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Can you afford to SAH? - Page 5

post #81 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belleweather View Post
Of all of the lines that I get from SAHM's, this one just sends me straight into the stratosphere as far as being PO'ed. And I think it pisses me off even more that every time a working mama cites her actual circumstances, the SAHM who really believes that "...in most cases it CAN be done if you make it the priority." backs down. We - both in the world and at MDC - represent a million different unique financial situations with a million different quirks. And to say something that amounts to 'you really could stay home if you tried hard enough' insults all our efforts to do the right thing for our families in unique circumstances. I'm sure there IS a way for every mother to say home (for instance, I'm sure we could come up with the extra $1200 a month we'd need if we won the lottery, robbed banks, or left the country and defaulted on our student loans, but making it a 'priority' by cutting discretionary spending isn't going to make the budget balance. 1/3 of our income is NOT discretionary!), we all know in our heart of hearts whether it is or is not practical and don't need to be told -- even by the best intentioned people.
yep to all that.

furthermore, what I get tired of is feeling that I have to justify the fact that I woh financially. honestly, and very fortunately, in my situation it's more or less a wash as to whether or not, after other things are factored in, i bring in any extra money to the family budget monthly or not with my woh. that's not the point, though. for me, woh in my particular job is a part of who I am, just as being a mom is a part of who I am and both are more or less intrinsic to me. is my job as important as my DS? NO! But being able to be his mom and to be who I am apart from that is a blessing. I would simply not be as good a mom as I am now if I were a sahm. I don't feel that I need to justify that decision to anyone.

I feel that when we, as woh moms, start trying to justify ourselves to others based on finances we inevitably run into the "but you could really do it if you wanted to." with lots of commentary on cutting back on discretionary spending and etc. I'm not having a go at anyone who honestly believes that, but I'm saying that I simply don't care. I also think that, by engaging in these arguments, we basically, implicitly state that sahing is the best, unless other factors, such as finances, intervene. I don't believe that sahing is the best *for me* or for a lot of women or for their kids and their families. I think it's great for some families. But I don't work for the money. I work for my self-esteem, my self-respect, my love for my profession, in addition to maintaining my sanity. That's best for me and my family and I refuse to implicitly buy into the sahming is the best unless you *have* to work mentality . . .
post #82 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
hey, anyone read Mother Nature: A history of mothers, infants and Natural Selection by Sarah Hrdy? I just bought a used copy on Amazon. I hear it is awesome at looking at the role of success seeking behavior as a mothering benefit - basically in primates, higher status mothers are more successful at raising their infants to maturity and having those infants successfully reproduce. Her theory is that, unlike the current dialogue about how ambition/success seeking and mothering/nurturing behaviors are somehow opposing forces in each woman, instead both are part of successful evolutionary strategies for raising children.

I am looking forward to reading the book.
you inspired me and I checked it out yesterday and started reading it last night--it rocks! It's as you said, she says the "best" mothers, from an evolutionary standpoint, have been those with a wide skill set--not just the best nurturers, but those best at collecting food, fighting off threats, etc. etc. She takes a lot of examples from the animal world, it's fascinating stuff.

----

In other news the $380/month mortgage statement had me rolling in the aisles, there is nothing here for that, not even close, not within 4x that, and then we're talking small place in dodgy neighborhood in need of total rehab. But still... I suppose if SAHM-ing was really important to me we would move back to the midwest or someplace where we could live on $30k/yr. But I started this thread to find out other reasons--besides financial--for WOHMing. And there are plenty.
post #83 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belleweather View Post
Of all of the lines that I get from SAHM's, this one just sends me straight into the stratosphere as far as being PO'ed. And I think it pisses me off even more that every time a working mama cites her actual circumstances, the SAHM who really believes that "...in most cases it CAN be done if you make it the priority." backs down. We - both in the world and at MDC - represent a million different unique financial situations with a million different quirks. And to say something that amounts to 'you really could stay home if you tried hard enough' insults all our efforts to do the right thing for our families in unique circumstances. I'm sure there IS a way for every mother to say home (for instance, I'm sure we could come up with the extra $1200 a month we'd need if we won the lottery, robbed banks, or left the country and defaulted on our student loans, but making it a 'priority' by cutting discretionary spending isn't going to make the budget balance. 1/3 of our income is NOT discretionary!), we all know in our heart of hearts whether it is or is not practical and don't need to be told -- even by the best intentioned people.
ITA with that. Preach it sister.

I've have been both a SAHM and a WOHM. I"m always amazed at how there is this pervasive attitude that if you have to work it's because you aren't frugal enough, you are consumerist, greedy, whatever, that we work for expensive vacations, nice cars, etc. This is simply not true. It can also be a very short sighted view. There are definite advantages both ways, but the reality is that most families are dual income for a reason: financial, emotional, mental health, whatever. All reasons are valid.
post #84 of 119
To answer the OP - yes, we could afford for me to stay home.

