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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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.

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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.

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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.

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I think you have already answered your own question simply by posting this. If you are thinking it would be better to be home with your child then do it. They are only little for so long and you can never get this time back.

1 mom found this helpful

You sound like a great woman... for even caring about your Nanny and not wanting her to be without a job in this economy. Your Hubby just wants you to be happy. You are lucky. Very lucky.

I am a SAHM. Yes it is tighter when being a SAHM and on 1 paycheck... but your child is young only once. And you will make ends meet. Being a SAHM is just as much hard work as a regular job... except you do not have paid holidays or days' off, or vacations... because being "Mom" is 24/7.
But it is rewarding, and as my daughter told me once "I'm glad your'e a home-mom Mommy...." and that makes it all so worthwhile.

All the best to you in whatever you decide... no one can decide for you, and you have the luxury of deciding your own path in this, since your Husband is supportive of you either way. That is why... your Hubby does not help you figure it out... because it has to come from inside you... and you need to be sure, in your heart... what you want to do. Your Hubby cannot do that for you. But he is there for you.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

Can you take unpaid leave for a few months? That way if it doesn't work out, you would still be able to return to you job. I am a working mother as well, and my husband has told me he would like me to stay at home with the kids (I've decided to do it!!!). You should not feel ungrateful for not being grateful for your job. Think of it this way; you will get the benefit of enjoying you son's company, he will get the benefit of having you with him, and someone out there who is desperately in need of a job, will benefit from the job opening. I'm sorry for your nanny, but you have to think about what is best for your family, if she is wonderful as you say she is, she will surely find other employment in no time. And you could show your gratitude by writing her a glowing letter of recommendation.

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First things first .... others can give you input, but it really is your choice to make (not even your husbands.) That said, here's the voice of experience:

I worked full-time when my son was born, and did so until he was in 4th grade and his sister was born. My job was dissolved, so the decision was made for me. There are obviously major differences between children, but I think in many ways my son benefited from me working full-time. He is more independent and more confident ... and was so even at her age.

You sound like a very caring person, and that will totally come across to your son whether you are with him 24/7 until he starts school in a year or two ... or whether he's with a nanny for those couple of years and has playdates with mom late afternoons and weekends.

Others have told me that regardless of which you chose you'll have the "I should haves" ... unfortunately, that's how life functions.

Remember, you'll always be his mom, and that's the relationship to work on however many hours you are together ... now and forever. Eventually, they all move on and we hope we did what's best for them (and for us.)

Good luck ... and enjoy life!!

1 mom found this helpful

I left a high profile career making great money to stay home with my daughter and there has not been even one second that I've regretted it. I love being home with her, she is so bright and funny. I've enjoyed meeting new people through new groups we've been able to join. I love not having to worry about completely irrelevant things (job related). I've been there for all of her firsts. If you do decide to stay home, this is such a great age to be there with him, too - my daughter had this huge talking/knowledge/personality explosion right around 18 months. Obviously it's a decision only you can make but I could not imagine working right now if I did not have to. As for sacrifices, I brought in half the income so we did have a huge step down but it's been fine. You could give your nanny a heads up if you do decide to stay home - maybe two months and not give notice at work for another month or so. It's sweet of you to be concerned about her but giving her adequate notice (and of course glowing recommendations) is sufficient. Good luck with whatever you decide!

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I felt that my career defined me, then after having to go through infertility to get my first daughter I realized that I was wrong but because my husband's job did not offer benefits I had to work full-time until my second daughter was born and my husband's law practice took off. Long story made short, after five wonderful years home with my daughters, my husband had some major health issues and ended up not being able to work at the pace he was working which supported our lifestyle and I had to return to work full time. After returning to work my six year old daughter started having many problems at school and grades started dropping for both of them. Keep in mind that I too had a known and loving nanny. My husband and I made the decision a month ago that I would return to my life as a stay at home mom, volunteering at the girls school for now. We have had to make some changes in our life style that included selling our high mortgage home and moving into a less expensive rental , and there are days that I am not sure if I have made the right decision, but I am in my second week home and the reports from school have been good and I have seen marked improvement in the school work being produced. I have to say that I am not a domestic person, and I am in school right now getting my masters and our house is a nightmare, but I will be able to look back on this time and thank God that I had it with my girls. Our nanny was with us for four years, a part of our family, yes even when I wasn't working, so I understand your distress. Always do what is right for your family, and keep in mind that it might not be what you think.

