53 answers

Career V. SHM

I would love to hear insights from others who have addressed this issue. I am the very fortunate mother of a 17-month old. I have a job that let's me get home around 4:00 p.m. during the week, and pays very well. I have built my career for over a decade. I have a wonderful nanny who takes great care of my son while I work. Lately, though, I have really felt the pull to quit my job and be a stay at home mom. There are several reasons for this: as "good" as my job is, it causes me a tremendous amount of stress and rarely makes me happy. I love the company of my son, and would like to be the every day caretaker, rather than evenings and weekends. On the other hand, although we could live on my husband's salary, it would be tight. We obviously would have to lay off our nanny, and it really distresses me to think that she would be out of work in this economy. Plus, I feel so ungrateful for not being grateful for my job. My husband tells me he just wants me to be happy - which is wonderful, but doesn't help me figure out what would make me happy. Any thoughts/experiences you would like to share? Thanks!

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So What Happened?™

This is such a great community. Thank you to everyone who responded - I really appreciate your very thoughtful insights. I have more thinking to do on the subject, and I'll post an update when there is more to report. Thanks again, Moms!

Featured Answers

There are many home-based businesses. One could be right for you. Look around through the business ads here on MamaPedia and ask the moms who have them what they think. I used my home-based business to let me quit my corporate job last spring and give someone else a job that needed it. No regrets, my home-based business just keeps growing. The best part is working away from home when I want to. I get to stay at home when it counts.

Every person is going to have a different answer. My husband and I both work. I enjoyed being home with my son for my 3 months of maternity leave and it was so hard to go back to work. But I enjoyed talking with adults every day and the time I spent at work helped renew me for when I was at home. Being an only child, my son got to play with other kids much more than he would have had I stayed home with him, and daycare did most of the potty training. Kids grow and go through many stages and some of those stages are doozies. Talking with other parents at day care helped me in a lot of areas and frankly, seeing some other peoples kids (ahem, brats) made me feel so grateful that mine was such an easy going boy. Being a parent is always a balancing act no matter what you do.

More Answers

If you make a list of all your work related expenses like the nanny, gas, lunch, clothing, etc. I bet you don't bring home much money after taxes. There is nothing like being there through all the stages of your childs life and experiencing the milestones first hand. It's not the same having someone else tell you they heard their first word or they saw them take their first step. And even though you are the mom, if an infant has someone else taking care of them most of the time they will look to that person for most things instead of you. Also, what if something happens to you and then you regret all the missed time you could have had with your child. I quit working to raise my two children and I am so glad. I was diagnosed with breast cancer when my children were 5 and 7. I was getting ready to find a job once my son started kindergarten but then I got the diagnosis. I have been fighting this cancer for two years and now it has spread to my liver and lungs. I hope to beat this but if I don't my children will have memories of all the time we spent together. I have done everything for them and never missed a thing. It makes it the slightest bit easier knowing I was with them as much as I could have been. But some people are more about making themselves happy despite having children. So a person like that should work because they may not be happy taking care of their children 24/7 and the children will suffer from their resentment. My mom was that way and she was constantly yelling at us and pointing out only the bad stuff. Everything was our fault. She took it out on us for ruining her life because she was stuck at home raising kids instead of doing what she wanted to do. When I had kids I decided I would not do that. I didn't want my kids to grow up with the depression and lack of self esteem that I had. Only as an adult did I realize that I was this way because of how my mom treated me. Children start as a blank slate. You mold them with what you say and do. I will get off my soapbox now. Peace.

3 moms found this helpful

I too spent 10 years building my career before having my son. However, when I had my son I knew I wanted my primary 'career' to be being his mother and if there was any way for my to be his primary caregiver, I wanted to do that more than anything. It felt silly for me to carry this little person for 9 months and then hand him over to someone else every day to be cared for and raised. A full time job is 40hours generally plus commuting time, time preparing for work, errands run after work because it's easier without the baby, etc. ....that 40 hours is usually closer to 60 and that means you are only spending a couple hours a day at most with your little one. It would break my heart to think about my son bonding so closely to someone other than his parents.

You only get one chance to raise your own child and be their primary person. Jobs come and go and even if this specific job isn't available down the road, you can almost guarantee that some job will be available if look hard enough....your baby won't be a baby forever and that is a definite guarantee. Live so you don't have regrets.

And while it is kind that you care about your nanny...don't let that interfere with doing what is best for you and your child.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

I think it's a really tough call, and only you can decide. One thing to consider is how hard it might be to get back into the workforce if you do take time off. If there's a possibility to cut down to part time, or switch to a part time job, that might be a good happy medium. I'm at home with our young ones now, for many of the reasons you mention. I love it, but I do worry about finding work in the future. I don't mind that things are tight, in the sense that I don't care if we can't buy a lot of stuff -- but I do worry about not being able to save for college, not paying into Soc Security or a retirement plan. You have to think about the future, as well as how to manage things financially in the present. If there's an in-between solution, that would let you be at home more, but still work some, that might be ideal. But you're the only one who knows the specifics of your situation well enough to decide.