It would put a roof over our head and food on the table. However, that's not how we're choosing to live our lives.

I'm in Canada, so with 600 hours of work I am entitled to a year of maternity benefits/leave. It's actually 15 weeks of mat leave, and 35 weeks of parental leave (plus 15 weeks of sick leave before the birth of the baby if I can convince my doc )

I'll be taking approx. 18 mnths off with this new babe that's coming. My school schedule works out that way. I have one year left of my nursing degree, and then I will be working part time.

My dh has good benefits, which helps, but as things stand - it would be very uncomfortable to live on his salary alone.

I absolutely love my field of work (nursing) and intend to pursue my masters after graduating with my BScN.

The interaction with patients, and getting to be part of saving someone's life, or caring for them in their darkest time... Well, that's irreplaceable to me.

Besides - I owe the Cdn. gov't $60,000 in student loans.

So yeah, I'll be working - for love of the career, and so my house isn't repoed.
post #85 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by McMandy View Post
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.
Oh great, this again: "Anyone could afford it if they just stopped eating out and went on fewer shopping sprees." :

Not everyone, honey. Well, I guess I could afford to SAH if I stopped paying my student loans, stopped paying for health insurance, let our life insurance lapse, stopped saving, and put my children's future in a precarious position. My husband is a mostly SAHD, but works most weekends. You are very naive and/or judgmental to assume you know what people could do.

Frankly, the SAHMs and others who presume to know that so-and-so could easily afford to stay home get on my every last nerve. I'm surrounded by SAHMs who are wonderful and supportive IRL, but then there are those few who really make me :

I'll leave it at that before I get myself banned.
post #86 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannah's Mom View Post
Oh great, this again: "Anyone could afford it if they just stopped eating out and went on fewer shopping sprees." :

Not everyone, honey. Well, I guess I could afford to SAH if I stopped paying my student loans, stopped paying for health insurance, let our life insurance lapse, stopped saving, and put my children's future in a precarious position. My husband is a mostly SAHD, but works most weekends. You are very naive and/or judgmental to assume you know what people could do.

Frankly, the SAHMs and others who presume to know that so-and-so could easily afford to stay home get on my every last nerve. I'm surrounded by SAHMs who are wonderful and supportive IRL, but then there are those few who really make me :

I'll leave it at that before I get myself banned.
Um, you actually said what I was thinking.

I have said before on these boards, its not so easy to just stop working and a lot of it depends on what happened before you even had kids in the case of those of us with student loans. I am 105K in the hole plus we have another 100K or so in bills, I most certainly am not working for a shopping spree and if I didn't work whhich I did gor dd's 1st year we would be in even worse shape.

Anyway that's my two cents.

Shay
post #87 of 119
Shay - I also incurred my student loans waaaay before I even thought about the implications on having kids. And I was going to law school, I'd make plenty of money to repay my loans, right? Except that I found that working 80 hours a week is not conducive to any sort of lifestyle I'd ever want, kids or no. And that I really enjoy working in a job that makes a difference (for me - and my school has given me loan repayment assistance grants for the last several years to pay my loans!).

I actually love what I do and would most likely work at least part time even if I didn't "have" to. I love the fact that I can help people get disability or Medicaid if they're turned down. .... I have represented domestic violence victims obtain protective orders when they couldn't afford to hire an attorney because they were SAHMs and their partners completely isolated them and hurt them or threatened them. This job rocks!

Most of the female lawyers I know who become moms work in some capacity after kids because of their student loans or benefits. But then you'll see people say, oh she could afford to stay home, her husband makes plenty, they live in a huge house and drive nice cars. The thing is, they probably *couldn't* make it on just one salary, but her earning potential is so great that she makes enough to afford all the extras. People really don't know what's going on in someone else's finances. Acting like you do only makes you look silly.
post #88 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannah's Mom View Post
Oh great, this again: "Anyone could afford it if they just stopped eating out and went on fewer shopping sprees." :

Not everyone, honey. Well, I guess I could afford to SAH if I stopped paying my student loans, stopped paying for health insurance, let our life insurance lapse, stopped saving, and put my children's future in a precarious position. My husband is a mostly SAHD, but works most weekends. You are very naive and/or judgmental to assume you know what people could do.

Frankly, the SAHMs and others who presume to know that so-and-so could easily afford to stay home get on my every last nerve. I'm surrounded by SAHMs who are wonderful and supportive IRL, but then there are those few who really make me :

I'll leave it at that before I get myself banned.

I have to agree. When I saw that posting my hackles went up! I am a WAHM, but it is more like SAHM because I work very few hours and I do It when DS is sleeping, having "Daddy Time" etc...so I feel like I identify more with SAHM's just as far as my day to day life plays out.

