Author Topic: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM  (Read 11437 times)

greenshade

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Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« on: January 15, 2015, 12:00:46 PM »
Greetings,

I am a long-time reader, first-time commenter on this site.  I have been scheming and contemplating my next move for the last several years and feel like I need an outside perspective on our situation.
We are a 30-something married couple in the mid-west contemplating a major life change.

Income:
Me:50,000
Him:56,000

My net:  30,160 (includes health insurance premiums, 15% to 401k, they only match 5%)
His net:  41,080 ( 3% to 401k (employer match))
Monthly: 5936


Our expenses: (these are estimates, rough average of the last 12 months)

Rent : 1125 (includes insurance)
Utilities
Water/sewer/trash: 50
Electricity: 65
Gas (heat): 65  (this can be 20 in the summer and highest ever was 150 last January)
Groceries:  400 (includes all toiletries, beer)
Phones: 80 (2 iphones with data, etc.)
Car spending: 175 (insurance, repairs, registration  ( we had a couple big repairs last year)
Gasoline: 125  (lots of weekend drives)
Student loans: 200 (minimum is 155) (paying close to 3k per month the last 2 years to get most of this paid off, 1550will be the min. starting in March)
Miscellaneous: 500-800 (eating out, pharmacy, clothes, plane tickets, gifts, baseball tickets, ice cream cones, admission, anything else)
 

TOTAL monthly expenses: $ 3135
Assets:
2000 Truck 150,000 miles, paid for (drives 5 miles a day, round trip)
2005 Sedan 250,000 miles, paid for (drives 6 miles a day, round trip, opposite direction)
Retirement accounts: 50k
Cash: 20k ( emergency fund and would like to buy a house in ~3 years, I believe it would be cheaper for us to own in our area)
   
Debt:
Student loans:  19k @ 6.55%  (this is from a high of over 110k 3 years ago)
No other debt!

My job is not my dream job, but it doesn’t cause too much stress and I have been with my company for 5 years.  However, we are expecting a baby this sspring and I would like to stay home with he or she for a few years.  We are honestly not concerned with FIRE, but are mostly interested in being debt free and being able to save for the future and have fun.  Our fun is mostly camping, driving to the beach, occasional flight to see family, we don’t have expensive tastes. I am hopeful that our current lifestyle with modifications is affordable on my husband’s salary, but maybe I am missing something? 
My husband is concerned about “just getting by”, and I understand where he is coming from.  If I were to continue in my current job and put the baby in daycare we would definitely be able to save more. 
His income alone:  3189 (monthly, I included health insurance premium of 234 per month)
Expenses:   3135

So it looks like the difference is $54 and if I can reduce that “misc” category I can have 500+ left over ever month for savings/investing. 

I feel like I am more afraid of leaving my child with total strangers (no family in town) than I am of reducing our income.  SO, here are my questions:

Am I crazy to think this will work?  How would you make it work with the above income scenario?
 
I don’t consider myself a career woman despite the fact that I do have a degree and work in a professional setting, my husband and I both work in administration/business.  I have always felt I wanted to take care of my babies myself when I had them.  However, I am worried of regretting these decisions down the road.

  My husband is hopeful that he will get at least a 3-5% increase in the next several months, he also has a lot of growth potential in his current job.  I am also planning to find a weekend/evening job once the baby is 3+ months old.  I also realize that the baby will cost us some money, but I should get most essentials as gifts and am planning to be frugal.  For instance, I have currently spent zero dollars on the pregnancy.

Thoughts?!  Do you need more info?


ltt

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2015, 12:31:23 PM »
Don't regret your decision for a minute!  Am glad you are trying to make this work (from a mom who has an MBA who has been at home for over 15 years).  It will work.  You will find that you will be doing a lot more cooking from scratch, gardening if you have the room, your gas/auto expenses should go down.  I don't know what your co-pays are for doctor visits, but have found that little ones are usually at the doctor's office for something--childhood illnesses to having vaccinations done.  Are well child visits covered??  Your miscellaneous expenses will drop substantially once you are home--you won't eat out very often, you won't buy work clothes, baby clothes can be purchased at thrift stores.  Your income should drop into a lower tax bracket, and you will be able to get the child tax credit.  You might, just for the sake of it, do a rough calculation of your tax situation with just one income.  Your husband may be able to adjust his withholdings should you decide to stay home.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2015, 12:39:21 PM »
Your husband's net will increase, you won't likely be going on so many drives, you won't be as interested in eating out. You'll likely eat more from scratch. There's a lot of savings to be had from one person at home.

TerriM

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2015, 12:50:40 PM »
ltt mentioned paying for vaccinations--you can almost certainly get those free if you mention that cost is an issue.


Have you thought about working from home after having your child?  It's doable for the first one, part time, two is more difficult.  Three is the stopping point.  But if you need just a little more income to make the transition and you want to do it, it's easier to do part time with an employer that knows you already.

I don't think you'll regret being home, but it is more difficult to go back to work after being out for a while.  I don't feel like I will be able to take on a full time job again for a number of years, and expect to be self-employed for a while. (I have three kids.)  If you know you'll end up going that route, you could start doing that now and build up a small clientele.

PloddingInsight

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2015, 12:53:37 PM »
Just do it!

ltt

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2015, 01:03:28 PM »
As you and the baby will be going on your husband's insurance, get a copy of and read through what all is covered, what is not, co-pays, etc. 

greenshade

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2015, 01:09:03 PM »
Thank you for the replies, they are very encouraging.  I have tried to talk about my plan with friends/family in “real life” and I have not received much encouragement, mostly blank stares.  Many of the women in my family are SAHMs, but they seem to make a lot more money than we do or have no problem taking handouts from parents (I will work fulltime if we ever came close to this).  I also wanted to clarify that I don’t think there is anything wrong with daycare or being a working mother, I just don’t think it’s for me.

To address some of the questions:
Insurance: Our current insurance is very good (through my employer) and I believe that we will have access to an HSA/FSA when we switch to  my husband's plan which also provides good coverage.

I know that our tax situation will change, I just can’t imagine it will add more than a few thousand to our bottom line.

Work:  I am cautiously optimistic about my future work situation and I honestly need to spend more time considering options. I guess I feel that I don't have any skills that transfer to working from home, but I am probably selling myself short.

thanks!

Dyk

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2015, 01:12:37 PM »
If the insurance works, go for it!  You have a good base, FIRE is not your first concern, your career is not a big concern, and the budget shows you are close to even now.  You can then work on the next level:
- Phones on lower cost plans (pretty easy one)
- $800 misc (and I total with this your monthly expenses only to be $3,085)
- 5 and/or 6 mile commutes, I am not sure which one is his, but I smell a bike!  Sell a car!  Cut Car Spending and Gasoline.  One of the best things we have ever done!

My wife stays home, and does not regret it for a minute.

Go For It!

falcondisruptor

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2015, 01:22:34 PM »
If you want to stay at home, do it! 

It sounds like you'll be able to make the budget work and you might be surprised how you can make your expenses drop when you're not working.  Combined with a move, this is a big life choice.  But, it could be an amazing life changing opportunity.

