Author Topic: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom  (Read 12758 times)

BriArrange

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New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« on: June 09, 2015, 02:55:03 PM »
Hey all Mustachians! Wasn't sure where the best place was to ask this question, but I'm hoping I could get some well needed advice. My DH and I are expecting our first child in September, and I would really love to be a stay at home mom. It has always been my dream "job." But, I don't know how realistic it is for me to do so.

Our current Financial Situation:
 I am currently working part time (25 hours a week) making about $1000 a month (no benefits or retirement plans with this position.) If I were to continue this job, at the schedule and rate that I am at now, we would be breaking even with childcare and commuting costs. Unfortuantely, there is no family/friends that live close to us for a discounted rate on childcare.  I recently had a interview with a company closer to home (3 miles from our house). I would be working full time as a Project Coordinator, making $14.50 an hour at 40 hours a week (~30,000 a year before taxes). This position also includes vacation, sick leave, 401K and EOPS plans and a 6 week unpaid maternity leave. I just don't know if I would enjoy it that much and only having 6 weeks maternity leave doesn't make it any better. My currently part time job would allow me to have as much time off as I want up to 14 weeks (unpaid) if I stay working with them.

My husband makes $53,000 a year in his full time job along with an extra ~15,000 - 20,000 a year in farming (depends on how well the crops are each year that it varies).

Monthly Expenses and savings:
Mortgage 1,300 on a ten year mortgage at 3.9% (118,000 left to pay on a 127,200 loan)
Electric: ~50.00
Propane: ~100.00
Fuel: ~150.00
Phones: 90.00 (switching to republic wireless once contracts are up in August)
Health Insurance: 250.00
Groceries (including eating out): ~175.00
Dog: 30.00
Student Loan: 60.00 (5,500 left to pay at 2.9%)
General Savings: 200.00
HSA Account: 50.00
Husband's 401K: 200.00 (would love to contribute more, but this is what we are contributing currently - has about $3,000 in the account as husband recently started the job.)
Tithes and Offerings: 100.00 (this is something we don't not want to dwindle or exclude, it is very important to the both of us and wish we could do more.)
Sinking Fund: 300.00 (Car insurance, maintainence, property taxes, christmas/birthday gifts, etc.)
I also set up a Roth IRA for myself (it currently only has $100 in it), but will be contributing to it when DH is paid from farming as he is only paid twice a year for his farm work. We plan to contibute the max amount.

We don't have cable tv or internet and we barely go out or do anything for entertaining that cost money.

I should also clarify that there aren't very many job oppurtnities where we live without commuting over 30 minutes one way. That is why I interviewed for this position and was interested in it, it is also a great company to work far as I am told.

So with knowing all of this, what would you do in my situation. Accept the full time job that you know you wouldn't really like, but help out alot financially? Or, be a stay at home and make it work because it has always been my dream? Thank you in advance. Please, let me know if you need anymore information.




« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 03:11:15 PM by BriArrange »

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2015, 03:34:20 PM »
With the caveat that I have no big desire for kids nor any desire to be a SAHM -

I would work.  Even if you barely break even.  I've said this on many threads but I think every adult needs the ability to financially support them-self and their kids - without a spouse - if need be.

Sh*t happens.  Your husband could die, become disabled, leave you, you never know.  Yeah, there is insurance and alimony but if he doesn't pay it, good luck chasing it.  Also, if you don't want to a SAHM for life, it is a lot harder to break back in after a few years out.  This is just my two cents.

If, however, you wouldn't be making a wage you could live on anyway and you aren't leaving a good stable job to stay at home, that is a different story.

SJS

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2015, 04:20:41 PM »
If you really want to be a SAHM, there are many ways you can still make money while being home.  What talents do you have?  Check out Etsy - so many make/sell things.  I know a gal who has 3 kids and is a SAHM who sells on Ebay and loves it.  You could watch a few other kids at your home and make $ that way.  I am of the thinking "where there's a will, there's a way!"  Good luck!

Chrissy

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2015, 05:12:45 PM »
I would work.  Even if you barely break even.  I've said this on many threads but I think every adult needs the ability to financially support them-self and their kids - without a spouse - if need be.

Sh*t happens.  Your husband could die, become disabled, leave you, you never know.  Yeah, there is insurance and alimony but if he doesn't pay it, good luck chasing it.  Also, if you don't want to a SAHM for life, it is a lot harder to break back in after a few years out.  This is just my two cents.

This is exactly the advice my grandmother gave to my mother in 1957, and the advice my mother gave to me in 1992, and it's still good today.  However, you're expecting your first child, and the new job would only provide 6 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.  (Once you work for them a year, they might have to give you 12 weeks:  http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2013/04/04/6-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-family-and-medical-leave-act)

I have your expenses, sinking fund & tithing at $2,605/mo, and your savings at $450/mo reliably.  Does this seem right to you?  The problem I have is, you're bringing home $1,000/mo right now, but you're only saving $450/mo.  If you quit, won't your family be in the hole $550 each month indefinitely?  If you need childcare, as least you'll only be negative for a finite period of time.  I think there's a leak in your budget somewhere.

You didn't list any assets, so I assume you don't have any... and that creates another problem:  $450/mo is probably the bare minimum for you both to retire with full Social Security benefits.

I suggest you keep your current job through the birth of your child, then pursue higher paying work.

