Quit My Job and Stay Home or Not?

Updated on June 12, 2011
J.S. asks from Saint Louis, MO
28 answers

Hi mamas,

I've asked about staying home in the past and I'm STILL undecided. I just came back from maternity leave 2 weeks ago. It's so hard leaving my 14 week old with someone else. I feel like I never get to see him. I don't get quality time with him in the morning because we're trying to get ready/get out the door. I don't get it at night because we're doing dinner/clean up/baths/getting ready for the next day (we also have a 4 year old). My husband does not make a ton of money, but his salary would pay all of our bills. We wouldn't have any leftover though. Which is what scares us. I'm also scared of quitting my job because I have been here for 9 years and have worked my way up to a position I really like--great co-workers, great boss, great company. But all day long while I am here I feel so guilty for all of the time I am missing with both of my sons. I've decided to put my 2 weeks in a few different times now and when I went to go do it, I freaked out. It's just a really BIG decision. We wouldn't be able to afford to keep my oldest in his current preschool, but would try to get him in some place for a few hours a week that is close to home. He is going through a phase where he is not listening to me at all and seems very hateful (this is since I've had his little brother and we know it is because of that). I just think maybe he needs to be home with his mama. ;) I don't know what to do! Do you ladies have any feedback or advice? I'd really love to hear it!

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answers from Colorado Springs on

It really does sound like you know what to do, you are just afraid to do it. Your children do need you. They will grow up and get married and move on eventually. But today, they need their mother. If you can provide them what they need, then do it. We would give up all the extras if it were the only way I could stay home (cable, cell phones, 2nd car (and sell the first to buy an older cheaper car, etc.). Also, my husband would find a way to get more income before he'd have me get a job. It's just that important to us for me to stay with our children. Please understand that this is not a judgement on people who live differently. This is just one of our great convictions for our family. It's not an easy life, but it is an incredibly blessed one. This is *your* baby and *your* preschooler. You see how much you are giving up with working. You can never get it back again. Don't live with regrets. A job is just a job. Yes, it might be enjoyable (which is a blessing!), but it is just a job. Your children are your future. They are the parents of your grandchildren. You have the opportunity to influence generations! Or, you can let strangers and peers do it. What's that saying? The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Your children will benefit immensely from having you be the one to rock their cradle.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

If you are going to have dramatically restructure your life, and live from paycheck to paycheck on just one salary - what are your plans for emergencies? Car breaks down, plumbing problems, etc.

If your 4 year old is struggling now - how would switching his pre-school, changing his routine, effect him?

You have a great job, and tenure - in this market that is a wonderful thing. What would your options be in a few years when you are ready to go back to work? Entry level again? Starting over career wise?

Could you talk to your employer about flex time? Maybe work 4 longer days and take the 5th one off? Do some mornings from home? It is worth the question - many employers would rather work with a great employee rather than lose them completely.

Look at restructuring your at home time - get up a half hour earlier to have some quality time with the family, let some of the chores go in the evening (you can catch up on weekends). Maybe hire a housekeeper to come in and take of chores to free up your evening time.

I think all working moms miss their kids during the day - I know that I have. Mine is now 15, and he and I still "miss" each other during the day. - Well not now, I have been unemployed for almost a year so we have too much time together now that school is out. LOL

Anyhoo, J., only you and your husband can decide what is right for your family. But, check your budget, literally go over every expenditure with a fine tooth comb then go over it from the view point of having only one income. Make sure you can afford to comfortably do this - the market is so screwy right now, that, if in 6 months, you realize you have to go back work for financial reasons, it could be months before your secure another position.

I wish you happiness no matter what you decide.

Good Luck
God Bless

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I did the same thing 2.5 years ago, and then guess what... the economy tanked! My DH was making enough money at the time for a decent lifestyle, but his work has gone down 50% or more & decent jobs are hard to find. I can't even find a part time job. I also had been at my job for 9 years, fully vested, 3 weeks of vacation, full benefits, etc.

Do I love the time with my daughter? Yes. Do I wish I would've stayed at the job? Now I do, mainly because we need more income & good benefits. Being a SAHM is great if you can realistically afford it long term. You say your DH already isn't making that much money. Do you have savings? What will you do if he loses his job? His workload goes down? Would you be able to go back to the job if things got rough?