Lmoot

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2015, 01:43:29 PM »
If you SAH I would say to make sure your husband bumps up the 401k contribution. It may hurt to do so, but on his salary alone it would qualify you guys to receive 10% of what is contributed, from the IRS (for a total of up to $4000 in 2015) towards retirement through the saver's credit. You will need to fill out form 8880 on the IRS website. That's at least one more benefit to only having one income.

It's smart for you to consider part time work. There's nothing more damaging to SAHMs (who eventually want to re enter the full time work force) than being unemployed for a number of years. Any work, even part time work (heck, even volunteering), gives you a HUGE advantage.

You mention your job is not your dream job, so maybe take this time to think about what that would be, then see if you can get a head start on experience by doing part time entry level work in that industry. Try to get part time work at a company that offers full-time work so that could possibly make the transition back into full time work more easily; the company knows you, and you know the company by then.

Good luck! I feel badly for those who have to leave infants in daycare just because I know a majority of parents prefer not to or don't have a choice. It's different when they are toddlers and are actually reaping social and learning benefits, but I can't imagine having to hand your baby off to someone other than family. Not to say there are not good daycares out there, but if there were a period of time it's best to stay with a child or have family stay with a child, it's when they are infants.

Good luck!

« Last Edit: January 15, 2015, 01:50:46 PM by Lmoot »

markum9

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2015, 01:56:25 PM »
You didn't describe what your exact plans were, but I would strongly suggest you stay with your employer through the birth, take advantage of all of the paid maternity leave, and use that time to make the decision.  We have a 2 year old and I was surprised at how much my wife's viewpoint changed after the baby came.  Prior to the birth, she was planning on going back to work, but during maternity leave she realized she wanted to stay at home.  I've also seen friends go through the exact opposite: realizing that they would be happier going back to work than being a SAHM once they got through the first few months.  So you don't want to limit your options, especially since you will be getting paid and retaining your health care benefits during that time!  But thinking through the financial aspects beforehand is definitely a great first step!

You mentioned $20K that is earmarked for a home purchase.  To me, if you want to give yourself some breathing room until your husband's income ratches up, I would try to basically bank your take home pay in cash through the next few months and throughout your maternity leave.  It will be a wonderful but stressful time, and I would think another ~$15K or so in the bank that you earmarked to bridge the gap (e.g. another $5K in "income" for the next 3 years) would be helpful for both you and your husband.  If you find out that your expenses remain low or your husband's income goes up quickly, you could then invest that money or use it for the downpayment.

greenshade

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2015, 02:15:16 PM »
You didn't describe what your exact plans were, but I would strongly suggest you stay with your employer through the birth, take advantage of all of the paid maternity leave, and use that time to make the decision.  We have a 2 year old and I was surprised at how much my wife's viewpoint changed after the baby came.  Prior to the birth, she was planning on going back to work, but during maternity leave she realized she wanted to stay at home.  I've also seen friends go through the exact opposite: realizing that they would be happier going back to work than being a SAHM once they got through the first few months.  So you don't want to limit your options, especially since you will be getting paid and retaining your health care benefits during that time!  But thinking through the financial aspects beforehand is definitely a great first step!

You mentioned $20K that is earmarked for a home purchase.  To me, if you want to give yourself some breathing room until your husband's income ratches up, I would try to basically bank your take home pay in cash through the next few months and throughout your maternity leave.  It will be a wonderful but stressful time, and I would think another ~$15K or so in the bank that you earmarked to bridge the gap (e.g. another $5K in "income" for the next 3 years) would be helpful for both you and your husband.  If you find out that your expenses remain low or your husband's income goes up quickly, you could then invest that money or use it for the downpayment.

The baby is due in May and  the plan is to bank my salary starting in March (once our other student loan balance is paid off (about 5k to go).   I have been saving all of my PTO and should be able to get paid FMLA through about the end of June. I don't believe I will change my mind about staying with the baby.  Even if I do, I need to make a career change so that I am not spending my days feeling bored and unproductive and maybe I can work on that once the baby is here. 

The 20k is what we have now and we know that we need to build that account if we want to buy a house and maintain an emergency fund. I think we will need at least 30k for a downpayment.  I just haven't included that money in my calculations because it is assuming that I will work until the day the baby is born and that may or may not be realistic.

mm1970

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2015, 03:01:19 PM »
You didn't describe what your exact plans were, but I would strongly suggest you stay with your employer through the birth, take advantage of all of the paid maternity leave, and use that time to make the decision.  We have a 2 year old and I was surprised at how much my wife's viewpoint changed after the baby came.  Prior to the birth, she was planning on going back to work, but during maternity leave she realized she wanted to stay at home.  I've also seen friends go through the exact opposite: realizing that they would be happier going back to work than being a SAHM once they got through the first few months.  So you don't want to limit your options, especially since you will be getting paid and retaining your health care benefits during that time!  But thinking through the financial aspects beforehand is definitely a great first step!

You mentioned $20K that is earmarked for a home purchase.  To me, if you want to give yourself some breathing room until your husband's income ratches up, I would try to basically bank your take home pay in cash through the next few months and throughout your maternity leave.  It will be a wonderful but stressful time, and I would think another ~$15K or so in the bank that you earmarked to bridge the gap (e.g. another $5K in "income" for the next 3 years) would be helpful for both you and your husband.  If you find out that your expenses remain low or your husband's income goes up quickly, you could then invest that money or use it for the downpayment.

I agree with this. I am a working mother, full disclosure here.

My best situation was working part time (30-32 hrs/week), because it was enough to keep my benefits but also gave me 2 extra hours a day.

For my friends who ever asked me if they should quit, I always recommend planning to return to work (although part time if you can swing it).  Because - depending on the job - if you go back to work and don't like it, then it's easy to quit.  However, if you quit and decide you want to go back, it might be harder to go back (totally depends on the job you have and where you work).

That said, at least one person up above mentioned that you will be saving money staying at home without really realizing it, and I found that to be very true on my first maternity leave.  I cocooned myself for at least 6 weeks and you are kinda tired to be going out (though you tend to go out much sooner with #2).

One caveat on that saving money is your social life.  As a working mom, I get social interaction at work (some, not much), and of course, I have friends who are my kids' friends' parents.  What I have noticed locally - we have new moms' groups here, and I am a member of two (one for each kid).  The SAHMs tend to go out a LOT for social interaction - as in, every day (and I can totally see why, you gotta get out and let the kids run).  Because the weather is awesome here, a lot of them are cheap/free.  Zoo (if you have a membership), parks, library, etc.  BUT at least 1-2x a week they go to things that aren't free -

breakfast at a cafe
lunch at a burger place
music classes
indoor play gyms

This can easily run you $30-50 a week if you aren't careful.  So when you plan ahead for your much needed social outlet, consider that.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2015, 04:01:30 PM »
My wife has a very similar income to your DH. Primarily because of debt, I've been working PT while also being the primary parent, but we've made enough progress that I'm going full-time SAHD in a couple weeks.

If you're at all interested in cooking, gardening, etc you'd be surprised just how well you can live for very little - while still having plenty of self-care time. I homeschool and still have a decent amount of time every day to read (not quietly, but at least somewhat peacefully) or work on something.

