Working VS. Staying Home

Updated on August 24, 2009
C.G. asks from Leesburg, VA
36 answers

I realize this is a hot subject for all women in the world but I have to ask the question. Has anyone ever given up a job making alot of money to stay home? If so when you go back to work say 5 years later do you take a huge pay cut? I swear this is the hardest decision for our family. I desperately miss my daughter and want to be home with her. My husband and I do have money in the bank and could probably swing it fincially but I'm so scared. I feel with every month I work I miss time with my daughter. I would love to hear both sides of the fence on this one. Or even from mothers who stayed home and didn't like it and went back to work.
I've worked so hard to get where I'm at in my career I worry about quitting with the economy but it's my child and nothing is more important than her. I just wish someone would tell me the right thing to do.
I'm in sales so working part time is next to impossiable!
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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C.D.

answers from Washington DC on

I have been having the same struggle for a long time now. I have a 4yr old 18mos old and a 3mos old. I finally took the plunge and quit a great job that I love to be home with my 3 girls. I believe it will be the best decision I have ever made. The money is secondary to them receiving the best care possible. This time will only be here a short while. If I were to give advice, I say DO IT! We didn't have these children for someone else to raise them and someone else to enjoy them. Go for it! Good luck!

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A.G.

answers from Washington DC on

I stay at home with my 2 year old twins and another one on the way. I do absolutely think its worth it. Yes I feel stagnant sometimes and yes I definately feel concerned about my career later, but being with them every day cannot be underestimated. That being said, I feel like the time from 6 months to 18 months was the most important for me to be home so far. My old boss just took a one year leave of absence for that period of time. It seems to be the best of both worlds. Is that possible for you?

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C.O.

answers from Washington DC on

Dear CG:

I totally understand where you are coming from. I'm sorry I haven't read the other posts so if I am giving you repeat info - I'm sorry.

1. Being a SAHM isn't always fun. Trust me - it is MORE than a full time job and you don't get a paycheck for all you do. In fact, you don't see the rewards for MANY years down the road. You want to be with your daughter - which is the best - however, it's not just about being with her - it's about getting into a routine and schedule with her.

Ask yourself what your expectations are.
What do you expect to gain from this? You won't be sleeping in, watching TV and eatting Bon-bons (something my husband thought when our first child was born! BOY DID THAT GO OVER LIKE A LEAD BALLOON!!)
Do you have activities planned for her? I have activity books for my boys - we spend time in the AM doing 'school' stuff and I let them have free play - they have their chores to do as well - we go to the pool, we play outside, etc. we have playdates - since I'm the only SAHM, the kids come to our house - that means snacks and drinks for kids - plan for that as well as they get older....

You said you've worked hard to get where you are in your career. Are you ready to give it up? Yes, you can go back - but you might not make the money you are now and you might have to prove yourself again. Being in sales - you would have to stay up on the trends and such while you are at home....

Since this isn't something you do on the spur of the moment....and since you are worried about finances try this for three to six months - survive ONLY on your husband's paycheck. Put yours in savings, etc. This way - you know you will have an even greater back up cushion should you chose to go back to work. This includes paying for your daughter's daycare while you try this - this will give you guys that extra cushion to know that if an EMERGENCY comes up - you can swing it.

If you can't do this, survive on his alone, then the financial stress will force you back to work. You don't want to live off your savings in order to stay home with your daughter.

Keep track of your expenses - make a lunch for your husband every day - this will save you $200 a month. Stop going to Starbucks (if you do) - that will save you another $200. We bought the Hamilton Beach dispenser coffee pot - so I prepare his coffee the night before and it's ready for him when he wakes up in the AM.

My next piece of advice is to stop using ANY credit cards. Ensure you have no credit card debt when you make this transition and go on a CASH ONLY basis. Why? Because I can't tell you how tempting it is to go shopping in the middle of the day and how easy it is to get carried away.

Going all cash was the hardest thing my husband and I had to do - but it's SOOOOO good knowing what will be in the mail and not worry about surprises.

Use coupons. Go to hotcoupons.com, coupons.com; hotcouponworld.com; eversave.com - any place you can save money - DO IT. Call the numbers on the boxes of things you use regularly and ask for coupons. They'll send 'em to you. Subscribe to the Sunday Washington Post, you'll get coupons every Sunday - look through the fliers to see what's on sale that week - plan your menu around that and the coupons you have - you'll cut your grocery bill in half! TAKE YOUR LIST WITH YOU TO THE STORE!! This will keep you from impluse buying.

Set up a menu for the week and buy off that menu.

Use what you already have in the house.

Rent movies instead of buying them or going out to see them.

Set up a date night for you and your husband - you WILL need this. This might be the most important thing to do - you will need adult time/conversation and you will need to be able to touch base with your husband. It's something you will both look forward to. Even if it's just sitting on a blanket in front of the fireplace or in chairs out on the deck - do it. it's not just about your child - it's about your marriage as well.

Some women find that being a SAHM isn't for them. Really - it's not a bad thing to admit it's not for you. For me, it hasn't been a problem. Now that they are older (both in elementary school) it's a whole 'nother ball of wax. I admit I have worked off and on over the last 9 years, but I keep coming back home. I sell things on ebay to earn extra money for ME (yep, it allows me to get manicures and pedicures without disrupting the budget).

As a SAHM, your kids might expect you to volunteer at the school, be chaperones at field trips, etc. even the teachers might expect more from you.

You need to set your expectations. This isn't going to be strawberries and wine - it's well worth EVERY SINGLE concession you have to make, but for some, they can't do it. Which is FINE - to each his own. You have to do what's right for you and your family.

