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Can you afford to SAH? - Page 2

post #21 of 119
We could afford it for awhile; I was a SAHM when DS was very young.

However, we want to have the option of having somebody home with DS when he's in junior high and HS, and if I stay home now, that won't be possible. Instead, we both work, we save a ton of money, we don't have a lot of financial stress because we now have a cushion, and we live happy, peaceful lives together. The only thing I'd change if I had a choice is that I'd reduce my hours now, but I certainly wouldn't SAH now.

Some other factors are that I love what I do, and if I keep at this particular job for the next few years, it is likely I'll be able to swing a good part-time position, so it's worth it to me to do that.

I also really like that DS sees both of us sharing the load of parenting: we both contribute to the family financially, we split housework, and most importantly we both nurture DS.

DS is an extrovert and his daycare has been a blessing to the whole family. We've made tremendous friendships there, we've learned a lot, we've watched DS bloom into a confident and outgoing boy. I am so glad his daycare has been part of our lives and we wouldn't have that if I was a SAHM.

In terms of our marriage, I think two WOHP strengthens our marriage because we understand each other's worlds so well. Neither of us is insulated from the large portion of the other's world. One thing I really didn't like when I was a SAHM was that I started to feel disconnected from a large part of my DH's life and he started to lose touch with some of the day-to-day tasks of running the household. Neither of us were happy about that development because we've always had an equitable relationship.

Also, things we value, like education and living in an interesting and diverse urban environment, are expensive.

Both of us are the children of women who both stayed home and worked as the family needed. DH's mother in particular had a wonderful career. Both of us are very close to our families and feel that we'd like to raise our DS like we were raised. I'm a third, maybe fourth generation WOHM on my side, and I admire my Mom and Grandma so much for all they did in and out of the house. I want to be like them.

So those are some reasons for you from our lives.

Most SAHMs I know aren't snarky about "raising their own kids." I've heard it here on MDC more since I joined than all the time I was at-home or since I started working. Personally I never felt at home with the "true believer" SAHMs when I was one, either. I got pretty tired of their negativity. Luckily I built up a fabulous tribe of low-key SAHMs and WOHMs, and we are all supportive of each other.
post #22 of 119
We just moved to Seattle, so we can't afford it now, although we could have with some minor lifestyle changes where we used to live.
I used to fantasize about SAHMing, especially on those really bad days at work , but honestly I have been home with DS for the last two weeks or so and have realized how much I need to work. Granted, I am in a new city and am feeling pretty isolated and stressed out, but I am also starting to see the parenting dynamic change. I am also not as patient or nurturing right now as I am when I am working, and I really miss the mental stimulation that WOHM provides me.
I work because I like what I do and I make a positive impact on many people's lives every day. I went to school a long time and worked really, really hard to do what I do and I can't see myself walking away from it now. I would like to work part time, but at this stage in my career that is not an option, unfortunately. I also work to ensure that we maintain an equitable parenting and household burden. I want my son to see that his father can cook, do laundry, nurture him, and play. And I want my son to see that I can have a powerful job, manage the finances, and support myself independently. I do not want to be sheltered from the outside world, which is what I feel like would happen to me if I was at home full time. I also do not want my DH to shoulder the burden of providing for our family, I believe that parenting and providing should be shared equally.
DS has forged wonderful relationships with his DCPs. They engage him in ways that I wouldn't have even thought of. He is a happy, creative, thoughtful soul thanks in part to being exposed to diverse people who love him. However, his parents are raising him and instilling his morals and values, not outside care providers.
post #23 of 119
We can't right now as I'm the breadwinner and dh is in school.

However, my ultimate ideal would be for him to be the breadwinner and for me to work part time. I liked the almost 3 years I worked part time after dd's birth; although I'd prefer something closer to 20 hours than the almost 30 I was working. It would allow me some non-child time, I could still contribute to the household, I'd actually make use of those stupid pieces of paper that I worked so hard for (aka, my degrees), and I could still have time to homeschool the kids.