I'm a big believer in having a stay at home parent and I'm super excited that my wife and I will have more time soon, since we won't be working opposite shifts.

1967mama

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2015, 01:30:10 AM »
I gave up a career that required a degree and had done half of my masters at night school when I had my first child. (terrible sentence, its late)

NO REGRETS! It was a tough decision at the time, but now, 23 years later, I'm just so glad I made that choice years ago. I LOVE being home to raise my kids and wouldn't have it any other way!

Have you read "The Complete Tightwad Gazette?" She has an article in there about the cost of working vs. what you can save by staying at home. Its a great book and is typically available in the public library.

I sold AVON as a side-hustle and did in home daycare for a while to help make ends meet as we were learning about the concept of frugality back in the 90's. Sold a car, stopped getting water delivered (ack!), cut cable, etc.

All the best to you as you look forward to your new baby! Do let us know what you decide after the little one arrives and you're typing with one hand while nursing <wink>.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2015, 08:25:09 AM »
You didn't describe what your exact plans were, but I would strongly suggest you stay with your employer through the birth, take advantage of all of the paid maternity leave, and use that time to make the decision.  We have a 2 year old and I was surprised at how much my wife's viewpoint changed after the baby came.  Prior to the birth, she was planning on going back to work, but during maternity leave she realized she wanted to stay at home.

This is exactly what happened with us. We had a $500 deposit on a fancy daycare, even. Even better, my wife's employer asked her to work part-time from home, and she's shoved nearly $10k in her 401k this year just by working during the baby's naps.

midweststache

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2015, 09:15:49 AM »
You didn't describe what your exact plans were, but I would strongly suggest you stay with your employer through the birth, take advantage of all of the paid maternity leave, and use that time to make the decision.  We have a 2 year old and I was surprised at how much my wife's viewpoint changed after the baby came.  Prior to the birth, she was planning on going back to work, but during maternity leave she realized she wanted to stay at home.  I've also seen friends go through the exact opposite: realizing that they would be happier going back to work than being a SAHM once they got through the first few months.  So you don't want to limit your options, especially since you will be getting paid and retaining your health care benefits during that time!  But thinking through the financial aspects beforehand is definitely a great first step!

You mentioned $20K that is earmarked for a home purchase.  To me, if you want to give yourself some breathing room until your husband's income ratches up, I would try to basically bank your take home pay in cash through the next few months and throughout your maternity leave.  It will be a wonderful but stressful time, and I would think another ~$15K or so in the bank that you earmarked to bridge the gap (e.g. another $5K in "income" for the next 3 years) would be helpful for both you and your husband.  If you find out that your expenses remain low or your husband's income goes up quickly, you could then invest that money or use it for the downpayment.

I agree with this. I am a working mother, full disclosure here.

My best situation was working part time (30-32 hrs/week), because it was enough to keep my benefits but also gave me 2 extra hours a day.

For my friends who ever asked me if they should quit, I always recommend planning to return to work (although part time if you can swing it).  Because - depending on the job - if you go back to work and don't like it, then it's easy to quit.  However, if you quit and decide you want to go back, it might be harder to go back (totally depends on the job you have and where you work).

That said, at least one person up above mentioned that you will be saving money staying at home without really realizing it, and I found that to be very true on my first maternity leave.  I cocooned myself for at least 6 weeks and you are kinda tired to be going out (though you tend to go out much sooner with #2).

One caveat on that saving money is your social life.  As a working mom, I get social interaction at work (some, not much), and of course, I have friends who are my kids' friends' parents.  What I have noticed locally - we have new moms' groups here, and I am a member of two (one for each kid).  The SAHMs tend to go out a LOT for social interaction - as in, every day (and I can totally see why, you gotta get out and let the kids run).  Because the weather is awesome here, a lot of them are cheap/free.  Zoo (if you have a membership), parks, library, etc.  BUT at least 1-2x a week they go to things that aren't free -

breakfast at a cafe
lunch at a burger place
music classes
indoor play gyms

This can easily run you $30-50 a week if you aren't careful.  So when you plan ahead for your much needed social outlet, consider that.

I just want to chime in on this thread, not from experience but from discussions with a friend.

All financial issues aside, a girlfriend who recently had a baby confided in me that she was relieved to go back to work (even though pre-baby she thought having only 8 weeks off would be insufficient). We talked a lot in circles, never getting into specifics, but she indicated she had slightly struggled with postpartum depression and felt a little lost staying at home and watching the baby. While her current job isn't her dream job either, she felt really disconnected from the world during those 8 weeks and was excited to assert herself as something more than a mother. Her identity was/is really bound up in independence and work-related goals, so so was thrilled to return to work, continuing pursuing that aspect of herself, and be around adults again.*

*This is not to say that SAHMs have a more simple identity construction or are incomplete in any way - I'm not rehashing the mommy wars here - but that for my specific friend's sense of selfhood, a return to work was very important.

greenshade

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2015, 10:27:22 AM »
I am thankful for all of the suggestions. 

As far as returning to work for social reasons, I am basically an introvert and don’t feel like I reap many of those benefits that people talk about.  I prefer to eat my lunch alone ( I need a break from my shared space) and in nice weather I walk outside alone on breaks.  At the end of the day I just want to be away from all of these people, despite the fact that I interact with them minimally.

Spelling out my scenario is helping me to focus in on some of the areas that we can improve in our budget.  I will also be spending time looking for part-time work options and tailoring my resume to those options, as opposed to just thinking it will fall in my lap in a few months.  I think I might prefer to work outside of the home part-time as opposed to from home, mainly because I like my home to be a refuge from work and I will probably appreciate a break from the baby.

saywhatnot

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Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2015, 11:21:01 AM »
I think you really have to look at how much you are spending due to work.   I know people say you spend more money working but that is not the case for me. 

I'm a working mom and I bring my lunch to work, I don't spend much on clothes and while I spend on gas my commute is only 10 miles.  If someone would be to stay home would be my husband and the only savings I'm seeing is daycare as we have a pretty tight budget since we send a lot to investments. 
This could be a money decision but if it is an emotional decision then you should do what you feel works with your family. 

I've been warned that as kids get older they need more of you and I can see that.  Once my kid is in school I don't want her to go to daycare for the remainder of the day and don't want to have a stressful life with activities and running from one place to another so we are saving as much as we can now so one of us can be available and have quality of life.    Currently our toddler loves going to "school" as she calls, we do have somehow flexible jobs that make is available as needed.


Whatever you decide, good luck!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 11:23:17 AM by saywhatnot »

iwasjustwondering

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2015, 11:42:54 AM »
I am in the "go for it" camp.  I SAH/WFH for the first seven years I had kids.  I'm so glad I did it.  It was tough financially for a while, and then it got REALLY tough (think Charles Dickens tough -- I had a 1.5 hr commute as a single mother, developed whooping cough and almost died).  I'm still glad I did it, honestly.  It was better for the kids.

Do you have a good marriage?  A good extended family/friends network?  In the absence of a very large financial cushion, those things are important.   

Good luck.