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HI S.,
I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with my son when he was an infant. However, by the time he was a year I was dying to go back to work and have a little adult stimulation. I have worked anywhere from a 15 hour work week to 60 hr weeks, depending on the season and which company I was with. With all that being said, my income has helped our family quite a bit but my husband is really the money maker. After 6 years of work I am trying to get back in the financial position so I can stay home again. The moral of the story is If I am a SAHM I can't wait to go back to work and if I am a working mom I try to find ways to stay home, lol. You will have to find the balance that is right for you. Please don't allow guilt to sway you either way. Most families require 2 incomes and you are lucky to have a great job, a supportive husband , a wonderful nanny, and the opportunity to stay home with your little man if you want. Good Luck with your decision.

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This is just a different take on things... instead of feeling like you're ungrateful for your job (and maybe not confusing "unhappy with" and "ungrateful for"), consider that your choosing to stay home with your son could be a win-win-win. You win, your son wins... and whomever eventually fills your position gets a chance to win, too. No one has to tell you that you can't get these years back with your son; you know it. Of course, the risk to your career is real, too. So I can't imagine it's an easy decision. If I had the opportunity, I'd probably spend about three more months working and living only on my husband's salary. Then adjustments can be made before everything's finalized.
I don't know if what I'm saying will help or not, but I hope it does.

Hi S.,

Goodness, you sound just like me these last three, almost four years! I can relate exactly. Except for the nanny part, I was in the same situation: can't exactly quit my job (would be possible but very tight), liked my job but was often stressed out, which was compounded by the guilt and yearning I felt when it came to my child. I just wanted to be the one raising him. My husband saw how miserable I was and told me to just quit and would rather I was happy--but I wasn't willing to put us into a very hard place.

He is turning four and this is what I did over the years: The first year of his life, I put him in an in-home daycare close to my work, with a loving mom and just a couple other babies. I was able to visit for lunch everyday, and even breast fed him (doesn't mean it was easy to leave him but it lowered my stress somewhat to see him mid-day). When he was about two, I negotiated part time hours. Thank goodness they agreed. My pay was cut, but it was just enough that it kept us comfortably afloat and still paid for daycare 3 days a week. They let me work from home one other day. I don't know if what you do is conducive to a flexible schedule. I am a graphic designer, so I could take my work home. What's hard is if you are responsible for a department (as I am)--you have to make yourself available all the time for calls, email, etc. Hopefully this is something you can do. It's not easy but so worth it!

I was fortunate enough to stay at home with my little man for 15 months. I wouldn't trade the time for anything. But money got too tight, so me going back to work was our only option. Once again, very fortunate that my old job let me return! I miss my son every moment and I rush to pick him up everyday! But, all in all, I feel like working has made me a better mother and made me feel better about myself, along with the burden of money being lifted off our shoulders! I wish you all the very best in your decision, I know it's hard!


I was fortunate enough to stay at home with my little man for 15 months. I wouldn't trade the time for anything. But money got too tight, so me going back to work was our only option. Once again, very fortunate that my old job let me return! I miss my son every moment and I rush to pick him up everyday! But, all in all, I feel like working has made me a better mother and made me feel better about myself, along with the burden of money being lifted off our shoulders! I wish you all the very best in your decision, I know it's hard!

I think if it's in your heart to stay at home, then you should listen to your heart. But you also have to be realistic, if you can't afford to stay at home, then you have to figure out a way to bring in some money, or cut back on expenses.

I had a wonderful job that I loved before we adopted our first child. But I always knew in my heart that once we had a baby, I wanted to be a SAHM. But we had to be realistic and see if we could afford it. So hubby and I listed out all of expenses and bills in an Excel spreadsheet versus his take home pay. Then we listed out all the expenses related to my working (clothes, gas, insurance, lunch, day care, etc.). The answer for us was a no brainer. If I worked FT and my job, I would bring in about $30-$35K. Working PT I would bring in about $20K. Cost of PT daycare, extra diapers and baby supplies=just under $20K. I would be working just to pay for daycare. I'd rather stay at home with my kids...it would cost the same either way.

And now that we have 2 kids, I am even more grateful to be a SAHM. I just couldn't stand the idea of someone else raising my kids for me or being there for them more hours of the day than I was. But that is our situation.

I do know several moms who either work PT, or work from home to bring in some income and to have some adult time.