Be realistic, don't romanticize it. The economy is not getting any better, jobs are still scarce & still being done away with. It is miserable being tied down & burdened by lack of money.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

We have 2 girls…6 and 3. I had to go back to work 6 weeks after having both and it broke my heart, but we are all doing just fine as a result. Although there are days I know I would LOVE to stay home with my kids, I know they are gaining so much by being away and we are in a better spot financially by having me work. I think it's a GOOD thing to have kids interact with other children and adults. Sure you can have play dates, but I am talking about adults that are not you or your friends. I think it's great for them to get use to a schedule outside of the house and follow rules that are different from yours. This builds character and prepares them for school and life in general.

Some days, I feel like I am a better mom because I have been away all day. The separation can make you appreciate them more. I try to focus on them after I pick them up. It's VERY hard because like you, I have 500 other things to get done AND my hubby works nights, so I am a single mom during the week with a full time job and 2 kids. Some times I am not so good of a Mom Monday-Thursday, but come Friday it's 100% about them.

When our youngest turned 2, we all went on a cruise together. We have been on several trips since then. I like being able to have the money to travel with the kids. They love the family time and the excitement of seeing somewhere new. I like being able to buy them a new outfit or game or taking them out to eat on a whim. We send them to a private school and I like having the money to provide them with the education we want for them. All of this would not be possible if I stayed home.

YES, I miss out on a lot of bonding time, but I know our kids love us to death and they are HAPPY, HAPPY kids. It's a tough call. Ideally working part time to me would be the best of both worlds. I can honestly say that I do not regret our decision to have me stay at work. Of course, if we were rich, I may feel different ;)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

My husband makes enough to cover all our bills with hardly enough leftover to even mention, but we both want me home with our girls. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for you to leave your baby everyday.

I say follow your heart. You have years ahead of you to work, but your baby will grow up in the blink of an eye. I feel like I just brought her home from the hospital, but my oldest is starting kindergarten this fall (!).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I really love the idea of living only off of your husband's paycheck for a few months and putting all of yours in savings. See if it is feasible...

I am a SAHM and it is really tough financially...we saved and saved to have a good nest egg. Now with the economy and pay freezes, no raise for my husband in three years (but costs keep going up), he just found out his car allowance will be gone in a few months so even less pay coming home (a whole car payment's worth), no bonuses for two years now...it is getting tighter and tighter. They had lay offs yesterday five in his office gone.

We keep dipping into our savings...a little here and there some big (surgery for our daughter) some littler (son has out grown all his pants over night). Our savings are getting uncomfortably low and there is no money to put back into it.

I coupon clip, buy on sale, no cable, no home phone and basic cell, my husband brown bags it everyday...we have cut every little corner we can think to cut.

My daughter will not get to attend pre-school this fall (her brother did when he was 4 in prep for Kindergarten) it makes me really sad that she will not get that small step into school and how it all works but go straight from home to kinder. There just isn't the money.

I actually told my husband last night I need to get a job. I taught high school and always thought that they will always need teachers, right?? Nope, they are having a huge reduction in force in our districts here...there are no teaching openings. He told me that we could make it one more year then get both kids in school and go from there...

I am just trying to give you the hard facts about making it on one income paycheck to paycheck...right now I can't grocery shop because there is about eight dollars in checking until payday. Reason: one double ear infection w/an anti-biotic and an air conditioner that needed a new part. We have enough food to make it through but the fresh fruits and veggies will have to wait a few days.

Try it out before you let go of the job...make sure you can really make it...we were doing great on one income, but the economy has made it harder and harder.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I remember clearly how hard it was the first few weeks after I went back to work and put my daughter in daycare. It is a transition for the whole family. And yet, my working was the best thing for our family.

I have worked as a consultant for an Outplacement company for the last three years, coaching people who have been laid off from their jobs to try to find new work. This may have made me extra cautious, but I've seen so many people who's spouses were also out of work, who's houses were in danger, who's health was in danger because of lost medical coverage, and they are desparate. What would happen if you left your job, and then your husband lost his job? It is taking an average of five to seven months to find a new job after losing one. And I know several people who have been out of work despite very actively pursuing work for TWO years and longer.

