B.J. asks from Fresno, CA on September 22, 2009
Contemplating Staying at Home with Daughter
I currently work full time but have recently found myself contemplating staying home with my daughter. We could make it financially w/my hubbys salary but things would be extremely tight. Is there anyone now in this situation and if so, how do you make it work? When I say tight I am talking maybe a few hundred left after things are paid and groceries are taken care of. What scares me is there would not be nothing to sock away in savings.
Any advice, opinions etc is helpful
1 mom found this helpful
R.W. answers from San Francisco on September 22, 2009
Wait until the economy improves. Maybe try cutting your hours back some.
Without savings, any unexpected expense or crisis (health, car, home damage, family member in need of support, tuition increases) can put you into debt, and in this unstable economy, and with all the changes that may come in the near future (tax changes, for example)you can't accurately predict your expenses in the next year. This is your first child---you may not realize how expensive children really are.
1 mom found this helpful
J.K. answers from Sacramento on September 22, 2009
What a tough decision! While I do agree that this is an unstable economy and it can be scary out there, I have to say that you only have a few precious years before your little one is involved in other things and if you can swing it, I'd take the cuts and stay home.
I have worked outside of the home and had my child in full-time care and now run a home daycare. I LOVE being able to provide a good place for other people's children and being able to be own with my own. ( one is in kindergarten (age 5) and the other is in preschool part-time (age 4) What I see is that at about age 2 many children are ready to be with other children. No matter how entertaining, creative, enthusiastic Mommy is, she is only one person and they seem to crave social interaction with their peers. Moms usually come to me looking for part-time care to give their kids a consistent social outlet.
I guess a question would be, how easy or hard would it be to get back into the work force for you? If you take a year or year and a half off to be home, could you return to what you do now or something comparable? And also how fulfilling is your job?
One mom I know works part-time to pay for daycare. Sounds crazy I know, but it's what she feels she needs to be a good Mom. And she is a good Mom. She takes care of herself so she can feel fulfilled and have her own identity and has enough of a break to be able to really enjoy and have patience with her kids. And because it's part-time, she still has a lot of time with them.
I think working part-time is ideal. Being a stay at home Mom is hard hard, work and can be very isolating unless you work hard to develop a social network for you and your baby.
Good luck on your decision. I am sure you'll get a lot of feedback on both sides, but ultimately you have to consider your individual circumstances and make a choice that's bets you for you and your family!
C.C. answers from Fresno on September 22, 2009
I would echo what Rae said - you don't want to become unemployed, especially by choice, with no savings. If this is an avenue you seriously want to pursue, make sure to save up as much as possible before you quit work (enough to pay for 6 months of living expenses). This way if your husband is laid off or your car breaks down, or something like that happens, you won't be unprepared financially. Right now isn't a great time to rely on only one income if you can avoid that - even people with "safe" jobs are being laid off left and right, and the job market is not likely to improve in the next year or so. I've had friends discover the hard way after being laid off that unemployment insurance only covers a portion of what they were being paid. My husband was laid off in 2006 and we ended up losing our house despite my having a good job - we did not have enough money saved up to get us through until he found a new job. I don't say this to scare you, but you should think about these things prior to making any big decisions. As Rae mentioned as well, perhaps you can cut back your hours at work so you're getting some good quality time with your baby, but you're still keeping in the work force and bringing in some money that you can put toward savings, with the eventual goal of staying home if that's what you want to do.
Best of luck!
H.D. answers from San Francisco on September 22, 2009
I have been both a working mom and a stay at home mom. I can honestly say that it is well worth cutting back on the money to have time with your kids! They are only little so long, enjoy them while you can! When your baby goes to kindergarten (I don't believe in pre-school) then you can start thinking about working again part-time. This is the time to finish school (you can do that at night or on-line), take up a hobby, get to know other moms. You will never regret it. =)
P.W. answers from San Francisco on September 24, 2009
The financial situation you described is exactly how the past 20 years has been for my husband and me and our 3 kids. But my kids are amazing, and I wouldn't change a thing.
