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Can you afford to SAH? - Page 6

post #101 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I'm sorry I misunderstood your op; I thought you were trying to figure out if staying home could work for you -- but I see now you're just looking for more reasons to keep doing what you're doing ... and of course that's fine. Best wishes to you!
no problem, Basically I just wanted a thread about the other reasons we WOH, besides money.
post #102 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Yes, we live in the midwest, and I've heard the col is extremely high in some other parts of the country. And the wages in those areas are often not sufficiently higher to make up the difference.

We are buying our own home. I love our home, and even though it's not the "burbs" where my extended family live (and they think I'm crazy), we like our neighbors and enjoy all the history of the neighborhood.

I'm sorry I misunderstood your op; I thought you were trying to figure out if staying home could work for you -- but I see now you're just looking for more reasons to keep doing what you're doing ... and of course that's fine. Best wishes to you!
i misunderstood too and came to read this thread for some encouragement about making the choice to stay at home temporarily but found the exact opposite. within this debate is always the implication that the other "group" is wrong and i hate this debate for that reason. it's so sad to hear this over and over again, everyone makes the choice that is the best for them at the time and we desperately need to stop judging each other (even if it's implied rather than direct).
post #103 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by coloradomama1 View Post
i misunderstood too and came to read this thread for some encouragement about making the choice to stay at home temporarily but found the exact opposite. within this debate is always the implication that the other "group" is wrong and i hate this debate for that reason. it's so sad to hear this over and over again, everyone makes the choice that is the best for them at the time and we desperately need to stop judging each other (even if it's implied rather than direct).
Well, there ARE lots and lots of good reasons for staying home -- though maybe this isn't the thread for that. Why don't you start a thread in the sahm's forum? It doesn't have to be a debate.

Sometimes we all, whether wohm or sahm, just like to speak with like-minded people for some much-needed encouragement. There's nothing wrong with that. I hope you find the best answers for yourself and your family!
post #104 of 119
Ok, I haven't read all the posts. But, I'm answering anyway. Right now, I sah. We can afford it for now. Next yr. will probably look different though. So, I am preparing myself (mentally) to make that switch. I know that when I do go back to work, I have a job waiting for me at the place I used to work before dd was born.

Lately I've also been thinking that I probably would be a better mother if I woh and got that "break". BUT, I know from experience that I would probably cry ALOT at leaving my children at school and daycare. I want to HS my oldest next yr. but am afraid of my lack of patience, lol.

So, right now, I keep going back and forth...
post #105 of 119
Quote:
To all of you that are po'd about the "I wanted to raise my own kids" and "you could do it if you REALLY wanted to," you should have been in the discussion I was in a few days ago (pulled now). There are a LOT of people that honestly and truely believe that using daycare means leaving your children with "strangers." They really believe it. And if folks believe that, then of course they think WOHM are bad parents.
My own mother is one of those people and her mom ran a home daycare for over 30 years! Her way of justifying the hypocrisy? "Oh, well Mom wasn't a stranger." : Some people who've never had to WOH just don't get it. She keeps her mouth shut most of the time when I mention going back to work, but sometimes (like when she's loaded up on her Vicodin) she starts in with her crap.

Quote:
And per another post upthread, YES a lot of people think it is better to stay at home on welfare than to WOHM and use childcare (from the same discussion the other day).
That's really sad. Right now we are getting food stamps and Medicaid for the kids while I SAH, but I don't like it being this way. Well, I do like the free food and insurance but I don't like having to depend on someone else, KWIM? I'm a FT student taking online classes and I'm trying to figure out how to get a PT job and be able to afford daycare. If I WOH, we'll make too much for daycare assistance but not enough for daycare. My mom has always been my sitter in the past, but she's been having health problems lately (hence the Vicodin) and I don't think she's up to watching 3 small children. I'll figure something out. The local chiropracter's looking for help in the afternoons so I'm going to apply there today--it would be for about 3 hours day when DH is home.
post #106 of 119
I don't judge anyone who chooses to work rather than receiving "welfare." By "welfare," I guess the previous poster is referring to the fact that some one-income families (like us) have drawn (or currently draw) benefits like WIC, Foodstamps, and Medicaid.

We personally decided, when we had some difficult circumstances, to see if we qualified for any assistance and we did. We had food assistance for a while; right now we just have Medicaid for the girls, plus dh gets a 100% discount at our local hospital when he sees his doctor or needs medical care, and he gets a partial discount for his medications.

If we hadn't qualified for any assistance, we'd still be doing what we're doing -- but it has helped to alleviate some stress, and since dh pays taxes into these programs (and I did for many years before having a family), we don't see any reason to avoid getting help if we qualify.

