Trying to decide whether to SAH - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 11-30-2005, 04:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a 3 1/2 month old daughter and I love staying home with her during the day. My mom stayed home with me, and it's always been my dream to homeschool my kids, since I believe I learned more from my mom at home than I ever learned in a classroom as a kid. But, my dh and I made the decision to purchase a new house right when dd was born, and the mortgage payments are just outrageous when it's just my dh's income that's being used to pay it off each month. We're using our savings to cover so many expenses right now and we just keep hoping that dh will make more commissions in his work so that we won't have to keep borrowing like we're doing. But for the past 3 months it's just been borrowing over and over again and I really don't know how much longer we can afford to live like this. We are being soo incredibly frugal, but still we keep borrowing since dh's commissions aren't where we'd hoped they'd be.

I'm really debating about going back to work full-time. I had put dd's name on a waiting list at a pretty good day care center before she was born and I just got a phone call from them offering to give her a place at the center in January if I still want it. I have to make a decision this week about signing her up for the center or not, but I really don't want to. I just keep going back and forth in my head about what's most important for my little one: to live in a nice house while mommy's gone at work all day, or for her to have her mommy home with her while the family maybe all have to live in an apartment for a period of time. I guess I know in my heart for myself that having mommy home with her is what I really want to do for her. But it's still a really hard decision to justify in my mind.

I guess I was wondering if any other mom's have ever been faced with this kind of decision: choosing whether to continue staying at home with the kids and live a more frugal life, maybe even having to down-size their living space vs. the decision to go back to work to have the more comfortable lifestyle yet with the kids having to be in day care all day?

Thanks for reading, and take care,

wild.gifJofulone: loving wife of dh, mama of dd 8yrs and dd 6yrs, angel1.gif 6/09.  waterbirth.jpg homebirth.jpgguitar.gifsuperhero.gif 
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#2 of 14 Old 11-30-2005, 03:36 PM
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We moved to a new city wher my dh could make higher wages so that i could stay home with the kids. We also chose to buy an older half duplex rather than a new larger detached home because it keeps our housing costs down.

It's hard when you are already in the more expencive home to think about moving away from it. It was very hard for me to move away from my family and my circle of friends but I think kids are worth it. If you want to stay home you should find a way to do it. A house is just a house, it's what's inside (family) that make it a home.

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#3 of 14 Old 11-30-2005, 04:16 PM
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I was just reading something about this in a LLL book called "The Heart Has It's Own Reasons." by Mary Ann Cahill. Here is a quote:

"What makes a house a home is the people in it. There is something terribly sad about a residential street where house after house stands silent and empty during the day, heavily bolted against modern preditors. The adults are out working-quite often to pay for the high housing costs-and the children have been dispersed to various caretakers. Is the house serving the people, or are the people serving the house?" When parents and children are at home only in the evening and on weekends, the tab for housing per hour of use is very high."

My Mom got me the book for like $1 on It is about how to stay home when you are broke. I haven't even read most of it yet. I just got it yesterday. I think you would like the book. Even the title speaks to your post.

The weird thing is, my mother doesn't seem to understand why I stay home with my kids. It seems like the whole world is working. If I do see a SAHM they are driving around in their SUV taking their baby Spanish class. Yes, us broke SAHM need support. Here comes a bold statement.

The most reasonable thing to do is sell the house.

If you husband could be talked into selling or renting the house do it!

We are broke and in debt too. Having a high need baby, and experience working in day care, is motivation enough for me to be a SAHM. I would do almost anything to stay with my babies.

I have gotten a few jobs where my 1st baby was with me. I didn't stick with the jobs, but at least it helped for a while. I babysat a school aged child (in summer) and a baby and made $200 a week. I babysat in a gym while the parents were excersizing for $6 per hour 15 hours a week. I've gotten frugal, even though I didn't want to be.

Please let us know what you told the day care ("no thanks" I hope.)
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#4 of 14 Old 12-02-2005, 01:32 PM
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#5 of 14 Old 12-02-2005, 04:51 PM
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I wonder if there is something you could do from home? Maybe start a childcare center or even take one or two other children in and make a little money. Could you work part time in the evenings or weekends when your dh is home? After my first was born I went to work in a law firm part-time for a couple of months and was able to bring her. As soon as she was mobile I nannied for a family and took her with me. I went back to work when she was 12 months old and it lasted 4 months. It was not worth it to me, I missed staying home with her too much. After my second was born I started working part time sat/sun mornings taking newborn pics at local hospitals. It was a great way to make a little money and not miss out on too much time with my family. Now that I've had my third I'm not working at all, but we don't need the money as much now.

