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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: COlady on July 10, 2014, 09:54:21 AM

Title: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 10, 2014, 09:54:21 AM
My husband and I are planning on trying to have a baby soon. We've been saving aggressively (for us it's aggressively) since getting married 3 years ago. The plan was that when I had a baby I'd stay home with the baby because we have no family in the area.  I can't imagine leaving a 3 month old at a daycare facility (not judging anyone who does). I get anxiety when I think about quitting my job because it has great pay for my position and excellent benefits and I firmly believe that I won't be able to find another job that's similar in the future if I quit.  I work for a small corporation and my job is definitely a full time job so there's no way that I could go part-time (although if I get to that point I would definitely ask).  I have about 3 months per year that I'm required to work overtime and it's generally about 50-65 hour weeks. My husband generally works a pretty flat schedule of 45 hours year round.  I can't imagine doing this with a small child and lack of sleep!! I'm sure some of you have gone through this analysis and I'm hoping that you can bring me some clarity.  I'll provide some numbers below but if you have any questions please ask.

Me: 30 years old, him: 32 years old

Total pre-tax retirement accounts:$260k
Total non-retirement investment acct: $150k
FMV of house (conservative): $300k (lots of sweat equity we purchased for $165k- was a foreclosure in 2008)
Mortgage: $140k
Vehicle 1 - Toyota Tacoma: $30k
Vehicle 2 - Subary Legacy: $10k
Vehicle 1 Loan @ 1.5%: $24k
Total estimated NW: $586k

I can't tell you exactly what our fixed costs are.  We are not on a strict budget, we are naturally pretty small spenders and I think we're doing pretty well on saving.

Me:
Gross pay: $93k
401k match is 35% of total contribution so $17,500 X 35% = $6,125 (5 year vesting at 20% per year)
opportunity for stock options and/or awards - not yet received - only been here 1 year
$150/mo. health ins. premiums for a family. $750 deductible, $3,000 max out of pocket
2X salary life insurance at no cost to employee

Him:

Gross pay: $90k
401k match is standard - not sure exactly
He receives stock options and has ESPP - He doesn't hold onto the shares - he exercises and sells ASAP because the company can have large swings in stock price.  Usually the gain on all stock options and ESPP come out to about $18,000-$20,000 per year.
$150/mo. premiums for a family. $3,000 deductible?!?!, $11,000 max out of pocket?!?!
1X salary life insurance at no cost to employee

I could quit this job and easily get a part-time consulting job making around $70 per hour so that is always an option. HELP!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: matchewed on July 10, 2014, 10:02:20 AM
Because you don't know your expenses it is tough to help with a decision. For all we know you guys are living on 75% of your take home. Ignoring that, you and your husband make similar amounts of money. Your benefits seem a bit more generous in the 401k, an ESPP can be powerful but it's in a taxable. The health insurance is fairly equal depending on how high of a deductable you want to swing.

It's mostly just a toss up. You guys just have to decide if you want to raise your child at home. Once you've decided that (as it seems you want)
Quote
I can't imagine leaving a 3 month old at a daycare facility
then the next step is just deciding who stays at home.

In short you've already made the decision is seems as to whether you want your child raised at home or through daycare/home. You just have to decide who and how. If you really feel that the question isn't resolved then just ask yourself which you value more, your career or raising a child at home.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 10, 2014, 10:08:23 AM
Thanks for the reply.  We've been tracking only what we save, not spend over the last three years (the spending just then falls out).

Last year we saved about $80k between retirement and investments, which is about 59% of our after-tax income (last year gross approx. $180k X 75% = $135 (both gotten raises since)).
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 10, 2014, 10:11:43 AM
Also, forgot to add, this last year was a high spending year for us.  We went on multiple vacations that we won't be going on when we have a small child:

$4k Mexico
$1.5k San Francisco
$1k San Diego
$1k Las Vegas
Total 7.5k (about 6% of take home)

I love travelling so I'm trying to get it out of my system!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Jules13 on July 10, 2014, 10:13:53 AM
My 2 cents.  You are in a WAY better position, financially, than we were when I decided to become a SAHM.  We were not struggling by any means, but you already have a lot more saved than we did and plenty of time for it to keep growing. You are younger and have more saved and your husband makes more than mine did at that time.  Granted, you make more than I did when I quit working.  I planned to quit work for a year, but never looked back.  I love what having a parent at home provides for our family. 

Having said that, everyone is different.  You might try it and hate it.  It's not easy.  Far harder than my office job ever was.  But, FAR more rewarding.  And I would have been horrible at trying to juggle, emotionally, those two roles. 

What we did was to live on just my husband's income as soon as we were ready to start our family.  We just banked my paycheck.  That way, we knew we could do it and felt far more confident going into it.  And had extra savings to boot. 

Besides, once you get your groove with a baby, you can always decide about taking on part-time consulting work, like you said.  If you want to go back to work, that is always an option too.  Once mine hit 2 years old, I put then in a parents-day-out program that was 2 days a week from 9-2.  They loved it and it gave me a break for appointments, etc. and it was inexpensive. 

Good luck with your decision.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Jules13 on July 10, 2014, 10:16:17 AM
Also, my husband is Australian, so while still on only one income (less than what your hubby makes now), we traveled to Australia when our oldest was 6 months, 18 months, 2.5 and 4.5.  So, travel and savings can still be done simultaneously!  You just have to prioritize! :)
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: matchewed on July 10, 2014, 10:19:51 AM
Ignoring retirement accounts how much of your take home do you save? You're pretty close to the razors edge on that one. I highly encourage you to understand how much you spend to know whether you can go down to one income.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: dbanta on July 10, 2014, 10:28:40 AM
You might want to wait and see until after the baby comes.  I just had my little one a few months ago.  I stayed at home for 12 weeks.  I then returned to work Full Time (I work 1 mile from home so I go home over lunch and have minimal commute).  My husband is currently taking his 12 weeks.  My leave and his leave are both unpaid, but our employers are required to allow them under the Family Medical Leave Act (insurance won't change, and position can't change).

This has been a great experiment for us for what we want to do long term.  We were able to see how much we were able to save when I stayed home and when he stayed home.  Also we were able to see who liked staying home better.  I swore that I would want to stay home, but in reality I am much happier working.  At this point we are considering having my husband stay home since we know we can be ok on my salary only and he is much happier at home than at work. 

We are considering some compromises.  I asked if I could work from home on Fridays with a shorter hours on Friday (make up the time M-Th) and my husband is considering consulting/writing apps (we are both developers) part time from home.

My advice is not to make any decisions before the baby comes and once baby arrives explore your options.  We have also started reading Equally Shared Parenting which was recommended on this forum.  There are also a few similar posts under the Mini-Mustaches area that you might want to consider reading.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: wtjbatman on July 10, 2014, 10:42:10 AM
It's been said, you kinda brushed it off, but I'll repeat it. You need to figure out your expenses. Not guesstimated, estimated, or what the tea leaves tell you... but what you actually spend. Take advantage of a free online service like Mint to help you out if necessary. You need to know more than just how much money you have saved in retirement accounts. If one of you stays home, you need to know if one salary can even pay the bills! Until then, I'm not sure you can even attempt to figure out if having a stay at home parent is possible.

For example, you say you saved 80k last year in retirement accounts, and that was about 60% of your after-tax income. Alright, what happened to the other $50k of take home pay? Is that what your actual expenses are? Assuming in the future you spend less on traveling, but the costs of a baby make up at least part of that, you're still not exactly living on the cheap. Or am I missing something? I'm sure I am, but that's the problem when trying to offer advice when someone doesn't share their actual expenses :)
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 10, 2014, 10:57:58 AM
I see your point.  I know our non-negotiable fixed costs but it's the variable that I don't know. I know that we can afford for me to stay home we just won't be able to save as much.  I don't know if this is helpful, but here our are fixed costs (estimated).  I'll start tracking everything so that we know.

Mortgage: $1,054 X 12 = $12,648 (incl. prin./int./escrow)
Electric and gas: Average $100 X 12 = $1,200
Trash: $30 X $12 = $360
Sewer: $300 annually
Cell Phone: $150 X 12 = $1,800
Car Insurance: $1,560 annually
Vehicle Maintenance: $400 annually
Gas: $150 X 12 = $1,800 annually
Truck payment (2 years left, financed for 3): $775 x 12 = $9,300
Food: $600 (I like my Whole paychecks)
Total: $29,968, round to $30,000



Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Balance on July 10, 2014, 11:04:51 AM
We were in a similar situation last year.  My wife and I are similar in age as you and your husband. My wife has the more stable job with better income and benefits for the whole family.  So we made the decision that I would be the SAHD and she would go to work.  It has been going well but the thing I noticed after about the 5th or 6th month staying at home that you get a little bored and want to be more productive.  Sure I do all the house work, cooking/cleaning/gardening etc.  But for a young person I felt like I wasn't being productive financially.  I know that sounds a bit selfish but I ended up feeling that way probably because other friends and family around the same age were all back to work. Luckily, I am able to work from home with very flexible hours.  There is no way I can maintain a full time work week like I did in the past, but working a couple days a week from home was just enough for me to feel like I contributed financially even though it pales in comparison to what my wife is doing. I honestly, can't imagine working full time since raising a child is by far the most demanding thing I have ever done in my life. At the same time it is very rewarding, you never get this time back to spend with them, and my son is thriving and is really really happy! I think it is worth it and I definitely recommend it. 

PS - I agree to get all that traveling out of the system.  We did it the year leading up to pregnancy.  We didn't regret it at all.  Good luck :)
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: matchewed on July 10, 2014, 11:07:50 AM
Food is probably 600*12 I imagine bringing your fixed costs up to $36.5k. So you're not even accounting for the variable costs there. Let's say you drop down to one income but keep maximizing your 401k.

90k-17.5k=72.5k pre-tax. 1785+8197.50=9982.50 is your total taxes owed assuming you file jointly. That leaves you with 62.5k for expenses. Let's take out those fixed expenses and you're left with 26k or so for variable expenses and whatevers.

How confident are you that your variable expenses don't come to more than 26k? If you're very confident that they are lower than that then you can probably pull it off.

Simplistic calculation but it is much easier to give you a closer answer on this one.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 10, 2014, 11:13:53 AM
Yeah I messed the food up, you're correct. I am certain that we do not spend $26,000 on the variable, probably closer to $20,000 currently, which is a ton of money! That's amount $2,000 per month on incidentals and replacement of stuff (clothing, furniture, house up keep, occasional dinner out, etc.).
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 10, 2014, 11:16:38 AM
Thank you to the people who provided input on what they did, it's helpful. I don't plan on quitting until I know I want to. Is it wrong to tell an employer you'll be back from maternity leave and then decide at the end that you don't want to come back?
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: matchewed on July 10, 2014, 11:23:36 AM
For expenses like you and your husbands, nearly 60k annually a 6k buffer is pretty tiny IMO. My encouragement will be quite familiar with this board, cut your expenses. Learn to live on less and you'll increase your security.

As for whether it is wrong to tell them one thing and do another... well I'm personally an honesty policy sort of person so I'll fall into the yes it's wrong camp. I'd prefer to be honest with the employer about my indecision. This allows the employer to act appropriately and train/hire/do something about your potential non-return. If you tell them yes then no they have to scramble. But I understand the trickiness of that strategy. It puts you out there and leaves you vulnerable. Only you can decide what to do there.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 10, 2014, 11:28:41 AM
I guess for me my stress is in the following areas since I know that we can "afford" for me to stay home:

1) Will I absolutely hate being at home?
2) Am I an idiot for quitting a job that pays well? A lot of people would say so. I could easily get another job making $70k per year full-time, but not $93k. Part time I could make $40k or so.
3) Is it smart for me to completely quit saving on my side? 401k, 401k match, other savings.  We would only be able to save about $17,500 401k husband + $10k husband stock options + $8,000 ESPP = $35.5k per year if I'm not working.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 10, 2014, 11:35:05 AM
thanks Matchewed for all your input.  I will work on tracking everything better and we could go through adn see what things are totally optional, i.e. sushi dinners, happy hour, beer tour thingys that are $75 a ticket.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: matchewed on July 10, 2014, 11:40:27 AM
I guess for me my stress is in the following areas since I know that we can "afford" for me to stay home:

1) Will I absolutely hate being at home?

Only you can answer that. No one else will be able to. I'm a big fan of finding my happy regardless of the circumstances. SAHM or career climber you need to be the one who makes sure you are happy. Don't hang your happiness on your circumstances. Hang it on yourself.

2) Am I an idiot for quitting a job that pays well? A lot of people would say so. I could easily get another job making $70k per year full-time, but not $93k. Part time I could make $40k or so.

No you're not. 70k is plenty of money if you decide to go back to work. Plenty of people make this decision every day. They're not idiots. They're just making a choice.

3) Is it smart for me to completely quit saving on my side? 401k, 401k match, other savings.  We would only be able to save about $17,500 401k husband + $10k husband stock options + $8,000 ESPP = $35.5k per year if I'm not working.

You mean until the baby? It's probably not smart. You'll save much more money starting to figure out what is truly important and provides you value for your dollar. Take some time to find out what is important to you. That is where your resources should go; cash, mental, and other resources. Have these discussions with your partner. You're in it together. And GL. :)
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: rujancified on July 10, 2014, 11:57:23 AM
Thank you to the people who provided input on what they did, it's helpful. I don't plan on quitting until I know I want to. Is it wrong to tell an employer you'll be back from maternity leave and then decide at the end that you don't want to come back?

This is just my opinion, take it or leave it. This is one of my hot buttons, so feel free to skip the middle and get down to advice :)

I think going into Mat Leave knowing that you don't want to go back to work is wrong.  I don't much care about the morality aspect but, sure, it's probably not the best move karmic-ly speaking (I mean, you're technically stealing from not only the company, but the person who would have the job if it weren't being held for you). My problem with it is subtler: There are HOARDS of managers out there who feel it is dicey to hire a woman of child bearing age because they think we'll all just abandon work once we have kids. If you take mat leave and don't come back, you're affirming that and making it more difficult on other women.

Obviously there are several scenarios where the priorities change that would make going back to work the wrong decision for your family. But knowing you want to quit & taking the "leave" anyway really bugs me.

Unrelated to that, I pretty much second what everyone else says:
-Run the numbers and make sure you'll be financially comfortable staying home.
-You're both relatively young and could potentially see some significant upticks in income in the coming years (I'm 35 and my income has gone up about 35-37% since age 30; My husbands is 33 and is up 45% since age 30).
-Money isn't everything and spending time with children is time you'll never get back. But...Either of you staying home means that person loses out on lifetime earnings. Make sure taking time away won't impact long term goals
-If you're not sure about staying home and assuming you don't have a baby during their busy season, why not ask your current employer about cutting back to 10-20 hours post-baby or negotiate a different schedule/work from home? They may say no, but at least put that out there.

You guys are in pretty good shape! Kudos!

ETA: I just noticed that I picked up your question completely wrong. Apologies! I told you the mat leave thing was my hot button - so much so that I put it places it doesn't belong :(
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Noodle on July 10, 2014, 12:06:02 PM
As mentioned above, although it's great to start thinking through scenarios and talking to your spouse about them, it's also very early to make decisions. You say you haven't started trying yet--it may be harder than you expect. You could end up with special needs or multiples. All of those could alter the equation.  Your job situation could also be different by then.