Besides, most people tend to spend what they make, and very few people these days have a better financial situation than you are describing, even when both people work.
Even though apparently Americans are beginning to "save," from all reports, statistically speaking most Americans have been spending more than they made for the last decade or more, so your situation won't be any different from anyone else's.
I'm working my way back into the job market now, and by the time the kids are all out of the house we'll have two full-time incomes, and we can save then.
Caveat: A couple of good points from Catherine and Rae below: hopefully your husband's job is really secure if you decide to do this.
K.G. answers from San Francisco on September 25, 2009
We went from an annual income of $120k a year to $45k a year when I decided to stay home 2 years ago. We have 10 year old twins and 3 year old twins.
I never ever thought we could make it on less money. I learned to budget, clip coupons, shop sales and discount stores. I cook most of our meals, I even make the kids jello and pudding cups so I don't have to buy the premade ones, this costs me about $1.00 a week. And, we have savings.I have learned there are certain things we can live without. We own our home and have two cars.
Deciding to stay home was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Is all the extra stuff and money really worth missing all the firsts? You miss, the hugs and kisses, comforting them teaching them. Showing them flowers and bugs and butterflies. Children who are with their mothers are better behaved and more secure. You don't have constantly sick crying biting children because they learned this in a daycare center where there is one adult for every 8 children. And, those daycare people don't love your children the way you do, they are paid to make sure your chidren stay safe while you're working. Why would someone want to have a child and then pay someone else to raise that child? I want to be the one to mold their character and influence them the way I want. I don't want to spend the 5 or so hours a day I have with them, telling them why biting is wrong. And wiping their nose becuase they came home with yet another cold, and even lice this time. yikes.
I have so many friends who wish they could stay home, but don't want to give up the bigger house, the boat, the extra cars.
In the whole scheme of things if you live to be 80 or 90, 18 years is not really very long. We decided we would go with less now and in 15 years when the last ones are grown, then we can work all the hours we want and make all the money we want.
Fast forward to your daughter being a mother, and recalling all the things you did for her while you were home. It'll be a lot nicer then her reminiscing about the hired help. Plus when you're old, your children aren't going to care how much money you put in savings. They are going to care that you were there to put on the band-aid and paint her toe nails purple.
If you were a baby, where would you want to be during the day? Safe in the arms of your loving mommy at home? Or with the person your parents hired to "watch" you?
I think most two parent families could afford to stay home if they really wanted to. I am proof. It's about what you are willing to give up for your child.
Good luck, and I really hope you pick your daughter.
S.W. answers from San Francisco on November 04, 2009
I am also a stay at home mom. We went from two incomes to one. My income was slightly larger than my husbands, but we both feel that me staying home was the right decision. I love it so much.
I found a way to earn some extra income by selling Avon. I love the fact that I can take my son with me and work around our schedule.
Message me if you might be interested in learning more.
S.K. answers from San Francisco on September 23, 2009
I am a stay-at-home mom and love it! My 13 month old daughter changes everyday and I feel so lucky to be able to stay home with her and be involved in all the little memories she makes everyday.
Although our budget is exactly the same, maybe a couple hundred left after everything is said and done, we made the choice to have me stay home with her rather than go back to teaching. We feel that these early years we will never get back and in terms of our working life and earning potential they are a drop in the bucket. I want to be the one to teach her things and watch her learn and grow each day- it is an amazing eperience!
We also found that there was actually a lot of little things that we could do to save money here and there once I stopped working: I iron rather than have things dry cleaned, because I'm home I cook more and we eat out less, and we aren't paying for child care! I think that a few sarifices in terms of your living situation is a small price to pay in exchange for the joy you'll have of being a stay-at-home mom and the benefit to your daughter of having her mommy home with her! Good luck with your decision! :)