Trying to Decide Whether to Stay at Home or Keep Working

Updated on June 03, 2007
K. asks from Henderson, NV
12 answers

I'm trying to decide whether or not to quit my job and stay at home. I'm 43 (late bloomer!) and mom to a beautiful, smart 6-year-old daughter. I've been working full-time at the same employer for the last 10 yrs. The pay and benefits are great, no overtime, and my boss and coworkers are wonderful. The problem is that I want to be more involved in my daughter's life (PTA anyone?). She's had some problems at school, which counselors are saying is because she's intellectually gifted. I wonder if it would help her to be more accessible to her as well as volunteer at her school. Also, I have to admit that I'm burned out in my current job, and don't get much out of it other than money. My husband says I should do whatever makes me happy (he's awesome!) and we can live on his salary, but there won't be any extras. My mom and dad say that if I wanted to be a SAHM, I should have done it 6 years ago when my little girl was born--that it's too late now and I need to think of our financial future. I have to wonder if quitting is such a great idea at my age. I have to think about retirement, college for my daughter, etc. I could get a part-time job, but it won't be anything like what I have now. I know this probably doesn't sound like the problem of the decade (of course you should stay home with your children if you can afford to, right?), but I'm really afraid if I make the wrong choice that I'll really screw things up. All my friends are working moms, but totally support me being a SAHM if I want to. Has anyone had to make this choice before? How did it turn out?

P.S. DD thinks I should keep working--she loves Safekey and the summer programs at the rec center!

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A.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi K.,
Let me just tell you I made the decision to stay at home and love it! However, bills are bills are bills and they all need to be paid. So I started working from home in my spare time. I'm with a company called Jewels by Park Lane and would love for you to come to the next opportunity meeting to see what we are all about and answer any questions you might have. What do you think? You can email me at [email protected]____.com.

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C.S.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hello K., I was faced with some of this too. I have already raised one who is now 24 in April and worked a lot of hours to get her there ~ financially. Now I just had my little one who is 15 months. I stayed home for 6 months and loved it, yet hated it. I loved staying home with her, but had some trouble with a set schedule. I found myself getting up late and staying in pajamas until noon. Not a big problem, however it bothered me. I am used to working a job +. I have always worked and gone to school and always kept busy.

I looked at staying home with my little one, but I make decent money and get excellent benefits. I have a photography business on the side, however do not want it to turn into work so that I hate doing it or have to go shoot for anything else but my enjoyment. I looked into insurance, which was outrageous compared to what my job pays.

So, I looked at our current lifestyle, what I make, what my husband makes, the benefits I earn (which my husband doesn't) and decided if I could just kinda lay low and bring home a paycheck it is not so bad. So, I have decided to stay and I don't mind so much. I earn 3 weeks vacation per year and just schedule a day off here and there so it doesn't become so overwhelming.

College is very expensive! I have already put the first one through it and we had to pay tuition, books, car note, rent, and groceries for her to go to school in LA. She went to FIDM and they do not have dorms or a food program. We just recently put some money away for the 15 month old to start her college tuition and our agent informed us we should plan on $300,000. On that note...I decided I had to start enjoying my job. I have worked for the county for 9 years and plan on working another 11.

Hopefully your job is not to stressful and you still have the energy to enjoy your little one after a full day of work.

It is confusing and a tough decision to make, but I think you just have to see what you are willing to give up and accept. Kids are fine either way.

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K.L.

answers from San Francisco on

K.-

Lots of mothers are going to have lots of opinons concerning your question, but most will people will tell you to do what feels right to you. And I agree. Children with parents that work full time are just as well rounded, adjusted, and as happy as children who have one or both parents at home with them. I was a highly gifted child, and while my mother was home full time with me as a young child, her involvement in my school life when I was a little older and she worked never changed. Your involvement in your child's life has nothing to do with how many hours you work.

While I was pregnant with my daughter, I worked full time, and was certain that I would go back to my hard earned, much studied for career after she was born. Two months into my try back to work, I decided to make the decision to quit my management position to stay at home with her. It was the best decision of my life: I DO plan, however, on returning to my career when she is old enough to go to school. Making the decision to be a full time, stay at home mother is NEVER a bad decision for your child, regardless of their age: there is nothing more fulfilling than deticating yourself to your child. But deciding to continue as your life has always been with your job will not hurt your child in ANY way.

You are very lucky that you have such a supportive husband: so use his support, and make this decision for yourself and for your daughter. Will being a SAHM fulfill you as a person, and make you a better, happier mother and human being? If so, then by all means, stay at home. If leaving your job will make you feel less worthwhile, less fulfilled, then stay at work: it is much better for you to work outside the home and feel good about yourself and your family situation than it is to feel "trapped" as a SAHM.

