Stay at home mom vs. working mom?

Erin - posted on 01/18/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My daughter Alexxa was born in October. I was very fortunate to be able to take 3 months off with full pay from my job. But it went by way faster than I expected and I went back to work at the beginning of January. I only work 3 and a half days a week, but I still feel like I miss out on a lot.

I feel like I didn't really have much of a choice in the matter. I provide a good chunk of our family's income, and if I wasn't working we would barely be keeping our heads above water. How do other moms do it? Any tips and tricks to save money so staying home might be more of a possiblility? Going to work is killing me and I feel like I'm not doing a good job at work because I clearly don't want to be there. Help! I'm miserable!

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Stacy - posted on 01/21/2010

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I know what we do is a few days before payday we make out a menu of our dinners and make our grocery list off of that and of course i include any cleaning supplies lunch and breakfast items ect that we may need so I dont go to the store and do alot of spontaneos buying that way the only reason to go back to the store is if you run out of milk or other staples.

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Stacy, I think that is a great way to start. A lot of people only have one person that works and they make ends meet. I think that it is able to be done, but you will just have to really sit down and think about it. Discuss all options. Maybe work less or cut your days in half. Find a way to work from the home that way there is still an income. If it fails than you can always get another job or go back to work for the same place.

Gabriela - posted on 01/21/2010

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I took 2 months off when I had my son and when I went back it was very hard. What made it harder is that I was working full time and going to school full time. I only saw my son when he was asleep so you can imagine how miserable I was. This went on for a year. Now Im taking less classes and I am quitting my job this may and just going to school full time. Its going to be really hard. My parents invited us to move in with them until we are able to get our own place. Im just happy Ill get to see my son a lot more

[deleted account]

I am a stay at home mom and i chose to be until our kids were old enough to go to school themselves. I also take on line classes for business. I don't know what I would do if I had to work, but my sister does the same thing that you do and I know that she regrets it. Some things that you could do, is make a budge with the money that you make and then take it away and see how much money you have left. Then cut back on certain things, such as don't drive as much, don't go out to eat, or going shopping. If you want to do any of these things than do it once or twice a month.

[deleted account]

I hated going back to work after having a baby! I had to after my first two were born because we couldn't afford it so I waited to have another baby until my husband made enough money for us to get by comfortably. Have you thought about having a dayhome or if that's a little much you could watch a kid or two before and after school? I make a couple hundred a month watching a child before and after school (dropping them off and picking them up) for their parents. Depending on where you live it can be really hard to find a good before and after school place.

Deana - posted on 01/19/2010

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I went right back to work after my daughter was born and I hated it. Now I am a stay at home mommy who does daycare. I am much happier to be able to take her with me and spend all of my time with her. These really are the best yrs!

[deleted account]

You can totally do it, but you will have to make some sacrafices. What are you willing to give up? I don't know how you already live but here are some suggestions that will help cut back bills. Can you trade in your car for a smaller used vehicle? Can you give up eating out? Can you downgrade cable, internet and cell phone? Cutting coupons and buying store brand, as oppossed to nation name brands can save money on groceries. Buying clothes on consignment or second hand stores also saves a ton of money. Heck, some of the cutest boutique clothes my daughter wears were bought at garage sales in upscale neighborhoods! If you do all that and find you are still not making it, you could consider keeping another child in your home. I do that a few times a week and it helps with the bills. I also have my own home based business through a direct sales company. I really enjoy that because I do "business" things during naptime and commit to one party a week when my husband can watch our daughter. I don't like solicitaitons so I won't give more info (unless you want to message me), just trying to give you an idea. I'm all about moms being at home if they can do it. I hoped this helped in some way.

Rebecca - posted on 01/18/2010

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I went back to work fulltime after my first son. In Canada we are lucky enough to be off for a year, so it was nice to have the year. It was really hard to go back with all the time I had off. I feel for anyone that has to go back after only 3 months. I could not imagine. Going back parttime was not an option, and because I work 12hrs shifts days and nights as a peds nurse, I left most days before he woke up and came home and he was in bed. I found that what helped was on my days off I would devote the days to him. I still had the guilt leaving but cherished my days at home with him!!



Work was hard but I made sure I was able to talk to him during the day and that helped me get through the hard times!

Helen - posted on 01/18/2010

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although in the uk we get 9 months paid ihad to go back full time from 12 weeks. am also a primary school teacher so have to bring lots of work home. i do feel guilty but my little man is happy healthy and confident. As soon as he goes down for a nap i do my school work. it sounds bad but on a weekend i sit him down in front of the tv with a snack and a film while i run around like a maniac and do the house work, that way i am all done by 10 ish and i am his for the rest of the day. i also try to do something fun every weekend. The money does allow us to put money in his account ready for college and go to fun places, where as if i stayed at home i would have to watch every penny and never have any freedom.

Lisa - posted on 01/18/2010

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I can totally relate to what you are feeling. I am working two part time jobs and going to school full time and HATE the time I am away from my little man. I look at it this way, if I didn't go to work and school, we would really struggle to make ends meet and would have to cut out things we really enjoy as a family. My best advice it to take pictures or video record the kids while you are away. I try to make the time we are together much more meaningful. I make sure we cuddle and read stories, and I try not to do any work or homework while he is awake. This way, he remembers me holding him and kissing him and reading to him instead of playing by himself. It can be done....