When we got pregnant I was working in a Call Center and my whole pregnancy all I could think about was that I didn't want to go back to work because I hated it, and it made me sick to think about being away from my child so that I could go to a job that was horrible.

I had 4 months off after my son was born, and the whole time I dreaded going back to work. But I had too. There was NO WAY we could have made it on my DH's income. We were barely scraping by with both of our incomes. SO I had ot go back to work PT while I continued to figure out something else. I was starting work at 4am so that DS could stay with dad. That meant getting up at 2:30 in the morning, bfing, pumping and going to work. I stopped producing milk shorty after going back to work and after trying everything, I finally had to give up BFing because I COULD NOT AFFORD TO QUIT MY JOB!!!! We were barely able to pay our bills each month (rent on a crappy house, utilities...no credit cards or anything)

I finally found a way to make money from home and I was able to quit my job 4 months after returning. I consider myself VERY blessed. Most people like me are still at the crappy job because they can't find a way out.

There are many parents who really would like to be home with their kids more than anything in the world but they cannot afford to. I know because I was one of them!!
post #89 of 119
To the OP: Congrats on the PT prospects!

RE: "If you just make some lifestyle changes" type of comments...

: Count me in the it bugs me camp. We have made so many lifestyle changes. We are blessed that we rent a tiny cottage house for only $625/ month (we've lived here for 7 years now and thankfully the landlord has only raised the rent once. Most places are more than double the cost near us.) But as house prices go up in our neighborhood, I'm sure rent will or worse, we'll have to move because the landlord decides to finally sell the lot.

I'm not sure about some of the other mamas here, but without loans, I'd either never gone to school or probably still be in school, slowly working my way as I could afford classes. If that were the case, I wouldn't be helping out or family situation at all and chances are I'd be only working.

Without schooling, I wouln't have left the country to study abroad. First person on either side of my family to do that. Guess what? That costs too. Oh, and then I pick a profession where I feel doing good is more than my earnings -- not to mention the hours allow me to see my family. ()

Plus we have debt. I was a stupid college student with a credit card. Then we got married and well, even with all the DIY we did for it, weddings still cost a lot. So there is a hole that both dh and I contributed to and both us are working to fill it in.

So no, I'm sorry to say that the long term, ideas for family and what not were not on my radar during college/ grad school. There are so many things you can't plan for or be prepared for that will screw you over in the long run. But we're finally at a place where we are working it out some that perhaps when our children are ready, there will at least be something to pass on financially rather than a bunch of zeros on a FAFSA form.

But if I were to simply make more "frugal" changes? There goes the healthcare, there goes our natural living, there goes heat, electric, food, retirement, dh's schooling... It's just not going to happen for us right now. Who knows in the future?
post #90 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannah's Mom View Post
Shay - I also incurred my student loans waaaay before I even thought about the implications on having kids. And I was going to law school, I'd make plenty of money to repay my loans, right? Except that I found that working 80 hours a week is not conducive to any sort of lifestyle I'd ever want, kids or no. And that I really enjoy working in a job that makes a difference (Legal Aid for me - and my school has given me loan repayment assistance grants for the last several years to pay my loans!).

I actually love what I do and would most likely work at least part time even if I didn't "have" to. I love the fact that I can help people get disability or Medicaid if they're turned down. I can help a crime victim obtain crime victims compensation when she was turned down because she "contributed" to her rape because she was drinking when she was sexually assaulted. I have represented domestic violence victims obtain protective orders when they couldn't afford to hire an attorney because they were SAHMs and their partners completely isolated them and hurt them or threatened them. This job rocks!

Most of the female lawyers I know who become moms work in some capacity after kids because of their student loans or benefits. But then you'll see people say, oh she could afford to stay home, her husband makes plenty, they live in a huge house and drive nice cars. The thing is, they probably *couldn't* make it on just one salary, but her earning potential is so great that she makes enough to afford all the extras. People really don't know what's going on in someone else's finances. Acting like you do only makes you look silly.
You're my hero!

No seriously, as a just-graduated law student, I agree with everything you've said. From making the rounds interviewing with public interest firms, it seems like a huge number of the people working there are women with small children.

My 'dream job' (who will hire me, if they'd frickin' call me back already! : ) is to work where I clerked my 1L summer: at a small public interest firm that does Medicaid advocacy for children with special needs. Other than our director and our IT guy, every full-time staff member was a mother with kids at home. EVERY ONE. The summer I worked there, I had a couple of mamas who we helped who admitted that they were so glad that we were there to help them -- even though they used to believe that working outside the home was bad for women with small children. Every time I get "holier-than-thou-ed" by someone who says I shouldn't be working, I pray they'll never need to show up in that office with a baby with Praeder-willi, or Down's, or Autism and no way to pay for treatment.
post #91 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belleweather View Post
You're my hero!

