Want to Stay Home with Kids Can We Do It?

Updated on June 20, 2012
S.G. asks from Charles Town, WV
29 answers

I hate my job and I hate how it takes my time away from my kids. I am so bored with my daily routine. I just want to quit so bad. My husband doesn't think we can afford it and keeps saying no. I don't want to regret not having this time with them. I work all day M-F and have a few hours with them in the evening. I hate it! How can I convince my husband? He makes 90k and we can live off his salary but wouldn't be able to save. I work now and we've built our emergency fund by saving so much. We can get by on his salary but then we'd have to be very frugile. My husband wants me to keep working and keep saving all this money for retirement and emergency fund. We are on track for retirement and have 35k in emergency fund. How do I convince him? My youngest is 2 and my oldest is going to go into kindergarten this fall. Do you think we have enough to be able for me to be sahm?

Also, we don't have any debt besides our mortgage. That is our biggest downfall I think since our mortgage payment is $1800 and I think if we sold this house and bought something cheaper we could get by nicely on his 90k salary. The only thing is that the market is so crummy. At worst though we may be upside down by 20k.

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So What Happened?

added: almost half my salary after taxes goes to childcare. The rest currently goes into emergency fund/retirement. We did have a bigger emergency fund but we bought a car (had to and paid cash) and paid off the rest of our student loans. So my entire salary either goes to childcare, savings account, and retirement. However, we do spend every penny of his salary. So if I were to stay at home I'd have to be more frugile so that we do have a little left over each month as I wouldn't want to just get by with his salary. However, my husband worries about everything! His boss really likes him and he's at a stable company and yet he fears he could lose his job due to the economy. But anyways that is very unlikely at where he's at and plus he's in a good career and could find another job if that very sliim possibility were to happen. I think if I were to stay at home I could be very frugile.

Featured Answers



answers from Madison on

never met anyone who has successfully done this...and i have known a lot who tried. Once you live off of an income it is not easy to change to less, no matter the desire...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

What do you do? I am not saying this but suggesting, can it be done under the table?

Okay so I am an accountant, which is why I am not saying. I could do taxes charge a small fee but forget, damn ADHD, to report it on my taxes. That way I could stay at home and still earn savings, ya know?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Most people can.
It might involve cutting lifestyle.
Some people don't want to do that.
I think a trial run of 3 months is a great idea--live from his income only! Bank any after childcare expenses and forget it's there.
See how it goes.
I felt much like you do. PT was the right fit for me.
a budget and maintaining zero debt is essential.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

Before you quit, live off your husband's salary exclusively to see if you can do it.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Missoula on

I'm with Mrs M. Just deposit 100% of YOUR paychecks into your savings account. If you are able to live off of that for, say, 6 months... then I would have another conversation with your hubby about the possibility of you quitting. As a side benny, you get to bulk up your savings that much more!

Part-time is a possibility as well...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My husband is always more worried about finances than I am, too -- I think it's in their nature more than ours. And I am a good saver, too -- not at all a big spender. I have noticed that when I assert we're doing fine, or we're saving enough or we're doing great saving for retirement, he gets more anxious. If I sympathize with his view, and explain that I know it will be hard and I'm worried about retirement too and that this time that I'm away from work will be temporary, it goes over *much* better. Show him that you hear his side, fully -- don't insist that $35,000 is enough in an emergency fund -- explain that you love that he cares about his family enough to be worried about finances.

But you do have a right to be heard too -- you hate your job, you want to be with your kids, they are only young once -- you've done it "his" way for several years, he needs to be open to trying it "your" way for a while. In a marriage there has to be give and take, and he needs to see that you're miserable with the way things are. Ask if he can come up with parameters that will make him feel better about you not working for a while. Try to solve the problem together -- you don't need to be on opposite sides -- you both want to be secure financially and you both want what's best for your kids, and you both (presumably) want your spouse to be happy. Ask him to please, please, work with you to find a solution, because you are unhappy with the current situation.

And if he won't discuss solutions with you (you try being a SAHM for an agreed upon period of time, trying part time work instead of full time, trying specific cost-saving measures...) then you should suggest that you go to counseling. He can't say his way wins by fiat, if it's making you miserable. That's not healthy for any marriage.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


My first thought is refinance the house to lower the mortgage.
My next thought is - you need to cancel subscriptions, change or cancel cable, call providers like your gas, electric, water to see if they have a flat rate program, check rates on cell phones to see if you can go lower....

