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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. I need advice from mothers or soon-to-be mothers out there who have had to make the decision to continue working, or if you decided to stay home with your young children instead, what helped you come to that decision?

I'm having such mixed feelings about continuing to work and it's giving me anxiety every single day. I feel sick to my stomach at times because I don't feel like I'm putting my own wants and needs first before my employer's. I'm 5 months pregnant with my first baby. Growing up, the one thing I wanted most in the world was to be a mother, and second to that was to be a stay-at-home mom. But I grew up in this area/culture where I saw most mothers working and women were so career-oriented. It never seemed as acceptable to be a homemaker. I have only been at my current job for 1 year and it has me on a great career path, yet I still question every day how much I care about that. I am stressed all the time, I cry a lot, I just feel like I can never take care of myself when I'm working all the time... I've had some health struggles to begin with before getting pregnant. While my pregnancy has had no complications itself, I've struggled a lot myself through it and I've missed work here and there. It's been so rough... Now I'm just ready to throw in the towel from exhaustion of trying to put on a good face every day.

I think things just became so much more real for me at my 20-week u/s on Monday when we saw our baby girl for the first time... I am so much more in love with her now and I want to be taking better care of myself for her. I also want to give her the best childhood I can, and to me I feel it's important to have one parent at home with a baby for at least more than this stupid 12-week maternity leave we're allowed here. Both of my parents worked all the time when my siblings and I were growing up, and I feel that it was harmful in some ways. I want to give my children a different experience...

My husband got a new job a few months ago that thankfully has increased our income, so when I looked at our finances it appears that I could at least go down to part time work... and even consider not coming back after maternity leave. But my biggest problem is that I keep thinking about the needs of the company I work for and how they've invested so much time and energy into training me. I feel like they need me. I feel so much guilt over the idea of asking them if I can go down to part time. I also feel guilty about my husband taking on even more responsibility as the main income-provider, even though he has told me he's supportive of me doing what will keep me and the baby happy and healthy.

Basically my heart just isn't into "career" now that I'm going to become a mother... it could be the hormones talking and my massive anxiety that is scaring me away from work all together... I don't know... I'm just so torn.

Has anybody else felt this kind of internal struggle and felt like you can't seem to put yourself before your job? How do you cope? I need relief!
 

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I know how hard it can be to get by on one income, but when DD (6) was born I just could not fathom the idea of leaving her with someone I didn't know and trust. Fortunately for me, while DH and I were both working my mother was able to watch her. It made me feel a lot more comfortable that she was with someone I knew and trusted. Eventually we moved too far away and DH went back to school and works as an artist during his free time at home. DD is in school now, but with a new one on the way it is understood that DH will once again be a stay at home dad/freelance worker. The sheer expense of paying for childcare can be a huge deterrent for many people.

If income is a concern, I would see if there is any way for you to work part time or do freelance work. It has worked well for DH and I and at least one of us gets to be home with baby at all times. I wish you the best of luck. I know it's not an easy choice to make. I wish I could be at home too rather than at work all day, but DH and I have found what works best for us.
 

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Income aside- It sounds to me like your heart just is not in work. When your baby comes, it will be easier to put the obligation you feel towards HER before the obligations you feel towards your company. Being a parent has already changed your opinions, obviously- and it just gets bigger and better from here!

Now, thinking about income- being a single income family is hard sometimes, depending on how much DH makes. I know that there are times we have plenty of extra, and times we have to go without our wants because other things come first. Its just a matter of comfort, and what is more important to you and your family.
 

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I agree with the others. It sounds to me like you would prefer to be a sahm. Believe me, your baby is 1000% more important than any time an employer has taken to train you. It's nearly impossible to understand how you're going to love your baby until he's born, but it's a life-changing kind of love.

I always knew that I wanted to be a sahm as well. When I got pregnant with my first as 21, I was single, half-way through college and on my own. Somehow, with the support of my family I managed to quit working when my DS was born, start my own internet business and support myself, from home. Even though I never got any support from his father, my DS was NEVER in daycare. I personally don't understand why someone would want children, but not want to raise them (a child in full-time daycare spends more waking hours with their care provider than their parents).

