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Thinking of Quitting your Job and Being a full time Stay at Home Mom? If you are a Mom, then chances are pretty good that you’ve faced this modern dilemma at some point since giving birth. Should you become a stay-at-home mom? Maybe you’re on the fence about whether it will be the right decision for you or for your family or whether your family can even afford to live off only one income.
You are not alone:
- 71% of moms do work outside of the home, but 29% are staying home.(Out of interest, in 1967, 49% of women were stay-at-home moms with a working husband).
- That number is up 6% from 1999.
- The numbers from a recent Pew Research study show that the number of women who are becoming stay-at-home moms is still on the rise.
Before you hand in that resignation and start the blissful life of play dough and finger painting – There are the four Questions you need to answer to figure out whether this is the right decision for you and your family.
The Two Money Questions you can’t ignore.
1. Can You Afford to Stay at Home?
Will the household be financially stressed if you quit working or will staying at home actually save you money?
Money. It is the number one factor that determines whether or not most Mom’s decide to stay at home or keep working.
Many Women are choosing to have babies later. This means that you could be well established in your career and possibly the major earner in the family. Sad as it may be, more times than not it comes down to a single Dollar Value. I wish there was a simple answer to this, but the truth is that it can change depending on the age of your children and where you are in your life right now.
Do the Math
1. How much would you bring into the Home if you worked?
2. Subtract the costs associated with working such as childcare, work clothes, phone costs, higher food bill, convenience items, bus services, petrol etc
3. How much are you left with (This can be a +ve or -ve amount)
For some help working this out, try the ‘Stay at Home or Not” Online Calculator from Parents.com
I’ve done this calculation so many times and up until this year, it has always been cheaper or pretty much even for me to stay at home rather than returning to work. This year though, I calculated that I could be bringing another $300 a week into our family if I went back to work.
So what’s changed? Two little things have shifted the balance:
1. My oldest daughter is now able to take care of her younger siblings after school and during holidays. This takes childcare costs off the agenda but means my daughter is obligated to spend time at home instead of being out with her friends (we’ll ignore this little issue for the time being).
2. The local school bus service is free since we moved to a Country town.
A year ago Childcare and Bus Services for my four children would have cost me an extra $300 per week and means that if I went back to work, assuming everything else remained equal, I could potentially now increase our household income by around $300 per week. It’s the first time in 16 years that the numbers have actually worked out in favor of me going back to work.
If you save money by staying at home (you ended up with a -ve amount after working out income and expenses of going to work – and assuming you want to) then hand in your resignation, baby. Working is actually costing your family money!
If however it means that your household is going to miss out on much needed finances (you ended up with a +ve amount) and you really do need the extra money that working will bring into the home, then the next Question you have to ask is Money Question #2:
2. What Can you do to Make up for the Difference?
In my case. This is $300.
Like you, I have two options:
- Save More Money ($300 per week), or
- Make Money from Home ($300/week)
If I can save an extra $150 per week and make an extra $150 week working from home, then I am contributing the same amount to our household finances AND getting to stay at home too. (This is assuming you WANT to stay at Home).
3. The You Question: Is being a Stay at Home Mom the right thing for you?
Societal pressures make moms feel like they can’t win if they’re carrying a baby on their hip all day and they can’t win if they’re carrying a briefcase all day either.But do you know what? What Society, your friends, neighbors and random strangers think DOESN’T MATTER! Not one bit! This is a decision that needs to be made between you and your partner.
3 Ways to Test Whether the Stay at Home Mom Gig will Work for You:
- Try it first. Take leave from work and see if the Stay at Home life is something you really want to do.
- Keep your Work options open: Keep your skills sharp, complete certificates and ensure that you can reenter the workplace without worry about being out too long.
- Start small. Put the Children in Daycare a couple times a week and keep working part time or work from home.
4. The Family Value Question: Is Being a Stay at Home Mom the Right thing for your Family?
Hindsight is awesome because you get to relive your mistakes and achievements without the burden of emotion. I think that’s what they mean by ‘Wisdom’.
I’ve been a stay at home Mom for a long time. But looking back now, I feel as if my older two children would have been just as happy if I had worked. My third child, however,has always been anxious and perhaps would have benefited from homeschooling in her early years (rather than the kindergarten and preschool I dragged her to). I knew this instinctively even then, but felt the pressure to succumb to what my friends and peers were doing.
Your family has it’s own dynamics and personalities and finances. No one can answer this question except you. And it needs to be done without guilt or worry about what others may think.
On that note – I leave you with these three Things:
- There is no Right or Wrong Answer (despite what others say)
- Your kids will grow up to be great humans because you love them.
- You are always a Mom – Regardless of whether you work or stay at Home.