I don't look down on any woman who decides she'd rather bring in a second income than apply for these benefits. But it seems contradictory to label families who draw these benefits as "being on welfare" -- but to act like other taxpayer-supported progams, such as public schools or government subsidies for child-care costs, are in a whole different category.

Of course, maybe I'm wrong in assuming the pp was only referring to "certain" taxpayer-supported programs like Foodstamps, as welfare. If she sees public school as every bit as much of a "welfare" program as Foodstamps, then I stand corrected for assuming there was a double-standard at work here.
post #107 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Well, there ARE lots and lots of good reasons for staying home -- though maybe this isn't the thread for that. Why don't you start a thread in the sahm's forum? It doesn't have to be a debate.

Sometimes we all, whether wohm or sahm, just like to speak with like-minded people for some much-needed encouragement. There's nothing wrong with that. I hope you find the best answers for yourself and your family!
thanks, but i guess i wasn't looking for "encouragement" per say, i just thought it was a different type of thread. i don't really need any encouragement because i know i am doing what is best for my family right now. i'm lucky enough to work from home for a relative and out of the home one day a week at my old job...but i still consider myself a SAHM. i made the conscious choice to stay home for the time when my dd is little and plan to return to work or school when the time is right. i definitely miss the stimulation of the working world but know that my time is an investment in my family's future that is just as important as retirement $ in the bank etc.

i just think it is implied from the SAHM's that the working moms are neglectful and from the WOHM's that the moms at home sacrifice their lives for their children. i'm kind of in the middle and just wish that women weren't so judgemental of each other.
post #108 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaNosBest View Post
And per another post upthread, YES a lot of people think it is better to stay at home on welfare than to WOHM and use childcare (from the same discussion the other day).
That cracks me up... we were on 'Welfare' for years; Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, any other state assistance that we could qualify for while in school, and it STILL didn't make ends meet. DH and I both had to work at least part time and often full time to keep us clothed, housed, and utility-ized beyond what the state would pay for. I hate to make generalizations, but damn! Those mamas either live in states with extra-generous benefits or have never actually had to live on welfare. Believe me, it doesn't go nearly as far as they might think.
post #109 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
heh, I do it all the time :

I find it amazing that for some fields (like law), going "mommy track" means working ONLY 50 hours a week. You'll never make partner in most firms by working such short hours. But you are also still away from your kids a lot of the time.

The other issue is the huge cost of student debt. I think many women are either lied to or don't recognize the impact of their choices for education, career, industry, etc..
Since I suspect many young women are not interested in feminism because "we won that battle", they don't get how they are potentially getting screwed out of options in the long run.

IF they are going to take out $50K in loans for a graduate degree (let alone undergrad), what does that mean in terms of long term earning potential (if one is in heavy debt, taking a lower paying job in a more interesting area may be off limits) as well as taking time off for kids? If you are paying off that debt, you are less likely to be saving or buying a house, etc etc etc.
All that and a bag of chips.

There are certainly great options for women in my field (law) who want to balance work and family. Government is one of them (which is where I am now). However, it's a tremendous sacrifice financially, particularly given the astronomical debt some of us accrue in going to law school and the fact that the more well-paying government jobs are generally in high cost-of-living areas. The benefits are increased sanity (for me, anyway) and, if you're fortunate to get started in the right place, some serious exposure to people and subjects that can position you to make good money later, once the kids fly the coop.

Still, it amazes me when I look around at the younger crop of women, just out of college, who seem to have no clue that the feminist battle is nowhere near finished; that the glass ceiling (or the marble or iron ceiling, as one woman I know more accurately dubbed it) is still very much intact. I swear, if I hear "sticky floor" one more time, I may just kick someone.

There's a very good book I'm reading right now that talks about this very thing: "Getting Even: Why Women Don't Get Paid Like Men...[and something else I've forgotten]" by Evelyn Murphy. Also, a book that specifically speaks to the situation in the legal profession: "Women at Law" by Phyllis Epstein. She's a little old-fashioned in some ways (in fashion, particularly) but very wise.

Btw, siobhan - I'm just down the road from you.
post #110 of 119
Oh, and as a single mom, count me as another one who gets bugged by the "if you'd only put a choke chain on your spending" sentiment. I would love to stay home. I was fortunate to stay home with my son all day during law school because I attended in the evening - hence the ginormous debt. I'm a pretty smart cookie, and resourceful, to boot, so if it were possible, I'd have found a way.