Later, after my son was a few years old I became a nanny. This just further cemented the fact that I would NEVER, EVER put my children in daycare. While a daycare or nanny will meet the basic needs of a child, they do not love your child. Basically children in daycare spend 40-50 hours a week of their lives being managed instead of loved. I feel that love and atonement are just as important as being fed and having a clean diaper. Since then, I have had several of my close friends become nannies (so that they could afford to stay at home). Every single time my heart breaks for these children that are not being loved all day long. These children are forming a parent-like relationship with a person that is temporary and only cares about meeting their needs for $$. This is even coming from my friends that are very AP. It's simply impossible to love someone else's kid the way that a mother does. Anyway, needless to say, I think that if you can afford it being a sahm is the most important job in the world! :)
 

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I understand what you mean about feeling guilty that your employer has put a lot of time and effort into training you. But ITA with the pp's that once your baby is in your arms and you've had the chance to stay home for a while with her you will not want to leave her with someone else. Your feelings of guilt regarding your employer will be a thing of the past. Since it sounds like staying at home is what you want and that it is also financially feasible then I say just go for it!

This being said, you might have other feelings regarding staying home. Feelings like being trapped or missing out on adult conversation. Feeling like your brain is withering away and that your skills and education are going to waste. You might have feelings of jealousy for those women that seem to "have it all." These are totally valid and normal feelings. I definitely had this conflict once I had been at home with my first for a while. But I still have to say that I could never leave my children with someone else all day. And since I am blessed to have the option to stay home, I gladly take it. Is it all roses and butterflies? No! But I think it is absolutely worth it and for me I would feel even guiltier sending my kids off to daycare, wondering why I had chosen to have kids in the first place if I was turning them over to someone else for the majority of most days during such an impressionable time in their lives. I want to emphasize here that these are my feelings for ME and not a judgement on those that do send their kids to daycare for any variety of personal reasons.

It is a tough choice and these days it's not always a popular choice to stay home. But once you experience the life of a stay at home parent you will realize it is not at all for the faint of heart. It is not the easy way out by any stretch. You realize just how important and how difficult the job really is. My dh constantly says things like, "I would love it if you wanted to be the money earner and I could just stay home all day." And after a particularly trying weekend of poor behavior from the kids he always revises his statement to something like, "I could never do this all day everyday."
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Parenthood is the most challenging job there is. Anyway, good luck in your decision!
 

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I understand your dilemma a little bit. With my first child, although I had planned on staying home, I went back to work part-time. Somewhat because of money (although we probably could have lived off savings a few months while DH kept looking for a job, and what I earned was not enough to pay even rent and food), but mostly because my employer needed me. Well, not really my employer, but my students. They would have had NO band class if I didn't go back.

I don't regret my decision to stay at that job for another year at half time (and a little of that was being paid for 1 class period's worth of prep work, which I did not have to do AT school, so it was always relatively short time periods away from my son). However, I'm "staying home" (and doing some other work from home) now and love it. I think basing your decision on your employer's needs is generally not a very good idea, especially when it sounds like you want to stay home. Don't feel guilty about your employer, your first responsibility is to do what you think is best for your child!

As far as making ends meet on one income, you are contributing a lot (measured in money and in so much more) by caring for your child. You can do other money saving things like cooking from scratch or using cloth diapers or whatever other frugal habits work for your family. The "work" that you do with those things saves money and it really adds up. Plus, remember that if you "save" $50 by doing something frugal, you're probably saving your husband from having to earn $55, $60, $70 or more dollars, depending on your tax bracket, if that makes sense.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BananaBreadGirl View Post
You can do other money saving things like cooking from scratch or using cloth diapers or whatever other frugal habits work for your family. The "work" that you do with those things saves money and it really adds up. Plus, remember that if you "save" $50 by doing something frugal, you're probably saving your husband from having to earn $55, $60, $70 or more dollars, depending on your tax bracket, if that makes sense.
An excellent point and great suggestions!
 

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Uh-oh... I sense a "mommy wars" thread coming... guess I'll get my 2 cents in before it gets crazy in here.
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Whatever choice you make is valid. Do what is best for you and your baby/ family. Try not to take your workplace into account too much. They'll either understand or they won't. And if they don't, well, so what?! You don't work there anymore!

