When should a mom leave her job and stay home with her baby?

Moms make the decision to work or stay at home for a variety of reasons. In what situation should a mom leave her job and stay at home with the baby? When money isn't an issue? At a certain age of the baby?

40  Answers

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Why isn't the question "when should a parent leave their job?" As far as I am aware there is one thing and one thing only that a father can't do for their children - breastfeed. So being able to stay home while nursing your baby is certainly easier on you, them, your breasts, everything. My husband and I have been lucky enough to swap times home with our babies and I think parents benefit from that time as much as the babies do. Of course a child will benefit from having one on one attention from a loving parent if possible. But children also benefit from the love and care of parents who work full time. Many of us have memories of the love and care provided by a nanny, or a grandparent and still have a bond with our parents that can't be rivaled. I think we need to quit putting so much pressure on mothers to be the all and everything to everyone - career, wife, mother, sibling, daughter - we wonder why we're so exhausted all the time! The answer is simple - do what works for you in your partnership taking into account the needs of your child. That answer will be as individual as your life, your relationship, and your child - as it should be. Its just too bad that society doesn't offer more part-time solutions for the many part-time roles we (mothers AND fathers) lead.

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Amen!

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Whenever posssible you'll never get those years back and they are over to soon.

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8,298 21

So...if you work, you miss ALL the time your kids are growing up? Boy, if I truly worked and slept all 168 hours of the week, I'd go nuts!

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i worked full time for awhile with 4 kids and it got to a point where i was miserable and found that i couldnt juggle the cooking, cleaning, homework time and baths and be a wife and work a full time job. There comes a time when u realize that money doesnt buy happiness and i was at work one day and went to eat chinese on my lunch break and my fortune cookie when i opened it said" family needs to be your # 1 priority". That was my wakeup call as dumb as it sounds! I dont regret my decision. We have to do without some things bc were down to 1 income but my knowing whos raising my kids is far worth more than any paycheck.

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i think you rite ,and you get yust to that live ,no extra ,but the kids gif you that extra .simpel thinks its what they like .wen they get older it wil be some thing else. you lurn to make think you selfs ,like cake and pai and there close.But wen you do like you work you good take a cleaning lady and a baby sitter fore wen they come home .to prepear you diner . stay at home to days a week and the weekends .ore one day a week and the weekends .

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I cannot believe that someone would actually say a working mom does not love her child. Seriously? I am glad you were able to stay home; I'd love to do the same as would a lot of my girlfriends, but I actually am the breadwinner in my family. If not for my salary, we would not be able to have a roof over our heads or pay the utilities, etc. And, no, we do not have a huge house or new cars in the garage. Crazy as it seems, some women have good jobs for which they went to college to obtain. And, along with the good job comes a good salary and benefits for my husband and two kids. Quit being so stereotypical and understand that what worked/works for you may not be the grand solution for all. Do you not think some working moms feel guilty already for not being able to be home to raise their kids? Do we really need a forum of women adding salt to a wound? Most of you have said you wouldn't bring any money home after daycare, gas, etc., so I guess the decision was easy. Good for you. But circumstances are different in different situations. So how about showing some tolerance, perhaps even a touch of empathy, and quit portraying working moms as money-hungry, materialistic, child-avoiding monsters. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I managed to breastfed both of my babies even as a working momma by pumping when necessary; I do a lot for my family and sacrifice for their good and don't deserve to be judged as an unfit mother. I have never for a second doubted their love for me or our family. God is central in our home as well. Ever heard of "judge not lest you be judged?"
I've never gotten involved in this forum until now, and I'm sad to see how some moms treat one another. Why, oh why do women insist on being so judgmental? Why not lift a fellow momma up? Only we know how tough a job it really is!

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I totally agree with you and it sounds like you are being a great mom by making the best decision for your family! Having been both a stay at home mom and a working mom myself I know that both are difficult in different ways and both are amazing in different ways. Your children are benefiting from your choice to work - maybe not in the same way that they would benefit if you were with them 24/7 but in different ways that are also very valuable. Let's encourage each other instead of judging each other!

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whenever Possible. I mean the first moment you can survive. Give your child the gift of a mom who nurtures 24 hours a day, consistency in discipline and strength in spiritual training. Children's needs have not changed in the last fifty years. Society has.

