Author Topic: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?  (Read 10683 times)

nottoolatetostart

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WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« on: March 24, 2014, 01:56:28 PM »
Hi all -

There is something that I've been struggling with....my first-world problem...and wanted to bounce it off of you all.

We are 68 days from having our second baby. Both DH and I work and we have a 19 month old daughter in daycare. I made $123K per year, plus additional benefits like working from home full-time and my employer chips in close to $10K per year into my 401k. DH makes a little over $150K per year including his bonus.

We have $480K scattered across cash, 401ks, rollover IRA, Roths, taxable brokerage accounts, etc. We also have about $130K in home equity for a grand total of around $610K net worth right now. We are 33 and 34.

After my maternity leave expires (it is 100% paid for about 14 weeks), I am considering quitting my job to stay at home with our children.

Our only debt is $39K mortgage at 2.625% for a $160 monthly mortgage payment. We do not want to pay it off early.

Our current net worth basically covers our basic annual expenses at a SWR of 4%. DH is not ready to retire and probably will want to quit around 40 (6-7 years from now) and then he will probably go on to do something else. So we will just continue to save for the foreseeable future of 10-15 years.

If I quit my job, I don't expect to earn my salary back if/should I resume working. I probably would take a significant hit...but do I care?!?!?! No, not really, I don't love my job. I do see myself doing side jobs for fun if I can fit around our kids schedule to avoid daycare or when the youngest goes to school...bookkeeping, being a kick ass tax accountant, real estate agent, who knows?!!?!?  DH is supportive either way of my decision to be a SAHM or keep working.

If only DH works, our savings rate would be more than $90K per year or close to 65% (half our budget would continue to include a lot of frivolous things like vacation, "fun money", cable, our dog, 2 '09 cars -paid for - otherwise our savings rate would be even higher). So I don't feel like I need to work and it feels kind of pointless since we make more than enough. 

If you were in our shoes, would you opt to keep working or stay at home with the kiddos? I feel so guilty every day about working, but am concerned about whether I would love being at home full-time. I also feel guilty for quitting because I have such a good set-up with work since I work from home (but since I am conference calls all day, my kid(s) go to/will go to daycare).

What would you do?

Thank you for reading.

homehandymum

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2014, 02:09:57 PM »
If you were in our shoes, would you opt to keep working or stay at home with the kiddos? I feel so guilty every day about working, but am concerned about whether I would love being at home full-time. I also feel guilty for quitting because I have such a good set-up with work since I work from home (but since I am conference calls all day, my kid(s) go to/will go to daycare).

Yeah, the motherhood guilts get you coming and going, don't they?

Myself? well, I am a SAHM, and our savings rate isn't nearly what you guys achieve, so there's you're answer there.

But, I did it in a way that I could try it out for a year.  My employer offered a year's maternity leave (paid for the first x weeks, and then unpaid for the rest of the year, but they would keep my job open for me).  I probably would have done it anyway, but it helped me to know that if I went crazy I could always go back to work.

Even without having your job held for you, you could give yourself a 12month trial period, if it would help.  No decision like this has to be carved in stone.  Do it for a year and see how you go.  If you find yourself bored and antsy, then you're in a similar position to people who have FIREd - go find something to do :)  go back to work, changing fields if you want to, pick up a part time job, up your side-hustles, write a book, learn archery, set up a for-profit blog, create a permaculture forest garden on your roof.  Whatever spins your wheels.

Good luck!

Indio

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2014, 02:11:31 PM »
Have you considered working part time/reduced hours/job share or hiring a babysitter to come into your house to watch the kids?
I struggled with the same issues when I had my 2nd and was nursing. I hired a biligual babysitter, who also did cleaning and laundry while the kids slept, and my life was much easier while working from home. I got to see the kids, have lunch with them and knew that they were well cared for at home. I kept the babysitter till the youngest was in full day preschool.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2014, 02:16:47 PM »
We recently had our second child. It's hard to juggle 2 jobs and 2 kids. Our income split isn't anywhere near 50/50 like yours, isn't as high as yours combined, and neither is our net worth. Even though we aren't in as good of a position as you financially I encouraged my wife to strongly consider "retiring" or at least taking a few years off. We don't need the money, but we need our sanity. Her staying home (which she loves and is very good at) would really make all of our lives easier. Ultimately she decided to continue working a couple days a week, so she will keep her foot in the door and get more adult interaction.

If I were in her position, or in your position, I would "retire". You clearly don't need the money, so unless you really enjoy working I wouldn't do it. Your family will be better off with you maintaining order on the home front.

Good luck.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2014, 02:17:43 PM »
You certainly don't need the dual income. I'd try being a SAHM, give it at least a year, and if you really don't like it, go back and do some sort of work. But you're in the great position of not needing any income, and certainly not a high one.

