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Any other moms making "the jump" to be SAHMs?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I work. It's what I do. My mom instilled a very strong work ethic in me and I've always defined myself by my career. I was so proud to be earning more money than my parents by age 26. However, I do not want daycare raising my child. Since I thought I could never have kids, I always said that if I did, I would stay home with them.

Now I'm about two months away from that reality, and freaking out. Can we do this? I bring home 40% of our income! What if DH's work slows down this winter and he gets less hours? How expensive is this baby ACTUALLY going to be? I mean, we've been living off if DH's paycheck for months now (and using mine to pay off almost all of our debt so we'd have less bills), but we don't have a house payment and a baby - and both are about to come into our world!

Then, there's that whole fulfillment issue. Is being a mom going to be "enough?" how am I going to handle the label of being "just a mom" in professional settings, like the volunteer commitments I have? Am I going to be looked down on for putting family before career? Will I ever HAVE a career again?

What about free time? Will I actually have time to go back to school or work on my writing, or is that a joke? We've been toying with the idea of me becoming a realtor, but how realistic is that when I have a child in my care 24/7?

I know this is the right decision, I just wish I was better prepared. Anyone else with me?
post #2 of 22

Those of us with children in daycare are still raising our children. Kay? Thanks.

post #3 of 22

Deep breaths hug2.gif


It's scary, eh?  I totally know.


I hated my job/work, wasn't making lots of money, was bringing home pennies and dimes compared to DH's salary, and knew I wanted more than anything to stay home with my children....and it was STILL a scary decision!


I think it's really important to look at your finances with a very honest and critical eye.  You might have to prioritize and make some choices to do without certain things that aren't necessities.  But, I think the good news is that...babies don't have to be expensive!  Especially not in the first 2 years!  You don't need all the expensive gear!  Most of what you need you can ask for as gifts, or get second hand.  Somewhere to sleep, someway to carry them, a car seat, some clothes...that's about it for the first few months.  


Budget isn't really an issue for us but I still try to buy the majority of DD's clothes (and things for the new baby) at the thrift shop - seriously, for the first year's sizes you can get a whole wardrobe, practically brand new, for 1/10th of the original cost.  What I don't buy at the thrift, I try to buy from the clearance racks - and I try to buy in advance sizes when I see a great deal.  Ditto for books and toys!


Honestly, our biggest baby expense was formula because we couldn't breastfeed.  If you can and do breastfeed, you're way ahead!

Baby food?  We did baby led weaning and she ate what we ate - real food!  no expensive bottles or jars or boxes.  


Be sure to factor in the ways you'll actually SAVE money - by being home you can meal plan, cook from scratch, stock up on sales, take better care of your belongings and clothing so they last longer.  You won't need clothing for work, or transit/gas for work, or lunches etc. What would daycare cost you?  What would be left from your salary after paying for daycare (and potentially formula if you wean early?) and work related expenses?  THAT is the amount you are actually looking at  doing without.  


As for the free time and fulfillment questions.....well....I won't lie.  The first year with a baby is hard.  The second year with a baby is hard.  Everything changes as soon as you have it figured out.  There were times in the first 6 months I would have sold my kid for a cup of tea and an hour to myself (not really ;) It can be very stressful and hard learning to  parent with your partner.  My DH works ridiculously long hours so I was, and am, alone with the baby and on duty for most of the day.  Sometimes he is only home for an hour before she is in bed.  Sometimes, he's not even here for that.  It's hard.  You have to just squeeze in every moment you can for YOU.  Read a book while they eat their lunch. Get a babysitter once in awhile and go get your hair cut.  Don't feel guilty about relaxing when they nap.  Accept help when it's offered. 


FIND LIKEMINDED FRIENDS.  Seriously.  I am not a joiner, and I`m a bit socially awkward, but finding a small group of mama friends who also stay home has been like a lifeline. Playground dates, coffee dates, sit in the backyard and blow bubbles dates....someone to call who GETS IT, someone whose advice you trust, someone to call if something comes up and I need someone to take care of DD on short notice.  Priceless.


Once DD turned 1 I would say I have had a fair amount of free time - time during the day I could steal to work on my own stuff.  I'm savoring it now because I know once the new baby comes it will disappear again for awhile.  