Rebecca - posted on 01/18/2010

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I am so lucky here that was able to take the first year off with pay but that being said I completely agree with you. I have been back to work for almost a year now and everyday it is so hard to get up and go to work. Worse now that she knows Im gone and cries when I leave. I only worked three days a week to start and now Im up to full time because with the ressesion I really cant say no to the money. When your talking about saving money to be able to work at home it is a hard thing to do if your looking at living with only half an income. They are stay at home jobs that you could do. I am currently looking to go back to school so I can be a medical transcriptionist. Its only a year of school online and then it is a higher paying steady job that can be done from home so your not missing out on the most important part of your life. There are other jobs out there that you can do from home. If that is not an option for you, then if you just want to be a stay at home mom( which would be my dream if possible) then you have to make major cuts. Like downsizing housing, generic products, the extras in life. Im sure there is always a possiblilty its just about making the hard decisions. Also if it is not possible to not work, then you are not being a bad mom by providing for your child. It is really hard to watch someone else practically raise your child but at the end of the day your baby will still call you mom, still love you to pieces and you will be really gratefull for the time that you do spend together. That is the way that I cope. It is very hard everyday but I know that I am doing what is right for my daughter. If I wasnt working and she needed something......like medical treatment....how would I pay for it?As she gets older and goes to school, what am I going to do all day? The balance is hard. Every mom I talk to says the same thing. I wont say that everyday gets easier cuz it doesnt for the first six months I would cry at work and wasnt very productive but eventually it does get easier. Take each day one day at a time. It will be ok and if you feel your self( I call it slipping) talk to someone. Who watches your daugher? Im sure that they would be ok if yu called every once and awhile with them just putting the phone by the baby. I know it was easier to hear her voice on really rough days. It reminded me why I was back to work. So I could provide a better life for her.

Rebecca - posted on 01/18/2010

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I'm with you Erin! Although, my son is 18 months old, I had to return to work when he was 3 months. (I took the 12 weeks without pay though!) I work full time and my mom kept my son for me last school year (I'm a teacher) and this year, she keeps him most of the day, while he attends a "preschool" for 4 hours a day. I really feel like I'm missing out on some things, too. The result is severe "mommy guilt." I feel bad for NOT doing everything for him, so I come home from work (already tired) and try to make up for the fact that I wasn't there all day for him. Even though my husband is usually there to help, I take it all on myself because I feel bad.



Unfortunately, I obviously haven't found the solution for myself to stay at home, so I may not be of much help, but I'll pass on what I can.... My husband and I recently started the Dave Ramsey "Total Money Makeover" which is a plan to get all of our debts paid off (car notes, school loans, etc). Once all those debts are paid in a year or so, I hope to go part time at least. Real budgeting has really helped us scale back our spending. We've switched to cash instead of using our credit cards. We've actually cancelled the credit cards (debt still works if we need it). It's amazing how often I fell back on that credit card for things I really didn't need. It's a good book if you're interested.



Another thing I've found that helps with our spending is the website www.e-mealz.com. It's a subscription ($5 a month) that give us a weekly dinner menu with corrosponding shopping list. Most of the meals are really good and quick and easy. Better yet, the menu (a week's worth of dinners) is designed to cost less than $75, so I've been able to cut down our grocery bill. Also, since the shopping list is already made out for you, it saves time. You can design your list around what store you shop at, or to be low-cal or weight-watchers friendly, too.



The only other thing I can suggest is starting an in-home daycare. A friend of mine was able to replace her part-time salary with running an in-home daycare. Most states have a certification process that involves a few classes and an inspection. But that at least allows you to stay home with your own little one and still make a little money at the same time. IT also gives your child time to socialize with other kids.



The decision to stay home or work is very hard for moms nowadays, and all things should be considered, including your feelings, but especially the family finances. I hope you can find the right fit for you and your family. Good Luck!

Stephanie - posted on 01/18/2010

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I felt like that when our son first went to daycare. I had 5 months at home with him (minus the 12hrs of college classes I went to every week). It was really hard to concentrate on classes or work after he started daycare, but now it's not bad at all. He has so many friends, does a bunch of fun activities, and the people there are great. He has so much fun. Just try to be happy that you have a well paying job that is able to fully support your little girl. Both of you will better cherish your time together when you have it. It'll get easier with time.

Stephanie - posted on 01/18/2010

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well, for us, what I'd make in income wouldn't be worth the time away from home. It'd be spent on childcare mostly. For me, it's more important to spend that time at home with my children, raising them the way I'd prefer, rather than have a few extra hundred dollars each month.

It is getting trickier though, We have three kids and another on the way. Hubby teaches high school and I stay home. The plan so far has been that once the kids were up in school all day, I'd find something part-time to do. Mostly, so I'm not sitting at home getting depressed. :) but it keeps getting pushed back, especially with another little person coming. oh well. We'll make it work, there's no other way.

as for tips on how, that's tough. You have to look at your budget and decide what things you really need, what you can live without and what you're not willing to let go of. solid things like rent/mortgage payments you keep and optional things like eating out, vacations, new clothes when you want them, maybe even cable could be out. it just depends. We have only one car right now. It's been a year and a half. I'm feeling the isolation, but it's something we decided to do.

Kristine - posted on 01/18/2010

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i know how you feel. I didn't work for two years and than decided i need to get a job again. i now have three children and my youngest is 9 months. i did not want to go back to work and hate the days that i have to go to work, however I enjoy when i come back and notice that my children have missed me. It is hard at first and honestly we got a video camera to record the kids, than i don't miss out on anything. I look at it as, if i quit my job we would have to give up alot to survive and i enjoy being able to do more with two incomes. it does get easier and you have to know by going to work you are helping them get use to not be so depending on you. They go threw separation problems and when they are in that stage it is hard, to get anything done. keep a part time job, you will need something to do when they go to school.

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