Do I Go Back to Work or Not?!?!?!?

Updated on December 03, 2008
E.G. asks from Orlando, FL
15 answers


I need some advice on if I should go back to work or continue to stay at home with my 2 year old. I dont know if it will be worth it after I pay for childcare for 3 children, gas, eating out, and just the plain old stress of working and fighting traffic on a daily basis. On the other hand, I keep thinking about the insurance benefits, 401k, adult conversations, etc.... Help...I cant decide!

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answers from Daytona Beach on

I went back to work with 3 kids and it was a bad experience. It all depends on how much you make. If it's under $30,000 year, you'll spend more on dasycare and you will never get those years back. I've lived without health insurance for 15 yrs, because my husband was self employed. You can try it and see how it goes, you can always quit nicely if it's not worth it. I'm glad I was home with the kids for all those years, but I was stressed about money. IF you're home, try not to stress just live in the moment an appreciate being there for your kids. Tha's the ultimate privilege. Time, Freedom to think, play and do what you want. Weigh everything, look in your kid's eyes, that's where th true answer it. Bills always end up getting paid somehow. I know that for sure.

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answers from Orlando on

I totally agree with Tracy. Make a list. If you've been staying home and you can afford to then that's what you should do. If insurance is an issue and your husband's job doesn't provide it then check into Florid Healthy Kids I think it is. Insurance for low income. You have 5 people in your home therefore, your income can be more and still qualify. Also, check into WIC and food stamps that will help you stay home. There is nothing in this world wrong with doing that, it's better for you to take care of your children that to trust their care and teaching to a stranger.
As for adult interaction there are several Mom's type clubs you can join where your kids can develop playmates and you can have other Stay at home moms to talk to and do things with.
Check into the Mom's Club International they have groups all over. MOPS is another one to try. Just because you are a stay at home mom doesn't mean you have to separated from the rest of the world.
As far as 401K your husband (if it's offered at his job) can contribute up to 25% of his income to it before taxes. You can help supplament that deduction from his check by rounding up to the next dollar in your checkbook when you make a debit or write a check. That way you always have more than what you show in your account. Shop at consignment or thrift stores for clothing for the kids as they go through them so fast. Also, check out and craigslist of free stuff. There are people all of the time giving away clothes, household items and such. That helps.
Also, First Assembly Church has a Angel Food Network where you can buy a ton of food for like nothing and it's not income sensitive. You just have to pay for it in advance and pick it up about 2 weeks later. You can get a ton of food for like $30. I got a whole months worth of meat for my family of 5 for $70. Go on their website and check it out. If you go to the ministries section it will pull up a drop down menu with Angel Food, click on that and it'll tell you what the menu is for the month, show you the bonus boxes you can buy and tell you the cost, payment due date and pick up date.
Really worth checking out.

Good luck and whatever you decide I hope it works out for you.



answers from Orlando on

You will probably receive a lot of varied opinions on your question, but only YOU can truly decide what is best for your circumstances.

One aspect that seems to be under-rated in this society is that children need one parent to be there for them -- QUANTITY --majority of the time.
I know we have "experts" who say quality over quantity -- but it should actually be quality AND quantity.

Financial security is important & many of us do not have that "retirement fund" built up to what it should be or even can afford much of what we need/want in our daily existence -- to be frank.

But when you are paying for childcare & the eating out & the clothing -- it really doesn't pay -- beyond the very important fact -- you being the ROCK -- the "go-to" parent is PRICELESS. My theory is that people take out car loans for 25k sometimes more -- and that money would be better spent staying home & raising your child(ren), as difficult & boring as some days are -- there are moments that again -- are priceless.

Also, it is so very true; when you are 75 years old & looking at your grandchildren, I am 99% sure you will NOT think, I should have worked more when my kids were young.

Once kids are in school all day, I strongly believe we should be there for them after school & if more moms demanded that of their employers -- we'd either work earlier in the a.m. & get out at 3:00 or just work shorter days? But that wouldn't work for all employment, of course.

Right now I work at night & my husband works during the day. That will change in another year. Would life be a million times easier -- financially & in other ways if I put my son in some kind of childcare?? Yes -- but for our family -- we decided and are firmly committed that we will raise our children with one of us being there. No one can raise your child better than you, even on your bad days.