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Actually, we have more contact with our kids than a lot of mothers in the past had. Before, when childcare was more affordable, parents routinely put their children in the care of nursemaids, nannies, and did not spend nearly as much time with them as we feel is necessary today. Expecting a mother to be the sole care-giver 24 hours a day is a pretty tough thing for every mother to aspire to....the saying "it takes a village" means just that.

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My wife and i decided when we had the first child it was important for her to stay home.
We had to make some changes. It wasn't easy, but it is worth it.
Now Our first is 3 and second is 6 months.
I think its more about the children than the Money.

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Very interesting responses- but personally I'm not raising my daughter to be a housewife. I'm raising her to be independent and to be able to stand on her own two feet. I'm teaching these skill by example. For too many women the choice to stay at home leads to poverty. I wonder how many SAHM would work if they made 100k+ a year?Depending on a man for survival doesn't always have a happy ending. I've been married for 10 years and my parents have been married for 40. My husband has a very good job- but so do I. I choose to work. My parents both worked also-and both spent quality time with me. Working, however does mean when I'm home- I'm home. We are reading, teaching the kids language, music, art, and just loving them. They are with me after work at 5pm until morning and on every weekend and every holiday. We eat supper together every night, and my daughter looves helping me cook. Any time I'm not working, I'm with my kids. We take wonderful family vacations together- my children are happy and so am I.

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Very good comment, I earn a lot of money and am proud of my achievements - my SAHM friends didn't have good jobs, or hated working.

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Whenever her heart tells her to. I too have worked full time corporate world and been able to stay at home with my children ages 19, 13, 6 and 9 mos. I purposely had my children so far apart so I could enjoy each one them individually and give them the one on one attention each one of them needs for all the milestones in their lives. The older 3 have memories of me working and staying at home with each of them. While I worked they enjoyed eating out more because i could afford it and didn't have the time or energy to cook for them. While i stayed at home they enjoyed a home cooked meal everynight and hardly ever got take out because I couldn't afford it. I've learned how to become more creative and frugal being a stay at home mom which in turn I've been able to teach my children how to sew, cook, do yardwork, spot bargains and only buy on sale. Things I took for granted or didn't have the time to do while working. While working my children have learned how important dedication and hardwork pay off such as promotions, vacations, nice cars, and little luxuries people also take for granted like cable and air conditioning. Either way a mom can choose to make the most of what they have and teach their children from both. Bottom line is; my children know I work hard at home or at a workplace for them. You'll know as a mother when it's time to do either, and I thank God I have a husband that is willing to work one or two jobs if necessary for our childrens needs. Single moms don't have the luxury of getting to choose when they want to stay home. Their decision to work is out of necessity. Just know you're in this mom's thoughts and prayers daily.

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I think this is the best response I have read so far! I grew up with a mom that worked full-time and I never felt unloved or that she was ever too busy for us. I personally love both working and staying home with my one year old son! I stayed home for six months then went back to work and I have seen how much he has grown and advanced while he was in daycare. I also agree that being raised by a working mom taught me alot more than if she had been home full time. I learned to really appreciate the individual time spent together and also the value of hard work. Thank you for even mentioning that because I think too many people, NOT just women, forget that.

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Personally, I chose to stay home with both of my children from the time they were born. I didn't start working again until they were both in school full time. Even now I only work part time (10am-3pm) so that I'm home when they get off the bus, to help them with homework and take them to sports practice, etc. You don't get those years back and the time I spend with my children is very precious. :)

Honestly, I know MANY people who work full time (both parents) because they "need to". I guess it's all in where your priorities lie, because these same people are the ones who have large, expensive homes, brand new cars, etc. To me, being there for my kids is much more important than any of those material things. Living with kids when you only have 1 income certainly isn't always easy. But, the compromises we sometimes make to make it work are always worth having that priceless time with my kids. :)

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I totally agree with you...

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I love being a stay at home mom. My daughter is my #1 priority, and I am an example of someone who will do anything possible to stay at home. I have a teaching degree I'm not using. Instead I'm cleaning houses one day a week while my mom watches her. It's worth it to spend all of the time with her and not to leave her 50+ hours a week, and my mom enjoys their day together!

