December 2012 Moms

SAHM or back to work? How did you decide?

Anyone else struggling with the decision to either be a SAHM or go back to work?  Or moms who have other kids and have advice on how they handled this decision?

Our family is blessed that my husband makes a good salary and we could afford for me to be home with the baby.  Downside of his job is that all of the household work falls on me since he works 7 days a week.  

A part of me would love to stay at home for awhile so I don't have to juggle our already out of whack work-life balance.  But, I worry about the struggle of getting back into the workplace with a gap in my resume...they don't stay young forever so at some point I would need a job.  

So, I am thinking to ask my work about possibly going back part-time only so I have some time to see how work goes on more of a test basis. 

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Re: SAHM or back to work? How did you decide?

  • In my experience staying at home to raise children has always been an acceptable reason for a gap in resume so thats not something I was concerned with when deciding to stay at home it was more financial. I had every intention of going back to work while pregnant. Really what it came down to was not being able to leave DS. I wanted to be the one comforting his boo-boos and teaching him. It was the best decision I ever made. I get confirmation of that everywhere we go when people tell me how smart and advanced he is for his age and guess that I'm a SAHM.

    Its really a personal decision. Good luck with whatever you choose!

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  • When I moved in with DH he gave me the option to SAH. I took it at the time cuz I hated my job and needed a break to sort out what I wanted. It's nice to stay at home with the kids, but not really for me. I need socialization (other than arguing with my 2 year old). This is why I'm taking the opportunity to start school in the fall. It isn't for everyone, but it can be fun!
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  • A SAHM of three once told me about her decision to stay home.  She had been in HR and doing quite well.  She decided to stay home.  She said when she goes back to the work force she might have to start at a different point than when she left but good people will do well no matter what.  So in other words, taking a break might cause a step back in the position but as a hard working, efficient person when she goes back she will catch up in no time because she is good at what she does.

     That and I feel times change.  Some companies are more open than others.  There are companies that understand taking breaks.  As time goes on I can only imagine it will get better.

     If you could afford to stay home, perhaps you could have a housekeeper? We had someone clean on a biweekly basis.  Just having that help was amazing. 

     The same friend whom gave me the above advice after her second (?) child she started doing Pampered Chef as a consultant.  So maybe a position like that could be amenable or a compromise for you? 

  • I am a teacher and am off this school year. I am really debating whether to apply for something for next year. I am thinking about part time but can't decide! I really want to wait until the following year but am worried that then if we are lucky I could be having 2.
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  • I had to go back for financial reasons.  But I work part time (~27 hrs/week) and that has worked well for us.  Although with the addition of each kid it gets harder!  I go back in 2 weeks and I am looking forward to it (although it is questionable whether my DD will eat while I am gone - she seems to hate bottles...and I work nights, so she may not sleep either...poor DH)! 
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  • I have a career that I've invested over a decade of education in, so I'll be going back to work.

    If our family were in a position where I could reasonably do so, I would absolutely stay home for at least a while. SAH certainly isn't for everyone, but I've been enjoying myself so much. If you're feeling similarly, I'd take the opportunity!
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  • I don't have a choice. I can't get rehired if I decide to take a LOA. I went to a military style boot camp and busted my ass for 7 months and have put 5 years of work to get the respect I have from my coworkers. On top of that, my pay is pretty good and my husband and I are looking forward to the salary increase they've been holding from everyone in our department for almost the length of time I've been working. Because we are in the same agency, the increase will be close to another whole pay check. Child care would break us so we are working opposite shifts. My insurance is fully paid, so leaving would take away my salary and put an extra 700 dent a month in our pocket.

    My ultimate dream: to be a SAHM. I've cried many days over choosing the career I did and loving it. Why do I have to love it so much? I'm lucky that its flexible and I'll be able to pop in when I want and she will always be with Mom, Dad, Papa or Grandma.
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  • I make more than DH so I have to go back to work. I would love to be a SAHM but it's not possible unfortunately. Some moms love working and others are SAHM's. Only you can decide which is best for you and your family. GL!
    Ivy: July 10  |  Stella: Dec 12


  • I work from home 20 hours a week. My husband works long hours so I do most of the housework because I have more time at home. I don't really mind. We have a cleaner come in once a month which helps out.

    I like that I'm still consulting so I won't have a big gap in my employment history.
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  • I'm the breadwinner of the family, so by necessity I have to go back to work - we could not afford everything we have on just one paycheck. However, even if I didn't HAVE to go back to work, I would anyway, at least part time (I work 12 hour shifts, so part time for me is 2 days a week); I need the socialization and I feel much more "productive" and useful at work than I do only being at home (I'm sure this feeling would change as LO got older, though).

    I wouldn't worry about the gap in your resume. Remember the saying - babies don't keep. If you can afford to stay at home and want to stay at home, I say go for it. If your job will let you go back part-time, you could always try that out initially and see how a few days a week go.

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  • Kudos to SAHMs.  I could never do it.  I've enjoyed being at home with DS and am taking 12 weeks, but I'm halfway through and getting a little stir crazy.  I've invested a lot of time and money in my education, plus I've built my career to a point that I'm really happy with and I love my job and co-workers.  DS is staying with my mom the 3 days (and only 6 hours/day at that) he won't be with me or DH.