It all gets easier.  It all goes so fast.  I know it's cliche...but holy crap, my tiny baby is 2+ and about to be a big sister...I am absolutely gobsmacked when I think about how I was so impatient and eager for her to be born...and now she's practically grown up! (Pregnancy hormones may be making me a little emotional and sentimental at the moment...)


And...It is honestly, the most fulfilling, important, amazing, beautiful thing I have ever done.  she changed my life.  She changed my priorities.  She made me so thankful for every second I get to do this job.  No amount of sleep deprivation, puke, chatter (mama, mama, mama, maaaaammmmaaaaa...)  has ever made me regret being home with her.  I am so thankful I have gotten to witness every first, and get to know her better than anyone.  I try to enjoy and soak it all up.  


When I imagine having her in daycare - running back and forth dropping her off and picking her up, dealing with sick days, rushing home to get supper ready, seeing her only at the end of the day when she's hungry and tired....gosh, that makes me sad.  


Now, like I said - I hated my job.  It didn't matter.  I was pushing papers.  And I ENJOY the things that come with staying home - I like keeping a home, taking care of and feeding everyone well, making things beautiful and welcoming, growing a garden, having the time to sew and knit for DD, creating a nice place for her to play.  So, take that into account - I`m biased.  But then, I also have to do these things  because as I mentioned, DH is rarely home to do them.  You should really be clear with your partner about what the division of household work will be for you.  Staying home doesn`t have to mean you are also the laundry fairy, cook and maid!  But it might be assumed unless you talk about it.  


So yeah....becoming a mother and staying home have brought me serious joy.  But it`s hard.  But it's worth it.  And it goes by so fast - it's clear to me now that there will be plenty of time in my life to do things for me (work, school, etc) if I want to...but this time is precious and fleeting.  


Ahem, so there's my novel.  redface.gif






post #4 of 22

I am not in your shoes (though I am taking a year off, I am very happily a WOHM -- I will be doing a little work during the year and will go back full time after the year) but I think it's just one of those things that you won't really know the answers to most of these questions until you try it and see. You seem like a very capable person, so I suspect it will be fine. And if worse comes to worse, could you go back to work?


As for what Shonahsmom said, I think it can be tough to really get how daycare works when you haven't done it. I have found DS' daycare providers to be wonderful, important people in DS' and our lives, but having lived it for quite a few years now, I can definitely say that we are raising him. They help care for him, and I have loved having these wonderful women in DS' life who give him all sorts of interesting, new experiences, teach him things, and show him how he can rely on different people, but their presence in our lives adds a new layer of relationships; it doesn't replace the parent-child relationship. (Think about it -- if it were the case that a parent who WOH gives over raising the child, then your DH won't be raising your child.)

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Shonahsmom View Post

Those of us with children in daycare are still raising our children. Kay? Thanks.

I never said that YOU weren't, so the attitude is unnecessary.

Knowing myself and my tendency to be a workaholic, daycare WOULD be raising my kids. Between crazy overtime hours and the need to work at home often on my "time off," my kid would probably be spending more time with people that AREN'T me than with me.

I'm sorry you interpreted that differently.
post #6 of 22

I've been a student all my time as a mom, have also always been low income and have never been able to afford nearly enough childcare (also didn't want to do the daycare that was an option for me on campus, and now that I live in NYC there is no freaking way I can afford it) and so I've sort of been doing both... I am for all intents and purposes a SAHM, and I also work (I am, I hope, 6-9 months away from getting my PhD, which I began 7 weeks before the birth of my first child). Its extremely stressful. And for more than 3 of those years, I also taught or was a teaching assistant for undergrad courses. We can't live on one income, and I do find my own work important to me as a person, but I am very stressed by the idea of continuing this balancing act with three kids. The soonest I'll go back to work would be September 2012, so yeah, I am planning to continue as a SAHM for another year+. If/when I go to work full time, I will definitely have to work out a much more comprehensive childcare situation.