Also, in terms of the general process of decision-making, I recently read a book called "Decisive" by Chip and Dan Heath. One of the things it mentioned is that the human brain tends to make decisions into "yes/no" questions when they should be multiple choice--ie, we pick one solution and agonize over it instead of generating several solutions and picking the best. For instance, having a nanny-share, or having your husband stay home, or finding a more flexible job in the field. You might still end up w SAHM, but it is a more effective way of getting there.

The other thing that I would just mention is that once out of the workplace it can be difficult to get back in, which is a risk for the family. Some people feel like that is a referendum on their marriage, but really it could be anything...death, disability, job or field disappearing. So for a lot of couples that is a factor in the decision.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: catccc on July 10, 2014, 12:27:22 PM
I say go for it.  start practicing now living only on your husband's income.  Save your entire paycheck, have the whole thing go to a savings account.   I stayed home for a while with my first, we gave up my 80K salary and lived on DH's 25K.  Didn't even need to dip into savings to make it through my SAH time.  Took advantage of our low tax bracket to re-characterize and roll some pre-tax 401K funds into a Roth IRA; it was a great move that saved us thousands in taxes.

I don't think it's wrong not to be totally upfront with your employer about your plans.  I would tell them that you plan on returning, and then decide later.  If you tell them yes and then later say no, they won't be scrambling, because they will have already had a plan in place to cover your work for the duration of your maternity leave. 

I told my employer I was returning, and spent my leave deciding whether or not I wanted to be a SAHM.  I decided to stay at home.  My sister told her employer she was taking a year off, then changed her mind  3 months after delivery and went back part time.  The point is, you can't really know how you feel about being a SAHP until you do it, I think.

I spent 15 months out of the workforce (I'm in corporate finance) to SAH and started looking for work in Dec 2008.  A terrible time for job hunting, if you recall.  But if you have desirable experience/credentials, it shouldn't be a problem.  I did take consulting work through a staffing agency for 3-4 months while I looked for the new job, since DH had already left his to take his turn as a SAHD.  It all worked out fine, and my year at home was one of the best decisions ever for my family.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: catccc on July 10, 2014, 12:41:55 PM
I don't think taking maternity leave and not returning is like stealing from the company.  It's usually covered by short-term disability insurance, which is an employee benefit.  And even if it wasn't covered by insurance, I don't think it would be stealing.  If took 2 weeks of front-loaded paid-time off and then left the company, I would see that as just using one of my benefits. 

If I got an expensive medical procedure covered by my employer subsidized insurance, then took short term disability, and then left the company, again, I'd just be using my benefits.  Returning for a token month may make it seem better, but if I were the manager, I'd rather just keep the temp that was filling in for you during leave that had already been trained than starting over again.

After I told my employer I wasn't coming back from leave, I did return for a 1/2 day (wearing my baby, who just slept the whole time) to transfer files and tie up loose ends, and do an exit interview, which was appreciated, I think.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: historienne on July 10, 2014, 01:29:18 PM
Just one point: you may not want to leave your kid in daycare at 3 months.  I sympathize with that.  3 months is very young, and even daycares with good ratios can't be holding every kid at every minute.  However, you are earning enough to pay a full-time nanny and still come out ahead.  Your baby would still be getting one on one attention, and you would be getting a chance to go back to work and see how it feels before making the decision to stay home or continue working.  And if you decide to keep working, you may feel more comfortable putting your kid in a group daycare when he or she is a bit older.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 10, 2014, 01:38:10 PM
I could definitely look into the full-time nanny situation.  I have no idea how much it would cost.  I do know that you have to pay them as a W-2 employee though so that's a negative with additional FICA tax, etc.  But you're right, I shouldn't write off that option.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: waltworks on July 10, 2014, 01:50:29 PM
Time to find a friend who has a small child or two and volunteer to watch them all day for a week. Seriously. You may love it, or you may HATE it. Newborns/infants are cute, wonderful bundles of joy (I am not being sarcastic). They are also not great conversationalists and flat out boring a lot of the time - when they're not demanding things of you. And you can't just wander off to do what you want and leave them to their own devices all that often, either.

If you are used to a relatively intellectually engaging job I am guessing you will absolutely be delighted to return to work when your leave is up. But I could be wrong!

That said, IMO with a bit of cost cutting you guys can operate just fine on one income and even still save a great amount. So you're in a great position, congrats!

I might also mention that we stopped doing the nanny thing when our son was about 18 months old and he LOVED going to daycare. It was amazing - he just needed other kids around. For a newborn, that's obviously not so important - but be ready to relinquish your little one at some point, because oh man, they really like being around other kids, or at least ours does.

-W
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Noodle on July 10, 2014, 01:52:11 PM
I don't think there is anything wrong with going into maternity leave with the intention of using that time to figure out what you want to do, and letting your employer know your decision after you make it. It sounds like that is what you are suggesting.

I do think knowing you are not intending to come back, but telling the workplace that you are, is much iffier. While not illegal, it does mean that you are leaving after having lied about something substantial. Depending on your field, you may work with people again and memories are long. Not to mention that in many cases employers do NOT hire temp staff to cover a leave, they just split up the work. Your colleagues would probably appreciate getting a search underway...
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: bo_knows on July 10, 2014, 01:52:26 PM
Consider asking your employers for some flexibility (if possible).  My wife and I had our first child 2 years ago. We wanted to raise him at home, too.  We ended up both cutting our hours (Wife is 60% FT and I am 90% FT), my inlaws watch my son 1-day a week, and we have a babysitter come to the house once a week for 4-hrs so my wife can work from home.

Basically, My inlaws watch my son on Monday while we both go to the office, Wife watches him from Tues-Thurs (with the exception of a 4hr window on Wednesday she dedicates to working from home), and I watch him on Friday while she goes to the office.

If you have the option to work at home even 1 day a week, and the ability to reduce hours, you could figure out some combination of care to make it work.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: historienne on July 10, 2014, 02:12:03 PM
I could definitely look into the full-time nanny situation.  I have no idea how much it would cost.  I do know that you have to pay them as a W-2 employee though so that's a negative with additional FICA tax, etc.  But you're right, I shouldn't write off that option.

True!  There are services that will do that part for you, but it does add to the cost.  Total cost will vary a lot based on location.  Where I live now, $11/hour is roughly standard for one child, but I know places where it's more like $15/hour.  Either way, though, even with doing the taxes properly, you can afford it.  And really, my experience has been that by now (at 10 months) I am no longer apprehensive about putting my daughter in group care.  She will be starting at a center in a month, and I think she will love it - all the toys and other kids to play with!  At 3 months, I felt very differently.   So the higher cost may only be for a short period.  If you do want to keep working, then paying for a nanny  in order to stay at your current job seems like a great investment.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Dollarbill49 on July 10, 2014, 02:12:30 PM
COlady:  One thing that wasn't mentioned by any of the responders was, you will need to replace the LIFE insurance as once you stop working, you won't be covered.

You should also do a complete analysis as to how much life insurance you need and figure out the best way to buy it.  While it's great you and hubby  get free insurance from the employer, if the employment status changes, that coverage is out the window.

My wife and I both worked fulltime with our first two children.  It wasn't easy balancing everyone's needs.  But we did it.  For our third child, my wife decided to stay home and that worked out great too.  Our first just graduated college and will be working on Wall Street starting next week.  The 2nd will be a college junior in the fall  (premed), and our 3rd is a high school sophomore in the fall.  All are pretty well adjusted kids so the early early childhood experiences, while varied, doesn't seem to have negatively impacted them.


My best to you and your husband.

Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: LatteLaura on July 10, 2014, 02:25:28 PM
There are pros and cons to both.  I have no interest in the mommy wars and think kids can be pretty resilient.    I would like to give my perspective as a mom of 4 who has stayed home with my kids for over 14 years.  My oldest is 14 and my youngest is 7.

When you leave your baby and young child with someone else, that person is going to be the one to feed them, hug and comfort them (or not) when they need it, cuddle them (or not), rock, read stories, play with, etc your child.  Children need attention and bonding and I wanted to be the one to provide it for them the majority of the time as their mother.  It was also nice not to worry about having to go to work when my children were sick and the stress associated with that.   

Friends that I have had that have worked in daycares found it very frustrating as they had too many babies and toddlers to look after and had to leave some crying in their cribs, leave bottles propped up to feed them- you get the idea. 

I was a daycare kid from until the age of 10 and experienced a variety of situations- homes & centers.  Even in the best ones I never felt truly cared for and at worst I had to physically fight a boy my age who was abusing my little sister when I was age 7.   

It sounds trite but children do grow up quickly.   It sounds like you are smart and skilled and should give your part-time and freelance options serious consideration. 

I know not all daycare situations are bad and if you could find a situation you trust, then it could be a different story.  Given a choice, I think most children would choose to be with their mothers over a daycare/nanny situation, but I may be wrong.  I know my kids would and I would have too. 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: ltt on July 10, 2014, 02:35:51 PM
You are young and doing great!!!

You will easily be able to live off your husband's salary--your savings rate may decline some, but that's how it is with children.  But I must ask, is it necessary to be living in a house with a value of $300,000??  Or, is that the norm where you live?  I would definitely try and pay off the vehicles prior to leaving your job should you decide to leave the workforce.

I left the workforce when I was a little older than you after our second child was born, and have never returned (we have four children).  Taking care of a home and children is a full-time job.  No one, and I mean no one, not even a nanny, will take care of your child like you will be able to take care of your child.  I know a lot of people will mention that you can return to the workforce once the child enters school, however, children start getting really, really busy at that age.  Who knows, you may decide to home school.

You will find that making meals from scratch tastes much better than meals eaten out, plus your husband will appreciate it a lot more.

Besides you will be able to stay home and manage the finances and continue on your path to financial independence and, quite frankly, that's worth a lot. :)

Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 10, 2014, 03:04:47 PM
Thanks everyone. So much to think about.  The nanny idea good but pretty steep - $15/hour X 8 hours X 20 working days per month = $2,400 per month or $28,800 per year before employer paid taxes. Yikes but yeah it's still not as bad as quitting my job all together, I would still net $41k per year after tax and nanny. Something to consider. Maybe I could nanny share with some friends of ours - if a nanny can handle a newborn and a toddler...

I appreciate the perspective of the mothers who stayed home here too - both my husband and I were raised by SAHMs and I think our parents are expecting the same.  I realize it's not their decision though.

Regarding our house - it's not a mcmansion.  We live in a major metro area.  Our house is 1,800 square feet - 3 bedrooms, 2 tiny bathrooms and a 2 car garage.  We do have a 1/4 acre lot which may contribute to the value.  My husband loves his yard and garden so that can't go anywhere. The average net worth (based on the link someone provided a few weeks back) of our neighborhood is around $200k so that gives you some perspective on how nice it is.  Most of our neighbors work in non-professional positions. Our friends keep asking us when we're going to move to a nicer house/area.  I tell them never!

Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Ellen on July 10, 2014, 03:06:17 PM
1. No, it's not wrong to tell an employer that you will be back when you're not 100% sure that you will be. What IS wrong is our country's policies around maternity/paternity leaves and the fact that many parents have to return work when their children are 6 or 12 weeks old. What might be better is for you to say that you are planning to return to work, but that you do realize you're entering an entirely new phase of your life.

2. Like Jules (?) said, you and your spouse are so far ahead of the game in retirement, savings, etc. (stop w/the car loans, though--at $180K/year, you should figure out a better way) than many people! You are in MUCH better shape than many mothers or fathers who stop outside work to become SAHP.

3. Tracking expenses is certainly important, if only because you'll may realize that many of your expenses are discretionary. I found those very easy to cut back on when I quit full-time work to freelance after my first child was born. People like to talk about the expenses of a child, but I myself found that all the little self-indulgent habits I had completely dropped off after I became a parent. I used to spend money on clothes, going out to restaurants w/friends, getting my hair cut at a super-nice salon. I still did these on occasion after becoming a parent, but a lot less (these cuts were painless).

4. Taking care of others' children as practice is totally exhausting and not necessarily predictive of how you'll feel as a SAHP. (I know because I took care of nieces as an aunt before I became a mom.) Doing so is a good exercise, but it really isn't the same as taking care of your own. It's like being a substitute teacher vs. having your own classroom--very different experiences.

5. Be the best employee you can be before you go on maternity leave. If you do decide to stay home, stay connected to people in your field however you can (consulting, small projects, even dropping by your old office for lunch w/coworkers every now and again). If you can keep one foot in the pool, returning in a few years (or even more) will be so much easier.

Good luck, whatever you decide. These things do have a way of working themselves out.

Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: ltt on July 10, 2014, 04:14:24 PM
Thanks everyone. So much to think about.  The nanny idea good but pretty steep - $15/hour X 8 hours X 20 working days per month = $2,400 per month or $28,800 per year before employer paid taxes. Yikes but yeah it's still not as bad as quitting my job all together, I would still net $41k per year after tax and nanny. Something to consider. Maybe I could nanny share with some friends of ours - if a nanny can handle a newborn and a toddler...


The $41K per year after tax and nanny---have you figured in the cost of work clothes, shoes, commuting cost (gas, insurance, and wear and tear), lunch cost, dry cleaning cost, miscellaneous expenses (there's always people asking to chip-in for someone's birthday at work), expenses for hair (which people tend to get done much more often when they are working versus staying at home).  That $41K figure will now drop again.

I think when we were trying to make the decision regarding me staying at home, once we really figured out the numbers, it was under $10K.  Then you have to consider whether it is worth leaving your child in someone's care.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on July 10, 2014, 07:42:00 PM
My husband and I are planning on trying to have a baby soon. ...
The plan was that when I had a baby I'd stay home with the baby because we have no family in the area.  I can't imagine leaving a 3 month old at a daycare facility (not judging anyone who does). I get anxiety when I think about quitting my job because it has great pay for my position and excellent benefits and I firmly believe that I won't be able to find another job that's similar in the future if I quit. 
...
Me: 30 years old, him: 32 years old

Total estimated NW: $586k


Have you considered him quitting?  I was a similar age when Thing 1 came along (and there's always the chance that Thing 2 will not be too far behind).  It's nice to see how well prepared you have made yourselves.  At this point, it is a game of optimization, not something to be stressed out by. 

I understand the issue of not having family close by, it has always been a sensitive issue with my DW, but that's a whole 'nother thread :)

Your family can, and should easily forego one income for the rewards that raising a child properly (i.e. not relying so heavily on daycare) will bring.  Of course, there is always the middle ground, where you hang on to the double income for a little longer until you are ready. 

There is no right or wrong answer with all the variables, but I do think you have a nice situation that you can make the most of in a lot of ways that you play it, so I'm interested to follow this thread a bit and see what you decide. 

Just to help, we had our first child in 2003 and my wife continued to work until our second came along in 2005.  She went SAH, but had a few part time gigs over the years.  She just got a full time job starting this August at our children's elementary school (3rd and 5th grader children), and life could not have worked out better, and we did not have the NW you guys have...  I was the higher earner, but also had the less dependable job, so it was a little stressful at first, but having her at home was well worth the foregone income, and maybe you could convince your husband of that, depending on who has the better situation...

Good luck, but you guys are in great shape!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Cressida on July 10, 2014, 08:19:54 PM
My problem with it is subtler: There are HOARDS of managers out there who feel it is dicey to hire a woman of child bearing age because they think we'll all just abandon work once we have kids. If you take mat leave and don't come back, you're affirming that and making it more difficult on other women. 

Exactly. It's not that we owe anything to our employers, that's not the problem. Perpetuating the stereotype that women don't take work seriously, that's the problem.