    If I hated my job and I didn't have childcare I felt I could trust, I would probably have a more difficult time deciding to go back to work.  My money is extra, so we're using it to pay off our debt in 10 years rather than 30.  I feel very blessed to be in this situation.  I've seen a lot of moms struggle with going back to work and it's very sad.  My sister is having a really hard time being back at work.  She misses her 4 month old so much that she sobs every day on the way to work.   

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  • Thanks everyone!  We found a pretty nice daycare yesterday so I am feeling better about trying out part-time.  I can always quit and I am a bit worried about missing the social aspect of working so it is worth a shot.  
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  • image ilenegrace:

     I wanted to be the one comforting his boo-boos and teaching him. It was the best decision I ever made. I get confirmation of that everywhere we go when people tell me how smart and advanced he is for his age and guess that I'm a SAHM.

    People tell me how smart and advanced my son is for his age but  I work outside the home. I don't really think staying at home equals smarter kids.

    To the OP, I decided to go back to work because I love my job and didn't want to give up career advancement in exchange for being home full-time.  Depending upon your field, gaps in work history could inhibit your getting another position.  Some fields have ever changing technology and being away for even just a few years can lead to major gaps in knowledge.  Also, there might be loss of future earning capacity.  I received a big promotion right after my first son was born and another after my second child was born.  Had I stayed home those opportunities would not have presented themselves again upon my return and my future advancement would have ceased.  For many people that wouldn't bother them but I wanted more.

    As far as housework, give yourself a break and hire a cleaning lady.

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  • I stayed home with my first. It was pre-planned, so I wouldn't have a gap in my resume. I went to grad school PT while I was home. I went back to work this past May, just when I found out I was unexpectedly expecting. I really like working, and I'm not interested in taking another break from the work force. I don't want to deal with a gap in my resume, or the worry of finding another great position. I also don't find staying home with a baby and a 4 year old appealing, so it was a pretty easy decision.
    I am thoroughly enjoying my time at home with the baby right now, but I'm also looking forward to getting back to my office.
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  • I am really struggling with this, too. I know I don't want to go back full time, and I have a transition-back plan in place with part-time at first and then FT starting in April. I think I am going back, but after that I will either

    1. just quit after a couple months and stay home

    2. ask if I can design a PT arrangement

    3. Decide to stick it out until a certain point in time and then leave.

    With my first baby, I would have LOVED to stay home and it was super, super hard for me to go back. With the second, I still would have preferred to SAH, but I knew I COULD go back and make it work b/c I had done it before, and I also recognized the upside (social time, lunches out with friends, a break from his horrible reflux and our nursing issues). It wasn't as hard to go back but I still wanted to SAH. As he got older, it got easier again as I knew it would. Once they are over age one I think it's MUCH easier balancing work and home. Now I'm struggling again with this one b/c again, I would like to stay home, but now that I know I CAN work and make it work out, I feel like I "should" continue my income and benefits for longer.

    DH owns a business and works a lot of long hours, so it would be a lot easier for us to manage everything with three little kids if I were at home...and easier overall on me to have more flexibility. The flipside is that b/c he IS gone a lot, I might go stir crazy and especially miss the social aspect of going to work. 

    My ideal would be to work PT close to home, but most jobs in my field, at my level are all going to be near where I work now--30 to 40 minute commute.

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  • image itsmevkb:
    image ilenegrace:

     I wanted to be the one comforting his boo-boos and teaching him. It was the best decision I ever made. I get confirmation of that everywhere we go when people tell me how smart and advanced he is for his age and guess that I'm a SAHM.

    People tell me how smart and advanced my son is for his age but  I work outside the home. I don't really think staying at home equals smarter kids. 

    This is us too.  My son is described as advanced, verbally and socially, and has been in center-based daycare 3-4 days a week since he was 5 months old.  I generally actually give *credit* to his daycare when people comment on his intelligence.  Being surrounded by older kids has only been beneficial to him.

    A 5+ year gap in my resume would be devastating to my career.  I'm an Engineer.  I need to stay current.  Plus, like I said above, I believe my son is better off in his school.  In fact, he is still going 3 days/week while I'm home with baby #2 on maternity leave.  The ONLY way I would be a SAHM is if I could still afford to send my boys to their preschool from age 1 on, at least 2 days/week.  As it is, we may actually find ourselves bringing home less money for me to work and pay for our expensive daycare than if I stayed home...but it's an investment in our future...once they're two, the cost of care goes down, then down again at 3, 4...then way down when they start kindergarten.  Meanwhile, I've continued my career and we can start putting money previously spent on daycare into things like swim lessons, baseball, and family vacations.  It just makes sense to me, for our family.

    I did return to work only 30 hours/week (7.5 hour days, 4 days/week, Wednesdays off) after my first, and that was really the ideal for our family.  I do hope that I'm able to work something like that out again when I return again in April.

    My most ideal, if money were no object, would be to work 20 hours/week while my boys could go to their current daycare.

    I've read studies that report that the "happiest" moms are moms who work part time, and I completely relate to that. 

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  • We did the math and after paying for daycare, gas and my travel time to work I would only be making like $4 per hour. My husband said that wasnt enough money for his anxiety level thinking about our baby being in daycare and me driving 45 mins to and from work. I will be off for a little while and when she gets to be a little older I will look for something part time in the area. Also I was thinking of maybe checking out some online classes to finish my degree that I was too lazy to finish years ago. I didnt and still dont know what I wanted to do with my life so I quit(mad at myself now though). Good Luck with your decision.
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