Your emergency fund is nice. We blew through ours in 10 months when my husband was unemployed for 10 months. Laid off from a company that loved him as well (he got bonuses every six months and his ratings were always 4.5 to 4.9 out of 5) and he was with them for NINE YEARS. After 10 months - they found a job for him on another contract...

Then I would say make menus for your family and start using coupons ANY TIME you go shopping. Make your menus off the items on sale at your local grocery store.

You need to talk with your husband. A serious sit-down conversation. While it's GREAT that you have no debt and nice savings. You are obviously NOT happy. And if your husband does not understand that - then you have more serious problems then just wanting to quit your job.

There is more to life than working and saving for retirement or even an emergency fund. Sounds like he is caught up in a cycle of savings and being prepared for an event that MIGHT or MIGHT NOT happen and you guys aren't really LIVING - you are preparing and going through the motions of life. I would STRONGLY urge you to contact your bank and see if they have financial planners so that you guys can hear it from a professional about living on one income, saving for retirement yet still being able to enjoy life!!

When you have this conversation with your husband - make sure the kids are in bed. That BOTH of you have had a chance to "chill" from the day and are comfortable. Then you need to present him with a plan...show him your family bills - EVERYTHING - food, clothes, gas, water, electric, mortgage, cable, cell, medical, dental, vision...then show him how you want to give a trial run for six months living off HIS INCOME ONLY. Your paycheck would go to child care - then the rest would be set in a different account - not your normal checking/savings account, not put into your safety/emergency fund or to retirement...a totally separate account. Tell him "I AM NOT HAPPY!!! We NEED to try this. If it doesn't work - fine. We tried. If it does, at the end of six months, I am quitting my job and staying home with the kids." this isn't a fight. this is you standing up for what you believe in.

How did we do it? We NEVER counted my income - EVER. My income is fun money - slush fund, etc. But we planned that from the beginning. Living off on ONE income only.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Can't speak to the numbers end of this equation, but before you make this sort of leap, be sure that you are prepped for what stay at home might mean in terms of the day to day, and what you will be shouldering to make it happen. i.e. if in order to stay at home, you need to get involved in all sorts of domestic work and time consuming cost saving measures, do you really get more time with your kids, will you be fulfilled with the trade off?

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Go for 6 months of living off of what your husband makes, solely.

I can tell you we do that on 1/3 of what your husband makes. (I'm sure the cost of living here, is a fraction of where you live.) We have a savings, we save for college, 401k, etc. After your mortgage, where the heck does all that money go? If you have no debt, how much are your bills? There still should be thousands left. (rhetorical questions.) Write down every cent you all spend. You may be amazed at how much money you are unnecessarily bleeding. If you show your husband you can live off his salary, he would be more likely to consider it. If you try, and you simply can't make it on his salary alone...obviously, you can't quit. If he simply does not want to be the sole provider, you might have a huge uphill battle. You then have to consider if it's a battle worth fighting.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Buying a cheaper house is only 1 option. Another option to consider is perhaps refinancing your current mortgage. If the interest rate you are currently paying is 2-3 percentage points higher than the current rate then it would be worth looking into.

Outside of that. Changing the spending culture of your home to what it would be if you didn't work would be in order. Whomever is paying the bills should make that adjustment and your entire salary should go into savings. Give it a try and see if that works.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Your children will only be young once, and when they look back on their childhood I doubt they will fondly remember how much they loved daycare, what a big house they had or all the great stuff you bought them. Stay home and they will surely remember the trips to the zoo, the picnics in the park, and having mom volunteer at their school. Don't forget, that by staying at home you won't have the expense of child care, you have time to shop in thrift and consignment stores, you have time to prepare less expensive, healthier meals etc...I've been home for 10 years and my husband only make 60k, and has even been through a few lay offs during that time, but we didn't have such a large mortgage.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I'm a little confused. You say your salary is going to childcare, savings and retirement, then that would mean your already living off just his income. But you also state your spending every penny of his income, so there's no wiggle room.

I would recommend giving it a try for 6 months. Pay for childcare out of your salary and nothing else. Live strictly off of his salary, which would include putting away some for retirement. See how it works.

