April 2012 Moms

To be a SAHM or not...what are you doing?

Last night DH and I started talking about me staying home.  Right now he makes double what I make...so we live off of his income and use mine to invest.  We currently only owe my parents some money for the down payment on our house and the mortgage...no other debt whatsoever.  There is no 401K contribution at my job (I work for a non-profit).  I don't LOVE my job...it's okay...very flexible but its not my "passion".  We live well within our means...if I stay home we will have to cut back and watch more (such as groceries because I am careful, but buy whatever we feel like eating rather than REALLY budget, be more careful about a few other things too...but we only spend about $100 or less a month on food out, etc).  I have decided that I am not going to come back full time...so at the very most I would work 20-24 hours a week if my boss will allow it (which I think he will).  This means I would be spending $100 a week on day care, and bringing home about $300 a week...is that worth it???  I am stressing out about what to do because I want to have a better idea before people start asking me once we announce we are pregnant.  All my friends/family who know we are pregnant seem to think I won't want to go back.  I would love to stay home...but want to make sure we are ready for it.

Are you a SAHM?  How does it work for you?  Do you plan to be a SAHM?  How did you make your decision?

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Re: To be a SAHM or not...what are you doing?

  • I am a SAHM and have been ever since I got PG with my twins about 3 yrs ago :) It just was'nt in our cards to pay that much money in daycare (x's 2 in our case ) because I would'nt be bringing in that much $ :) I have loved being able to watch my kids grow up it is an amazing feeling. It does take a lot of  patience but I love it :) It is not for everyone though, some people can't stand staying home all day with no adult interaction, I go to playdates with the kids and everything to keep us all busy :) GL with whatever your descion is!!!
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  • I would give just about anything to be a SAHM but it just isn't an option for us. With 2 kids in daycare we'll be spending about $2,000 a month in childcare and I still have to work. I hate it and it's been a major stress in my life for the last 3 years, but I don't have a choice.
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  • My decision is kind of made for me.  MH is a self employed attorney, and although he makes five times what I make, he does not have health benefits or a 403B match like I do.  I'm basically going to continue to work for these reasons.  Also, I'm finishing up my doctorate and I'm hoping to get a full time faculty position someday in the future.  This will allow me to have a bit more flexibility and still have a home/career balance, which is important to me.

    Personally, I think I will be a better mom if I continue to work.  Some people are meant to be a SAHM, but I am not sure I'm one of them.  

     

     

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  • I you have the means than no doubt be a SAHM.  Why would you want a daycare or relative to raise your baby(ies) and miss on any milestones, special moments or simply the day to day things.  I am a SAHM and would not trade it for anything else in the world.
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  • I've been a SAHM since the school year ended in June.  DS was born in December, I was on maternity leave until March and then I went back to finish out the school year.  Its really up to you to decide if those $300 are worth it.  How easily can you trim your income+$400 out of what you spend?

     I recommend using an online budgeting tool if you don't already and take a few months to track your spending.  We use mint.com because you can link all your credit cards and bank accounts to it.  All your transactions show up automatically and they even do a pretty good job of guessing which budget category the transaction should come out of.

    In order for me to stay home, we had to trim our personal and date budgets, as well as do things like canceling cable and getting rid of DH's smart phone.

    I was on the fence about it because I really liked teaching and wasn't sure that I would be very good at being a homemaker.  But it was ultimately very important for DH that I SAH.  He even went so far as to say that if I wasn't going to, then he was going to quit his job and be a SAHD.   He makes more than I did and has the potential to make more than I ever would, so we made the decision for me to stay home.  MIL was always a SAHM and I think that played into DH's thoughts a lot.  He said he always loved having his mom home and that she was able to help at his school, activities, etc.  Good luck with your decision! 

    ETA:  If you do decide to be a working mom, don't believe that someone else is "raising your babies."  My parents both worked and while I loved the baby-sitters I had, I have never had any feelings that I wasn't raised by my parents.  The values I have are from them, not from baby-sitters. 

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  • We live overseas and spend a large portion of our income on travelling as well as coming back to the states to see family. If I quit my job, we could afford to live our day to day life on DH's salary, but everything else would have to go. I get a full year off maternity leave since we live in the UK, so I'll take that and then go back to work. We're hoping either or both of us could negotiate working 4 10 hour days instead of 5 8 hour days so we can just pay 3-4 days of daycare because the costs are really overwhelming for full time.
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  • I've considered being a SAHM, but we'd really have to cut back out lifestyle to make it on DH's salary alone. We'd have money for the basics, but there would be absolutely no extras, thank you cost of living in Los Angeles.

