Go back to work full time
Go back to work part time - about 10 hours a week
Go part time for 20ish hours a week
Stay home untill the kids go to college or forever
Stay home for a limited amount of time (several years)
Our circumstances are nowhere near the op and really we would be far better off if I could work. We have zero expendable income. However, since I live overseas in a very rural area there are no jobs for starters, at least none above minimum wage. It would not be financially smart for me to work to pay for daycare for soon to be 3 kids. I do hope once the youngest is in at least preschool I can find some part time work, for my mental sanity if nothing else. Where we live probably makes it harder to be a sahm b/c there is really no place to go all day, every day and it drives me insane, not so much the kids. I never imagined myself a sahm and I have a BA that I'm not using which makes me feel like I'm losing my identity a lot of times. So, to answer the op question, if I were in the ideal situtation you described I would choose to work part time and be a sahm the rest of the time.
I stay home now and I plan to for several years. Once the boys are in school, we'll see. I'm not sure how many really interesting, fulfilling part time jobs there are out there- I don't see my self going back to work just for the sake of going back to work.
I also can't imaging getting in an heated debate over someone's choice on this topic!
My chalk loving 2 1/2 y.o. boys!
The ideal for me is to be a SAHM until my kid/s are in school and then work part time. I don't want to be a SAHM forever though. I will definitely want to work again. I spent a lot of time in day care as a child and hated it. It has always been very important to me to make sure that I will be able to be home when my children are. I am only a couple months away from being a SAHM!
I chose to stay home and take care of DD but meanwhile I am learning new things and trying to establish something of my own that I like. I earn some extra money by giving private classes but it was never a condition for me staying home. I can go back to full time if I want but I prefer the way things are.
I would choose to stay home for the first several years....or maybe forever. I had to go back to work full time after I had dd and now that I've been laid off for 2 weeks I see how much time is missed when I was working. I feel like I never see my dh and that is how much I saw dd...3-4 hours a day!! Now that iven been home, I love seeing dd learn new things, I love bonding with her, I love teaching her things, I love that I see all of her poopy diapers so I know if she needs for fiber/fruit/veggies/etc in her diet, I love holding her I'm my arms for her 2 hour nap most days. I don't miss work at all!
I think I would get bored with the kids not here during the day. If they aren't here during the day, the house doesn't get messed up so it is already less cleaning needing to be done on my part. I could get each room deep cleaned in one day while they were gone and maintain for the rest of the week or do a medium cleaning as needed which requires not much time at all. 75% of the time we have home cooked meals now and I don't start until 4:30 when DH gets off work which I could still do it if I worked similar hours. Kids will be gone at school for about 7 hours a day. I know I'd have to at least work part-time for the mental stimulation. There are already days when I have my chores done and the kids are content during their own thing and I feel "bored". I usually fill that time with the internet or reading, but even at night after they go to bed I get bored of that. I don't think I knew any full time stay at home moms growing up. Or at least remember. My mom was probably a SAHM for bits at a time, but worked at least part-time to full time a lot of my childhood. Now this is also based on how our life is now-- just imagining the only difference being them being at school. I do have mom friends that are SAHM right now, but most of them plan to go back to work once their kids are in school.
I would love to work part of the day a couple of days a week, I voted for p/t 10 hours a week (or so). I would even do it for little to no money if I could get a babysitter or nanny to watch DD (and the sibling on the way). It would get even better when both are in school. Then it would be all profit and I'd still be super available for them and able to easily keep up with housework, cooking, etc.
When DD was 5 months old I went back to work (for 3 months only) 2 days a week and had a babysitter. I didn't have a high paying job and my wages went to the sitter, but I was so happy to be out of the house and interacting with adults. It was like an awesome volunteer position. I worked in a photography library and loved it so much I was willing to make no money. But then we moved and I can't find an equivalent situation.