No seriously, as a just-graduated law student, I agree with everything you've said. From making the rounds interviewing with public interest firms, it seems like a huge number of the people working there are women with small children.

You are so sweet. And I've thought the same thing when I get holier-than-thou-ed (love that term, BTW!).

I'll be crossing my fingers that you get your dream job. Are you taking the bar this summer?

Oh, and to the OP, congratulations on working out a plan for PT in the future!
post #92 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by DariusMom View Post
I feel that when we, as woh moms, start trying to justify ourselves to others based on finances we inevitably run into the "but you could really do it if you wanted to." with lots of commentary on cutting back on discretionary spending and etc. I'm not having a go at anyone who honestly believes that, but I'm saying that I simply don't care. I also think that, by engaging in these arguments, we basically, implicitly state that sahing is the best, unless other factors, such as finances, intervene. I don't believe that sahing is the best *for me* or for a lot of women or for their kids and their families. I think it's great for some families. But I don't work for the money. I work for my self-esteem, my self-respect, my love for my profession, in addition to maintaining my sanity. That's best for me and my family and I refuse to implicitly buy into the sahming is the best unless you *have* to work mentality . . .
:

Never could have been as articulate as that!

I already posted, but here I go again. Love my career, love my patients, and I feel like I make a difference in the world by WOHing. The money is secondary for me, we would be fine without it. But we are a stronger family with me working. And that is what matters, not measuring up on someone else's mommy-meter.
post #93 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissSavannahsMommy View Post
: 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.
Since the pp was responding to a married mama, who is trying to decide if she can afford to stay home -- her suggestion that the op could do it if she really wanted to, doesn't seem to me to be a slap-in-the-face to single mammas who are the sole income-earners for their families.

Dh and I have made a choice for me to stay home -- and we're finding the pp's statement to be true for us. For us, me being a sahm means we're a one-income family: that's totally different from being a no-income family.

In a sense, the existence of single-parent families kind of answers the op's question. Single-parent families survive with one wage-earner -- because that's their situation and they deal with it. If a two-parent family decides to make do with only one wage-earner -- they have even more resources for dealing with the situation because there are two adults in the home to plan and problem solve.

Honestly, the only major difficulty I saw with the op's situation is her husband's current attitude toward people who don't earn money. I can see how it would be hard to sah if a husband saw it as "not working."
post #94 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisac77 View Post
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.
post #95 of 119
And I really appreiciate this thread and have learned to be more sensitive.
post #96 of 119
Chiming in late, but yes we could afford for me to stay home, but I really have no desire to. DD starts kindergarten in the fall, so basically I would be bored all day (I have ZERO interest in homeschooling, it would be a terrible choice for us).

When dd was born, I kept hearing how hard it would be to go back to work, but honestly, after 3 months of being home I was ready to tear my hair out. I need adult interaction, complex work to keep my brain busy, and I need time when I'm not being touched constantly. Without those things, I'm miserable.

WRT to the financial side, I grew up broke and I want to be able to save lots of money for retirement and for dd's education. I don't want to be like my parents and extended family and have to work forever because I wasn't able to afford to retire. I don't want to scrape by and worry month-to-month. Those things cause me far more stress and unhappiness than working does. And as far as material things go, I refuse to be ashamed that I want a few nice things. That does not make me a greedy person or mean I have misplaced priorities. I'm in my 30's, and the car I have now (which was bought used) is the first car that I've ever owned that has air conditioning - and we live in Florida! Until this point I drove old clunky vehicles with no a/c, which is damn near unbearable in the summer, or commuted by public transportation (when we lived in DC).
post #97 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by eloquence View Post
All I meant was that perhaps homeschoolers wouldn't care so much about school choice or extra curricular activities.
post #98 of 119
Answer to the OP: Yes, easily could afford it. No, I wouldn't even consider it, but I know that I'm in a different situation than most.

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.

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).
post #99 of 119
I completely forgot to check back on this thread.

I'm a rarity around here. I could stay at home if I wanted, but I really don't want to. I realized when my son was 6 months old that a part time option existed, but I'm not sure it's feasible with my actual job. And ITA about losing network connections and technical skills. I'm an electrical engineer; so technology is my bread and butter.

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.

I went to daycare and I turned out quite alright thank you very much.

Like I said, this is about more, to me, than the paycheck. I think some women are suited to be SAHMs, some women really want it, and that's great for them, but it's not what's best for my family. If that makes me greedy for wanting a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood, well then fine. I'm greedy.
post #100 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qestia View Post
But still... I suppose if SAHM-ing was really important to me we would move back to the midwest or someplace where we could live on $30k/yr. But I started this thread to find out other reasons--besides financial--for WOHMing. And there are plenty.
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!
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