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To be or not to be ....a SAHM
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To be or not to be ....a SAHM

Ok, so the last couple of days I've been home with Gabe becuase he's been sick.  (upper resperatory infection)  It's got me thinking (again) about wanting to be a sahm.  DH and I talked about it awhile back, he was agreeable to it, *I* chose not to becuase a) i love my job and b) I just wasn't sure we could afford it.   Well here I am a few months later considering it again.  Here are the reasons pros and cons I'm toying with:
Cons to quitting my job:
-I have a GREAT job, I love it, i work for great people who are understanding, it's a steady paycheck pays pretty good for around here.
-I would get less adult interaction (i have no friends around here)
-we have a lot less "whatever" money
-if DH and I were to have problems again, I wouldn't have a job to fall back on
-I'm afraid DH is going to fall back to how he was years ago when i was a sahm and tell me that i wasn't contributing my part becuase I wasn't working.  
-if DH were to lose his job or have hours cut we'd be screwed (not that my job would cover the bills by any means but it would be something)

Pros to staying home:
-I would be raising my kids, not someone else (Gabe acts like *I* am the babysitter and his daycare teacher is his mama :(  it breaks my heart)
-I wouldn't have to tell my kids "no I can't come to that function becuase I have to work"
-I would have more time during the day to take care of house work, laundry etc so I could use the evenings and weekends to spend with my family instead of rushing around likea  mad woman
-I would have more time to cook healthy, sit down, family meals instead of scrambling to scrape up some microwaveable junk at 7 at night
-I could finish a number of the "home improvement" projects we've started and just left on the house

I know it looks like the pros should outweight cons becuase it would create a happier, healthier home for my kids....but I can't help but think about the what if's....

I've gone through our budget ...if I quit...that cuts out daycare, a little bit of gas (i'd still have to drive kids to school), and the cost of eating out for lunch, plus work clothes.  On DH's pay we could cover the bills, food, gas, misc, a little savings and have a SMIDGE (like $30-$50 a week) left over for "whatever".  So it would really cut back our "lifestyle" so to speak, not that we live lavishly...but we do eat out a lot...but staying home I would have more time to cook so we could cut that out.  

I'm really torn here.  What would you guys do or have you done?  I've been at this job 3 years and the people I work for have done SOOOO much for me.  They are like a second family to me.  I'd really feel guilty leavin there, but I also feel like my family is suffering from me always being so frantic and never having any extra time.  
55%
 (10) 
No Question about it...I'd QUIT
5%
 (1) 
That's a tough one!!
38%
 (7) 
Keep the job. Forget being a SAHM!
18 Members voted
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24 Comments Post a Comment
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202436_tn?1326477933
another pro to staying home....as it is now, I am either too exhausted or don't have time to exercise...therefore I am overweight and out of shape.  If I were home I would have time to get healthier which means I would a) be able to play with my kids more b) be a happier person.
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Avatar_f_tn
There are many pros and cons to both.  It sounds like you have a good job but you can never get these years back with your little ones.  If you were told you only have so long to live I doubt you would say "Geez I wish I would have worked more."  Jobs will come and go but these years only happen once.  You can always go back to work if you do not like it but you will never be able to go back in time to when your children were young.
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280369_tn?1316705641
I say stay home...BUT I understand your "what ifs" at the same time. If you can do it, afford it, and make it work, i think it's great! I stay home and wouldn't trade it for anything. My husband makes enough right now to pay bills and support us with a little extra left for us. We have been cutting back a lot though recently and have only decided to go out for breakfast every sat. morning at our favorite diner. (It costs about 20 dollars for 3 of us, until Jesse gets old enough)
The one thing that would hurt me, is how much time my child would be spending with a babysitter instead of me. I would want to be there to see my kids go through everything or just be the one to comfort them and whatnot. I would be heart broken if my child thought the babysitter was more like his mama. I will tell you, I got really sad when I was on bedrest because I couldn't take care of my son like I wanted to and my mom always had him and my MIL took him 2 days a week. Jeremiah never wanted to be with me those 2 months, instead he always wanted my mom, and that hurt me big time. It took a couple of weeks to get that relationship back and now we are much better and he wants me instead of someone else all the time.
Anyway...this is a decision you need to be comfortable with and know that this is for you and this is what your family needs. Think about it long and hard , but it sounds like it could be great for you and your kids.
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202436_tn?1326477933
Thanks.  I really appreciate all the opinions....it helps me to get my thoughts together.  Keep em coming :)
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193609_tn?1292183893
I said to keep working. One reason is that it sounds like you need the money, even though you could make it without it. Making yourself tight financially can be a disaster if something happens or a big expense comes along. Another reason I said to keep working is kids need interaction with other kids. I don't know how many kids you have so that makes a difference, but getting the kids out of the house to play with other kids is okay :-) Overall, it just sounds like it is not ideal right now. But it is 100% up to you, you know your circumstances better than anyone! Good luck making this decision! I LOVE my son, but work is my place to get away, help others, and take a break! I would go nuts at home if I was not working.
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171768_tn?1324233699
i'm in a similar situation, and i work. well, not now... i'm on leave for several months, but i will return.