I am a SAHD with a PT job. If my DW had an income as high as your husband's, I would have quit yesterday and we'd be FI in short order.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2014, 02:18:26 PM »
@homehandymum - thanks for that. My employer isn't nearly as generous as yours, but I can take an extra 14 weeks unpaid but with job security (so 28 weeks total). I would take that option before say quitting at 14 weeks when my paid ends. You are right about seeing how things go and jumping back in after a year if it is not working out....sometimes I tend to be all or nothing. 

@indio - interesting point. The idea of paying someone even more than what we would pay in daycare is an interesting idea. It at least gives us more income and could hang out with my kids more than the current regimented schedule that we have. Someone to do laundry for me too? And clean? Sounds like heaven! Do you pay nanny tax though?


nottoolatetostart

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2014, 02:21:59 PM »
Ya'll are making me feel kind of stupid for being so stressed about this decision. Can you tell I am the type A one between DH and me?

We recently had our second child. It's hard to juggle 2 jobs and 2 kids.

If I were in her position, or in your position, I would "retire". You clearly don't need the money, so unless you really enjoy working I wouldn't do it. Your family will be better off with you maintaining order on the home front.

Good luck.

Congrats, Cheddar Stacker on the 2nd baby! You are right about a more sane mother. The hamster wheel is not necessary.


@thegloblinchief....thanks for your words!

Argyle

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2014, 02:50:33 PM »
I'm sorry to bring this up, but of course you need to look at the decision from all possible angles.  How many women you know in your profession have "taken the off ramp" and re-entered the workforce in the same profession?  Do some research and talk to them.  Ask them what they wish they'd known before they did it.  Was it hard to re-enter?  Should they have tried to go part-time?  Should they have worked out a "sabbatical" with their employer?  Should they have kept their skills current by doing X and Y?  Also get some names of women who took the off ramp some time ago and didn't go back on.  Did they find it harder than they'd anticipated?  What were the obstacles?

In other words, what you want to know is if you're leaving your career by doing this, or merely taking time out.  What will the possibilities be in 15-20 years, or even in ten years?  Is this necessarily a "retirement" for you?

And if it is probably a retirement, what happens if your husband loses his job, or is hit by a car and disabled, or some other event happens that ends his income either temporarily or longer-term?  Make sure he has the life insurance and disability insurance in place that a single-earner should have. 

In addition, there is the sad statistic that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce.  Of course no one plans to get divorced.  But it's statistically more likely than his getting hit by a car, and you have (I hope) insurance for that eventuality.  Many people may charge me with being unromantic and untrusting, but if you give up a six-figure income to stay home, I'd get a post-nup that spells out what happens if a divorce happens.  He should be happy to feel you'd be provided for and compensated for taking on the SAHM role.  I have seen two of the most apparently solid and lasting marriages I know break up after many years, so now I believe that anything can happen.  Protect the financial well-being of you and your children by making sure that this possibility is accounted for too.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2014, 02:55:42 PM »
Our current net worth basically covers our basic annual expenses at a SWR of 4%.

I understand all of Argyle's points, but the phrase above was the key one in the whole post. Financially, nothing else matters, including divorce or loss of the sole income. Unless you have a strong desire to continue working, what's the point?

nottoolatetostart

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2014, 03:12:38 PM »
Argyle - thanks for bringing it up.

If either of us were to become disabled, we would have enough to get by as we have MANY luxuries in our budget still. He has disability insurance through his employer, but I'm hoping that our assets are enough of disability insurance.

We currently each have life insurance @ $750K...so this would bring in another $30K at a SWR of 4%, let alone the other assets we already have. It is included in our ER budget today for an annual expense of $668 and will be for quite some time until we feel ok to cut it.

As for the tough one, the D-word. You are right that statistically this is the highest likelihood. We got married when we were 29/30, don't fight about money (a top fight), have our chores worked out so we don't fight about them and are very committed. I would classify our marriage as great and I know he would too. He is my best friend in the world. We have a lot of fun together and genuinely love being together. We are both very afraid of divorce and would take every marriage counseling class under the sun to prevent a divorce. His parents are going on 35 happy years next year, so we have good role models.

I don't plan on returning to my job if I leave. I don't love it. I have also have a MBA from a top 20 business school (it's ROI has already been extremely profitable so it is a sunk cost), so I am certain I could find something more enjoyable to support my children (not even counting my half share of our assets (every penny was earned/saved from our wedding day until today so I am entitled to half) and child support as I would likely have the kids full-time). But thanks to this journey of MMM, my "something" threshold is a lot lower than one would think. Our ongoing necessities are $18-$25k and most of our budget is luxuries.  I'd be ok here....heartbroken and an emotional wreck, but financially ok.

Does that help at all?

CommonCents

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2014, 03:14:54 PM »
Many people may charge me with being unromantic and untrusting, but if you give up a six-figure income to stay home, I'd get a post-nup that spells out what happens if a divorce happens. 