You can always go back to work, but like others have said, your children will only be children once in this lifetime.

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.

I work full time and have a 5-1/2 year old daughter and b/g twins who just turned one. I've been at my job for 25 years and can retire in just 3 more years with a good pension and health care coverage. If I retired now, my percentage I'd get would be okay, but it will be 15+% more with just three more years of work. For me it is definitely worth it to continue working because I will be providing a secure future for my family. My older daughter is in kindergarten and an after-school program that she loves. The twins are in a Montessori daycare and are thriving! The care givers are wonderful - they do teach them love and a boat load of other things. I can't say enough good things about them! (We had a nanny for two months after I returned to work. She was nice, but not a lot of common sense - yikes!). My husband is retired, but is disabled and can't care for the babies, so they are in the best place they could be right now. I know that people think you should stay home with the babies when they are young, and that you can always go to work when they are older. But I remember what a very wise person told me: they will actually need you MORE when they are pre-teens and teens. Oh how true that is! Kids that age really need a lot of guidance, and I am glad I will be able to be there for them full time at that point. The twins will only be 4 when I retire....still a full year and a half before kindergarten, and my older daughter will be in the middle of 3rd grade. I have a flexible schedule and volunteer in her class now and am able to participate in school activities with her. It is really about what is best for your family. As long as whatever you choose isn't detrimental to you or your children, that is the best choice for you.

I'm going to put my two cents in here for what it's worth. We made the difficult decision for my husband to stay home and for us to live on my salary when we had a baby. I have a good paying job but things were tight. My husband went back to work this year when my daughter started Kindergarten. We have a lot more money now, we can go on luxery vacations but we are not as happy as we were with one of us staying home. I am able to get home early also but it's just never enough time. The years have flown by and now she's going to be 6 and I feel like I missed everything. I love my job and have worked hard to earn my degrees but if I could I would stay home in a minute. The job will always be there--your child won't. It's scary thinking of living on one income but it always works out. You won't pay for lunches out, gas, wear and tear on the car, a nanny, work clothes, etc.. Time is precious--you never get it back. The things that make us the happiest are usually hard.

Hi S.!

Wow. How cool to read all your responses. So insightful. With that said, I would also like to say that I think you've answered your own question. The neat thing is, we always find ways to make things work. Instead of saying "I can't do that." we say "How can I make it work?!".
I decided to give Network Marketing a try. Going into it, I knew that it had a lot of negativity in certain people's eyes...but I also knew if you did your research and picked a great company it could payoff. With careful consideration I did just that. And it turns out I'm actually pretty good at it!
I've been able to stay home with my 3 year old girl (and now she's in preschool 2 days a week which gives me some good work time!) and I'm so glad I'm around for all these milestones!
I would take a leap of faith. They are only young once.
Good Luck!!
B. : )

I worked full time until two years ago, cut down to part time for a year, then stopped working altogether. I thought I would be happy at home with my kids all the time, but nowadays I feel really stir crazy. It's harder than you would think to have the same routine every day and very little adult conversation. Also, remember that the expectations of your work at home will be different. Your husband will expect you to do more around the house (cleaning, cooking, yardwork, etc.) and you won't have the same amount of money coming in to pay someone else to do it. The tedium of cooking every meal, doing the majority of the shopping, cleaning up every single mess wears on you. Also, we haven't had a vacation in a very long time. No money.
Of course, everyone's experience staying at home is different. There are many positive's to consider, as well. Personally, I've decided to go back to school full time in the fall. I can't wait.
Is there any way you could take a few weeks off and live like you would if you sah? Live off of only your husbands pay for a month?
If you do decide to stay home, make SURE you stay current in your field. Keep in touch with your co-workers. You might need it sooner than you think.

I was a professional and am now a SAHM and wouldn't want to trade these days for anything. The days/ weeks/ years fly by. My son will start kindergarten next fall, and I will miss having him around. It went by so quickly. I didn't miss a minute of it, though, and I am so thankful and grateful for that. I think you are feeling the pull, because you feel you are missing out on irreplaceable moments. As a busy professional, however, the change will take some adjustment time, and I would suggest involving yourself with some local mom groups so that you don't miss out on adult interaction:) I found that a big key to my happiness was balancing kid time with adult time. Good luck to you. I wish you happiness:)

I am currently working full-time, but just started with another company part-time to bring in extra money. Right now, it’s helping us save money on some of our expenses and bring in extra income. And some day I will probably be able to work from home exclusively. That is what this company does. It helps moms work from home to have more time with their families. Let me know if you want more information. This is something you could try now while your still working and it may make the decision for you to stay home a little easier.