I think you shouldn't assume its all-or-nothing. If you can work some, enough to pay your childcare and keep moving forward with things that are important to you (writing, school, career switch) then that might be one way to find a little balance. And your children will grow up and likely go to school (even if they don't go to school, they will still grow up and become increasingly independent) and so its worthwhile to at least think about, in the back of your mind, are you thinking SAHM until they start elementary school? high school? Forever?


The first year with babies... I love my own babies but its not... well, its not enough for me anyway. I actually find toddlers/preschoolers much more fun.


And some of these things-- you just have to live it to find out what works for you. My first, I assumed he'd go to daycare, and you know what, it would have been just awful for him. I had to radically reevaluate my vision of what it was going to be like to be a grad school mom. My second- she is so mellow and outgoing, and would have been fine in daycare I think! She is still easier about separation than her brother, who is 4.5 years older than her. Anyway... my point is that some of it has to do with your needs, some to do with your child(ren) and some to do with your options and situation.


Also, however much of a workaholic you may be now... you cannot even imagine the reality check that being a mom gives you. The fierce love you have for your kids is like nothing else-- really, for me there is literally no other emotion I have ever had that I can even compare it to. They aren't gone from your heart and mind ever, and you are not from theirs.

post #7 of 22

DDCC here, but I could not help but post after reading this. 


I am a FTWM. and Im here to tell you that it wont be all or nothing, I promise you.  And further more, in my state, the daycares require that a child be picked up after a maximum of 10 hours a day in their care.  atleast mine does.  So no overtime for me unless I arrange the boys to be picked up by a family member for me.  (between drop off and pick up and the length of time it takes me to GET to work, they are therei 9-9.5 hours a day, and have been since the begining)


Once your child is here, you will find that you cant wait to pick them up.  You will cherish weekends.  You will keep them home during vacations and take them to the zoo and the museum and the amusement parks.  Theyll be hanging from your hip while you try to cook dinner. 


My kids are in someone elses care 45 hours a week most of the time (unless Im off, like now) and they still know I AM THEIR MOTHER.  I AM RAISING THEM.  JUst a little perspective for ya.  OH, and I have astounishing work ethic, FTR.  I never call in, am always early, work through lunch, and offer phone support when Im off.  winky.gif


Originally Posted by AKChix0r View Post

I never said that YOU weren't, so the attitude is unnecessary.

Knowing myself and my tendency to be a workaholic, daycare WOULD be raising my kids. Between crazy overtime hours and the need to work at home often on my "time off," my kid would probably be spending more time with people that AREN'T me than with me.

I'm sorry you interpreted that differently.


post #8 of 22

I don't know if this is an option for you, but I WOH three days a week and stay home the other days.  We have a nanny that works for us the three days I work, so my kids aren't in a day care setting.  For me, it's the best of both worlds.


Good luck with your decision!

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
This has been my number one complaint about the Internet recently - why do people find the need to take everything so personally? I am not questioning anyone's ability to work and raise their kids BUT MY OWN. I'm not questioning the work ethic of any of you, but I am concerned about my personal quality of life and that of my child. I KNOW my personality traits - I'm terrible at saying no and let myself get walked on a lit professionally. As a young woman, my willingness to work Saturdays and do tasks no one else wanted helped me move up the ladder quickly.

I know the pull will be going in a different direction once this baby gets here, but that means (knowing myself) that I'm going to be running myself ragged trying to keep work happy, my husband happy, and spend as much time with my baby as possible. That's a recipe for disaster for me. I'm bipolar, and when I get that many commitments going, I don't sleep for days. Not a winning formula for anyone.

Sorry for the rant, this has just been coming up over and over I'n my life lately. Facebook is the worst about this, but this forum is moving up on the list! I think we're all so introspective right now that it is hard NOT to take some of this personally. However, I am not saying one decision is right or one us wrong. All I'm saying is that I've made the decision that is best for me and my family, but that hasn't stopped me from being scared $#!%less about it!!! It's the same reason I'm really struggling with trying to subdue my fears about labor - it's all unknown to me at this point.

