Working Mom vs SAHM- Need Advice — The Bump
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Working Mom vs SAHM- Need Advice

Here's my situation:  DH has been unemployed for the past 2 years- completely unexpected that it has gone on this long.  Our original plan was to pay off debt and save quite a bit with his salary during this period, which obviously didn't happen.  And we hoped his salary would be significant enough to let me be a SAHM when the time came.  SAHM has always been my dream job because I'd love it, not really because I thought it would be any better for our kids or because it made any financial sense.  However, I'm starting to get baby fever and it is not looking like DH's job (when he gets one) is going to be able to cover all of our expenses to allow me to be a SAHM unless we drastically cut back.  So now I'm trying to come to terms with being a working mom.  It will alleviate a ton of the financial stress and I'm starting to see that maybe I could be happy with this option.  I also feel it might just be time to put on my big girl panties (sorry for those that squirm) and do what is right for our family and not necessary what I want, since sometimes we can't get everything we want.

I would like to know if anyone else had always pictured being a SAHM, and now is a working mom.  Are you happy with your choice to work?  Or do you regret that decision?  Would significant lifestyle sacrifices be worth it to SAH for you?  Or do any SAHM's feel that there is a limit to the sacrifices you should make to stay home and maybe wish that they were working?  Basically, I'm curious from the experience of both sides if I could be happy with sacrificing my dream of being a SAHM for the good of the family.   

Re: Working Mom vs SAHM- Need Advice

  • Honestly, before I ever got married, I always assumed I'd SAH with my future children. Once I got married, and we started talking about a baby, it was clear that we couldn't get by (and keep the lifestyle we were used to) on DH's salary alone. So, I came to terms with the fact that I would not be a SAHM. While I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time being sad about not being able to stay home with her.

    I guess I should say--we could get by on DH's salary, but we want to do more than just get by.  We don't live an extravagant lifestyle, even with two decent salaries, but it is nice not to have to think about every dime I spend. I like having cable. I like not having to ask DH if I can buy something (which I'd feel like I have to if I didn't work). I It is nice to be able to go out to dinner, and do special things every now and then. If I wasn't bringing money in, it would be beans and rice and no fun for us. :-)

    I've got a unique viewpoint because I was unemployed for the first 10 mos of Holly's life. She was in DC part time from 8 weeks, and home with me part time. Then starting in November, I worked part time, and was home with Holly part time. So I was kind of able to experience both. Looking back, working part time was my ideal situation. Unfortunately, I wasn't bringing in enough money part time, so that wasn't a feasible long term solution. If I could have it my way, either DH would make a little more so I could just work part time, or I'd find a part time job that pays well enough that it would work.

    I will say that my experience as a part time SAHM convinced me that I am definitely not cut out to be a full time SAHM. Even if it was just one day a week that I was home alone all day with Holly, I found myself not making our time together quality time, and just going stir crazy. Not to mention, as much as I boo-hooed that first day I dropped her off at daycare, I LOVE that she is there. I honestly consider her teachers family, and they have been so fantastic. It has been awesome to watch her learn and grow, and to trust other adults. Now that she's in the toddler class, watching her make little friends is about the cutest thing I've ever seen. I think socialization is so important, and that wasn't something I felt like I could as adequately provide. I love all that she's learning, and that her teachers are so experienced. I often felt like I didn't know what the hell I was doing as a mom, so having that "back up" is nice--I'm not too proud to say it. :-)

    Now if we're REALLY being honest, I wish either DH made Sooooo much money that I could just stay home, do things I enjoyed, volunteer, etc (or that we won the lottery and we'd both quit!) But I would absolutely still have Holly in a daycare/preschool situation at least part time. It's been a great experience for us. :-)

    ETA: (you know, because my original response wasn't long enough. hehe). I should add in case you didn't know, that I work full time now, and have for a month. It was an adjustment, yes.. But I was able to ease back into working, since I started part time. That was helpful. We now have a good routine. And that's what our evening quality time is--a routine. But I personally find that that time is more quality time for me than it was when I already had the whole afternoon with her. So that has been a happy surprise. Feeling like I'm contributing to our family, and not being so strapped has made a big difference in our household. We're not rolling in dough, that's for sure. But It's nice to just be able to breathe now...