TALK with your husband - is this what he wants?

I'm enjoying being a SAHM MORE now that they are in school and really don't want to go back to work in an office. I'm now afforded the opportunity to know my kids' friends - something that I feel is DOUBLY important in today's society. And be with them at school in their rooms. At first they hung all over me - then I became a fixture in the classroom - so it wasn't sooo special anymore - I got to watch my children learn and interact with others and have learned a whole lot about my kids!

I realize this is long - it is my hope and desire that you make this decision with as much knowledge as possible! There is a lot of stress on the breadwinner of the family if finances are tight - which them translates into arguments, etc. Sometimes expectations are set high - the person staying home (it's been the dad before) has unrealistic expectations - and is TOTALLY disappointed when that bubble is burst.

I find that I am a:
mom
wife
housekeeper
launderer
seamstress
taxi driver
chef
personal assistant
accountant
physical trainer
nurse/doctor
phychiatrist
social worker
computer expert
and sooo much more all rolled into one and being pulled in many directions at the same time on different days.

I wouldn't trade this life for the world - but some people aren't cut out for it and there are times I question myself. No kidding - there are days when I say "what the heck am I doing - I could be in an office doing XYZ instead of listening to this!!"

I truly hope this has given you food for thought.

Best regards,

Cheryl

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S.M.

answers from Washington DC on

I once heard, if you died tomorrow, would you wish you had spent more time at work?

I don't want to get into a jusdgmental thing about whether one type of Mom is better - happy moms are best! But if YOU want to be at home, you need to at least try it. You can always go back to work, but you won't know until you try to know if being a SAHM is really for you.

My story is that I worked full time for 11 months after my first child was born. Missed her horribly. I decided to quit if I wasn't allowed to go part-time. Even sold my house and downsized, so I would be prepared to quit. Luckily, I was able to go to part-time on a very flexible schedule! I have been doing that for 5 years and now two children (working 10-20 hours per week).

I still resent my job sometime. But it is an ideal situation. I am home when I need to be and that works for me. I personally believe that kids need to have time in their homes and time without 5, 10, 15 other kids around. They need one-on-one attention and care. And the more of that you can give them, the better. I want my kids to be the stars of the show for as long as possible. There will be plenty of time for them to be out of the house for school and activities. I hated having to decide if my daughter's cold was severe enough to stay home when I needed to go to work. A sick kid should get to stay in bed when they don't feel well. Those are just sort of my feelings on why I decided that being a SAHM was better.

The context for me is that I got my Ph.D 3 days before my oldest daughter was born. It was hard to think about giving up that level of acheivement (I had only worked in corporate America for 2 years prior). And I really like having adult friends and dressing up for the office and talking about stuff other than kids. But on the flip side I have wonderful Mom friends and their are great support networks for SAHMs. With all I know now, I would still quit rather than work full-time.

Good luck with your decision, I hope it works out for you. I'm in Ashburn. IF you ever want to talk let me know.

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L.R.

answers from Washington DC on

You may feel less scared of the subject if you and your husband - and it has to be both of you, not just you alone -- sit down and write out all your finances in detail, your financial goals for the next 5-10 years, how you would do without your income, where you might need to economize if you quit, etc. He has to be on board either way you go, not just with the financial aspects but with the emotional aspects, whether he's backing you up 100 percent on leaving work to stay home, or whether he's working as a full partner in a two-career family where both of you care for your child depending on your schedules. Talk to some women in your profession who have "sequenced" in and out of full-time work and see how they felt about working versus staying home and whether the return to sales jobs was viable. Talk (and talk and talk) to your husband about his true feelings--would he feel resentful about your being at home, like maybe he would like to be home with the baby too? Is he truly OK with being the breadwinner or does that scare him on some level? Does he have expectations that if you stay home, you'll be a better/different housekeeper than you really want to be, or you'll do certain tasks you don't do now, etc.? This requires total openness from both of you.

You need to listen to your own gut to a degree too; if you wait for "someone to tell me the right thing to do," you could wait forever to either leave work or commit fully to being a working parent. All I can say is this: I was in a great, fun, challenging job working with people I really enjoyed and respected but I knew without doubt that I would stay home with my longed-for baby girl. I didn't have any pangs about missing work life; it felt completely right to be at home, and the fact that it felt that way, despite the job being the best I'd ever had, meant it was indeed right. But my friend stayed home "because it seems like what I ought to do" but she soon realized that she missed working, being around other adults, and practicing her profession so much that she went back to work full time, and she was a happier, better, more relaxed mom for doing so. Every situation is unique. I just would emphasize that it's vital your husband is 100 percent involved and that you ask yourself whether you are ready to be at home all day, every day, with a young child.

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C.A.

answers from Washington DC on

I recently partnered with the doctors who created Proactiv Solution. The doctors started a direct sales company marketing their newest skincare line addressing 4 skin issues. REVERSE-sun damage; Anti-Aging-lines, wrinkles, etc; Unblemish-acne; and Soothe-sensitive skin. The company is looking for individuals interested in building a home based business. Currently the # of consultants stands at approximately 3,000 nationally, with some states not having any. The company plans to expand internationally pretty soon. Consultants can use the credibility of the doctors to market a truly incredible skincare line. It's a wonderful opportunity to provide a product that many people need. Please visit the website, www.cpadgerson.myrandf.com to find out more about the products and business opportunity. You could indeed work this business from home on a part-time basis and earn a great income. This area is in real need of consultants. This may in deed be the answer to your problem.