But, hey, if you know any smart, wealthy, attractive, wonderful guys who want to support me and the boy (and pay off the student loans... and fund my retirement account), feel free to send them my way. I'm a catch, I tell ya.
post #111 of 119
Dragonfly: thanks for the book references - I'll check them out. Like others have said, I really like what I do and I think that WOH makes me a better mom. What stresses me, however, are the number of hours I am required to work as an attorney just to maintain the status quo, let alone any type of advancement. I work in an all-male firm, and even though the firm has been good to me regarding all my birth and parenting issues, in my own mind I'm not cutting it because I can't be at the office more than 50 hours a week. Which in turn, makes me feel like a loser on the professional front, which in turn, is leaving me semi-depressed. Yesterday I started looking into in-house counsel positions so that I can get off the litigation track. I worked in non-profits all my life (before going to law school), and the whole firm culture (which I'm in now) is starting to get me down somewhat. Sorry ladies (and gents if reading), I just had to get that off my chest. So my issue is not whether I should work, but what area/position would work best for me and my family. Happiness on the job is priceless.
post #112 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post

But, hey, if you know any smart, wealthy, attractive, wonderful guys who want to support me and the boy (and pay off the student loans... and fund my retirement account), feel free to send them my way. I'm a catch, I tell ya.
you sure are a catch miss dragonfly.
post #113 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post
Dragonfly: thanks for the book references - I'll check them out. Like others have said, I really like what I do and I think that WOH makes me a better mom. What stresses me, however, are the number of hours I am required to work as an attorney just to maintain the status quo, let alone any type of advancement. I work in an all-male firm, and even though the firm has been good to me regarding all my birth and parenting issues, in my own mind I'm not cutting it because I can't be at the office more than 50 hours a week. Which in turn, makes me feel like a loser on the professional front, which in turn, is leaving me semi-depressed. Yesterday I started looking into in-house counsel positions so that I can get off the litigation track. I worked in non-profits all my life (before going to law school), and the whole firm culture (which I'm in now) is starting to get me down somewhat. Sorry ladies (and gents if reading), I just had to get that off my chest. So my issue is not whether I should work, but what area/position would work best for me and my family. Happiness on the job is priceless.
I'll second what dragonfly said about gov't jobs. I formerly worked for my state attorney general (currently a sahm who is considering going back to work - so I shouldn't be on this thread...). The hours are pretty regular and the work can be interesting. BUT - the pay is pretty bad. Honestly we couldn't afford for me to work (cost of infant twins in daycare was prohibitively expensive). (not saying this about everyone else, but for me, my family, our location, our situation, etc etc it did not make financial sense for me to work. That balance is starting to shift, so I am now considering work... enough disclaimers? )

But - if you have any government agencies in your area, they can be fascinating places to work. And I worked with many mothers of small (and not so small) children.
post #114 of 119
I can afford to be a SAHM. I choose to work part-time. Although I constantly struggle with how much I want to work (I'm self employed and it's up to me, which is great, but hard at the same time!). I could work full time and make quite a bit of money, but I really don't want to work full time, I don't need to, and I enjoy having lots of time with my daughter. I find that I really do enjoy getting out and doing what I do for a few hours a few days a week. It actually invigorates, energizes, and refreshes me. The times when I have scheduled myself to not work for awhile, I find myself getting a bit bored and feel isolated. When I am at home (or out at child oriented activities) 24/7 for weeks on end, I get a bit burnt out. Even just working part-time, I feel much more present and appreciative of my daughter and the time I spend with her, if I am not for even a few hours. It is a conflicting feeling because I actually really like and value just being here with my daughter and following the rhythm of her day, but I also over time get bored and isolated day in and day out of child/household stuff. We don't have any family in the state and no close friends yet. I do the AP group, Mommy groups, all kind of activities, but it takes time to make real friends and we just moved here. I miss a couple good friends I had back home. Anyway, also I have a licensing issue, even if I'm not working for pay, I have a certain amount of work I have to do to maintain my license, continuing education units, and more. For the time and expense I spend on misc activities to stay current in my field, I feel like I should at least do some work from pay to justify the expense of the classes and license renewal fees, malpractice insurance, etc. and in the long run, it is important to me to maintain my professional identity, I worked a long time for it and don't want to lose it, and when the kids are older, I think I'll be more interested in working a little more than I do now, although I doubt I'll ever work a 40 hour week.
post #115 of 119
I work when my Dd is in school, so that's why I work right now.
post #116 of 119
My mom worked from before I was born till she got seriously injured at work when I was a 10th grader and she had to stop. She really enjoyed working and it was very hard for her to change gears. I never felt like I was raised by someone else EVER! So while staying at home works best for me right now, I did work full time up until 2 years ago. My mom was an awesome mom who felt that working made her a better mom, and I am sure that you all regardless of whether you want or need to work are wonderful ladies that are doing what ever is best for you and your families!
post #117 of 119
Quote:
I'm not saying that any of you should change your priorities bc I an see the plus sides of being a working mom. I would like to live in a nicer house in a better neighboorhood.
Being a working mom by choice isn't all about having more things. It can be about fulfillment, and it can be about teaching values - many of my values are tied to women working, being financially independent, being educated, etc. My mother worked fulltime my entire childhood (from when I was 6 weeks old). She was also on the city council, president of the chamber of commerce, etc., etc., etc., and owned her own successful business. SHE raised me.