Is is really worth the take home money to go back to work? I have no idea what you make or how expensive the daycare center is but you may be able to make the same amount doing something else without having to put your child in someone else's care for 9 hrs a day. And it may just be temporary until your dh starts earning more commission and you won't have to worry about it. If you really want to try working full time then maybe go into it knowing that it's just a trial run. You can always decide to quit anytime. But it sounds like in your heart you really want to stay home, and I think that is awesome that you are considering homeschooling.

We have had to downsize and move into an apartment that is further south than where I want to live and is way smaller than what we would like. But it means I can continue to stay home and not stress about money, so it's worth it.

IMO I would rather have a older car and small living space and get to raise my children myself, than to have a huge house, brand new suv, new clothes, etc but have to work full time and leave my children everyday.

If I were you I would try to find something you can do with your dd and stay in your new home. If it's not possible then maybe consider moving somewhere cheaper, it won't be forever, but your baby will not be young forever either

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#6 of 14 Old 12-02-2005, 07:20 PM
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I love being home and think it is important BUT we have the tiny house and my dh is constantly frusterated....I am coming to realize that a miserable husband who feels like a failure since he can't provide for his family what he thinks they need is bad too. SOOOOO

I am looking for a middle choice, maybe moving off somwhere cheaper so we can afford a house (because we live in a very expensive area) and staying home. Anyway something to consider.
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#7 of 14 Old 12-02-2005, 07:37 PM
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It sounds to me like you want to continue to stay home.

I wonder if you could
1) move to a less expensive house (this would be an option for some families and not for others. You have to talk to your dh about the degree to which having a conventionally "nice" home is important. It is really important to the mental health of some people. My bother and I grew up in pretty bad rent houses (one without running water). I could care less about my house - in fact the smaller and qurkier the more at "home" I feel. My bother cares very much about living in a "normal" and "nice" house. Niether of us is "right," just different. He wouldn't be happy if he had to downgrade himself to a shotgun house with "character."
2) work part-time and put your daughter in a part-time preschool. This might not solve the problem, but it could alleviate some of teh finacial stress for a while.

I don't believe that sah is the best/only way to raise happy, full thriving kids. But it sounds like you really want to be a sahm. I feel that way too. I'd have no problem trading a nice house for an apartment in order to sah, but houses never held the kind of significance for me that they hold for other people.

Good luck.
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#8 of 14 Old 12-02-2005, 08:07 PM
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we chose to go against the grain so to speak and not buy a house after we got married so that I could SAH. it's worth it. as long as we have warmth, food on the table, and we're not suffering, I'll stay home. I also plan on taking in another baby during the day to help make ends meet. someday we'll be able to afford a large home and all the extras. right now the baby needs me. if it's what you want to do, find a way to make it work. you won't regret it.

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#9 of 14 Old 12-07-2005, 03:35 AM
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I would say to think long-term. I wah for a few years and then worked ft for a few years and saved up the money to be home and have been home for almost 3 years.

I am proud of the security those years bought us. I don't doubt my decision to have secured my family $$$ anymore than I doubt my decision to be home ft now.

Think big picture and figure out what works for you and your family.

barney & Ben
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#10 of 14 Old 12-07-2005, 03:02 PM
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I feel for you; it's hard to make that kind of decision. I agree with BJ who said to think big picture.

As an aside, it does get very expensive to buy and sell houses. (as you know, having just done it.) The real estate agent's %, the moving costs, selling costs, etc... all can add up.

Maybe there's a middle ground, if you were to go back to work now and then in a couple of years, when your dh's commissions have presumably increased, SAH when the baby is older and more able IMO to reap the benefits from you being at home.