Its a tough decision that way too many of us have to make.
Good luck.

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J.G.

answers from Sacramento on

I worked fulltime 2 years ago when I decided my job wasnt fulfilling anymore. I now am a stay at home mom of two kids. In the beginning it was very difficult, having two young children 24 hours a day. I look at it now and am so glad I made the decision to stay at home. It gave me the opportunity to watch my kids grow up and go to school. I also get to help out in my sons school when he starts kindergarten. I think you need to really think about the pros and cons of staying home or continue working. It is very hard in the beginning. I thought I made a huge mistake when I first quit my job but now i look at it and it was something i needed to do for my family; a sacrifice that needed to be made. Really sit down and figure out if this will make you happy.

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G.M.

answers from San Francisco on

K.,

I had to make this decision to quit my full time job a yr and a half ago. I was in a management position and working for this company for 12 1/2 yrs. However, it got to be too stressful and it was effecting my health.

For my health and my family, I didn't to quit. I have not regretted my decision for one day. I had returned to work after each of my children was 2 mths old. I was now able to particiate in my children's school activites. My son is 12 yrs old and my daughter is 9 yrs old. The bond between us has grown stronger.

I have also started my own home based business and am able to set my own work hours around my families needs. I did not have this flexibility when I was working for Corp. America.

You will do what you feel is best and it is great that you have the support of your husband.

If you are interested, I can provide you with some information regarding my business. There is no obligation, just some information and it may be an avenue that could work for you. You can e-mail me at [email protected]____.com of luck and have a Great day.

G. Martinez

1 mom found this helpful
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M.G.

answers from San Diego on

Hi K.,

I have been a SAHM for 15 years, I have a 15B,13G,5G. So I do not know what it's like to go from two incomes to one and go from being a working mom to a SAHM. However, my husband and I have the same view point that my being home and spending that quality time with the kids and involved in their school has no price tag. However, we definitely understand that there are bills to be paid and it can be very tough. We've gone in and out of debt. In fact, we just decided that we need the extra income. We don't want it at the expense of the kids though so I am now a work at home mom. I just became an independent beauty consultant with mary kay. I love the products and have used them for a while now but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would sell them. I did go to a meeting to see what it was about and had a friend who had been doing it for a while. Well, let me tell you, you couldn't find a better group of women who are all so supportive of each other. It's something I can work around the kids, has unlimited earning potential and the motto of god, family, career is something I feel strongly about. Anyway, I guess I've babbled on long enough. So I guess my suggestion is that if you really feel strongly about being home and your hubby is supportive than maybe you should give it a try. There are always home businesses, such as Mary Kay, that could give you the income and the fulfillment of being there for your child. Wish you all the best! You can email me if you want anymore info. Take Care!

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V.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Ask your employer if you can reduce to a part-time worker since your daughter is already in school.

I have had opportunities to stay home with my children sporadically - and I have to tell you - it is always ALWAYS 10 times more fulfilling than any job I have ever had - and I have had some very fulfilling jobs (traffic manager, 911 Dispatcher and Special Education Teachers Assistant) As I look back (my oldest is now almost 17) - - - the times in my life that I cherish the most - were those brief months I was able to be a stay at home mom.

Your daughter - will love it - - -

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N.D.

answers from San Francisco on

K.,

I say stay at home, if at all possible!!! I'm a teacher, two days a week, and have in the past noticed a remarkable difference in my students whose parents stay home vs. work. I've even had the experience of a few mom's quitting their jobs part way through the school year. The kids, who were otherwise intelligent, pretty good in school, happy,etc. just became more secure, confident and well adjusted after mom began staying at home. I know there are pros to both, cons to both, but I say give it a shot!! Good luck

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C.Z.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hi K.,
I just wanted to introduce myself real quick. My name is C. and I'm a mom of two kids. I've been a medical assistant for 9 years and decided it was time to start taking care of my own children. My oldest is almost 11 now. Anyway, I started my search to look for something to do from home. I was very skeptical, especially since I have family and friends in the legal field telling me horror stories on home based businesses. I wanted something legitimate. Well, much to my surprise I found something and just in time. I am still able to do my career full time and my home based business also.

I just wanted to share my web site with you. If you are happy at your job, that's awesome. But this can maybe help out and give you some supplemental income. Maybe you are a stay-at-home mom or wife and this is just what you're looking for. Well, I have done this for a three month's now around my children's busy schedules, and home schooling and it has been a true blessing for us.