OP, it sounds like you're reluctant to give up your job. So listen to that. It's a legit feeling.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: JustTrying on July 10, 2014, 08:56:52 PM
Whoa. I would have a hard time giving up that 401k match! That's amazing!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Thegoblinchief on July 10, 2014, 09:12:08 PM
I'll challenge you one further: to use hybrid's phrase, stop being an exploding volcano of wastefulness.

Take a thoughtful look at all your expenses. Embrace simplicity.

In my mid-low COL area, DW and I would own our house outright and be flat out, never work unless we wanted to again retired with THREE kids in the house if we had your NW.

If either of you wants to be a SAHP, absolutely you can do it financially. But the real question is - why aren't you talking full-on FIRE dates yet? Your savings progress is amazing. Work on the "defense" a bit.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: cchrissyy on July 10, 2014, 10:25:33 PM
when you consider your salary minus taxes minus the cost of daycare, don't make the mistake of looking only at this current year.

if you can find a way to keep working, you will have pay raises over time.

I don't know if you plan to have other kids, and if you would work with multiple kids or start staying at home then, but if this is your only child, then daycare costs turn into preschool costs which turn in to free public school or private tuition...

just don't analyze this as if it's just for right now, based on right now's salary and infant nanny costs. This season will pass soon enough, you probably can afford whatever it costs, but where will it put you 2,4,6 years down the line?
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Jules13 on July 11, 2014, 08:05:18 AM
Quote
The $41K per year after tax and nanny---have you figured in the cost of work clothes, shoes, commuting cost (gas, insurance, and wear and tear), lunch cost, dry cleaning cost, miscellaneous expenses (there's always people asking to chip-in for someone's birthday at work), expenses for hair (which people tend to get done much more often when they are working versus staying at home).  That $41K figure will now drop again.

This. 

I was SHOCKED at how much I didn't spend when I first became SAHM.  Shocked.  I had no idea.  I just didn't realize how much I needed to spend JUST to be presentable, get to and eat while working.

Good luck with your decision. 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: annod on July 11, 2014, 09:20:16 AM
There will be factors that you won't know until you have a baby, like, will you get cabin fever and miss the social contact at work, or you may love being a SAHM and won't miss work at all....

If you become a SAHM, can you sell one of the cars? That would certainly lower expense.
Probably you will be cooking at home more, another lower expense...
Your taxes will be lower, and you possibly will qualify for subsidized healthcare (for example, in our county, if you are a family of 3 living on less than ~$78,000 gross adjusted income, you qualify for subsidy according ACA, and after contributing to 401K, and some tax deduction, you probably will qualify)

One thought of working full-time (esp. you work 65 hours/wk sometimes) and raising a child is it would be difficult to cook all meals, and do all the housework, if you end up having to hire housekeeper 2x/month, or buy more ready-made meals, that's another increased expense.

I thought nanny expense is after tax, not pre-tax?
 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 11, 2014, 10:09:24 AM
To the person that said whoa to the 35% 401k match: I know, it's unheard of and that's why I feel I've been given this great opportunity, do I really want to quit knowing that I won't be able to find a job like this again? Also, at 10 years the match goes up to 55%, at 20 years it goes up to 65%.  There are numerous people in my office that have worked here for over 30 years.  At 30 years they give you and a significant other (and children if you have any) a trip to anywhere you want to go in the world with spending money.  It really is a great company.  However, my two male supervisors have a strong dis-like for children (one is married, one is divorced and neither of them want children).  Like having children will ruin your life, how could you ever in a million years purposefully have a child, dis-like children.  For this reason, I don't see them being particularly flexible with me.  I see it being, do you want to work or do you not? We aren't going to cut you slack when your kid is sick, etc.  I guess I should've included this earlier - it is kind of an important point.  The company as a whole is very family friendly, but my department - not so much.  There are only 3 people in the department including me so there is no one to cover for me.

Regarding the tax on nanny: I was referring to the "nanny tax".  A nanny is treated as a household employee and you must pay them as an employee and not a contractor.  You must issue them a W-2 and you have to pay the employer portion of all taxes.

I agree about the cost of working - between dry cleaning, hair, makeup, replacing worn out shoes and other clothes I spend a lot of money. I'm sure this would go down substantially if I was hanging out at the house.  Not that I would just "let myself go" but I just wouldn't need to dress in business casual clothes daily.
 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Gin1984 on July 11, 2014, 10:16:52 AM

You might want to wait and see until after the baby comes.  I just had my little one a few months ago.  I stayed at home for 12 weeks.  I then returned to work Full Time (I work 1 mile from home so I go home over lunch and have minimal commute).  My husband is currently taking his 12 weeks.  My leave and his leave are both unpaid, but our employers are required to allow them under the Family Medical Leave Act (insurance won't change, and position can't change).


This has been a great experiment for us for what we want to do long term.  We were able to see how much we were able to save when I stayed home and when he stayed home.  Also we were able to see who liked staying home better.  I swore that I would want to stay home, but in reality I am much happier working.  At this point we are considering having my husband stay home since we know we can be ok on my salary only and he is much happier at home than at work. 

We are considering some compromises.  I asked if I could work from home on Fridays with a shorter hours on Friday (make up the time M-Th) and my husband is considering consulting/writing apps (we are both developers) part time from home.

My advice is not to make any decisions before the baby comes and once baby arrives explore your options.  We have also started reading Equally Shared Parenting which was recommended on this forum.  There are also a few similar posts under the Mini-Mustaches area that you might want to consider reading.
This is only if your employer is larger than 50 people AND you do not work for the same employer. 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 11, 2014, 10:19:34 AM
Regarding selling one of the cars: No, not really. My car (the Subaru Legacy) is worth around $10k and it's paid off.  I pulled out in front of someone the weekend of our wedding three years ago (it was the nerves I tell ya!) and got t-boned on a busy street.  It was scary but I was fine and insurance paid to fix the car.  But the carfax has a nice ding on it for that.  It would probably be hard to sell.  Also, biking very far isn't too safe where I'm at.  I road my bike to work a few times (3 miles each way) and almost got hit a couple of times. Not worth it. And with a small child, I could only bike in good weather.

My husband uses the truck for all the remodeling etc, so we wouldn't sell that. I realize it was a huge purchase - I almost had an anxiety attack when I purchased it all by myself one day (after a discussion w/ him of course). We only financed it because at rate of 1.5% why give up the cash? I realize he didn't need a $30k truck for his renovations but he really wanted a Tacoma and those really hold their value in Colorado so it didn't make sense to buy an old used one for 75% of a new one.  He will drive it for the next 20 years - no joke.  He only puts $6k on it a year so it might go even farther than that.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Gray Matter on July 11, 2014, 06:43:01 PM
...No one, and I mean no one, not even a nanny, will take care of your child like you will be able to take care of your child.

I have not found this to be universally true, at least not in my case.  In my case, it's a combination of having found a truly exceptional nanny and not being a very good stay-at-home mom.  I do not have the temperament for it, and our nanny takes better care of our kids than I could if I were home with them all day, every day.  (Being away from them all day, every day is hard, too, in an entirely different way.  Ideally, you will have some flexibility to find what works for you.)

Your preferences and personality are important to take into account, and it's not always possible to predict how you will feel until you're in it.  You may feel strongly that you can't leave your baby, you may feel strongly that you need to go back to work, or you may feel somewhere in between, which makes the decision harder but gives you more options.

If I were in your situation, I would do what I could to keep my options open and make the decision after you've been home at least two months (any time before that, the sleep deprivation may make it hard to think clearly).

Good luck!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: ch12 on July 11, 2014, 07:35:37 PM
You might want to wait and see until after the baby comes.
This has been a great experiment for us for what we want to do long term.  We were able to see how much we were able to save when I stayed home and when he stayed home.  Also we were able to see who liked staying home better.  I swore that I would want to stay home, but in reality I am much happier working.  At this point we are considering having my husband stay home since we know we can be ok on my salary only and he is much happier at home than at work. 

We are considering some compromises.  I asked if I could work from home on Fridays with a shorter hours on Friday (make up the time M-Th) and my husband is considering consulting/writing apps (we are both developers) part time from home.

My advice is not to make any decisions before the baby comes and once baby arrives explore your options.  We have also started reading Equally Shared Parenting which was recommended on this forum. 
Take a thoughtful look at all your expenses. Embrace simplicity.

In my mid-low COL area, DW and I would own our house outright and be flat out, never work unless we wanted to again retired with THREE kids in the house if we had your NW.

If either of you wants to be a SAHP, absolutely you can do it financially. But the real question is - why aren't you talking full-on FIRE dates yet? Your savings progress is amazing. Work on the "defense" a bit.

As I read down this thread, I was thinking pretty much what GoblinChief said. I also am pro-keeping your options open. You don't know how you'll feel when the baby comes.

At a 4% rate of withdrawal http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/29/how-much-do-i-need-for-retirement/ you would have $23,440. (Classic response and answer here: OP: But it's locked away in 401ks and IRAs! I won't be able to pull it out until age 59.5, unless I want to pay the steep penalty. Older Mustachian: Please read http://www.madfientist.com/retire-even-earlier/)

For me, $23,400 per annum would be enough money to live an exploding volcano of wastefulness life. For that kind of money, I'd swan around Spain and Italy up to the 90 days that you can stay without a visa in each country. I would sit on a Mediterranean beach EVERY DAY.

A much smaller, slightly more practical dream would be having both of you retire and live next to your family members. Surely your parents (the 4 of them) would like to see their newborn grandchild. Free, loving babysitters are fantastic.


I could quit this job and easily get a part-time consulting job making around $70 per hour so that is always an option.

That makes it sound like you have a solid safety margin. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/17/its-all-about-the-safety-margin/
Even if you insisted on spending $50k per year, you'd only need to work 380 hours per year to get up to $50k. (Ok, yes, taxes make that a bit more complicated, but it's a ballpark number.) http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/25/the-joy-of-part-time-work/

This is all based solely on your contributions+4% withdrawal, and your husband's earning power adds an additional layer of safety. Really consider if either of you really needs full-time employment.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 17, 2014, 01:38:35 PM
Well folks, good news here.  It took officially one month to get pregnant! We are still in shock but so excited!

Thank you all for your feedback on my questions it makes me feel like we're in a perfectly fine position to handle anything that comes our way.  And to the person that said we need additional life insurance - I'm currently looking at quotes.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Numbers Man on July 17, 2014, 02:04:08 PM
I might be late to the party here but here are my two cents. Housing is usually the biggest item in everyone's budget and based on your numbers, I can't see you spending more than $13k a year on housing when earning around $90k if one person works. In addition, you have a cushion of $150k in taxable accounts. You can definitely stay at home based on your numbers.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Goldielocks on July 17, 2014, 11:16:07 PM
I could definitely look into the full-time nanny situation.  I have no idea how much it would cost.  I do know that you have to pay them as a W-2 employee though so that's a negative with additional FICA tax, etc.  But you're right, I shouldn't write off that option.

It helped me when going back to work to know my daughter was being taken care of by her dad.  He took 1-2 months off when I went back, and it really helped me transition knowing that someone I trusted was with her.   We also did not have family nearby.   I recommend this regardless of what you decide to do, even part time consulting.   

Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: MsRichLife on July 17, 2014, 11:30:54 PM
When we made the decision to start a family, we did it knowing that we wanted our child to be raised by us. That meant one of us was going to become the SAHP.

I earn twice what my husband did. I also enjoyed my job, and he didn't. So it was a reasonably easy decision to make that DH would become full-time SAHD when I went back to work at 3 months. I was lucky enough to have a very flexible job, so I worked part time from home for the first year (and got completely on DH's nerves :))

He has found it to be a tough gig, mostly because he feels like he's not contributing financially to the family (although he forgets that he contributes by 'saving' us money). DH was also lacking mental stimulation and adult interaction, so when our son was 11 months we decided to put him in daycare for 2 days a week.

For us the first decision was how you want your child to be raised (parent or childcare worker). We chose parent, so our second question was which parent? From there, you just need to make it work. If you feel strongly enough about how you want to raise your child, everything else is secondary in my opinion.

MRL
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Stashing Swiss-style on July 18, 2014, 05:04:36 AM
Grey Matter said it so well (as she always does).  But first - congratulations !! - whatever you decide, you are embarking on the most exciting and fulfilling ride of your life !  I have 3 children, started late - age 38 - and I always knew I would continue to work.  I'm a much better mother because I work.  But I have a lot of energy and can juggle my crazy life pretty well (notwithstanding some very tough moments) and not everyone can do that.  I was lucky to find fantastic child-care close to my office and I was never conflicted about leaving my babies - they were very well cared for in a secure loving environment.  Babies know when mummy is conflicted (SAHM or working mum - babies need to know that mum is really happy with whichever she decides).  I have girlfriends who are SAHMs and when we get together it's clear that it's not easy to stay home, nor is it easy to go out to work - in the end, personality and core beliefs will guide you.  I believe financial independence for a woman is very important; I believe children should have smart, educated and fulfilled mums; I believe the relationship between kids and their dads is enhanced when both parents work (dads have to be more hands on) and I believe that once a woman stops work, it is very difficult to go back to work as the needs of kids increases with their shoe size !!  I have 3 fantastic, sociable, happy kids - all doing well at school, all in great health, active in sports, dance, music etc.   Good luck with your decision.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Mt9982 on July 18, 2014, 05:44:32 AM
To the person that said whoa to the 35% 401k match: I know, it's unheard of and that's why I feel I've been given this great opportunity, do I really want to quit knowing that I won't be able to find a job like this again? Also, at 10 years the match goes up to 55%, at 20 years it goes up to 65%.  There are numerous people in my office that have worked here for over 30 years.  At 30 years they give you and a significant other (and children if you have any) a trip to anywhere you want to go in the world with spending money.  It really is a great company.  However, my two male supervisors have a strong dis-like for children (one is married, one is divorced and neither of them want children).  Like having children will ruin your life, how could you ever in a million years purposefully have a child, dis-like children.  For this reason, I don't see them being particularly flexible with me.  I see it being, do you want to work or do you not? We aren't going to cut you slack when your kid is sick, etc.  I guess I should've included this earlier - it is kind of an important point.  The company as a whole is very family friendly, but my department - not so much.  There are only 3 people in the department including me so there is no one to cover for me.

Regarding the tax on nanny: I was referring to the "nanny tax".  A nanny is treated as a household employee and you must pay them as an employee and not a contractor.  You must issue them a W-2 and you have to pay the employer portion of all taxes.

I agree about the cost of working - between dry cleaning, hair, makeup, replacing worn out shoes and other clothes I spend a lot of money. I'm sure this would go down substantially if I was hanging out at the house.  Not that I would just "let myself go" but I just wouldn't need to dress in business casual clothes daily.

You need to network at work and see if there are any other openings in other divisions/groups.  Do you have anyone you can trust?

I don't agree you're doing anything wrong by maybe not going back after leave.  Sure it doesn't look great or make ppl want to hire women but employers increasingly have no choice.  Women are a larger percentage of college graduates and a large portion of the workforce.  It's only a matter of time before better mat leave is offered or required in this country. 

How much do you think your employer will miss you while you're on leave?  Think you could call up your boss and say you need more time but realize that's not an option.  But is there an option to work part time for six months?  Or telecommute one or two days a week?  A lot of people have kids so while your manager might hate them I don't see how he can avoid employees with kids forever.   
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: angelagrace on July 18, 2014, 12:09:56 PM
Here's my plan for when we have our first baby soon, if that helps :).