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W.S.

answers from Norfolk on

I am a full time work-outside-the-home mom, and wouldn't have it any other way. I've always wanted to be a mother, but never wanted to be a SAHM. Once I had my son at age 36, after 15 years in a very satisfying government career that I love, I stayed home for the first 4 months. I had saved enough leave to do that with pay, and wouldn't give up that 4 months for anything, but...after the first month or so, I couldn't wait to get out of the house, and then to get back to work. I was right about myself that I wasn't the SAHM type. I was lucky to have excellent group daycare available at work, and so I never had the worries of whether my son would be well cared for. He is now a happy, healthy, very outgoing and confident 6 year old. I don't regret one thing. I say you must make the decision that won't make you miserable, and your family will benefit from you being happy and doing both of the things that you are happiest doing. Good luck!!

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R.M.

answers from Washington DC on

I CG,

Before I had my two kids, I had a career and had always thought that I would work in a corner office somewhere making good money. I have worked/had some sort of paying job since I was about 8 yrs old. Of course I worked for my father at his law firm doing filing work when I was young but when I was older got a real job and had one til I had my children. Once I had my son, I knew I wouldn't be able to leave him at daycare so I my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home. Yes we made some lifestyle changes and cut backs to adjust for a single income, but still lived comfortably. After being home for a while, that drive I have always had to work and earn an income started to kick in and it became very difficult for me to deal with. There was something missing in my life and it was a job. I still didn't necessarily want to leave my son and go back to work outside the home but I knew I needed to do something. Long story short, after coming across lots of opportunities that didn't pan out, I found a group of moms who many of which used to be in a very similar situation I was in. This was a group of moms who for what ever reason needed/wanted to be home with the kids but not give up that income they used to have working outside the home. Once I learned more about this fantastic group of moms I knew this is where I belonged.

We are Internet CEO Moms. We work from our homes around our family's schedules. I don't know what kind of money you are making with you career now but I do know that many moms I work with have been able to replace the income they were making at their "9-5" and many have exceeded that income they used to make.
It may not be for you, but I wanted to offer you an option that may give you the best of both worlds, Staying home with the ones you love and earning an income,working with like minded business women. This was definitely the balance I needed and I can't imagine now not doing what I do from home. If you are interested in getting some more info, I'd be more than happy to share with you what we do. You can take a look at my website

www.4ThisFamily.com

I wish you all the best in your decision. My best advice to know whether or not you made the right decision is by your gut feeling. If it feels wrong it is. The quote below helps me make hard decisions, I hope it helps you too.

"It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are." ~Roy Disney

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N.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi C G,
I am a first time mother to a 7 month old daughter. I do not consider myself to be particularly career driven, however I am surprisingly happy that I made the decision to return to work full time. I always thought I would never have children, but if I did I would stay home because there is nothing more important that providing stability and the tools for life to your child. I am 38 years old with no experience with children before my daughter. I have found that the nanny I hired (24 year old college grad)is so good for my daughter! She actually has made ME a better mother because I have learned from her experience with kids! Now, if you are a natural with kids, you will not find a nanny to be beneficial in that way. With that said, I am in sales, too, and although as I mentioned, I am not super career driven, I AM quietly competitive. I have successfully been able to shift my hours in the field, so I am home in the late afternoon to spend 2-3 hours with my daughter before she goes to bed (6/6:30). I really hopes this helps because it is such a difficult decision, and I am really surprised that I have not really "missed" my daughter while at work. She is better, and so am I, for having our nanny. BTW, I found my nanny at Care.com and highly recommend that website.
Best of success with your decision.

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J.G.

answers from Washington DC on

OK, one more opinion for you. Sounds like you want to and probably will stay home. Good for you! I feel that they are only young once--no second chances, so if that works for you then go for it.

However, don't lose your contacts/friends in the workplace. Stay connected and you never know when a part time opportunity might come up, or if you decide to go back you will have some connections.

Also, keep in mind staying home is not glamorous and it is HARD. You will second guess yourself and wonder if you made the right decision. Some days are so long and you will be so tired. In the big picture you will be happy with your decision but day by day might be disappointing. Good Luck!
--A mom who quit and stayed home

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L.W.

answers from Norfolk on

She would get the BEST OF YOU if you truly enjoy job.. and then you would come home and TRULY enjoy her. Me personally, I quit my job (not career) to take care of my THREE kids (all in diapers) and it has been a nightmare.. depression, ptsd, insomnia.... but one kid is different.. i don't think you must give up the career you worked so hard for.. as well as all that dough you will need to put her in school. You can put in all the time you will be missing when you get home and on the weekends... This is your life.. you don't have to feel bad about any decision you make. Do what is best for you-- and it will automatically be the best choice for her because she will have a happy mommy.

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M.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Here is something to try, that may help with your decision.
Take a one - two week vacation where you don't check in with work and they don't contact you. Period. See how you feel.

Here is another aspect of it. My husband and I both work, have our own money, accounts, bills, etc. His is his, mine is mine, ours (house) is shared. When my 2nd child was born, my hubby changed jobs, so that we would have more family time. That part has been great. However, he was just laid off with no severence. I've had to start covering all of the bills. I'm finding that there is a part of me that isn't liking the need to pay for something that he bought, that I didn't agree to, etc. Before, it wasn't an issue, he had bought it with his money/card. I'm also having to anticipate what bills and such he may need money for so that it can be ready and waiting in the joint account so that he doesn't have to ask me for money.

So, here is another thing to try. Take a week (when you're not in contact with work would be good), and have hubby pay for everything that week. Every bill and need.

