or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Working and Student Parents › Can you afford to SAH?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Can you afford to SAH?

post #1 of 119
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking this over, what with my new job blues and looking ahead to baby 2. DH just got a promotion, and we just paid off our car (which took us 5-6 years!!! So it may die soon), I've been playing with spreadsheets and I actually think we could afford it, which frankly boggles my mind. So I was wondering if there were other people in similar situations and why they chose to still work. Here are my reasons;

1. Exciting career, don't want to jeopardize re-entry into field.
2. I think it will be easier to negotiate a flexible schedule (I want to be home when DS gets out of school when the time comes) than find part-time work to accomodate me down the road
3. I also have to factor retirement savings into the account, also SAHMing would put an end to college saving and probably our personal savings as well.
4. We would be stuck in our 2BR condo for longer than planned
5. DS loves his DCP and I think he would miss playing with the other kids, he's pretty extroverted and DH and I are not.
6. DS has just never had a problem with DC, there are other kids there who seem to have a harder time with it--if he cried EVERY TIME I left, as this one boy did for 2+ years, I would want to stay home. But DS NEVER has.
7. DH is actually pretty down on people who "don't work". I know this is pretty ignorant to a large extent, it's probably akin to his views on BFing before we had kids (he used to think it was gross and should be hidden, he changed his mind in one day when DS was born).
8. I am afraid I would go nuts. I am not always patient and I worry I would lose my patience more easily with DS if I didn't get breaks from him. I'm not proud of that.
9. I like being financially independent. Though we merge our finances, I know the money is mine and I feel I can spend it without asking DH about every little thing. I would not like our relationship dynamic to change.
10. I also wouldn't like our dynamic to change at home, DH is very hands-on both around the house and with DS, he cooks, he cleans, he changes dipes, we totally split responsibilities. I would not like to become the person solely responsible for household chores (or maybe I would?).

Well, I'm interested in hearing how other moms feel!
post #2 of 119
I can't afford to SAH, so it's not a question (DH is primarily a SAHD.) If I did have the opportunity to SAH, I would probably consider keeping a part-time job to:
1- have more financial independence
2- keep my foot in the profession, in case I need to ever go back full-time
3- keep my sanity and get more adult companionship

Would I work full-time if I didn't have to? Not a chance!
post #3 of 119
Thread Starter 
You know, that's a really good point. I'd love to work part-time, but felt I could not afford to, as I wouldn't get a break on what we pay daycare. But if I feel we could afford to SAH period, why not just do pt? If work let me? Off to edit my spreadsheet!
post #4 of 119
We can't afford for me to SAH full-time. I agree with the pps that part-time work is a really good option. I WOH 32 hours per week but would gladly cut back to about 20 hours per week, only I'd lose my full-time benefits, and my company doesn't offer part-time benefits.

Hannah
post #5 of 119
We could afford it if we moved to a smaller house and changed our lifestyle. But I like working, and I like having money, and DD is happier with her Nanny than she'd be with me home all day, I think. It's easier to be patient and give her my full attention when i haven't been with her all day.
post #6 of 119
I really wanted to stay home with my children. Strangely enough, my husband and I did not discuss this before or after having children. Our mothers were SAHM's, so I guess we both assumed I'd be a SAHM as well. We certainly were not rich when our first child was born. We just made it work.

If it is something you want to do, I believe that you can make it work, somehow. You will have to sacrifice certain things, and may have to get use to a different sort of lifestyle (less eating out, fewer shopping sprees, etc).

I just couldn't handle (or even imagine) someone else raising my children- especially since I'm very particular about what values and morals I want to instill in their lives.

It's not all cookies and cream, but I'm thankful to be home with my children- and I really can't imagine it any other way.

When I've wanted some extra money for myself (guilt free spending), I've sold paintings and such.

So, if it's something you want- go for it- you can do it.
post #7 of 119
I can't SAH. I'm the primary breadwinner and I've been the primary breadwinner our entire marriage.

I have fairly high standards of what I want my child's life to be like. I want him to go to college and good schools. I want to pay for his college and extra curricular activities. I know these things aren't as important to other families (homeschooling families, for example) but they are very important to me. I also want to ensure that my retirement is taken care of. So if I were able to stay home, it would have to be with all these things that I want for my DS and myself provided for (if that makes any sense).