if we cut all extras, i could stay home. but we'd have to go on dh's insurance (mine costs nothing- we'd have to pay for his). i would lose my benefits and pension. we would not have any savings. any unforseen expense would be stressful and have to go on credit cards. in this economy, i would not feel secure not having any savings. i worry about our future. i watch both of our parents work way too much with no hope of retirement on the horizon. i am terrified of what will happen and who will care for them if they get sick. i don't want to live like that, and i don't want my children to have that stress.  if dh made more $ or if we had a lot more saved or no mortgage, i'd stay home.
BUT, like you, i love my job. the hours are good (i teach) i have summers, weekends, holidays, etc... off. i can take off when they're sick- my job is very understanding. i spend a lot of time with my kids. i also have an amazing sitter, which helps.
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60890_tn?1366361719
hi,

my dh and i agreed when i was pregnant with my dd that i would be a sahm, dh had and still has a well paid job which he enjoys, i was on relatively low pay in a job where i got on with the people but didnt have alot of satisfaction from it. i am glad i stayed home with my 3 little ones, would have hated a carer saying oh she said her 1st word or took 1st step today. would have broke my heart. everyones different and what works for some wont for others. all i will say is my 2 eldest are now going to school and pre-school full time and it makes me feel sad that it doesn't seem that long ago they were tiny babies. it goes so quick and as someone else said. you can never get that time back. if your heart says it's right then do it! good luck
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Avatar_f_tn
Just by the sounds of your post, it sounds like you want to be home, but you know in your heart you are getting more satisfaction at work. Plus, it appears that your husband would be more supportive if you stayed at work and I think whatever decision you make, you both have to be 100% for it. It is difficult to be home and realizing that your husband might feel like you are not contributing like you used to or like you could do. I am totally for everyone being a SAHM if they can do it- financially, emotionally,etc. but it is not always possible in every circumstance.
If there is a way to find a balance, I'd seek that out. Maybe you could work one less day per week? Work part time? Take a short leave?
I am not sure that you are ready to be at home, every single day and be willing to give up your terrific job, the people you love at work and how far you've gotten in your career. If you were completely unhappy at work and miserable about not being home, I'd say you have to find a way to be at home with your kids, but when you love your job and the only thing that is tugging at you to be home is really so that you can get more done and perhaps be that "perfect mom image", I'd be tempted to advise you to stick it out at work, hire someone to help you clean the house or cook the occasional dinner and maybe get your hubby to see if he too can cut back on his hours to be able to help out with all those home projects you need or attend school concerts.
I guess it all comes down to what you would be more at peace giving up...would it bring peace to give up your job and be at home? Or would it bring more peace to stay at work and find another way to get more hours to be with the kids?
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202436_tn?1326477933
Cheyenne08:  Well when I said we could get by on dh's paycheck....that was including putting $100 - $200 up most months.  Plus in February we'll be paying off a loan which will give us another $255 a month and we will put up some of our tax refund into savings as well.  