I think if you can do it and it works for your family that's great.
post #24 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by rinnerin View Post
DS has forged wonderful relationships with his DCPs. They engage him in ways that I wouldn't have even thought of. He is a happy, creative, thoughtful soul thanks in part to being exposed to diverse people who love him. However, his parents are raising him and instilling his morals and values, not outside care providers.
I wasn't going to respond to the "someone else raising your children" comment, but I agree with this and just wanted to add a "heck yeah". I think moms who have never used or had bad exeriences with outside professional care may not understand this, but I firmly believe (based on my own experience) that dcp's can be blessings for children. DS'2 dcp is there to play with him, give him a safe and nurturing environment to explore friendships and socialize, etc. They are not a replacement for parenting in any way (accept maybe guiding him in appropriate ways of dealing with other kids, etc). Every time I hear that sentiment, I feel like it belittles the work that parents do, as if it could be replaced by someone else so easily. Plus, "raising", imo, goes so far beyod the "daycare age" of children, I don't quite get the comment at all.
post #25 of 119
Incomewise we could (and will be for part of the summer b/c I'm on maternity leave but most of it is unpaid). But currently I carry our benifits - we could not afford good health insurance on our own. But to put it into perspective: When I go back to work we will only have about $50/wk from my job that is not spoken for with childcare and gas etc...

...I would love to be a SAHM though...and while I am going back, if it is too stressful after a month or 2 I plan to resign...even my employer knows that.
post #26 of 119
We could afford it (we just break even with me working due to the high cost of child care) but I simply don't want to. I love my job, I love the adult interaction, I love the challenge, I love keeping my individuality and sense of accomplishment outside what I accomplish by raising a child (which is a lot, I grant you!), and I love that I'm maintaing my independence and the power differential in my marriage.

I'm not cut out to me a SAHM. I find it boring and confining. I'm a better mom because I WOH. I'm lucky to work part -time and have flexible hours.

I don't think it should be about being able to afford it, as in, if the family can afford it, the mom should SAH. I think it should be about what the mom wants and what is best for the family.
post #27 of 119
Good luck with your decision!

If we could figure out how to live without the $25,000 I take home after childcare & work expenses are taken out, I wouldn't work. But we know we wouldn't be happy selling our house and dropping every little convenience we currently take for granted - there is a standard of living that we are used to. It's not extravagant by any means, but we like to be comfortable.
post #28 of 119
I could if we got rid of our vehicles and some other things we owe lots of money on. But, with the bills we have now, no.

My DS is in public school and loves it. DD (18 months) absolutely loves her daycare, and she stays with her father 1-4 days a week anyway. I'm a little worried about how the new baby will do since I've never had a tiny baby in daycare before, but the daycare is right downstairs from my office, and I'll get to go down and nurse him 2-3 times a day.
post #29 of 119
I could stay at home, but I choose to work.

For one, I incurred student loan debt in order to get my career. I feel that I should work long enough to pay that off, and well...I don't think it's fair that my husband have to do it.

For two, I am the insurance carrier. It wouldn't be a big stretch to switch insurance over to my husband, but it's cheaper and better with me.

And for three, I agree with everyone else...my son's life is being impacted negatively by playing with other children, and having a loving DCP care for him during the day. Meanwhile, I am teaching him the value of a working mother, contributing toward his college fund, working so that we will move into a bigger house with better schools, retirement accounts, etc. I get gratification and "adult time" when I am at work so that I am a more rewarding and patient parent when I get home.

Quite honestly, I've encountered a few friend's babies who don't socially interact with other children, and they are high-strung and fearful of new people. That may be a personality trait, but my little one is very happy, very social, and learns quite a bit every day.

No one is instilling "morals" in my son, but I have to ask...why wouldn't you seek out a DCP that is on the same page with you for morals and what you want your child exposed to? There are plenty of DCPs out there, and I'm sure that almost everyone can find a good fit with SOMEONE.

I pay for an entire day of my son's care in less than an hour at work, so it definitely works out in my favor (financially) to continue working.