Insanity

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2015, 06:31:35 PM »
Just remember, you can always change your mind in either case.  My wife started out as a working mom.  Our daughter caught pneumonia and every other illness.  So, my wife stopped working and became a SAHM. 

They both have their challenges.  And they both impact financials.  The real decision lies in the heart, not the head in this case.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2015, 06:45:41 PM »
As someone else mentioned, what's missing from this picture is net worth.  If you are 10% to FI the considerations are a lot different than being 90% to FI.

Kiwi Mustache

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2015, 07:29:58 PM »
It has always been my dream "job." But, I don't know how realistic it is for me to do so.

Accept the full time job that you know you wouldn't really like, but help out alot financially?

Or, be a stay at home and make it work because it has always been my dream?

Who cares about money if you would be miserable?

I'd rather be broke and living my dream than well off and be bitter about it.

Another way to look at it is pretend you are 10 years older and writing a letter to your younger self. Would you regret not at least trying to be a stay at home mum? Or yet another way, pretend a sister, cousin or close friend came to your for advice on this same situation. What advice would you give her?

I went through a similar scenario when I went through a break up with my partner for 6 years. I wrote a letter to myself pretending I was 10 years into the future. I also wrote a letter (kept it to myself) pretending my brother was in the same situation. I basically made up my mind then and there through doing this exercise on what I wanted to do.

One of the reasons I'm saving hard, being frugal etc as it was always my goal for my ex-partner or now future partner to be able to be a stay at home mum if she wanted to do it. This is quite a big thing for me as my mum was stay at home until I was 6 years old with my brother and sister and we all have a really strong bond with her. However, there are new mothers at my current workplace and they have gone straight back into work because they got really bored and didn't have social interaction being at home.

In this case, it really isn't about the money. It is about what YOU want!

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2015, 07:31:02 PM »
... I am currently working part time (25 hours a week) making about $1000 a month (no benefits or retirement plans with this position.) If I were to continue this job, at the schedule and rate that I am at now, we would be breaking even with childcare and commuting costs... Or be a stay at home and make it work because it has always been my dream?...

If it's a choice between the part-time job that nets you nothing and the staying-at-home situation that's always been your dream, how can you even pose the question?  I would take the plunge and then search for something you can do from home, compatibly with being a SAHM, that will earn you some money.  You'll find something.

Good luck.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2015, 07:41:55 PM »
$70,000 (husband's salary + farming) is an excellent yearly income. You can make your situation work.

Mirwen

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2015, 08:07:25 PM »
I decided to stay home when I became pregnant with my first child.  We went from two income at about $65k/year to $35k per year.  I had no idea how we were going to pay the bills but we did.  While I was at home I really contributed to the family finances a lot more than I thought I would. I had the time to analyze every purchase and find the best deal.  I had more time to repair things and learn new skills.  I also earned some money from time to time with special projects or selling things on eBay or Craigslist.  Every meal was home-cooked.

I've been out of the workforce for about 7 years.  Aside from my SAHM duties I also went back to school and finished my degree, I volunteered, and I occasionally worked part time jobs when I wanted to.  I just got a job offer for a much better job than any I've had before and I'm reentering the workforce in August.  After so many years I've just gotten bored and want other challenges.  The hardest part of returning to work was finding references.  It's important to keep in touch with old supervisors and find some volunteer activity (church work counts too) to keep your resume and reference list current.

If you want to stay at home, do it!  It will all work out.  You don't seem to have any huge bills, but I would consider refinancing the house to lower payments.  You can always put more in if you find extra.  Don't forget your taxes will be lower with lower income and the child tax credit and extra deduction will help too.

mcneally

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2015, 09:28:58 PM »
If OP had more career trajectory, I'd say it could possibly make sense to work for next to nothing (after daycare expenses) to prevent a gap in her resume and loss of skills, but that doesn't really seem to be her position. If you want to make being a SAHM a more financially savvy move, you can look into doing daycare for one other person's kid. Surely even in a less populated area you can find at least one kid to look after for slightly less than more commercial operations.

hodedofome

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2015, 09:55:13 PM »
You won't regret staying home with your kids. You may or may not regret working. But I don't see how you could look back and wish you had spent less time with your kids.


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mrsggrowsveg

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2015, 07:26:24 AM »
My concern with the idea of staying home would be if you could even break even while staying home.  Like a previous poster said, you aren't saving much right now with two incomes and you could end up in the red.  Your budget could be missing some things.  Are you really spending $175 per month on groceries?  I would expect this to increase with children.  There is also the possibility that you would need to add formula and diapers to this amount.  Also, do you do any spending on clothing or entertainment?  Also are there any farm expenses?  Will you need any new equipment or fencing in the future?  What is your husbands take home pay monthly?  That would be helpful in determining if this could work.  I really think it could work if you have a realistic budget. 

I am going to be staying home after the birth of our second child and my husband has a similar income and mortgage payment.  We actually are spending more per month than you have recorded and also live on a farm.  We have been living off one income for more than a year and saving/paying off student loans with the other.  That is why I am wondering if this is true spending and what the take home is.

Insanity

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2015, 07:35:59 AM »

You won't regret staying home with your kids. You may or may not regret working. But I don't see how you could look back and wish you had spent less time with your kids.


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It isn't about spending less time with the kids though. 

My wife was set on a career and wound up a SAHM.  She loves the kids.  Enjoys spending time with them. But she doesn't have the adult interaction and also struggles with some identity issues.   That struggle has led to issues in our marriage and how she deals with the kids at times. 

