We made the decision for me to be a (mainly) stay at home mom pretty easily. Both of our mothers stayed home with us when we were younger and we really felt like we benefited from that. We were aware it would require some sacrifice, but the sacrifices were worth it to us. Plus daycare is SO expensive.
Staying at home full time is not for everyone. Some people simply can’t afford it and others simply don’t want to. That’s fine. But if you feel in your heart that you would like to stay home and just aren’t sure if you can swing it, here are some points to ponder:
- Like I said, daycare is expensive. How much are you really taking home after you factor in daycare, gas to and from work, clothing for work, work lunches, etc? I had a friend one time sit down and calculate all of that and realized her take home pay PER MONTH was only $150. They made the decision to cut out cable and just like that she was able to stay home with pretty much no impact on their income. The kicker is, that about 2 months in, they realized that there were so many more work related expenses they hadn’t factored in and they actually had more of an income with her staying home. They didn’t even need to turn off their cable or sacrifice anything. When you sit down and write down ALL of the costs related to working and having your children in childcare (include those $5 pitched in for birthday parties, baby showers, coworkers getting married etc), you might find that you really aren’t coming out that far ahead.
- Maybe you calculate all of that and you realize that your income…no matter how much it is, is absolutely necessary with the way your current expenses stand. Get creative. Do you need two cars? Trust me, we prefer having 2 cars. We went several months last year as a one car family and there were times (specifically when I was needing to make dr appointments for the kids) that I thought I’d go crazy. But maybe you live in a more walking friendly area than we do. Everyone has some fat in their budget. Maybe your food and household budget is what is eating at your income. If so I encourage you to read my posting on how to shop smarter. I’ve cut our grocery and household bill in half and it’s still going down currently. With some strategic shopping, you might just negate the use for your income in that area alone!
- It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I work a part time job during the school year. To be quite honest, it doesn’t bring in much income, but I get to take the kids with me. I work at a local church Mother’s Day Out. It’s two days a week, my kids get to go for half price and we all get out of the house for some socialization. Maybe you can work part time for your current employer, or freelance in your field. Everyone has a marketable talent, even if you think you don’t. If you sew or craft, set up an Etsy shop or an Ebay store. Maybe you are really computer savvy, make up some business cards and hand them out to friends and family so if they know someone having computer problems, you can help them out.
- Start up some childcare in your home. You get to stay home and make an income from the comfort of your own home. (be sure to check the laws for your state on how to set up an at home daycare)
Think long and hard before you quit your job to stay home though. Depending on your field, you might set yourself back in your career a number of years if you leave. Also, staying home is not for everyone. In fact, it’s not even for me! The Mother’s Day Out program I work at is a MUCH needed break for me. During the summer, I go a bit stir crazy! I truly admire stay at home mom’s that do not have an outside job or who never get a break. I personally could not do that.
If you truly have the desire to stay home with your children, really sit down and evaluate these things. You don’t want to look back and realize you could have done it and you didn’t. You don’t get those early years with your kids back. And remember, it’s all temporary. In the grand scheme of life, how long are our kids young? You might have to give up something now, but it’s not forever.