If I were to do all of this over again, I would save up more money to stay home longer for the initial period, though.
post #30 of 119
You know, it's interesting, I realized during the course of this discussion and others over the past few days that the smug "I want to raise my children myself" or "I want to instill my values into our kids," which, when said to a WOHM, is nearly always intended as a nasty dig, doesn't really bother me any more. It used to really bother me, but I've realized that I basically don't react any more.

I guess because it seems so absurd on its face. I've done both (SAH and WOH) and there is really no difference in terms of how I felt as far as "instilling values" or "raising my own child."

I think if anything I feel sorry for people who are so unsure of their influence and role in their kids' lives.
post #31 of 119
If you want an broader study of what happens when you leave the workforce you could try reading the new book: "The Feminine Mistake: Are we giving up too much?" I haven't read it, but I have heard the author speak on the radio and from what I have heard it's a sobering view of what you may be giving up. I understand there and many interviews with women who made this decision years ago and now say they did not know how much it would cost them in the event of divorce/disability/re-entry in the workforce, which cannot be anticipated. I'm not saying it would be a mistake for you, but you said you wanted to know the reasons not to SAH.

By the way, I don't think my daycare provider is "raising my son" anymore than the school he will attend will "raise" him. So is the pp saying you need to homeschool your kids too in order for you to raise them (to properly instill the correct "values and morals")? I don't buy it. My son benefits from daycare in ways I did not anticipate. He's a baby at home and takes hours to fall asleep, is picky about food, etc., but at daycare he acts like a "big boy," has no problem falling asleep at nap time, eats everything, especially vegetables, which he won't eat at home. I don't think he would have developed this level of independence and social skills if he did not have this outlet. My son benefits from having a place where he can be the big boy as well as a place where he's still a baby, and I challenge anybody to show how this abdicates my role as a parent.

What I get from working is not only a high quality interactive learning environment for my son, but also the knowledge that I'm providing a future for him which will enable me to enroll him in the highest quality schools, protecting him from poverty if my marriage were to fail or my husband were to die, and protecting him from having to support me by building a robust retirement fund. Tnen I'll be able to help him out by retiring at 65 and being a full time grandma zero cost daycare provider for his kids (unless he decides they would benefit more from a great daycare).
post #32 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
You know, it's interesting, I realized during the course of this discussion and others over the past few days that the smug "I want to raise my children myself" or "I want to instill my values into our kids," which, when said to a WOHM, is nearly always intended as a nasty dig, doesn't really bother me any more. It used to really bother me, but I've realized that I basically don't react any more.
I guess the only reason why it "bothers" me is because I feel like the "exception" to the whole "all moms should stay at home" rule. I'm a single mom, if i don't work- we don't eat!

Most people here admitted that surely they do have a choice, and not working is feasible, but they like the financial security, the financial goals, attachment to their area of work, stimulation that working outside provides, and a sense of empowerment outside of our motherly roles.

I can relate to the WOHMs that have posted because I do feel that way, but I also know that me quitting work is just not realistic. Do I wish it were on some days? Heck Yeah!!! I hate it when people say "well its okay for YOU to be a WOHM, because you have no choice" or something along those lines. I feel like they're saying "well it's okay not to morally raise your child and send her off to a daycare so some stranger can raise them since you don't have a partner and you're the exception to my rule". It just hurts.

I know i'm a really good mom and maybe my perception is clouded because I don't have anyone to reassure me that I am doing a good job. Ya know when you KNOW you're really good at what you're doing but you'd just like SOMEONE to reassure you that from the outside looking in- it still looks great. Everything does look peachy on my end, but i'm also smack dab in the middle of it so i'm generally biased I don't get that reassurance that i'm still a kick mom even though i have to work- I wish I did, maybe the little digs wouldn't hurt as much then.

I wish there was a happy medium where mutual parental respect is reached but I feel constantly belittled because my DDs dad and i just didn't work out.