Lol. I don't think giving birth relieves someone of the responsibility of earning a living. It's just a choice that some familes make (together, I assume. I now have pictured in my head the husband laying a sword across the mamas shoulder and relieving her of her obligation to earn a living). We can't do that and I'm sure I'll always have to work which is fine since I figured out a way to work and stay home at the same time but you bet I'd love to able to fouc 100% on my kids. I think that would be such a gift.
Although I'd likely work outside the home if all my kids were in school full time.
The OP is our situation too, and at this point we have decided for me to stay home basically forever. I do have my bachelors and could have an awesome job but really its not important to me (us). We also plan to homeschool, so the 'after the kids are in school' doesn't apply either.
even if it did though there is plenty I could do during the day without them or when they are gown... Just a choice I can see where its not for everyone... I feel blessed I was able to make the choice and that my hubby fully supports it.
For us it's not about who's role is supposed to be about making the money-in other words we don't view it as HIS role. It's about the fact that at the time we had our first child we were making the same salary but his was the one with the potential for growth. He hasn't even come close to maxing out that potential within his current company let alone his field in general. It wouldn't make financial sense for him to stay home. And at this point it wouldn't make sense to put us into the large amount of debt it would require for me to go to school nor would I be likely to work my way into a career with the potential his has. If this were different-if I had finished school or was entrenched in a career-when we got married and started our family we very likely would be playing opposite roles-and happily so.
We have done what we can to ensure my financial security should something happen to him and leave him unable to work by disability or should he die. I wouldn't have to work for a very very long time just based on the insurance policies we maintain. And we don't plan for things like divorce in our marriage. Naive as that may seem to people, I am not one to live my life hanging on to the what-ifs of something of that nature.
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I think it is dependent on so many factors beyond money. I'm pg with #4 and now a SAHM. I wouldn't have it any other way now. I went back to work after the other 3, but a few weeks after going back the last time, I realized it was time to stay home and began the process and became a SAHM and did about a year later. I had a very successful, well paying job, but it was time to change things. It was really our oldest starting kindergarten that really pushed it more than the younger ones. The days were just too long for her and she needed that extra home time. Prior to that, I liked our daycare, I made significantly more money than daycare cost, was doing great career wise, was able to pump at work without issues, and had enough flexibility to do things with the kids when I wanted.
Michael, Married October, 2003
Jessica, June 2005 ~ Kyle, September 2007 ~ Michaela, March 2010 ~ Abigail, June 2012
I chose go to work full time and still feel like I can do all of the above. I have an awesome M-F job with very flexible hours. My sons both played 3 sports in junior high and high school. They then went on to play college basketball and I never missed a game! I am a cheapo so I make all my meals at home and am a little OCD so I always have a clean house. I am a bit of an introvert so I don't volunteer at the church or elsewhere but I did ALOT for their teams as far as volunteer work goes. I love my career and am thankful I am able to work along with being at home with my family when they are at home. I just don't know what I would do at home all day while the kids were in school. It would drive me .
Dee Dee, Mom to 2 handsome young men & 2 beautiful girls!
I have my days that I miss getting the *type* of intellectual stimulation that I loved in college (motherhood is intellectually stimulating, but in other ways than memorizing things and writing papers), but I find other things to research and learn about on my own, or re-read old textbooks. I have used a lot of skills and knowledge from my former life as a pre-med student in my homemaking and mothering techniques, which makes me feel like my degree is still useful and worthwhile even though I'm not using it to further my eventual career right now. (The fact that I am not in tremendous debt for that degree makes it a little easier also.) I keep socially active with friends, church, playgroups. And I do a lot of online socializing-sometimes I fear I go overboard with long responses partly because I haven't conversed with an adult all day and crave being able to speak to someone without being interrupted by an insistent little person. It's definitely not perfect at all-I have "the grass is greener on the other side" moments like everyone else, but overall I feel happy with our choice. It just feels right for us right now.
