Our decision to have me stay home with my children hasn’t come without some raised eyebrows and judgement from some working parents. We have to sacrifice some things in order to live a lifestyle that we jointly choose to live. Sometimes it’s at the cost of one of us or all of us. We have choices to make, including how to handle presents, activities, the cars we drive, etc.
My biggest pet peeve is hearing that someone believes I should go back to work so that we can afford things that aren’t on our list of priorities. I’m aware that some people believe the answer to our budget restraints is for me to simply return to the workforce.
As nice as having my own money sounds, it really isn’t that simple. Returning to work means that we have to add more stress and rush to our schedules. It doesn’t just affect me, but the whole family. My dietary restrictions regularly require me to spend much more time in the kitchen than the average family. My daughter also seems to have an earlier bedtime than most children, but it works for us. These things couldn’t be achieved if I worked full-time. And, it would mean that hubby would have to share extra duties around the house when he’s off work.
The most non-obvious problem we would encounter with my return to work is financial in nature. It seems to make sense that an extra income would alleviate some budgetary concerns, but it just isn’t the case here. While I would be earning an income, I’ve never made much money. After paying for day care, car maintenance, gas, etc, I’d be lucky to bring home enough money to pay for groceries for two weeks. That calculation was based on life with only one child, and we’ll be adding a newborn in the next few months, so technically, I’d probably be spending money to go to work. Therefore, being a stay at home mom is my financial contribution to the household.
The next time you think the simple answer for a family is for a stay at home parent to go to work, think outside the box. Not everyone earns six figure incomes, in which case it actually might make sense for someone to return to work. Child care isn’t cheap and there are plenty of people out there that won’t actually make a financial contribution by working, simply because of the expense of child care.