Good luck with your decision.



answers from Orlando on

It is something that you will have to look at. Maybe you could find something to do at night. This way you still get a lot of the benefits of being at home with the kids, but you also have the income AND you don't have to worry about the price of daycare. It is crazy. One of the reasons I'm not working is because by the time I got my paycheck and taxes, fees, ect were taken out what was left would go to the daycare and maybe leave me with $100 or so. To me missing out on my children, teaching them and being with them wasn't worth a lowsy $100-$200/week! But if you feel you need to get out and go back to work, than do it.

I know that there are times that I would gladly walk out the door and go back to work. I mean I have a 3,2, and 9 month old. That can become a lot of hair pulling and overwhelming feelings. I've been lucky enough to find a group of women who value ADULT conversations, meaning not always talking about the kids and what problems they are having, rather conversations regarding personal beliefs, politics, ect. Now we don't always talk about these things, but we do have ADULT conversations. And I've been lucky enough to find some friends who like to go out for dinner or bowling or something as a group of woman or make our husbands tag along!

Good luck, but it is such a personal decision that you should think about, talk to your husband about (and pray about if you believe in God) and your answer will come before you. Don't make anyone make you feel bad for your decision which ever way it is. You're the mom and you know what is best for you family.

Personally what is best for my family is having me home with the kids, teaching them our morals and values so that they can be armed with them when they do go out into the crazy world we live in now! Good luck. Hope that helps.



answers from Gainesville on

I know that you will get and have got a lot of advice on this topic! I say why not stay home so that you can enjoy being home with your children and husband. The prices of gas and daycare has got so crazy, it's not even worth working to just pay the prices and you are also missing out on the valued time you can have with your family;let's face it we are not promised tomorrow right,why not enjoy every second with them. I currently stay home with my 3 children and I love the time I have with them. If you need the income you can anyways work from home, hear is a website for more info. on working from home that may help you:
I wish you the best of luck in your decision and I hope this helps!


answers from Pensacola on

Hi E.!

I know you send this request out awhile ago but I was just wondering what you decided to do. I was in the same boat as you. I have been a SAHM for several years but was missing adult conversation, knowing what songs were on the can probably relate. I know that I did the right thing by struggling through many years home with my (3) children when people come up to me in public and teachers tell me how well behaved my children are. However there was always this person inside of myself that wanted to come out and shine. I started doing network marketing 3 years ago with 3 different types of business's. These business's have totally changed my life. They have helped me to get not only myself back but a brand new person has come out. I actually like the person I have become! I get out and meet people and bring my kids to some of my shows. They have a blast and so do I. If you have an interest in checking out these business's you can go to my [email protected] (not my personal website)
If you have an questions, please feel free to contact me anytime.
Take Care & Good Luck with whatever road you decide to travel down:) L.


answers from Jacksonville on

I had a very hard time adjusting to staying home after my first child was born. But I say if you can afford it, it's WORTH it. Affording it doesn't mean still buying a new car every 2 years and paying for high end satellite and shopping for new shoes and clothes all the time, etc etc either, unlike what some of the people you might consult might be thinking about (?). There ARE trade-off's, but what a life!.. I can be there to head off homework problems with my kids, fix meals at home (some nights anyway - when we are not at some sport event or something else like that).. greet my husband when he comes home for work... spend the weekend doing something besides laundry.. AND, above all that... I am my children's anchor and rock. They know I am here for them.. literally.. at any time. They are 9 and 6 now, and I don't worry about "stuff" going on in the "after-school" program (or daycare, if that's what would apply to you).. b/c they aren't there. I sleep at peace at night b/c I KNOW they are safe and unmolested in any way... I go on field trips with them at school and bake cupcakes for school holidays.. I'm there at EVERY school play and production.. and every awards program and every everything that I otherwise would miss by being at a job.
Trust me, if you have a little one, don't you want to be the one who chooses how and when to potty train? Don't you want to be the one who is glad to hear sob stories about bad dreams in the night (instead of worrying that you'll never get back to sleep and not be at your best at work the next day)? Don't You want to be the one who corrects bad behavior in the way YOU want it corrected? I was dumbfounded when we first put our (then) 4 yr old in 3 day a week preschool (for the socialization aspects)... all the language and inappropriate things he was exposed to from other kids.... and it was a Christian school too... They can't be sheltered forever from the world, but you can take charge of how and when they are exposed and be there every day to help them learn to deal with it and process it...
You'll never get this time back.
You can always go back to work later... and HEY, in the economy right now, it might not be a bad thing to have someone at home (in case the breadwinner for some reason can't work suddenly).. then you have someone who can... (That is part of the problem in 2 earner households, imho, is people RELY on both.. and then if something happens to one, they are in financial trouble). With one at home, there is a safety net (beyond disability insurance).

