The big decision: SAHM vs Working Mom

Its pretty common knowledge that a chef doesn’t make a lot of money. My husband does well to cover all of our necessities, but with a baby on the way his single income with my meager writing pay isn’t going to work long term. I had planned to go back to the office once our son was a year old. However, he isn’t even here yet and its looking more and more like I will need to return to the real world just a few months after he’s born. How does one make this decision,  what are the pros and cons for choosing to be a working mother vs. a stay a home mom (SAHM)?

SAHM (Pros)
• Don’t have to pay for day care
• See every part of your child’s life
• Sleep when the baby sleeps
• More time to clean the house
• Do things on your own schedule
Working Mom (Pros)
• Get out of the house
• Adult Interaction
• Can afford diapers and groceries
• Are not fully dependent on Husband
• More structured daily routine

As much as I enjoy getting to make my own schedule right now, I feel I’m one of those people who needs at least part of their day to be structured by a set routine. I feel I could be achieving so much more if I was required to be somewhere at certain parts of the day. I miss interacting with adults on a regular basis and my baby is not even here yet, I think I’ve been hermit-ting/nesting for too long. Currently my husband and I are doing ok, but I know when the baby gets here and we have a third mouth to feed, that story is very likely going to change. Even though I plan to breastfeed that’s more food I’m going to have to eat in order to make sure I can produce the essentials necessary for baby. If I get a part time I estimate I can make about $2000 a month, that money would easily cover diapers/groceries and begging my friends are as awesome as they claim to be it would cover “day care”. In addition to covering diapers, groceries, and day care I should also be able to put somewhere around $500 a month towards the debt my husband and I had accumulated before we married one another.
SAHM (CONS)
• Can’t afford to pay off debts
• Budget will be very tight
• Little structure in routine
• Husband will likely have to get a second job (80+ hrs)
• Will never get to see my husband
Working Mom (CONS)
• Have to pay for day care
• Loose time with my baby
• Less sleep
• Won’t get to see my husband as often
• Have to deal with people

My husband and I do not have overly expensive bills, our issues stem mostly from previous debt. We can’t move forward from where we are because we have a history that has yet to be fixed. We didn’t plan for this baby, but we are taking responsibility for him. Currently as a writer I’m making between $200 and $300 a month, this covers the cost of gas and car insurance every month. With $2000 extra coming in every month my husband and I could finally afford to get out of debt as well as pay all of our bills. In addition, I could also afford to give my friends something for their generosity in helping to watch my baby. I can’t afford to work full time, because day care is way too expensive and I would lose money doing so. However, I can afford to work part time and help cover the shortcomings of our budget. It’s likely I won’t get to see my husband as often as I would like, but I will get to see him more than if he was the one who had to get another job. In addition, he is less likely to get burnt out if I’m the one to get a job.

What made you decide whether staying at home or going back to the office was a better choice for you and your family?

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3 thoughts on “The big decision: SAHM vs Working Mom

  1. It’s truly a difficult decision and it truly varies on your family’s situation. There is no wrong answer to this so when you do decide, run with it and don’t look back. I had to return to work full time five weeks after my first son was born and it was difficult. He wouldn’t take a bottle so he wouldn’t eat all day and keep me up all night. It’s like having two full time jobs. I missed the first few months of his life and I will never get that chance again but my husband had hit his head and was on short term disability and we had no choice. We had to change our entire life for the last two years. We had to sit down and talk about our finances. We had to accept that the life we lived may not be the best and we started shaving off a few things to save money. We hardly saw each other when he went back to work but guess what? We made time to spend together and we cherish those more than we ever did before. It was like being in high school again. Your husband may have to find a second job if you can’t find ways to save more money and survive and live within your means but if it’s for a short time, it could be really beneficial for your family as a whole for you to be home with your kids and raise them yourself. Now with my second, it makes no sense for me to work as daycare for two is ridiculous expensive and I would be basically working to put my kids in daycare. Best of luck and just know that no decision is the wrong one.

    1. My husband will definitely be getting a second job after the baby gets here, but the way his line of work effects the body he will likely last about 3 months working two jobs at 80 hours a week, before he will be on the verge of a heart attack. (He’s done it before.) By this point I’m hoping I will have established at least some sort of routine for the baby and since I can make more money than my husband working I will be able to pick up a part time job so I can still be there for the most important moments of my sons first year or so of life. We have cut all unnecessary expenses at this point, but unfortunately its not quiet enough to take care of three. My original plan had been to spend the first year at home with my little one, but somehow the math just isn’t adding up to that being possible.

      1. It’s hard but going back to work to provide for your family is a necessary thing and no one will or could ever blame you for that. There will be many more memories to be made with your kids later too. 🙂 I am blessed to be able to stay home for now and I plan on going back as soon as both my kids are 5 and will be attending school. I would try looking into family assistance. I know my family had used it for a few months when things were pretty bad. It’s not much but it did help a lot. If you qualify, it’s a small way to helping you get by. They can also help you find childcare that’s affordable as well as providing basic necessities for your babies.

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