I stayed at home until dd1 was 5 and dd2 was 2. Then I went to work full-time out of necessity (I got a divorce). I will say that I found working much, much easier than SAHMing. I got to look pretty, no one was touching me or crying, I got to talk to adults, I was able to eat my lunch in peace, etc. I even got to listen to the news in the car!! I did miss my girls a lot, but I tried to make it a priority to leave early and get them. I've been working the past four years now.

However, if I worked after having this baby, I'd have two in aftercare and one in full-time daycare, plus the 14 yr old who I don't really want coming home and spending hours a day alone. Also, dp works out of state during the week, so there is no one to help with getting everybody up and moving in the morning, cooking, homework, etc. It's all on me. And I don't make very much money anyway. So we decided that I would not work for a while. It is going to be tight. After childcare, I would have been bringing home around $1000 a month (provided I didn't have to take any sick days, which is unlikely). Probably closer to $800 with the rate these four will be getting sick! That is a reasonable amount of money, but not enough that it's worth the struggle.

We will have to cut out some extras (eating out, nice clothes for grown-ups, pedicures, etc) but these are total luxuries! I'm okay with that.

I feel like I must say that SAHMing is simply not an option for many moms for a variety of reasons. And that is okay.
 

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Later, after my son was a few years old I became a nanny. This just further cemented the fact that I would NEVER, EVER put my children in daycare. While a daycare or nanny will meet the basic needs of a child, they do not love your child. Basically children in daycare spend 40-50 hours a week of their lives being managed instead of loved. I feel that love and atonement are just as important as being fed and having a clean diaper. Since then, I have had several of my close friends become nannies (so that they could afford to stay at home). Every single time my heart breaks for these children that are not being loved all day long. These children are forming a parent-like relationship with a person that is temporary and only cares about meeting their needs for $$. This is even coming from my friends that are very AP. It's simply impossible to love someone else's kid the way that a mother does. Anyway, needless to say, I think that if you can afford it being a sahm is the most important job in the world! :)
While I do agree that a nanny won't love your children as much, or in the same way, there are many nannies out there who do far more than simply "manage" the children. I, for one, was a nanny for 18 months to a pair of twins whom I love with all my heart. I went far, FAR beyond simply "managing" their needs. We spent seriously high-quality time together... and I often felt that their lives were much enhanced by my involvement, especially because their own mom was often frazzled, detached, distracted, rushed, and very impatient. She was a loving and wonderful mother, too, and obviously loves them more than anyone ever could. But I know that the time I spent with them was truly special and FULL of true love. My phone has dozens of photos and videos of them, and I relished every minute I had with those precious babies. I also have my master's degree in early childhood ed/special ed, so I felt that I could introduce a lot of developmentally-appropriate activities and interactions with them. I feel deeply that their lives are better because of me.

As for the original question, I can understand where you're coming from. As I mentioned, I have a Master's degree, and now I want to be a SAHM. I have barely worked since I graduated (I spent a great deal of time in a rewarding, but unpaid, internship), and I'm not working at the moment, and probably won't before the baby gets here (due November 4th). But I have no question that I want to be a SAHM. ESPECIALLY after being a nanny. Not because I didn't absolutely adore the children I nannied, but because I saw how much they grew and changed so quickly. I was sad for what their mom missed. But I captured it on video as much as possible
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to everyone for sharing all of your experiences and opinions! It means a lot to have my feelings validated because like I said, I don't know many women around me who seem to even consider not going back to work. I feel more judged for NOT wanting to go back and wanting to raise my children full time at least in the earliest years of their lives. My sister is very career-oriented and is searching for a full time nanny before she and her husband start having kids. I understand that her career is her passion. But she could more than afford to take care of her children herself, so it saddens me that she's in such an amazing position to stay at home with her babies, nurture them, bond with them, but she seems to have no interest in that lifestyle whatsoever. My mom tells me how she worked right up until her kids were born and then went back to work right after maternity leave. She could've afforded not to work too... It seems like the women in my family have no concept of how valuable that time with their children can be. So I feel like an outcast for even speaking of how important it can be to a child and to a mom for bonding time. I also *want* to breastfeed for a long time. I don't know anyone who has even breastfed for very long if they went back to work. They tried to pump but it just got to be too much work at some point. :-/ That scares me.