It will similate you stopping working all together. How will it feel when you have to ask hubby for money? How will hubby feel?
Is it possible to work part-time at a new job, if not at the current job?

Just some thoughts.
M.

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D.J.

answers from Washington DC on

I was a chemical engineer in a process engineer management position. I quit to look for another job because the company I was working for was really terrible.... I decided to try and have my child at 40 before it was too late, but I knew if I stayed at home with him that I would never be able to do that again.

As a manager in engineering I was working 60+ hours a week, and some weekends.. Tho my company atm was an extreme, few chemical engineers get away with a 40 hour week. And I WANT to see my son grow up now that I have him.

I am trying to figure out what to do with my life..now. I was thinking maybe I could be a science/math teacher if they are in need.... Not a great deal of money but I'd be working close to the same hours, and have the same time off as my son, when he goes to school...

I have no regrets, but I am a bit scared at what kind of career I can remake for myself.

No matter what it is for, I found that being out of work for a woman, it is much more difficult to get back to where you where in your career. ( I went back to school for a year at 29 and changed my mind....I took a big hit and it took a long time to get back on track.) I just read an article where if an employer finds out you have kids, illegal or not, equally qualified women with kids will be chosen last for a job.

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K.L.

answers from Washington DC on

You already have so many LONG answers, so I'll try to keep it short. You only have one chance to be a SAHM with your daughter. You have the rest of your life to work. Part of me wishes I could have stayed home with our babies, but we run our own business so taking time off was just not feasible. Fortunately, I was able to bring each of the babies to the office with me for most of their first year. This way I felt that I got the best of both worlds.

Is some kind of compromise possible? It seems that working part-time would be perfect for you. If you do decide to stay at home, I think it can be difficult to break back into the working world. Part-time work would keep your resume current. As an interviewer I always look for gaps on people's resumes as a red flag. I saw one candidate who put it right on her resume that she was a SAHM and the time period (2009 - 20xx). I thought that was a great idea. She just owned it boldly and proudly and it removed any reservations that I had.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

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R.H.

answers from Norfolk on

Well i was working when i had my daughter. I worked for 6mo. and than realized i wanted to stay home. I can't say i made alot of money but I knew i wouldn't have as much when i stayed home. I have been staying home now for nearly 6yrs. I have another baby on the way so going back prob. won't be anytime soon. I think it all depends on what you did, did you go to school for it and how much is your job going to change in the future. If you went to school you prob. can say it will still make money BUT you might have to update your schooling. If you field going to be there when you go back to work. BUT I am very happy i stayed home. It's totally worth the lack of money. I know where she is all the time, I know how she thinks and why. I know the reason she is the way she is is because i have taught her it. I don't have to worry if she ate or if she got her nap or who she's spending time with. I have total control over all of it. You would be amazed at what childcare providers do when your not around. I put her in childcare once when she was 5yrs old just before kindergarten started. I had one who didn't feed her all day when she felt like it. I have one provider who didn't put her in a car seat because as she said they weren't going far. When i confronted her (since i had stayed home with my daughter up until than she told me everything) she said it did happen but only once and it wouldn't happen again. Well my daughter came home the next day saying she had been set down with the other children and told that someone had told their parents she was put in the floor of the car and if they wanted to continue to go to play groups they would have to keep that secret. So needless to say i quit my job after this. I was done. So i don't tend to trust people anymore. If they would do these things with a 5yr old who can talk what would they do with a baby who won't. I don't trust them anymore. Even me being a provider i don't trust other ones.

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N.B.

answers from Washington DC on

Dear CG, Only you know what is right for you. I would have loved to stay home with my girls, but we couldn't afford that. I had the best of both worlds, though, really; I worked part-time and my mother watched my girls. This may not directly answer your question, but I have switched gears & now work with many women who wanted to stay home. It is possible to be a stay-at-home mom and make great money. I wish I had known about this 20 years ago! Happy to share testimonials or more details. Good luck! N.

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T.B.

answers from Norfolk on

I have done both. and both are HARD! but if you work real hard you can find a balance. best of luck! and just to let you know...my first child turned out great! and I worked 3 jobs and went to night school! he was raised at the sitters...he is very social and outgoing and aclimates well to all situations!
best of luck!
T.

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S.H.

answers from Washington DC on

Stay home...unless having money in the bank helps you sleep at night (seriously)...maybe you're a Leo. Your little one needs you more that you need the money and if you worked so hard for so long than collect some of the money you paid in to social security to help make ends meet. You will appreciate your time with your family more than anything that will ever cross your path at work. Plus, you can always start looking again in a few years for work. I'm no expert but if you're looking for a push, here's one. Blessings : )

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A.B.