I'm not kidding when I say this is my ONLY source of support right now. I have no close female friends, my mom has been weirdly distant for a few years now, and I've been overloading DH with weekly crying fits that dissolve into gasping sobs because I just feel so overwhelmed and there's no one to talk to. I appreciate those of you that have been so supportive, and I apologize to those I may have unintentionally offended.
post #10 of 22

I'm still struggling back and forth on this.  I am a workaholic.  I am currently working 6 days a week, usually 10 hour days.  I love my work, it is important to me, it is also draining.  But the idea of daycare makes me nausous.  The idea of not being in my field makes me queasy.  I'm thinking of doing part time, but then I'm afraid that will lead me to still being unable to say no to more.  It terrifies me.  I get depressed, very depressed when I'm not professionally engaged, so just not working isn't really an option.  Cutting back is so hard to do.  I would LOVE to feel totally confident in any decision, but I think no matter what I do I will be questioning myself some.  I'm not great at work/life balance, I don't want to be exhausted or run myself ragged, I don't want to spend the baby's whole babyhood overextended.  Financially, we'll be okay regardless.  We only spend one of our incomes, and if DH were to loose his job, I'd be fine if he stayed home mostly.  I'm touring daycares soon, but I'm still not sure.  I hope that made some sense of where I'm at and you are NOT alone in making or struggling with this!

post #11 of 22

Karli, coming from my own perspective, I don't see these responses as taking your questions as personal attacks or anything. I didn't mean mine that way. Its been a struggle for me all through my parenting so far and I expect it will continue to be one. I don't know too many moms who tell me that they have a perfect work/life balance. Most people are hesitant to even use the word "balance" in that sentence... I think its more along the lines of commiserating that its not easy. And I think that a couple of working moms (FT or PT or students) have chimed in b/c we've probably wondered if we're making the "right choice"... and responded to the part of your post where you say you are scared to give up that part of yourself.


Anyway, good luck making a decision that works for you. And, I think many of us are just saying, any decision you make in the short term doesn't have to be your decision in the long term. On the other hand, we've all seen how women can get screwed by taking a couple of years totally off, hence the pressure some of us feel to try and balance what is an unmanageable prospect... anyway. I'm not taking your posts personally AT ALL, and IRL I've got mom friends that run the gamut. I find they are pretty sensitive and supportive, actually, even of people making very different choices.

post #12 of 22

Welcome to parenting!  Your choices and decisions will be challenged and judged and criticized by the world over, starting in-utero and even before.

Why do people take things personally?  Because we all feel very strongly about our decisions and our hard-made choices, and when someone asks us a question that illicits strong feelings, those strong feelings come on out and play. 

To work or not to work is a very touchy subject for many mamas. 


post #13 of 22

Maybe try posting the same concerns somewhere that is exclusively for SAHMs... you might feel more support.  I have always SAH, I've always known it was the right fit for me.  We made do with very little money for a while but my husband wanted me to SAH as much as I did so he was never resentful.  Also look into frugal living resources, we've learned to "live cheap" but happy.  You need a functioning stroller, a nice sling (I love moby wraps), a carseat, a crib is nice even if you plan to co sleep, some clothes, diapers.  Breastfeeding is free and will cut down on dr visits.


As far as your personal fulfillment, only you will know that.  SAHMing is my calling so I have always felt fulfilled.

post #14 of 22
Originally Posted by AKChix0r View Post

I never said that YOU weren't, so the attitude is unnecessary.

Knowing myself and my tendency to be a workaholic, daycare WOULD be raising my kids. Between crazy overtime hours and the need to work at home often on my "time off," my kid would probably be spending more time with people that AREN'T me than with me.

I'm sorry you interpreted that differently.


Right, it's a very personal choice.  I never look at working moms with kids in daycare and think "oh they're not raising their own kids."  The thought does not even enter my mind.  But for MYSELF, yes I would feel this way. 

post #15 of 22
Originally Posted by frugalmum View Post

Maybe try posting the same concerns somewhere that is exclusively for SAHMs... you might feel more support.

Although, posting in the SAHM forum here at MDC will likely get you the same response you got here in you DDC. Just sayin'
I dont agree with everything you said, OP. but I agree that people take this issue very personally and I have had my *ss handed to me too for saying that I didnt want daycare raising my kids. IMO (for MY family only), when my kid spends more time with someone else every day than they do me, the other person is doing more raising than I am.