I'm the main income right now, and I work from home (programming job), for about $75k. I plan to save during the pregnancy, take my 3 months maternity leave, then go back to work, from home, while hubby is a SAHD mostly (he will probably do some part time work as a musician some nights).

My recommendation would be for your husband to keep his job, you to ask your employer AFTER maternity leave if you could work from home certain days or full time (not sure if your job lends itself toward that like mine or not), and then hire a nanny for the time you are on the clock. That way, you'd be there for emergencies/ breast feeding (if you're going to do that), but you wouldn't have to give your attention to the baby while you need to work. Best of both worlds, IMO :). Some employers are reluctant to let moms WFH thinking that they will be distracted, but if your manager is understanding you might be able to explain that you intend to hire a full time nanny but want to be around for emergencies. Try to hire a college student or two, or someone who is reliable but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. After all, you'll be there to keep an eye on them if you go that route :).

Just some ideas.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Meggslynn on July 18, 2014, 03:38:48 PM
When we made the decision to start a family, we did it knowing that we wanted our child to be raised by us. That meant one of us was going to become the SAHP.

I earn twice what my husband did. I also enjoyed my job, and he didn't. So it was a reasonably easy decision to make that DH would become full-time SAHD when I went back to work at 3 months. I was lucky enough to have a very flexible job, so I worked part time from home for the first year (and got completely on DH's nerves :))

He has found it to be a tough gig, mostly because he feels like he's not contributing financially to the family (although he forgets that he contributes by 'saving' us money). DH was also lacking mental stimulation and adult interaction, so when our son was 11 months we decided to put him in daycare for 2 days a week.

For us the first decision was how you want your child to be raised (parent or childcare worker). We chose parent, so our second question was which parent? From there, you just need to make it work. If you feel strongly enough about how you want to raise your child, everything else is secondary in my opinion.

MRL

This has to be one of the most ignorant posts I have EVER read.

As a parent who has done both staying at home and working and know people who fall in both categories I can say with 100% certainty that if your child goes to childcare they will not be raised by someone else. They are still raised by you. My son was at home for the first 18 months of life and has been in playschool for the last 8 months and I am still the one raising him. I decide what food he eats, when he potty trains and how and what discipline technique to use. I am the one that says good morning and goodnight every day and he eats 16 out of 21 meals a week with. His teachers follow through on what I ask or advised and vice versa. People forget that raising a child takes a village and child benefit from that.

My son loves playschool and seeing his friends everyday. My son was potty trained by 2 years old and can count to 30 at 26 months old. All of these things I am sure wouldn't of happened if wasn't in the playschool environment as he wanted to like the older boys and go on the potty and I am not sure I would of even thought (or of had the patience) to teach numbers and abc's at this age.

So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: RiskDown on July 18, 2014, 06:13:09 PM
So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.

Hey-hey-now... I'd personally rather have access to BOTH of your opinions... We don't necessarily have to agree with someone, to gain wisdom from their posts.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Meggslynn on July 18, 2014, 08:18:44 PM
So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.

Hey-hey-now... I'd personally rather have access to BOTH of your opinions... We don't necessarily have to agree with someone, to gain wisdom from their posts.

Sorry, I shouldn't of said that. People who add fuel to the mommy war fire (especially when they don't know what they ware talking about) pi$$ me off ......
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: mm1970 on July 18, 2014, 08:54:11 PM
I guess for me my stress is in the following areas since I know that we can "afford" for me to stay home:

1) Will I absolutely hate being at home?
2) Am I an idiot for quitting a job that pays well? A lot of people would say so. I could easily get another job making $70k per year full-time, but not $93k. Part time I could make $40k or so.
3) Is it smart for me to completely quit saving on my side? 401k, 401k match, other savings.  We would only be able to save about $17,500 401k husband + $10k husband stock options + $8,000 ESPP = $35.5k per year if I'm not working.

Well, it's hard to know until you get there.  You may know yourself, you may not.  I've always assumed that I wouldn't enjoy being at  home full time.  And every time I've gotten a taste of it (two maternity leaves, weekends when my husband travels, home with sick kids), well, I haven't enjoyed it.

I recommend to my friends to plan to go back to work.  Because: you can always quit.  It's probably harder to quit and get your job BACK.  But if you go back to work and hate it, you can quit.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: mm1970 on July 18, 2014, 09:17:46 PM
...No one, and I mean no one, not even a nanny, will take care of your child like you will be able to take care of your child.

I have not found this to be universally true, at least not in my case.  In my case, it's a combination of having found a truly exceptional nanny and not being a very good stay-at-home mom.  I do not have the temperament for it, and our nanny takes better care of our kids than I could if I were home with them all day, every day.  (Being away from them all day, every day is hard, too, in an entirely different way.  Ideally, you will have some flexibility to find what works for you.)

Your preferences and personality are important to take into account, and it's not always possible to predict how you will feel until you're in it.  You may feel strongly that you can't leave your baby, you may feel strongly that you need to go back to work, or you may feel somewhere in between, which makes the decision harder but gives you more options.

If I were in your situation, I would do what I could to keep my options open and make the decision after you've been home at least two months (any time before that, the sleep deprivation may make it hard to think clearly).

Good luck!
I agree. My kids are/were in wonderful home daycares. Currently a good friend of mine. I personally believe it takes a village. And I don't have a family village nearby.

Plus even working full time... A full work week has my kids with us 128 of 168 hours. Combined we get about 8 or 9 weeks off. I spend far more time caring for my children than daycare.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: mm1970 on July 18, 2014, 09:31:26 PM
So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.

Hey-hey-now... I'd personally rather have access to BOTH of your opinions... We don't necessarily have to agree with someone, to gain wisdom from their posts.

Sorry, I shouldn't of said that. People who add fuel to the mommy war fire (especially when they don't know what they ware talking about) pi$$ me off ......
Yeah you know the "we decided that WE would raise our kids." It's ignorance. Daycares don't raise kids thanks. Got my ire up too.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Cressida on July 18, 2014, 10:19:18 PM
So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.
Hey-hey-now... I'd personally rather have access to BOTH of your opinions... We don't necessarily have to agree with someone, to gain wisdom from their posts.
Sorry, I shouldn't of said that. People who add fuel to the mommy war fire (especially when they don't know what they ware talking about) pi$$ me off ......
Yeah you know the "we decided that WE would raise our kids." It's ignorance. Daycares don't raise kids thanks. Got my ire up too.

Mine too. I think your reaction was understandable.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Gray Matter on July 19, 2014, 07:33:42 AM
So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.
Hey-hey-now... I'd personally rather have access to BOTH of your opinions... We don't necessarily have to agree with someone, to gain wisdom from their posts.
Sorry, I shouldn't of said that. People who add fuel to the mommy war fire (especially when they don't know what they ware talking about) pi$$ me off ......
Yeah you know the "we decided that WE would raise our kids." It's ignorance. Daycares don't raise kids thanks. Got my ire up too.

Mine too. I think your reaction was understandable.

I, too, was put off by the phraseology of "we vs. daycare providers."  It's not an either/or proposition.  Probably not intended to be offensive/inflammatory, but I would encourage the poster to find another way of saying it and thinking about it.

While it's perfectly legit to define the raising of one's kids as something done exclusively by the parent(s)/guardians, regardless of the daycare situation, I actually believe that parents NEVER solely raise their children.  There are always others involved in the raising of your children, even if you're a stay-at-home parent.  It might be an occasional babysitter, or a family member or friend or neighbor who spends time with your child, or even your child's friends/peers.  And once they get to school, teachers and coaches and others are helping raise your kids.  Even if you homeschool, anybody and anything that has an influence on your child's growth, development, and learning is helping raise your child (and thank goodness for that!).
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Rebecca Stapler on July 19, 2014, 08:00:06 AM
Congratulations!!!

You're in a good financial position, and if you do decide to SAH, I think you'll be fine. It sounds like you have a lot of spending on "extras" that you can cut back on when baby arrives. So, if SAH is important to you, then you'll make it work.

I understand your perspective about handing your child off to a stranger, but I assure you that, if you decide to find childcare for your child, you would never leave him/her with someone you don't trust completely. Now that you're pregnant, I suggest touring some daycare facilities and seeing if any of them feel right to you. Consider it as a backup in case you decide that you would prefer to work -- FT or PT. My son has been in FT daycare, then preschool, almost all his life and I trusted every one of his providers. I'll admit, too, that when he was an infant, I relied on his teachers for advice about sleeping and eating, because they truly are experts. My son's first teacher had been at the center for 20 years. I loved that he was socializing with other kids, which helped him try new things and learn them -- like eating finger foods, standing and walking on his own, and now the more complex things like sharing and being nice to your friends, etc. Kids will learn all that anyway, but I felt like daycare helped him get a head start on it.

As a professional woman, I suggest you deciding during your maternity leave whether you want to SAH full time. Two parents working FT with an infant is tough -- it was the hardest year of my life! -- so if you decide you want to work, and can go back PT temporarily, I personally find that to be the ideal situation for us. But I would want to know that I could go back to FT when I was ready. Don't worry about it perpetuating a stereotype if you leave; I'm a feminist and I don't care; you're not ruining anything for anyone -- the stereotype will be there whether you leave after maternity leave or not.

I'm a big fan of the book "Lean In," that makes the point that taking a few years off because the cost of daycare outweighs the income from working is a short-term solution that can create the long-term issue of not advancing and receiving the raises and benefits of networking that could have you making a lot more in the long run. Personally, when I think of all the professional skills I've developed in the 4 years when my son was in daycare and I was working, and all the socialization and friendships my son has formed, I'm glad that we made the decision that we did. 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: MsRichLife on July 20, 2014, 07:39:44 PM
This has to be one of the most ignorant posts I have EVER read.

As a parent who has done both staying at home and working and know people who fall in both categories I can say with 100% certainty that if your child goes to childcare they will not be raised by someone else. They are still raised by you. My son was at home for the first 18 months of life and has been in playschool for the last 8 months and I am still the one raising him. I decide what food he eats, when he potty trains and how and what discipline technique to use. I am the one that says good morning and goodnight every day and he eats 16 out of 21 meals a week with. His teachers follow through on what I ask or advised and vice versa. People forget that raising a child takes a village and child benefit from that.

My son loves playschool and seeing his friends everyday. My son was potty trained by 2 years old and can count to 30 at 26 months old. All of these things I am sure wouldn't of happened if wasn't in the playschool environment as he wanted to like the older boys and go on the potty and I am not sure I would of even thought (or of had the patience) to teach numbers and abc's at this age.

So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.

Wow...Sorry you feel that way. Let me clarify my position, if it's possible.

I have been a SAHM. I have been a WAHM. I have been a full-time working mother with my husband as a full-time SAHD. I have been a full-time working mother with my son at home with dad 2 days and at childcare 3 (short) days. I have been in all boats and I make my comments based on what's right for MY family.... Not yours or anyone else's. Everyone's situation is different and no-one can decide what's best for another family. I am certainly not one to add to the 'mommy war fire', and this post was certainly not designed to do so.

We decided that we did not want our son in daycare at 3 months (what I meant when I said 'parents or Childcare worker'...obviously not phrased well, judging by the reaction). We moved our life around so that we could make sure one of us was home with him for those early months. That was the decision that we felt was right for us. Other's need to decide for themselves what's right for their family.

When he was nearly 1 year old, we decided to put him in childcare a couple of days a week in preparation for my husband to go back to work. We were happy that our son was getting to spend time with other kids and to get new stimulation that was different to home (he needs a lot). We were very happy with his carers while he was in the babies room.

Fast forward and my son is now over two. We have not been particularly happy with the level of care he's had in his current room, but that's to do with the centre he's in and we are working to resolve the problem. The carer's in his room change regularly. I have gone in to pick him up and not one of the carer's was known to me. My son was with strangers. For most children this might be OK, but my son is a sensitive soul and this is tough for him. IF I had my son in full-time at this centre I have no doubt it would destroy him. For this reason we have decided that he needs to be home most of the time.

If he was in fulltime care, I might say good morning and goodnight to him. I might have breakfast and dinner with him. But in reality, I have very little control about what happens at daycare when I'm not there. They will teach him what they like, they will discipline him how they like, they will feed him the food they like, they will cuddle him as much (or as little) as they like. If we were to factor in sleep times, then he would spend more time with his carers than he would with his parents.

If you are happy with the level of care provided in your situation and your child is thriving...then that's great. Other kids might not fare so well. Ours is one of those other kids.

I'm sorry, but no-one cares as much about your child as you and your partner. Sometimes this is more of an issue than others. In our case, it's a big issue.

This has to be one of the most ignorant posts I have EVER read.

So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.

I apologise if what I said upset some people. Perhaps one phrase was not particularly well said, but hey...I'm sleep deprived!

To be honest I'm a little shocked that people reacted this way. I wasn't intending to upset people and I guess this is why in future I will keep my opinions [on parenting] to myself.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: MsRichLife on July 20, 2014, 08:41:53 PM
People who add fuel to the mommy war fire (especially when they don't know what they ware talking about) pi$$ me off ......
At no point did I attack anybody or their opinion personally. I stated my opinion based on my own value set and personal experience. How people react to my personal decision making process is up to them, but I feel that this ^^^ is unnecessary. What are you really so pi$$ed off about?

Mommy-wars are not perpetuated by people with different opinions and views on things. Mommy-wars are perpetuated by people personally attacking others who hold different views than their own. Just a thought.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Meggslynn on July 20, 2014, 09:41:36 PM
People who add fuel to the mommy war fire (especially when they don't know what they ware talking about) pi$$ me off ......
At no point did I attack anybody or their opinion personally. I stated my opinion based on my own value set and personal experience. How people react to my personal decision making process is up to them, but I feel that this ^^^ is unnecessary. What are you really so pi$$ed off about?

Mommy-wars are not perpetuated by people with different opinions and views on things. Mommy-wars are perpetuated by people personally attacking others who hold different views than their own. Just a thought.

Listen I don't want to hijack this thread. But like you said ... It was poorly worded.

Telling a working mother someone else is raising her child is just as ignorant and offensive as telling a stay home mom that she doesn't do anything all day.  I am not attacking your views. I am sick and tired of moms saying this bullsh*t to one another.

Like everyone has said it is what is best for your family that matters and if that means staying home thats great but it doesn't mean your eating bon bons and watching soaps all day. And if means working out of home it doesn't not mean that someone else is raising your kids for you. So let's stop saying that to one another. It's hurtful. And it's just down right false.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: MsRichLife on July 20, 2014, 11:32:11 PM
Telling a working mother someone else is raising her child is just as ignorant and offensive as telling a stay home mom that she doesn't do anything all day.  I am not attacking your views. I am sick and tired of moms saying this bullsh*t to one another.

Like everyone has said it is what is best for your family that matters and if that means staying home thats great but it doesn't mean your eating bon bons and watching soaps all day. And if means working out of home it doesn't not mean that someone else is raising your kids for you. So let's stop saying that to one another. It's hurtful. And it's just down right false.

*Sigh* Did you even read anything that I wrote when trying to explain my point of view?

I was not saying that working mothers are leaving their children to be raised by someone else. I am a working mother too. I know the challenges that come with it.

Instead of the word raise, I should have said cared for, or looked after. Would this rewording make you feel less indignant towards me?
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Balance on July 21, 2014, 12:22:37 AM
When we made the decision to start a family, we did it knowing that we wanted our child to be raised by us. That meant one of us was going to become the SAHP.