Lots of pros and cons to think of, but at the end of the day you have to live with your decision. Think long and hard before you make either decision and than be okay with whatever you decide. Is moving down to part-time or working from home some an option? Sometimes you can have the best of both worlds. Keep in mind that your child would probably be going to preschool before long and factor that in. Its great that you are thinking of the nanny, just make sure you give her as much notice as you can and of course a great letter of reference. If you do stay at home full time make sure to keep in contact with friends/coworkers----it is very different being a SAHM and you get lonely at times and need some adult stimulation. Best of luck with your choice--you'll make the right one for you!

I thought that I was going to be really unhappy reading the responses, but I was so encouraged! I am so right there with all of the women who said that really the choice is yours to make.

I work a little less than full time (I'm a teacher) but I'm still away from from my kids from about 8am-4pm. Honestly, I love my job and would be really unhappy being at SAHM. Of course, I also love my children and adore spending time with them when we have it together (when they're not driving me bonkers!) Sometimes I find the juggling act to be almost too much to handle (dinner! get ready for tomorrow! bath! grading!), but I don't think how I could do it any other way.

But that's me. Here's my advice. Think about what it would really mean for "money to be tight." My husband just lost his job, and let me tell you, it sucks to be broke. Every purchase has to be mulled over. No new clothes. No eating out even if I'm super tired and just don't want to make dinner. Coupon cutting. Etc. We're doing it because we have to, and maybe the sacrifice would be worth it to you, but really think about how tight things would be and if it would be worth it to you. Draw up an actual budget. Could you afford to send your son to preschool when he gets a little older, or would he be home until kindergarten? If you want to have another, could you afford the added cost?

Finally, it's great that your husband is supportive of whatever choice. But he might have some insight that he could share with you that he's not because he's being sensitive to your needs. You could ask him for an honest assessment - would he think that you'd be happy staying home? Does he think that it's more about not liking your job or really wanting to stay home? Does he think you'd truly be happy living on such a tight budget? If you can be open to what he has to say, that might help you make a decision.

Ultimately, it is your decision, and there's no "right choice." You're no doubt a great mom either way. Good luck finding the best fit for you.

There is no easy answer here. I think we as humans tend to always think the grass is greener, no matter which side of the fence you are on. I never cared to have a career, always wanted to be a mom. A stay at home mom. But I also didn't want to ever be forced to rely on a man. So I went to college, got my degree and then a teaching credential. I met my (now) husband in college we got married and after 3 years of teaching we decided to start a family. So i became a stay at home mom. But in the end I found I missed my life as an independent woman, earning her own wages, I missed the title of "teacher", missed the adult interaction, the friendships I had made with my co-workers etc. All these emotions surprised the heck out of me, I never thought I would care about a job so much. I just thought I would be so content raising babies that it would be all that mattered. Boy was I wrong! We are able to live on my husbands salary, but it is so tight! We go without a lot. And it makes me question my "not working". For instance after tee-ball practice some of the moms want to go get pizza...depending on where we are in the month and where payday is we most likely can't go. We cant just pick up and take a road trip, or host friends for dinner. We have to plan ahead or save up to buy cleats or school shirts or support the latest fundraiser at school. Forget going out with the girls for dinner or drinks, and my wardrobe has seen better days! We just cant afford the extras. Throw in a doctor bill and that ruins us for a few months until we get it paid off--yes we have insurance but it doesn't cover everything. Then there is the utter exhaustion and frustration you feel raising children. It is the hardest job ever, often I think going back to work would be easier. So my advise, be thankful you have the extra cushion your job offers you. If you are miserable, by all means get out of there. But if it is flexible enough to allow you family time, maybe you do have the best of both worlds! I wish you peace with this...

You have received a lot of great advice, but I will tell you my situation as well. I work twenty hours per week and feel that it is perfect. I was on an academic research/faculty track and after I had my first realized I did not want to work full time plus. I found a reasonably fulfilling half time job and I LOVE the balance. I am contributing to my family and society (in addition to the contribution that raising good kids makes), and I'm drawing on my previous work and training. Twenty hours is great because you can have your child in a morning program every day or three days of 3/4 days, but never full days. I am lucky to be able to change my schedule around every year or so as the child care situation changes. Now my oldest is in kindergarten and I am able to pick him up every day. Afternoons are relaxed. I would go NUTS if I were home full time, I know it.