Does she love watching the kids  "first"?  Absolutely.  But how much different might things be if she had her career, adult interaction, and more of a self identity?  She might regret that is a SAHM because of that.

little_brown_dog

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2015, 07:48:50 AM »
We are also considering the SAHM route once our baby arrives in October. I want to echo the concerns regarding gaps in the budget. While being a SAHM may be a dream, that dream could easily turn into a nightmare if you find you can't pay your bills with a young infant in tow. From what I've read, it seems like a stay at home spouse can be a great thing in a marriage provided the family is financially stable. The last thing you need while trying to care for a young infant is money stress and marital strain caused by that stress.

A good test will be to see if you can save all or almost all of your 1000 income over the next couple of months. This will be proof that his income can cover the current bills and still save a little bit.  You want those savings though - babies always bring increased expenses, even if you are a frugal person already. If it works out, you will be able to make a very educated decision on the matter. If not, you know what you are up against now instead of after you take the leap.  We started living off my husband's income last fall and we were so surprised at how much I was still paying for despite the fact that we were consciously trying not to dip into my income for anything other than my gas costs and student loans. It was an eye opening experience and I'd definitely recommend trying it out before anyone makes the SAHM jump.

Dicey

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2015, 07:53:30 AM »
Amy Dacyczyn covered this topic thoroughly in her famous Tightwad Gazette series. Request the big blue book, which is a compilation of all three books, from your library today. It's a little dated now, but the underlying details and her story are rock solid. I'm not a fan of Amazon, but here's a quick link so you can get the right edition. I volunteer at the library booksales, and this title rarely comes up because people hang on to it. It's absolutely worth buying. In my pre-FIRE days, I did a no-spend month every Feb. and re-read the BBB for inspiration.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Tightwad-Gazette-Dacyczyn/dp/0375752250
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 11:11:34 AM by Diane C »

acroy

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2015, 08:16:57 AM »
Recommend SAHM!
- DH makes plenty of $$; so the $$ is not 'needed'
- only get the chance once to be a SAHM. Maximize it! seriously, what's a better calling than to be a kickass mom?
- if you commit to being a SAHM, be sure to be a kickass SAHM! it's easy to focus on the negatives; it'll ruin your life and DH's life. Kickass at it.
- Ensure you have other stuff to keep you busy as well. There's a ton of ideas for it: etsy, volunteering, etc. Some make some $$, some do not. It has NEVER been easier to make some $$ while a SAHM thanks to the Internet.
- Come up with a plan with DH, and stick to it! Treat SAHM as a job (which it is). Schedule things, stick to it, review progress (good and bad) with DH on a periodic basis.

My own experience:
- I work FT for Coporate America. DW is SAHM and teacher for the 6 mini-staches.
- DW instructs at local gym and does some sewing projects for $. Not much $$, but more than 0. It's more for hobby/adult interaction/etc
- The DW is a kickass lady
- DW and I built this plan before we were married and continue to refine it. Yes it has challenges, high and low spots. It's life. It could be better. It could be a lot worse. We are very happy. ymmv!!

Meggslynn

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2015, 08:24:40 AM »
Mostly everyone here has good tips.

I would like to add to keep in mind that your dream may be to be a SAHM but that all could change. I have seen first hand many women change their minds once baby arrives. Women who were hell bent on staying home decided they were lonely, it was too hard, or something happened to hubby and they went back to work. Then on the other side I have seen women hell bent on going back to work and ended up staying home.

Good Luck.

MayDay

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2015, 08:26:39 AM »
Many, many, many SAHM that I know, including myself, went back to work after kid 1, then stayed home after kid 2.  Why?

1.  Typically you can cover daycare for 1 kid with your salary and still have some left over.  Less true after kid 2.
2.  Less of a gap in your resume when you do eventually want to go back (DO NOT assume you will never go back!)
3.  Really newborns are blobs and it isn't all that fun for many people to be home alone with one all day. 

Going back to work is hard.  No way around it.  But I would suggest trying the new job, and going back to work.  If it is really and utter and total disaster, you aren't committed to it forever.  And you may very well find you enjoy the adult interaction and conversation, and the break from being on 24/7 call to the baby. 

lakemom

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2015, 09:05:40 AM »
This is an emotional decision more than a financial one.  If you want to stay home DO IT!  No matter what decisions you make in the future regarding work/stay home, you can never have back those early months/years of a child's life when they are wholly dependent on you.  Yes you can decide to stay home later and Yes you can decide to go to work later.  BUT if your dream has always been to stay at home with your children, give it a chance first.  If you hate it, or find that you just can't make ends meet then you can brush up the resume and start job hunting or find a side gig you can operate around your spouse's and children's schedule.  But coming from a mother of 6 whose been mostly a stay at home/work at/from home mom for 30 years, those early childhood years are priceless and irretrievable and as they move into upper elementary and beyond, they leave you a lot of daytime hours free to pursue other interests and avenues for income.  Be on the same page as your spouse, find a support network of like thinkers and do what your heart tells you to do.

MustacheNY

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2015, 10:12:06 AM »
Seems like you are trying to decide between 3 options.