Carrie

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2015, 12:01:28 PM »
Our situation was nearly identical to yours.  (As far as the desire to SAH, and incomes being similar.)  We banked my salary the whole time I was pregnant because we knew the budget would be tight.  within two months, DH got a better job offer! Provided better-cheaper insurance,  better pay.  I've worked from home here and there throughout the years, mostly to keep my foot in the door And to boost our savings rate.

Here we are, 3 kids later, and DH'S income has gone up 40%, I'm not currently working  (have a baby), and I doubt now that I'll ever work in an office again.  We're set to hit fire before our youngest is out of elementary school.

I couldn't be happier.  I love being at home. I'm an introvert and love my peaceful days.  I cook really good food, I economize,  I sew, I read. Really ideal life for me.  Husband likes me  being here with the kids too. 

Meggslynn

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2015, 12:32:49 PM »
The pp above have a lot of good points and its good that you are seeing if you can make it work before the baby comes but I want to second that I know lots of people who changed their mind when the baby comes. I find women who are home-bodies tend to do best as SAHM. I have had numerous friends plan to SAH but then a 6 plus months after were chomping at the bit to return to work and then others who thought they would return to work and then didn't so be prepared to change your mind or ... not?

I didn't. I am in Canada so I did the one year paid mat leave and then I went back to work. I work 26 - 40 hours a week depending on the season and I find its perfect.

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2015, 04:20:54 PM »
My husband is concerned about “just getting by”, and I understand where he is coming from.  If I were to continue in my current job and put the baby in daycare we would definitely be able to save more. 

This is the real issue.  You've already decided that you want to stay home, but your husband is half of that equation.  You don't need the internet to support you on this, you need your husband to.  He's already told you what that means; getting expenses low enough that you can save 10-15%.  Get your expenses down to a comfortable level BEFORE quitting your job to stay home with the baby.  If you find that you can't get miscellaneous expenses down while working a full time job, it might not be realistic to get them down when you have a baby.

Look for places that you can cut money on yourself.  If you're always somewhere with internet you could cut your data plan.  You've got a pretty big grocery bill... if you're the force behind beer spending, cut it down or go for cheaper options.  Likewise if you're the one buying expensive toiletries, go name brand.

Would it be possible to knock out the student loans before you quit?  Three more months of over 3K and half of your emergency fund?  That might give you some extra breathing room.

Best of luck with whatever the two of you decide.

Cassie

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2015, 04:35:16 PM »
I was a SAHM for 12 years & never regretted it. When I went back to work I was asked what I was doing for past years & said raising 3 boys & they would smile & nod their heads.  I would also list some volunteer work I did.  I am an extrovert but still found pleasure in being home. I met other moms & we did no cost things such as getting together for play dates with our kids at each others home, story hour at the library, etc. We did not eat out since I had plenty of time to cook. Before kids are in school they can wear each other clothes etc-little kids never wear their clothes out.  I think you can do it.  You will watch grocery prices & have the time to comparison shop which will save you $. I did not need a lot of clothes with not working, etc.  If you could work p.t. from home that would be great but if not just look where you can cut & do it.  Being home with your baby is priceless. Once kids are in school they are independent & don't need you nearly as much as the first 5 years.

mm1970

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2015, 05:02:33 PM »
I am thankful for all of the suggestions. 

As far as returning to work for social reasons, I am basically an introvert and don’t feel like I reap many of those benefits that people talk about.  I prefer to eat my lunch alone ( I need a break from my shared space) and in nice weather I walk outside alone on breaks.  At the end of the day I just want to be away from all of these people, despite the fact that I interact with them minimally.

Spelling out my scenario is helping me to focus in on some of the areas that we can improve in our budget.  I will also be spending time looking for part-time work options and tailoring my resume to those options, as opposed to just thinking it will fall in my lap in a few months.  I think I might prefer to work outside of the home part-time as opposed to from home, mainly because I like my home to be a refuge from work and I will probably appreciate a break from the baby.
Are you my twin?  While I am middling on the social aspect (I like some social interaction, but also need alone time).  I eat lunch alone and use my lunch break to go on a solo walk.  Every day.  But then, it's the only break that I get - to myself (non-work, non-kids).

greenshade

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2015, 05:31:11 PM »
My husband is concerned about “just getting by”, and I understand where he is coming from.  If I were to continue in my current job and put the baby in daycare we would definitely be able to save more. 

This is the real issue.  You've already decided that you want to stay home, but your husband is half of that equation.  You don't need the internet to support you on this, you need your husband to.  He's already told you what that means; getting expenses low enough that you can save 10-15%.  Get your expenses down to a comfortable level BEFORE quitting your job to stay home with the baby.  If you find that you can't get miscellaneous expenses down while working a full time job, it might not be realistic to get them down when you have a baby.

Look for places that you can cut money on yourself.  If you're always somewhere with internet you could cut your data plan.  You've got a pretty big grocery bill... if you're the force behind beer spending, cut it down or go for cheaper options.  Likewise if you're the one buying expensive toiletries, go name brand.

Would it be possible to knock out the student loans before you quit?  Three more months of over 3K and half of your emergency fund?  That might give you some extra breathing room.

Best of luck with whatever the two of you decide.
Good points. My husband is supportive of whatever I want to do. For better or worse, I am in charge of our finances and control  most of the spending. I pay all of the bills and have been the driving force behind paying off most of our loans. I always seek his input and am very open about what I'm doing, he just doesn't enjoy it and trusts my judgement.
I know our "misc" category is ridiculous and it is mostly eating out and stupid shit. And you are 100% correct that I need to fix it now along with our grocery spending!
I'm really torn about paying off the student loan, my husband doesn't want to drain all of our funds but I would love to see it gone. My long term plan is to have the last loan (19k) gone within 2-3 years, but maybe if I can bank enough cash we can knock it out sooner!


MrsCoolCat

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2015, 09:20:19 PM »
Wow, good luck! I'm not a mom yet or plan to be too soon but I always think and try to plan ahead. Granted you can't control life! I've thought about your very same questions for quite some time recently.

I believe that at the end of the day/life, etc. you will only regret what you didn't do/try, and I seriously doubt you can regret being a FT mom (but of course I can't guarantee that). It just seems so... innate (for some). Not saying there can't be any SAHDs! I'm sure that's just one of the many reasons people want to be FI, for their children! I know it's one of mine!

I bet there will be adjustments (no doubt), but I also believe people, esp non-Mustachians really exaggerate how much they think they need to "live" much less have one child. Two women (one a mom, the other not) once told me they believe you need at least $125k to raise a child! They're crazy. I know my parents did it on a lot less and they worked as servers. They just made better financial decisions and didn't spend money on excessive clothes, cars and eating out, etc.

Remember, I'm currently NOT a mom, BUT I always imagine my day being something like: Wake up early, make breakfast for everyone & dress kid(s), drop off kid(s), work out, clean/tidy up and make myself lovely enough for the DH (i.e. somewhat work place worthy), prep lunch and dinner, maybe take a nap since I hope to wake up before everyone, maybe run errands (like couponing, paying bills, bargain hunting, etc.), pick up kid(s), impart some kind of love/education (fond memories) to them, prep dinner, etc., husband comes home, etc. Same ol. Repeat. LOL, I know some moms must think I'm crazy but I'm kind of OCD and type A, so I hate being idle yet am a bit ADD myself. :-)

Moms have told me I will get bored, miss coworker/people interactions, be looked down upon by working moms/women, etc., but I'm thinking STFU because you're not me! If I ever get there, then we'll talk! Plus I'm very black and white in this matter. Being a mom definitely seems more fulfilling than 80% of the jobs I've had and the companies I've worked for. Just saying, but that's just me (not saying for everyone).