I certainly love being at home. I was an atty. before so I know what it's like to lose a salary. It's just that if you love the house and if you love the neighborhood and you'll presumably pay a lot of $$ to make the move, maybe there are alternatives somewhere in the middle that will work long term for you guys.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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#11 of 14 Old 12-07-2005, 03:11 PM
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It's not the exact situation you are in and I am only telling part of the story but:

We had bought a brand new townhome when I was about 3 month pregnant. I worked fulltime and we could afford it on our combined income. When Trevor was born the house still hadn't been built and I got a taste of being a SAHM. Even though I had daycare lined up for him, we made the decision to back out of our house contract because we wouldn't be able to afford payments on one income (it hadn't been built yet and wasn't a big deal to cancel) and have me stay home. We havent bought a house since, we couldn't afford to on one income (we are buying a house in March after saving a while and having the opportunity for my husband to transfer to a lower cost of living area and wince our first child's birth he has had enough promotions/raises to now make more than our old combined income).

We've never regretted the decision to not buy that house, even after driving through thh finished area. I would rather have my time with my children than be a homeowner (or maybe you could sell and downsize to a less expensive house?)

Married, working mom to son (almost 15), DD1 (almost 13) and DD2 (11). Oh, and badnewf, a nonobadbordercollie and 3 black cats.
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#12 of 14 Old 12-07-2005, 03:47 PM
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we are being more frugal. I love my baby and I am pregnant as well so I dont feel right working. I'm going to go back to work once the new baby is 6 months.

Jami (25) Roland (27) & Caleb (5), Jacob (3.5) , Kaitlyn (2)
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#13 of 14 Old 12-07-2005, 11:06 PM
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Just keep in mind that continual financial stress could seriously effect your marriage, how you parent, how you feel. I'm not talking just living frugally, but serious, growing debt. I understand that staying at home is important, but maybe the huge change of moving or working (and maybe it could be temporary?) might ease the burden of potentially crippling financial stress. It's not always about getting more stuff. And a lot of marriages suffer when bills can't be paid and everyone is stressed out.

We struggle too, and if I didn't freelance some for my old job (it's so inconsistent though, very frustrating) then I would definitely be back working by now. That wouldn't be the worst thing if I could find great daycare and a great flexible part-time new job, but hahaha that is funny isn't it. Every time I get frustrated with staying at home, I have to remind myself how sad I'd be to be back at work before I'm ready. It doesn't always feel so lucky when we're barely getting by, not saving, not getting any extras- sometimes I think I would just kill for a babysitter, fenced in yard, and simple vacation. If you do go back to work, remind yourself that you've had these three months with your infant daughter. That's more than some moms are able to do! I think a lot depends too on the job, on the hours, the pay, on how far the commute is. The change can sound like a huge hurdle (it does to me!) but there's always a chance that it might work out well.
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#14 of 14 Old 12-08-2005, 10:09 AM
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Well, before I quit working, we were very comfortable... sometimes I miss the days where I could go out and buy whatever my little heart desired.... but when I look at my son's happy face and knowing that he can come to me any time of the day, I know what I did was worth every penny lost.

My husband not only doesn't make a ton of money, but he also pays a TON of money in Child support... we don't own a home, we're putting that off until the step-kids are over 18 because we pay what would equal to a housepayment in child support so when they turn 18 we will have that money to put into a house. It will be like a free house since we aren't used to having that money anyway. But anyway, I'm getting off subject. DS will be 12 years old before we are living in an actual house. Right now, we live in a 2 bedroom townhome... DS sleeps with me and the step-kids share the other bedroom. We want to have more children but have no intentions of moving to a bigger place anytime soon. We actually enjoy having a smaller place. We moved here from a huge 4 bedroom townhome shortly after I quit my job. We live a very frugal life. I make all of my sons cloth diapers, I make cloth paper towels, cleaning agents... pretty much everything we use, I make. We are living outside of our means with just basic bills and groceries by about 80 a month but we steal from peter to pay paul and it's been working for over 3 years now.... it's not the ideal way to live but it works and keeps me at home. DH is moving up quickly in his business so I expect sooner or later we'll be a little better off. But it's amazing what you really can do when you work out all the bills and live off of what you absolutely have to. We don't have cell phones, we just recently got cable and internet because of a raise DH got. We treat ourselves to something nice every once in awhile when something good happens but for the most part, we live simply and only have the basics. My son has everything he needs and more... we have everything we need and my son has me at home... in the end, that's what really mattered to us. So, I guess my point is, if we can do it... anyone can. But it depends on your priorities. Do you need to have all the extras, do you need to have your hair done every week, do you need a cell phone, etc.... anyway, good luck on your decision. It is not an easy one.

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