IS STAYING AT HOME AN OPTION ANYMORE?

sahm

before holden, i worked part-time from home at a job.  despite the fact that i had always envisioned myself as a stay at home mom, we didn’t think we would be able to survive comfortably on just one income and so we planned for me to continue working from home once holden arrived, fitting my work in between his naps (ha!).  once holden arrived, i could barely fathom taking any time away from him to go back to a job that i didn’t enjoy in the least and i decided not to.  we made sacrifices and still struggle financially from time to time, but for us our top priority was for me to be home with him.

and unfortunately, this seems to be a growing anomaly to the norm.  in the past, it was easily possible for a family to survive off of one salary; however in today’s world, despite even the best financial planning, it is sometimes impossible for a couple to survive on a single income.  the number of children under five who spend time in non-parental care has risen significantly in recent years and although most mothers who drop their kids off every morning will tell you that it’s not an easy decision, for many there is no other option.

being the first of my friends to get pregnant, i didn’t know anyone else in the area with children so once dustin’s paternity leave was over i started attending a new parent group for babies 0-3 months.  we met twice a week and discussed all of the issues, both big and small, that come with having a newborn including sleep, feeding, adjusting to parenthood, adjusting as a couple, and a common source of discussion was mothers heading back to work.

although some of the mothers were looking forward to going back to their jobs, they were still heartbroken over the matter, the majority of women in the group just not quite ready to leave their little ones, a visible anxiousness and growing apprehension appearing in their faces as the their time grew shorter and shorter.  many wanted to go back to their jobs eventually, just not after a short three weeks.  as the months quickly passed, more and more mothers dropped out of the group and at the end of the three months, we were left with a small handful of women who were able to stay at home with their little ones.

some mothers happily stay at home, some mothers happily head back to work, some mothers begrudgingly head back to work, but at the very least shouldn’t we have the ability to have more of a choice in the matter without feeling forced into the situation.

whether it’s longer paid maternity leaves, jobs that offer salaries that allow families to live off of one income, or companies holding the position for women that wish to stay at home longer, i wish that as mothers we had more of a choice in the matter of heading back to work or not.

 


  • http://www.jenposford.com/ Jen Posford

    This is something I’m already worrying and wondering about, even though we are still a couple of years away from starting our family. I want nothing more than to stay home with my kids, but… we couldn’t live off of one income now if we tried, and it’s just the two of us. How are we supposed to add in another one, two or three?

    Even though it doesn’t make financial sense from where I’m standing though, I know that we’ll figure out a way. Because that’s how it always seems to happen. Sometimes you have to jump before the net appears, right?

    Here’s hoping.

    • holdenonbaby

      Yes! I think if we waited until we were financially ready we wouldn’t have had kids for a very long time. I think that you find ways to make it work once your little one arrives because you have to to make your situation work the way you want it to. But that being said, I know that unfortunately some mamas can’t make it work and have to return to their jobs.

  • Candice

    The biggest blessing in my life thus far besides the birth of my son has been that I am able to very comfortably stay home with him and never worry about anything financially. When I was first pregnant my husband was working two jobs while I worked two as well. We were so fortunate that my husband got a dream job just after my son was born.

    • holdenonbaby

      That is so amazing!!! Lucky you! It sounds like you worked very hard to get to where you are today!

  • Sara

    our son is six months old, and i have been home with him ever since he was born. i am a graduate student, so i do take classes – mostly online, but some in-person, during which my husband is able to care for our son. my husband got a promotion about six months before our child was born, which made it possible for me to stay at home with him. while we have to make hard choices each and every month when it comes to finances, we wouldn’t change a thing.

    me staying at home with our boy is only temporary, though; as it currently stands, i will be home with him until he is 1 1/2 years old. combined, we have a decent mortgage’s worth of student loan debt, so me staying at home forever sadly isn’t an option, unless my husband more than doubles his income. he has the potential to do this in the next five to ten years, but our current plan is for me to return to work and for us to work on saving for future children and to purchase our first home.

    i am currently pursuing my teaching certification and will (hopefully) one day have a teaching job in secondary education. for me, teaching is what i enjoy, but i can’t hide the fact that working as a teacher will also allow me to maximize my time with my son (and any future children) by giving me summers off and a decent holiday break.

    • holdenonbaby

      That’s so great that you were able to stay at home with your little one! I think teaching is such a great profession for mamas as it really enables you to spend a lot of time with your little one. My MIL is a teacher and my husband loved meeting her in her classroom when school let out and spending all of his breaks with her! It’s a great job to have when you want to make an income but still spend time with your little one.