Btw, I have 4 kids.....ages are 13, 6, 5 and 1


TiredbutHappy:   Well fortunately, DH's job is the one that provides the benefits.  The company I work for is too small to offer any benefits packages.  So really the only thing quitting my job would cut out is about $1400 a month (half of that goes to child care)  


Waitingwithhope:  I was a SAHM for 4 years prior to this job.  The only reason I became employed again is becuase we transitioned out of the military and we had some issues in our relationship due to stress.  The last time I stayed home DH had issues with depression/mood disorder that were NOT being treated.  He is NOW being treated for those so his mood is much more favorable and he is much more understanding....he has also had more time alone with the kids to be able to appreciate what I did when I stayed home.  


To all:  If I were to quit...I WILL miss the adult interaction and satisfaction I get on an adult level at work....BUT like someone else said....I will NEVER be able to get these years back witih my kids.  With my oldest I was young and wasn't very "motherly" I left her with my mom...and she pretty much raised her til she was 3 and i finally got my head screwed on straight.  I regret SO MUCH not being there for those first 3 years and all that I missed.  I don't want to miss out on the rest of my kids.  

I'm going to talk to DH tonight and see what he thinks.  I went over it with my mom on the phone today as well.  I'm also taking everyones points on here into consideration.  Thank you all for your thoughts and experiences.  
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147929_tn?1294855322
I voted to stay at home, but that is because that is what I want to do so desperately!  Have you thought about working direct sales?  You are home during the day and able to work when you want and how often you want and can still contribute financially.  I've recently become a Premier Designs Jewelry Lady - I'm working full time on top of it, but my goal and motivation is to build my team and quit my day job and stay home with my DD and future baby.  It is a lot to take on, but if you can already afford to quit your day job then the pressure would be off and you can go out and socialize a few nights a week to get your adult stimulation while still being able to contribute financially and have your days free to exercise and spend with your kids.  If we could afford for me to do that now, I would be jumping all over it!  But we can't right now so I'm working on changing that.  If you might be interested in the idea, I'd be more than happy to talk to you about it any time!
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184342_tn?1282592350
I was the "that's a tough one"-  not much help I know-  but it sounds like you want to be a SAHM-  and if you can swing it, I say go for it-  I make more money then DH, by a good bit,  so it is not an option for me-  sometimes I find that unfortunate (even though it is helping us pay off back debt from when I didn't make as much)....  but it would give me a good excuse to stay at home.  I didn't think I'd like it much, but now that I have 2,  I think I'd like it.....  although, my kids LOVE going to their preschool/daycare,  and it is a very good bible based school, and they are learning so much....  so that helps me feel better about working...

it sounds to me like you should do it...  at least for a little while....  jobs will come along again,  even ones you love....  for you after hearing your latest post,  I think I'd vote for you to stay at home....  
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134578_tn?1404951303
I'm at home with my son all the time, though my paid work follows me (I do it from my computer and it comes in all the time, some marked "urgent" and some that I can fit in later at night).  

There is time needed for my work, for sure, but I think I could speak to the issue of whether being a stay-at-home mom will give you a lot of things you listed (saving money on food, lovely sit-down home-cooked meals, beginning and sticking to an exercise program, laundry, home improvement, another poster mentioned going out more at night, etc.)  

It's hard and very time-consuming to be home taking care of kids, and tends to make life a little dull and sap some of my motivation.  Being out in the work force causes me to get up, get dressed, get out and move fast.  It's like one's revs are up, so I  sometimes get more things done in a weekday night (because I'm moving fast and out & at 'em) than in an entire day when not working outside the home.  