I earn twice what my husband did. I also enjoyed my job, and he didn't. So it was a reasonably easy decision to make that DH would become full-time SAHD when I went back to work at 3 months. I was lucky enough to have a very flexible job, so I worked part time from home for the first year (and got completely on DH's nerves :))

He has found it to be a tough gig, mostly because he feels like he's not contributing financially to the family (although he forgets that he contributes by 'saving' us money). DH was also lacking mental stimulation and adult interaction, so when our son was 11 months we decided to put him in daycare for 2 days a week.

For us the first decision was how you want your child to be raised (parent or childcare worker). We chose parent, so our second question was which parent? From there, you just need to make it work. If you feel strongly enough about how you want to raise your child, everything else is secondary in my opinion.

MRL

This has to be one of the most ignorant posts I have EVER read.

As a parent who has done both staying at home and working and know people who fall in both categories I can say with 100% certainty that if your child goes to childcare they will not be raised by someone else. They are still raised by you. My son was at home for the first 18 months of life and has been in playschool for the last 8 months and I am still the one raising him. I decide what food he eats, when he potty trains and how and what discipline technique to use. I am the one that says good morning and goodnight every day and he eats 16 out of 21 meals a week with. His teachers follow through on what I ask or advised and vice versa. People forget that raising a child takes a village and child benefit from that.

My son loves playschool and seeing his friends everyday. My son was potty trained by 2 years old and can count to 30 at 26 months old. All of these things I am sure wouldn't of happened if wasn't in the playschool environment as he wanted to like the older boys and go on the potty and I am not sure I would of even thought (or of had the patience) to teach numbers and abc's at this age.

So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.

I don't think that MRL was trying to be offensive at all, just giving her opinion and attempting to give some perspective to the OP, which is what a lot of us are doing on these forums. Apparently this comment strikes a nerve with some people based on their own personal hangups. If you stand by your decision to stay at home, go back to work, or do a mixture of both I think that's totally cool. It all depends on that individual's situation which may or may not be similar to yours. The OP wanted opinions and that is what she is getting.

If this is the most ignorant thing you have ever read you need to look at comments to almost any story on Yahoo news :)
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: iris lily on July 21, 2014, 05:42:47 AM
Thank you to the people who provided input on what they did, it's helpful. I don't plan on quitting until I know I want to. Is it wrong to tell an employer you'll be back from maternity leave and then decide at the end that you don't want to come back?
As a manager I hate when people do that. But they do it.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Goldielocks on July 22, 2014, 09:12:09 AM
Thank you to the people who provided input on what they did, it's helpful. I don't plan on quitting until I know I want to. Is it wrong to tell an employer you'll be back from maternity leave and then decide at the end that you don't want to come back?
As a manager. I hate when people do that. But they do it.

Better to say that you plan to come back but are not 100% sure.  Who knows, you may get a promotion if they really want to keep you.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Rebecca Stapler on July 22, 2014, 10:09:32 AM
Thank you to the people who provided input on what they did, it's helpful. I don't plan on quitting until I know I want to. Is it wrong to tell an employer you'll be back from maternity leave and then decide at the end that you don't want to come back?
As a manager. I hate when people do that. But they do it.

Better to say that you plan to come back but are not 100% sure.  Who knows, you may get a promotion if they really want to keep you.

Brilliant ;)

If your supervisor is a parent, I would hope that s/he would understand where you're coming from if you decide not to return. Be sure to know your employer's leave policy before making your decision, though, or else you might be hit with a surprise bill for your health insurance during leave.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: frugaliknowit on July 22, 2014, 11:13:29 AM
My view is a bit extreme.  I would never recommend anyone be a SAHM or SAHD long term.  The reason I am of this opinion is I have seen how difficult or impossible it is to return to the working world after being a long term SAHM.  For example I know someone who has a design degree from Parson's School of Design in NY, has been trying to return to the work world for years and gets questions like, "...so what were you doing all those years...?"  She has massive trouble getting interviews and offers.

Ideally, it would be great to have that option, to do the math and come to a conclusion...unfortunately, life can take unexpected turns (death, divorce, job loss or disability of a spouse, change in desire).  I would not take the risk of leaving the work world long term, thinking I will be able to return when/if I want, whether or not the numbers make sense.  Just my $.02.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 22, 2014, 12:38:02 PM
Thank you to the people who provided input on what they did, it's helpful. I don't plan on quitting until I know I want to. Is it wrong to tell an employer you'll be back from maternity leave and then decide at the end that you don't want to come back?
As a manager. I hate when people do that. But they do it.

Better to say that you plan to come back but are not 100% sure.  Who knows, you may get a promotion if they really want to keep you.

Brilliant ;)

If your supervisor is a parent, I would hope that s/he would understand where you're coming from if you decide not to return. Be sure to know your employer's leave policy before making your decision, though, or else you might be hit with a surprise bill for your health insurance during leave.

Sorry I haven't responded to your posts in the past week.  I'm digesting this whole pregnancy thing :).  Thank you all for the feedback, I'm reading through every post and will be printing this for later reading.  Regarding the quotes above - my supervisors (both men) do not have kids and do not want them, in fact they have a very strong dislike of kids.  My news will not be met with enthusiasm from them I am sure.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: MrsPete on July 22, 2014, 08:43:35 PM
Though I have a wonderful marriage, I was raised in poverty and was abandoned by a parent, so I have some issues concerning having MY OWN MONEY.  As such, I always assumed I'd keep my job after having children; however, as it came time for me to go back to work, I started to question myself.  Best advice I received on the subject, which came from my husband:  Go back.  You have a job you like, so don't quit without giving it a try.  Give it two months, and if you're not happy, put in your notice.  I did just as he said, and it was fine -- even in the beginning. 

I don't mean that every day has been wonderful, especially when the kids were still small.  Lack of sleep was the worst of it, and the days he traveled for work were bad . . . but looking back, I'm glad we made the choices we did.  They had great daycare experiences, and they were happy, healthy kids.  They're now young adults, and they're wonderful people. 

I'll echo two things that other people have said:

First, no matter whether you use day care or not, you and your husband will be the ones raising the child.  Neither of my children ever had any confusion about who was Mom and Dad vs. day care folks.  They loved their day care providers, but they always saved their best (and worst) of everything for us.  Raising a child doesn't mean you're the one who changes every diaper and physically fed every meal (if so, no men prior to the 1960s ever raised children); rather, raising a child is about the long-term choices and care that you provide. 

Second, do keep in mind that it is not all that easy to re-enter the workforce after an absence.  It's much, much easier for a woman than it is for a man (maybe not so difficult as it was a generation ago, but still most employers are going to question a decade of unemployment for a man, whereas it's just assumed that a woman of appropriate age was at home with small children).  Unless you make a concerted effort, the work world can change and evolve, and your skills can grow stale -- and it can be harder for your family to adjust to a sudden change in expectations when you go back to work. 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Zette on July 24, 2014, 09:09:44 AM
I did part-time (20-25) hr/wk contracting for 2 years when my son was a toddler and found it to be a very nice balance.  Here's what I would suggest:

Go find a contracting position NOW, and get an offer.  Then go to your current employer and tell them, "I have an employment offer that I am seriously considering, but really love working for this company and wanted to give you the chance to match it."  Then you explain that you are pregnant, and that you would like to work part-time for 1-2 years and return to full time when the baby is older.  This position would allow you to do that, but long-term you'd really prefer to stay with the current company if there would be a way to work out a similar arrangement.  Right now is when you are probably in the strongest position to negotiate what you want. 

If they refuse, you would still be in a good position to work part-time for a couple of years, and then approach your former employer when you're ready for your child to be in full time care. 

And of course, the option to quit either position later is always there if it turns out you'd really prefer to be home full time.

(I stayed home full time for 2 years, then did part-time contracting for 2 years, then 5 more years of home full time, and am now looking at either part-time contracting or freelancing.  Every year I've thought, "Maybe I'll go back next year," but haven't really felt a strong pull to actually do so.  I liked my career well enough, but didn't LOVE the work.)
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Numbers Man on July 24, 2014, 09:45:02 AM
Though I have a wonderful marriage, I was raised in poverty and was abandoned by a parent, so I have some issues concerning having MY OWN MONEY.  As such, I always assumed I'd keep my job after having children; however, as it came time for me to go back to work, I started to question myself.  Best advice I received on the subject, which came from my husband:  Go back.  You have a job you like, so don't quit without giving it a try.  Give it two months, and if you're not happy, put in your notice.  I did just as he said, and it was fine -- even in the beginning. 

I don't mean that every day has been wonderful, especially when the kids were still small.  Lack of sleep was the worst of it, and the days he traveled for work were bad . . . but looking back, I'm glad we made the choices we did.  They had great daycare experiences, and they were happy, healthy kids.  They're now young adults, and they're wonderful people. 

I'll echo two things that other people have said:

First, no matter whether you use day care or not, you and your husband will be the ones raising the child.  Neither of my children ever had any confusion about who was Mom and Dad vs. day care folks.  They loved their day care providers, but they always saved their best (and worst) of everything for us.  Raising a child doesn't mean you're the one who changes every diaper and physically fed every meal (if so, no men prior to the 1960s ever raised children); rather, raising a child is about the long-term choices and care that you provide. 

Second, do keep in mind that it is not all that easy to re-enter the workforce after an absence.  It's much, much easier for a woman than it is for a man (maybe not so difficult as it was a generation ago, but still most employers are going to question a decade of unemployment for a man, whereas it's just assumed that a woman of appropriate age was at home with small children).  Unless you make a concerted effort, the work world can change and evolve, and your skills can grow stale -- and it can be harder for your family to adjust to a sudden change in expectations when you go back to work.

Exactly. Boom! Thread over.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: JoyBlogette on July 24, 2014, 10:27:11 AM
I don't think that MRL was trying to be offensive at all, just giving her opinion and attempting to give some perspective to the OP, which is what a lot of us are doing on these forums. Apparently this comment strikes a nerve with some people based on their own personal hangups. If you stand by your decision to stay at home, go back to work, or do a mixture of both I think that's totally cool. It all depends on that individual's situation which may or may not be similar to yours. The OP wanted opinions and that is what she is getting.

If this is the most ignorant thing you have ever read you need to look at comments to almost any story on Yahoo news :)
+1

OP - Congratulations!  It is true what everyone is saying that you won't know how you will feel until the baby arrives.  Good to plan out your options in advance though.  Good luck!  Whatever you decide to do, having a child is wonderful regardless.  Congrats again.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Rebecca Stapler on July 24, 2014, 06:32:57 PM
Thank you to the people who provided input on what they did, it's helpful. I don't plan on quitting until I know I want to. Is it wrong to tell an employer you'll be back from maternity leave and then decide at the end that you don't want to come back?
As a manager. I hate when people do that. But they do it.

Better to say that you plan to come back but are not 100% sure.  Who knows, you may get a promotion if they really want to keep you.

Brilliant ;)

If your supervisor is a parent, I would hope that s/he would understand where you're coming from if you decide not to return. Be sure to know your employer's leave policy before making your decision, though, or else you might be hit with a surprise bill for your health insurance during leave.

Sorry I haven't responded to your posts in the past week.  I'm digesting this whole pregnancy thing :).  Thank you all for the feedback, I'm reading through every post and will be printing this for later reading.  Regarding the quotes above - my supervisors (both men) do not have kids and do not want them, in fact they have a very strong dislike of kids.  My news will not be met with enthusiasm from them I am sure.

Ouch! Sorry :( 

I have no advice on handling that b/c my supervisors have all been parents or supportive of families; although, that can be a double-edged sword too -- one of my bosses loved to highlight how her dr. told her to stop working at one point during pregnancy, but she came into the office anyway. Sheesh!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Gin1984 on July 31, 2014, 07:28:52 AM
When we made the decision to start a family, we did it knowing that we wanted our child to be raised by us. That meant one of us was going to become the SAHP.

I earn twice what my husband did. I also enjoyed my job, and he didn't. So it was a reasonably easy decision to make that DH would become full-time SAHD when I went back to work at 3 months. I was lucky enough to have a very flexible job, so I worked part time from home for the first year (and got completely on DH's nerves :))

He has found it to be a tough gig, mostly because he feels like he's not contributing financially to the family (although he forgets that he contributes by 'saving' us money). DH was also lacking mental stimulation and adult interaction, so when our son was 11 months we decided to put him in daycare for 2 days a week.

For us the first decision was how you want your child to be raised (parent or childcare worker). We chose parent, so our second question was which parent? From there, you just need to make it work. If you feel strongly enough about how you want to raise your child, everything else is secondary in my opinion.

MRL

This has to be one of the most ignorant posts I have EVER read.

As a parent who has done both staying at home and working and know people who fall in both categories I can say with 100% certainty that if your child goes to childcare they will not be raised by someone else. They are still raised by you. My son was at home for the first 18 months of life and has been in playschool for the last 8 months and I am still the one raising him. I decide what food he eats, when he potty trains and how and what discipline technique to use. I am the one that says good morning and goodnight every day and he eats 16 out of 21 meals a week with. His teachers follow through on what I ask or advised and vice versa. People forget that raising a child takes a village and child benefit from that.

My son loves playschool and seeing his friends everyday. My son was potty trained by 2 years old and can count to 30 at 26 months old. All of these things I am sure wouldn't of happened if wasn't in the playschool environment as he wanted to like the older boys and go on the potty and I am not sure I would of even thought (or of had the patience) to teach numbers and abc's at this age.

So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.

I don't think that MRL was trying to be offensive at all, just giving her opinion and attempting to give some perspective to the OP, which is what a lot of us are doing on these forums. Apparently this comment strikes a nerve with some people based on their own personal hangups. If you stand by your decision to stay at home, go back to work, or do a mixture of both I think that's totally cool. It all depends on that individual's situation which may or may not be similar to yours. The OP wanted opinions and that is what she is getting.

If this is the most ignorant thing you have ever read you need to look at comments to almost any story on Yahoo news :)
Saying that staying home is only way for a child to be raised by the parents is ignorant and offensive.  It is also profoundly untrue. 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Balance on August 01, 2014, 11:04:51 PM

When we made the decision to start a family, we did it knowing that we wanted our child to be raised by us. That meant one of us was going to become the SAHP.

I earn twice what my husband did. I also enjoyed my job, and he didn't. So it was a reasonably easy decision to make that DH would become full-time SAHD when I went back to work at 3 months. I was lucky enough to have a very flexible job, so I worked part time from home for the first year (and got completely on DH's nerves :))

He has found it to be a tough gig, mostly because he feels like he's not contributing financially to the family (although he forgets that he contributes by 'saving' us money). DH was also lacking mental stimulation and adult interaction, so when our son was 11 months we decided to put him in daycare for 2 days a week.

For us the first decision was how you want your child to be raised (parent or childcare worker). We chose parent, so our second question was which parent? From there, you just need to make it work. If you feel strongly enough about how you want to raise your child, everything else is secondary in my opinion.

MRL

This has to be one of the most ignorant posts I have EVER read.

As a parent who has done both staying at home and working and know people who fall in both categories I can say with 100% certainty that if your child goes to childcare they will not be raised by someone else. They are still raised by you. My son was at home for the first 18 months of life and has been in playschool for the last 8 months and I am still the one raising him. I decide what food he eats, when he potty trains and how and what discipline technique to use. I am the one that says good morning and goodnight every day and he eats 16 out of 21 meals a week with. His teachers follow through on what I ask or advised and vice versa. People forget that raising a child takes a village and child benefit from that.