I'm sure a number of women just LOVE their job and can split in three and juggle their roles as employee, mother and wife just perfectly! That's my black and white. I'd rather focus on just wife and mother than bust my ass trying to do all three and fall short in one or more of the roles [because I realize I'm not a unicorn]. I want to give it my best because it will be my only (or at least first for some) family. And I understand most women these days have to juggle all 3. I just dream, ideally believe (if possible) and will aim to just focus on what matters most to me, and currently it's just not the career. I know what I want [even if it most likely will not happen]. Anyways, good luck!
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 09:33:06 PM by MrsCoolCat »

Gray Matter

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2015, 09:17:50 AM »
I believe that at the end of the day/life, etc. you will only regret what you didn't do/try, and I seriously doubt you can regret being a FT mom. It just seems so... innate.

(WARNING:  Thread Hijack)  MrsCoolCat -  I think you made many good points in your post, and I love how much you've thought out how you want to parent and are making plans to make it happen, and how supportive you are of the OP.  I offer the rest of this in the spirit of of openness, trying to be helpful, and sisterhood...

I invite you to question the beliefs quoted above.  It is absolutely possible to regret staying home with kids (I know several women--felt like they lost their identity, life circumstances changed and they needed to get back into the workforce and found it difficult, years of lost career growth, isolation and depression and after the fact thinking their children would have actually been better off in daycare).  I'm not saying it's common, and I'm not saying there aren't things you can do to mitigate any of those risks, but it is possible. 

Also, I encourage you to think of ALL moms/dads as FT moms/dads (once you are a parent, you are a parent 24/7, regardless of what else you may be doing with some hours of your day, and that's true whether you work outside the home or not).  I'm also not sure that wanting kids, wanting to be home with them, etc. is "innate."  It may be innate in you, and you may find it impossible to fathom feeling any other way, and it may even be innate in many/most women, but it's not universally innate, and it's those kinds of words/phrases that seem innocent enough but can (completely unintentionally, I'm sure) offend/marginalize women like me, who feel differently, and who have made different choices, and yet still consider ourselves full-time and darned good mothers and women.

If you truly believe that women who work outside the home are somehow "less" of a parent than SAHMs, and that women who don't actually want to stay at home are unnatural, then please disregard everything I said.  :-)

To the OP--congratulations!  What an exciting, marvelous journey you are on.  You sound well-suited to being a SAHM (introverted, not getting much intrinsic value from work outside the home, and desiring to be home with the baby), so I think you should do absolutely everything you can to make that possible, while also keeping your options open.  That's actually my advice for all moms--keep your options open as much as possible, because it's difficult to predict with 100% accuracy how you're going to feel, and your feelings or circumstances can change over time.  So for working moms, that means don't build your lifestyle up to the point where it requires two full-time jobs to support, and for SAHMs, that means intentionally keeping your skills and relationships/networks current in case you need to, or want to, go back to work.

In an ideal world, there would be lots of support and options for all parents, to work full-time or part-time outside the home or not, to do paid work from home or not, to enter and exit the workforce as it suits their family's needs.  We're not great as a society at doing that, so it's up to us as individuals to try to keep as many options open as possible and seek the support wherever we can.  You've gotten great advice and support on this thread, and one of the awesome things about Mustachianism is that it shows us we can actually live on less than we may have previously thought, thereby providing options.  It's pretty darned cool.   Good luck with your decision!

MrsCoolCat

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2015, 11:40:52 AM »
I believe that at the end of the day/life, etc. you will only regret what you didn't do/try, and I seriously doubt you can regret being a FT mom. It just seems so... innate.

(WARNING:  Thread Hijack)  MrsCoolCat -  I think you made many good points in your post, and I love how much you've thought out how you want to parent and are making plans to make it happen, and how supportive you are of the OP.  I offer the rest of this in the spirit of of openness, trying to be helpful, and sisterhood...

I invite you to question the beliefs quoted above.  It is absolutely possible to regret staying home with kids (I know several women--felt like they lost their identity, life circumstances changed and they needed to get back into the workforce and found it difficult, years of lost career growth, isolation and depression and after the fact thinking their children would have actually been better off in daycare).  I'm not saying it's common, and I'm not saying there aren't things you can do to mitigate any of those risks, but it is possible. 

Also, I encourage you to think of ALL moms/dads as FT moms/dads (once you are a parent, you are a parent 24/7, regardless of what else you may be doing with some hours of your day, and that's true whether you work outside the home or not).  I'm also not sure that wanting kids, wanting to be home with them, etc. is "innate."  It may be innate in you, and you may find it impossible to fathom feeling any other way, and it may even be innate in many/most women, but it's not universally innate, and it's those kinds of words/phrases that seem innocent enough but can (completely unintentionally, I'm sure) offend/marginalize women like me, who feel differently, and who have made different choices, and yet still consider ourselves full-time and darned good mothers and women.

If you truly believe that women who work outside the home are somehow "less" of a parent than SAHMs, and that women who don't actually want to stay at home are unnatural, then please disregard everything I said.  :-)

Hey Gray Matter! Oh, well, I apologize if I rubbed you the wrong way, but I have strong beliefs for myself, yet understand there's not a one size fits all advice/rules for everyone. I accept that. I understand that not all moms feel innately motherly, nurturing, want to stay home, etc. Actually, I'm quite selfish. It's been a struggle to wonder myself about sacrificing you or parts of you for someone else. Anyways, I acknowledge that even if certain goals or expectations are met there can still be disappoints or change my mind kinda mentality because people are always evolving. With that, I also understand that people can regret their choices, etc. but I guess I just believe it's better to believe in something and if you conclude it's wrong/not right for you then you can go from there. I just think that's usually better than being complacent, but once again I realize life is not one size fits all and I respect people's opinions. As long as it doesn't negatively affect myself or other humans, people can do what they want as they should. :-) Thank you.

Oh, and as a random side note. Life is or can be scary. Society and even certain friends can "want it all", but I tend to be very observant. My personal conclusion it that it's very difficult to juggle all 3 roles but that's not to say that the majority of parents aren't and succeeding. I'm just no longer someone that feels I need to have everything because I've simplified my life and only want to focus on what I think matters to me. Yeah, in an ideal life that would happen, but realistically I'm sure I'll just be like everyone else (just going through life and what it throws at you, ideal or not), and I'll have to make it work.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 11:50:22 AM by MrsCoolCat »

Gray Matter

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2015, 12:20:18 PM »
Hey MrsCoolCat - Thank you for taking my comments in the spirit they were meant to be taken!  I wasn't really offended, as I assumed that wasn't your intention, but just wanted you to be aware how some of your phraseology might be interpreted by someone who has made different choices and might feel just the tiniest bit defensive.  :-)

I actually agree with you that it's impossible to "have it all," at least the way most of us envision it.  There are definite trade-offs no matter which route you go, and rewards and sacrifices no matter which route you go, and stress and joy, no matter which route you go.    I think it's great that you have a clear vision of what you want, and realize that simplification will get you more of what you want and less of what you don't want.  I have no doubt you'll find a way to make it work.