Having a job that you like, with people you like, with a decent income is priceless!! Could you possibly arrange some flexible hours or even reduced hours for a time? I was able to do this with my employer and going from 40 down to 34 hours a week saved my sanity.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I quit my job as a nurse midwife 6 years ago when my oldest was born and I have never regretted it. Sure it was an adjustment (I always say give yourself 6 months at home before throwing in the towel and going back to work), but so worth it. My husband and I used to make a ton of money with our combined incomes, but now are perfectly content to live on less when we realize the positives of having me home full time with our 3 little ones. God has provided all our needs and most of our wants. I don't have any regrets about missing ages and stages of our kids. I saw all their first smiles, steps, and heard their first words. Things like that are just priceless. I know it's scary to leave one role and enter another, but just wanted you to know that you can find contentment and meaning in devoting yourself totally to being a wife and mother. I can always be replaced at work, but I'm irreplacable at home.
Oh, and by the way, preschool is not a necessity. Research shows that there may not be a huge advantage academically for kids enrolled in preschool. Here's just one study about that: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775.... Children learn when they are secure and stimulated--you can do all that at home just being his mom talking to him, taking him to the library, the zoo, or a play group once and a while.
Best wishes with a very important decision.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My daughter just returned to work after having a baby. If they could afford the basics without her working, she'd quit work in a minute.

I was a single parent (adopted my daughter) and I would've been so glad to be a SAHM. So, I say go for it!

Perhaps you could work something out with your employer so that you could work part time or job share. That would give you the best of both worlds.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

The one thing that sticks out to me in your post was you said your husband's salary would pay bills, but there would be no extra. That right there is a red flag to me. Yes, every mom that works has the "guilts" and probably most moms that stay at home at one time or another have said, "I want to go back to work."

You have to realize either one is hard on moms, but putting your family in what could be a financial strain isn't good. There will always be "extras", cars need fixing, something at home breaks down, kids constantly outgrowing clothes,etc, etc...I think you get the point. If you were able to say that your salary was just extra money, I would say go for it, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Unfortunately I have to say...stick with the job.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We are in the same financial situation. My husband makes just enough to pay for what we NEED. We have nothing extra after gas and groceries, but being able to spend the time with my son is SOOOO worth not being able to have the extras in life. I think after being able to stay home with your kids you will not miss the extra money...no amount of money can replace the moments you will miss by working. I was a nanny for 5 1/2 years when I was in college (before having my son). I worked for 4 families that had young children like yours and the moms were always so sad when they missed out on the talking, walking, crawling, etc...If you can "make do" i would say it is COMPLETELY worth it!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

With this economy, I wouldn't give up the job just yet. Talk to your boss about working part time, telecommuting, flex time, ect. 9years with a company is a long time to just simply walk away from it all. Even if its only for the next year.

Then instead of full time daycare/preschool, your 4yo could go mornings only, IF you can be home in the afternoons.

best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm guessing part time or job sharing at your current place of employment isn't an option since you didn't mention it. Naturally, that might be a good option, since you'd have more time at home, but still some income. That's what I do. I was full time, then went to job share, now to part time. I work 30 hours per week, (which is a lot), but I start early, and do it in 3 days, so I have those evenings and 4 full days to be at home.

If those things aren't options for you (and I'd approach your company and be formally refused before ruling them out), then I say if your husband is supportive of you staying home, then STAY HOME! :)

You'll NEVER look back and wish you spent less time with your kids.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from El Paso on

I went through this with my daughter. I was teaching (which you would think would afford plenty of time after school), but because I never wanted to do anything but be with/play with her once I GOT home, I stayed at school later to do work. I had the same feelings. I felt like I wasn't spending the time with her that I wanted to. BUT, my husband wanted me to keep working because he was deploying and thought it would be better for me to have something structured to do. Probably, he was right. Nonetheless, when he got back from his deployment, we got stationed elsewhere temporarily so I did the SAHM thing. We have since moved to our next permanent duty station and I am still doing the SAHM thing and LOVE it. Our second is due any day now, hubby is deploying again in a few months, but this time I'm staying home. (YAY!!)

That all being said, it is DEFINITELY a change going from 2 paychecks to one. I had never bounced a check IN MY LIFE (had a checking account since I was 16), and managed to bounce 2 last year once my salary stopped coming in. It will take some major planning/budgeting, but if you already know his salary can cover it, then it is doable. With a little extra effort, you could probably even get yourself budgeted so that you have some left over at the end of each month.

Best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I know what you are going through! I was SAHM when my first was born and then I became a pre-K teacher when my first was 4 and my second was 22 months. I loved being a teacher and loved all of my 24 "kids", but was really sad about rushing around in the morning to get to work and not doing the things we used to do. In August my daughter starts kinder and I am so sad that I worked during her last year before that :-( So, I am trying to decide between staying at home again or working. Staying at home is where my heart is and where I feel like I need to be. The only thing holding me back are my student loan payments, which is why I started working in the first place. My husband and I are trying to see if we can make something work.