No, I agree too.  I was horrified by some of the comments on the Divorce Weapon of Mass Destruction thread, by those who had been breadwinners but wanted to get a divorce and keep all of the money.  Get any agreement in writing, vetted by lawyers.  Even if your stash can pay out sufficient, otherwise you could end up with less than 50% of the stash in a divorce, and a stalled career from being out of the workforce.

Briansmama

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2014, 03:21:56 PM »
I'm a homeschooling SAHM so I might be a little biased :) I quit a job I loved to stay home with our kids and I can't recommend it highly enough. You are in a great position with your current savings rate, so you don't have anything to feel guilty about!

I will caution you though that the transition might be tough. I'd give it more than a year to really adjust. It's a lot of work caring for two little ones and if you aren't used to doing it full-time it might come as a shock. As the kids get older, I find it becomes MUCH more enjoyable. Now that mine are 7 and 10 there is no way I'd want to re-enter the working world- we are having so much fun! And time is really flying by. They will be out of our house before we know it.

So, I'd recommend that if you decide to do it you jump in with both feet and expect that it might take years before you really adjust. I'd also recommend finding a support network of other SAHM if you don't already have one.

meadow lark

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2014, 03:53:19 PM »
Do you want to be a SAHM?  This is a guess, but for some reason I don't think you do.  I love the idea of working from home and hiring a nanny so you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner with them.  Also, not having to run around in the morning getting them both ready for daycare would be a huge bonus.  And all the sick days you won't have to take because they will be healthier, plus the nanny can still take care of them with you around when they are sick.  Seems pretty low guilt to me.  I would take 28 weeks off, then try this for a few months, then decide.

gobius

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2014, 04:03:47 PM »
Do you want to be a SAHM?  This is a guess, but for some reason I don't think you do.  I love the idea of working from home and hiring a nanny so you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner with them.  Also, not having to run around in the morning getting them both ready for daycare would be a huge bonus.  And all the sick days you won't have to take because they will be healthier, plus the nanny can still take care of them with you around when they are sick.  Seems pretty low guilt to me.  I would take 28 weeks off, then try this for a few months, then decide.

I agree with this.  You could at least try this for awhile, bank a little more money for a bigger safety factor, and if you'd rather not work, you can quit.

avonlea

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2014, 04:40:11 PM »
I'm a homeschooling SAHM so I might be a little biased :) I quit a job I loved to stay home with our kids and I can't recommend it highly enough. You are in a great position with your current savings rate, so you don't have anything to feel guilty about!

I will caution you though that the transition might be tough. I'd give it more than a year to really adjust. It's a lot of work caring for two little ones and if you aren't used to doing it full-time it might come as a shock. As the kids get older, I find it becomes MUCH more enjoyable. Now that mine are 7 and 10 there is no way I'd want to re-enter the working world- we are having so much fun! And time is really flying by. They will be out of our house before we know it.

So, I'd recommend that if you decide to do it you jump in with both feet and expect that it might take years before you really adjust. I'd also recommend finding a support network of other SAHM if you don't already have one.
+1

Bookworm

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2014, 04:41:53 PM »
We really can't answer this one.  The answer is in your heart, and can reveal itself only to you.  I agree with maybe getting a nanny who works in your home, so your kids can be there whenever you want/have a chance to be with them during the day, but can still work during naptime and while they are otherwise occupied.  Then you wouldn't lose your footing in the job, in case you decide working is a better fit for you after all.

MDM

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2014, 04:47:44 PM »
DW isn't here right now, but I think it's safe to say that her decision to leave a job she didn't like after our first was born is one she regrets not at all.

I know this can be a very sensitive and emotional topic, and what was best for us may not be best for others.  Our situation was similar to yours - actually you are probably in better shape financially than we were - and things worked out very well.

The toughest stretch was when we moved due to work within a year after our fourth was born.  Being in a new location, thus lacking the historical friend base, was hard with 4 kids under 10.  We ended up moving back to our original city.  Probably hurt career earnings but well worth the cost.

We started married life considering all the money as "ours" and that has never changed. 

Best wishes to you!

Argyle

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2014, 04:49:58 PM »
Of course in ten years, half of the assets won't be from your earnings, because your earnings will stop and his will keep accumulating.  Are you in a community property state?  If so, you're likely in a better position should the worst happen.

As for "I am certain I could find something more enjoyable to support my children" -- it doesn't hurt to do the due diligence and find out the experiences of those who've taken 5-10 or 15 years out of the workforce.  The anecdata suggests that women are surprised by how hard it is to get back into the workforce.  (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/magazine/the-opt-out-generation-wants-back-in.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 see also Leslie Bennet's book The Feminine Mistake.)  If you're okay with the possibility of taking on a low-level job (assuming they don't reject you for being too qualified), and you feel it's worth the gamble, then well and good.  It's just helpful to know the situation before going into it.