Some other things to consider....
as kids get older, their expenses increase (sports, field trips, dance, scouts, etc)
the older the car gets the more repairs it'll need
do you have any work related expenses (long commute, clothing, etc) that would be eliminated
what are you spending on now that you could cut out of your budget?
do you want to live a very frugle lifestyle?

Another thought....
would it be possible for you to work part time, allowing for some income, but more time with the kids?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Well, we can't tell you yes or no. This is something you and your husband need to discuss. However, you need to listen to his feelings as well.

I agree with trying to live on one income for the next several months. Can you do it? Its not easy. We didn't have a 90K salary when I stopped working. We cut everything you could and then some. Lunch meat was a want not a necessity. We couldn't afford it! No cable, cellphone. I had to limit my driving because of gas.

Don't sell the house, I would attempt to refi before anything. If you are upside down then selling doesn't really help does it?

I do think you need to be realistic with yourself regarding your spending habits. You need to list what is necessary, food, house, clothing. What is a want, starbucks, after school activities. You get the idea.

Again, you and your husband need to make this decision.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

how much do you make? how much does day care cost?

When I was working full time day care was $16K a year.. our federal tax bill was $26K (double income.. 1 kids)

Then I quit my job... our day care cost was 0 and our tax bill was not $6k a year. big savings...

I saved money on gas driving to work, lunch out, clothes...

I highly recommend quitting your job.. best for the kids and the family.

Seriously if 1/2 of your salary is going to day care.. why are you working?

the rest of your salary goes for gas to get to work and day care.. and taxes.. it is really not worth it..

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

The way I read this is that if you did not work anymore, you would no longer be saving for the rainy day or for your retirement so you would no longer be on track for your retirement plans.

I may be in the minority but I think it is unfair of one partner to just decide they do not want to work anymore. It puts a lot of pressure on the other partner and it doesn't sound if your husband wants that so I think you are out of luck.

Instead of trying to change his mind, work on things under your control. Maybe reduce your hours slightly, change the times you work if possible, try to make yourself happier with the current situation instead of worrying that you'll regret something down the line. Everyone will regret something so just concentrate on being the best parent you can and work within your constraints.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Here in Hawaii, it is very expensive. All around.
My Husband makes less than yours.
We have 2 kids, who are now in public elementary school.
Prior they were in preschool when younger.
I am a SAHM and have been since my eldest was born.
We don't live high off the hog.
We live frugally.
Our kids are happy.
They have what they need.
We are able to eat.
My kids have even told me "Mommy I'm glad you are home with us and we don't have to go to aftercare like other kids...." (after care after school).
My Husband saves every month. He is disciplined about it and we have retirement too.

Your Husband is being conservative and in safe mode. And thinking of the future.
It is different values and needs for everyone. Every family being different.

Or MAYBE, a compromise might be, that you work part-time instead????
You and the kids can be on your Husband's health insurance etc.
And you don't have any debts. But the mortgage.
Or get a job at night, so you can be with your kids during the day?
I know many parents that do that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You need to sit down with him and have a serious adult talk. Make the time to do this. Because it seems like you are not happy at all and if your not happy then he will become not happy. I would work it out and think of all the positive things that it will do for your kids. They will be raised by you and not other people. You will be happier. When you are happier your entire family is.. Tell him he will have a happier wife.. See how it goes and if it doesn't work out look for another career. I definetly say go for it. I know times are tough but, you seem to have all your ducks in a row.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If he isnt on board, it will be an uphill battle.
Have you calculated what it costs you to work? Gas, professional clothing, meals out, convenience foods since you aren't home to cook from scratch, daycare?
I also agree it's a good idea to live off of his salary as a test drive, but the downside is, he will come back with - great, lets keep doing that and put all your salary in the savings account!
I would stay home in a New York minute if I could! Alas, I am the breadwinner, so it iwll never happen. I hope you find a way to make it work. Maybe offer to keep a couple of extra kids to continue bringing in money.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Mrs. M has good advice - live off of your hubby's salary for say 3 months. If all goes well, then you can afford it.

Also, maybe you could watch one or two other children during the day to bring in a little income that could be split - one month it goes to savings; next month to retirement.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Sounds like you could do it. But your husband would have to agree. How you would convince him, I have no ideas. He's a worrier and there is no way that I know of to stop the worrying except some counseling to help him look at the glass as half full instead of half empty. He can change the way he thinks but he needs to want to and will need help in finding ways to change the way he thinks.