    That said, DH is not at all in favor of the idea. I think it's because he wants to quit his job, but he makes more than me and has more earning potential, so it just doesn't make sense. He said I'd get bored and he's probably right, plus I'd be wasting 11 years of education and it would be hard for me to get back into my field if I took years off. It's still tempting, though. 

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  • If I was given the option of being a SAHM I would take it in a heartbeat!!  I would love to stay home and raise my children myslef instead of using daycare
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  • image Keeks14:

    Personally, I think I will be a better mom if I continue to work.  Some people are meant to be a SAHM, but I am not sure I'm one of them.  

     

     

    This. I am definitely going to try to work as long as I can, even if it's just part time for a while.

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  • I work full time and have no desire to be a SAHM. In the ideal world I'd love to work part time or even just 4 days a week, but I can not picture myself being home all that time.  I know some people may think that makes me sound like a terrible mother but for me I need time away to be a better mother.Now some people love staying home and that is cool, jut not for me.

     I don't see sending my child to daycare as lettings some else raise my kid and find the poster who said that to be totalyl offensive. Do you plan on homeschooling to? Because honestly that means that sending your child to school is also letting someone else raise your kid. 

    I think it is also important to look at things like saving and 401K contributions when determining if staying home is financially feasible. Will your staying home have an impact on that? Saving for the future is very important to us and living off one salary would mean cutting back on retirement savings which is something we are not willing to risk. The last thing I want is to burden my children when it come time for retirement just because i wanted to stay home.

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  • When my son was born I was going to college full time.  I cut back to part time and went at night when my husband was home.  Because of this, I was basically a stay at home mom for a full year.  I WISH I could do this again and knowing I wont be able to now that I am working just makes my insides hurt.
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  • Nope! Working Mama all the way here! I see nothing wrong with being a SAHM and I have a lot of respect for those who do. But.  I've worked haaarrdd for my career, I love it, and I want more than anything to be a role model for my children.  My parents both worked and shared a wonderful, crazy, busy life with we children.  I can't imagine living any other kind of life. 
  • image tarat3232:
    Nope! Working Mama all the way here! I see nothing wrong with being a SAHM and I have a lot of respect for those who do. But.  I've worked haaarrdd for my career, I love it, and I want more than anything to be a role model for my children.  My parents both worked and shared a wonderful, crazy, busy life with we children.  I can't imagine living any other kind of life. 

    Amen!!!  Well said. 

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  • I am a SAHM and will continue to do so after this baby is born.

    There was no way to justify the daycare expense vs. what I made working in the legal field. Daycare is outrageous where I live. My entire paycheck paid for daycare and gas. It wasn't worth it.

    Some days are harder than others. Especially pregnant with a 2 year old terror running around.

    We really have cut back on "entertainment" such as eating out, movies, etc. We also live very frugally (couponing, not buying prepared foods, etc.). We make it work and for the most part, I am happy.

    Good luck! Every situation is different and it's a life-changing decision. 

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  • Other things to consider is money that is going into retirement and the cost of health benefits. 

    Could we probably swing it on one salary?  Yes.  Would we be able to do all the things with our children whether it be traveling, different sports teams, arts, whatever, on one salary?  Probably not.

    I work and would have it no other way.  No one else is raising my children.  To the poster who said that - it's just ridiculous to say.  I do not understand why you would try to make other mothers feel bad because they are working either out of need or personal choice.  I respect the choice that SAHMs made and I would hope that SAHMs would respect my choice as well.

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  • I will probably go back to work after the 12 weeks of maternity leave. I don't really want to deal with all of the cutting back that would be involved in trying to live on hubby's salary.

    that said, daycare here is very expensive at $1500/mth or more. if it turned out to be twins (highly unlikely of course) I'd have no choice but to stay at home since my pay after taxes and two daycare would leave me with barely anything and wouldn't be worth it.

    I don't think I'd like being a full time SAHM anyway. I dunno, I think it would do my head in. I would like if I could take more maternity leave though, like 6 months+ but unfortunately here in the US it's not an option.

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  • After our first I went back to work at 6 weeks pp.  After our second I SAH.  For us it was what worked out financially.  With my first, I still made enough money to pay for daycare and still have more than enough leftover to help with bills, groceries, etc. 