1. Stay at current part-time job: $1,000/month plus daycare and additional costs of ~1,000/month is working for free.  You also gain very little in the means of career growth, income growth, or additional marketable work experience, meaning you will likely stay at this $1,000/month forever


2. Take a new full-time career job: $30,000/year, plus a career that will hopefully give you opportunity for salary and career growth, plus marketable work experience to pursue different opportunities down the road. Subtract $1,000/ month for childcare expenses, and you still are pulling in over $1000 a month net. Great opportunity to max out your 401K plan at your new work and save a lot of money tax deductible tax deferred.

3.  SAHM:  Great opportunity to be present for your children, and to enjoy all of the priceless and fulfilling moments of your children's lives.  However, some things to take into consideration with this option is that your husband has a new job and it is not clear how stable you feel his job or income is.  The farm income is also not stable and could easily have a year or so where it does not work out.  It looks like with his income and your budget (if accurate), should allow you to pay all your bills and still save money with you staying at home. 

If you feel confident enough in your husband's career and the reliability of the farm income going forward, you probably could afford to be a stay at home mom and still accumulate savings.  If you and your husband together decide that the extra savings of you working can shave over 15 years or so off of your retirement date, and that this outweighs the benefits of you staying at home, you could do that as well.  You are very fortunate to be in a situation where you have a choice.  I will actually make a 4th option.

4. Stay at home for the next 4-5 years or so, and maybe try to scrounge up little part-time work here and there (home daycare, work online, phone work from home, etc.-be creative). Anything you can do to keep your skills somewhat sharp.  After your kids start school, there is less need to stay home, since they will be at school most of the day, and you could return to either a full-time career or a part-time job.  Additionally, after 5 years or so your husband's income should have grown much faster than your expenses, leaving you a nice saving rate that does not justify the sacrifice of you having to pursue a career if it is something you do not choose to do.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2015, 10:14:20 AM »
You won't regret staying home with your kids. You may or may not regret working. But I don't see how you could look back and wish you had spent less time with your kids.


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If I found myself without health insurance and foreclosed from my home, on a long waiting list for section 8 housing, feeding my kids with food stamps, I would certainly regret that I stayed home with them rather than ensuring I had the financial means to provide for them and myself.

If you do stay home, insist that your name be on all bank accounts.  Review your family finances frequently, yourself.  Don't just believe what your husband tells you is there. Consider (with him in agreement) putting a portion of your savings (if you have any) in an account in just your name for "worst case scenarios." If he died, that account wouldn't be tied up in probate.  If he left, he couldn't empty it.  If you had to leave, you could rent a place.

I am not a woman scorned.  I'm very happily married, as are my parents and in-laws.  However, in my line of work I have seen all of the worst case scenarios and they aren't pretty.  They include living off of a spouse's six figure income to living in a homeless shelter with kids.  You may know your spouse but there are so many reasons a person can change.  With surprising frequency, it's an unknown brain tumor that turns them into a different person.

ETA: I notice that many, but of course not all, of the people saying "follow your dream!" are men.  To those men, if your wife asked you to be a stay at home dad while she worked full time for the next ten years, would you do it?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2015, 10:35:49 AM »
To those men, if your wife asked you to be a stay at home dad while she worked full time for the next ten years, would you do it?

Yes.

GFPchicken

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2015, 01:24:33 PM »
I was planning on going back to work/school originally (planned on my husband being at home and/or working from home), but now I'm a SAHM. Once my daughter was born, I realized I didn't want to leave her. I think this happens to a lot of people who originally plan to go back to work.

Re: the person who thinks everyone should work... living your life thinking a tragedy like your husband's death is just around the corner is both unreasonable and a great way of making yourself miserable.

You say that you don't have any family nearby, and job opportunities in your area are scarce. So why do you live there? Could you move somewhere close to family and/or somewhere your husband would be able to get paid more?

I second the suggestion of looking into ways to make money from home. Being here to raise my daughter is invaluable, but my husband does bring home a software engineer salary, so the extra $40k I could make never bothered me. It seems like your situation is not bad at all, since with farming your husband makes ~70k a year. Given this is a rural area, a lot of things are probably cheaper than normal, too. Also, having a farm means you can produce most of your own food, drastically cutting grocery bills.

Something you didn't mention: how does your husband feel about you staying at home? Make sure you are on the same page, otherwise it can be a breeding ground for resentment.

Chrissy

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2015, 01:31:22 PM »
Y'all, let's look at the math again...

Husband's take home is ~$3,125/mo from the new, FT job.  Wife's take home is $1,000/mo from her part-time job.  Total jobby-job income of ~$4,125/mo.

Husband's side gig brings home ~$13,080/yr on average, and they plan to finance ROTHs out of this, to the tune of $11,000/yr.  The remaining works out to ~$173/mo.  All total income:  $4,298/mo.

Expenses are $2,605/mo and savings are $450/mo:  $3,055/mo total listed outflow.

On a website whose main theme is that being a financial badass can lead you to a great lifestyle, I'm shocked that no one else sees the $1,243/mo hole here!  OP asked if, in her position, we would stay at home and make it work because it's "the dream".  I'm pretty sure we would all run the numbers, and conclude that it's not possible to "make it work" by losing $1,000/mo in employment while another $1,243/mo goes to hookers and blow.