Just remember, You are your kids mom. Aren't you? If you need support, find a station that carries Dr. Laura and listen in a few times.... you will be so glad. Take your 2yr old to the park and have PB & J sandwiches for lunch! Plant a few flowers in the yard (just for your own enjoyment) and show them to your little one and check daily to see how it grows (bulbs are great for this)... You don't have time for the little stuff like that if you are off at work... I still remember when mine (around 2) liked walking around the yard inspecting every new and interesting plant or bug... It's not the same if you are in a rush to get dinner and bedtime done after being at work all day. And it's simply emotionally filling to stand out in the hall and listen to your little one play and make believe with their little toys and figures and animals and stuff... Do you know how many pictures my kids drew me (every day) when they were home with me around age 3? I have drawers full. I watched my kids make their first "real" drawing (not scribble)... I saved it... If they had been at daycare... ?...?....
Take a chance and stay home! You WILL adjust and just might meet some neighbors!
Spoil your husband and Stay home!



answers from Orlando on


I have stayed home with my children (now 9 1/2 and 6 1/2) for almost ten years now, and, although sometimes challenging, I have zero regrets for doing so! I was able to see and be there for every milestone and to better help form/shape my two little ones the way I want them to grow up, and they have done so quite nicely.

Okay, I have had to cut corners and live on little means, but you can find creative ways that are still enjoyable to all.

As far as adult conversation...I soooo get that one! Do everything you can to meet good women (family church groups, YMCA, parks, etc.). The challenge is to find good women with children that you like and, as a bonus, a husband you and your husband like as well! LOL I started a once-a-month girls game night too, which was so wonderful! One night a month (there was twelve of us), someone would hold it at their house and we would play games, have dinner and drinks, and have REAL girl conversation (and the dad's get to plan something fun to do with the kids while we were at our girl's night). We all really bonded and it was fun to throw on a sundress, do our hair, drink martinis, and have that much-needed adult conversation and fun! This progressed into family get togethers too (with kids and husbands). Look around, ask some friends, and ask them to ask women they know, etc. and shape one up.

In the meantime. I always try to think about when I am an old woman....what will I be proud of and what will I regret. For me, I know I will be proud that I was there for my kids during their early years.

Good luck to you whatever path you choose!

D. C.



answers from Fort Walton Beach on

Hi E.,

I say stay home. Mostly because you will raise your children the way YOU want them raised. Look at the teenagers these days and ask them how many parents stayed home with them. You know the saying "Nobody ever goes to their deathbed wishing... if only I had worked more!" This is always your decision, and money and insurance is always a concern these days, but you can get adult conversation from friends, and us :)and you can make some money at home if you want to. That is always an option. I have a home business that does quite well and when I'm not at home, my kids are welcome to go with me...

Remember, no matter what decision you make, if you see it's not working, you have the perogative to regroup and shift gears!