    After our second, I made just about enough money to pay for both kids in daycare and gas to and from work....so we decided it would be better for us if I stayed at home. 

    Honestly it really depends on what works best for your family.  We ended up cutting back on a few things, but found that as long as we were careful about our spending, our lifestyle didn't change much with me staying at home. 

    For me personally in your situation, if I was bringing home $300 extra a week after daycare it would be worth it to me.  Especially if you can find a childcare that you really trust and love. 

    I love that I was able to be both a working mom and a SAHM.  It helps me appreciate both sides of the argument. :)

  • I will not SAH, but I am a teacher and I have excellent hours and vacations. I am very fortunate for that. I think it is the best of both worlds. I have 3 weeks off at Christmas, a week off at Thanksgiving, a week off at Spring Break and 10 weeks off in the summer plus all normal holidays. I will just have to find a way to balance my grading/lesson planning once LO is here. Currently it takes up most of my weekends, but this also is my 2nd year teaching, so it will get easier as I get more experience.
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  • That's the question of the hour in our house.

    We've always lived on my husband's income and saved or invested mine (which is $30K higher than his).  I don't think we spend extravagently or anything, but if we went to just his income, things are TIGHT.  Like, on paper, they don't really work becuase we aren't saving much.  I'd like to go to part-time if my employer will let me.  But if they don't, I'll probably work full-time for a year to get even more money in savings.  When the baby is born, we'll be almost at the point where our house is paid off, so that will help.

    It stinks because you'd think a couple making what we make could make it work.  But we can only make it work if we pay off our house (which we're about to do, but it's only gonna work well for 2 kids max) AND be okay with not saving much OR cancel things like life insurance policies, scale back retirement or replacing cars, like ever.

    For us, we're giving ourselves the ability to stay home if I really am miserable working full time or my company doesn't allow me to go part-time.  But then we'd be pretty much saying that I will go back to work at some point, even if we have little ones.  I make $100K/year, so no matter what, we can afford daycare.  But it's not always a financial decision, you know?

    My sister is a SAHM and has offered to babysit, but probably not full-time - we'd pay her, but she's already got 3 at home.  I don't know what we'll do.

  • image everydayk:
    image Keeks14:

    Personally, I think I will be a better mom if I continue to work.  Some people are meant to be a SAHM, but I am not sure I'm one of them.  

     

     

    This. I am definitely going to try to work as long as I can, even if it's just part time for a while.

     

    I'll be going back to work, probably after 12 weeks. Though I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being with my daughter, I am also pretty career-oriented and would miss work. Being a SAHM not for me. Luckily we worked it out where we avoided day care for our daughter. The first 2 years my sister watched her; last year my husband watched her; and now she is in preschool 3x a week from 9 a.m.-noon, and I managed to switch around my work from home schedule to be here when she is...not so sure we'll be so lucky with this LO. GL with your decision. Everyone must do what is right for them and their family!

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  • If you want to stay at home, I would go for it!  I can't imagine missing all the little moments in my baby's life.  I would be so sad to miss her first step or first time she said Mama.  Financially there are many things to consider.  There are more costs to working than just daycare.  Think about the cost of gas and professional clothes.  If you work outside of the home you tend to have less time so many decide to hire a cleaning service and are too tired to cook so they go out more.  These are all extra expenses that you can avoid if you stay at home.  I am able to save a lot of money by staying home by doing things like watching grocery sales, doing cloth diapers and breastfeeding.  All of these things can be done by a working mom but it gets harder.  I wouldn't worry about having the decision right away.  Lots of people don't even know until they're on maternity leave.  Do what you feel in your heart is best for you and your family.  Also, it might be very hard to find a day care who will let you only pay part time for a child.  Most expect the full amount regardless of how often the child goes.    I love being a stay at home mom and would be so sad to miss out on all of the day to day interactions.  I worked in the baby room of a day care before having DD and decided I didn't want that for my daughter.  Day cares do what they can but the baby just doesn't get as much individual attention because the workers are busy.  I also found that on my income I would be bringing almost nothing home.  We do have to make some sacrifices so I can stay home but I think they are fully worth it!
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  • I will be going back after 3 months of maternity leave.  Hubby and I make similar salaries, but I carry the insurance and benefits since he is self employeed.  We are lucky that we will not have to pay for daycare because my mom said she would watch him/her while I am at work.  Besides the obvious expense that we don't have to occur because of daycare, we are lucky enough to have someone that we trust to watch our child every day.  While I really don't enjoy my job, I am looking forward and hoping that my hard work will pay off in a promotion in the next year or so.  If it were an option for us, I wouldn't mind staying home with our child at all.  It's a big decision, and you just have to do what is best for you and your family.
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  • I'm a grad student, and I'm lucky that I'll be working on a project (and nothing else) this spring and then I'll have the summer off. So I'll have 5 months off after LO is born. Then it's back to school FT, and I love school (went back in my 30s) so I think that will be fine.