Have any of you worked right up until your maternity leave and then left your return from maternity leave "up in the air" with your employer? I'm wondering how to approach things with my boss. This is my first baby, you know? I don't know how I'll feel once she arrives. I might feel even more so like I want to stay home with her full time, or I might feel like I want to go back to work after all. But how the heck can I be expected to make the decision BEFORE I know how I'll feel? Is there a way to leave things up in the air with your workplace? The good thing is that my boss is actively searching for a temp to take over my work while I'm gone, so it's making me feel a little less like I'd be leaving them high and dry if I decided to come back only part time after maternity leave.

So much to think about............. I have such a respect for women who can make these decisions without blinking! My emotions need to calm the heck down and let me think clearly. Haha. :)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdhappy85 View Post

I also *want* to breastfeed for a long time. I don't know anyone who has even breastfed for very long if they went back to work. They tried to pump but it just got to be too much work at some point. :-/ That scares me.
This is a good point and one I forgot to mention. I actually do know a few amazing WOHM's that religiously pumped while at work and nursed at home for over a year. But it was very hard for them and many prefer to breastfeed for more than a year (dd weaned at 28 months). And you're right most end up stopping after just a few months b/c of many reasons, but namely lack of support in the work place (no time to pump, no private place to pump, etc.) I personally feel that this is a very real and valid reason to stay home in addition to wanting to be present for your child. If you do end up deciding to return to work I highly recommend talking with your employer about your pumping needs.

Quote:
Have any of you worked right up until your maternity leave and then left your return from maternity leave "up in the air" with your employer? I'm wondering how to approach things with my boss.
Yes, I did this with my job. My employer didn't think I would be able to stay away from my work and encouraged me to come back at any time after I had the baby. Often it is possible to simply take your maternity leave, maybe tack on any sick/vacation you have, and sometimes you can also claim disability before or after the birth for additional time (this depends on your job/insurance) and make a decision within that time frame (giving notice when appropriate). I've also known several moms that figured out ways to work entirely from home, telecommute, or work part time at home and part time at work. Maybe discuss all your options with your boss and with HR so you know what is even possible.
 

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Never an easy decision! But research all of the options that your company may have so you know before you decide to quit altogether.

some companies will allow part-time (either half days, or a few days a week.)

some will allow teleworking (working from home)

some allow flex-hours (like a combo of working from home and/or in office during the hours that are mutually good)

Some will allow extended maternity leave (unpaid) as a leave without pay for 6mos up to 1 year and let you come back.

I would certainly say that if you can take a longer maternity leave (6-12 mos) off, and arrange to be part-time / telecommute or perhaps just occasionally on a as-needed contract basis, that might give you more room to navigate your options.

Surprisingly some moms will hit a point after staying home that they really miss having that opportunity to be doing something else in addition to being a mom.

I took a 12 mos maternity leave (only had about 4mos of paid leave for most of that) and then was able to negotiate a telework arrangement so that I rarely have to go to my office. Otherwise I was going to quit and they didn't want to loose me!

For us this made sense since I have far superior benefits to my husbands plan, and I wanted to stay long enough to get vested in the pension retirement program.

I'll admit, when my DD was about 9-10 mos old I was SO ready to have some "me" time and not live paycheck to paycheck.
I wish I didn't have a full-time work week, but by working from home I have tremendous flexibility. some moms who get a part-time agreement have complained that they are cramming almost a full weeks work into half as many hours for half the pay, so be sure to be cautious of that.

We ultimately hired a nanny for the first 2 years until my DD was old enough for a small preschool at 3yrs old. It was not cheap to have a nanny, but I think it was far better than group daycare. And I felt at 12mos I was ready to let someone else help me out--she also helped with dishes, laundry, and light housekeeping, which I desperately needed ;-)

Hope this helps!