God bless!




answers from Daytona Beach on

Well, some things to consider.
1) you raising your children and teaching them values and phrases and games and words.
2) someone else raising your children and teaching them their values if they have any.
3) Being happy and have food ready and time to play and help with homework.
4) Be tired at the end of work day and still have to cook, homework, play.
5) Child getting colds from daycare.
6) take out a pad of paper, draw a line down the center, title left column Pro's, the other column Con's.
Put all the positive reasons of staying home on left
Put all the costs of going back to work on the right.
Something like that anyway. Weigh it out. See, if you have the ability to stay home, you only have ONE OPPORTUNITY to raise your children and stay home. But if you need benefits, insurance, and your hus doesn't have any, then go back to work. Keep us posted on your decision.



answers from Jacksonville on


I think this is a subjuct that you will get lots of opinions on. I can only tell you what has worked for me and my family. And i encourage you to sit down with your husband and see what is best for you and the family.
Do you have a degree and something specifuc or a trade? If so working may be good for ya;ll with extra income, insurance, 401K, etc. I was a bank teller then a receptionist at a private school when I was pregnant. I always know that i wanted to stay at home with my children. Also we have looked at me going back to work but with daycare for 2, work clothes, extra gas, and i know we would eat out more, and the girls would be sick more if in daycare so extra doctor's bills, it is best for us for me to stay home. It is tight, we pay out of pocket for the girls' insurance, i don't have insurance, I shop at consignment shops, we try not to eat out too much. It is a hard decision for all moms but you have to do what works for you. Have you thought of doing something part-time from home? I am an AVON representative and I am able to contribute to out expenses. I can use my money for gas, eating out, clothing/shoes for the girls and sometimes doing something special for me. My income is helping us take a vacation next month. Something we have not done is 4 years.
Just remember that there is no right or wrong decision. Just what works for you and the family. i wish you the best.



answers from Gainesville on

E. if you can stay home do so, i did, i am now age 50, but i always was there for my 2 kids, i still never regret a moment of it. i tried to work when my son was born it was not worth it then. it is worse today the price of gas etc. i did iron and babysit some for extra money here and there, but hey if your husband does not mind you to stay home , you should,!! that way you know your kids are safe and cared for everyday. that gives you time for the kids and time to do house things. which is a job it's self. i think it's great when a husband will allow the iwfe to be home with her kids. always make sure too you make special time for you and your husband and then also make a special family time too as you can, hope this helps,, always,,,joann4999



answers from Gainesville on

It sounds like you have been able to afford to stay at home on your husband's income and benefits thus far, so if I were you, I would continue to stay at home. I think being a SAHM is one of the most important jobs in the world, and it is one I wish I had.

I am one of those moms that HAS to work and wish I didn't. My husband is self-employed (which means he works abouut 70 hrs a week), and loves what he does, but just doesn't make enough money to live on, so I have to work full-time outside the home just to pay the mortgage, put food on the table and get health insurance (no new cars, high end satellite, or new shoes for us).

I agree with you that working full time is stressful. And, you will spend your weekends doing laundry and ALL the chores that there is just no time to get dome during the week.

As far as the "adult conversation" goes, maybe getting involved on the PTA or some organization in your community that offers evening meetings or something (while your husband stays home with the kids) could be an outlet for you to interact with other adults without the kids there.

Many women decide to go back to work once their kids are school-aged, but I think at that age it is more important than ever for a parent to be home with the kids after school. My kids are still very young (1 and 2)and my husband is working very hard to build up his business where he has the flexibility to work form home a just few hours a day and be a stay-at-home dad to our boys. I admit, I would rather be the one to be home with them, but I have the health insurance, 401k and income that he does not.



answers from Fort Walton Beach on

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Have a Blessed Day



answers from Daytona Beach on

If your children are all school age...have the best of both worlds - get a job working in the school system as a teacher's aide, working in the office, kitchen, whatever interest you. They have good benefits, you are off when your kids are (for the most part), able to engage in adult conversations and their is no need for childcare.

If your children are under preschool age or vary between school age and not...look into local daycares. Many offer highly reduced daycare for their workers. This would allow you to save on daycare, some also bus school students from school to their facilities which saves you on gas, and you get the adult interaction we all crave as SAHM.

Also, their is a new IRA type plan out that is for Independent Contractors (Anyone who works for themselves, Mary Kay, Realtors, Contractors, etc.) So if you find something you like doing and are able to be your own boss this is a great thing! You put money in - let's say $50 a week and then as the employer (of yourself) match that $50 per week. I understand you are able to write off the $50 match as an employer but you will want to clarify with an accountant.

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