Azuralea- I really hope I get to your mentality in a few years, i really do. Your post just sounds awesome and so self confident in your parenting and personal decisions. I'm so glad that the "digs" don't bother you anymore. It's so glad to have both those SAHM and WOHM perspectives and i'm sure having both those experiences changed your entire outlook on parenting. Maybe i'll be in your spot in a few years. I really I hope I am.
post #33 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissSavannahsMommy View Post
I guess the only reason why it "bothers" me is because I feel like the "exception" to the whole "all moms should stay at home" rule. I'm a single mom, if i don't work- we don't eat!
what helps give me perspective is that every mom supports her family in a variety of ways - and no two families are the same.

Some families, the mom does all the childcare, and the housework, etc keeping the home fires burning, as it were.

In others the mom may bring in income, and share childcare and/or housework with a partner, other family member or paid individual.

I also include the moms who work hard to reduce household costs by making meals or clothing from scratch, growing food, seeking better deals on purchases, sharing childcare with other families, etc. Moms contribute to the family when they reduce the need to purchase goods and services as well as bring in income to purchase those things.

We all (SAHPs, WPs, everyone with kids, basically) support our families in so many different ways that it is impossible to say that one way is best or worst, as long as the families are being supported - i.e. no one is going hungry or sleeping on the street. And if THAT is happening, I would guess that in the majority of the cases, the parents are doing the best they can in very trying circumstances.

So when I hear "other people raising your kids", I think that they have an outdated view of what constitutes supporting a family - that there are only some ways that matter and the rest don't, or some such view.

The proof is in the pudding - my kids are in the care of someone other than their parents 45 hours a week - and yet they are very much raised and supported by me and my dh.
post #34 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadoweloc View Post
If I were to do all of this over again, I would save up more money to stay home longer for the initial period, though.
I agree with this. I took 16 weeks with my first, and it was hard to go that long without a salary - we hadn't saved enough. So when it came time to return, I didn't have as many options as if we'd saved more money.

With my second, we saved enough for me to have two full months off and then work part time for a few months afterwards - but since I work from home, it was basically like being off for 4 months.

I would love to give every mom in the US the right to at least 6 months paid leave (a year would be a dream) for the birth or adoption of a child. I personally think that would be a great investment in the next generation of children and of families who struggle to raise families in this country.
post #35 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissSavannahsMommy View Post
I guess the only reason why it "bothers" me is because I feel like the "exception" to the whole "all moms should stay at home" rule. I'm a single mom, if i don't work- we don't eat!

I can relate to the WOHMs that have posted because I do feel that way, but I also know that me quitting work is just not realistic. Do I wish it were on some days? Heck Yeah!!! I hate it when people say "well its okay for YOU to be a WOHM, because you have no choice" or something along those lines. I feel like they're saying "well it's okay not to morally raise your child and send her off to a daycare so some stranger can raise them since you don't have a partner and you're the exception to my rule". It just hurts.
Yes! That is another thing I hate about the "I want to raise my kids myself" line, because when confronted with a single mama the people who say it will then back out and say, "Well, except for YOU because you have no choice." But those other people are letting somebody else raise their kids because they're not single? But the minute you get divorced now you're not letting somebody else raise your kids because you have to eat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissSavannahsMommy View Post
I know i'm a really good mom and maybe my perception is clouded because I don't have anyone to reassure me that I am doing a good job. Ya know when you KNOW you're really good at what you're doing but you'd just like SOMEONE to reassure you that from the outside looking in- it still looks great. Everything does look peachy on my end, but i'm also smack dab in the middle of it so i'm generally biased I don't get that reassurance that i'm still a kick mom even though i have to work- I wish I did, maybe the little digs wouldn't hurt as much then.
You are clearly a really good mama! I have admired your other posts before, to be honest. From here it's apparent you do a really amazing job.