answers from Washington DC on

The choice has to feel right. The choice has to be one you and your spouse agree upon. The choice has to bring you peace. If you worry about the economy, the finances, your future, your sacrifice, and getting back into the workforce, you won't enjoy the experience if you choose to stay home.
You will have challenges no matter the choice. Things still break down. Things still need to be replaced. People still get sick. Children grow and need clothes, etc. You're still going to want to do different things that require money. All of these things happen whether you work out of the home or stay home with your child.
What doesn't happen the same is your child. She will grow. She will explore her world with eyes of wonder. She will grow whether you are there and plugged in or whether you are working to provide a better lifestyle for your family. I think all women ask if it's really possible to have it all. We all make sacrifices, which is what love is all about. If you are single, you must work to provide for the family. If you are married, you might still have to work just to survive and put food on the table. If you come home, you will sacrifice impulse buying and will learn the difference between wants and needs. If you and your husband agree on the choice, then when the challenges come up, neither of you should feel resentful of the choice.
Your daughter will be a baby only once. She will learn to talk once. She will learn to walk once. If the choice is available, many women probably would choose to be home watching these wonders take place. There are some who would rather be in the professional environment, and that's ok, too. We should not criticize any family's choice. But, you must have peace with the decision and not worry about the future. You worked hard to get where you are. When you and your husband feel your daughter is ready to explore the world on her own, you'll work hard again at a new career or invent something new.
Whatever you choose will mean an adjustment, and some women do not make it well, which is why they go back to work. Being home takes time when you're used to structure, interacting with adults, the adrenaline rush of deadlines, deals and distractions. Being home is different but requires some of those same skills. Adult interaction is usually the hardest to adjust to, but there are MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups around the area, which weren't there 12 years ago. There are mommy-and-me classes in the area, even mommy-movie matinees!
When it's time for you to re-enter the workforce, you will transition by looking at our country, your gifts, your interests--yeah, it means starting all over and you'll be older. But, so will your child, and you will have to decide if you'd rather continue missing her daily or going for what sounds to be your heart's desire. Whatever you choose, make sure you have peace, and plan as much as possible your time. Time management is still very important when you are home, because that's where the resentment comes in when you feel like you're sacrficing always and not appreciated. Learn to make time for your husband, and consider still getting help to make breaks for yourself. When we work out of the home, we don't realize how much quiet time we really get, and that's one of the casualties of coming home--little quiet or down time.

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T.N.

answers from Norfolk on

I know it isn't an easy decision.
I gave up making close to $60k a year to stay home w/ my son -- and had just completed a management training class, so I knew I would be making close to $90k w/in 18 months. It was definitely a factor, but I finally decided that if someone came to me & said they would give me $7000/month for the rest of my life & all I had to do was let someone else raise my son, I would turn it down. No questions asked.
I have never regretted my decision.
If you need the income, there are some legitimate WAH jobs. Check out ratracerebellion.com. Any that you are interested in, google the name of the company & the word "scam" to see what pops up. If it's a scam, don't get sucked in, no matter how good it sounds. Arise & [email protected]____.com are 2 legit ones.
I know not everyone that wants to has the opportunity to stay home w/ their kids, but if you are able to swing it financially, why wouldn't you? Especially w/ as torn as you are about leaving her w/ someone else?
Good luck to you in your decision. Pray about it, and I bet you'll be more at peace w/ what you finally do.

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K.H.

answers from Washington DC on

Here is the thing, anything you do in life has consequences, everything you do has its good and it’s bad, you have heard the saying the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, well it’s not. It’s not green on any side, all pastures have brown patches, but it’s the ones you can live with that matter the most. As in, choose the best evil for you, or on the lighter side, choose the one you can live with and be the happiest. What would make you and your daughter happiest? Only you can answer that question but it’s not hundred percent a guarantee you both will be happy if you stay at home unless you try it. So try it, if that is what you think you should do to get the answer to your question. As for me with my first daughter I had to go back to work after 3 months and I hated to go back to work and I hated it the whole time I was away from her, then when she was 9 months I decided to be a stay at home mom and I was and got pregnant again and had another daughter and two and half years later am still a stay at home mom. It sucked to be at work, all I thought about was my daughter, however, it also sucked being at home alone with her an not being able to talk to any adults and having to really be a mom and do everything (laundry, cook, change poopy diapers, read to her, help her grow into a person, teach her things and all the while be a wife to my husband who works 6 days a week 10 hours a day), so being at home sucked too but less than if I was away from her. On the bright side of staying at home came a growth of myself that would have never grown had I been at work with listless people who wasn’t my family and who I didn’t care about and a boss that didn’t really care about anything but looking good to his boss. Being at home is hard, really hard, but it offers more personal growth and in about 30 years from now a major reward you could never get from a paycheck………………..a daughter you helped to grow.

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S.W.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi CG,

I know ALL about this decision, I made it 8 years ago after my son was born. I struggled with it for what felt like forever. I was in a job I loved, that gave me great satisfaction and was contributing positive things to the world. But, I decided to stay home and have never regretted that decision. I thought a lot about the old adage that no on on their death bed says, I wish I had spent more time at the office. Also, the book 'Surrending to Motherhood' helped me put things in perspective. I still keep my toe in the water jobwise by doing some volunteer work and occasional lunches with former co-workers. The freedom that comes with being a full time mom is great! Now I have 2 children and am very content to be home with them, they are also happy to have me here and none of us could fathom putting them in daycare.

Good luck, I know its a tough decision.
S.

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G.S.

answers from Washington DC on

For me, it was a loss of a professional identity and intellectual adult stimulation. But then, I questioned myself everyday why I was getting paid to take care of other people's business and paying others to take care of my business and home and child?
We've had to use up our savings when my husband's partner stole money from their company and life has been rough for us. My husband had to work harder and it did put a strain on our marriage. For us, it meant no more vacations over $500, no new clothes unless absolutely necessary, less entertaining, old toys, library books, eating in and not going to movie theaters.
But we pay the bills on time and I get to see my daughter's smiling face every morning I wake up. Things might change if my husband loses his company and it is a possibility. But for now, we're struggling but happy. The most important person you have to make this decision with is your husband. If he is on board and supportive, I'm sure the decision will be easier. It was very hard in the beginning when my husband didn't understand what went on at home and took me for granted. Granted, his work situation was stressing him out too. We became bitter at each other for a while. But with better communication, we now have a stronger marriage and a happy child.
I probably have to go back to school to catch up with my career field or even switch careers if I have to go back to work. But I'll cross that bridge when I get there. Believe me, I'm a planner so that part is hard for me.