  • bettina_rae22

    Loving your blog. I’m visiting from sometimes sweet. I wish it was easier to live on one wage too. I do supply teaching to make ends meet, but don’t really feel that I’m ‘back at work’. Plus I’m blessed that my mother in law is always happy to babysit.

    Love if you would visit me sometime. I make golf hats like the one Holden is wearing on your about page. Love them!

    Bettina @ http://www.littleoldsouls.com

    • holdenonbaby

      Thanks for stopping by! Love your hats! They are gorgeous! That’s wonderful that your MIL is able to help out when needed and that you have a job that lets you spend a lot of time with your little one. Sounds like its the best of both worlds!

  • Paula

    Amen to your last paragraph. I am feel very fortunate to live in Canada, for many reasons, including this one…

    The Canadian government mandates both a leave and benefits component. We are entitled to take a one year leave if we wish, where our employer must hold our position or it’s equvilant for our return. On top of mandating maternity leave, the government offers paid leave for one or both parents through Canada’s employment insurance plan. A pregnant employee or new mother can take a paid maternity leave of up to 15 weeks. Either the mother or father can take 35 weeks of parental leave after the baby is born or adopted. The parents can share the leave however they choose. If eligible for the program, the benefits equal 55 per cent of the parent’s average weekly insurable wage, up to a maximum of $485 per week. For low-income families, the rate of benefits can increase to up to 80 per cent, with the same maximum of $485 per week.

    It doesn’t make going back to work any easier, or the decision to stay at home or work any easier, but it does allow us to spend those most formative months with our children.

    I believe there are other counties that allow even longer….

    Placing a priority of parenting our children.

  • Lynn Fletcher

    This post came at such perfect timing for me. I am so happy to report that today I gave my two week notice. I am a mom of 2 kiddos. One is 2 1/2 and the other 6 months old. I am a mom who wanted so badly to be a stay at home mom, but haven’t been able to until now :) Ever since I was little I knew I wanted to stay home, but life just doesn’t work that way anymore as you mentioned. My amazing husband has been going to school and so I have been working full time to bring in the money. When I had my first little boy, it was so extremely hard for me to go back to work, but we made it work. When my littlest one came in June, I was dreading going back. It hit me so much harder. Night after night just in tears. My husband had graduated and was looking for a job – just like every other engineer out there. So I worked after 3 months of maternity leave (6 weeks paid by employer) and it was so hard. I feel like for me, it was knowing we were done having kids, and she was my last chance. So 6 months later, my husband got an amazing job and I am able now to finally stay at home.

    I agree that we need better maternity leave. Every mother I’ve talked to says that they wished they had more time. I even have friends that had to go back after 6 weeks. I can’t imagine having to do that, and feel that America needs to step up and provide more paid time for mothers. I also was lucky enough that my job was very supportive of giving me the proper time needed to pump at work so I could breastfeed both children. However, I know not everyone has that luxury. Obama did pass a law that employers legally have to provide 10 mins every 4 hours for 1 year. However, many of my friends were still unable to, This was because they are servers or worked in retail and there is was just no time or place to sneak off and do so. Many other countries put this as a high priority along with longer maternity leave.

    Sorry this comment is so long… Love this subject, love your blog and love your diy posts!

    http://afletchersdiary.blogspot.com/

  • Kate

    this is something i think about a lot, as we will probably start trying next fall for kids. i just don’t think we can survive on one salary alone…i wish it was easier, i always wonder what secrets moms who stay home have! like does their husband make a ton of money? do they just struggle and barely make bills? i really hope when the time comes we have more of a choice, but it’s definitely something that is concerning. and daycare is SO expensive. it’s overwhelming to think about!

  • nao

    i always enjoy your blog, but this post is exactly my contemplation right now as i just passed the half way point of my maternity leave. my job is unpredictable and inflexible, and my husband and i just can’t imagine putting our little one into daycare for 40+hours/week… not that i don’t want to work, but we know the advantages of having our mothers (both my husband and i) at home growing up, and it would be so great if we could provide the same for our children. we’ve been discussing and searching for ways to make it a reality for us, and i’m on a mission to find a job that i can do from home (even if it means a significant pay cut) at least until kindergarten.

    if you have any advice or discoveries as time goes by, i’d love to hear about it :)

    nao @ http://me-and-sp.blogspot.com

  • Lindsey McLean

    Thanks for this! We always knew we wanted me to stay home with our kids. But it never would have been possible in the States. So we moved (luckily our skill set allowed is to) and we like to say that we’re living the American Dream in Switzerland. ;) It makes me sad that this isn’t a choice for so many. :(