Lia-Aimee

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2015, 02:55:25 PM »
I'm gonna be Debbie Downer here, and recommend that you do not become a SAHP until you are FI and would remain FI if the worst was to happen to your husband. Depending on your profession, industry, and location, it can be very difficult to break back into the workforce after being out of it for more than a year. I work in HR and can't count the number of ex-SAHP's' I've met who were struggling to re-enter the workforce after personal situations changed.

Is there any way you could work very part-time, 5-10 hours a week?

greenshade

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #31 on: January 17, 2015, 05:16:59 PM »
I'm gonna be Debbie Downer here, and recommend that you do not become a SAHP until you are FI and would remain FI if the worst was to happen to your husband. Depending on your profession, industry, and location, it can be very difficult to break back into the workforce after being out of it for more than a year. I work in HR and can't count the number of ex-SAHP's' I've met who were struggling to re-enter the workforce after personal situations changed.

Is there any way you could work very part-time, 5-10 hours a week?

It's too bad I'm not  22 right now.  If that were the case, I could pay off the rest of my debt in 6-months and then enjoy a 60%+ savings rate. We could save and invest for the next 10 years and *then* have kids.

Oh well, I'm not 22 and I can't put off having children until FI, I would be in my 40's or 50's at that point.
I could also send the baby to daycare and maybe manage a 40% savings rate. This would also get me to FI in 22 years or so.  Life  is short and I will likely be dead in 50-70 years . I would rather have time with the baby and not have the stress of a two-career family.
I am going to reduce our spending as much as I can and look for part time work in emy field before I leave my current job. We will be ready for retirement at traditional age, but probably not FI in our 40's or 50's, that's life. If my situation in life changes I will adjust accordingly.

Mommyof2

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2015, 05:44:28 PM »
What about watching another baby with yours?  Could pull in $400-$500 a week.  I've got two 10 year olds and my sister has triplets, taking care of one more is definitely doable.

justajane

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2015, 06:15:48 PM »
I work in HR and can't count the number of ex-SAHP's' I've met who were struggling to re-enter the workforce after personal situations changed.

Is there any way you could work very part-time, 5-10 hours a week?

Can you provide more detail here? I'm really curious, because I often hear this from people. Did you hold their lack of recent employment against them? What would you suggest for SAHPs to make the transition easier and more successful?

At 37, I have the double whammy of having never actually had a real career. I was in graduate school for 10 years, had one kid while writing my dissertation, and then waddled across the stage 38 weeks pregnant to get my Ph.D. Since then I've been a SAHM and now have a third child who is 8 months. Throughout all this I have worked very part time for various companies doing freelance editing and writing, but to any employer it will be fairly obvious that I don't have much work history. I guess I'm doomed, even though I think I have great skills and many things to offer.

For any SAHP, I would certainly think that life insurance is in order on the working spouse (and of course the SAHP as well). This solves the "in the event of spousal death scenario" that people tout as a serious problem for those who leave the work force. It doesn't solve the issue of disability or divorce, but it's a start.

Lia-Aimee

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #34 on: January 17, 2015, 08:02:03 PM »
@Greenshade - sounds like you have a great handle on things, if you can get a part-time (or even volunteer) role in your field, you'll be set if circumstances ever change.

@Justajane - if I'm recruiting and I receive 100 resumes for one position, noticeable resume gaps 6 months +) will be quickly eliminated as well as resumes from people who live out of town, make spelling/grammar mistakes, have poor resume formats etc. This, of course, is far more applicable to junior roles than to those requiring a PhD.

The other obstacle is the hiring manager, who often works in concert with HR in the hiring process. If I suggest a candidate to a hiring manager, I have to convince him/her that the person will seamlessly integrate back into the working world, which in some cases can be a hard sell. 

Other general concerns that HR and managers have in regards to resume gaps is that work is not that person's #1 priority. We assume, often wrongly, that a person who doesn't need to work as demonstrated through the gap has priorities greater than work, is independently wealthy, or has health or substance abuse problems.

The key for anyone with a workforce gap is to hide this on the CV. In your case, I would recommend adding your freelancing like it were a full-time job - pick a business name for yourself. Something like this:

AMODERNSHAKESPEARE EDITING
Freelance Editor                            Date From-Present
-Provided proofreading and editing services to clients in government, oil & gas, and financial services. This included one Memorandum to Cabinet and five applications for environmental review..blah blah blah.

Suddenly you seem like more of a big deal. Of course, in an interview it might come out that this is your own business and you've done limited work, but hey, you're already in the interview.

If your editing isn't at all related to the field you'd like to work in, try to volunteer in your field of interest. Add it to your resume...just like you would a full-time job. (under the heading "professional experience" not "employment experience," obviously.) And it goes without saying to constantly network with people in your professional field.

Feel free to let me know if that wasn't clear; I'd be happy to take a look at your CV if you're job hunting now.

*Note: all my responses pertain to the corporate world, not sure how it would be in academia.

Siobhan

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2015, 08:03:37 PM »
One thing not noted...and for sure not looked at in depth in this post since most of it appears to be from SAHMs /SAHWs (power to you guys you rock)  BUT what does your HUSBAND think of your plan?  And not the, we talked about it, I told him this is what I want, and left it at that convo.  I mean, did you ask him what HE ACTUALLY thinks about supporting you (and future chalupa batmans), emotionally, financially, physically, and materially for the next 10-20 years, was this his dream as well?  Did you take into account HIS emotions, desires, and needs when you posted this?

mm1970

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #36 on: January 17, 2015, 08:24:31 PM »
Quote
Hey Gray Matter! Oh, well, I apologize if I rubbed you the wrong way, but I have strong beliefs for myself, yet understand there's not a one size fits all advice/rules for everyone. I accept that. I understand that not all moms feel innately motherly, nurturing, want to stay home, etc. Actually, I'm quite selfish. It's been a struggle to wonder myself about sacrificing you or parts of you for someone else. Anyways, I acknowledge that even if certain goals or expectations are met there can still be disappoints or change my mind kinda mentality because people are always evolving. With that, I also understand that people can regret their choices, etc. but I guess I just believe it's better to believe in something and if you conclude it's wrong/not right for you then you can go from there. I just think that's usually better than being complacent, but once again I realize life is not one size fits all and I respect people's opinions. As long as it doesn't negatively affect myself or other humans, people can do what they want as they should. :-) Thank you.

Oh, and as a random side note. Life is or can be scary. Society and even certain friends can "want it all", but I tend to be very observant. My personal conclusion it that it's very difficult to juggle all 3 roles but that's not to say that the majority of parents aren't and succeeding. I'm just no longer someone that feels I need to have everything because I've simplified my life and only want to focus on what I think matters to me. Yeah, in an ideal life that would happen, but realistically I'm sure I'll just be like everyone else (just going through life and what it throws at you, ideal or not), and I'll have to make it work.

