Thinking of becoming a stay at home parent - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 05-11-2010, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In six weeks our parental leave ends. My wife took the first 10 months leave and I am taken the last 2 months leave. We have it situated that between lieu time and vacation days that we will be able to be home with our DD all but 1 day a week for the summer.

We are considering having me quit my job and stay home. It is a torturous decision. Neither of us can stomach the thought of putting our DD in the care of someone else. But at the same time, having both of us earning money feels safe and means we can save more money.

We have crunched the numbers and we can make it work on her salary, but it will be very tight. It will mean much less savings and less flexibility to do some things we would like to do. But these things are def. wants and not in the least needs. Her salary will pay the bills if we are frugal. We usually are, but there would be less wiggle room.
We could also could save for several things, but less that we have been while I am working. Our savings would be:
* education fund for DD
* retirement fund for us
* maintenance saving for house maintenance or housing emergencies
* very small vacation fund to allow us to visit family across the country every 12-18months and do a camping trip each summer.
* small emergency fund
* small miscellaneous fund for unforeseen expenses

With all of this our budget will be super tight. There is very little room for much outside of our necessities, and we will have to be creative with meal planning and finding ways to be more frugal.

We do have plans for it to be shortish term...like 2-3 years before I start a consulting business. And we are thinking that maybe I take a kid or two in for before/after school care if possible to help build more savings and make things not so tight.

Are you happy with the decision to stay home? Have any of you made this decision although it makes things very tight for you? I will be a stay at home dad, and I am a little worried about that. Although I have been home with DD for the past 2 weeks and it is going quite well (although exhausting!)

Me 40 eat.gif. Partner to mamacolleen 33 superhero.gif. DD born July 2009 blahblah.gif. Twin boys born Nov 2012.

We are a family that loves cold.giftreehugger.giffamilybed1.giffemalesling.GIFcd.gif

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#2 of 7 Old 05-12-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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I can't speak about the dad issue, but I can offer a perspective on the other questions. I took an 18-month break from work with my oldest two, and our budget was much as you described yours. We managed but it was very tight, and after a while the family austerity program grew very tiresome. So I went back to work, where I've been for over three years. But what they say about the extra expenses of working has proven very true for us. Though I make a very decent salary, the take-home after all the new spending (daycare, driving, clothing, convenience foods, etc.) is very small. There are certainly other considerations beyond the immediate paycheck, like long-term earnings and career trajectory, which may be of consequence for some. But for us, the tradeoff has not been worth it. So we looked again, more carefully, at the budget and really cut. (And I've resigned; only a few days to go.) One good thing about cultivating frugality in connection with raising children is that, for us at least, it's allowing us to practice what we want to preach to our kids -- things about conservation, the concept of "enough," greener living, the family as priority, etc. So it feeds on itself, fuels itself. This sense of alignment is an extremely powerful motivator. I know I will work again eventually, but I doubt it will ever be office-based, full-time work. If you have skills that allow for earning money through consulting -- and it sounds like you do -- being able to create your own work/life reality is an enormous treat. (Oh, and check out the "Have you read Radical Homemakers" thread. If it sounds like your cup of tea, I'd highly recommend the book for anyone considering this kind of transition.) Good luck!
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#3 of 7 Old 05-12-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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Out budget is tight and that would not be an issue if I worked, but I have never regretted staying at home. I miss some things about work (colleagues, lunches out, feeling *smart* because I solved complex problems, the wardrobe) but I just could not fathom having someone else care for our kids, so it was a no-brainer. My oldest is 5 and about to go to kindergarten in the fall and I see how big and independent he is now and I realize how fast those early years go and how important they are. I wouldn't trade being home for anything at this point.

It's important to have friends and support. I notice that when there is a dad at the park, they often don't chat with the moms. And, of course, most of the people who SAH are moms. So I'd suggest reaching out to people, joining a playgroup, etc. It can get very lonely if you don't have someone to meet up with occasionally.

SAH is like the Peace Corps "the toughest job you'll ever love." It is wonderful and important and has a lot of perks....but it's also (at times) exhausting, frustrating, boring, and well, garners very little respect. As long as you're ready for the benefits and the drawbacks, you'll be fine.

Good luck!

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#4 of 7 Old 05-13-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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4 kids under 10
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#5 of 7 Old 05-14-2010, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My wife cannot take a part time job because she already works a full time job and is in school part time doing a masters degree. My wife makes almost double the salary I make, and so it would be me quitting my job and her continuing to work. If we could live off of my salary she would love to stay home. But we could never live off of my salary.

I guess I could work full time and she could work 3/4 time. Bbut then we would be in the same boat financially as if I quit my job because we would have to pay childcare costs.

Me 40 eat.gif. Partner to mamacolleen 33 superhero.gif. DD born July 2009 blahblah.gif. Twin boys born Nov 2012.

We are a family that loves cold.giftreehugger.giffamilybed1.giffemalesling.GIFcd.gif

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#6 of 7 Old 05-15-2010, 09:30 PM
 
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I think there ares ways where you both can trust your instincts and desires as parents without compromising. Good luck!
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#7 of 7 Old 05-15-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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You know, it's tight financially but you will make it work. You have enough $$ to save so you have more wiggle room than we do.

It's not perfect. It's not easy. There will be times you just don't have a penny to call your own, they will pass. It all evens out.

I say go for it BUT I would try to have a small something on the side so you have a 'thing' that is child free. A hobby or a low key part time job, something that gets you out of the house sans child and into a different role for a while--that really helps keep me balanced and feeling like I'm more than a parent.

V

Happy Momma to DD (almost 3) Fall Coleslaw -- Simple Italian Stuffed Peppers -- - Fall Toddler Activities.- We Made a Play Kitchen Selling gently used books on all topics here.
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