Zette

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2014, 05:20:49 PM »
My three kids are 8 and 4 (twins).  I took the SAHM path and am considering getting back into the workforce part-time next year.  Here's my experience:

I had just gotten a job as a software manager when I got pregnant with my first.  I enjoyed my job, and was excited about being a manager (I'd previously been a project lead) but didn't love it.  I knew I didn't want to work 50+ hours while sleep deprived, so I decided to stay home.  I really enjoyed the first year and a half (join a playgroup of other moms), but around 2 years in I started to get restless.  I found a great, part-time work at home gig doing software contracting.  I hired a nanny part-time -- I played with my son, did swim lessons, attended mommy-and-me classes, and did playgroup things in the morning, then the nanny fed him lunch, put him down for a nap, and did dishes and laundry while he slept in the afternoon.  It was a great arrangement, and I really enjoyed it while it worked.  Unfortunately when he was close to 3.5, I started having a lot of conference calls and it was a real struggle to keep him from running into my office.   When the nanny left (she was pregnant as well), I switched him to a full-day preschool.  As for the job, it was nice to get to concentrate on something for more than 10 minutes at a stretch, but the work itself was really boring and not challenging.

A co-worker of mine also worked part-time for the same contracting firm.  She had worked full time at a regular software company after her first was born, but said it was so much harder with two she was ready to crack.  Her mother watched her kids, and she hired someone to cook for both families (they from China and apparently the cooking style they prefer is pretty involved), and it was still not workable.  She worked part-time for about 2 years, then decided to stay at home full time when her youngest started kindergarten so that she could do more after-school activities with her kids (Chinese school, sports, music practice, etc.)

When I had the twins, I decided to quit working again for a year or two.  That has now stretched to 4 years.  The twins are now in preschool 12 hours a week.  Kindergarten is half day (only 15 hr/wk), and they have fall birthdays, so it will be 2 more years until they are in school full time (28 hr/wk).  With pickup/dropoff factored in, it's more like 25 hr/wk that I'll be kid-free.

I had lunch with an old manager, who would be interested in hiring me full time to do software coding (not management, although I would probably be able to work back into it in 2-4 years if I wanted to).  The work is not interesting, though, and I'd really prefer to be home with my kids after their school day rather than have them at the boys-n-girls club or with a babysitter.  Also listening to his description of all the project politics I'm very glad not to be dealing with those irritations.

I might be able to get the part-time gig with the contracting firm, but again, the work itself is not interesting.  Neither option is hugely appealing right now, and if I didn't have those contacts, I would likely need to spend a year taking classes to make my resume look fresh.  It would definitely be a struggle to get a job where I didn't have contacts.  I'm considering trying my hand at freelance iPad app development, but that's kind of like deciding to be a novelist -- only a rare few hit it big.

The biggest downside is that when I left the workforce, my DH and I were making equal salaries.  His raises have increased that by half again, and he has moved up the management ladder to where he is getting significant bonuses and stock options.  So I can see very clearly the potential income that I gave up by taking this path.  I would struggle to get the salary that I left 8 years ago.

The biggest upside is spending time with my kids, being able to keep my own schedule, and not having an obligation to an employer.  My son had a lot of issues at school and I could just be available to deal with it rather than taking time off work.  If you stay home, definitely join a playgroup -- it gives you other moms to hang out with.

I've really enjoyed being home for the last 8 years, but am now needing some mental challenge.  I still enjoy my kids (most of the time!) but am sick of shopping, laundry, cooking, and tidying the house -- these things would still somehow have to get done even if I went back to work.

I don't really have any answers.  It all comes down to personal preference.  I wouldn't go back and change the path I took.  I'm glad I took the time out of the workforce despite the costs.  I do wish it were easier to find part-time work, on-ramps, and job-sharing situations, but the reality is these are somewhat rare.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2014, 05:05:11 AM »
Everyone - THANK YOU so much for your thoughts. As for the big question of whether I want to do it, somedays 'yes' and somedays 'no'. I loved being on maternity leave with my first and am really looking forward to it again. The 28 weeks will be a great, risk free trial run with two kids. If I became a SAHM, I plan to get involved with something (plus a Mom's group) and perhaps do something on the side to keep my brain engaged. This is DH's biggest concern too. If that means we hire a part-time babysitter, then so be it. If it means we get someone to come in and clean, then so be it. I'm the tightwad, not DH, so I feel lucky in how supportive he is.

My biggest concern in life is that someday I will look back on this precious time with our kids and feel like I sold them out to pursue the almighty dollar when, in fact, we never needed it. Reaching out to you all has confirmed that we are not being reckless and what pitfalls to hopefully avoid. A friend that recently passed away from brutal stage 4 cancer made a comment that has always stuck with me: "work is about provision".

