January 15, 2008,
J.N. asks from Beaverton, OR on January 10, 2008
How Can I Afford to Stay Home? How Do I Get Help If I Need It?
After months of racking my brain about what to do ~ I said "Duh J.! Ask the wonderful Mom's at Mamasource! They have always helped in the past!" So here it goes...
I am pregnant with twins, these will be our #4 & #5. I am "due" in the middle of May. As of now I work a full time job. It is my job that supports the families health insurance since my company pays for my entire family at no cost to us. I really wanted to stay home after we had our last child who is now 27 months, but just did not think it was possible. Well considering we are going to have to pay child care for 3 little ones (because my 2 year old is the only one now) I just don't know if it would be smart for me to still work! Besides the obvious benefits of staying home with my children, it just doesn't seem worth it! I got to stay home with my oldest two until my son who will be 9 this month was almost 1, but the now baby (2 yr. old) I had to go back to work after 3 months!!!
My husband will be finished with school in one year from now, and he gets a raise about every 4-6 months. We have talked it over a bit and are thinking that perhaps we could make it will a little help (food stamps or something like that) just until he can get a raise. I mean we have both been working since we were 16, the only time I ever used any state assistance was for 3 months when I was going through a separation from my oldest 2 childrens' father, and the only thing I used was W.I.C and a low income apartment! So it's not that I really feel that I deserve anything it's just that it's there for people who need help, and I guess I'm saying that I would not feel guilty using some assistance for a short time if it meant that I could stay home with my kids! Perhpas I could get a part time job after 6 month to a year or something if we needed a little extra ~ besides although I loved being a stay at home mom and desire to do it again ~ I think a little outside activity would be good.
So I guess my question is ~ does anyone know how I can go about finding out if we could even get any assistance? I mean if I go and apply for something are they going to say "well you are choosing to stay home with your children so there's nothing we can do for you."? Guess I'm looking for a little "how to" from some pros!
Any advice would be appreciated! Even if it's some helpful hints on how to live on a small budget with 5 kids and one income! Any tricks or advice at all!
Thanks so much and may you all be blessed in 2008!!!!!!
So What Happened?™
First of all I would like to thank everyone for taking time out of thier lives to share your thoughts, tips and words of encouragement with me!
I have done a little more researching on the net since I had so many of you send me links to helpful websites ~ truely a blessing! I think that we will be able to make it!
To answer some of the questions I was asked:
1) No my job will not allow me to work from home :( I don't even think they will let me come back part time because then I would have to job share and that's just something they don't really do. I work at a law firm in down town Portland and have been with them for 7+ years (doesn't break my heart to have a break!)
I did find out that I can stay on the Union Health insurance for 1 year after I leave but I would have to pay COBRA and I haven't done the math yet to see if that's even something we can consider!
2) I have thought about working from home. I am an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay cosmetics! I have been building my business for just over a year ~ my problem if I need to change my mind set. I joined Mary Kay for some fun girl time, personal growth and if I make a little extra money along the way then great! I need to learn to meet more wonderful women ~ but do not have many customers as of now and make only a few hundred dollars a year. But I have enjoyed every minute of it! And I thank all of the women on thier offers to join thier business ~ but Mary Kay is really a great company and I feel that it is the place for me.
3) I live in Aloha, Oregon.
4) My husband's company pays for his schooling and books since it's for a trade, so we don't have to worry about that! Which is a blessing in it's self! But he only goes one night a week so I don't think we can get any help based on that.
5) We are very scared and excited about having twins! It's going to be a challange but it's also a huge blessing!
well that's all I can think to answer about for now, but again I thank all of you for your words of encouragement! I truely belive that I will be able to live my dream of staying home to be a better MOM!
I will have each and everyone of you in my prayers ~ God Bless!