That said, being a SAHM can be really lonely, so I would make sure you have people to hang out with. Maybe join a new mommy group?
post #16 of 22

Fwiw - I was never much of a career woman - I gave it a go & always worked hard & sometimes multiple jobs if that was what was needed but never felt a huge amount of fulfillment in that way. Being a sahm is most definitely what I was cut out for. I really do love it & for the most part find it WAY more rewarding than working ever was but it's still hard. It's hard to be alone so much of the time. It's hard being "on" 24 hours a day. It's hard feeling marginalized & undervalued thanks to the little "oh, you're still staying home" or "you don't work?" or "just a stay at home mom" comments.


I did have worries about my resume. We all have known of (or heard of) women who gave everything for their children/families for years to then have their marriages fall apart & their standard of living fall dramatically 'cause they had no marketable skills to find a good job. I hate to think that could be me but at the same time I refuse to let fear run my life - my marriage is strong & I'm not going to bank on it's demise. That said, I have actually found being a sahm has presented opportunities I wouldn't have come across otherwise. I still volunteer with Girl Guides & have now been able to take on more responsibilities & roles because I do have a little more time for it. I was offered a very part-time, wahm job that gives us a little bit of extra cash & a "job" on my resume that wouldn't have worked if I was wohm full-time. And I'm on the board of directors for our local drop-in centre, which is also the place where I have made a lot of new friends that I otherwise would not have met.


Every decision involves changes & sacrifices & just plain uncomfortableness but that's ok, we just go one day at a time. Sahm doesn't have to be forever - if it's not working you can always make a change.


As for the not raising my own child if I was wohm I will admit I have a lot of the same feelings. It is very different for everyone but dh & I decided long before we had children that we felt it was a priority for US to have one of us home full-time with our children to be the primary person raising them. That doesn't work for everyone & unfortunately isn't an option for everyone but it is something we feel strongly about - & that doesn't mean I am judging everyone else for their decisions. I am thankful we have the option to have me stay home.

post #17 of 22
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post


 It is very different for everyone but dh & I decided long before we had children that we felt it was a priority for US to have one of us home full-time with our children to be the primary person raising them. That doesn't work for everyone & unfortunately isn't an option for everyone but it is something we feel strongly about - & that doesn't mean I am judging everyone else for their decisions. I am thankful we have the option to have me stay home.


I think this is the essence of this discussion.  I'm so proud of you all who have decided it's a priority for you to SAH and have made the sacrifices (financial, social, resume-wise, or other) that allow you to do that.  I think the best world will be when we can all look at ourselves, our situations, our jobs, our families and make a decision That No One Questions.  (And in that world, there will be a greater number of flexible jobs so people can more easily choose something on the spectrum between 60 hours in the office and SAH with no outside income).  Obviously we're further along than we were several decades ago, but the judgment we all endure, no matter what we choose, is not helpful.  


Full disclosure: I'll be a WOHM and I'm grateful I have that option.   I have a supportive spouse who will make sacrifices in his career, as I will in mine, so our child is only away from us 8 hours a day.    But in looking at us, making this choice now will support our needs as people and give us more options later, and that's what will be best for us.


post #18 of 22

I couldn't do it...we struggle financially...and it is difficult to stay at home...


ds is 4 1/2 and dd will be 2 middle of August


I just started working full time agian in June (just so I could qualify for my first ever mat leave)


It (for me) is sooooo much easier to work than to be at home with the kids ;)


I felt awesome for the first week...like a normal person again...then I started to miss them...


I could not bear the though of my kids having to spend more time with "strangers" than with me....


For a SAHM the kids are with the one that loves them fully and unconditionly  24/7....I feel that must be very important for their development as human beings


if your children could stay with a grandparent...that would be the next best thing!!!


my son is in day camp until the end of August and dd in daycare...daycamp is at the gym accross the street and daycare is just down the road...they are in 8-4


ds will move over the daycare in september and JK as well

my contract ends in September and they will be back with me :)


if you do stay at home....def go to baby groups-alot!!!  take some getting used to at first....stay busy....I bought a X-country ski trailer so that we would not be stuck indoors during the winter...


def get a sling so that you can wander around together and talk about everything you see and do


luckily Canada has 1 year mat leave, but I have done without for my first 2


Good luck to all the moms....I hope that peace comes with what ever descision you all make for what ever the reasons :)



post #19 of 22


I worked full time (over full time, I worked pretty much from 5-6 am to 8-9pm 5 days a week and sometimes had to go in on Saturdays as well- in addition I had 24 hour duties I had to stand) until DD1 was born then luckily i had a great boss that worked with me since she wouldn't take a bottle. My job meant ALOT to me, I loved working. I love being active and doing something, sitting around just doesn't sit well with me.