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I am really upset by the answers on here. I am a mum to a gorgeous 2.5 year old boy and an aunt/guardian to a beautiful 4.5 year old girl. I am also a teacher. My niece was left with me full-time at the age of 2 months and I was not granted maternity leave as it was not acknowledged. We juggled her care until she turned 1 and then she was put into daycare full time. We carefully chose a daycare that suited her and us and she thrived in the environment. When my son was born, I had just been granted my permanency and was granted paid maternity leave, plus the option of 2 years off without pay. I then got the optionto stay home with my kids and was blessed to have a hard-working husband to allow me to stay home for 2 years. I had to return to work this year and have found it very hard. But my niece is in kindy 3 days a week and day care 2 days and my son is in day care 5 days a week and they both enjoy it. The day care is actually a learning centre run by early education teachers and my kids are thriving. We have quality time together every day and our weekends are super special.
I wish dearly that I could have stayed home for longer with my children, and feel guilty going back to work sometimes, but that is our situation - without both of us working, we could not continue to pay our mortgage. Day care is a valid choice for working families and the right one can be beneficial to your children.
People should not judge others because they have to return to work. In this economy, 2 incomes are needed more and more to keep a family financially secure. I am, in no way, saying that money is everything - I am a teacher and we are not on the high income list! We are not financially rich, but we are rich in every other way because we love each other and support each other. My husband and I both have an incredibly strong bond with our kids and we both work fulltime. My kids are confident in social situations, play extremely well with other kids, have fantastic manners and morals, and speak incredibly well.
Working does NOT take away from my skills as a mother - I cook for my kids, I read to them every day, I play with them inside and outside, we go on walks, we go on outings, we explore topics of interests to them, my husband takes them to school and daycare and I pick them up. They do not sit in front of a television all day and vegetate - they have active imaginations, bright and curious minds, and everyone comments on how great they are. It is the time spent with the kids that counts. How dare anyone judge me or other working mums! I love my kids with all my heart!

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well said :) you do what you have to :)

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I find most of these answers extremely offensive. I have been both a stay at home mom and a working mom at different periods of my children's lives. I can honestly say I've seen the benefits to both. I think this is a very personal decision, and not one that anyone else can make for your family. The fact that so many have posted that the way they do it is the right way seems very narrow minded and sad. I hope this decision would be one that families make based on what God is calling them to do and not based on some forum of moms who have never walked in eachother's shoes.

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I didn't feel like there were many answers that implied their way was the "right" way, just the way that worked for them. My issue was that the question is framed in such a way that really only allows for one answer! If you think so harshly of "some forum of moms" which you are a part of, way are you a part of it? I've been both as well, and see benefits to both and can say that when I am away, I wish I were home, but that I like the classes and work I do as well and don't want to go without them. Getting an education and working is also something I do for my child, for their future. It's definitely a struggle to keep them in balance.

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Everybody is different. I've been fortunate to stay at home with my daughter for the past two years while her father is the primary breadwinner. However, at this point, I'd rather work. It's hard to be able to adequately stimulate my child 24/7, and I honestly feel she would benefit from being in a structured daycare with other kids. I also don't like not having my own money. I find that every job I've ever had has been easier than staying home with a toddler day in and day out. If you are the sort of mother that loves being at home with your kids, and believe that everyone benefits from such an arrangement, that's fantastic. However, not all of us are wired to be stay at home moms, and sometimes it's better for all parties involved when a mother can have a job/career, and the child has a good caring environment to foster independence, and learning skills.

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This is true. I never thought if it like that, but even this morning, my sister was telling me (She is a student), that her and her partner have decided that whoever is making the most money will stay at home. But her partner really wants to be the one to stay at home with the kids. He has decided not to return to college and keep working in a hardware store until she is finished and has her business and mgt degree and can start supporting them. She would never want to stay at home! She has said one or two children, but not if she has to stay at home! Now that her BF has agreed that he will stay at home, and love it, she has said she might stretch to three lil ones! But he believes that he will have a better relationship staying at home! very 21st century x