He is cared for by my sister and she has enriched his life so much. I couldn't imagine taking her away from him. What they have is beautiful. I feel that it's important for him to be well cared for when I am at work, and my sister has made that a reality.
post #8 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by McMandy View Post
If it is something you want to do, I believe that you can make it work, somehow. You will have to sacrifice certain things, and may have to get use to a different sort of lifestyle (less eating out, fewer shopping sprees, etc).
Uh, we sacrified all these things and more just so I could work part time - and that from home, without child care. If I stay at home without working, in addition to giving up a car, we would have to move to an unsafe neighborhood and live without electricity or running water. Not to mention food. Or, I guess we could eat if we gave up our health insurance...

In response to the OP, obviously, no, we can't afford for me to quit, and I feel very fortunate to be able to work from home part time and still make ends meet. I really do think part time work is a great solution if you can swing it. To be perfectly honest, I am not sure I could hack sah mom-ing without working at all, for most of the reasons the pps have mentioned.
post #9 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qestia View Post
9. I like being financially independent. Though we merge our finances, I know the money is mine and I feel I can spend it without asking DH about every little thing. I would not like our relationship dynamic to change.
Yes, we could afford for me to SAH. It would be a change, but we could afford it. But I'd have a really, really hard time not having my own income.
post #10 of 119
We could afford it...and I have been thinking of doing it after this baby is born..it would be an adjustment and it would be a bit tight...but it could be done without too much sacrifice...

However, I am having some issues with it for many of the reasons you stated in your op.

I worry about not having my own income--it makes me feel dependent and I do not like that feeling at all...I feel vulnerable I think.

I worry about how the dynamics of our household would change..right now we split the housework right down the middle..and I like it this way!

I don't want to stay at home for too long, because I like working....so I worry about being able to get back into the workforce..

--I do want to stay home with this baby while it is under one though...I do not like the idea of putting it into care when it is so young..and I have no family around (like I did with my other two kids) to watch the baby for me (I would feel okay with letting a relative watch the baby while I worked and it was under one...).

I am thinking of going part time. That way I still have my own money, I feel like I still have my foot in the door of the work world (and I could probably get back into full time at the same job after a year), and I only have to have some care for baby....
post #11 of 119
I guess it depends on how you define "afford".

Yes, we could survive OK on DP's income & we've discussed it at length (me sahm'ing). We wouldn't have to cut out too much day-to-day stuff, just the "fluff" mainly, but we couldn't buy a house (we rent now, but hope to buy within a year), save for retirement/ kids' college or have health insurance beyond very basic catastrophic coverage. I'd also likely have to quit school. We'd have no financial cushion, AT ALL.

That, in my mind, means we can't really afford it. I'm not willing to jeopardize our family's financial security. (and "family" includes my children)

I am trying to move to a PT schedule, at least until DS2 is in school, and hopefully even after that. If we were financially well-off, or if DP's business takes off, then after we're married, I'd love to stay home.

I would always want to have some sort of income that was mine, though, even if it only covered spending money. That's important to me.
post #12 of 119
I guess that we could swing it somehow, but like a previous poster said, we would have zero savings and no ability to save for DD's college and other schooling, things which we highly value. Our family is unique in that my DH is much older than me, and in the long term it is best for me to continue professionally in order to guarantee adequate income for the family down the road. On the books, it looks like DH and I make a lot of money, but we live in a modest and not-so-fancy co-op in the middle of NYC (pricey real estate for anyone who lives here), have no car, and I'm still paying off law school student loans.

I have a pretty flexible schedule, but often wish I could work more at home (my firm is kind but very old school). DD is an only child, though, and I'm amazed at how happy and extroverted she is around other kids. She's very confident for such a young one, and I'm hoping it is due to our modified version of attachment parenting!

Indeed, every family is unique and not one size fits all, considering that families must make tough decisions about what will work best for them in the long term. I wish you luck in your decision!
post #13 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by McMandy View Post
You will have to sacrifice certain things, and may have to get use to a different sort of lifestyle (less eating out, fewer shopping sprees, etc).
: So I guess I should just cut out the fast food, don't shop that much, and hope and pray someone pays my bills :

BTW, i'm a single mom, so i guess i'm being somewhat snarky about your entire post.

