of not having a second income.  You may very well, and rightly decide that being at home while your children are young is the best decision for you and your family and you should do what you and your DH decide is right for you but at least consider long term.  I hope that this helps you and wish you the best as you begin a very exciting time for your family!

    Post # 11
    Member
    4774 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: May 2016

    We are about 5 years out from having kids. We both graduate in May so I plan on working up until I have kids. Financially, we are ahead of the curve for our age, but we have discussed and will continue to discuss how it’s going to work when we have kids. I was an only child and lost both of my parents by the time I was 16. This has DEFINITELY factored into me wanting to be a SAHM because I want my kids to have all the family time they can because you don’t know how long you will have your parents. My FI also lost his mom at 17 so he wants the same thing for our kids. My FI will make the most money so it makes sense for me to stay home. I also plan on going back to work after our kids reach school age! 

    Post # 12
    Member
    1710 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: March 2013

    I work PT out of my parent’s office helping with their business. I get to bring my son with me. The reason I quit my FT social work job were the following:

    1. I made $480 per week after taxes. A reputable day care here would run $275-300 PER WEEK. So essentially, I would make about $5 an hour after day care costs working full time. I make about $175 per week, working 15 hours a week now, taking my child. So it was a no brainer. We don’t NEED my wages, but it just goes into savings.

    2. As a social worker, I was having to work random hours around the family’s I served schedules. Meaning, somedays I worked 12-8 and some days 7-4 or whatever. My husband works 7:30-6. Every day care around here’s pick up deadline is 6 pm. So what if I was working until 8 and DH was working until 6? Nobody could pick up our baby, or we would pay outrageous late fees.

    3. We cut spending where we could. We lived off of DH salary alone for a year prior to getting married to make sure that it was doable.

    Good luck!!

    Post # 13
    Member
    9533 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013

    My husband and I have talked about this a ton and we haven’t reallly come to any conclusions. We both have professional jobs in the medical field that we invested a lot of time and money into. And we’re only planning on having one child. But we both really like the idea of having qulity time with our kid.

    I think out ideal scenario would be to both work part time, each working 3-4 days so we could each have 1-2 days with kdi at home, but the kid still gets 1-3 days of socializing in day-care. However, it’s hard to get daycare for partial weeks and it isn’t always easy to find part time work in our jobs. So we’ll just have to see how thins are going in our careers when kiddo shows up.

    We could fairly easily live off my husband’s salary and have me stay home, but i just don’t know that I’m interested in that. At this point I don’t think I’d enjoy being a SAHM. Too much time without adult contact and I don’t think I’d be very good at it. I have trouble working up the motivation to get things done around the house. Plus, I really enjoy my job. That being said, I know people who’ve changed their mind about not wanting to be a SAHM once a kid gets there. So we’ll see.

    Honestly, I think my husband would be a better SAHD than I would be a SAHM. He’s very self motivated and likes to get things done. And he doesn’t like his job as much. However, he makes twice as much money as I do and we would stretch to live off my salary alone. We could. But we’d have to quit investing so aggressively inot retirement and give up our expensive vacations. Which I don’t really want to do. 

    So we don’t really know what we’ll do. But we an’t even pregnant yet. So we’ve got time to figure it out.S

    So, some PPs have discussed their spouse – but I’d like to hear from everybody else, would your spouse consider staying home? Would you be down with that?

    Post # 14
    Member
    888 posts
    Busy bee

    What is your gut feeling? I think that as long as you can afford to live off one income and you will enjoy staying at home, you should do it. But obviously this all depends on whether or not you actually want to stay at home. Part-time is another great option if you decide you dont want to put your children in full time childcare but still want to gain experience for your career when you do return to full time. Mid-thirties is not an awful time to start a career even if it did come down to it. Many people reach their late 20s before realising they arent happy in their careers and decide to start all over – going back to school or joining a new branch of work. 

    Post # 15
    Member
    2661 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    I work full time.  I made for than my ex husband, and, when you did the math, it made so sense for either of us to quit.

    My friend from law school quit to have kids.  When she got divorced after 10 years, she had a very hard time finding a job and had to take one as a paralegal.  Depending on your field, stepping out all together can have a very detrimental effect on your career.  It is something to consider.

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