My son loves playschool and seeing his friends everyday. My son was potty trained by 2 years old and can count to 30 at 26 months old. All of these things I am sure wouldn't of happened if wasn't in the playschool environment as he wanted to like the older boys and go on the potty and I am not sure I would of even thought (or of had the patience) to teach numbers and abc's at this age.

So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.

I don't think that MRL was trying to be offensive at all, just giving her opinion and attempting to give some perspective to the OP, which is what a lot of us are doing on these forums. Apparently this comment strikes a nerve with some people based on their own personal hangups. If you stand by your decision to stay at home, go back to work, or do a mixture of both I think that's totally cool. It all depends on that individual's situation which may or may not be similar to yours. The OP wanted opinions and that is what she is getting.

If this is the most ignorant thing you have ever read you need to look at comments to almost any story on Yahoo news :)
Saying that staying home is only way for a child to be raised by the parents is ignorant and offensive.  It is also profoundly untrue.

After reading over her initial post I still don't see where she implied it was the "only way for a child to be raised". She stated it was her and her husband's decision and even clarified and said she never meant to offend anyone. I think we are going off course here instead of giving more opinions to the OP. MRL already clarified what she was trying to say so how about we move on and get back to the topic at hand.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 04, 2014, 10:22:10 AM
Oh man people.  Just got back from my first prenatal appointment (7w2d)........it's TWINS.  As someone said earlier in this thread - - you can plan for things in life but you just never know how they're going to go.  I'm in shock and sure am glad that we've been saving because I have a feeling we're going to need it.....
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Magpie on August 04, 2014, 10:39:38 AM
Wow, congratulations!  A dear friend who is blessed with twins once told me it took a good 3 months for the shock of knowing she was carrying twins to wear off.  Put your feet up, take care of your health, and allow yourself some time to process this news. 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: rujancified on August 04, 2014, 11:12:15 AM
Oh wow, TWINSIES! Goodness! That certainly changes the equation. I have a very dear friend who found out she was having twins just before her son turned 1. She was gobsmacked for awhile, but the relationship between the twins is just so damn amazing to witness.

Very best of luck to you!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: MrsPete on August 04, 2014, 11:13:16 AM
Oh man people.  Just got back from my first prenatal appointment (7w2d)........it's TWINS.  As someone said earlier in this thread - - you can plan for things in life but you just never know how they're going to go.  I'm in shock and sure am glad that we've been saving because I have a feeling we're going to need it.....
Wow!  Congrats! 

Of course, twice as much baby changes everything -- your parenting specifics will be quite different from those of us who had our children one at a time.  Obviously, the math changes.  I would definitely have quit my job if I'd had to pay two day cares at once -- the math would've made it an obvious choice for me.  At the same time -- and I'm speaking as the parent of a teen and a 20-year old -- the teen years will really be expensive for you, so you absolutely want to have your financial house in order by the time they reach those years. 

You'll be fine, regardless of the choices you make now.  I'll give you this one piece of advice:  Make your plans a year or so at a time.  Ask first whether it makes sense for you to work while the babies are small and require the most expensive day care.  Then at two or so, ask whether that decision is still the right option.  Then ask again around the time they start school.  You don't have to make a decision RIGHT NOW and stick to it FOREVER.  I even know one mom who chose to work when her boys were small, then quit her job when the first one started high school.  Her rationale:  You can get people to supervise (very well) your toddler, but teens are susceptible to temptation, and you can't get anyone to watch them after school then.  She also hoped they'd qualify for more financial aid if she wasn't working.  That part bit her in the butt. 

Again, congrats and good luck!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Unique User on August 04, 2014, 04:45:08 PM
Wow, twins, congratulations, that is thrilling and scary at the same time.  I would think of all the options, but I'm a BIG proponent of women staying in the workforce part time or as a contractor.  I sold a business the month before my daughter was born and stayed home for a year, I'll never regret that time with her as a baby.  After that, I worked part time and helped my husband with his business.  DD went to preschool a couple days a week from 2 years old to kindergarten.  She loved it and I got to continue working.  But, I also realize I only have one which makes things much easier.  {tensing myself for the slamming}  The issue is you never really know when you will NEED to reenter the workforce.  I have several divorced friends and those that took many years off are the ones struggling the worst right now.  I'm not saying that the OP or anyone will get divorced, I was separated for two years and am still married, I just think that women need to protect their earning potential. 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: mm1970 on August 04, 2014, 06:05:30 PM
Oh man people.  Just got back from my first prenatal appointment (7w2d)........it's TWINS.  As someone said earlier in this thread - - you can plan for things in life but you just never know how they're going to go.  I'm in shock and sure am glad that we've been saving because I have a feeling we're going to need it.....
Oh wow, that could change things!  Double the daycare may change your decision.  Though you may be able to afford a nanny on 2x daycare.

MrsPete said this:
Quote
Lack of sleep was the worst of it, and the days he traveled for work were bad

That is oh so true, and I'm still suffering from this 2 years later (and my husband is traveling again tomorrow!) And with twins, lack of sleep might be a bit harder still if they aren't on the same schedule.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: JoyBlogette on August 04, 2014, 10:13:02 PM
Wow big news!  Congrats.  This will definitely change things.  Give yourself some time to adjust to the news.  Deep breaths.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Noodle on August 05, 2014, 01:45:07 PM
Congrats, twin-mama-to-be! You have a big adventure ahead of you!

You will get advice by the bucketful, but as the proud aunt of twins, the best I ever heard was from my SIL's infant class instructor which went as thus...moms get told all the time how they "should" parent...breastfeeding or not, co-sleeping or not, feeding on demand or not, etc etc. Well, as mom of multiples, you get to throw all that out. Your only job is to keep everyone (including both parents and your marriage) alive for the next few years, and you get to do that however you want short of basic health and welfare requirements. If you need to give bottles, do it. If you need to have the babies in your room, or in their own room, so everyone can sleep, do it. If you need to feed on a schedule even though that is seen as old-fashioned, do it. Your twins will be fine whatever you pick for them.

And if you want to work, you can. My nieces have been in daycare since their mom got done her maternity leave and it has been fine for everyone.

Good luck!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Gin1984 on August 05, 2014, 07:46:44 PM

When we made the decision to start a family, we did it knowing that we wanted our child to be raised by us. That meant one of us was going to become the SAHP.

I earn twice what my husband did. I also enjoyed my job, and he didn't. So it was a reasonably easy decision to make that DH would become full-time SAHD when I went back to work at 3 months. I was lucky enough to have a very flexible job, so I worked part time from home for the first year (and got completely on DH's nerves :))

He has found it to be a tough gig, mostly because he feels like he's not contributing financially to the family (although he forgets that he contributes by 'saving' us money). DH was also lacking mental stimulation and adult interaction, so when our son was 11 months we decided to put him in daycare for 2 days a week.

For us the first decision was how you want your child to be raised (parent or childcare worker). We chose parent, so our second question was which parent? From there, you just need to make it work. If you feel strongly enough about how you want to raise your child, everything else is secondary in my opinion.

MRL

This has to be one of the most ignorant posts I have EVER read.

As a parent who has done both staying at home and working and know people who fall in both categories I can say with 100% certainty that if your child goes to childcare they will not be raised by someone else. They are still raised by you. My son was at home for the first 18 months of life and has been in playschool for the last 8 months and I am still the one raising him. I decide what food he eats, when he potty trains and how and what discipline technique to use. I am the one that says good morning and goodnight every day and he eats 16 out of 21 meals a week with. His teachers follow through on what I ask or advised and vice versa. People forget that raising a child takes a village and child benefit from that.

My son loves playschool and seeing his friends everyday. My son was potty trained by 2 years old and can count to 30 at 26 months old. All of these things I am sure wouldn't of happened if wasn't in the playschool environment as he wanted to like the older boys and go on the potty and I am not sure I would of even thought (or of had the patience) to teach numbers and abc's at this age.

So unless you have been in both boats (SAH child or one that attends childcare for some of the time) keep your opinions to yourself.

I don't think that MRL was trying to be offensive at all, just giving her opinion and attempting to give some perspective to the OP, which is what a lot of us are doing on these forums. Apparently this comment strikes a nerve with some people based on their own personal hangups. If you stand by your decision to stay at home, go back to work, or do a mixture of both I think that's totally cool. It all depends on that individual's situation which may or may not be similar to yours. The OP wanted opinions and that is what she is getting.

If this is the most ignorant thing you have ever read you need to look at comments to almost any story on Yahoo news :)
Saying that staying home is only way for a child to be raised by the parents is ignorant and offensive.  It is also profoundly untrue.

After reading over her initial post I still don't see where she implied it was the "only way for a child to be raised". She stated it was her and her husband's decision and even clarified and said she never meant to offend anyone. I think we are going off course here instead of giving more opinions to the OP. MRL already clarified what she was trying to say so how about we move on and get back to the topic at hand.
She stated in above quote "For us the first decision was how you want your child to be raised (parent or childcare worker). ". Having a child in daycare does not mean the child is raised by anyone other than the parents.  It is a false and offensive statement.  And she can backpedal all she wants, and you can try to help, but it is there in black and white.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: labrat on August 05, 2014, 07:47:27 PM
...it's TWINS.  As someone said earlier in this thread - - you can plan for things in life but you just never know how they're going to go.  I'm in shock and sure am glad that we've been saving because I have a feeling we're going to need it.....

Congratulations, that is FANTASTIC!!!!  Just another option to throw out there since you are in 2x kiddo territory: an older friend of mine had 2 children, one of which had some moderate mobility impairment due to an illness as an infant, she wanted (& needed) to return to work and her husband travelled extensively for business during the week.  They worried that during the week it would be too much for the mother to take on herself, so they ended up hosting an au pair from Europe for a couple of years.  The au pair cared for the children during the day and helped with household duties if needed (cooking, laundry, etc.) in exchange for a modest allowance and room and board.  They thought of her as part of the family and they still keep in touch 15 years later. 

Congrats again - and best wishes during your pregnancy!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 12, 2014, 10:25:44 AM
I looked into it and it looks like I could get a nanny for about $35k per year.  I was thinking about work versus staying home this morning and was thinking maybe I make an offer to my employer that would seal the deal for me.  Maybe I say - "I love working here and I would like to continue working after the babies are born.  However, as you know daycare is extremely expensive here, especially times two.  I ran the numbers and in order for it to make sense financially for me to continue working I would need a $15,000 increase in my base salary." Maybe I could also get them to throw in stock options since I know they are available.

But who knows....maybe I'll hold those babies and think "no amount of money will keep me from being at home". 

My dad is being a total PITA about this.  Every time I talk to him he says "So you're going to quit when the babies are born right? You guys have plenty of money, just quit".  Okay dad, because you certainly weren't the one that quit when I was born, mom did. I realize that this is ultimately our decision (husband and I) and not our parent's decision but you still hate to disappoint your parents. I think my husband's parents would be really disappointed too as his mom stayed home.  Maybe they'll all be so disappointed that they'll move to the city we live in and watch them :).

If they gave me the $15,000 raise, then the nanny would really only cost a net of $20k (or less if I get decent stock options). I realize that this isn't exact because I'd be paying the nanny with mostly after tax money (we would qualify for the child care tax credit and could put $5k in flexible spending for daycare).
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: JoyBlogette on August 12, 2014, 11:39:30 AM
It sounds to me like your dad was coming from the perspective of "you are able to quit if you want, don't feel pressured to go back to work, you can afford it if you want to stay home".  If you are having trouble thinking of yourself as a SAHM.  I can relate to that.  Currently I am still torn between wanting to stay home and wanting to keep my "work" identity.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: zhelud on August 12, 2014, 11:45:20 AM
I looked into it and it looks like I could get a nanny for about $35k per year.  I was thinking about work versus staying home this morning and was thinking maybe I make an offer to my employer that would seal the deal for me.  Maybe I say - "I love working here and I would like to continue working after the babies are born.  However, as you know daycare is extremely expensive here, especially times two.  I ran the numbers and in order for it to make sense financially for me to continue working I would need a $15,000 increase in my base salary." Maybe I could also get them to throw in stock options since I know they are available.

I don't know what your workplace is like, but if I said that to my employer, he would say "Bye! Sorry you can't afford to work here. Enjoy being at home with the babies! Send some pictures!"  But maybe you have a good business case to make about how they should give you a raise because you are awesome.

But why do married women always seem to think that they should compare child care costs with their income alone? I think it is wiser to do the calculation assuming that 50% of the costs come from each spouse's earnings, even if one earns more, and also to take into account that each working spouse may get promotions and pay raises over time, or have the opportunity to take a higher-paying job due to accumulated experience.     
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 12, 2014, 12:01:01 PM
I looked into it and it looks like I could get a nanny for about $35k per year.  I was thinking about work versus staying home this morning and was thinking maybe I make an offer to my employer that would seal the deal for me.  Maybe I say - "I love working here and I would like to continue working after the babies are born.  However, as you know daycare is extremely expensive here, especially times two.  I ran the numbers and in order for it to make sense financially for me to continue working I would need a $15,000 increase in my base salary." Maybe I could also get them to throw in stock options since I know they are available.

I don't know what your workplace is like, but if I said that to my employer, he would say "Bye! Sorry you can't afford to work here. Enjoy being at home with the babies! Send some pictures!"  But maybe you have a good business case to make about how they should give you a raise because you are awesome.

But why do married women always seem to think that they should compare child care costs with their income alone? I think it is wiser to do the calculation assuming that 50% of the costs come from each spouse's earnings, even if one earns more, and also to take into account that each working spouse may get promotions and pay raises over time, or have the opportunity to take a higher-paying job due to accumulated experience.   

If you read my thread from the beginning you would see that I've done a huge amount of analysis on this.  We can afford for me to stay home if that's what we choose.  I wouldn't bring my husband's earnings into the discussion with my employer because that isn't their business.  My job is in high demand - I've received two calls in one week from recruiters.  For my employer this would be a business decision, do we give her the pay raise and stock options or do we go through the pain of finding another qualified candidate (in a competitive market) and spend an entire year training them? It took them an entire year to train me to do my job. This company is not hurting for money.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Gray Matter on August 12, 2014, 06:57:29 PM
I don't know what your workplace is like, but if I said that to my employer, he would say "Bye! Sorry you can't afford to work here. Enjoy being at home with the babies! Send some pictures!"  But maybe you have a good business case to make about how they should give you a raise because you are awesome.   

I agree with zhelud that your business case to your employer should have nothing to do with the cost of daycare.  In theory, you get paid based on the work you do and the value you bring, not based on how much money you need.  It's not like you're suddenly 15K more valuable because you have daycare costs, so that's not relevant to the conversation.  It sounds like you have a strong case, based on the fact that recruiters are calling you, so focus on the value you bring to the company and what that's worth.

In your own head, of course, you've done a cost benefit analysis to working, so you know what your bottom line is.  Good luck with this decision!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: tweezers on August 13, 2014, 09:12:43 AM
Thank you to the people who provided input on what they did, it's helpful. I don't plan on quitting until I know I want to. Is it wrong to tell an employer you'll be back from maternity leave and then decide at the end that you don't want to come back?
As a manager. I hate when people do that. But they do it.

Better to say that you plan to come back but are not 100% sure.  Who knows, you may get a promotion if they really want to keep you.

First, congratulations!!! 

Second, despite what others on this thread think, you should always say you are not sure what your post-maternity leave plans are  because you're not.  No one can predict the future, and your situation may change drastically between the time your babies are born and the end of your leave.  You can't be sure whether you're going to love being an at-home parent or would rather work.  More seriously, what if something tragic happens to your spouse (injury/death) that necessitates you returning to work.  You need to protect you and your family by ensuring that the returning-to-work option is open to you. 