Argyle - I read the NYT link you sent. I am totally ok with making $40K. It's not about the money or any "prestige" of my position. I don't walk around saying "wow, look at me, I make 6 figures" but rather I slink around thinking about how we have so much yet I sacrifice time I will never get back with my kids. DH and I never talk about our jobs (like one of the couples mentioned does) because the work we do is what we do, not who we are or our other passions. I know DH will not be resentful if I am a SAHM because we talk about all the time how a SAHM/SAHD is FAR more difficult than any corporate job. Plus, I WANT him to leave his current job and do something he loves to do (but still making enough to pay our day-to-day bills), but he won't. He refuses. He knows he is strictly working right now to pay for funding our luxuries in ER and is OK with that. He feels that it is his responsibility. He wants to keep working - despite my protests - until around 40 before getting into some consulting.

Thanks again everyone for the responses...I know I will continue to read them again and again.

Carrie

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2014, 09:09:29 AM »
I quit my job when our first came along.  The first several months I'm kept plenty busy with lack of sleep/breastfeeding/adjusting.  I do hobbies during naptime (sewing) when babies are little.  About the time they reach 18 mo. or 2 and can go to a MMO program (6 hrs per week) & do some independent play (in the same room), I ramp up some contracting work and work about 10 hours per week on average from home (with the occasional meeting at the office).
I'm really glad to not be in the commute-work 50 hours-daycare-rush rush rush cycle right now.  I'm glad for my relaxed time at home, even though some days are looooong.  I'm glad that I'm keeping my license and continuing ed, just to give me options, even though the more kids I have and the older they get and the more financially secure we become, I don't foresee ever going back to the full time office drudgery.
I'm mostly an introvert, so I don't mind staying at home; I don't really miss the interactions at the office or the office politics.  I like working just a little bit so to keep my brain engaged and to feel like all those years of college/internship/exams weren't for naught.  I also like the bit of money that comes in to help us get our house paid off sooner & reach FI sooner.

I feel like the balance I have right now is perfect for where we are.  I might take on more hours when all the kids are in school, but I always want to be home in the afternoons when they get off the bus.  I can't imagine I'll ever go back to 50 hour weeks, but I could swing 25 hour weeks.  Although, once all the kids are in school, we won't even need my income (we should be FI by then!), so I might end up just taking my hobbies up a notch.  :) 

Good luck with whatever you decide, you have so many options and you're in a great position.

Indio

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2014, 12:28:59 PM »
I needed to keep working to maintain my IT skills and for an income. With the nanny I was able to take the kids on biz trips and do fun things that I wouldn't have been able to do if I wasn't working or had them in daycare. I remember the irony of attending one conference in FL when I realized that I was paying a nanny to play with my kids by the pool. However, I was able to meet them for lunch, they were having a great time and I took them to Disney in the afternoon.
When I had a job offer that would have meant that I would be traveling 1 week out of the month, I came to the conclusion that the extra $$ wasn't worth the lost time with my kids. After that synthesizing moment, my job and salary was no longer a focus, but merely a paycheck. When my kids get home from school now, I can do homework, bake cookies, go bike riding, put them to bed, and in the evening I go back to work for my 2nd shift and get email done before going to bed at 11:00 pm.

warpgirl

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2014, 03:05:57 PM »
All the moms on this board and the forums--working, stay at home or in-between--are an inspiration to me and I'm very grateful to read your stories and advice. I don't have kids yet, but am looking down the road a few years and wondering what my decision will be to this same question. I'm reading "The Feminine Mystique" for the first time right now, and it's been pretty interesting. Even 50 years later we're still debating with ourselves and finding our unique balances of career and family, self-identity and child-rearing. (Although nowadays "stay-at-home mom" has replaced "housewife.")

Based on the "Opt-Out Gen" articles in the NY Times, other articles and books I've read, and now TFM, it seems that for a lot of women, when children are young staying at home is great- rewarding and challenging because there's a little person or persons that need everything from you. But as kids get older and more independent, mothers need more mental stimulation, especially when kids are in school all day. But by this point they've been out of the workforce for awhile and getting back in can be hard.

I grew up with a baby boomer mom who stayed home with us, which was great, but it meant that when she realized she wanted to be a teacher in her late 50's it was effectively "too late" for her to have that career. No one wanted to hire a new teacher with 2 master's. She has said many times that her biggest regret is that she didn't find her passion earlier. She doesn't say it to make her daughters feel guilty, but shares it as a regret and a teachable moment from one woman to others.

I think if I could go back in time and be a precocious second or third grader, I would tell my mom to make herself happy too. It was nice having someone to pick us up from school if we got sick, but I'm not sure what she did all day. I don't think she took care of herself as much as she could or should have. And now I really wish I had had a role model for how to be a mother and a professional. My gut feeling at the moment is that I will love my kids dearly, as I do my husband and family, but I'm still going to need to be me, to do what keeps me learning and developing as a person too.