For the record (I bolded  your quote) = NOT wanting to SAH DOESN'T mean you aren't nurturing or motherly.  I'm a hard-charging, type-A engineer who WOH, BUT I am still motherly and nurturing. 

It is, in fact, difficult to juggle all 3 roles BUT I think it's more society, not something innate.  I'm personally thrilled to be me, to be a mom of two boys (8 and 2), and to be an excellent engineer, manager, whatever.  BUT I find that work life, especially these days, is NOT so accepting of this combination.  I had a great boss (or two) for awhile that were happy to let me work reduced hours AND manage a group of 6 engineers while doing it!  But they are few and far between and these days, most seem to think that if you aren't interested in working 50 hours a week then you aren't a dedicated employee.

justajane

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2015, 07:57:22 AM »
@Justajane - if I'm recruiting and I receive 100 resumes for one position, noticeable resume gaps 6 months +) will be quickly eliminated as well as resumes from people who live out of town, make spelling/grammar mistakes, have poor resume formats etc. This, of course, is far more applicable to junior roles than to those requiring a PhD.

The other obstacle is the hiring manager, who often works in concert with HR in the hiring process. If I suggest a candidate to a hiring manager, I have to convince him/her that the person will seamlessly integrate back into the working world, which in some cases can be a hard sell. 

Other general concerns that HR and managers have in regards to resume gaps is that work is not that person's #1 priority. We assume, often wrongly, that a person who doesn't need to work as demonstrated through the gap has priorities greater than work, is independently wealthy, or has health or substance abuse problems.

The key for anyone with a workforce gap is to hide this on the CV. In your case, I would recommend adding your freelancing like it were a full-time job - pick a business name for yourself. Something like this:

AMODERNSHAKESPEARE EDITING
Freelance Editor                            Date From-Present
-Provided proofreading and editing services to clients in government, oil & gas, and financial services. This included one Memorandum to Cabinet and five applications for environmental review..blah blah blah.

Suddenly you seem like more of a big deal. Of course, in an interview it might come out that this is your own business and you've done limited work, but hey, you're already in the interview.

If your editing isn't at all related to the field you'd like to work in, try to volunteer in your field of interest. Add it to your resume...just like you would a full-time job. (under the heading "professional experience" not "employment experience," obviously.) And it goes without saying to constantly network with people in your professional field.

Feel free to let me know if that wasn't clear; I'd be happy to take a look at your CV if you're job hunting now.

*Note: all my responses pertain to the corporate world, not sure how it would be in academia.

Thanks so much! That's awesome advice for me or anyone else who is currently at home but wants to eventually enter the work force. You have confirmed my own perceptions. I have tried my hardest to not have much of a gap at all in my albeit paltry resume. I am not currently wanting to find a job, but some day it would likely be in business and not academia. In some respects, I might never do more than freelance from home, if circumstances allow. But I am acutely aware that life throws financial curve balls and want to be at least marginally positioned to get a job if I need to.

I must admit that it frustrates me that a 6 month gap would be so problematic. I can understand a year or more, but 6 months? This could affect not only parents but also children who might have to care for a dying relative or a health emergency. It seems pretty harsh. But I guess when so many resumes cross your desk, you have to find ways to whittle them down.

Lia-Aimee

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2015, 08:38:34 AM »
The best hack to eliminate the six-month + gap is to only list the years on your resume, not the months. :)

When I say 6 months it is a generalisation. Of course, if an ex Director of Finance is unemployed for 6 months after corporate restructuring, it'll seem much less odd than if a junior admin is. The reason for this being that in most markets, there are significantly more junior admin type positions than their are directors of finance. The other aspect that plays a role is the market: I live in a sub-5% unemployment rate area, so expectations for re entering the workforce are very different than if unemployment was at 5%.

Very true that it's unfair not just to parents, but also caregivers and those with illnesses etc. The problem with that is hiring managers and HR may fear that if someone took 6 months off to care for a sick relative, they may do it again, leaving us high & dry. (I find this fear is most prevalent in fast-paced, long-houred, male-dominated industries.)

A tip there is if you're on official parental leave or sick leave (meaning this leave is documented on your records at work,you didn't just quit) you can list your place of work as your "current" employer.

Winter's Tale

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2015, 09:29:20 AM »
Following this thread with interest.  I hope you'll forgive me sharing a bit about my own situation.  My husband and I both work FT and have an almost 1 year old.  When things are normal, all works well, as we have a great daycare that we think is wonderful for our babe.  However, when the baby, or we, or all of us get sick (which happens ALL the time), or when work surges and becomes incredibly demanding, it's really really hard.  I often think how much less hustle and rushing our life would involve if I was at home to take care of the baby (or future kiddos), cook meals, run errands, etc. during the week.  I feel that our time together as a family would be so much more relaxed and meaningful.

However, I am extremely hesitant to leave my job for a few reasons:

-Despite periods of intense activity, my job is challenging but quite predictable, schedule wise.  I also get generous vacation and holiday time (almost 8 weeks total during a year, which I think is pretty amazing for the US)

-I have built a reputation as a hard worker before I had the baby, so my bosses are understanding and flexible when I need to take time off unexpectedly to care for him. 

-I have heard from many that the first few years of daycare are the hardest when it comes to sickness.  If we can survive the next few years, things will be much better.  (But, devil's advocate: it's so hard when our little guy is sick because he only wants mom and can't even tell us what hurts.  At least a sick 5 year old can snuggle up at the grandparents and watch movies.  Right now, if the baby's sick, I'm really the only one who can care for him.)

But the most critical factor is not how we would make ends meet and maintain our savings during the few years I am home, but the opportunity cost of doing so.  Here are a few of the challenges I foresee:

-In my current job (administrative role in academia), college tuition for my children is paid for.  Yes, this is a long way off, but this is still an exceptionally valuable benefit that makes my employer a very attractive place.

-If I left, if I were able to be re-hired in some capacity down the road, I would expect that it would be at a much lower level than where I am today.  Additionally, part-time work would not be an option for the immediate future.  (Another person in my dept recently had a baby and asked about continuing in a part-time capacity.  She was told this was not an option.)

However, as I consider the points above, I wonder if this is simply me undervaluing my skill set and attractiveness to potential employers?  I have been with my current employer for most of my working career and have received several promotions.  Perhaps I'm guilty of thinking that the grass is greenest where I am and could never be as green somewhere else.  I have thought about applying for part-time opportunities now just to test the waters but would not want to waste time of a company that I might actually want to work for someday.

I would welcome thoughts and opinions on my musings.  OP, good luck to you in your decision, and please keep us posted!

Cassie

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #40 on: January 18, 2015, 12:05:24 PM »
After staying home for 12 years it took me about 4 months to find my first professional job & after that no problem at all.  Of course during some of that time I was attending & graduated from college.   No one seemed to think it was a big deal & most of my friends also returned to their field without a lot of difficulty. People that worked in the medical field found it the easiest & quickest way to return but all of us got back to where we were.

saywhatnot

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Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2015, 12:34:19 PM »
After staying home for 12 years it took me about 4 months to find my first professional job & after that no problem at all.  Of course during some of that time I was attending & graduated from college.   No one seemed to think it was a big deal & most of my friends also returned to their field without a lot of difficulty. People that worked in the medical field found it the easiest & quickest way to return but all of us got back to where we were.