Everyone is different in this way -- you're the only one who can judge if this would be true of you.  For me, being among adults who think I'm good at what I do, and having higher-IQ conversations that don't center around whether someone's diaper needs to be changed or if a monster truck is missing, makes me feel more myself than just having to do dull domestic stuff that I've been doing since I began babysitting at 12.  So I miss that aspect very much.  I'm also quite concerned that if I ever had to be self-sufficient, I wouldn't have such an attractive resume, and finding a good job would be hard.  My husband tries not to, but I sometimes sense he respects my time less than his own (because he is bringing in money and so his time is oh-so-valuable).   His mom didn't work outside the home, and his dad treated her in a pretty offhand, cavalier way.  I don't want to see my husband going there -- if I thought that would be a problem, I would go back to work at an office in a heartbeat.
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719902_tn?1334168783
I definitely think it is a tough one, but you sound a lot like me- loving your job.  I am a teacher, and I fell like it is something I was meant to do.  I also feel like my co-workers (most of them, anyway) are a second family to me.  I know if I stopped worked, I would miss my job terribly.  

Of course, that is not to say that I don't love my kids *more*.  But, I think in many ways my job provides friendship (I too have few friends outside of work, or time for them anyway), financial security, and --crazily-- stress relief.. If I did not work, I think I would be a stressed-out, lonely, and financially worried parent.  Is that best for my kids?  No.  Bottom line is I feel that *I* am a better parent for working.  Plus, I do enjoy weekends, holidays,school breaks, and summers with my kids.  So for me, working is best, but I do know many moms who are perfectly happy to SAH and were meant to do that.

Hope this is helpful in some way. = )
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116879_tn?1266519849
That is a tough one.  I am very fortunate.  I work less hours--almost full time but not quite.  I also have a husband who really helps--that is key--if dad can help out more so you can get things done it would make a difference.  

My daughter was home with me more or less until she was almost 3.  I maybe would not have done it but I knew she was going to me my only child and I did not want to miss those years.  I got all the time in the world with her but now, I strongly feel she is better off all day interacting with other kids and she has so quickly improved her behavior, etc.

I also feel so much happier interacting with people in my field versus sitting around with other moms trying to find something in common with them other than the fact that we all have kids. (I tried moms groups and they just weren't for me)

A red flag went up for me when you said IF you and DH had problems again.  Is there a strain in your marriage now?  If you stay at home, that may get worse.  If you have a rock solid marriage and he is behind you 100% go for being a SAHM.  If not, you may want to reconsider.  Sorry if I am reading into it wrong.

I'd say see if there is a way to work from home or cut back slightly on your hours.  Talk to your employer and tell them how you feel.

I cook at night after my daughter goes to sleep..I also do housework for just 15 minutes per night so that I don't feel like my whole weekend is swallowed up by housework.  Take a good look at things that really must get done and let some other things go.  I used to feel like I had to be superwoman and do housework all the time and house projects--the only pressure that comes from that is what I place upon myself.

BTW...you have some older children...get them involved with household stuff/cooking--make it a family thing.
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Avatar_f_tn
In my opinion, I would NEVER be able to stay at home with my kids full time.  Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with them but I also like to get out of the door and interact with other adults (even though I don't do much of that at work either).  I must admit that I never worked a 40 hour week (since in my profession, 30 hrs is considered full time).  I mostly worked part time (when I just had my kids) and even if it was for 3 hours a day, I cherished every moment of being outside.  Plus, I make much more than DH so it makes more sense for me to work in order to be able to provide for the family.  Plus, being financially independent is HUGE for me.  I don't think I'd ever be able to ask my husband for spending money.  Again, that's in my opinion.  Good luck in deciding.
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Avatar_f_tn
I agree with what most mama's are saying you can never get those yrs back with the babies. However being a sahm right now i can see how you are worried about a few things.
1) adult interaction, i have to make an effort to either meet with friends, this ends up being other sahm or once my dd is a bit older going to kiddy groups where there will be other mama's.
2) house work- I dont feel like i get more done than when i was at work, but this is my first child so her laundry is pretty much it! although i do make dinner most nights
3) i am glad i am not missing anything with my dd. i cant imagine someone else taking care of her and seeing all her cute first. i was a daycare kid a vowed i would never do that to my kids.
4) i do sometimes feel like my dh wishes i was contribtung to our finances, however i have sat down with him a few times to discuss me going to work, and really b/c of daycare costs and gas ( I would have to drive at least 30 minutes away) its just not worth it.