Understandably, you want to be a SAHM, that's awesome and it's wonderful your husband has a job that allows you to stay at home. You make it sound like people who work outside the home don't have any morals and don't want to teach their children values and respect. My DD is in daycare, and trust me, no one is "raising" her but me. Are they enhancing her life? Absolutely. But morals and values is my job, no one elses.

But hopping back off the soapbox, generally it's really not about WOHMs just cutting back on fast food and shopping sprees. Dual earning families acount for 80% of families. Nuclear family is ideal, but not always an option and I doubt it's because people have a problem with eating out and shopping. (I know, you didn't mean that's ALL they have to stop... but it's just the prinicple that everyone can budget better, get a better mindset, get acustomed to penny pinching, and it'll be peaches and cream after that)

I can seriously say without a doubt, i dont buy myself practically anything unless it's school related and I'll still need to work tremendously outside the house. Obviously my situation is different as i have no choice, but please understand your nuclear family is unfortunately not the norm anymore. It'd be awesome if it was, but it's really not as simple as psychologically redefining yourself and sticking to a budget.
post #14 of 119
I could have sworn I posted to this thread...

So let me repost.

I work because I want to and because the decisions we have made as a family (purchasing our house big enough for us to live in for the next 25 years, owning our own business, seeing the inlaws in the UK once every two years, our commitment to our au pair, health insurance, life insurance, etc) require me to work. If we were to change my work status, many many things would have to fundamentally change and that would take awhile to set up.

I never thought I would enjoy having childcare as my primary activity - and it turns out that I am a much better mother when I have a mix of things in my life - children, friends, volunteer work/church, and running this business. It isn't always easy (I tend to overcommit if I don't watch out) but 90% of the time, we are all pretty happy.

Now, if my husband were to return to contract work, working long hours with a longer commute, we could probably make nearly as much as we both do working for our company (at least for the foreseable future, though things are definitely growing). However, I firmly believe that my children need a lot of time with BOTH parents. It is very important to me that my children have lunch with their father every day, that he can volunteer at the preschool in my son's class, and that our kids see us both a lot. My dh is willing to go back to contracting, but seeing how happy he is with running the business, the flexibility of his schedule and work, and with how much time he gets with his kids - well, to me that is worth more than having one of us be sole childcare provider to our children.

btw, I feel very strongly that we are teaching our kids our values by the choices we have made. I feel strongly that children should not be taught that parents should sacrifice themselves for their children - instead, we all make compromises for the best of the family as a whole - that way we have long term sustainability as a family, 'cuz we got a lot of years ahead of us.

Just my 2 cents.

Siobhan
post #15 of 119
Quote:
I just couldn't handle (or even imagine) someone else raising my children- especially since I'm very particular about what values and morals I want to instill in their lives
.

Excuse me? Someone else raising your children? So I guess your husband isn't raising your children since he works, then?

All of the snark that comes out of the SAHM forum in regard to "raising their own children" makes me feel like I don't fit in over there and since I'm not working right now I don't fit in over here. Maybe I'll get a PT job.
post #16 of 119
Yes, I could afford to SAH right now. I could quit my job and that would be it. Not much would change. But I chose not to do that, and DH doesn't want me to do it and this is why...

1) My career is wonderfully rewarding to me. I have wanted to practice dentistry since I was 15. I am so grateful to be able to do it. I truly try to make my patients enjoy the experience and I think I have a positive effect on the world with what I do for a career. So much so that if we were really filthy rich (like lottery winners) I would volunteer my time doing dentistry because I enjoy it that much.

2) I am a better mother all 7 days of the week for the 2 days of the week that I am outside of the home. I recharge, I refocus, I get to pee without a baby on my lap! As much as I love being at home, and I am a pretty hands on sit on the floor and do crafts mom, at this stage of the game there isn't as much intellectual challenge in parenting as there is in dentistry, and I enjoy that challenge.

3) My mom worked full time, my stepmom worked full time and I admire them both. They were great role models to me. I want to be a role model too.

4) I'll admit that in some way I work to prove wrong the women who have made nasty comments to me about 'not raising my own children' because I work. Our family is proof that having a WOHM doesn't spell doom and gloom for all of us. We are a positive force on the world, or at least I would like to think we are...