I think for your situation it worked out because you were going to college but if you would have had a career before you stayed home it would be hard to say that after 12 years you are in the same place than someone that has been working for 12 years.

It also depends on your age.   Much easier when you are in your 20's than your 30's.

Cassie

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2015, 01:04:01 PM »
My other friends had careers before kids & went back with no problem. One quit at 25 & went back to her former profession within a month & she was 45.

saywhatnot

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2015, 06:05:33 PM »

My other friends had careers before kids & went back with no problem. One quit at 25 & went back to her former profession within a month & she was 45.

When you are saying the same place, do you mean they are making the same amount of money and advanced from where they were before they quit?

You can definitely go back to your profession, I could quit and go back to mine in 10 years but I highly doubt that I would be employed at a senior level.

LouLou

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #44 on: January 18, 2015, 09:08:15 PM »
A few thoughts:

1) People are focused on finances, because this is a finance forum, but make sure your marriage is in order! My mother stayed home when I was little. By the time I was five, my parents split up. My dad was a middle / lower-middle income earner at the time, so no big child support. Needless to say, I had a tough, terrible childhood. I truly wish my mother had made more money before she went SAH, or kept working part time, or something! I don't remember being a baby, but I remember the rest of it. That said, if my parents had a good relationship, it would have been fine.

2) Are you domestic? Do you like cooking, cleaning, crafts, organizing things, etc? My friends who are happy SAHMs enjoy having time to do those things. Plus you can make being frugal your "job." I had dinner with a SAHM friend who knows all the local grocery sales, and pretty cool free activities that happen during the day - she goes to a free women's tennis clinic (that provides childcare!) in the middle of the day at a fancy private club, for instance.

3) Someone brought up watching other kids for cash. Good be a good option when you are more comfortable with the child rearing situation.

4) Keep up to date in whatever field you are in, if you ever want to go back to it.

5) Don't judge yourself harshly. If you SAH and realize you miss working, that's okay. If you love staying at home, that's okay.   Life is too short to beat yourself up.

greenshade

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2015, 08:33:16 AM »


I just wanted to give one last reply, I will try to remember to update you all on what happens in a few months. I asked for guidance from this board because I share many of the same values as folks here and knew I would get thoughtful answers.  You all have definitely given me some things to think about.  As far as what my husband thinks, we have discussed it at length and the only factor holding us back is our finances. We know people who have had to borrow from parents or who have lots of credit card debt. But we are not those people and we already live well within our means. We don't buy things we can't afford (except college educations!).

 For the record, he was on board with having a baby as well, I don't make all of our decisions by myself!
We already believe we are well suited to the lifestyle for all of the reasons people typically mention.
We both like the idea of having a parent with our child full-time while they are young, it is the money side of it that needs to be squared away. If we truly can't afford it we won't do it, but I think I can make it work. And yes, I am fairly domestic, I daydream about going home to make granola and clean when I am bored at work.
Because he works regular hours I believe I will be able to find evening or weekend work and bring in 1k a month or so (conservatively). Right now I think I should make one last push to pay off these student loans for good, even though I would really like to save for a house...

As far as the SAHP re-entering the workforce discussion in this thread, for what it's worth, I am currently on a hiring team at work ( we screen resumes and interview candidates) and we interview  people with 5-10 year gaps all the time. Granted, these are closer to entry level positions (making 25-30k), but as long as the candidate meets the minimum requirements and has no spelling/grammar errors on their résumé, we will consider an interview. My mother was also a SAHM for about 25 years and was able to go back to college and then start an entirely new career in her late 40's. She will be retiring after about 15 years of a satisfying career.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2015, 08:37:55 AM »
Might be a relationship danger in asking your husband to work more hours while you stay home. Not that this is necessarily logical, but people have feelings. After a few months you'll be in a rhythm and when your baby isn't sick, your days will not be very hard. My wife worries all the time that I'll resent her since I work all day. I truly believe that this is the best thing for the child, and I don't resent her, but I get where she's coming from with her concern. Also, if your focus is on making enough money, your husband might be tempted/pushed to work more hours rather than come home and spend time with your baby, especially when the baby's very young and not as fun. That early-months baby-holding can't be recovered.

Meggslynn

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Re: Can I quit my job and be a SAHM
« Reply #47 on: January 19, 2015, 08:46:12 AM »
I believe that at the end of the day/life, etc. you will only regret what you didn't do/try, and I seriously doubt you can regret being a FT mom. It just seems so... innate.

(WARNING:  Thread Hijack)  MrsCoolCat -  I think you made many good points in your post, and I love how much you've thought out how you want to parent and are making plans to make it happen, and how supportive you are of the OP.  I offer the rest of this in the spirit of of openness, trying to be helpful, and sisterhood...

I invite you to question the beliefs quoted above.  It is absolutely possible to regret staying home with kids (I know several women--felt like they lost their identity, life circumstances changed and they needed to get back into the workforce and found it difficult, years of lost career growth, isolation and depression and after the fact thinking their children would have actually been better off in daycare).  I'm not saying it's common, and I'm not saying there aren't things you can do to mitigate any of those risks, but it is possible. 

Also, I encourage you to think of ALL moms/dads as FT moms/dads (once you are a parent, you are a parent 24/7, regardless of what else you may be doing with some hours of your day, and that's true whether you work outside the home or not).  I'm also not sure that wanting kids, wanting to be home with them, etc. is "innate."  It may be innate in you, and you may find it impossible to fathom feeling any other way, and it may even be innate in many/most women, but it's not universally innate, and it's those kinds of words/phrases that seem innocent enough but can (completely unintentionally, I'm sure) offend/marginalize women like me, who feel differently, and who have made different choices, and yet still consider ourselves full-time and darned good mothers and women.

If you truly believe that women who work outside the home are somehow "less" of a parent than SAHMs, and that women who don't actually want to stay at home are unnatural, then please disregard everything I said.  :-)

To the OP--congratulations!  What an exciting, marvelous journey you are on.  You sound well-suited to being a SAHM (introverted, not getting much intrinsic value from work outside the home, and desiring to be home with the baby), so I think you should do absolutely everything you can to make that possible, while also keeping your options open.  That's actually my advice for all moms--keep your options open as much as possible, because it's difficult to predict with 100% accuracy how you're going to feel, and your feelings or circumstances can change over time.  So for working moms, that means don't build your lifestyle up to the point where it requires two full-time jobs to support, and for SAHMs, that means intentionally keeping your skills and relationships/networks current in case you need to, or want to, go back to work.

In an ideal world, there would be lots of support and options for all parents, to work full-time or part-time outside the home or not, to do paid work from home or not, to enter and exit the workforce as it suits their family's needs.  We're not great as a society at doing that, so it's up to us as individuals to try to keep as many options open as possible and seek the support wherever we can.  You've gotten great advice and support on this thread, and one of the awesome things about Mustachianism is that it shows us we can actually live on less than we may have previously thought, thereby providing options.  It's pretty darned cool.   Good luck with your decision!

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