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The choice to work or stay at home does not a mother make. My full thoughts are under Andrew Smith's post. Bravo to you stay at home mom who have given up expensive clothes, fancy dinners...etc. I envy your ability to stay with your children. But don't you dare claim to be better parents because you stay at home. We are out here in the workforce making an honest living, because we need to. We need jobs with medical benefits, we need to pay bills and taxes. Some of us have had spouses suffering unemployment and wracked up credit cards suffering through the lean years or whose credit was shot because of irresponsible ex spouses. Some of us are paying their college loans, sometimes more than one. And heaven forbid, there are some women who, gasp, actually enjoy having a family and a career. I see nothing wrong with that whatsoever, but if I were able to afford it, I would most definitely love to be home more with my children. My children may disagree because at their daycare they get to play at the park, go to the pool, share, eat, play and learn with their friends in a Christian environment having more fun than they probably would than being at home while I would do yard work, house work or shopping. And without having their friends around to play, for there are none their age where we live. I would not choose to put them in daycare for these reasons, I am only saying they are in no way suffering. The quality time we send together is just as good if not better because I am not taking that time for granted. I nursed my children longer than most of you SAHM probably did...made my own baby food, still make wholesome suppers and have two very healthy, thank the Lord, children who even love to eat their peas. Oh, and let's not forget, we are not just supporting our families but others out there too. Yes, the ones that are chosing to stay at home and collect welfare and food stamps. So for those of you that do, I seriously hope you are not among the moms on here judging that you are a better mom than the those of us that work. So great for those of you that can. But again, it's not whether you stay home or work that makes you a good mother. It is your mothering abilities that make you a good mother.

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I honestly don't think that any of the SAHMs were saying that they are better Moms because they stay at home. People are just offering their opinions on here as answers to the question. There are certainly people out there who do need to have both parents working. I think everyone understands that. Anyone may believe that their way is best... because it is the best for *them*. You appear to be somewhat offended by some of the comments that some of the SAHMs evidently made. However, you made some very accusatory, and offending comments yourself... such as "the ones that are chosing to stay at home and collect welfare and food stamps". MANY of us who choose (yes, I said choose) to be SAHMs are college educated and left good jobs when we made the choice to stay home and care for our children. It IS a very personal choice and I agree that no one should be chastised either way for their decision to work or stay at home. Just as you wish that SAHMs would not judge you for choosing to work, you shouldn't turn around and just those of us who do stay at home. As you said in your own post... "it's not whether you stay home or work that makes you a good mother. It is your mothering abilities that make you a good mother."

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I'd say as soon as you want to so long as you can afford to as the two go hand in hand

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The economy is too bad and it's too hard to re enter the workforce. When money isn't an issue you never know if something will happen and you have been out of work for five years and have to return back. I say don't risk it. Daycare is really helping with my daughters social skills and I love it.

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I think it depends on what you do such as healthcare.

5 15

A mother should leave her job and stay home with the little one when money isn't an issue and if she wants to be a stay at home mother. Personally, I would love to be a stay at home mom, but due to financial issues, I'm forced to work 40+ hours a week to support my daughter and myself. Does this mean I don't love my daughter? No. This means I don't have the financial stability that SAHM's do. My mother went to school and worked full time and my relationship with her now is amazing. She's my best friend. I don't resent her for not staying home, because she wasn't the stay at home type. That doesn't mean that she didn't love me, it meant that she loved working as well as being with us and she was ensuring our financial stability later in life. I am satisfied with working full time because that means that I don't have to rely on anyone else to take care of us both. I love the feeling of knowing that I work hard to buy my daughter what she needs.

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As a mother who returned to work when my daughter was 8 months old, I would say stay home as long as you can . . . until they're in school, that is if you can afford it. If you can't afford it, there's no choice. I truly believe that children separate themselves from their parents when they're ready, you read the signs. Forcing the issue is hard on them, because they're meant to be with mom and dad when they're that young.

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Maybe a dumb decision, but I didn't waste time or money on college because I know I wanted to stay home with my children, and if I did go to college ( to be a nurse most likely) all that time and money would be wasted until my kids were school age and i would return to work. then I would probably have to up grade ect. So I figure I can always go to school when they are in school and get it then. Money is an issue right now. But I have no regrets. We are getting by, some months really suck, but both my husband and I feel that staying home with our kids is the most important. Plus I really wouldn't bring anything home once I paid for day care, formula for my baby, and diapers for all three kids (we use cloth, most day cares wouldn't accept that) I do my own day care, and I just think of all the things parents are missing out on when their kids spend more time with me then with them.
So my answer is when you have the baby! My job is my babies and I'm proud and ok with that! I would be happy being a stay at home mother forever, I really don't ever want to go back to work.