BriArrange, facepunch for working part-time with no children, yet not taking the time to get a handle on your finances.  If you can find that missing $1,243/mo, by all means, stay home with your kids.  You have time to dig into this before the baby comes.  Try Mint.com or You Need A Budget to get you on track. 
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 07:53:59 PM by Chrissy »

pbkmaine

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2015, 02:10:01 PM »
What Chrissy Said. If you decide to be a SAHM, make your it your job to become a black belt at saving money. Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad Gazette book is a great resource, as is The Prudent Homemaker's blog and The Non-Consumer Advocate's blog and Facebook page.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2015, 11:18:36 AM »
I would not work just to break even. You lose way to much of your child's life, and if you are not actually making any money- for what?  Is it a career you could not come back to if you left it? I don't want to judge, but $1,000 a month- it seems like this is the type of job that you could get even if you were not working for awhile.
(And get life insurance on your family's income earner! That takes care of "what if your spouse died" scenario.)

However, if you want to work to add money to your family budget, perhaps you could get a job at a daycare (if they allow a benefit of enrolling a child without cost- some do, some do not.)  I made $11/hour as a lead teacher at a daycare about 10 years ago. So that is about the same wage you make now, but with 40 hour weeks, that is more than the $1,000 you currently make.  This only works if you find employment somewhere that you don't have to also pay for daycare.

The best scenario would be for you to get the new job that pays $30k.

« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 12:48:49 PM by iowajes »

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2015, 12:19:43 PM »
Quote
To those men, if your wife asked you to be a stay at home dad while she worked full time for the next ten years, would you do it?

This.  It makes me somewhat uncomfortable when men (who did not stay home with their kids) talk about how meaningful staying home with your children is, how it is more meaningful than working, maybe the most meaningful thing you can do when you have kids, and you can't regret it.  Because ... these are people who decided to work, not stay at home.  Whatever the sacrifice/meaning involved in the decision, you did not make it.  So clearly something stopped you - maybe it's an obvious case of both partners wanting to stay home, and the one with the lower income doing so.  But I'll bet that it's not quite so equal, nor was everyone quite so willing to give up the stability of a paycheck, the autonomy that comes from being able to support yourself.

I personally am not interested in staying home with future children (unless it's because we're FI), but I want the women who truly want to do so to be able to, and to be respected for their choice.  And yet, I have concerns about the system - if the lower earner is the default stay-at-home spouse, for many reasons that role falls on women.  And in the case of death, divorce, or disability of earner, women are usually left in a worse position.  While you may be gaining a lot (maybe immeasurable benefits) from staying home with kids, you are giving up a lot, especially when it comes to financial security.  So this should all be discussed, and everyone should go into the decision to stay at home with open eyes.

OP, (as Chrissy already mentioned) - you clearly don't have a grasp of what exactly you spend, for if your numbers were correct, you would have much more saved up.  Track everything (on mint, personal capital, basic spreadsheet, YNAB, or some combo).  You salary does seem in line with what low-skilled jobs would pay -- I think I made half of that working VERY part-time at a coffee shop during high school.  So maybe you're not losing out on a potential future career trajectory.  But if you stay home, you really need to buckle down and track every bit of spending.  Probably the best course of action is to plan to keep your part-time job, enjoy the maternity leave you're offered, and then re-evaluate, now having extensive data on what you spend.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2015, 02:16:50 PM »
Chrissy brings up very good points about the math here. Without clarity there, you can't possibly make the decision.

I'll add another question: what kind of farm do you have? Any way to increase farm income?

I'm a male SAHP and enjoy it, FWIW. Another book I'd recommend is "Radical Homemakers".

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2015, 04:54:54 PM »
Quote
To those men, if your wife asked you to be a stay at home dad while she worked full time for the next ten years, would you do it?

This.  It makes me somewhat uncomfortable when men (who did not stay home with their kids) talk about how meaningful staying home with your children is, how it is more meaningful than working, maybe the most meaningful thing you can do when you have kids, and you can't regret it.  Because ... these are people who decided to work, not stay at home.  Whatever the sacrifice/meaning involved in the decision, you did not make it.  So clearly something stopped you - maybe it's an obvious case of both partners wanting to stay home, and the one with the lower income doing so.  But I'll bet that it's not quite so equal, nor was everyone quite so willing to give up the stability of a paycheck, the autonomy that comes from being able to support yourself.

I personally am not interested in staying home with future children (unless it's because we're FI), but I want the women who truly want to do so to be able to, and to be respected for their choice.  And yet, I have concerns about the system - if the lower earner is the default stay-at-home spouse, for many reasons that role falls on women.  And in the case of death, divorce, or disability of earner, women are usually left in a worse position.  While you may be gaining a lot (maybe immeasurable benefits) from staying home with kids, you are giving up a lot, especially when it comes to financial security.  So this should all be discussed, and everyone should go into the decision to stay at home with open eyes.


+1. Don't forget too that a working spouse benefits from the expectation that the stay-at-home spouse will handle almost all of the housework and childcare. That's a potent reason why a working spouse might push for a stay-at-home spouse.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2015, 06:30:19 PM »
Quote
To those men, if your wife asked you to be a stay at home dad while she worked full time for the next ten years, would you do it?

This.  It makes me somewhat uncomfortable when men (who did not stay home with their kids) talk about how meaningful staying home with your children is, how it is more meaningful than working, maybe the most meaningful thing you can do when you have kids, and you can't regret it.  Because ... these are people who decided to work, not stay at home.  Whatever the sacrifice/meaning involved in the decision, you did not make it.  So clearly something stopped you - maybe it's an obvious case of both partners wanting to stay home, and the one with the lower income doing so.  But I'll bet that it's not quite so equal, nor was everyone quite so willing to give up the stability of a paycheck, the autonomy that comes from being able to support yourself.

