Decisions: Stay at Home or Work?

17 Feb
I always knew: my mom stayed home with us, her mom stayed home with them – it’s just what was best. Or was it??? After all, my husband’s mom worked AND was a great mom. It seemed we had a decision to make that neither of us saw coming!

We immediately started the decision making process of what was best for our new baby and our family. To my husband, it was pretty cut and dry: more money = better life for baby and family. But once I explained to him my reasoning, we were back, to square one. It was our job as parents to keep him safe and childcare providers endangering the lives of babies and children had been all over the news! Living in a big city, how could we be sure he was safe when he couldn’t tell us? Plus, we only have a short time with our children to instill morals and values before the world takes hold. Why would we want to give that responsibility to someone else, even part time? FINALLY, I just didn’t want to leave my baby!!!

Our decision was somewhat made for us, however. My husband’s job was being transferred out of state. If we wanted our family to live in the same state, I was going to have to ask to be let out of my contract and give up a job I loved. We couldn’t afford to live on my salary alone, but would we be able to live on only his salary? I assured him that I would do everything I could to help make ends meet. I would cut spending, learn to live without, and find ways of making money from home.

After my first full year as a stay at home mom, I am convinced we made the right decision. Don’t’ get me wrong, it was unexpectedly hard!!! Who knew that spending an entire day with a sweet baby that couldn’t communicate in any way but screaming and crying would be difficult! Who knew not having the money to go shopping or out to eat or basically anything fun would be hard! Plus, I really missed my job!!! There were many days when I literally thought I was losing my mind! But we made it work! We are actually better off now financially than we were before! We are making less and saving more! (and I just LOVE saying that!)

Of course, each family will have to make your own decision, but here are some of the ways we were able to compensate for the dramatic loss of income. These are only the EFFECTIVE ways. (Using trial and error, I had a very long list of unsuccessful ways of making ends meet as well.)

***Based on our tax forms, our income decreased by 33.69% our first FULL year of living on a single income. ***

1. Taxes: Our tax return increased by 200%! That accounts for 23% of our lost income.

2. Childcare: Not having to pay for childcare accounts for approximately 15% of our lost income.

3. Spending/couponing: I wish I had learned about the skill of couponing a long, long time ago! We cut spending by approximately $600/month. This accounts for 20% of our lost income. (I fully intend this to double for next year now that I know how to do it.)

4. Additional Income: My additional income primarily came from tutoring, accounting for approximately 5% of our lost income.

Wow! That accounts for 63% of our loss! Meaning that we are ACTUALLY only taking a total 12% loss! IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN BEFORE! The decision would have been simple if we only had known that we would only have to live on 88% of our income! A very small price to pay for the time I have spent with my son, and for knowing he is safe and taken care of the best he can possibly be!

Don’t get me wrong! I still believe you can be just as good of a mother working as you can be by staying home, but if any part of you longs to stay home, maybe after crunching numbers, it won’t be so much of a financial burden.

And don’t worry! I still have my career goals! And I fully intend to fulfill each and every one of them. I am simply just postponing them until my family is in a better position to benefit from them.


One Response to “Decisions: Stay at Home or Work?”

  1. mrmcgoo February 18, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    You made the right decision
    Many times less is more in this Life
    Good Luck and God bless

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