I'm a manager and I get that its less than convenient to hold a position for someone that might not be returning.  However, any manager with a shred of sense would understand that leaving her options open is the intelligent and appropriate thing for a woman to do. 

Good luck on your journey to motherhood!!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 13, 2014, 09:50:47 AM
I understand what both of you are saying about my salary being dependent on what I'm worth, not what my expenses are.  But honestly, there are a lot of people at my company that are paid a whole heck of a lot more than what they're "worth".  Isn't it like that everywhere? So essentially, it would be like me saying this is what it's worth to me to keep working, am I worth it to you? I may need to figure out a better way of wording it.  Maybe I just say "my husband and I went through our budget and it just doesn't make sense for me to continue working and paying for a nanny at my current salary." That gives them the opening to say, well what if we paid you more?
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 13, 2014, 09:55:12 AM
Oh and Tweezers, thank you for the comments. I guess they're still obligated to hold my job even if I say I'm not sure rather than I'll absolutely be back.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: mozar on August 13, 2014, 06:56:34 PM
They are obligated to hold it during fmla, that's it. But I still wouldn't tell them your thoughts about leaving.

Since you are hearing from recruiters, can you  get a job offer from another company and leverage it for more $, maternity leave? I am in a relatively high demand field. A job offered me a 15% raise, 3 months of mat leave on top of fmla, 4 weeks pto ( I have 3 now). I took it (duh).

There are always jobs with better benefits out there. I still wouldn't frame it as a day care issue.

p.s. On one of the forums one person said they get 34 days pto!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Magpie on August 13, 2014, 08:29:52 PM
If your boss is not "kid-friendly" as mentioned earlier, I don't know if using your childcare expenses as justification for a raise is the best course of action.  Leveraging offers from another company would keep the focus on your value as a highly skilled employee.  There are so many variables with your situation.  Do they know you're expecting yet?  If so, was the news well received with enthusiasm or resignation?   

I have 2 small children and work full-time outside the home.  When I accepted my current position, the pay certainly was an important consideration.  After all, it has to be worth my time after childcare costs.  But, almost as important were generous leave policies, flexible scheduling, and a supportive work environment.  My boss is also a working mother and is completely understanding when I have to leave when a child is sick, or there's a preschool meeting.  That's extremely valuable to me at the stage of life I'm in.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: MicroRN on August 14, 2014, 12:00:33 PM
...No one, and I mean no one, not even a nanny, will take care of your child like you will be able to take care of your child.

I have not found this to be universally true, at least not in my case.  In my case, it's a combination of having found a truly exceptional nanny and not being a very good stay-at-home mom.  I do not have the temperament for it, and our nanny takes better care of our kids than I could if I were home with them all day, every day.  (Being away from them all day, every day is hard, too, in an entirely different way.  Ideally, you will have some flexibility to find what works for you.)

I'll agree with Gray Matter here.  We have a lovely nanny who is educated and experienced in early childhood development.  She's warm and loving to the kids, but is also far more consistent than I am about setting boundaries and following rules.  She takes them out all the time, to parks, to the zoo, everywhere.   

I was not a good SAHM.  I got grumpy and irritated being at home all day with two small ones.  We have a great balance now, and everyone is happy.  I work part time, and we have the nanny to cover my work hours plus about 5 extra hours a week, so I can run some errands alone.  With some away time each week, I'm able to be much better with the kids. 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 22, 2014, 10:06:22 AM
I'm really disappointed - we just had a meeting at work and they said they're adding a provision to this year's bonuses (to be received in Sept. 2014) that if you leave before June 30, 2015 you have to pay it back. I'm expecting my bonus to be around $20,000.  I also have a signing bonus of $7,500 that I will have to pay back if I leave before June 30, 2015.  It's frustrating because I've worked really hard at this company.  They did say that they can use their discretion to decide in which instances the money must be paid back (small, privately owned company).  Hopefully they'll decide that my situation doesn't warrant pay back assuming I don't go back.  I've never had something going on in my life (twins) that puts so much up in the air.

My due date (40 weeks) is March 29th.  My doctor said she will not let me go to 40 weeks and that they'll induce or do a C section at 38 weeks but that most woman usually go into spontaneous labor around 36-37 weeks. This puts me at around February 28th.  And I probably can't work up until I give birth.  From everything I've read online I'll probably be huge and super uncomfortable and want to throw the towel in on work around week 30 (January 15th). So assuming I stop working around 32 weeks (could be a stretch) or January 31st, three months of FMLA would put me at about May 1st or two months short of the June 30th deadline.

Is this one of those times in life where you say "it's just money"? Quite frankly this stresses me out.  If you read the first post you can see that we're doing fine financially and that we don't "need" the money per se but $27,500 is a lot of money  to give back to your employer.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 22, 2014, 10:12:52 AM
Oh I forgot to add....they did say that if you get fired then you don't have to pay the money back. I'd rather not get fired.  If I tell them I'm not sure whether I'm coming back or not (because I'm really not sure at this point) and then tell them at the end of 12 weeks of FMLA that I need more time and they say they can't grant me that time, is that classified as me being "fired" or is that me resigning by not coming back?

We are supposed to get a document in the next week the spells out the rules about payback so maybe that document will spell out the rules better.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 22, 2014, 11:08:17 AM
Further questions...if you can't tell I'm about to have an all out anxiety meltdown.

Iím a huge planner (and as I thought I knew but really didnítÖyou canít plan out a pregnancy). I got pregnant at what I thought was the absolute most ideal time for my work projects. My 12 weeks of maternity leave would hit at our slowest time of the year and I would put practically no dent in the operations of our department.  I could then decide whether or not I want to go back but regardless I wouldn't be leaving my department in a pickle because the most important part of my job would be done. Then I find out itís twins, which I am really happy about and I do feel really blessed. The doctor said I need to be ready for anything at 30 weeks, which takes more than 2 months away from the time I have to work on my part of our annual deadline huge project. Iím confident that I can get it done by 30 weeks (Iím 9 weeks now) if I let my supervisors know whatís going on now. They need to push on other departments to get the information I need expedited. I do not have the authority to do this myself or I would.

Is there any reason you would advise against letting my supervisors (and only my supervisors, not the entire company) know now that Iím pregnant with twins at only 9 weeks? If something goes wrong theyíll likely know anyway. I am not technically covered by FMLA because there are only 15 people in my mid-west office and the other 350 employees are on the east coast.  I asked what the maternity policy is monthly before I was pregnant and was told "There is no policy.  You will have 12 weeks off under FMLA with 6 weeks paid through STD".  I believe that I am still covered by the Pregnancy Disability Act. If I do tell my supervisors here soon should I let HR know first? Does that protect me in any way?
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: iamadummy on August 22, 2014, 11:31:24 AM
Not sure how they can get the money back if you leave early? 

I accepted a position many years back that had a signing bonus. I was suppose to stay 12 months or I would have to pay it back.
I left after 9 months.  They stated that I had to pay it back. Never did and nothing ever came of it.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Rebecca Stapler on August 22, 2014, 11:37:52 AM
Honestly, I would work the 2 months so I wouldn't lose the bonuses -- but then again I'm not FIRE-ing any time soon, and $27k would be a windfall to us.

I don't see how they can change the terms of your signing bonus after you've already accepted it.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 22, 2014, 11:37:59 AM
I signed an agreement that said that it was a loan and that the loan would be forgiven after 2 years of service and that if I quite before my 2 years of service that I would be required to pay it back.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Rebecca Stapler on August 22, 2014, 11:40:20 AM
I signed an agreement that said that it was a loan and that the loan would be forgiven after 2 years of service and that if I quite before my 2 years of service that I would be required to pay it back.

Ah, I see.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: firelight on August 22, 2014, 12:53:48 PM
I'm in a similar situation as yours (planner, got pregnant so my leave coincides with the slowest possible time of year and now not sure if I want to stay home or go back). We are expecting in October and have decided to take it as it comes... I know how hard it is to not plan for everything but I could see the huge toll it was taking on me to run different scenarios and options. Will all that said, everyone I talk to says things change after baby comes and there is no point planning a lot in advance. So I'd say try your best for now and relax.... Worst case, they fire you and you get to keep the 27k or at least the signing bonus... Best case, you figure out an answer to your dilemma and decide to either work till the deadline or give back the money if comes to that...
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: firelight on August 22, 2014, 12:55:04 PM
Also telling your supervisors depends on how family friendly they are... If you think they are positive, go ahead and tell them... If not, its best to wait till the doctor gives the go ahead
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: saralibrarian on August 22, 2014, 02:14:02 PM
So if you have to work until June 30th, 2015 to get the $27,500, you really only have to go back to work for 4-6 weeks, depending on when you leave - and I know several mothers of twins who didn't have to go on bedrest or were able to work up until closer to their due dates than 30 weeks. That's well within your husband's ability to take 12 weeks for FMLA, so he could take over while you power through. I would say it's worth it, that's really not that long. Plus, that could be your "trial" time where you go back and see how you feel about it.

A couple of other points: you say your current bosses don't like kids, but that doesn't mean they will actually make your life harder for having them. You won't know until it happens, so don't borrow that trouble until you run into it. I also second the suggestions made earlier to look at other managers you might work for or seriously consider those recruiters if you want a better work-life balance. It sounds like you are very lucky in your work to be so employable and recruitable, I would leverage that as much as possible. You might find that it works best to find a new job in a lower-stress situation that pays slightly less but has more flexibility in time. And with two, I think the nanny definitely sounds like a good plan, at least at first.

You mentioned that you don't qualify for FMLA because your office is small but it's part of a larger company - I don't think it's the size of your office but the entire company that counts for what does and doesn't qualify for FMLA, but I don't know how you are structured.

I have a 4 year old and an almost 2 year-old, with number three just barely on the way (April, if everything sticks). I have worked the entire time other than maternity leave and I feel like I'm a better person and mom when I'm working - everyone's life is more structured, I get frustrated less, am more patient, and my kids have learned incredible things that I would never have thought to teach them as a stay at home mom. Plus, I am able to do great things at work that are very fulfilling - I recognize that's not the case with everyone, so it's a big factor in why I like my current arrangement.

I second those who say just wait and see, now is not the time to make any big decisions - you have had enough change thrown at you! Even though with twins it's coming up faster, you still have a LOT of time to think and decide. Save, save, save, and keep your options open. Don't let pregnancy hormonal emotions get to you!

Congratulations on the twins (my husband would flip if that happened to us in a few weeks when we get the first ultrasound, I can't even imagine!) and it will all work out!

Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Cassie on August 22, 2014, 02:39:49 PM
I would definitely work the short amount of time to get that much $.  Good luck with the pregnancy and congrats on having twins! 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Freedom2016 on August 22, 2014, 03:15:40 PM
Congratulations on the twins! Wow!

I'm going to echo several things others have said:

--Go back to work after mat leave to hit that June deadline. Agree that it's not a lot of time, and would be a good road test of how you feel being back in the workplace.
--DO NOT mention daycare costs as any kind of justification for a raise - particularly given your non-kid-friendly bosses. Get an offer from a competing company and use THAT to make your economic case. (You could also benchmark the salaries of the other high-paid folks in your office to demonstrate that there is a clear pattern of your firm paying x% more than the market avg, and if you provide comparable value you should also be paid similarly.) I once supervised a guy who asked me for a raise "because he needed more money." That is the hardest internal eyeroll I think I've ever made. It wasn't connected to one SHRED of business value he brought to the table. Needless to say he didn't get the raise, AND he lost my respect.
--I haven't seen you comment at all on the idea of DH staying home with babies? I'm a little baffled why that doesn't seem to be on the table, especially since you earn almost identical salaries but you have way better perks and it sounds like more career/financial potential?

To share our experience: DH and I both worked, earning comparable salaries (~$100k each) when DS was born 2 years ago. I stayed home for 4 months (unpaid), then DS went to an in-home daycare as I went back to work. Excellent experience with the caregivers there and I felt much less angst than I expected to about our arrangement.

About a year ago I got a big client opportunity across the country and it just made sense for DH to leave his job. It was clear at that point that my job is the one with much more income potential, plus I enjoy it more than DH liked his work. So DH has been a full-time SAH parent to our toddler for about 10 months now and this arrangement is working really, really well for us. So much so that, although we envisioned this as a 1-year experiment after which time DH would go back to work, we think we're going to keep this going when #2 is born in October.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 22, 2014, 03:37:25 PM
Here's an integral part of the FMLA regulation that many people aren't aware of. I wasn't aware of it until a couple weeks ago.  Do I think my company will let me go during my 12 weeks? No.  Can they? Yes.

Employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles of your jobsite.


Regarding my husband being a SAHD - - We've talked about it and it doesn't make sense for a number of reasons:

He's an electrical engineer (electronics) with 6 years of experience.  He's getting glowing reviews and working his way up quickly. His earning potential is much higher than mine as I really have no desire to be in a position higher than the one I'm currently in.  I like people reviewing my work. I have no desire to be "the guy".

Also, in his field it would be much harder for him to work part time to keep his foot in the door like I can do.  I know that I can find a job anytime I want another one, he on the other hand probably wouldn't have the same luck.

Hopefully all goes well with the delivery etc. and the babies don't have extensive medical costs after their birth that are not covered by my health insurance.  If this is not the case then we'd obviously have to re-evaluate.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 22, 2014, 03:41:21 PM
Oh and Sara, congratulations on the new one! I hope everything goes well, I know how scary it can be in the beginning.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Freedom2016 on August 22, 2014, 03:46:35 PM
Here's an integral part of the FMLA regulation that many people aren't aware of. I wasn't aware of it until a couple weeks ago.  Do I think my company will let me go during my 12 weeks? No.  Can they? Yes.

Employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles of your jobsite.


Regarding my husband being a SAHD - - We've talked about it and it doesn't make sense for a number of reasons:

He's an electrical engineer (electronics) with 6 years of experience.  He's getting glowing reviews and working his way up quickly. His earning potential is much higher than mine as I really have no desire to be in a position higher than the one I'm currently in.  I like people reviewing my work. I have no desire to be "the guy".

Also, in his field it would be much harder for him to work part time to keep his foot in the door like I can do.  I know that I can find a job anytime I want another one, he on the other hand probably wouldn't have the same luck.

Hopefully all goes well with the delivery etc. and the babies don't have extensive medical costs after their birth that are not covered by my health insurance.  If this is not the case then we'd obviously have to re-evaluate.

Fair enough - thanks for elaborating.

(I will pick only mildly on your comment "I don't want to be 'the guy.'" I realize this was more of an afterthought than a central driver of your decision, but it caught my eye. Due to how I was raised (traditional gender roles) I used to be quite uncomfortable with the thought of being the primary bread winner. But, turns out, it plays better to both of our strengths to throw out the stereotypes and gender expectations, and just do what works for us.)
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: tweezers on August 22, 2014, 05:12:34 PM
They could legally fire you while on FMLA, but from a sex/disability discrimination lawsuit perspective it would be highly unlikely they would do so.  I know there are fewer than 50 people in your office, but company-wide there are 350+.  Given that, its almost a certainty that they consult with an in-house or retained lawyer before all dismissals (for whatever reason).  Any HR lawyer would flag firing a postpartum employee while on maternity leave as pretty much inviting a lawsuit.