    More generally speaking, I definitely think it's a personality thing. I can't imagine wanting to SAH full-time, but I have friends who do and really love it. They can't imagine wanting to work outside of the home. To each their own. I also recognize that since it's my first, my views could change drastically. I have to finish school, and though I assume I'll work right away afterwards (even if we have a #2 on the way), I'm open to making a different choice when the time comes (if it's financially feasible).
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  • I went back to work when my DS was 9 weeks old and I intend on going back this time as well. I love my job and although we could possibly manage without my income, I prefer to be in the working world. My DS loves his babysitter and her family is like his second family. If I were you, I would maybe wait until your baby arrives to make the ultimate call, although you don't want to necessarily want to mislead your employer. Some people thrive on being SAHMs, I am one who would not. Its a very personal decision. Perhaps lurk or ask for opinions on the working moms or SAHM boards.

     

    And seriously, try not to think in terms of "missing" your baby's first steps, etc. Because even if these milestones occur while you are working, when you see them yourself, it will be just as meaningful as it is the first time.

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  • It's not an option for me, as I am the breadwinner in our house. DH might actually stay home for awhile instead. He doesn't really make enough to justify the daycare expense.

    I'm not sure if I would stay home if I could, my job is not that great, but I do work with a lot of great people and I would miss the adult interaction I think.

    Also both my parents worked and I went to daycare, and I turned out just fine! I definitely don't feel like I was raised by a daycare provider. I barely even remember those days.

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  • It's always been my dream to be a SAHM so we're going to make it work somehow. I'm going to have to give up a lot of things I enjoy- especially lots of shopping!- but it will be completely worth it. 
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  • I'm a SAHM. With what good day care costs in the DC area, it just wouldn't have made sense for me to go back to work. The little bit of extra income we would have had from me just wasn't worth it for us. I'll be honest--being a SAHM is hard. It can be very isolating if you don't have family and/or friends with kids close by. I really had to make an effort to join moms' groups and put myself out there--otherwise, the boredom and loneliness would've killed me.

    I'm really happy with my decision, but I know it's not the right one for everyone. Some moms work because they need the money. Some work because their careers are very important to them. Some work because they believe it's a good example for their children. Some work because the idea of staying home all day with babies and toddlers makes them want to scream. All of these reasons are perfectly valid, and whether you work or stay home, your child will be JUST FINE.

    Listen to your heart and do what feels right...

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  • I am thinking about cutting down to 4 days a week.
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  • image babyschiller:

    I'm a SAHM. With what good day care costs in the DC area, it just wouldn't have made sense for me to go back to work. The little bit of extra income we would have had from me just wasn't worth it for us. I'll be honest--being a SAHM is hard. It can be very isolating if you don't have family and/or friends with kids close by. I really had to make an effort to join moms' groups and put myself out there--otherwise, the boredom and loneliness would've killed me.

    I'm really happy with my decision, but I know it's not the right one for everyone. Some moms work because they need the money. Some work because their careers are very important to them. Some work because they believe it's a good example for their children. Some work because the idea of staying home all day with babies and toddlers makes them want to scream. All of these reasons are perfectly valid, and whether you work or stay home, your child will be JUST FINE.

    Listen to your heart and do what feels right...

    I second all of this!!!  Being a SAHM would have killed me had I not joined a moms group.  I'm actually the President of my local MOMS Club.  Best decision I ever made.  I now have about 30 people that I can count on if I need a break or just need to go out to lunch with a friend or anything.  It makes staying at home so much more enjoyable!

  • When we made the transition to me being a SAHM we took advantage of the last few months of my pregnancy while I was working and put my entire paycheck in savings.  It helped us get a feel for what life would be like and it helped build up a "safety net" so the trasition wasn't so scary.

    You should take into account how much you spend to work too. You would be surprised.  Clothes, gas, lunches and lots of misc. expenses add up too.  Pair that up with daycare expenses and see where that puts you.  For me I ended up not making enough in the end so we decided it was best for me to be home.

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