So my advice to myself is going to be: Do what makes you happy and keeps you active in mind, body, spirit, and community and the parenting mojo will flow from that place of confidence and love.

Cheers to all the moms!

Freckles

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2014, 03:14:30 PM »
I'd stay home, no doubt about it.  But being with my little ones if my absolute favorite thing to do.  I do not love my job, it's true.  But I also feel that the early years of a child are both extremely important and fleeting.  I just want to be there for those years. If I had the income and investments you do, and would still be able to save, there would be no question for me.

Everyone has to decide for themselves what's best, and that's different for different people.  But you asked what I would do, and quitting my job is what I would do based on my personal priorities and interests and your ability to do so.  Nice job, by the way, of doing so well with money and setting yourself up to have a choice.  I wish my husband and I had been as smart as you and yours.

Cassie

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2014, 05:33:24 PM »
I stayed home until my youngest of 3 went to all day kindergarten.  I never regretted it at all although it did limit my lifetime earnings, amount of my pension, etc. However, I did it opposite of many of you here. I obtained my college degree/career after I stayed home so I only gave up a crappy job. However, if I had went to college when the kids were tiny I would have been farther ahead financially but never regretted it for one moment.  I think it helps to give the kids a good foundation for life but I also think you have to do what works for you. If you do not want to stay home then the kids will not benefit. Women have many tough decisions to make in life.   Good luck finding what is right for you:))

Everything in Moderation

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2014, 07:23:46 AM »
If you don't love your current job, then giving a new one (SAHM) a try.  You might love it or you might feel indifferent to it, which is where you are now. 

I am 5 weeks away from having my first child.  I make low 6 figures, but my husband does not make much at all.  If he made more money, I would work part time or be a SAHM.  I feel average about my work, so I would like to give something else a try.  Unfortunately, I need to keep working.  I am not too upset about it. My mom worked full time with 4 kids and I learned so much from watching her as I grew up. 

If you don't mind me asking, where do you live and how do you go about having such a high savings rate?

nottoolatetostart

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2014, 08:53:12 AM »
@Everything in Moderation - without being specific, we live in the Midwest. We don't particularly love living here, but it is ok for now. We are here for DH's job. Since I work from home exclusively (my teammates are all over the country), I am extremely lucky that I have been able to follow my husband with his career and continue working from anywhere in the US. Our savings rate is not as impressive compared to what I know many on this forum would do if they had our expenses (we have a dog, pay for cable, have 2 5-year old cars, spend money on vacation, my husband has a generous "fun" money account). We cloth diaper, shop Goodwill/garage sales for my toddler's and newborn's clothes, don't shop really, use the library, and we do our own lawncare/house cleaning. I'm pregnant and only own 1 pair of maternity jeans (purchased used on ebay...LOL). We are introverts and homebodies. We bought a lower priced house compared to our income nearly 4 years ago (it was $170K and our incomes were around $210K at the time) and paid it off aggressively before we had kids and got rid of my staggering graduate school loan debt when we first got married. We just don't have any non-mortgage debt. We refinanced our remaining mortgage balance of $40K last summer so our PITI payment is only $6120 annually.

Before finding MMM forum in November 2013, we were luckily we paid off a lot of debt and we didn't buy into an expensive lifestyle despite our incomes.

Like I said, I bet a lot of folks on this forum would get that savings rate to 70-80% before close of business tomorrow, but it's "good enough" for us.

Since joining the forum, we have probably found another $10K in savings to get us to this rate that we are at now. We cut some additional life insurance that we didn't need (saves $1140/yr), raised insurance deductibles ($800/yr savings per year), started shopping at Costco ($1200 savings/year), cut our home security system (close to $500 savings/yr), started maxing out our 401k's to shelter our income from taxes (getting us into the 28% marginal tax bracket) (probably saved $5-6K per year in taxes and paid ourselves instead), got aggressive on tax savings and did things like recharacterizating rollovers, moved investments to index funds, lowered our thermostat to 60/62 this winter, cut our food budget down even more by stretching meats and cooking from scratch, and really started paying even more attention to the small trickle. We are not perfect and still lead a very luxurious lifestyle.   

Not sure if that helps with your question, but I guess the simple answer is that we never bought into the lifestyle that our income would allow.

Cassie

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2014, 02:11:16 PM »
I spent a large part of my life in the midwest and it is definitely cheaper then many parts of the country. WE also have things that many on this forum do not-cable, vacations that are not dirt cheap and eating out. But these things bring us great joy and now in our late 50's we are not depriving ourselves like we did when we were young. We are not exactly living the high life either-much more frugally then most we know.  although, I have to admit many more of our friends are having dinners with friends at their own homes instead of going out because it is so much cheaper and the enjoyment factor is just as high.