I stayed home when my kids were little (although I worked from home), and I am not cut out to be a SAHM. I personally (this is just me) am no good at staying home. I get depressed, feel trapped, get resentful, etc. I'm a MUCH MUCH better mother (and better person in general) when I work. Also, I think kids are better off the more people they have in their lives who love them. My kids were very close to their child care provider (they are too old for daycare now), and her family is still like a part of our family.

Also, I was a home daycare provider while my kids were little, and while I grew to be very close with my daycare kids, I certainly wasn't raising them! Being a babysitter isn't anything like being a mom, and daycares don't raise kids. Working moms are raising their kids, and if we presume that they aren't, then we have to conclude that most dads aren't raising their kids either.

I see it as a sort of orientation. I am a working woman, I am a night person, I'm bisexual, etc. There are some things about myself I just can't (won't) change, and I assume others have an "orientation" also, so it seems silly to me to suggest to a happy SAHM that she could get a job if she just put some effort into it. Why should she? And why should I quit mine? Do you have any idea how high of a dose of antidepressants I'd need to be on? :
post #118 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadoweloc View Post

That being said, I don't like the implication that everyone WANTS to stay at home, and that I could make a few financial sacrifices here and there and it would work. There are days where I do want to stay at home, but there are other days where I feel very rewarded by my work. My son is happy and healthy, and I spend almost all of my free time with him, so I don't see the harm.
Thanks for saying this. Too often there's a blanket assumption that the first choice for anyone would be to stay at home. I would never even bother to spend the time figuring out if I could afford to not work, because it's not something I have any interest in.

From a more practical standpoint, a little spreadsheet summing up the cost of pantyhose, lunches and childcare is a poor way to make a decision that will have a long-term financial impact. Those online calculators that are occassionally linked into articles on this topic make my blood boil. They always ignore things like employee sponsored retirement plans & insurance, social security and long-term earning potential. If you're going to run the numbers, you have to run all of them, not just a six month forecast.
post #119 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheeriogal View Post
Thanks for saying this. Too often there's a blanket assumption that the first choice for anyone would be to stay at home. I would never even bother to spend the time figuring out if I could afford to not work, because it's not something I have any interest in.
Agreed!
Quote:
From a more practical standpoint, a little spreadsheet summing up the cost of pantyhose, lunches and childcare is a poor way to make a decision that will have a long-term financial impact. Those online calculators that are occassionally linked into articles on this topic make my blood boil. They always ignore things like employee sponsored retirement plans & insurance, social security and long-term earning potential. If you're going to run the numbers, you have to run all of them, not just a six month forecast.
well, I think they are useful for the immediate term decisions - it helped clarify my decision about moving part time and what sort of childcare we could afford (if we had a nanny as originally planned, we'd be paying $35 a month to work, etc). Especially the health care issue - those expenses can be unexpectedly high when transitioning from one plan to another or going on cobra.

But you are right to not discount long term financial decisions. There is a cumulative impact of years out of the paid work field on social security, retirement income, etc. Some SAHMs actually include long term savings in their household budgets - but few people do it even when there are two full time workers in the family and no kids...

The decision cannot be 100% financial, however - no decision ever truly is. Quality of life is important to me - I don't care how much I'll earn or the status involved - if the hours are grueling, if I find my family is suffering, if I am treated poorly, if I find the work uninteresting, or any number of intangible reasons, I won't take a job.

We all have our different deal breakers, I have found. I personally found working outside the house, based on our commute and the field I work in, for an employer would be very challenging for me to sustain long term. Luckily, I have the option of working for myself.

It ain't perfect - today my dh is off with his parents while the kids are enjoying the beautiful day at the zoo - and I am stuck at my desk doing tedious work (excel spreadsheets - we love to hate them). But the entire package works for us for now. When it stops working, we will figure something else out.
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