Caty
 

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BTW, wanted to ad that I had every intention of going back at the end of 16wks of maternity leave... But I found it SO hard to figure out day care I liked. I was still running around looking at places during my maternity leave, and had narrowed it down to one that I liked. After going there 2x with my 3 mos old baby, on the way home from the 2nd visit I realized I was SO not ready to go back in a few weeks and leave her with another woman. That was when I asked to come back part time, but they would only do it for a few short months. So, I checked with HR and realized I could take leave without pay for up to 12 mos and still return to my position and salary, so I did that. Then a few months before that year was up my husband go a job in another state. Since I had nothing to loose, I went in to ask my boss if I could telework full time from a distance (from DC to CA!!) when I returned. I fully expected a NO since they had not approved the part-time option (at least not for more than 2-3 months). However to my astonishment, they said YES, and so we moved from DC to CA and I had a few months to settle into the new place, and started teleworking. It's given me so much more flexibility, and I could not imagine working full-time in an office that I have to commute to. It has it's challenges (working from home). But since LA is so outrageously expensive, we need my income, and benefits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I would LOVE to work from home. That would be ideal for me, however impractical based on the work I do. My midwife has advised my employer to allow me to work reduced work hours during my pregnancy since I've had a really rough time managing the same hours I had been before, but I'm still only down to 32-35 hours/week as opposed to my previous 40. The only reason this has helped is that I have flexibility during the last 1.5 hours of my workday. I can leave at 3:00 when I don't feel well or stay longer until 4:30 on days I feel able. This little flexibility isn't quite cutting it for me anymore, though... I see my midwife on Tuesday and will see what she advises. I worry that my employer only agreed to this arrangement out of obligation due to my healthcare provider's request. Don't get me wrong, my boss has been amazing in response to everything that has gone on, and she has really been accommodating and concerned for my well-being. The problem is that I don't know of a single person in the company who has a flexible work schedule and very few who work part time. When I was hired on, I asked if there was room for flexibility and they explicitly stated "no." I think they must've had people abuse privileges in the past. I'm not sure. But while my boss has been accommodating of my need for flexibility to make it to doctor's appointments and other unexpected things that have come up during the pregnancy, I can't stand that I have to alert everyone each time. That's not quite a "flexible" work schedule. Flexibility to me is really having control over your hours, varying from day to day, not having to alert anyone of your schedule every day, just making sure you work a certain number of hours each week. That's what I REALLY need.

Oh and you brought up a good point in saying that if you work less, sometimes you're being pressed to do the same amount of work. That is so true. Even during weeks when I've worked like 25-30 hours due to missed hours from pregnancy issues, I've completed the same amount of work. I'm not complaining because I like to be busy actually, but if I permanently go down to less hours, I'll have to keep an eye on this.

My boss tells me almost every day lately how great my contribution to the company has been, how appreciative they are of my hard work, all of that positive reinforcement that is hard to come across in a corporate setting. I appreciate it, and I honestly would love to stay with this company for a while. It's just that 12-week maternity leave issue that will NOT cut it for me. I really hope she is willing to push for me to work a different schedule (whether flexible, reduced, telecommuting, etc) when the baby comes, or take a longer unpaid maternity leave. I had no idea some companies will even let you take a longer leave with guarantee of return! That may be exactly what I need. Even 6 months instead of 3 would be amazing to me. Seeing as how I'm supposed to come back from maternity leave right when auditing season hits (I'm a staff accountant), I kind of doubt they'll want me to take off during that time... But we will see! I'll figure out a way to approach things.
 

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I think it takes a lot of soul searching to know what will work for you. And you may not know until after you're back to work. With DD1, I had just started a job when I get pregnant and had to quit right away because of the severity of the hyperemesis (I worked in the food industry...not a good combination!). So, I planned all along to send her to my mom (who owned a home daycare my entire life until just after my DD was born because of my dad's Parkinson's diagnosis) and find a job at 6 weeks.