I dont think you can really compare the pros and cons, this is a very difficult decision and is different for everyone. dont beat yourself up either way!!
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Avatar_f_tn
i think the biggest thing that sticks our for me is you and dh have had issues and it sounds like you were on the brink of divorce?  if quitting a job means you will not be together then you need to look at your marriage in a different light.

if you are bringing home $700 after day care that is a teeny amount (i dont mean to be rude).  you can cut out expenses to help with that.  i stay home after working most of my life and i cant imagine it any other way.  but there are moms that cant stay home.  

only you can choose what works best for you and your family.  i missed all the young years with my son, and i will live with that regret my entire life.  nothing is better than seeing the smiles during the day, hearing a new word for the first time, having them test your patience and then smile as they are stinker pots lol. my son who i worked while little is now so thankful i am home when he is out of school.  i go to school awards, functions.  i see the kids whose parents work and cant make it and they seem sad.  it breaks my heart.  im one of those moms that feels i need to do what is best for my kids, and if what i want works into the equation so be it.  it does work though.  if it doesnt for you then an unhappy mom isnt always the best mom you know what i mean?  
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202436_tn?1326477933
I've thought about maybe asking my work if I could set up a home office so to speak....but I'm not sure how that would work.  I'm an admin asst for a construction company but I'm also the property manager for their  70 something rental properties.  If I were to work at home they will still need someone to come in and answer phones and do things here.  I don't know...it's very time consuming work.  

As for getting things done around the house if I were to be a sahm, my oldest 3 are in school so that just leaves me having the 1 yr old most of the day.  

Fortunately I HAVE had the pleasure of being a sahm so I know what it's like....the only difference is we are civilian (not military) and we have a mortgage.  At least here (rather than being over seas where we were the first time i was a sahm) i have more options for being able to bargain shop and price compare etc when buying things.  

This is an extremely tough decision for me.  I know some people would think " a job is just a job, you should love your kids more"  but like someone else said it's not that i don't love my kids more than my job...but both scenarios have pros and cons and it's difficult to determine which would be better.

As for DH and I ....we did have issues...we worked through them for the most part.  Really it boiled down to this:  we both are stubborn, hard headed mules....we both have depression and anger issues (probably from dysfunctional childhoods)  for a long time neither of us were be treated for those issues.  That in itself caused problems.  Then *I* started getting treatment and realized how screwed up our relationship was, but he couldn't see it....that caused MORE issues.  BUT we are BOTH Finally gettng help. DH has made MAJOR improvements over how he was.  Even my mom is just completely flabbergasted at how far he's come.  We still butt heads sometimes but we handle it much better now.  I just tend to expect the worst is why I have that fear.  On the other hand...I now know that if it came down to it I AM capable of doing whatever it takes to provide for my kids.  I did it when we seperated several years ago.  Last time I was a sahm it wasn't really a decision we made, it was more of a forced kind of thing due to lack of employment opportunities where we were stationed.  DH kind of resented that I think.  But since we were seperated for awhile and he had the kids every other weekend, he got a good taste of what I did every day as a sahm.  He has a much higher appreciation for what moms do now.  He constantly says he doesn't see how I can manage everything and that if the family didn't have me, nothing would get done becuase he couldnt' handle lol.  So I think this time would be different.  Especially if I make him feel that he is 100% included in the decision.  