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Well you're fortunate that you are able to do what you would like to do. Not all women even have that option. And it seems to me that these posts assume that all women have husbands who help support their decisions to make their "babies their jobs." What about single moms?

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24 20

When she wants to!

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19 62

If the family can actually afford for mom to do so, AND mom wants to. She shouldn't stay home if she feels pressured to do so; that can have a negative impact on the kids, the marriage, etc...

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You have a point here. My mom decided to stay home when I was born because it made more sense financially at the time. But once the kids were all at school she got really depressed and bitter about her decision. I totally believe that happy mom = happy child. Children are more flexible than we give them credit for, and daycares (mine at least) do a fabulous job at helping you raise your kids too. On some points I think they actually do a better job than I do in terms of teaching them to share, wait your turn, team work, positively disciplining them, etc.

147 31

when ever you want but don't feel obligated either way.

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I am a stay at home mom, I didn't want someone else raising my child and sharing their values with him, I wanted to be the one in the early years to guide teach and laugh with him, I don't regret one moment, I took a part time nanny Job where the little girl comes to my home and have loved it, my son has a friend a few days a week, we have a little extra money and I don't give up anything with him. I know that this is not possible for all parents especially single moms, but it is a gift that has no time limit if it is.
I have so many memories that would not be a part of me if I had worked rather then staying home.

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FIt was never my intention to be a stay@home mom. I was accustomed to 2 working parents & that was out of pure necessity. The journey toward my final decision to be one happened several months after my child's diagnosis of autism. Mind you, 1st instinct was, "I need more money to afford for his extra special needs." I believed this was the solution to our new problem. But, as a christian, the God I serve works mysteriously backwards; giving gets you more, love your enemies, and the like. So I prayed & did some calculating only to discover it cost me more and benefitted me less to work. Bottom line: my child needed me more than I needed my job. The rest was easy...and a great history is in the making...our family history. No regrets after 4 1/2 yrs. & counting.

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I think if a mother is foutunate enough to stay at home to do it! It is very rewarding and you get to watch your little ones grow up. My husband and I just barely make ends meet but we sat down several times going over our bills and realized that it would equal out the same....I am happy what I do and my husband is as well!

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I wish I can stay at home and look after my son.... :( BUT I don't have a CHOICE....:(....
For REAL IF I have a CHOICE.....I will look and take care of my CHILD from 0 month old til' they reach 13 yr-old.

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Society makes it hard to do that.

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Some balance is good for both the sanity of the mom and the well being of the family. However, if money is NOT an issue, then I think a mom (or a parent) should stay home when the children have special needs. Having already raised a teenager I think it's important to be around for your teen. They may not want it, but they need it. I don't mean helicopter over them, but keep your wits about knowing what's going on and to do that it often requires quiet co-existence.

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the decision for each mom is different and personal. Circumstances are a big part--does she have a good job she loves, has her job ended, can she and her husband break even on bills if she is home, does she know beyond a doubt she is meant to work in her career? To me it is a decision of the heart. If you want to be home you find a way to make it work. I didn't want to leave my baby (except a little part-time here and there and only when I found day care I trusted. I felt it was just EASIER for all of us which was especially true when my husband began travelling so much. I also didn't want to miss anything. You can't get that time back.

Personally, I wanted my children to have the best and their own parent as advocate was best.

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11 41

If you can afford it and want to be home with them, start from day one. If you can spend less and budget better, you will always feel it was worth it. Or try working part time...that can help a lot if you need to work a little bit. We are fortunate to have choices to work or not work these days, but as soon as my son was born, I did not want to work outside the home any longer. But I worked as part time as I could get away with and keep my license active and was home most of the time. No regrets at all. The main thing is that we as women support each other in their decisions.

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2,843 7

I wouldn't say when money isn't an issue. I mainly stay at home because money is the issue; day care is overpriced (I realize they need to get paid). $1,200 a month for one child is way too much.

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As soon as she can afford it, if the father cannot stay home. I stayed home for the first 6 years and loved it.

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I think when she is ready to do so. If you are not ready then you will not be happy some women are never ready and that's fine as they are prob great with the kids after work but would crack up if they were with them all day. Everyone is different. If you are thinking of it my advice would be take three weeks off work and try it without loosing your kids childminders place then see how you get on - it may be worse or better than you thought

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If you have your own business it is easier to do both ie work and care for baby. But you cant do it alone. Either a maid or your hubby needs to help when you are at work. That usually translates to working half day and looking after baby the rest of the time.