     



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  • I SAH and to be 100% honest I don't love every second of it, I agree with Hughes statement about "quality" time. I do get it, but 1/2 the time I am running errands, cleaning, or getting frustrated because I've spend 14 hours a day with my child who is glued to me. I didn't plan to SAH, I had daycare lined up, but some stuff happened and once we really sat down and did the math, it just didn't make sense for me to go back to work.

    It has for sure gotten WAY more challenging now that she is mobile and demands attention all day, it was easier in the little baby days where she would sleep, eat, poop and that would be it. I love being home with her and doing fun activities, being able to do things on my schedule, clean, cook, take care of the house and not worry about getting it all done on the weekends. That being said, I do dream of going back to work, just thinking about being part of the adult world, getting nice clothes on, chatting with co-workers, going out to lunch, etc, I MISS it. I left a job I loved, so it is hard. I don't see myself staying home more than 4 more years TOTAL. We are TTC right now and if I don't get pregnant in the coming months I want to look at working part time. I have cut back a TON, and money is tight. We still do fun stuff, we still manage to travel, I can shop, we have cable, internet, etc. We just don't have extras, like I need a new car, but we can't really afford it. I would love to shop and by myself nice clothes, but I can't. I don't get my hair highlighted anymore, get manicures or pedicures, or shop just for fun, we rarely go out to eat, we have a ton of house projects that we need done that we can't really afford, so it does suck. I don't worry about money every day, but it does stress me out to think about dipping into our savings. It is stressful either way, but being a working mom is totally doable, and there are woman on this board that show it every day. 

    ETA: The other "trade off" of me SAH is that I do ALL the housework, all the cleaning, laundry, ironing, etc. When DD was little I did all the night feedings and everything that pertained to her. In reality, DH was no good at night anyway and I was doing all that stuff and working, but it does kind of suck because you feel like you never have an off day!

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  • I think a lot of it depends on whether or not you are happy with you job. I have a great schedule with my job, I am only in the office 20 hours a week and work from home (with my DD) the rest of the time. But I hate my job. It is completely dead end with zero room for advancement (no matter what I do), the pay is terrible (for a full time job), when I go in the office, I am by myself (I only have one co-worker and she has the opposite schedule of me) so I do not have adult interaction at work. Even with the flexibility, I am really wishing I could quit when I have baby #2 and SAH until my DD starts school in 2012. I think if I had a job I enjoyed, I would really enjoy it (not FT, just 20 hours). So we have started taking some steps to cut back (we should have done this a LONG time ago) b/c in the grand scheme of things, a year and a half is not a long time (that would be the amount of time I would stay home FT before she starts school). But who knows if I will be happier staying home FT? All I know is when I am sitting in the office by myself dealing with BS at work, I wish I was at the park or doing something else with my DD. Best of luck to you!!
  • I work full time and have an hour long commute to work. My work has been very flexible in that I leave early twice a week and work from home once a week (took a pay cut to do this) so I do get to spend a good amount of time with DD. I try to take days off here and there to spend and entire day with her too. To be honest, I love working. I have worked hard at my career and always expected to go back to work after having a child. I was lucky that I was able to work part time until DD was 8 months old.  I agree with Hughes in that the time my DD and I spend together now is great quality time and not just trying to get through the days. We do activities and generally just have fun together. DD knows who her momma is and prefers me to all of her other care takers. We could get by fine just on DH's salary, but with me working it allows us to save money for college and still vacation, go out to eat and do whatever we want to do. I love my child and love the time we spend together, but I just don't think I'm cut out to be a SAHM.
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