I think it's much harder for single mamas to build up their confidence as mothers because there are so many people who seem to get their kicks out of knocking single mamas. It seems like you can't go a day without hearing some religious figure or politician yammering on about the divorce rate or the single-parent household, blah blah blah. My single mama friends DO feel that constant pressure, and it IS hard on their confidence. It's totally unfair because for every single one of them, divorcing their DHs was the best thing for them to do as mamas, and they are all REALLY amazing, hard-working, and loving mamas, but even for the best mama it's hard to build up confidence with so many people vested in knocking you down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissSavannahsMommy View Post
Azuralea- I really hope I get to your mentality in a few years, i really do. Your post just sounds awesome and so self confident in your parenting and personal decisions. I'm so glad that the "digs" don't bother you anymore. It's so glad to have both those SAHM and WOHM perspectives and i'm sure having both those experiences changed your entire outlook on parenting. Maybe i'll be in your spot in a few years. I really I hope I am.
Thank you! That is such a nice thing to hear! :

I do think the ability to be SAH for awhile gave me confidence in my abilities as a WOHM if only because I can compare the two. I wonder (if we decide to have another) whether I would be able to retain that confidence, because I wouldn't be able to SAH as long.

It gets easier as your kids get older, too. I was so much more sensitive to criticism when DS was a baby. Now that he's older and I can see that he developed into a great kid, it is much easier to shrug off nastiness.
post #36 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissSavannahsMommy View Post
I guess the only reason why it "bothers" me is because I feel like the "exception" to the whole "all moms should stay at home" rule. I'm a single mom, if i don't work- we don't eat!

Most people here admitted that surely they do have a choice, and not working is feasible, but they like the financial security, the financial goals, attachment to their area of work, stimulation that working outside provides, and a sense of empowerment outside of our motherly roles.

I can relate to the WOHMs that have posted because I do feel that way, but I also know that me quitting work is just not realistic. Do I wish it were on some days? Heck Yeah!!! I hate it when people say "well its okay for YOU to be a WOHM, because you have no choice" or something along those lines. I feel like they're saying "well it's okay not to morally raise your child and send her off to a daycare so some stranger can raise them since you don't have a partner and you're the exception to my rule". It just hurts.

I know i'm a really good mom and maybe my perception is clouded because I don't have anyone to reassure me that I am doing a good job. Ya know when you KNOW you're really good at what you're doing but you'd just like SOMEONE to reassure you that from the outside looking in- it still looks great. Everything does look peachy on my end, but i'm also smack dab in the middle of it so i'm generally biased I don't get that reassurance that i'm still a kick mom even though i have to work- I wish I did, maybe the little digs wouldn't hurt as much then.

I wish there was a happy medium where mutual parental respect is reached but I feel constantly belittled because my DDs dad and i just didn't work out.
This attitude really jumped out at me in Dr. Sears' "Baby Book" I found it super-annoying then (when I was pregnant) and even more annoying now that I know single moms.
post #37 of 119
I was only home for 10 weeks, then right back to full time. I didn't know until my son was 6 months that there was a part time option (I had no idea that my job was even offered part time), but again, I am the insurance carrier, so it would have taken more thought and planning had I known about it.

Next time, I really would like to stay home for at least 3 months, and maybe 6, if my employers would allow me that much time away. Obviously, my son wasn't negatively impacted by me going back full time so early, but it would have been nice to have more time with him when he was so little little.

I'm usually not threatened by any one else's nasty comments or differing lifestyles, but this one always gets me. You get it on both sides on this one. You have the WOHM's that wish they could stay home, and look at me like I'm the spawn of the devil for choosing to work, and then you have the SAHM's that try to convince me that I spend more money working than I would staying at home, so I should just quit. I don't know why everyone feels like they have to be in competition with each other. As someone else said, we don't have windows into each other's living rooms. What works for one family may not work for another.
post #38 of 119
We probably could, but it would be a huge sacrifice in many ways and I don't think it would be worth it.

Also, I guess I just don't believe being a SAHM is best for MY daughter and the way I want to raise her and the morals I want to teach her.

Conversely, I don't think that I am very good at being a full-time WOHM and parent. It's quite stressful, and I wouldn't choose to do it. I have 0 hours of vacation because I used them up on my maternity leave. My mom watches DD and it's extremely stressful if anyone gets sick and I need to miss work. Plus I don't see DD enough, and I believe this is stressful for her. (I certainly don't think my mother is raising her though...so tired of hearing that, seriously....)