I personally am not interested in staying home with future children (unless it's because we're FI), but I want the women who truly want to do so to be able to, and to be respected for their choice.  And yet, I have concerns about the system - if the lower earner is the default stay-at-home spouse, for many reasons that role falls on women.  And in the case of death, divorce, or disability of earner, women are usually left in a worse position.  While you may be gaining a lot (maybe immeasurable benefits) from staying home with kids, you are giving up a lot, especially when it comes to financial security.  So this should all be discussed, and everyone should go into the decision to stay at home with open eyes.


+1. Don't forget too that a working spouse benefits from the expectation that the stay-at-home spouse will handle almost all of the housework and childcare. That's a potent reason why a working spouse might push for a stay-at-home spouse.

I know that's why MY husband is pushing it.  He knows his life will be a lot easier and less chaotic if I SAH.  We have this discussion on a daily basis.  I ask him to think about how he would feel about staying at home with two toddlers.  Then I tell him that how he feels is exactly how I feel.   Not that that stops him from asking.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2015, 07:19:06 PM »
... I notice that many, but of course not all, of the people saying "follow your dream!" are men.  To those men, if your wife asked you to be a stay at home dad while she worked full time for the next ten years, would you do it?

But that's not the situation, is it?  The OP wants to be a SAHM.  It's her dream.  No one is asking her to do it.

Lighten up, sis!!

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2015, 10:45:48 PM »
ETA: I notice that many, but of course not all, of the people saying "follow your dream!" are men.  To those men, if your wife asked you to be a stay at home dad while she worked full time for the next ten years, would you do it?

Absolutely.*

*If my wife earned enough to support us and children. She doesn't, so it's moot.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2015, 11:19:41 PM »

ETA: I notice that many, but of course not all, of the people saying "follow your dream!" are men.  To those men, if your wife asked you to be a stay at home dad while she worked full time for the next ten years, would you do it?

My wife and I work at the same school for the same amount and have agreed on many occasions that I would become the SAHD. I understand where the question comes from, but others have already spoken up about OP position and other factors. Given the nature of this site, we looked at the fact that for every birth, my wife gets 6 weeks paid and 6 weeks unpaid maternity leave; I get none. The benefits to her working far outweigh mine at the same payscale. Plus, while our house might not be as clean as if she were to stay home, I have a greater opportunity to make money doing side gigs for various reasons.

So, yes, I would demand that I stay at home while she works full-time on principal of financial best-interest. And, I wouldn't suppose that hurts my ability to take care of my kids if she were to leave me or die. Because most people should have a plan in place for "worst-case scenarios," again, I see your points. I would hope most people on this site know how to plan for the future whatever it may bring by being both optimistic and realistic.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2015, 02:19:04 AM »
... I notice that many, but of course not all, of the people saying "follow your dream!" are men.  To those men, if your wife asked you to be a stay at home dad while she worked full time for the next ten years, would you do it?

But that's not the situation, is it?  The OP wants to be a SAHM.  It's her dream.  No one is asking her to do it.

Lighten up, sis!!

god, this is exhausting.

Wanting to do something doesn't make it the right decision. I'm not saying OP's decision is or isn't the right one. But Blonde Lawyer is trying to point out niceties that OP hasn't mentioned, and I don't believe that deserves a "lighten up sis" dismissal. Whose "sis" are you, exactly?

[edited: clarity]
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 04:16:50 PM by Cressida »

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2015, 02:29:45 AM »
SAHM here.  I say if you want to do it, go ahead and try it!  Do get more of a handle on your family's finances and see where you can cut back and how you might make some money yourself.  There are things you can do from home, babysitting being the most obvious.  But maybe also some online work.  There are various ways to make it work.  And if you change your mind you can start looking for work again.  I think the 'resume gap' thing is a non-issue for you because you're not a typical career woman.  Anyway, that's a shitty reason to stay at a job where you barely break even and someone else watches your kid all day.  It's absolutely true you never get these years back and I have a feeling you won't find it a bit boring since you're already looking forward to it.

Insanity

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2015, 05:41:40 AM »

ETA: I notice that many, but of course not all, of the people saying "follow your dream!" are men.  To those men, if your wife asked you to be a stay at home dad while she worked full time for the next ten years, would you do it?

Absolutely.*

*If my wife earned enough to support us and children. She doesn't, so it's moot.

Exactly.  If she wants me to SAH and still wants our lifestyle, then she has to earn enough to compensate for the loss of income.

When my wife wanted to stay at home, we ha to cut back even with just my income.  If she wanted me to stay at home (and I offered as I could do things remotely to bring in something), she needed to earn more.

When this happens, there is a period of resentment.  She felt like she was being forced into it given that we needed to have a SAHP.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2015, 08:09:53 AM »
I actually know quite a few young dads who would be willing to try their hand at being a SAHP. The problem is they make significantly more money than their wives (and/or have more stable jobs with benefits) so staying home is not an option for them. In fact, a few of them are a little jealous of their wives not because they think being a SAHP is easy, but because at least their wives get to know what it is like to walk both paths: work full time/have a career and be a SAHP. The husbands feel like they dont have the option of knowing anything but path #1. 