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Every situation is unique and there are those parents that MUST work, but if you are able to, especially up until age 4-5, I totally recommend it. I am a stay at home Mom, turned entrepreneur and I am so thankful to be the one caring for my most precious gifts! Of course, sometimes I feel like not being around adults that much, I miss it, but everything is a give and take. I was an early childhood teacher, so it did not make sense financially to go back, now that my youngest will be 3 in January, I am considering going back to work part time either this fall or the next. I like having an online baby gifts business b/c I have the luxury of working from home and making my own hours with not much overhead. GOOD LUCK everyone!

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I have 3 kids (2, 4 and 7 years). I have stayed home full-time since my first one was born. Being a mother IS a full-time job. Raising your children to become responsible, respectful adults is the job of the parents (not child care). No one will love your child more than YOU. No one will care and nurture like a parent. I agree with most of the e-mails, you should stay home to raise your children. Once they are in elementary school (from 8-3PM), you can work... but make sure your job is flexible so you can pick up your children from school at 3PM and be home with them to play with them, make dinner, give baths, read stories etc. You will never get those precious years back but MOST importantly, YOUR CHILDREN will never get those years back. Children need parents, they always have.... society made us think the other people could raise OUR children for us... but, as we can see with the many issues that young people/ adults have theses days that the day care idea is not a great one. Does not benefit anyone.

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Really, if you ARE a working mom, aren't you just working to pay off the child care person? I assume that most of the income you make has to pay for someone to care for your little ones. Cut out the things you don't need in life (cable tv, subscriptions, fancy meals all the time, brand new car, etc). Priorities your priorities and make it work. I think almost everyone can stay home with their children (if they are married and the husband is working a full time job). Or switch off, let the dad stay home part time and then the mom... make the jobs flexible so the child is always at home with one parent or the other. I recommend everyone read "Dr. Laura (10 stupid things we do to mess up our children" to anyone thinking of going back to work after having a baby.

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When the reasons to leave out weigh the reasons to stay. I am a stay at home Mom and I tell you it's the BEST time of your life!!! Sure it can be hard at times because I see kids all day but I don't have to worry about if my kids are sick I have to call off work or getting someone to watch them etc. I see their firsts no one else!! So many other reasons but I am sure if you are asking this you are seriously thinking about it. DO NOT let money or things be reason for working because your children are more important than things. That's what I hear all of the time. I mean really how much stuff do people need these days? Kids need food, clothes and most of all love and they don't cost that much. And LOVE it free!!

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Preteen and teen years, believe me!

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When in its the right decision for her/him. Its a very personal decision and I dont think there is a right or wrong answer. Everyone situation is very different.

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everyone and every situation is different so that's hard to say. however i do think if you can that it is very important to be home with your kids...

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6 14

I'm in that situation now. I have a 4 month old baby, & for us it made more sense for me to stay home. I don't have the potential to earn enough money to make working worthwhile. By the time I paid for childcare, formula, & disposable diapers, I'd eat up all of my income plus some. Around here childcare is $250 per week or more, & that alone is more than I made. Plus, I breastfeed (which saves $$$ on formula) &we both benefit from bf. I also cloth diaper part time right now until I can build up my diaper stash, & both of these things make it easier to stay home. Of course, I really want to stay home with our baby anyway. We have had to cut back on things like going out to eat, movies, & we're getting rid of one of our cars to be a 1 car household, but it's worth it to us. Honestly, I think we would've had to get rid of car even if I went back to work.

It all comes down to what Mom & Dad wants really. There's no right or wrong answer here.

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$250/ week? Where do you live? Where we live it's still high, but $150/ week is the highest I've seen it where I live in Virginia. Also the 150 is for infants, the older my son gets the cheaper it will be. I pay 140 now. I really only afford to pay daycare, and buy groceries. I just keep in mind that every little bit helps. I found a job with great bosses who understand when my son is sick that it is important for me to be there getting him well. I know that once my son Max is in Kindergarden I will no longer have to pay for childcare. I will have been at my job almost 5 years, so I will be making more money than I am now. So this job might not be doing much for me now, but I think it's a good way to work on my future. Your right there is no right or wrong answer. Everybodies situation is different. :)

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