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J.H.

answers from Washington DC on

Wow CG...Sounds exactly like my story! I left a well paying federal job to be a SAHM. I enjoyed being at home w/my daughter, but a part of me didn't feel fulfilled. What I came to realize was that I had loss my sense of connection (to myself and w/the outside world). I became so focused on being "Mommy", that I forgot to nurture the woman inside. If you choose to stay at home, my advice is to stay connected to your womanhood...stay connected to friends who you can hang out and have girl time with, and do it w/o guilt. We make enough sacrifices as women/wives/mothers---but don't sacrifice yourSELF! Children appreciate a mommy who is connected and not frazzled or burdened w/unnecessary guilt.

I have re-entered the workforce after a 7yrs at home and I'm making 17k more than when I left. Some roads of decision are not easy, but whatever gives you peace is the direction you should go. Blessings! :)

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K.N.

answers from Norfolk on

I think it is fantastic that you considering this life changing decision. It is a major one, but one that could majorly benefit you and your family. I have many friends who are stay at home moms and I myself would love to be one as well, but my husband and I have not yet reached the point where either of us is ready for that change. I do feel the most important part to making that decision is for both you and your husband to make sure you are in it together. The last thing you want is for him to accuse you later on of quitting your job so you could take it easy at home and treating you with resentment because he feels unhappy in his situation. I am not saying that will happen for you, it is just something I have seen so make sure you are both on the same page. My mother was a stay at home Mom for a while when we were children and it was definitely much more comforting to come home to her there than the years following when we got older and came home to an empty house. It is a job to be home and responsible for the housework and cooking and at the same time available to the needs of your child, which are never ending. Not everyone realizes how much it is to handle but of course it is not all a hassle, there is an opportunity to bond with your child and it provides them an uncomparable foundation in yours and your child's relationship that carries on throughout the rest of their life. I hope you and your husband are able to figure this out, whatever you (both) decide I'm sure it will all work out well. Good luck and God bless!

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J.F.

answers from Washington DC on

Wow I feel you...I too worked very hard...got a good education, double bachelors and a Masters in Public Adminsitration. I became a Presidential Mgmt Intern and rose up the GS ladder. Was aiming to be an member of the Senior Executive Service but not anymore...some things are more important then status/income and that is my family and my health. I neglected my child and husband for the job...and my husband died and my child got in trouble. I wish that someone had introduced me to an internet based business opportunity that I could do from anywhere. There is hope and thank God for his Grace and Mercy. You have to do what makes you comfortable. To stay home and raise your child is PRICELESS. There are things you can do to keep up your skills, and fortuanately jobs are becoming more family friendly/flexible. Fortunatley you are not alone and you are not the first but to be there for all of your child's first is phenomenal and priceless...you can always work the rest of your life but you can't replace this time with your child. Sincerely and God Bless!!!

P.S. I just left an incredible convention at the Gaylord on the National Mall and it warmed my heart to hear people share their stories about how this buiness opportunity allowed them to stay home with their family, raise their kids and be FREE...it doesn't require you to push anything just tap into what you have to spend anyway. Check out my site: jfields14.qhealthbeauty.com and I will be happy to help you. Sincerely, J. ###-###-####

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D.K.

answers from Washington DC on

You stated that you want someone to tell you what the right thing to do is, but I think, judging by your question, that you already know. The right thing to do is what your heart is telling you to do. She's only going to be little for a very short period of time and it sounds like you know that you don't want to miss that. This is about your priorities. You made it clear that she's your first priority, so do what you feel is best for her first and anything that doesn't harmonize with that will have to fall by the wayside until you can take it up again at a later date. Even taking a pay cut by going back is a small price to pay for being there with and for your daughter in the years when she needs your love and guidance the most. When she is grown, she won't remember all of the money you made, she will remember all of the times you were there when she needed you. Those are the things that a quality life are built out of, not money.

Best of luck and God bless!

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V.M.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi CG. When I read your request today I just knew I had to respond. I am a SAHM, my family and I made the decision a little over a year ago for me to resign from my job and stay at home with my then 17 month old son - I was pregnant with my second child at the time. I resigned from a job that I had held for over 15 years, made very good money and felt I was good at what I did. I always enjoyed work so it was not a decision I came to lightly but I did not want to regret not having time with my children at this young age. I would leave early in the morning and return in the late afternoon and get to spend 3 - 4 hours daily with my child - for me that was not right. Now that I have approached the over one year mark of being a SAHM I can now tell you it is the hardest job I have ever had. I did not think it was going to be as hard. When I was working I got lunch, breaks during the day, could go to the bathroom without wondering what disaster would happen while away - you get the picture. What I have determined is there is no easy answer. I worry if I will be able to return back into the workforce when I am ready and make the same money but I truly feel I am where God wants me to be and try to focus on today and spend time with my two children. Yes there are times when I miss work and the kudos I received with doing a good job and the adult interaction but if I were at work I would wonder what I was missing at home. My plan is to be home until they go to school and then return to work, I think it is a small sacrifice to make to be able to bond so much with your child and have so much time with him or her. If you can swing it financially I say give it a try - work will always be there, the rat race will continue and still be there when you are ready to jump back in. I hope something I have said may have helped. Feel free to send me an email if you would like to talk more.
Take care
Victoria

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K.B.

answers from Roanoke on

Hi C - I know you'll get lots of replies similar to mine, but I just knew I had to respond to tell you about my job(s). I hope you'll read through, and compare all your replies thoughtfully. Don't dismiss any opportunity that knocks at your door!:)

I'm a stay at home wife and mom 1st and foremost - who also owns a business out of my home (and I work alot out of my free car!). I fit my work in all around my family life, and strive to keep the balance of my faith first, my family second, and my career third.