When DD1 was 3 1/2 months old I got out of the military and became a SAHM. The first year was soooo hard. We struggled to get on our feet, didn't help we moved from the states to Japan. I struggled with meeting new people since I don't get along with a lot of military spouses and now I was one of them. I struggled with feeling complete since my college/job had defined me for so long. I also had PPD pretty bad and being around a air base with planes flying over head messed with my head (I have PTSD from being deployed to Iraq) so I spent a great deal of the first year hating life. The first year is SOO hard. I forced myself to keep with it because the thought of working didn't bring a sense of relief.


Fast forward 4 years, I now have three little ones. I have my oldest who's 4 1/2, a 2 1/2 yo girl and a 5 month old baby boy. I love being a mom. I GOOD at it, even better then I was at being a Marine which I didn't think would ever be true. Ive learned to work within our budget and to cut costs. We put more into retirement and savings now then we ever did when I was working. My marriage is stronger since we can spend more time on it (duel military sucks when it comes to actually getting to spend time together). My children are happy and healthy and Ive not missed a single one of their firsts. I'm starting to occupy my time with things that make me happy but don't over take my life. I'm homeschooling my oldest in Pre-K and will start K with her next year.  I'm going to be going back to school through an Internet based college soon and finishing my degree. Not so I can get a job but because its important to me to have it. When completed Ill be the first female in my family to earn a bachelors degree. Im starting to train to run a 5K with my SIL. I'm so grateful to be blessed to be able to stay home specially now that my husband is deployed. I can be the rock that holds my family together and be there when they need me.


I'm just trying to show that you can be happy as "only" a mom. I think its important though to keep a sense of yourself. If you don't you will be miserable. Its ok to have interests outside of your hearth and family. Its ok to take time once in a while and leave without the children or husband being attached to you. If you desire it and can make it work being "just" a mom can be a rewarding life. I don't regret one moment I have spent as a SAHM.

post #20 of 22

With my ds I went back to work 3 days after he was born (half days for the first week and then full days after that). I was a nanny and brought him with me. I HAD to work (I left my ex when ds was just under 2 months old so I was a single mom and the only source of income since ex didn't start paying child support until ds was almost 1 year). I was very fortunate to have a job that I could take ds with me to. Since that time I've worked in another nanny position for a little bit (I took ds with me to that one too.... it was a fellow MDC mama and that job rocked!). Then I worked in a daycare for a couple years (I quit after some shady things were happening and I reported them to the state). I took my ds with me while I worked there too. Then I started working as a substitute para for the local school district (ds was in school full time by this time so he was gone all day anyway). I also went to school full time (while ds was in school or during evenings while dh was at home with ds).


And NOW..... I don't know what I want to do. I really really want to be a SAHM. DH really really wants me to go back to school. He doesn't care if I work or not, but he does want me to do the next 2 years of school so that I *can* get a good job later on down the road. I am going to look into some options to see what I can do. I know there's one school here where I can go just 1 night a week (for like 4 hours) to get my degree. That way I could stay at home with baby all day, drop ds off at school and pick him up every day, be with the family 4 out of the 5 evenings (dh would be with the kids the other evening). I would be able to be a SAHM for the next couple years but I would also be in school so dh would be happy.


I am still technically working for the school district as a substitute. I may pick up a job here and there after school starts but before the baby is born (probably only half days, and only at schools I am familiar with and like the other workers). After the baby is born and we settle in then I will introduce a bottle, because dh really wants to be able to feed the baby sometimes. When that happens, I may pick up a job here and there (likely half days) on days where dh can stay at home with the baby. I am undecided on this, and we'll just play it by ear, but I have made some good connections over the past year working as a substitute and I don't want to totally throw that away.

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