5) We have a great childcare center. The kids love it, the teachers love the kids. They are loving, nurturing, enthusiastic. The kids are thriving, have made friends and participate in great activities that they enjoy. Even if I were to SAH, then I would send DD to a preK program (which at the center she is at now, would be 15 hours a week). She is there 25 hours as it is now. When I come in and there is a rocket ship that is 8 feet tall made of cardboard boxes that all the kids painted in the middle of the room and they are playing inside it, I think "she loves this and there is no way that I would have done this today" So I think the kids derive a benefit from the caregivers that they have other than me.

6) I don't want our marital dynamic to change. DH is a reluctant housekeeper at best. He is hard pressed to get clothes to a hamper. Some of that is the example of his parents' marriage. MIL serves his coffee on a silver platter. I am not prepared to do stuff like that. As long as I WOH, at least PT, then DH is more likely to some housework. This is true, he has addmitted it..
So no, as much as I pull the pillow over my head at 5 AM on Monday mornings, I could afford to SAH. I chose not to.
post #17 of 119
We've recently discovered that we CAN make it on one salary. This was a shock to both of us. I'd never considered being a SAHM because I figured we weren't even close. It was really good to learn that we CAN make it.

HOWEVER, the reason that we learned this is that my husband lost his job 6 weeks ago. If I hadn't been WOH, we would have been screwed. We'd have no money, no health insurance. Stupidly, we had very little savings. It's a painful, but valuable lesson.

It's good to know what we CAN live on. When dh does get another job, we'll know that we can bank A LOT of money (and where the heck was that money going anyway???).

I have a pretty interesting job and, for the most part, I enjoy it. Before he lost his job, dh & I worked opposite shifts, so Amelia was never in daycare. She spends PLENTY of time with us already.

DH & I recently had a discussion about how when he gets a job, I could potentially be a SAHM. But after a few minutes of thought we both said "But if we can have THAT MUCH more money....why not?"
post #18 of 119
I think that sometimes it makes more to ask if you can afford TO work. After baby #2 was born I crunched the numbers every which way I could and was shocked to find that when all was said and done it would COST me $1500.00 (annually) to return to work... taking into account ALL of the expenses-taxes, childcare, transportation, convenience items (eating out, etc.).

I opted to stay home and it's been wonderful, but money is tight (I'm actually starting a job that will allow me to WAH for the most part-on the condition that I am still truly able to take care of my family FIRST). I look at it like this: on my deathbed, I will not care that I wasn't able to buy that new car, or those new shoes, but I am sure that if I were to lament anything it would be passing up an opportunity to see my kids all day every day (at least for a while) when they were so young and sweet. This isn't to say that it's wrong to work and right to stay home-it's a personal choice. It seems that the OP has options, and that is a wonderful state to be in.

I never felt that my daycare provider was "raising" my DD#1, but I did feel that DD benefited enormously from having multiple people who cared for her, hugged her, kissed her boo-boo's, etc. I regret that I wasn't there to hear her first word ("shoe") but then again there are some days now that I wish she would be quiet-just for 15 minutes.

I wish that this "snarky" atttude that some are taking would just stop. It isn't a contest...just do the best you can with what you have!
post #19 of 119
Siobhan - ITA with the concept of both parents working so that one isn't working crazy hours or a second job so that the other can SAH if it works for a family to do that. Sounds great! Unfortunately, ny DH can't be PT, but I would love if he could take a day off and I could work that day. I used to work one night a week so that he put the kids to bed, managed dinner, etc. It was good for him and the kids.

2sweeties - I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel like I am between 2 worlds by working part time. But comments about not raising my children are the kind of thing that make me identify as a WOHM. Join me, get a PT job and we'll form a PTWOHM tribe!!!
post #20 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrunchyCate View Post
I can't afford to SAH, so it's not a question (DH is primarily a SAHD.) If I did have the opportunity to SAH, I would probably consider keeping a part-time job to:
1- have more financial independence
2- keep my foot in the profession, in case I need to ever go back full-time
3- keep my sanity and get more adult companionship

Would I work full-time if I didn't have to? Not a chance!
Yes, yes, and yes!!

Loss of retirement/social security (assuming we get it... : ) is no small thing. Also, things can happen in relationships that impact SAH moms more--people get divorced, die, partners lose their jobs, get sick, etc, etc. You have more of a cushion with two incomes--I know; I am the breadwinner here. It feels like a heavy burden to be bringing in ALL the $$$.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Working and Student Parents
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Working and Student Parents › Can you afford to SAH?