I think there is also a huge difference between someone who just wants to stay home to be with the kids, and someone who wants to build a home centered life with children. To me, the first is more at risk for housewives syndrome (boredom and depression) because the sole purpose of being home is to care for kids and pick-up the house. For those people who have a passion for domesticity and DIY through crafting, sewing, baking, gardening, natural healing, keeping livestock, etc. staying at home is likely to be much more personally fulfilling. Id caution any person considering the SAHP route to really ask themselves what they will find satisfying about being home if there are multiple avenues for fulfillment they are probably making a good choice provided the financial piece checks out. If they think all they want to do is care for the baby all day, they may find that they really need other sources of enrichment.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2015, 08:31:12 AM »
I think there is also a huge difference between someone who just wants to stay home to be with the kids, and someone who wants to build a home centered life with children. To me, the first is more at risk for housewives syndrome (boredom and depression) because the sole purpose of being home is to care for kids and pick-up the house. For those people who have a passion for domesticity and DIY through crafting, sewing, baking, gardening, natural healing, keeping livestock, etc. staying at home is likely to be much more personally fulfilling. Id caution any person considering the SAHP route to really ask themselves what they will find satisfying about being home if there are multiple avenues for fulfillment they are probably making a good choice provided the financial piece checks out. If they think all they want to do is care for the baby all day, they may find that they really need other sources of enrichment.

This is a really good point. It's why I mentioned the book "Radical Homemakers", which is a very good read (and RE-read) about making what you call a home-centered life. Creativity in some form is absolutely necessary to be sane as a SAHP in my mind.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2015, 11:54:04 AM »
I used to work part-time from home to pay for daycare. I used to do Leapforce at Home, which could also be an option if you want to stay at home but need to bring a little money in during naptime.

I was in school at the time and also needed to study, but for me, part-time has always been the sweet spot.

Sounds like the OP's sweet spot might be full-time at home.

BUT--sounds like the budget would need some trimming. How on board is your husband? Will he resent you not working, or will he appreciate a fresh-cooked dinner? Does he WANT to be the sole breadwinner? Some men love having an at-home wife, some, well, don't.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #40 on: June 13, 2015, 03:36:28 PM »
If you really want to be a SAHM and your husband supports the decision then I would choose that option. I have a one month old baby and I recently made the decision to SAH with him, I also asked for advice here and received lots of encouragement. You are not interested in a career, neither am I. You can always go back to work later. I cannot believe how much my baby has grown and changed already, I don't want to miss it.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #41 on: June 13, 2015, 05:29:18 PM »
I have been all over the map so I will share my experience. I went back to work after my oldest was born and realized I wanted to be home.  Plus, because of our ages, we decided that we wanted to have another fairly quickly and paying daycare for two would have netted me very little since I worked in the social service arena (and my work situation was dysfunctional and my dad and FIL had both been diagnosed with cancer so lots of stuff going on).

Financially, we were okay.  We had worked toward the goal of me being able to stay at home if I chose.  There were lean months, but we are frugal by nature so we were always able to save.  I am not a great homemaker so I found a mom group that helped keep me sane because there were days I felt like I was going crazy.  When my youngest DD was three, I started working 4 days a week (20 hours) at her Mother's Day Out program.  The hours were great, the schedule was perfect, and it was a little extra income for our family. 

I did that for four years, but I decided this year that I want to find a career position since my girls are both in school and getting older.  I was worried that I would never find a job because it has been 9 years since I worked FT, but I found a great position that offers me a lot of flexibility and lets me focus on my two passions.  I started two months ago, and I am still amazed that they pay me to do what I do.  I am actually making more than I ever did salary wise (once again, I work in social services so take that with a grain of salt). 

All that to say that decisions like this are fluid and you don't have to make them all at once.  I went back to work after have my oldest because I wasn't sure that being a SAHM was the best decision for me.  I also always tried to keep one foot in the workforce as much as possible so I would have some options if something happened. We also make sure that we have good disability and life insurance for both me and my husband in case something happens.  You can't plan for everything, but you do need to plan the best you can and then make your choices from there.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #42 on: June 13, 2015, 05:50:27 PM »

All that to say that decisions like this are fluid and you don't have to make them all at once.  I went back to work after have my oldest because I wasn't sure that being a SAHM was the best decision for me.  I also always tried to keep one foot in the workforce as much as possible so I would have some options if something happened. We also make sure that we have good disability and life insurance for both me and my husband in case something happens.  You can't plan for everything, but you do need to plan the best you can and then make your choices from there.

This.   All to often, IMO, things are discussed as an either or, when there are probably a variety of options that will shift over time.

For example, when DD was born 4 yrs ago, I stayed home with her on 3 mos of leave while DH worked.   I then went to work FT and DH quit and was a SAHD for almost four years.   Starting this spring, DH got a PT job while I worked PT hours, coordinating so one of us was at home with DD.   This summer DH has continued at that job working close to FT while I'm at home FT.   In the fall I will work FT and DH will probably work PT while DD is in preschool.   After that, during the summers DH will probably work at least PT, possibly FT, and I could wind up working FT or PT (coordinating hours with DH and/or having DD attend summer camp), or I could work not at all and SAH with DD FT.  When the next school year starts, I'll probably work, but be at home with DD at least some afternoons, DH may work FT or PT, probably being at home with her some afternoons, and/or she may go to an afterschool program some.

Unless/until DH starts his own business, at which point, WTH knows...