One thing that on one has touched on is that you are still in a real "golden age" with your child. You can't really get mad at an 18-month old - they are just too darned cute. Days can get very long with a strong-willed 2, 3, or 4 year old! You will probably (not definitely) want your child in some kind of preschool within a year or two, and it will be nice to choose a quality program that you can afford due to working.

See if you can cut down your hours, even if you lose some pay/benefits, and good luck!

I work from home, if you would like to operate a fulfilling business, that has an unlimited income potential & requires very little of your time, let me know. I would like to share this with motivated, positive people who would like to do some thing meaningful & be home raising their children. Contact me any time for more info.

You have great hours and it sounds like a very fulfilling career so it is a tough decision to make.
I spent 10 yrs building my career and had good pay. My boss was wonderful and said he would accommodate to my needs when I got pregnant. He even said I could set my own hours and extended my maternal leave. But I also wanted to a day caretaker and be there for my daughter AND husband in the evening and weekends. So I stayed at home. Now, I regret working so hard and I am glad I am spending the maximum amount of time I can with my child and husband, not just with my child.
Despite the joy I received from caring for my daughter, I didn't realize how much I identified myself with my job and basically had to reinvent myself as a different person because I was no longer that career woman. I would suggest taking the time to process that change and even grieve if you have to. People no longer referred to me as Mrs. X who is an amazing (whatever profession) but as Ashley's mom.
Don't feel ungrateful for your job. For me, I felt ungrateful to my parents who paid for me to get my degree. I felt as if I was throwing away the education they paid for by laying my career aside and not bring productive with that gift they gave me. They worked SO hard to pay for my college bills. So that was something I had to let go of and be at peace with.
Sounds like you have a supportive husband. Be grateful for that. Not many husbands nowadays are like that. Also be aware that there will be days when he may seem to be taking you for granted because he might expect you to do certain things since you "don't work" now. But you have to make it clear that being a SHM is a 24/7 job and your work hours are actually longer now.
As for your nanny, I understand about feeling bad about the economy but since I stopped working, my husband actually got a drastic pay cut so I had to cut my housekeeper's hours. I didn't fire her completely but instead have her come in less often. Would you be able to afford that? Because it will still be helpful to have someone to watch the baby when you do laundry, cook dinner, mow the lawn, go get your hair cut, etc. You also need to spend quality time with your husband and there will be issues that you may have to discuss with him without a child distracting you.
If you need to let go of her completely, don't feel bad because in this economy, she will probably find another mom who NEEDS to work and is having a tough time finding a good nanny.
I actually cut a lot of my expenses, even household expenses, eating out, etc to keep my housekeeper because her help once or twice a month helps so much to keep my sanity!
I am totally pro-SHM and I'm blessed to have a husband who supports this idea 100%. Hope this helps.

I myself worked until now and just got laid off so I am home. My kids are now 5 and 7. Someone once told me that the kids need us around more later than in the early years. I am starting to see why that would have been said. With school, homework, school involvement and friends, it gets much busier later. I think that, provided your job is not making you miserable and if you can hang out for a few more years, I would continue working, save like crazy, give your child the good quality attention when around (they say that quality is more important than quantity), put him in preschool at 3 so he can start the social activities and then sometime after that think about this again.

Good luck,

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.

i didn't have time to read all the answers (a lot, and here is another!) but i worked full time as did my husband until my son was 18 months, then i got laid off. it was the best thing to happen to us! we didn't think we could do it... till we had too. and there were a number of big things that worked in our favor through the process too so we were very lucky (had recently paid off a number of big monthly expenses). and then last summer my husband got laid off! and we are still doing it, still paying the bills and we are making the best of it. i'll bet you can make it work. try it.

Okay...I will admit I am biased on this subject & I haven't read the other posts. So I might be repeating, but I feel very strongly on this subject.

Yes, they are only young once & yes, our culture is so materialistic that NOT having the latest, greatest of "whatever" seems like you are depriving yourself & your family. Yes, you worked hard for your career & to get your degrees, but you can ALWAYS go back to work! Maybe not at the same level you were, but if you have the ambition, you'll work your way back to were you were when you left the work force.