So, good luck with your decision. I know what you are going through and it is tough!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Go for it! They are only little for such a short time! You can make it work!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I agree if you like your job and worked very hard on moving up and it makes you happy then why give that up? It's not the quantity of time you spend with your kids-it's the quality ;()) It took me a very long time to understand that statement and it was told to me by my own mother.
Could you work out a deal with your boss/company to perhaps work from home some days or perhaps work part-time hours? I worked full-time for a very long time and I always felt guilty too and always felt like I was missing so much and I found my new job-it was such a God-send and a true blessing. I get away from the house just enough to keep me sane yet I am still there for my kids. I have recently had to go back up to working full-time because they fired the other gal that was doing the split shift. I agreed to work full-time until a replacement is found which hasn't come easy. No one seems to want the part-time hours minus benefits or work the 1-7 p.m. shift but someone out there will eventually come along-anyway sorry get off track again....dang. Ask if you can work Part-time or work from home (Tele-commute) if your job isn't willing to do so remember that this too shall pass and what I said before Quality not quantity........good luck momma I understand how you feel. At the end of the day you have to make the decision but to me it sounds like you might be afriad of change or perhaps you are afraid if you give up the job that you worked so hard to get that you will regret it. Women quit their jobs all the time and eventually get back into the work field-just remember that. I did it for about a year when the kids were first born but eventually I had no choice BUT to go back to work but I embrace the time I had with them yet I missed them dearly and all the same guilt you are facing right now. That is when I decided looking for my new job was only going to be part-time. I went for a working interview for a full-time position before the end of the two weeks they approached me and asked how I felt about working part-time-like I said-it was a GOD-SENT thing.

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answers from Pittsfield on

Are there any ways you'd be saving by not going to work? I imagine daycare, but what about gas... do you have much of a commute? Stay @ home clothes are cheaper than career clothes. Do you buy lunch/ coffee every day?

I would sit down and compare your current budget with what you would be spending while being at home. I think you'll be getting less income, but will also be spending less, so it probably won't be as bad as you think. Maybe if you see it on paper, it will make you feel better.

I think if you want to stay home, and can swing it, you should stay home. If not being with them is bothering you so much, do it- they're only little once.

Best wishes with whatever you decide to do!!!! :o)

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answers from Fort Collins on

I have not read all the posts, but I read a few suggesting Daycare as an alternative. If the only reason you would take other children in your care is to be able to afford to stay home with your own children Do Not Do It. = )

Childcare is a wonderful profession if you go into it with your eyes open and the right training, but it can be a disaster if you go into it blindly. Childcare is the 3rd most stressful job in the US and depending on the children that you end up with, you might actually have less quality time with your own children.
If childcare does appeal to you, please volunteer at your son's preschool and do your research before committing to additional children. Pursuing your license is not complicated and will give you plenty of additional information and resources to guide you along the way, plus you can usually charge more.

Also if your son is having trouble adjusting to a new sibling, he will probably really rebel to sharing his home and toys with strangers everyday.

If you are really wanting to stay home you might to look into the part time option instead or maybe see if your work will let you work 4 ten hour shifts.

Good Luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I can completely relate. However, so far I don't regret not being home. My daughters are 5 and 6.5. We do have a nanny so it hasn't been as stressful as daycare but we've lived frugally and saved and saved. And I don't think my daughters actually remember when they were 2 or 3 years old anyway. As they've gotten older, I'm feeling like it's more and more important to be home for them. There are so many school activities and bigger decisions to be made and things that require more personal preferences to teach them. When my children were 2 or 3, I felt comfortable that our nanny was teachign them to share, to not touch a hot stove etc. As they're older, I feel things to teach aren't as clear cut. So I likely will quit fairly soon and stay home. But we have a very nice nest egg in case something happens. I also personally was not great at the young ages and my kids were so close in age it was super hard to be home all the time. We actually had 2 nannies for awhile to help each other. So that factored into my personal decision. And our evenings and mornings aren't rushed. But - if you can make it for say 6 more months living on your husband's paycheck aside from preschool, you'll see how it is. I find unexpected expenses all the time! And if you can manage on his paycheck and save yours, then you'll have a bigger financial cushion if something does happen. People do get sick and do lose their jobs... In the meantime, maybe take a sick day to spend just with your 4 year old. And see if you can make evenings less rushed. We don't give a bath every night... Even taking 15-20 min to sit on the floor with your son and play whatever he wants can seem like a really long time to him and may help. I found it did with my kids.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I'm sure it's occurred to you and others have suggested it, but why not offer daycare to other moms? You can have up to 4 children in Missouri without a license. Parents are truly okay with that 99% of the time. In fact, many of my families say they prefer it because we have only 4 children instead of 8-10 plus our own.