I know not everyone has quite *this* flexibility, but especially for those of us who don't need two FT incomes, there is probably much more flexibility and options than people often immediately realize.   Also, different options may be optimal at different times and few are irreversible.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #43 on: June 13, 2015, 06:28:52 PM »
Quote
This.  It makes me somewhat uncomfortable when men (who did not stay home with their kids) talk about how meaningful staying home with your children is, how it is more meaningful than working, maybe the most meaningful thing you can do when you have kids, and you can't regret it.  Because ... these are people who decided to work, not stay at home.  Whatever the sacrifice/meaning involved in the decision, you did not make it.  So clearly something stopped you - maybe it's an obvious case of both partners wanting to stay home, and the one with the lower income doing so.  But I'll bet that it's not quite so equal, nor was everyone quite so willing to give up the stability of a paycheck, the autonomy that comes from being able to support yourself.

This is very well said.  I cannot count the number of times I end up "arguing" (on the internet) with a man who says "well WE chose to make sacrifices because WE think it's best to have a parent home."  When he's not the one who did it.  THEN of course he goes on to the tired "why have them if someone else is raising them" and "daycare is awful".  WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER EVER USED DAYCARE WHO SAY IT IS AWFUL??  SERIOUSLY YOU HAVEN'T USED IT, YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT.

/rant

I generally like to do the math that shows how *little* even a child in full time daycare is in othercare, compared to parent care.  Generally less than 1/3 of the time.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #44 on: June 13, 2015, 07:46:02 PM »
I generally like to do the math that shows how *little* even a child in full time daycare is in othercare, compared to parent care.  Generally less than 1/3 of the time.

Huh?  When our daughter was in daycare, she was in daycare for 9 hours total by the time I dropped her off and picked her up.  She was home maybe 30 minutes in the morning and then asleep after being home for maybe 2-3 hours.  The math is significantly more than a third.

Even when she has been in pre-K at a "full-time" of 6.5 hours a day, she was awake for ~1.5 hours before and ~3.5 hours after for ~5 hours.  That's still 1/2 time in other care on days she was there.

I'm not arguing the thought that pre-school is bad.  Just not sure the math you are talking about.  I don't consider sleep time to count, so maybe you are?  Seems odd to count that since they aren't really doing anything and wouldn't notice if you were there or not.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #45 on: June 14, 2015, 12:13:58 AM »
There are a lot of pros and cons to all of your choices.  My random thoughts:

-I know a longtime SAHM of 4 who has gone back to work because her breadwinner husband has been unemployed for a very long time. I also know a SAHM whose husband became "enlightened" and quit his job to run off and be a monk or something.  She has no income and may lose her house. Her kids are in high school and were headed for college.  Life happens no matter what your dream is.  It's so good that you are being thoughtful about this decision.

- If staying at home is your dream, then your goal should be doing it for as long as you can in a way that benefits your family.  That means figuring out your financial situation ASAP and improving it.  Maybe that will require returning to work for a year before staying at home full time.  Maybe that will require cutting back or being even radical about your financial choices (sell some stuff? one car family? let someone park their mobile home on your property for rent? let cityfolk pay you for the experience of being on a farm?) Maybe you typed your numbers in wrong and you can do that now. I don't know which path makes sense based on the information you have here.

Also, it sounds like you live in a remote area.  Are there other moms nearby (meetups, church playdates, etc)?  I'm not a parent yet, but I have friends who became SAHPs and the stir craziness, lack of adult interaction, and loneliness can be very real.  And we are in a populated area! That should be next on your to do list, after your finances.  But really, you need to figure out what's happening with your budget.

- Full time job is obviously better financially, but will be tough emotionally.  Having a baby is hard work, and switching jobs can be too.  I'm all about tough short-term choices for long-term gain though.  Plus, it will help you if you need to go back to work for your family's sake.  (I'm assuming that you will SAH at some point, since that's what you want).  If I were you, I would take the full time job for now and quit later.  But I typically advocate for taking the money early on so you can live your dream a little bit later.

- Part time job seems like the worst option to me.

-You mention the cost of childcare - have you looked into empty nesters or SAHMs who nanny? They often charge less than more formal daycares.  I have friends on both side of that equation and its working out well for all of them.

- A huge factor is your husband's thoughts/feelings.  Do you have a relationship where you can be really honest with each other?  For some men, their wives staying at home is a goal worth fighting for.  For other men, being the sole breadwinner is incredibly stressful when the budget is tight, but it's hard to admit that. 

Now that I've typed all that out (hello insomnia!), I say if your husband is on board, tackle your finances together and stay at home when the budget is in the black.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #46 on: June 15, 2015, 04:06:49 AM »
WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER EVER USED DAYCARE WHO SAY IT IS AWFUL??  SERIOUSLY YOU HAVEN'T USED IT, YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT.

My daughter has five cousins in daycare (well, now one is in kindergarten). There are ways to learn about it without sending your own kid.

I don't think it's awful, but it's not what I want for my child and I'd stay home if it didn't work out for my wife to.

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Re: New Full Time Job vs. Stay at Home Mom
« Reply #47 on: June 15, 2015, 09:24:33 AM »
Just looking at possible savings; you could refinance to a 30 year mortgage and save about $700/month (minus taxes etc). If you really want to you could pay this off in 10 years too, but it would give you the option to pay less per month if you had to.