RetiredAt63

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2014, 02:22:19 PM »
You have many options, especially since you telecommute.  A nanny and appropriate time scheduling could be a super way to have the best of both worlds.

I can give you two more life experiences.  I was a College teacher, had the summers off.  I was always so glad when summer came, I was exhausted, and always so glad to go back in the fall, my brain was bored even though I had wonderful summers.  When our daughter was born I took my semester maternity leave, went back part-time for another semester, and then she went to daycare three days each week (we juggled schedules so the other two days one of us could work at home).  This worked out really well, especially since there were very few young children in our area, and this ended up being her social life with other kids her age.  Even though she could have gone to day-care at either work place, she went to a local one so that her friends there were her school friends later.  This worked out really well for us.
I know someone who had a very good job, well-paying, interesting, but stressful.  She went the nanny route - kids were well looked after, housework was done during naps, so when she and her husband got home they could spend time with the kids without trying to catch up on housework.  This worked out really well for them - it would have driven me crazy.

So my only advice would be - don't cut off your options. 

Also, the one thing you haven't really mentioned is your husband - how close to retirement is he?  Could you keep working (after your leaves) on a part-time basis?  Could this cut his time to FI/RE?  The dynamic really changes when one is working full-time and one is home full-time - all those shared activities (especially maintenance ones) suddenly shift. And don't be surprised if your adult social contacts change - I know when we went out with other couples where both worked, topics of conversation were general.  When we were out with couples with SAHMs, the topics were very child-centered.  There were times I ended up hanging out with the men (and a couple of other women) because the things the women were talking about were so domestic they were boring me to tears.  Not that I didn't like talking about those things, but there were other topics worthy of attention too  ;-)  You may not realize now how much you will miss the adult conversation you now get at work.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2014, 02:36:39 PM »
Thank you!

DH and I spoke about it further. We think we are going to try the nanny route after my maternity leave expires so that way the kids could still stay home and as others mentioned, if I have breaks, then I can take them on a spin around the block or eat with them. Not sure how it will go or if my daughter will banging outside my door "Mommy?"...."Mommy?"....but we are going to give it a shot before I throw in the towel. I miss my daughter so much right now and can only imagine what it will feel like when 2 are here.

I've been looking into nanny options, interviewing/background checks, etc. and the whole nanny tax situation. Looks like fun!

Costs will be more than the daycare, but if it allows me to keep a foot in the door just a smidge longer, then it gives us even more cushion.

@Retired at 63...DH is still very far from retirement in his head. He is only 33 right now. He wants to keep working and probably will do so for another 7 years at his current profession. He has a great future if he was interested in this path. He is not really into the whole FI thing, but he is coming around to the idea. Anyway, if he quits around 40, from there, he may do some consulting. You are right....he is most worried about my mental boredom. His mom was a SAHM, so he is supportive only if it is what I want 100%.

momo5

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2014, 04:02:04 PM »
I quit my job when my oldest was born. one thing we did was not touch my salary at all from the day we got married. we just socked it all away and pretended it did not exist (aside from investing it) so we got accustomed to living on dh's salary (and we were even saving close to half of his). thankfully, as our family grew, so did dh's income, so I havent had to get back into the workforce. I could probably get some part time work if I needed to but right now I'm homeschooling and homemaking, and I figure that the cost of me working outside the home would not really outweigh what I'd be bringing in when you consider the stress and decrease in my quality of life.

mm1970

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2014, 05:45:54 PM »
Well, nothing is permanent.

I have two kids.  My husband and I make near what you two do (but we are a decade older). Well, I make a little less than you, my husband makes a little more than your husband. 

We are now in the position where I can quit.  I like knowing that.  I don't want to quit.  I was pretty miserable at my (full time) job last fall, to where I almost quit, but changed to a better fitting position.

In my own experience - I really enjoyed working part time.  It's not great for advancement - especially in engineering, you just aren't taken seriously - but for the sanity of our home life, it was best.  After my terrible fall, I decided to use my PTO as needed - that means, through the winter, I only worked about 75% time (took a lot of PTO).

My children are 8 years and 20 months.  That first year is really hard, and even now, the 20 month old is a challenge.  It's probably not either/or - so if I were you I'd give it a try - go back full time. If it's not working, switch to part time.  If it's not working, quit.

Some of my friends have gone the other direction.  They quit, and if it's not working - start part time.  I have one friend who went back full time, then cut to 30 hours a week, then quit - but they didn't want her to quit so they gave her a 6 month leave of absence.  Then they wanted her so much that they got her to agree to 16 hours a week (2 days), and that seems to be perfect.