My ideal situation would be working about 20 hours a week, during which time DD would be at a daycare, interacting with other kids. I think the value of play is completely underappreciated in our society. I think it's unnatural for children to spend all day with adults.

My aunt once told me that she thinks most women don't want to stay home with their kids and/or homeschool them because they don't like or love them. Those comments have permanently damaged our relationship. Personally, I believe you can focus on your kids too much and keep them too secluded. (I AM NOT SAYING THAT ALL SAHP DO THIS.) For me working part-time would be a healthy balance.
post #39 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamameeyah View Post
If you want an broader study of what happens when you leave the workforce you could try reading the new book: "The Feminine Mistake: Are we giving up too much?" I haven't read it, but I have heard the author speak on the radio and from what I have heard it's a sobering view of what you may be giving up. I understand there and many interviews with women who made this decision years ago and now say they did not know how much it would cost them in the event of divorce/disability/re-entry in the workforce, which cannot be anticipated. I'm not saying it would be a mistake for you, but you said you wanted to know the reasons not to SAH.

By the way, I don't think my daycare provider is "raising my son" anymore than the school he will attend will "raise" him. So is the pp saying you need to homeschool your kids too in order for you to raise them (to properly instill the correct "values and morals")? I don't buy it. My son benefits from daycare in ways I did not anticipate. He's a baby at home and takes hours to fall asleep, is picky about food, etc., but at daycare he acts like a "big boy," has no problem falling asleep at nap time, eats everything, especially vegetables, which he won't eat at home. I don't think he would have developed this level of independence and social skills if he did not have this outlet. My son benefits from having a place where he can be the big boy as well as a place where he's still a baby, and I challenge anybody to show how this abdicates my role as a parent.

What I get from working is not only a high quality interactive learning environment for my son, but also the knowledge that I'm providing a future for him which will enable me to enroll him in the highest quality schools, protecting him from poverty if my marriage were to fail or my husband were to die, and protecting him from having to support me by building a robust retirement fund. Tnen I'll be able to help him out by retiring at 65 and being a full time grandma zero cost daycare provider for his kids (unless he decides they would benefit more from a great daycare).
post #40 of 119
Like all of the other smart women who posted on this thread, I choose to work. I bring in about 2/3 of our household income, and yes, I do believe I could choose to live on DH's salary. It would mean a lot of changes for us obviously in terms of our house, neighborhood, health insurance, retirement, schooling, food, vacation, financial cushion, stress, etc, etc. But yeah, we could do it if we wanted to, plenty of people do. (DH, BTW is not convinced this is true, but I am).

And I don't for all of the reasons already articulated. My mother and grandmother both worked outside the home and DH's mother occasionally worked outside the home, so this is a situation we both felt comfortable with. In fact, I consider it a privilege that I'm "allowed" to work even though I'm married and have children. It wasn't so very long ago that my options would have been much more limited than they are now - even down to my educational options that allow me to be qualified for the kind of job I hold.

I don't always love my job all the time and like so many others, I do SO wish I could work less. In my case I'd love 32 hours with full-time benefits, but we don't offer them at less than 40 (and there's a code here that you're supposed to put in a minimum of 50 hours/week to even be considered for promotion.) So the bottom line is that DH and I ARE sacrificing a lot work-wise and promotion wise to have the mutally balanced household that we do.

Sacrifice for parenthood (if that sort of thing is important to you) comes in many forms, not just sacrificing "shopping sprees" and dinners out. But like Siobhang : I don't the Mother Martyr is what I want to show my daughter.

Oh - and Miss Savannah surely has a great mother. What a woman to be able to show her caring and compassion, how to stand up for herself, how to articulate a point, how to write so well., her sharp wit! How to feel a barb and feel the pain and then pick herself up and say - that's not fair. That was hurtful and surely don't understand that of which you criticize! And how to rise above that criticism!
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