I've been building my business for almost 12 years, and have enjoyed it more than I ever thought I would. It's part of my lifestyle now! I started out to make and extra $50/wk (about what I'd bring home after childcare and all the extras), and now I average over $1500/month, with all the tax benefits of having a business from home.

The start up cost is relatively low, you can set your own hours and be your own boss (takes self-discipline to make money and do this!). The rewards of the business are endless! Girlfriends galore, diamonds, furniture, handbags, luggage, jewelry, did I mention handbags?? You can earn the use of a free car (Chevy Mailubu) , or take the cash option instead ($375/mo.)! I've won 3 cars so far. That new car smell is SO fun, especially when it's free!

I spend LOADS of time with my daughter, we have a blast together, and she can't wait to join my team when she turns 18!! She's already doing some small jobs for me in my office (labelling products and stamping catalogs).

I LOVE my customers and have them for LIFE (if I'm good to them and have great follow-up skills). I've met the most amazing women through Mary Kay, and was able to transfer my business from GA to VA when we moved 4 years ago. There are no territories, so I have customers all over the US.

The market for our products are universal to all women - from all cultures and ethnic backgrounds - everyone has skin! What woman doesn't really want to look her best??
And it's a necessity, not a luxury!

Our company has grown for 45 years and is the #1 selling brand of skin care and color cosmetics...yes! It's Mary Kay!

You're already in sales, and you get LOADS of training in MK to be great at the business. The professional sales force in MK has been rated the #1 Sales force in the US, with more women making more $$ than in ANY OTHER company in the USA!!

If you already have a MK consultant who takes care of you, I hope you'll call her right away and just listen to the facts about the business. What have you got to loose?? If you do not already have a consultant (we honor the Golden Rule and respect eachother's customers) please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]____.com or visit my website www.marykay.com/kbixby and click on the Sell Mary Kay link. It's truly an amazing opportunity.

Best wishes to you, and you'll never regret the time you spend with your daughter, but you WILL regret the time you DIDN'T spend with her.

Blessings Galore follow me everywhere I go (and for you too)!
K.

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M.M.

answers from Washington DC on

I am a SAHM, and have no regrets about my decision. Please understand that it really is a sacrifice on your part, though. I do feel priviledged to have the opportunity to stay at home with my two sons, but I dearly miss the adult interaction and respect that I got in the working world. I feel like most people hear that you stay at home and assume that you sit on your butt and watch tv. While most days are wonderful, there are those few days where I wish I could work part-time (I was a teacher, so pt is not an option for me either). In the long run, I know that this is the best for my boys. If you are worried about money, there are always ways to cut back. I only buy used (but nice) toys at a fraction of the cost at yard sales or consignment stores and I buy all of their clothes on clearance. They are both dressed very nicely and have many toys, but I paid next to nothing for it all. I clip coupons when I can and pay attention to the grocery store ads to see what is on sale. We don't need to live this way, but I just can't justify paying full-price for anything when it really isn't that hard to find great deals. The boys could care less that their toys have been loved before. Good luck with this incredibly difficult decision. I really think that while it may be difficult, you won't ever regret making the sacrifice to stay at home with your baby.

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A.L.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi CG,
I had to make the same difficult choice when my daughter was born almost 2.5 years ago. It took me a long time to make the decision and it was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. I was making more $ than my husband, but after weighing our options and checking our finances, we decided that I should quit my job and stay home with my daughter. I have never regretted that decision.

It took a while to adjust financially to only having one income (we cut back on groceries, clothing and other stuff for ourselves, gifts, etc) but the adjustment was more than worth it for us.

I feel very fortunate to be able to be with my daughter and not miss any of these first years with her. I do plan on going back to work part-time when she enters school. I was also fortunate to get offered some consulting work about 6 months after I quit my job, and that was very helpful in giving me something to do other than baby stuff and gave us a little extra $. However, I didn't know that was coming when I quit my job, and I still made the decision that was right for us.

I think you have to weigh your options and make whatever decision is right for all of you. Consider your finances, the stability of your husbands job, what you really want to do, and if your husband is ok with you staying home.

I truly never regretted quitting my job, but I do sometimes miss the social aspects of working. I miss having coworkers to chat with and projects to work on, but when I get those feelings I always say to myself that these are years with my daughter that I don't want to miss and it is worth the tradeoffs. So, no choice is 100% perfect, you just have to listen to your gut instincts and do what is right for you.

Maybe take a year off and see how it goes? If you really don't like being home, you can always go back to work.

Best of luck with your decision and make the decision that you won't regret the most, whatever that decision is.

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A.L.

answers from Washington DC on

Oooooh. Is it horrible of me to admit that I knew Kate B. was referring to Mary Kay (before she mentioned it) simply by the number of exclamation points she used in her response? Very enthusiastic company, that. I know because I sell it , too :) Despite my cynicism, it isn't a bad way to go.
In response to your question, without having read the others, you need to understand that these are very formative years for your daughter. What she learns and experiences now will follow her down the road. I had a wonderful job teaching middle school before I became a mother. I loved it, and I loved my kids. When I was at the end of my last year and having a rough time letting it go, one of the older (wiser) teachers gave me a bit of perspective. She had once stayed home to be with her children and felt the same way. She said that it was not until her daughter was heading of to middle school that she realized that all she had taught and instilled in her when she was really little was finally coming into play. She saw where it had been important to be there for her children through every step of the way.
On a different note, if you're regretting not being with her NOW, think of how you will feel years from now when she's no longer a 'baby girl,' and you're feeling like you missed it all. Nothing, least of all money, can replace that. It's not all fun, I'll admit, but I'll take the aggravation any day for knowing that no one else gets to see my children grow up like I do.
You will learn how to live on less. I do now, and honestly, I barely notice.