I should say we also don't have every single item on your checklist for financial fitness checked off, so I'm making this decision despite not having a "comfortable" income, which I feel is sometimes almost offensive to some people. It's hard to constantly get this message that you should have everything be 100% perfect financially before you would dare to stay at home, or else you are taking advantage of someone or failing your kids. I know you weren't saying that with your question but I encounter it a lot. "Must be nice to be rich enough to stay home" etc. My hubby doesn't make a ton of money, but we have opened up retirement accounts and contribute to them what we can monthly, which is less than others who are making more and have two incomes, but if we get a windfall, we contribute more. When I go back to work, I hope to make up for lost time in that regard. We have life insurance to cover both of us, health insurance, food, and our utilities are paid, even if they might be a few days late once in awhile, and we do have savings, although we may have to borrow from it from time to time for emergencies and struggle more than some to pay it back. Most importantly I don't feel guilty about choosing to stay home yet live on one modest income with 4 kids because we have very little debt and minimal monthly expenses. My Bachelor's degree cost me 12k in total because I turned down some more expensive schools, commuted, got scholarships and worked every summer and break to pay off as much as I could. Our mortgage for our 2200 square foot house with a yard in a nice neighborhood is 93K and has 60+K in equity because we bought a fixer-upper and my dh fixed it himself, which was hard work. Our rental property's mortgage is 45K wth 20+K in equity. Another fixer-upper that we used to live in despite it being too small for our 3 kids. We don't have loans on our vehicles. We have one small balance credit card with a couple hundred bucks on it that we are about to pay off. Compared to people who make more but also spend more, we probably live with just about the same amount of discretionary spending after the big expenses in life are factored in, and then we save more money by being uber frugal. We live with cruddy no contract cell phones for months longer than anyone else would, we don't go out to dinner which is fine with me since my taste for prepared foods has changed anyway and my hubby has to watch his sodium and fat intake for his health. I wheel and deal to get us the cheapest price for every utility/luxury item, like phone, Internet, TV, etc. I am always looking for ways to cut costs...it is like a full-time job to me, but I like it. It satisfies the need for that intellectual challenge and I feel like I am "beating the system" which appeals to my personality. Like Bridget said, it is a way that I am "providing" for my family, and I'm proud of that. Sorry to go off on a tangent but since I am answering this question yet don't have what others would consider a comfortable income, I had to say why I am comfortable anyway.
Last edited by CoffeeCat; 04-23-2012 at 05:28 AM.
Since I want to homeschool, I'd likely want to stay home until the kids went to college then work either part time or possibly full time. Depends on how I felt at the time. Possibly go to work part time when they got highschool age and could stay home for a few hours here and there.
I don't mean to sound disagreeable I am just having a hard time wrapping my head around the thought. It is not imaginable to me that cooking a home cooked meal and cleaning would take up so much time that working wasn't possible. To me this is a matter of "choice" and like Lisa said possiby "upbringing" as well. My mom always worked and worked hard. She kept a clean house, cooked meals for us, and worked a FT job (sometimes two). All without breaking a sweat.
I guess it honestly never occurred to me that there are woman who would actually like to spend the rest of their lives staying home. I am a big "what if" person. I can not and would never be able to allow myself to completely depend on my husband to support us (not to mention saving for retirement for two, etc) even if money were absolutely no factor. I mean seriously, staying home..... forever?? The thought never crossed my mind....
I actually used to earn twice more than DH when we got married. We never looked at it as "your money-my money". We have our own bank cards but we know passwords to each other's cards and use them at our convenience when needed. Once I chose to stay home, breastfeed, cook etc it saved us actually A LOT of money on daycare/having to hire someone and even medical bills. When i went back to working part-time, soon my hourly rate was higher than DH's (though we did pretty much the same till last Fall - teaching ESL). It has never been an issue. He works most of the hours and I keep mind flexible. At some point we were going to switch and I'd be the one working full time and he'd be a fully SAHD or working just part-time (it had to do with some visa issues and possible move where the center wanted me as a main teacher due to my other experiences).