Right now my schedule is just so crazy.  get up at 530, get me and 4 kids ready, out the door by 7...drop gabe at daycare...drive 8 miles the opposite directions to drop the other 3 off at school...then drive BACK 10 miles back to work....work til 5, get off, repeat the morning trip, get home around 6, try to find something for dinner while going through back packs, figuring out who has homework, refereeing arguments, after we eat, there's an hours worth of baths to get done...plus getting teeth brushed etc....by the time we finally get everything accomplished it's like 9 o'clock and i'm flat beat....no chores have been done or anything else.  the ONLY reason the dishes get done and the kitchen and dining room get swept is becuase my 13 yo does it.  She also cleans the hall bathroom and living room every weekend.
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127529_tn?1331844380
Its a tough one, I have done  it both ways and I now work P/T outside the home which is the perfect balance for me and my family. Financially we could manage as I just about earn enough to cover daycare cost. But for my own mental health I need to work and we have found that the early childhood center our boys go to has really enriched their lives and they love it there. I must say  in my experience there really isn't much more time to take care of "house" things and projects because when you are at home F/T with the kids (even just one) they pretty much will want and need your attention all of the time. Some jobs like folding laundry I can get the kids involved with but for the most part I just about manage to scrape together dinner and even then it is with the kids interrupting every few minutes! All the other house stuff gets still done after 8pm when the kids are in bed.

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202436_tn?1326477933
The last time I was a sahm, I had 1 in school and i had 2 under the age of 2 at home all day.  I was still able to get the house work/laundry/cooking done and have nights and weekends free to spend family time.  I do have a bigger house now, but will only have 1 child during the day.  

I have thought about maybe trying to do some volunteer work.  We are working on moving my mom down here (georgia) from virginia .  Once we do that I will also need time to help her out with house cleaning/grocery shopping  (she is disabled) etc.  But she will also be able to keep Gabe periodically so I can go volunteer....maybe at the womens clinic here.  It's probably gonna be a few months before she moves though, we have to sell her mobile home first....but hopefully it won't take long since we are only asking for enough to move her belongings (about half of the appraised value, if that)
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184342_tn?1282592350
this is MY schedule exactly!-  except, I have only 2 kids-  20 months and 4 1/2-  I do the chores on the weekend, and the only reason our dishes get done is because DH does them....  I feel your pain with the schedule!
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145992_tn?1341348674
Well I am a working mom, my son stays with my mother when I'm at work.  I notice during the days I'm working, I am much more energetic when I get home.  When I stay home with my son, I just find myself less enthusiastic about getting dressed and getting out.  My son gets bored but I fall into some type of funk.  I am with you where I know my job is the reason why I motivate to get up and out.  I do though, enjoy being with my son but love my adult interaction and the break.  It's a hard call.
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134578_tn?1404951303
The schedule sounds so frustrating that I can see why you would want to be a sahm.  (If you could find a job in the school system somewhere close to home, that would be a different story, right?  Hours similar to those of your kids, get off at 3 in time to make dinner, vacations when they have them, etc. etc.)  But given all you have described, and especially the longing you have to be home, I would vote (for you) for making the change to sahm.  It does not sound like you would have tons of trouble finding a similar job later, if you decide it's a mistake.  My only caution is not to expect too much of it, like extra time (and especially motivation) for exercise programs and home-improvement projects, you might find that just laundry, cooking, cleaning, bill paying, errand-running, and child care will take every bit of your day.
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202436_tn?1326477933
I know in the beginning it will be a big adjustment and I'll have to learn how to reorganize my time like i did before....but I'm confident I will be able to get back into a routine like before.  When I was a sahm last time my routine was this:

wake up, get oldest to school, get me and little ones breakfast, go out and walk for an hour, come home, get showered/dressed, do shopping if necessary, get home eat lunch,do some cleaning, take a break, play with kids, oldest comes home, help with homework,start dinner, eat dinner, baths, bedtime.   On the days I didn't have to go out to do shopping i did laundry during that time.  I had dinner on the table when hubby got home pretty much every night, kids were in bed at 7 and 8 (7 for younger, 8 for older).  I was able to relax and get in bed by 830-9 if i chose to go that early.  Or I stayed up a little longer to read or do a craft.  
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