Even if you only took in 1-2 paid children, you save the gas money to and from work, you can cook all your meals, saving the lunch expense if you are not brown bagging it now. You won't need to pay for preschool. You are more than capable of offering your son all he needs.

I have faith in you!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Being a SAHM is the most important, rewarding, under paid job you will ever have.

If you can't quit right now, save all/100% of your salary. Invest it in the stock market in stocks that pay a BIG dividend. Use the dividend for "fun and games". Lots of stocks are paying an 8+% dividend $10,000 saved and invested in an 8% dividend stock gives you a $200 dividend 4 times per year.

See what you can do to save. Example: If you buy bottled water, save the bottles and fill them at home. You'll save lots of money. Start a garden. I love home grown tomatoes. They are fairly easy to grow and taste so much better than those you can buy in the store. Read all the posts on mampedia about saving money.

Remember all the money you won't have to spend when you don't work. Gas, dry cleaning or laundry, reduced auto insurance costs meals at work, unless you are already brown bagging. There lots of ways to save.

Pay off your credit cards and other bills like car payments, boy or girl toys (snow mobiles, ATV's). Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from Springfield on

Is working part-time an option? I have a part-time job during the school year. It doesn't pay well (just barely enough to pay the sitter, gas and a little extra fast food), but it's worth it to me. I get the adult time I need, and it keeps me in the game. When my boys are both in school, I'm fairly certain I will be able to work full-time.

Just a thought!

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answers from Boston on

If you love your job and have worked your way up to that position I would hang on to it. Staying home is not as easy as you think. You will miss talking to adults. I'm not knocking it don't get me wrong. I love being home but I work for myself which gets me out of the house. I just get to do it on my own schedule.
I am doing a webinar Tuesday night if you would like to check out something a little bit different. It may or may not be for you but maybe it's an option to have both....something you like to do workwise and being home.
Good luck. It's a tough decision.

webinar link:

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answers from Kansas City on

Hello,~ That's a hard decision, especially these days. Can you go part time?



answers from Kansas City on

Only you can make this decision, of course. This is how our family handled the same decision, though.

I loved my job as a computer programmer & really liked the people I worked with. I was making three times the salary my husband was making working at a small grocery store. Nevertheless, I quit my job when our first child was born. I knew I wanted to be a full-time mom and felt it was the best decision for our kids. We've always trusted that God would provide, and somehow, I never had to go back to work. In fact, I home schooled our 4 kids through grade school.

There are lots of ways to save money while staying home with the kids, and there are financial aid packages available for the Catholic high school they've attended and for their colleges. Yes, we have debt, but we feel that we made a huge investment in our kids--an investment of our time & attention. Now, we're reaping the fruits of our investment, with four great kids who do well in school, have good friends, go to church regularly & have a strong commitment to their faith, and have bright futures ahead of them.

Five years ago, I started a home business with a company that provides all the support & training I need, and have enjoyed helping with the household expenses while making a real difference in the lives of people I help through my business. In-home childcare is very restrictive, keeping you effectively tied to your house at times when you'd probably rather be elsewhere. When your baby is crying for you while you're taking care of someone else's kid--even if it's a dear friend's child--you'll be fighting feelings of resentment. I like my home business better because I can choose my own hours & make time for my kids & my aging mother. No regrets for me.



answers from St. Louis on

I quit my job after we lost a child to SIDS, well actually after my next child was born. I stayed home and started babysitting. You need to decide if you will save enough money in gas, daycare, lunches out, work clothes etc. My husband's salary is enough to pay our bills also. When I left work we needed my babysitting income, and the fact that we did not have to pay another sitter was also a big help.
Since then I have raised all of my own children, 2 have graduated, two left in school, I have helped others raise their children and they come back to me even after they have started school, for summers or just to say hi. I have also started doing in home spa's to get some time with other women and I love it.
Just something to think about, just because you quit your regular job doesn't mean you have to stop helping with the family income, but you can be a big part of your kids lives.
L. D

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