She was 4 months when I started a part-time job at BRU. I actually really liked my job AND the people I was working with. And I was pumping. DD1 nursed until she was 3 and I worked and was in college at least part time during all over 1st year. Including her seventh month that saw me working 30-35 hours a week, attending 3 full days of a CNA class, and having my regular homework as well. I was out of the house over 50 hours a week, and unable to use an electric pump at class. So, nursing CAN be done while working. I'm not saying it didn't suck (pun intended) but it was doable. My breaks at work were ALL spent pumping, so lunch was basically something I could eat in one hand while holding the pump flanges on me with the opposite arm (how I wish I'd know about the pumping bras then!). There were also times when I would have to get up early to pump or stay up late to pump as well. This was rare once my body got used to pumping...mainly if my dad spilled a bag of milk or for a growth spurt, etc. I will say pumping gets exponentially easier once your baby likes solids. For DD1, that was around 9 months. And be prepared for reverse cycling. DD1 would take milk while I was gone, but left to her own devices would prefer to maybe take one 5 oz bottle during the 9 hrs I was gone and then just nurse ALL. Night. Long. Co-sleeping was a must for me as a working mom. I wound up quitting BRU after having my first miscarriage. I worked mainly in the baby registry, and I couldn't deal with a constant stream of pregnant women. I'm still glad I made that choice, as I had 2 more miscarriages before DD2 was conceived.

I also worked (at BRU and at Sear's Portrait) after DD2 was born. I worked from when she was 3 months to 14 months consistently, then off and on after that for months. Pretty much whenever the portrait studios needed me. I went back this Christmas, when DD3 was 7 months old. My heart just was not in it. At all. I HATED working there. It was the same people, and I still enjoyed the work, but spent my entire day missing my babies and dreaming of being home. I was no longer a working mom, and I could tell that.

So, I think you need to evaluate your feelings and your family after baby is here. You may feel differently if you have a very laid back baby versus a high needs one. Or if nursing doesn't just naturally happen right away, it may be a bigger priority for you to stay home and nurse your baby (for DH and I we always agreed if it was between working or nursing, I'd stay home and nurse the baby). And along with these practical points, remember to honor your feelings and what feels right for your family.

As far as dropping to one income...perhaps start living on just your DH's income now. Use yours to buy baby's things and put up a savings to have on hand for emergencies, a college fund for baby, etc. That way it isn't yet another shock to the system when you're already adjusting from being a family of 2 to a family of 3 and being at home all day.
 

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I would highly recommend staying home. For one thing, your baby will only be a baby for a year. When people say "They grow up too fast." they aren't lying. Yes, it is a huge life change to go from working to staying at home with a demanding little person all of the time. But it is precious time you can never get back. You work will always be there when your children are older. I don't think anyone gets to the end of their life and thinks "I wish I would have worked more!" but I am sure plenty of people wish they had spent more time with their kids. Also, you don't have to stay at home all of the time--that might drive you crazy especially since you are used to leaving the house ever day! Joining a mom's group is wonderful--if only to get you out of the house and around other moms at the same stage as you a few times a week. There is amazing support among mothers. MOMS Club is a good one to look into. If you are Christian, MOPS is awesome too. And I know a lot of people don't like her (and I don't like some of what she says--she can be uh, "abrupt" to put it nicely), but Dr. Laura's book "In Praise of Stay at Home Moms" is an excellent book. My response is all over the place but I will add that I had a job that I LOVED and had trained for and was good at and everyone thought I'd be back to work after my first baby was born (even though I said I wouldn't). I have never looked back--I wouldn't trade the time I've had with my kids for ANY job. :)
 

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Just my personal experience: I loved my job before DD1 was born and felt my career to be a strong part of my identity. I took a year off but fully planned to return to work full time after that. I did return part time but my heart is so not in it and I can't wait until the end of the summer when I will be a full time SAHM again. I anticipate that I will eventually return to work but this time I'm planning to stay at home indefinitely until I'm ready - or as long as I can. On the other hand - I have a good friend who found being a SAHM very stressful. She went back to work full-time after a year and a half and she is so much happier as a mom and just overall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Octane, I just looked up that book you mentioned In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms on Amazon and came across this comment/review from a woman who was a CPA but decided to be a SAHM for 18+ years. I hope it's okay for me to copy her post into this discussion, but I just HAD to share it with everyone because she gives such a powerful explanation for why it's often more cost-effective to stay at home to care for children than work!

From MomOf3 (posted in 2009):

"Many are shocked to know that I have skills and chose to stay at home. I have been puzzled for years why more couples haven't figured out how little of the 2nd income they keep, after taxes and day care. I figured it out years ago & like John Galt, checked out. I have talked many couples into having one stay at home, by explaining it from a financial perspective (not to mention all the other reasons, especially that you might as well sign up for a slew of ear infections & tubes in the ears, if you put a baby in daycare.)