With that said, I too am a planner and it was super challenging to let go of what I couldn't control.  I had singletons, which I know is completely different than twin pregnancies, but I worked right up to both of their births (my water broke at the office at 41 weeks with my first....good excuse to bail out of that conference call!).  My best friend has two sets of twins and she went to 36-37 weeks with both (and was still working right up to when she had her first set).  I know anecdotes mean nothing, but what I'm saying is that its all an unknown for you too despite the statistics.  Given that, planning as much as you can with an adaptive management mindset will help immensely.   

If I were in your shoes I would proceed with the mindset of working as long as possible before the babies are born, and once you get closer to your due date and a better idea of what that time frame will look like, I would try to find a caregiver to look after your little ones for the time between the end of your expected maternity leave and the June 30 date for being vested in your bonus.  Even if it costs more than a long term caregiver, it won't be $27K.

Good luck.

PS.  I second course11 on your "be the guy" comment.  I have a daughter and a son, and I am the sole wage earner in our family (my husband stays home with them).  Its my feeling that gender stereotypes need need to be tossed.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 22, 2014, 05:34:32 PM
"The guy" comment wasn't taken as intended. What I meant was that I have no desire to advance much further than I am in my career. I don't want to be the responsible party to sign tax returns, etc. I take comfort in the fact that my work is reviewed and that if it's wrong for some reason it's not me who will be held accountable. I didn't mean it like I have no desire to be the breadwinner.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: rujancified on August 25, 2014, 11:11:24 AM
I don't know much about FMLA, but do you get any extra time for having multiples?
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on August 25, 2014, 01:56:33 PM
My husband and I talked about all of this over the weekend and we're thinking that he will probably take FMLA time (he works for a large publicly traded company) so that I'm able to go back to work and keep my bonuses. His leave won't be paid but it won't cost $27.5k so we'll come out ahead.  Maybe our parents will be available to help out for a bit too. Who knows, maybe I love being back at work.

Regarding additional time off for having multiples - no your employer is not required  by law to give you additional time. My employer might choose to be nice and give me additional time but they aren't required to.





Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on September 04, 2014, 10:49:47 AM
I've been pretty stressed out about this bonus stuff. I really don't want to pay the bonuses back but the stress of knowing that I might (assuming my company doesn't say "don't worry about it", which they might) have to if I don't go back to work for 4 - 6 weeks after the babies are born is stressing me out.  I don't know how I'm going to feel at that time.  Both my parents and my ILs keep telling me that I need to quite worrying so much about the money and that we're just fine (they know we make good money and that we save but they don't know hard numbers). I told them that it's around $30k that I would have to pay back.  When I suggested that my husband might watch the babies for 4 - 6 weeks while I go back to work I could tell my MIL did not agree with this (because that means I would not be exclusively breastfeeding).  My father said I need to quit worrying about money, my job now is to take really good care of these babies.

Both of our parents are very smart about money and are setup pretty well for retirement.  What am I missing here?  I think $30k is a significant amount of money, enough to make special arrangements and sacrifices for.  Unless they want to give us the $30k, I don't see myself not working the 4 - 6 weeks if I'm required to. I wouldn't feel right taking $30k from either set of parents even if they offered it.  I honestly wouldn't be over the moon surprised if my husband's parents offered it to us.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Cressida on September 04, 2014, 11:03:20 AM
So first you want to manipulate your employer into giving you a giant raise by threatening to quit, and now you want to manipulate your in-laws into giving you $30K by threatening to go back to work and not breastfeed? Look, not everything in life is handed to you just because you're awesome. Just deal with your circumstances in the way that seems best and quit the shenanigans. Frankly, if your in-laws are that generous, I'm not sure why you're even on this forum.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: firelight on September 04, 2014, 11:07:56 AM
COlady, I can understand where your parents are coming from. Trust me, right now all the stress you are feeling is affecting your baby. Is any decision about the bonus worth it to harm your kid? If it makes sense just choose to go back and once the kid is here, you can revisit it to make a better suited one. Even if you stress out all you want now, once the kid comes, that would throw a whole new set of issues into it. So for now, choose what makes sense now and then revisit later.  So stressing too much about anything when pregnant.

I know its hard to give up control but we can't control everything in pregnancy.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on September 04, 2014, 11:21:03 AM
Cressida, apparently your reading comprehension could use some work because I said "EVEN IF THEY OFFERED IT TO US WHICH I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED IF THEY DID, I WOULD NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE TAKING THE MONEY FROM THEM".  If you have nothing helpful to say then don't say anything at all. I feel bad for you - you must be a miserable person.

Cutenila, thank you for the response. This is probably what they're trying to tell me and I appreciate hearing it from a neutral party. Hearing it from your parents is so different. I need to chill the heck out. What will happen will happen. I don't know why I've yet to figure out that you can't plan this stuff. I've planned my whole life out and it's worked great so far....until now :).
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: firelight on September 04, 2014, 11:35:27 AM
COlady, you're welcome. I hear ya about being a planner and it working out great. I'm in the same boat as you and am expecting my first soon. I was super stressed over daycare options and other stuff but have finally chosen a workable solution and made peace. I know the one I've chosen is still not the best choice but that is the best I can think of right now. There are too many unknowns that thinking through all would just make us go crazy.... And on the end, nothing is anyways going to work out exactly the way we plan it when it comes to kids. Guess we have to start getting used to being less of planners when it comes to our kids and wing it when needed.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Hannah on September 04, 2014, 11:59:10 AM
1. Congratulations on twins!
2. Remember that you have 12 weeks from the time you go on FMLA to make decisions, so you have plenty of time to change your mind no matter what decision you make.
3. Remote work has been great for me- could it work for you?

Would you be willing to bring up the possibility of remote work with your manager?

It would be awesome to get the FMLA clock ticking as late as possible, such as the day of your scheduled C-Section, then you could spend the entire 12 weeks with the twins recovering.

Considering that its twins, you could request remote work after they are born as well for a bit of additional recovery time (do hire a work in home nanny during this time though). This would get you to the end of your required time period and you could quit or you might decide to stay on full time.

Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: rujancified on September 04, 2014, 12:01:31 PM
Oh, CoLady! The whole situation sounds incredibly stressful. The intersection of family & money can be so trying and I'm sorry to hear that the parentals may be adding to the stress.

Your stress seems to come from not being able to predict how you'll feel about returning to work once the babies are here. That's fair and valid, because there's no way of knowing for sure how you'll feel. But concerns over breastfeeding v formula and FMLA for your husband are a) putting the cart before the horse and b) no one else's business outside of you and your husband.

My advice can be taken with a boulder of salt, because I don't have kids (and I don't know your family dynamics), but can you take a step back from sharing future plans with extended family? Are you asking for or receiving unsolicited advice?  Family is important to me as well, but I don't traffic in unsolicited advice from them anymore I do a stranger on the street. A firm "Husband and I will sort that out when the time comes" is a gentle way to tell everyone to butt out.

FWIW, I would go back to work for 4-6 weeks for 30k (again, take a look at that boulder of salt over there!). I'd also meet with an attorney to make sure there was no way around not paying it back first.

Very best of luck to you.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Argyle on September 04, 2014, 12:34:39 PM
First of all, don't worry about being stressed!  Every pregnant woman feels some stress, because there are so many decisions to make and yet so much that is out of anyone's control.  So do not worry that you are hurting the babies by being stressed.  Being stressed is the human condition.  That said, obviously it's more comfortable for you if you can get as many things pinned down as possible.

I agree with not sharing plans with extended family any more.  For some reason everyone wants to put their oar in about childraising.  Whether it's breastfeeding, strollers, baby yoga, disposable diapers vs. cloth, SAHMs vs. salaried mothers, daycare, preschool, educational toys, plastic toys, wooden toys, Disney, TV, computer screens, video games... It is endless.  You just have to close your ears and say "We're doing what's right for us," with a look of "Case closed."  Childraising seems to bring out the interfering self-righteous busybody in much of the population.  Even your own parents or in-laws don't get to say what's right for you.  They had their turn, and these are your children.

Any mustachian would see that $30,000 as worth working to get.  If something comes up that makes it unfeasable, well and good ó it's not a loss you could never recover from.  But if it does indeed turn out to be only 4-6 weeks of work that you'll be in a good condition to do, it would be a shame to leave it on the table.  I'd love for my parents to have deposited $15,000 in a college fund for me at birth!  And you'll be able to do it twice!

I think part of the situation is that you'll just have to proceed step by step, making decisions as you go.  Best of luck!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: historienne on September 04, 2014, 12:39:27 PM
When I suggested that my husband might watch the babies for 4 - 6 weeks while I go back to work I could tell my MIL did not agree with this (because that means I would not be exclusively breastfeeding).

Along the lines of "don't borrow trouble" - you don't know right now what your breastfeeding situation will be anyway.  You might have one or both babies need formula supplementation anyway.  You might be a terrific overproducer, so that it's easy to pump as much as both your babies need.  You just can't know in advance, so I would not make this a deciding factor. 

I'd also go back for long enough to get the bonus, both for the money and because it will allow you to get a better sense of how you feel about working.  Plus, I think that having some time with Dad as the primary caretaker is GREAT for setting you two up for equally shared parenting in the long run.  Especially if you do end up staying home, it will help him to know that he is just as capable of being the primary parent as you are.

Final, unsolicited advice: y'all have money to throw at this problem.  Twins can be rough (from what my friends say; I've only had one baby at a time).  I'd think about looking for a mother's helper to come in during your maternity/paternity leaves to help out at least part time.  That might also give you a sense of how your babies would do with a nanny or in daycare.  Most importantly, you'd have time to take a shower, and backup for when both babies seem to be crying at once.  If you find a good person, you could even upgrade her to nanny if you do decide you want to stay at work.  I know this is not really the board for "spend more money" advice, but for me, this is what all the frugality is for - having enough money to save my sanity when I really do need it.

Oh, and cross-posting, yeah, the research on stress effects on babies is from cases like women in refugee camps or abusive relationships.  The level of stress you are dealing with sucks for you, but is not likely to have an impact on your baby's development. 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: yoga mama on September 04, 2014, 12:55:38 PM
I highly highly recommend going back to work for those 4-6 weeks to get that bonus!  You could try to work out other arrangements, like PT or work from home - but even for a high earner, that is a lot of money.  It seems overwhelming now, I know!  I have no experience with twins but my husband is a stay at home dad for 2.5 years now, we have the 2 yo and a 10 month old and although some eyebrows were raised in my family, it has worked out very well for us.  I went back at 5 weeks with my first son (after a c section) and although it wasn't easy, it wasn't THAT big of a deal to be honest.  I never cried, especially since I knew he was home with Daddy.  My point is - you can do it, even with small babies, especially with that kind of incentive, for a few weeks before deciding that you are just done working.  I would bet that after a couple years, you would look back and those weeks will only be a small blip in your memory.  And don't let your ILs' opinion change your mind - it is YOUR family that is important. 

Regarding breast feeding - going back to work at 8-12 weeks is not incompatible with exclusive BFing, in my mind.  I guess, yeah, they might drink from a bottle instead of the boob, but many mamas exclusively pump, especially with preemies, are able to provide breast milk ONLY to their babies.  I know plenty of NICU moms who have worked hard and would be very offended at the suggestion that their infants are not EBF. :) 
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Pigeon on September 04, 2014, 03:15:07 PM
I've got two kids and I worked right through.  We had an awesome in-home daycare, and my kids thrived.  Frankly, I would have been bored out of my mind staying at home, and no way would the kids have had as much fun with me as they did at daycare.  They have nothing but fond memories of it, and even though they are teenagers, we still go back to visit.  So I don't buy for a minute that daycare is necessarily a bad thing.

I cannot imagine walking away from your job situation and the bonus.

One other thing you should think about is the long term effect on your social security and your earning potential if  you are out of the workforce for an extended period of time.  It may be very difficult to get a good job when you are ready to go back to work. 

As for saving so much from not working, I don't see that.  I had a long sabbatical a few years back.  I didn't find my spending changed appreciably.  I maybe spent a little less on gas, but that's about it.  I don't do expensive lunches or spend a ton on clothes.

That said, yes, there are challenges to working full time and having kids.  I actually find it harder once they got older and were involved in afterschool and evening activities.  I have very little me time.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Cressida on September 04, 2014, 06:58:25 PM
Cressida, apparently your reading comprehension could use some work because I said "EVEN IF THEY OFFERED IT TO US WHICH I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED IF THEY DID, I WOULD NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE TAKING THE MONEY FROM THEM".  If you have nothing helpful to say then don't say anything at all. I feel bad for you - you must be a miserable person.

yeah, I can tell you genuinely feel bad for me.

My reading comprehension is fine. I get a distinct vibe of entitlement from your posts. If you don't want to consider that possibility, that's of course up to you.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: COlady on July 14, 2015, 01:43:32 PM
People asked for updates on my situation when we got it all ironed out so here goes:

The babies were born at 36 weeks (back in March) perfectly healthy at about 6 pounds each and are now about 4.5 months old.  We were in the hospital for two days and all went home together, no NICU time! Yay! My MIL stayed with us for the first 2 months which was extremely helpful with the sleepless nights.

My work has been EXTREMELY accommodating.  I ended up going out on bed rest at 31 weeks so my FMLA started 5 weeks before the babies were even born.  I worked out a great contract arrangement with them - I'm working about 20 hours per week for $75/hour, which actually works out on a salary basis to a raise for me. I've been working 3 days per week and have a nanny come to the house.  Finding a dependable, trustworthy nanny has been difficult - much more difficult than I imagined. It's so funny to read back through this thread thinking that I wanted to be a SAHM.  There's no way I could do it! I would lose my mind! I feel like part-time really is the best of both world for me. Oh and my work didn't require me to pay any of my bonuses back because I still have a relationship with the company.  I need to learn to worry a whole lot less!

Thank you everyone for all the input that you provided. It's helpful to consider what other people have been through when analyzing these types of decisions.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: greenleaf on July 14, 2015, 02:29:08 PM
Your situations sounds good! but I agree that finding a nanny is stressful.  Since you are looking for part-time (i.e. not a professional nanny) and I'm guessing you have some flexibility to work short days, I recommend looking specifically for a SAHM (or dad, but that's rarer) whose youngest child is around 7, and who suddenly has a lot more time now that the youngest is gone most of the day. We've had two nannies that fit this description and both have been great (the first moved out of state sadly).  It can be a win-win, if you can offer "mother's hours" (8:30-3 ish).  The nanny gets a part-time job with the right hours and you get someone who is likely better educated and more experienced that many childcare workers (One of our nannies was a former elementary school teacher).
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: MicroRN on July 15, 2015, 12:25:34 AM
So glad to hear that you and the babies are doing well, and that you have a good work situation!  The nanny-finding can be difficult because the professional nannies usually only take jobs with FT hours.  Greenleaf has a good point about looking for a SAHM, especially if you're ok with them occasionally bringing their own child when school is out.  I really understand the part-time thing - I work 24 hrs/week and it's perfect.   

Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: yoga mama on July 16, 2015, 05:16:41 PM
Congratulations!!  Thanks for the update!  I'm glad to hear that things are working out so well and that PT work is a great situation for you!
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: Krnten on July 16, 2015, 06:32:49 PM
Congrats!  I'm so glad it's worked out so well for you.  This was a great update to read.
Title: Re: SAHM or Continue Working???
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on July 16, 2015, 09:08:32 PM
Congrats, sounds like you figured out the right answer for yourself.  We remained a 2 income household with our first, and then went SAHP when we had our second.  The intersection between finance and lifestyle is always interesting, there are no black and white answers as long as you don't go to far to an extreme (debt-wise or workaholic)...