BUT I would submit that YOUR time is the most precious thing you can give to your children. Sometimes, stepping off the tread mill & enjoying the life you have made with your partner is the most rewarding thing in the world.

If you think you'll go crazy without adult interaction there is always part time, job sharing or consulting from home & your current nanny could even still work for you, relieving you of that stress.

Your values, your love, your input into your little creation is worth not "having it all" IMO. Plus, they don't care about the "toys" near as much as they care about being with you. Even when they get to be older, if you have taught them to love PEOPLE & not THINGS, they won't even resent it when they don't have all the latest greatest things.

Working brings with it it's own costs: clothing, transportation, eating out, child care, that will fall off if you stay home. There are tons of low cost activities you can do with your child that will be both education & fun for you to enjoy together.

I think it is totally a personal decision that everyone has to make for themselves. Some people don't have even the hint of a possibility to stay home with their kids and some people simply don't desire to?
That being said, you did ask for insight, so I'll give you my take on the matter. For right now, I really feel like the Lord is providing a way for me to care for and raise our children on a daily basis and I am extremely grateful for that. I can't imagine having to rely on someone else to teach my kids and love on my kids and care for their needs all day long. So, I'm glad I don't have to! It's not easy, however. There are really rough and long days, but when I get frustrated on those days, I try and remember how blessed I am to be able to spend these moments with our kids. They will not be young forever and I feel like I would be crazy not to do all that I can to cherish these years with them. My husband and I work 3 part-time jobs between us to make this a reality, so it can be done!

It is so tough when this feels like such an either/or decision. Only you can figure out what's right for you but here are some questions to consider. How would leaving work impact not just the short term budget but your own long term earning potential and retirement savings etc? Is it possible to ask to modify your current job - say to 4 days a week or leave at 3 pm - you might find that having one or two days a week with family is the right fit? Would it help if your husband could modify his job a bit to help out more at home? Ask yourself if your pull to be at home is what you want or is it partly a cultural stereotype of what a "good mom" does - making you feel guilty? Might be some of both. I deal with a lot of these issues in my book, This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today because I wrestled with them myself and know so many women who do. http://www.remodelingmotherhood.com

I didn't have time to read everyone else's post, so apologies if I repeat what you've already heard.

Thanks to a great employer, I was able to take extended maternity leaves for my two sons (6 and 9 months respectively). During that time, I learned that I was NOT a good stay at home mommy. I tried, I really did, but it wasn't for me. Consequently, I found excellent home day care for my children, three blocks from work, and never looked back. Between me, my husband and "Judi", my sons were well cared for and well loved. We all kept to the same schedule and thus routines were seamless. At nearly 16 and 12, I can say my sons have grown in to fine young men, thanks to the great care they received from all of us.

Your husband is right, do what makes you happy. Happy moms make happy babies. Would your job grant you a 6 month to one year's unpaid sabbatical for you to "try out" SAHM life? It would be a bummer to quit a great job only to find that the grass isn't any greener on the other side of the diaper pail. Plus, perhaps an extended period of time at home would give you a new appreciation for your job. Food for thought...

Good luck.

Seven years ago I was right where you are, minus the nanny. My parents watched my baby while I worked.
I felt the same and became very unhappy that I was home for dinner, bath & bedtime and that was it for M-F.
I waited 39 years to have a baby and I really felt like I was missing SO much.
MY solution was to speak with my employer and I started working PT. It was (and still IS) a much better balance for me.
My income dropped drastically but they kept my generous hourly pay rate untouched so I still make pretty good money considering I only work 2 days per week.
As for the difference in income if you quit or reduce your hours, I would encourage you to step off of that hamster wheel and you will be AMAZED at how little you spend when you are at home. It will work out if you want it/need it to. Good luck! Follow your heart!

I'm not working this year because of lay-offs, not because I chose not to work. But I am so grateful that I'm not working now! I'm sure you have dreamed about what your life would be like if you could stay at home. You could be a full-time mom to your son, you'd feel free and happy doing the things you love. You said money would be tight, not impossible. I think you've answered your own question! I came from a VERY stressful job as well. Unfortunately for me, my husband and I would not be able to survive without my unemployment checks, and I'm continually looking for work because we won't survive without some kind of income from me. You have to do what is best for you and your family. Think of what a positive atmosphere you can create in your home if you are NOT stressed out from your job! I think it all sounds exciting! God bless!