I suggest couples counseling to start with. This difference in expectations out of life will continue to put a strain on your relationship.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Little Rock on

My suggestion from a debt perspective. See if you can refinance your home to a lower interest rate and shorter terms. Three years ago, we refinanced from a 30 year to a 15 year mortgage and got a 3.75% interest rate. We are paying the same amount that we were before, but more of it is going to principal instead of interest. We also started paying the mortgage every 2 weeks, instead of once per month, which allows for an extra payment each year. You can ask you bank to set you up on a program to do this. So, we should now be down to 13 year on the mortgage, but we're actually down to 11 years. This might help you get to "stay at home" faster. Not sure about how to convince hubby, but have you thought about changing to a career related to schooling that will allow you to be around the kids more so your schedule would be more like theirs (summers off, etc). Good luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anniston on

i would first try the 6month thing others have mentioned, and also considering working part time. but then again if your working part time you will still be paying childcare so that might not work either. Maybe you could find an at home type of job?



answers from Beaumont on

I agee . Downsize. Set a budget and you still should be able to save. Best of luck...


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, S.:

Have you sat down with your husband and made a budget
as if your were not working?


1. Mortgage
2. Food
3. Clothes
4. Car Insurance
5. Car Payment
6. House Insurance
7. Gasoline
8. Telephone, internet, cable
9. Utilities
10. School expenses, before and after job
11. Arts, crafts, etc.
12. Anything else you can think of

The Better Business Bureau has accounting help.
"Show me a woman who feels that her husband deals with her tenderly--
with kindness, good manners, generosity, genuine affection, and understanding--
and I'll show you a happily married woman, regardless of external circumstances that may come against their union as a family.
Show me a husband who feels that his wife deals with him with respect--
admiration, appreciation, upholding his dignity as a man, thankful for his protection and provision--
and I'll show you a happily married man, regardless of the stress he may feel from the outside world." Tommy Nelson

You are needed at home.
You and your husband needs to create a democracy. Both giving to each other what each can not do for themselves.
Good luck.


answers from Detroit on

I agree with Mrs. M talk husband into living off the one income while you work as a trial basis.



answers from New York on

Other thoughts - do you have household help so that when you are home from work you're with the kids vs cleaning and cooking? If not, it's likely cheaper to hire help than quit. How easy is it to get a similar job in a year or two if you need to? When you budget, are you factoring in all the "one time" expenses? ie: a new roof when needed, a new furnace, big car repairs, a new car etc. If not, everyone really should have "accounts" they put savings into every month to cover those items. Taking a sampling of a couple of months expenses might not cover some really big ticket items that will eventually come up. What about saving for college for your kids? Not at all saying you shouldn't stay home as $90k sounds good in your area. But just some more things to think about.


answers from Evansville on

I, too, agree with Mrs. M, but if living on his salary means you would have to be frugal then I suggest a lifestyle change as well. I'm sure there are some things that are luxuries and wants instead of needs. Start eliminating some unnecessary expenses. Best wishes.



answers from Minneapolis on

I'm siding with your husband. There are no "stable jobs" anymore and it takes an average of 6-9 months to find a new job now.

I've worked in Ouplacement for the last four years - providing training and job search coaching to people who have been laid off by companies. Most of those people thought they had "stable jobs".

Also, when I've asked my coaching clients to tell me about the parent they admired and respected the most while growing up - every one of them has told me about the parent that had a career. Every one!



answers from Pittsburgh on

You could try this for 6 months. Pay for childcare out of your salary. Calculate how much you are saving for retirement and college (and anything else you are saving for) and put this away from husband's salary each month. Live exclusively off what is left for the 6 months. (put what is left from your salary into a direct deposit account that you don't see and don't even think about it). Then decide how comfortable this is for the entire family.

If you really plan to live on just DH's salary and he feels there is a chance of losing his job - I would make sure that you have at least enough $$ saved for 3-5 months (or whatever the average search time for a new position is in his industry). Also, I would be sure he has adequate disability insurance (yup - pay for that out of his salary) as well as life insurance.

I think if you try it for less than 6 months, you might not 'see' those expenses that are not every month - a new season's worth of clothing for the kids, major car expenses (like a new one if something happens), major house repairs (new roof, furnace, AC, sewage issue, etc). If you are living on DH's income but not saving - I would not consider it affordable. I don't consider college or retirement as options.

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