A.H. answers from Portland on January 11, 2008
Well, I would certainly look at seeing what aid you apply for - 5 kids is quite a lot, and daycare is expensive. That said, we ALL (well, I would venture to say at least most of us) want to stay home with our kids - whether we have 1, 5 or more. If everyone who wanted to stay home with their kids turned to the government to help fund that desire, well, our aid system would collapse. It's just not reasonable, or fair really, to expect the American work force, which often includes working mothers who have no other choice, to comfortably fund those who just want to stay at home to raise their kids (wouldn't we ALL, if given the choice). I'm not trying to be harsh, I totally support your desire to stay home with your kids, I'm just giving you some food for thought while making this decision and deciding if this is the way you want to do it. Many mothers in the workforce have to stay there for insurance purposes, or just the need to increase the family income (assuming it is a two adult household). The trick is to do so in a way that maximizes your time with your family. Do you have the option of working a late or night shift? Do you have the option of working weekends, or otherwise opposite days from your husband's schedule?
I work both nights AND weekends. I'd love not to work, but it just isn't reasonable for my family. I would say that it certainly isn't the "most" fun, and often we don't have just an overabundance of free family time as usually either one of us is sleeping or working, but I get to spend all week with my kids, and my husband gets to reconnect with them and be more active in their lives on the weekend. We try to maximize all of our commonly shared time to make the most of it, and we do just fine and everyone is happy. :)
Another thing you might consider is working FROM home during the kids' naps and whatnot. I know there are others, but WorkingSolutions.com is a great company that both my best friend and my husband has worked with in the past, so I know it is legit. In short they are subcontractors for companies like Office Depot and hotels.com and you dial into their network using your home phone and computer and you perform call center like stuff for them (placing order, making reservations, etc) and you get paid by the talk minute, with a garunteed minimum each hour (so you don't suffer if it is slow).
Anyway, I have to run so *I* can take a nap so I can go to work tonight! I hope this has given you some things to think about! Good luck and I know that whatever is best for you and your family will be what happens (it almost always does!!)!
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A.H. answers from Portland on January 10, 2008
You can collect welfare (cash aid) for one year after your children are born. That is, if you qualify. You can collect food-stamps forever. I say take the aid and raise your own kids. You might also qualify for WIC, which is a good program that gives free food. It's better to use the system and raise wonderful human beings than to struggle with putting them in daycare. I used public assistance until my son was 2, now I work from home (babysitting and selling things on Ebay) and I support us both. Good luck. :)
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L.R. answers from Seattle on January 12, 2008
There are lots of "calculators" online to help you figure it out, I just did one the other day: http://www.parents.com/app/stayathomecalculator/?sssdmh=d...
good luck, it is possible.
M.H. answers from Seattle on January 12, 2008
I don't know if this would work with your situation but I work part time at Starbucks. I have worked there for 4 years because of the cost of health insurance through my husbands work. You only have to work 20 hours (which is what I do) and it costs $175 for the entire family. That's with dental, vision, and 90% coverage for medical. They start you out a little above minimun wage but I tell everyone I don't work there for the pay I work there for the health benefits.
I work 3 days a week. 4am-8am one week day (everyone is home sleeping) 4am-12:30pm one week day (my dad comes over for 4 hours) and then every Saturday from 4-12:30. For our family and our situation it's perfect! Maybe with your husband going to school you may be able to be more flexible with times.
Being pregnant with twins may make it a little hard for that right now but if you need a part time something afterwards it may work. It's a nice environment for those few hours away from the kids and makes it all worth it knowing everyone has health insurance.
Good luck and here's the website for starbucks (not that you couldn't have figured it out) :)
D.S. answers from Seattle on January 12, 2008
I went thru the same dilema (my spelling sucks, sorry) several years ago. My husband really wanted a stay at home wife, I had been working for more years than I cared to count, and we had 5 kids at that time (we are a blended family). The problem was that I made at least as good if not better take home pay then he. I guess, luckily for me, my job ended and that took the choice out of the matter. We thought about me looking for a new job, but when we figured in the cost of daycare, it was just plain stupid for me to keep working. We figured what we would spend for daycare and how much it was worth to me personally to work (i.e. I wasn't going to work just to pay the daycare) and as a family decided to tighten out belts and expenses so that our kids could have me at home with them.
That was 6 years ago. Is money tight sometimes??/ Actually I would say most times, but our youngest 3 kids have had something to build their lives upon that I wish I could have given the older 5, and that is their mom at home full time.