Argyle

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2014, 11:18:56 PM »
Just to mention that you could also consider an au pair.  You need a room for them to live in, but you pay a small annual salary (under $20,000, I believe) because they're doing it as an educational experience.  The law allows you to require them to work a crazy amount of weekly hours, but I'd actually require less so they don't burn out.  You have to get them through an approved agency -- I believe there are six that are approved -- and the agencies don't have people in some areas, but if you're in a fairly bi city you should be covered.  Anyway it's a possibility worth looking into.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2014, 07:53:01 AM »
Thanks, Argyle. DH and I are so introverted that we would not do well have someone live with us unless it was one of our young children. LOL. Not worth the savings in money to lose our individual space. 

As a funny twist of events, DH landed a new, exciting job from a career perspective AND he will be making even more money. We are really excited for so many reasons. We will be moving out of state before the baby comes. Luckily, my boss was cool with me working from home in the new state (as mentioned before, her team is all over the country). We will be looking for a nanny as soon as we get there and see how it goes. I think this is going to be a good solution.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2014, 10:09:09 AM »
That sounds like a great solution to work from home with a nanny.  Good luck finding a good nanny!

nicknageli

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2014, 01:55:58 PM »
Hope the new state is warm and sunny!  Sounds like things are really going well.

socaso

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2014, 12:43:22 PM »
I had to be a SAHM due to some medical issues after the birth of my first and I discovered how important working is to my mental health. I'm a very social person and was feeling kind of down being at home all the time. After I went back to work I got much cheerier and lost the last of the baby weight I had been struggling with. So my advice is to consider what type of person you are. As much as any of us love our kids you have to consider whether you are cut out to socialize mainly with kids. I think I am a better more balanced parent now that I'm back at work.

Scandium

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #37 on: April 07, 2014, 11:02:28 AM »
We checked out a day care facility for our unborn (1st) child. I'm sure my wife will be a great mother, but at least for me I can tell that my child would probably be better of being there than me watching him/her! The people are professionals and have more resources that we'd have in our house. I was pretty amazing. I pay a professional to fix my car or fly airplanes; and I'm probably better off having someone with training raising my child too. After all I have no idea what I'm doing.

And since be both make $80k+ I don't think of it as paying for daycare, but "saving" $60k by allowing us to stay at work. (Yes this is in DC area, daycare is $1500+/month.)

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #38 on: April 07, 2014, 11:40:10 AM »
Thanks, Argyle. DH and I are so introverted that we would not do well have someone live with us unless it was one of our young children. LOL. Not worth the savings in money to lose our individual space. 

As a funny twist of events, DH landed a new, exciting job from a career perspective AND he will be making even more money. We are really excited for so many reasons. We will be moving out of state before the baby comes. Luckily, my boss was cool with me working from home in the new state (as mentioned before, her team is all over the country). We will be looking for a nanny as soon as we get there and see how it goes. I think this is going to be a good solution.

Late to the thread, but Congratulation! And that sounds like a great solution, at least until you figure out whether it "works" for you or not. 2 parents working FT can be really draining, but MH and I both like to work at least a little bit, so staying at home would make us restless.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2014, 12:36:27 PM »


And since be both make $80k+ I don't think of it as paying for daycare, but "saving" $60k by allowing us to stay at work. (Yes this is in DC area, daycare is $1500+/month.)

So funny as this is what DH said to me...don't look at the daycare as an expense, but rather a way to keep working.

Freckles

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #40 on: April 07, 2014, 10:12:45 PM »
We checked out a day care facility for our unborn (1st) child. I'm sure my wife will be a great mother, but at least for me I can tell that my child would probably be better of being there than me watching him/her! The people are professionals and have more resources that we'd have in our house. I was pretty amazing. I pay a professional to fix my car or fly airplanes; and I'm probably better off having someone with training raising my child too. After all I have no idea what I'm doing.


Don't sell yourself short, Scandium.  Your baby is not a plane or a car.  What your baby needs most is love from his or her parents.  I'm not saying you can't use day care.  Just don't go thinking someone else can do a better job.  You're not an expert yet, but you'll learn quick, and you and your wife will always be what's best for your baby.

homehandymum

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Re: WWYD - SAHM or continue working?
« Reply #41 on: April 07, 2014, 11:21:28 PM »
We checked out a day care facility for our unborn (1st) child. I'm sure my wife will be a great mother, but at least for me I can tell that my child would probably be better of being there than me watching him/her! The people are professionals and have more resources that we'd have in our house. I was pretty amazing. I pay a professional to fix my car or fly airplanes; and I'm probably better off having someone with training raising my child too. After all I have no idea what I'm doing.


Don't sell yourself short, Scandium.  Your baby is not a plane or a car.  What your baby needs most is love from his or her parents.  I'm not saying you can't use day care.  Just don't go thinking someone else can do a better job.  You're not an expert yet, but you'll learn quick, and you and your wife will always be what's best for your baby.

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