I want to add My child was having problem's in school also he has a high IQ but also suffers from tourettes syndrome, the two put together made for a lot of teasing and hardship's, I still work as a MA in my home and do my home based buisness, I take care of a elderly cancer patient in my home. I know that with me doing health care from my house it make's my decision easier. but maybe working a home based buisness or asking if possible if you could work your current job from home. some companies now allow for you to do so. I hope this help's

C. Z.
Stayinhomeandlovinit
mother of J'Lee, Bryce
###-###-####
Welcome to C. Z. Stayin Home and Lovin It!
http://www.stayinhomeandlovinit.com/cgi-bin/team.cgi?id=C...

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A.M.

answers from San Diego on

I am so glad to see all the supporting response for you! When I made the decision 2 yrs ago I wish I had that. I am a stay-at-home-work-at-home-mom and have been for 2 yrs now. I have 2 kids, 5 1/2 & 3. I retired after working for 17 yrs straight and after being completely burnt out. It was time to do what I wanted to do. It was a hard transition but one that I am blessed for every single day. When my kids are sick, I'm there. When my husband is sick, I'm there. When I'm sick, there are no questions asked. It has it's ups and downs. But what I know is I will never work for another person again. I will always work for myself under my conditions. I have more control of my life now. Plus, I am raising my children. Sometimes I want to give them away. lol. But then my very understanding loving husband comes home and everything is ok as I retreat to my room or to Target.
Financially, if you can do it, try it out. I don't think you have anything to lose. And one last thought about your mom and dad. The one thing that kind of bothers me about what others say in the debate of working moms vs. SAHM's is that the best TIME is when they are little, then go back to work. I believe it's the other way around. Taking care of babies is a breeze compared to adolencents and teenagers. There is so much going on in the schools today, not to mention the world. This is when we need to be there as much as we are allowed to be to guide them down the right path and answer their questions along the way. Too many parents leave their older kids alone to figure it out on their own while the parents are at work. If the option is there for someone to stay home, I say go for it!
Always remember, we can all sit here and say what works for us, but you can only know what works for you! The right TIME is when it feels right for you! As the other moms say, love and dedication to your kids will prevail if you are home or not. Good luck!

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D.P.

answers from Sacramento on

My mother once told me, "Your kids will only be young once". She was right! They are growing up too fast. I worked for the state for 17 years, and last year, Sept. 2006, I resigned and started staying home! Yes, I know college is expensive and I know that financially we would be in a much better place if I was working full-time, but comparing that to being able to participate in my daughter's preschool and being able to be the one who picks my son up from school and take him for speech therapy, karate and t-ball, swimm lesson, ect....I think I would rather sacrafice. It is hard, but I know (hope) in the end it will be worth it. After being home for 6 months, I did feel I needed something to do for me, I love my kids, but let me tell you being with them all the time (they are 22 months apart, but act more like they are the same age and they fight!!) I needed something to get me out of the house and put some $$$$in my pocket I started selling Tupperware, it gets me out of the house every now and then and gives me the me time and break that I need. If you stop working does it mean D. can't go to safekey or the summer rec programs? Maybe she can just go someimes or one program or daycamp for less time that she wolud if you were working. Then she gets a little of what she wants and you get some YOU time, which trust me you will need! Good luck!

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A.P.

answers from San Diego on

I'm LITERALLY in the middle of this right now!!!!!

First of all: it is never too late to decide to spend more time with your family. That's the biggest load of BS I've ever heard. And I have a degree in child development, so I've heard a LOT of BS!!!!!!!!!! :)

It has been a hard decision. My husband is self-employed, so I am the source of our health insurance. I am also the "stable income" and the primary breadwinner due to the feast-famine nature of his work.

My workplace has offered me a part-time opportunity. I will not be doing as much of what I did before (which does sadden me a little) but I will be learning new skills that will round out my overall marketability if I do decide to go back to work full time later. (kids in college?) This will allow me to keep health insurance and I'll only have to do go in two days a week, and one telecommuting 1/2 day. Sure I'll take a pay cut (50%), but 5 days a week with my kids?? I'm looking so forward to it!

I told my workplace that I'm open to being assigned all sorts of tasks, but also encouraged them to challenge me. Just because it is a 50% time position doesn't mean It has to be relegated to only do fax/copy/staple. I told them to look at my unique talents and really USE me. They became really encouraged by my enthusiasm and now actually plan to write my new job as a higher position than they planned.

So, if you have any clout at your workplace, and have impressed your higher-ups, see if they can't offer something new and interesting... provided it is part-time. Think "special projects manager" ...something that allows you sporadic attendance, work from home, etc. (heck, if CEO's can do it...)

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