There are plenty of agencies out there to help, but you wouldn't be able to apply until you have quit your job. And in your circumstances there isn't any reason you shouldn't take this route, if it's what your family chooses. Whether you decide to stay at home or not, I would definitely apply at the very least for state medical assistance for your kids. I have found that the medical the state is miles ahead of anything we could get in the private sector. We have 6 of our 8 kids on it now, and at one time everyone was on it. The only one in the family without medical right now is me. I don't know what this family would have done without the state medical, even my husbands medical (REgence) which is supposed to be one of the best, sucks in comparision.
I will tell you what my mom told me that convinced me to look into getting any assistance that our family qualified for..."there are some many people out that abusing the system, but it is there for people like you and me, to help us out in our times of need." Mom told me that she had worked all those years and paid her taxes for people like me, to help get kids like her grandkids raised in the proper manner, meaning that they deserved and needed to have me at home. She also reminded me of all the years that I had worked and paid my taxes.
I hope this gives you some more food for thought. Good luck with your decision.
D.F. answers from Seattle on January 12, 2008
Before you jump to the question of how to survive with out your job, you need to figure out how to pay for health insurance. It is so expensive (over $700 a month for me and my kids- and we are in great shape/health and that does not even include my husband) so my advice to you is DO NOT QUIT YOUR JOB until your husband gets insurance that covers you all. A friend of mine gets great health insurance through Univ of WAshington because she is a teacher's aid and qualifiies for the UW teacher's insurance that way and is a student at the same time. If something happened to you or your family while you are uninsured, you would lose everything in a heatbeat. Just some food for thought. My good thoughts are with you!
K.S. answers from Seattle on January 13, 2008
Have you thought about working from home in some shape or form- I used to work, and provide the health ins- but I lost my job and I now work from home to supplement my hubby's income- it has been such a blessing.
Congrats on the twins btw- take care,
T.M. answers from Medford on January 12, 2008
I think it is a great idea to stay at home, even if just temporarily. Sounds as though you will have your hands full! Applying for WIC is helpful, just for a little extra food and for their car seat clinic (the sheriff's department installs brand new car seats for you children and DHS only charges $20 for each car seat). I would assume you most definately would qualify for food stamps through DHS and possibly cash assistance (there is no need to feel guilty about doing this--there is a lot of money alloted for food stamps, and believe it or not it isn't being used) (plus in countries like Sweden mothers and fathers get to stay at home with their newborn while receiving federal assistance because it is a socialist country--there is nothing wrong with the old addage "it takes a village to raise a child".)
I would assume you could get at least $300 a month in food stamps and possibly cash assistance. The next step after WIC and foodstamps is to put your family down on the waiting list for HUD...you can find nice places to live where you don't pay any rent for!
Then there is Oregon Health Plan for you while you're pregnant and for the three months after you are pregnant, and OHP for your kids, at least the two that are on their way (they are covered for one year at least). Based on your household income, perhaps your other children would qualify as well. There are a number of good pediatric doctors signed up to the networks that operate within OHP--my daughter is signed up for the Mid-Rogue IPA plan and will soon see the doctor that I have received recommendations for. And there is no monthly premium to pay--what a load off the shoulders!
To pay for household incidentals and whatnot--if you have a landline phone--you can receive assistance with that monthly payment, possibly even with certain cell phone plans--but I am not exactly clear about that, so you may want to research that on the internet, or ask your phone company. I found that cell phone company representative aren't to up on it, but there are a few carriers that participate in it and it does cut down on that cost.
And you can always resell items and whatnot on craigslist and eBay. I am sure there are a million and one ideas on how to make it as a stay-at-home mom. I wish I knew more because I am a stay-at-home mom, but I am going to have to go back to work full-time pretty soon and put my sweetheart in daycare. I didn't sign up for HUD, which would have been a HUGE help in allowing me to stay-at-home. But, I imagine you can't just up and move with a troupe of children. My friend lives in college family housing, which is covered by HUD as well. I am curious what other moms have to say about this!
Best of luck to you and your growing family.