2 moms found this helpful

You've answered your own question. Your "job" doesn't make you happy, it only stresses you. You don't like being the "evening/weekend" caretaker of your own child. Your son makes you happy. That right there would do it for me. I have a pretty strong opinion about this subject. Since the day your son was born, your "career" changed from whatever job you have been doing for the last 10 yrs. to being a mommy. It is far more important that you be home raising your baby, playing with your baby, teaching your baby, and loving your baby up every day than it is to bring a paycheck home from some company that doesn't depend on you, love you and look up to you the way your son does. As for the nanny, she found a job filling your shoes all day, I'm sure she can find another one. There are plenty of moms out there who by choice would rather be working than staying home actually raising their kids, so I'm sure one of them will pick her up. Although, I have never understood why some women have babies if they don't want to be the one home raising them. You should not feel the slightest bit guilty for wanting to be the one to mommy your baby and you shouldn't feel bad at all about leaving your job. You should feel elated. You will be doing something way more important with your time once you make the decision to be home with your son. As for the money...it's not important. If your husband can support you, let him. You can do your part by shopping smart (coupons and clearance) and you can always cut back on things that aren't necessities. Plus, the ego boost your husband will get from knowing he is such a great man for taking care of his wife and child is priceless. Eight yrs ago, my son was born and my husband and I both felt very strongly that nobody would be raising our child but us. There is no way we would pay someone to play the role of mom while I worked. And essentially that is what a nanny does. Your baby spends most of his time with her and thus she becomes the "mommy figure" in his life daily. So, the day our boy was born was the last day I worked at that big company that I was moving up in and getting paid very well at. 2 yrs later we had our daughter, and I don't regret for one microsecond deciding to give the financial reigns to my husband so that I could be home watching our children grow, not missing any of their firsts and getting to witness all of the silly, sweet, adorable and great things they did. When your son is in school (i.e. Kindergarten or 1st grade) there will be plenty of time in the day to fill with a job. That is where I sit now...I work part time around my kids' school schedule my husband's work schedule so that one of us is always here for our kids. That is a commitment we have made and we stick to it. So, I say go with your gut feeling and be a mommy, not an evening/weekend caregiver, and be proud of yourself for doing it. Remember this....You can ALWAYS be replaced at some job, you can NEVER be replaced as mommy.

2 moms found this helpful

i have lots of thoughts and have been there..

My first child was a girl. I ask for 6 months maternity leave and was granted it... I had been with my job for 15 years when my baby was born. When my maternity leave was over, I requested to go back part time (3 days a week) as other mothers had in the past. My request was denied. Full time or nothing was the companies answer. After calling headquarters, meeting with my boss, and my bosses boss.. and many tears on my part... They finally agreed that I could come back 4 days per week. I wanted 3 days they wanted 5 days we compromised.. I also had a nanny who did a OK job taking care of my duagher and an outstanding job taking care of my house..(I wished she dusted less and played ball wth my child). So I went back to work.. and I just kept asking myself WHY am I doing this... why... what is the point...?? I was workign to make money to pay someone to watch my child... why>>>It just never made sense.. and really after I paid the nanny I didnt make that much anyway..

I got pregnant with my second child sooner than we planned.. My son was born 18 months after my duagher.. I knew I would quit my job after the second child. So after my maternity leave was over I quit..

Then I was home full time with a newborn and a 1 year old.. it was harder than working.. But better than working. I will not lie.. staying home full time is a huge adjustment.. I am a very social person and I had to find a new social network as I lost all of the daily interaction with my coworkers..

I am so so glad that I quit. it was the best decision that I ever made. When you work full time you barely see your child. I felt like I didnt even know her as the nanny spent more time with her. I got home at 5 and she went to bed at 7 and in that time was dinner and bathtime.. and a minute of playtime...

I was a stay home mom.. but we never stayed home.. we went to libraries and playgroups and the park and the mall. we were busy busy.. My very shy daughter blossomed into wonder confident girl. I dont think she would have done so well home with a nanny full time..

So I say quit your job... these years with your son are very short.. there is always time to work,, but there is not going to be a lifetime of playdough and finger paints...

recently my old employer offered me a contract job.. flexible hours.. so I went back 2 days per week.. it is a great mix.. maybe you can find a part time job to get out of the house.

If you do quit.. you will be surprised how little the loss of your salary matters.. When I quit working we stopped paying the nanny 16,000 a year.. and our federal tax bill went down 20,000 per year.. your taxes will go down by a huge amount you will be amazed..

2 moms found this helpful

Only one way to find out what makes YOU happy.
If possible, take some time off. Really time off - with noone calling you about questions from work, or with you "just checking in". Really - they CAN live without you at the office. (If they think they cannot - here's the time for them to figure out how).
In the end you'll resent the time you spent at a job that did NOT make you happy, and for what...More money?
The only way to find out, is to do it.
So extended time off, or simply quit.
If you have a great career, it sounds as if you'd probably have no problem getting back to work if that is what you wanted in the end.
As far as the Nanny goes, oh well.....Sorry to say - but you need to put your needs first. There are plenty of people who'd need a nanny, and with an excellent review from you, she'd have no problem finding a new job.
Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

You really need to think about it, weigh in pros and cons because you will struggle with the decision for years to come. make sure it is what you want to become a stay at home mom, and that you can let go the major part of your identity.
i had to quit working because of lack of family support. we have no one to rely on. i am a good mom, yet i struggle every day with the fact that i threw away 18 years of education, my goals, my dreams. i have lost my identity completely. at this point i have no idea who i am and what i want out of life.
my mom worked throughout raising three kids. she now has three adult kids with their own families. so we were not hurt in any way even though she worked the entire time.
if i could, i would go back to work.
good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Staying at home means your child grows up the way you choose, however good a nanny is, she's not you...if money is tight see if you could do something part time when Dad can enjoy taking care of your child. Don't feel guilty about your Nanny's employment as presumably you will give her notice and she can start looking for employment or if she was available for part time, you could look for p/t work and keep her on for that. Think carefully as your child is only young for a very short time and I feel very guilty about working when one of mine was little.

1 mom found this helpful

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