To “Work” Or Not To Work?

My mom was a “stay-at-home-mom,” so it’s really hard for me to imagine handing my child over to someone else for 40 hours a week. It feels like someone else would be raising my child. And even if it were a close relative, something just doesn’t feel totally settled about it in my gut. Probably most moms feel that way.

Before my baby arrived almost two months ago now(!), I was not working. A contract job I was at ended a few months before she was due, and it didn’t seem like the best time in life to job hunt after that.

Now the standard “maternity leave” time is ending, so it’s time to more seriously consider whether to “work” or not to “work”?

I use the quotation marks because being a stay-at-home-mom — or homemaker, to refer to this lovely blog title — isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card from working. Watching children 24/7 requires special patience. Then there’s cleaning, laundry (washing, folding, and putting away thereof), meal-planning, grocery shopping, cooking, general penny-pinching, household maintenance…

We could really stand to be a two-income family again. But as we crunch the numbers of buying care for our new tiny human, the income we have left after paying a sitter leaves us wondering: Is it worth it? Would my time be better spent at home, trying to save us money? There are intangibles like my sanity to consider, but I’m still on the line.

  • Certainly, if the number of tiny humans we own increases, affording day care will pretty much be out of the question.
  • Someday we will be out of tiny humans, though, and I’ll want to have my skills sharp.
  • I could try to find what home-based work I can.
  • How realistic is that? — that I’ll find/create any, and that I’ll be able to manage it.
  • I have a bachelor’s degree, and am still paying for it. Shouldn’t I be using it?

Etc., etc.

For some moms, they love to work, and that’s that. I enjoy certain jobs, but I am a homebody. Other moms work solely for the health insurance. Like them all, I want what’s best for my family, but I’m not sure what that is.

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9 Comments

Filed under Personal, Saving Money

9 responses to “To “Work” Or Not To Work?

  1. Jane Gambucci

    Good luck with your decision, Ariel. It’s a tough one. I stayed home for almost 2 years when my first son was born, then went back for 1 and 1/2 years because the school board asked me to (and I really needed the insurance so I could have another one) Then I stayed home for 12 years after my 2nd son was born. Having a teaching degree, I was able to sub once in a while to get a little extra money, and sometimes it was really tough living on one income, but I really wanted to be a mother to my children and be responsible for how they turned out. That works for some people, and not for others. My younger sister hated staying home, so she worked, but her husband and her mother-in-law shared babysitting, so it didn’t cost her a lot for daycare for her two. If you try one thing and it doesn’t fit or work for you, you can always change your mind. We had to do without a lot for me to stay home, and it affected my retirement pay, but I’d do it the same way again!!

  2. Susan Garwood

    David and I were able to twist our schedule to minimize the need for daycare. My 3 months of maternity leave was stretched out over 6 months – starting back 10 hours a week after only 1 month. Then, my hours were pushed to the morning and David took a late (2:30 to 11pm) shift. So, for the rest of the first year, DJ took naps at the museum from 2:00 to 4 – at least in theory. After one year, and the lad decided that two naps a day was not for him, we had him at the Montessori School. Fortunately they were open for an afternoon only placement (1 to 5) but we only dropped him off at 2 and I scooped him up at 5. We kept that up for about another year…then at 2 years, we extended it, David got a job that enabled us to be in the same place and the same time… Basically, what I’m suggesting is, between you and your husband, there may be ways to work AND not to have to pay a fortunate nor have the babe in someone else’s care for 40 hours a week.

  3. Krisa

    Hi Ariel, I feel the need to comment on this! First of all, I sat with your husband at Froggy Bottoms Friday and didn’t put 2 and 2 together till after he left…oops! Anyway, we had the same decision to make. Tim always wanted me to stay at home, but I said I wanted to decide that after the baby was here. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and I needed to do what was best for me, and the baby. I didn’t decide to stay home till Charlie was 8 weeks old. I do have 2 part time jobs (i work about 10 hours a week) for sanity. It isnt about the money, it is about getting out of the house by yourself, adult interaction, and giving Tim and Charlie time together. I love staying home with him but if I didn’t have the work outlets I would go nuts. I also have a few other stay at home mom friends, we get together on a weekly basis. They keep me sain too. So…I just wanted to give my side of the story, it is a hard decision, but you have to do what’s best for you and your family. And maybe a part time gig would be good! That’s the best of both worlds. Good luck!

  4. Kristin

    I have been thinking about that a lot lately too and have seen you a bit as an inspiration of how to do it. For you it is perhaps easier since you may be able to write from home, via blog or official pieces. Plus, could baby come along with you for some assignments? Another idea is always doing in-home daycare.

  5. Erin Ter Beest

    I had a lot of the same thoughts/dilemmas and ended up not going back to my full time job. The thought was to do something from home (I can share lots of legit sites with you if you want), but I have yet to start. Somehow I run out of time every single day, and the precious few hours of sleep I do get are not negotiable at this point. Although I get pretty stir crazy and bored with baby entertainment, I’m still glad I ma
    de this decision. The amount of

    • Erin Ter Beest

      Money we would come out ahead with me working and paying for child care doesn’t seem worth handing over the kiddo for the majority of his waking hours. Good luck with the decision!

  6. A great discussion here. We have done several situations: (1) Me working full time, David being a grad student and staying home and having someone come into our home while David had class. (2) Me still working full time, David a grad student staying home and then Noah going to a part time program (I worked in the school he was enrolled in). (3) David working full time, me working part time and Noah part time in an in-home daycare. (4) And currently, after Levi was born I moved to full time SAHM, Noah goes to preschool 2 mornings a week otherwise they are with me!
    With two kiddos it wasn’t worth what I was making to pay for childcare. Knowing I wasn’t going to have an outlet, I do not sit still well, I searched for playgroups. The dues are only $10 a year and I have met tons of other SAHM, part time and full time working moms! It has been an adjustment to a two income family to a one income family, but it sounds like you might have a little head start on that.
    Remember you can always try it, either way, and change your mind later! I am not going to lie there might be some guilt with either decision but if you decide to go back to work and are up for doing some ‘homework’ there are great people/daycare/MDO programs out there.

  7. Pingback: Now I Am A Working Mother | The Scrappy Homemaker

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