Whenever DH is home, he takes care of me and DD, he does some things around the house without being asked, he goes grocery shopping on the way from work and he takes DD out to play and entertains her whenever he can. So in our household we do have equality and I know if anything he'd be doing not lesser job as a main parent figure than I do.
Bridget is right - providing for the family is much more than bringing in the money. However I know in many Western families the income is something each member of the family "owns" and that's why there is sometimes a competition between a husband and a wife on who earns more or sometimes either of them doesn't forget to remind the other that he/she brings in more money, completely forgetting that family is not only about finances but the quality time spent together and on children.
I couldn't see myself as a SAHM for more than 1 year before I had DD. Now I don't see myself working full time until my babies are big enough to be more independent and in school (which is 4-5 years old and that is IF I want to go back to working full time at all).
This all coming from the perspective that I loved staying home with Nolan and plan on staying home with the next baby. Being a SAHM made me happy and fulfilled me in a way I never thought it could
A few random questions/thoughts:
1. The discussion here seems to be mostly about the one category that has a number of posters saying that they'd never go back to traditional, paid employment. I wonder how much the choice to never go back (or to leave 100%) has to do with having a career versus a job. I'm thinking that it's alot easier to give up a job and less interesting to go back to one - although, no doubt, there are career women who make the same sahm choices, as well.
2. Would you be adverse to your husband staying home and having the flexibility to set his own schedule (e.g., "do things I didn't have time for before while working full-time"), work paid jobs on occasion, and have no plans to get back into the job market? I know that we have a few women here who are the sole financial providers for their families, but not many. Assuming that you could earn as much as your husband (glass ceilings aside), couldn't your husband be the one to stay home while you go back to the full-time paid position?
3. On the "earning your own money" concept, I won't speak for the other posters who've said that, but for me, the idea is not having my "own money." It's a work-ethic thing, as well as an issue of responsibility. (Which, again, is not said in any way to diminish the contributions of the sahm choice. Just how i see it for myself.) I bring in what i can to the family while still doing most of what is described by many of the sahms in this thread. I'm not there every day and alot of the week is punctuated by work so I do miss out on that time with my son (as does my husband), but I feel that I bring home much more than a paycheck, too.
No question, though, that there is a reality that says that women are significantly more likely to be improverished and even old and poor due to reliance on their spouse's finances. (meaning that divorce or death comes and the woman, who's been out of the workplace, losing all of those years of earning, earning potential, retirement, savings, and job experience, can never regain the footing that she's lost. It shows in the dismal statistics and most of those women didn't intend to end up in that spot, I'd guess.) I don't work to be defensive and my income is family income (not his or mine)... but I'm mindful of the fact that if something unexpected happens, I have a sustainable path to provide for myself and my son.
Last edited by ibisgirldc; 04-23-2012 at 08:09 AM.
I stay at home. If I would work my whole pay would go to childcare. Its not not worth it. We just have to be on a strict budget to make it work.
As I stay at home I plan to finish my bachelors and begin working on (and possibly finishing) my Masters degree. When I return to the workforce I will, easily, make more money than my husband. Would I be ok with him quitting work so that he can have a leisurely life? Absolutely not. If he is able, he needs to work. The same goes for me. What's fair for one, should be fair for all. At my current wage, paying for two in daycare is not realistic which is why I'll stay home until they are in school.
I especially worry about if something were to happen to DH. Even jsut staying home for a few years causes me some anxiety if something were to happen to him. At least I'll have my education though and be more likely to be abe to find a suitable job to support the kids and myself.
I choose to work 3 days a week, which is about 21-30 hours, on average. IMHO, I have the best of both worlds and as close to an ideal situation as possible. My time working makes me appreciate my kids so much, and my time at home makes me appreciate my career. And I work from home 1-2 days a week, so I get to see my kids throughout the day even when I am working. I worked very hard for my degrees (and worked very hard paying them off), so I want to use them. I am a better mom when I get a little time away. I hope to be able to continue this schedule as long as possible.