You received so many good responses here. I will try to keep it brief. One excersize you could do, and you will probably have to write it out to get it right. You need to take the "guilt and shoulds" out of the equation to figure out what you really want. Make a list of all of your reasons why you want to stay home, reasons why to work, then a list of all the stuff that makes you feel "bad" or "guilty". This will help you sort it out and figure out what you really want. By the way, I have done both, part time is great if you can swing it, and have a husband that supports that you will still need some help. (I say this because often when you work part time, everyone just assumes you can continue doing everything at home because you only work part time., so, essentially, all you are doing is adding 20 to 25 hours to your workload). Now, I have been off the last year and a half, at home again, and am enjoying it more than I did when my daughter was smaller. She is gone during the day at school and I have time to get everything done and workout, etc. It's not a bad deal. I used to get bored when she was really little sometimes. If you decide to stay home, make sure you take a little time to do something that's just for you, we all love our children, but it can be taxing to constantly serve the needs of others at the expense of ourselves. Just my two cents. Good luck to you.

Ugh, don't work at a job you hate! Life's too short. I am a working mom, I'm all for the working mom. But if you don't like your job, what's the point?
Do what makes you happy! Or maybe take a year off and just see what happens. There are always other jobs out there, other ways to make money. I know in this economy I shouldn't say that so confidently, and I have no idea what you do, but it just sounds like you are stuck and don't like what you're doing.
If you get sick of things "being tight" then you could always hit the job trail again... at least it's possible for you to make it on one salary so you know you won't be up a creek if you decide to go back to work and then can't find anything for awhile.

I went back to work 9 weeks after my daughter was born and it nearly killed me. I also had a "good Job" which was interesting and fulfilling, though somewhat stressful. I commuted an hour each way, which did not seem bad until I had a baby to pick up after work and soooooo far to drive to get her! My husband was out of work at the time, so I did not have an option. When he got a job, we immediately started planning how I would quit my job. I stopped working when she was 11 months old and never looked back. People asked me "do you miss work?" and I never, ever did. I now have 2 kids, my youngest will be in kindergarten in the fall. My husband has his own business, so I help him with his bookkeeping, but mostly, I am the home-front person.

You can always try it and see if it is for you. Just because you leave this job, doesn't mean they won't ever take you back. Hey, you might want to talk to the HR people and see if you can get a voluntary layoff, I worked for a company that asked all employees if anyone WANTED to leave their job, and with all the employees left, they would see if they still needed to lay off more. You might get additional benefits that way. Also, this is not the end of your career, you can return to a job when the kids are in school. A career path is rarely a straight line. Many companies will hire you back as an independent contractor, which offers more flexibility and money, but no benefits. That way you can just work during the "busy times" for the company, but not all the time.

Some people don't like staying home, because there really is NEVER a break - even when they nap, there are about a million things that you blew off while your kid was rampaging the house that need to be taken care of. But you should probably give it a try, because it is a great opportunity to spend a huge chunk of time with this little person that you created.

Your nanny will find another family, just be sure to tell EVERYONE that you know about her and help her find someone else to work for.

Be sure to have a monetary plan in place before you leave, and build up and emergency fund, too. Good luck with your decision!

i think the ideal situation is working part time. That way you stay up to date in the job market which will be good if you want to go back full time. You also get some positives out of work and you also have WAY more time to spend at home with family. I think that is a win-win. You could keep your nanny part time and, that way, maybe she could find something else part time to make her ends meet.
If I had the option to go part time, i would do it in a second. You're really lucky to have this option of not working. please remember that. i always feel stressed that I don't have an option and have to work full time to just make ends meet.

I am a stay at home mom. One of my kids has medical issues and needs a parent to take him to dr appts. I know that work was so much easier than taking care of my kids. I would love to have a part time job. some adult time would be a joy. I think everyone needs both. you need to figure out what works fo you.

I also work full time. And while I like my job/career and it is generally pretty satisfying, if I had the choice, I would stay at home with my daughter.
You son is only going to be little once, but you have years left to go back to work when he goes to school. It may not be the exact same position at this exact company, but your will find something that you like doing.

I already feel that I cannot get back the years that my daughter has spend in daycare instead of with me. Ten years down the road, I probably even won't remember the names of the people I work with how, but I will always know that I missed my daughters important "firsts" and that someone else taught her some of the things that I wanted her to learn from me.

It's totally a personal choice.

