Stay at home or go back to work? — The Bump
2nd Trimester

Stay at home or go back to work?


Since before we started TTC my Husband and I have been considering me staying home once we have kids. Now that I'm pregnant it makes me a little nervous. 
It makes sense for me to stay home for several reasons, the main one being the cost of daycare. My monthly pay would pretty much be covering the cost of daycare and maybe one other bill, based on the conversations we've had with other friends with children. 
Is there anyone else out there considering being a stay at home mom? If so, have you made a decision and if you have what were the deciding factors for you?
TTC SINCE 07/2012
BFP POSITIVE 4/26/2013 (MC 5/20/2013) EDD 1/07/2014
BFP 9/4/2014 Due Date 5/12/2015


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Re: Stay at home or go back to work?

  • We're in the process of considering this as well. Except I wouldn't be 100% SAHM. I'd go per diem, which means I make my own hours and can work as few or as many hours as I want. It was never an opportunity we've ever considered before, since we've always relied on both of our incomes to cover bills and student loans. But DH is finally making enough money that we think we'd be able to get by with me working 1 day a week vs the 3-4 days a week I currently work. We still have to fully sit down and go through every penny of our budget, but we're toying with this idea.

    It certainly makes me nervous... I never wanted to be a SAHM. But I think being per diem rather than having no job is a safer and less risky decision for us.
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    Me: 26   DH: 26
    Together since November 2006        Married September 5, 2011
    TTC #1 since August 2013           BFP on September 4, 2014
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  • "It makes sense" and "I want to" are not always the same things. Consider carefully before you decide. I'm not one to act like SAH is the hardest job ever but there are definitely challenges to doing so, and even more so if you don't actually WANT to be at home in the first place. 

    One thing to consider is your career field. I am an RN in a fairly basic specialty- it will not hurt my career long term to have a gap of several years on my resume, and I could find a job basically any time I needed to if circumstances changed. On the other hand, in some career fields a gap of a few years might make it much more difficult for you to find a job. If you don't intend to/might not financially be able to SAH indefinitely, the long term toll on your career is something to consider heavily.

    I currently work one day a week, and it works really well for us. (I'll SAH full time when this baby comes, until she's a bit older.) If that is an option for you, most moms I know who work part time love it.

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    [Deleted User]
  • Oh, you asked for deciding factors. I SAH until DS was 10 months then worked full time (3 12 hr days/week) until he was about 3. It was the right decision at the time but after a while it wore me out. I constantly felt exhausted and like I couldn't keep up with the things I wanted to do at home and with DS. I didn't really enjoy my days off like I wanted to because I was trying to catch up or just exhausted. I am not passionate about the area of nursing I'm in right now. He liked his childcare just fine (church preschool and my parents watching him) but he is not an always-on-the-go type kid and likes to hang out at home with me more than constant activities. 

    So basically, I decided to SAH because I wanted to. Our budget is a bit tighter- as in we are more conscious of spending, not that we had to cut savings or anything. It's been worth it to me, and we are all happier. It's definitely a family by family decision though.
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  • I knew I wanted to stay home.  The job I when I got pregnant with my DD was not great and I knew I wouldn't miss it.  It was not a career.  I think that makes the decision easier.  

    Staying home is tough.  Babies are needy and then they turn into toddlers and they are needy too.  It can be lonely, frustrating, and at the beginning very isolating.  But it's also very rewarding and sometimes convenient.  We never need to worry who is going to miss work if the kids are sick, or if DH stays late, etc.  

    I really think you need to evaluate why you want to stay home.  If the main reason is daycare cost then that's not good enough.  There are a lot of features to your job that you need to consider besides salary.  Benefits, insurance, retirement, etc.  Please consider these as well as what would work best for you.  Being at home is fantastic for some and really, really difficult for others.  
    [Deleted User]ladycersei
  • If we didn't need the money from my working (I'm the breadwinner), I would definitely stay home.
    Me: 32, DH: 34.
    Trying since Jan 2011. Unexplained IF.
    2 IUIs = BFN.
    1 IVF (Dec 2013) = BFN.
    FET, 2 frosties (June 13, 2014)

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  • I make more money than my husband and my paycheck covers almost all of our major expenses so I will be going back to work. If my husband gets a better paying job (he is looking) I will only go back part time. I have free child care one day a week and would only be paying for 2 days a week so it makes sense for me to go back to work. If I just barely covered daycare, I wouldn't go back.