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Y.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Wow, I completely understand the position you are in. I had a career with the federal government and had been there for over 13 years. I had climbed the corporate ladder and was at the top of my profession as a systems programmer.

When my daughter was born, I was fortunate to have my mom watching her...it was tough leaving her to go to work, but I knew she was with someone who would give her the same love and attention that I would. When our son was born, my mom was unable to watch him....because my mom was diagnosed w/ breast cancer. I tried leaving him at the daycare center where I worked but I felt so guilty and missed him so much. My daughter had started school and I just felt like I wasn't giving my children 100% of my time and I wasn't able to do either of my "jobs" well. When I was at work, all I could do was think about my children. I always felt guilty when I had to take off of work w/ my children....because I felt like I was letting coworkers, bosses, etc. down. I tried going part-time, but it didn't make a difference. Finally I just took the plunge and resigned. I am so happy that I did! I haven't looked back since and wish I would have done it sooo much sooner. My children are both in school now and I still will not return to the traditional workplace. I love being there for them, helping at school & other activities, and spending the summer with my kids. I do have a home business now...just to give me something to fill my extra hours and to give myself something of my own.

I think you know where your heart is.....you really have to do what is best for you and your family. You will never get those moments back! ; )

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S.A.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi! You didn't say what your husband does? Here's the thing-if you're going to work "full-time" & still have time to spend w/your kids, you need to have a helpful husband. SAHM-toughest job in the world! But, the stone-ages are over! Dads need to step up, just as much as the Moms do. If you love your career & have worked really hard & are great at your job, then quitting may make you feel resentful later.
I feel it's good for your children to see their parents work hard. It teaches them to have good values & prepares them for the world we live in today-which is expensive & highly competitive.
My husband & I tag in & out all day w/our kids. We split household duties & share all of the burdens. Lots of our work can be done from home (we're in the wedding business), but when we're "on the job", usually, we're together, or one or the other is there for the kids. If we use a sitter, it's like Date Night for us! The time I do spend w/my kids is so much more special after being apart for a little bit. I feel more like playing & reading to them after a break than being w/them non-stop.
My 1st son' dad was NO help. I did everything myself. Paid all of the bills, did all of the housework, AND worked (which was the only break I ever got). I was SO exhausted & eventhough I was around my son constantly (like a SAHM), I didn't spend quality time w/him. I was too tired to play games or read.....it was awful. I was there, but not the way I should have been.
After being w/my new husband for the past 3 years (our son is 2 now), I can see an AMAZing difference! Our happy home is due not only to love, but teamwork. There's no more "woman" or "man's" jobs. We both work & we both parent full-time. The 2 yr old is happy & he's been much easier to deal w/than my 8 yr old. My patience level is much higher since I have help now from my great husband.
I'd make sure your husband is on the same page & then I'd not let others make you feel guilty for working.
You need to work hard to play hard (def. make sure you have fun time scheduled in!). Pride yourself on having some drive-that is a good thing for your kids to witness. Of course no career is more important than your family, but part of your job as a parent is to be a good role model. Kids today are spoiled rotten & the parents are to blame. They stay at home & do every little thing for their kids, teaching them to be lazy & that allows them to expect the world to revolve around them.
Maybe one of those internet sales jobs from home would be good? It is very important to keep a close eye on your kids these days.
Hope this helps-it's not fair for people to make you feel guilty about wanting to have a career. As long as your whole family works together as a team, you can do both:)

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

hi CG, this is such a huge decision, and so very personal to your situation that no one else's experience will really mirror yours. if you like what you do and you're good at it, that makes it a lot harder than for the majority of working moms who are doing it from sheer necessity. now, 'next to impossible' still leaves you some wiggle room, and one of the advantages of being great at sales is its portability and flexibility. for me, part-time was the perfect answer. i worked WAY more than i wanted (3 jobs simultaneously) when my boys were small, and it's one of the few regrets that i have in my life. but when the pressure eased and i could cut back, looking hard to find the right p/t situation was well worth it. could you take your talents to a different venue? selling something other than your current lucrative position might mean a big pay cut, but i'm betting you can find something that will allow you to bring in some $$ and have the satisfaction of keeping your talents sharp while allowing you more precious, irreplaceable time with your baby. remember that whichever way you go will have some degree of regrets, so pick what makes your heart the most happy and go with it!
good luck.
:) khairete
S.

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M.B.

answers from Washington DC on

I'm a SAHM. I'm also a chiropractor who stopped working to be with my little girl. She was a surprise (which I'm so grateful for!!!). I had planned on working and paying off some of our debt. My husband is in his residency so he is recently out of med school. So we have a lot of debt and do sometimes wonder how we are going to pay our bills. But she is our first priority. I don't regret staying home with her. Sometimes I get bored or overwhelmed or tired of doing the household stuff all day. But she is growing so fast, I don't want to miss it. Once each day is gone I never get it back. Do what your heart tells you and I truly feel the rest will work out, even if you are not sure how right now.

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