Given that, I am trying to "get home" myself. I have two little boys and the evenings and weekends are just not what I want. I've done well building my career, but could give a care about it really. It's all just to pay the bills. I'm working right now as a part time real estate agent so that I can hopefully do that full time soon and work from home on a more flexible schedule than the one now that demands that I leave the house at 7a and don't get home until after 6p.

My oldest starts kindergarten in the fall and with that comes homework and more activities. I honestly don't see how I fit that all in unless something changes, so I'm trying to make that change.

If I were in your shoes and could swing it, I so would. But, like I said, it's all up to you and what works for you and your family. No decision is wrong, just different.

Good luck.

Call it nature, call it the way God made us, in my opinion, it is unnatural for anyone but the mother to be the main care taker and in my opinion thats why you feel pulled. All kinds of voices tell you it isn't good enough to "just be a mom". But in your heart you know it is. Listen to your heart and be thankful that its even financially possible to stay home. I never bought the lie that it isn't good enough to just be a mom. I've based many life choices around that fact that staying home with my young children was paramount in importance. It makes me sad that so many women trap themselves into doing it all. I think there is only a tiny fraction of the female population that can pull this off, and they are the ones with massive energy, who don't need more than 5.5 hours of sleep. The rest of us end up with not enough energy to be good mothers, wives, or even good to ourselves.

Here are some things to consider. Nobody can care for your child like YOU can. My mother always said that. Right now I am a stay at home mother myself, but I won't lie, there are days every now and then that I wish that I did work, just to break the monotony. But thats not very often honestly.
You need to consider the amount of stress on you and what that does to you, your family life, and most importantly, what it does to your relationship with your son. You cannot get hung up thinking about your nannys situation, either. Not at yours and your familys expense. Children are only young and only need you for a short time. You can work in a few years or sooner, whatever you decide, but it sounds like that for now, you staying home is your best bet. Good luck!

I sent flowers to all the moms who advised that only you can make that decision. It's your family, your career. Only you know what the right answer is for you.

I've always been a working mom. I love my children more than anything else, and I would do a good job as a SAHM, but I don't think I would be fulfilled personally nor would my children be as advanced as they are having been in day care.

That being said, our kids are in a structured day care facility where there is a curriculum, a strong base of education, music, etc. With kids 21 months apart, and 2 different learning levels, I don't think I'd be able to teach at each of their respective levels effectively.

Even the moms I know who are SAHM mostly send their kids to day care/preschool at a certain age (usually around 2 years) to begin socializing and introducing environments without Mom being there.

If I'd been a SAHM when I had my daughter, our lives would have been a lot different as I was diagnosed with cancer before she was 11 weeks. There is no way I could have been in treatment and cared for a new born and a 2 year old. By having them in Day Care, they were well-cared for, I was able to have a quiet house on the days I was too sick to work, and being a full-time employee gave me the opportunity to keep my mind off of the magnitude of the situation.

My friends who SAH are split in their happiness as are the moms who work. There can be regrets either way. Think through it - as many people said, this is a tough economy. I had a good-paying job that stressed me out, and I really didn't like it, and I was laid off with 199 other colleagues in May. I was fortunate to get back to work (at 80% of my old salary + no bonus) quickly. Many of the other people who were laid off are still not back to work.

I don't have a choice, I have to work. But, I make sure each minute with them counts. It's OK to me if they go to bed later than other kids so I can spend more time with them.

Just some food for thought. Good luck with your decision. Enjoy that time with your family.

Hi Sara B. -
My name is P., from Simi Valley - California, and we have three children ourselves. We have a 10 year old daughter and 4 and 3 year old sons. Sometimes we just need to take a leap of faith and go with our instinct.
My husband and I decided to move from Massachusetts to California and, with that decision, I quit my job and became a stay-at-home Mom for the first time. My husband had a great job opportunity through his existing company and we took it. Both our extended families live in Massachusetts -we have no family living in California but have made some good friends already.
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Hi S.. I am a mother of 2 toddler girls (ages 4.5 and 3) and what I wouldn't give for my husband to be able to support us without my income, even if it's tight. It pains me to get up and leave them every morning, and even more so, that they'll wake up with me already gone to work. My work provides us with our health benefits and it's not so easy to let that go. Anyway, our babies are only this young for a short time. These are the formative years. Life is too short. Do what is best and what makes you happy. Your baby will benefit from it the most.

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