"It helps to understand how much of the second income you actually keep, on an after-tax basis. When your taxable income rises above $65,000 you are in a 25% FIT (federal income tax) rate. Add 7.5% for FICA and state & local taxes of 5%, leaving you with 62 cents of each additional dollar earned. Daycare can easily run be another 20%, plus the expenses of working outside the home (car, clothes, gas, eating out). So, if the second income causes taxable income to exceed $65,000, you may only be keeping 40 cents of each additional hard earned dollar. Not including the phase-out of the Child Tax Credit as AGI exceeds $110,000.

"There is no question that whatever choice a mother makes, it is stressful. I think it's a matter of choice, which stress you choose. My conclusion is this was not a privilege, it was an obligation. It wasn't easier having 3 in less than 4 years. For my sanity, it would have been easier to drop them at daycare, however, I might have been paying to work with 3 in daycare, after taxes."

Wow. I work in the accounting field and am always going over our personal finances to figure out where we can save and how we could manage on one income, but I hadn't even factored in the income tax portion of the argument. That is DRAMATIC, especially when you look at the more current figures for income taxes: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/federal-income-irs-tax-brackets.html

Just something additionally validating. Thought I'd share. :)
 

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Very true. I had a friend that was thinking about going back to work. I did this kind of calculation for her and it turned out that she'd only bring home about $500 a month after daycare, car, gas and taxes. That's hardly worth missing out on your child's most formative years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by birdhappy85 View Post

Octane, I just looked up that book you mentioned In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms on Amazon and came across this comment/review from a woman who was a CPA but decided to be a SAHM for 18+ years. I hope it's okay for me to copy her post into this discussion, but I just HAD to share it with everyone because she gives such a powerful explanation for why it's often more cost-effective to stay at home to care for children than work!

From MomOf3 (posted in 2009):

"Many are shocked to know that I have skills and chose to stay at home. I have been puzzled for years why more couples haven't figured out how little of the 2nd income they keep, after taxes and day care. I figured it out years ago & like John Galt, checked out. I have talked many couples into having one stay at home, by explaining it from a financial perspective (not to mention all the other reasons, especially that you might as well sign up for a slew of ear infections & tubes in the ears, if you put a baby in daycare.)

"It helps to understand how much of the second income you actually keep, on an after-tax basis. When your taxable income rises above $65,000 you are in a 25% FIT (federal income tax) rate. Add 7.5% for FICA and state & local taxes of 5%, leaving you with 62 cents of each additional dollar earned. Daycare can easily run be another 20%, plus the expenses of working outside the home (car, clothes, gas, eating out). So, if the second income causes taxable income to exceed $65,000, you may only be keeping 40 cents of each additional hard earned dollar. Not including the phase-out of the Child Tax Credit as AGI exceeds $110,000.

"There is no question that whatever choice a mother makes, it is stressful. I think it's a matter of choice, which stress you choose. My conclusion is this was not a privilege, it was an obligation. It wasn't easier having 3 in less than 4 years. For my sanity, it would have been easier to drop them at daycare, however, I might have been paying to work with 3 in daycare, after taxes."

Wow. I work in the accounting field and am always going over our personal finances to figure out where we can save and how we could manage on one income, but I hadn't even factored in the income tax portion of the argument. That is DRAMATIC, especially when you look at the more current figures for income taxes: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/federal-income-irs-tax-brackets.html

Just something additionally validating. Thought I'd share. :)
 

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I kind of resent the idea that a care provider is only going to "manage" your child and won't love them. I've been in the business of caring for children (either in a daycare center or in my own home where I do daycare now) for 6 years and I love my kids. I've cried when leaving jobs or having a kid move away, I feel like I'm losing one of my own. I don't just manage any of them. I've bonded with all of them, especially the ones that I've had in my house. I'm going back to work part-time in about a month and I'm seriously grieving over not seeing my daycare kids anymore. No one could tell me that I don't love them. And if you have your kid in someone's care and you feel like they don't love them, you should probably be looking for someone else.
 
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