  • I knew I wanted to stay home before we got pregnant.  However, we decided that I would work if need be.  We did the math on what I was making vs. daycare and found that I would need to get a raise to actually be able to afford daycare on just my salary, totally not worth it.  We live with a budget that was definitely a lifestyle change from how we lived before DD but we are still able to do fun things (we just got back from a Disney trip actually).  I love being home with DD everyday, but sometimes she get's movie days because mommy needs a break :-)

    A good friend of mine is a teacher, she loves the first month off school hanging out with her children, but by July she is over it.  She loves her kids but she needs her time without them, she ended up putting them in daycare 2/3 days a week for the remainder of summer.

    It's a personal and financial decision.  Good luck with whatever you decide.
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  • Lol at "just stay home". SAHM is complicated, demanding & rewarding. It's a job for sure & probably the hardest one I've ever had.

    I'm exhausted after babysitting for a few hours, I can't wait to see how my new job as full time SAHM will go ha

    For us, I'm a student. So, I'm not working anyway. Being a student is my job. However, it just won't work out with me going to school next semester so I have to put off school til next spring. I'll be home with our son for the first 10 months and if I know myself I definitely know I'll need a day or two during the week to regain my sanity. Don't get me wrong- I'm thrilled to be able to be at home with him all day but I know I'll need a balance to avoid that cabin fever feeling. Fortunately I have a MIL right down the street who will gladly watch him whenever I need a break.

    Once I go back to school it'll be interesting since the hours are so random and scattered throughout the day. Haven't really thought that far ahead just yet.
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  • What you want during pregnancy may change once baby is here. I love my job (teacher) and have worked hard to be a great one. I thought I would be jumping to go back to work.

    But then my son was born, and even though a big part of me wants to go back, a big part of me wants to stay. We had a rough first month, and now I'm enjoying being home with him.

    I'm going to go back, because I like the lifestyle we can provide for him if both DH and I work. But if DH was able to get a job paying him what he should be (as a software engineer), I'd jump to stay home.

    Really think about it. If my ou SAH only bc of the cost of daycare, you may grow to resent it.
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  • I have decided to stay at home with the baby for one simple reason, I am a child minder and have seen many first things (steps and words) I do not want to miss this with my own child. If you are able to I would jump at the chance they will grow up quickly so make the most of them. 
  • Like other posters, I love my career and will be going back full time. It is a personal choice, and that happens to be mine.
    However, one thing to keep in mind is opportunity cost. Sure, if you decide to go back maybe 100% of your salary will be going to child care. But keep in mind that people tend to earn more over time. So your investment in returning to work affects your long-term earning potential. If you decide not to go back and return later, you'll be that much behind your earning potential than you otherwise would be.
    Like others have mentioned, the choice is yours and should be based on much more than finances. But since finances are always a factor I wanted to draw attention to this often overlooked area.
    hopanka
  • I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom but if my husband's job wouldn't have allowed for it, I'd definitely be working. We waited to start "trying" until his salary was high enough. So I'd say financial was our biggest deciding factor but I knew I wanted to be the one there with my kids 100% of the time and not someone else. But like others have said, it's a very personal decision.
  • Being a SAHM is really really hard! I'm home 2 days and work 3 and it's a good mix for us.
    Natural m/c Oct. 2005

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  • Joy2611 said:
    I will 100% be going back to work.  The decision is not financial - it's emotional.  My career provides me many things, including happiness and self esteem.  I adore what I do.  I will adore my child, but being a balanced, happy mom is far more important to me than being a frustrated, stay at home one. 

    Please don't misunderstand - I'm not saying that women who stay home are lacking in happiness and self esteem.  There are a great many women who thrive in that atmosphere and I think that's amazing.  I just am not one of them. 

    Everyone needs to pick what works for them and what works for their family.  My point is much more about making a decision that ensures the right thing for you as a person and not the right thing for the bank account.  Covering daycare plus a bill or two would 100% be worth it to me to go back to work because my job makes me happy.  But, if your job makes you miserable, you miss your child, and want to just be home, then your paycheck means nothing.   Decide how you will be most fulfilled and go for it.
    This this this all of this. I want to go back to work at soon as possible and have caught a LOT of grief for it, thankfully not from my husband or family. Apparently it's not okay to be like really super into your job and also have children according to several people I've been judged by.
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