Ask the Moms: Stay-at-Home vs. Working

I never pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom. When my husband and I had the “baby talk,” we always imagined that I would go back to work part time. For one we would/will need the extra income and for two, I actually like to work; to get out of the house, to be around people, to do something.

Now that Lucas is here, I’m not sure what I want to do.
How did you decide if you would work or stay at home? Was it the finances? Do you have to work to get by? Do your kids go to day care while you work or do you have family around? How much do you work? Do you like it that that way?
If you stay at home, how did you decide on that? Did your family have to cut back for you to be able to stay at home? What do you enjoy most about being at home?
I would love to hear from different people who work, stay at home, work inside the home, have children in day care, etc. As I’m trying to decide what to do, it’s so helpful to hear from other moms!

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

27 thoughts on “Ask the Moms: Stay-at-Home vs. Working

  1. Well I've only been a mom for almost 9 weeks, but I'm a SAHM and plan to be for at least the next 5 months. We have had to cut back to make this happen, and also we saved up money before Jackson came along. Once my checking account runs out, I will either go back to work 2 days a week or back to school (internet classes). I have found it important to stay at home and raise our son and be around for the special moments.

  2. After my Lucas was born I returned to work after my 12 weeks of leave was over. However by November we made the decision for me to become a SAHM.

    So for five months my guy was in daycare. I think he enjoyed it too. However most daycares near us cost a fortune so that also played a part in me leaving my job.

    We have had to cut back on certain things but I'm totally fine with that. Although I do miss having 2 vehicles! It's just one of the compromises we've made.

    I miss the interaction with my former coworkers and adults in general but I wouldn't change my decision for anything. My goal now is to get involved in a local MOMS group and/or MOPS.

    Good luck in your decision!

  3. I stayed at home because a) I didn't have a career or job that was amazing and or paid amazing and then b) I liked being home with the kids and c) the biggest factor. DAYCARE would cost more than it was worth

  4. Part of it was finances, part was that Jake is an only child and we wanted him to socialize with other kids. I also liked to work.

    The working/sahm thing was constantly evolving for us. When he was really little I stayed home most of the time (worked 2 days a week, he was home with Dad or in day care). Then he got older and I worked more, and Hubs worked out of our home so was home more.

    By the time Jake was in school, I worked 25 hours a week. Now that he's a teenager, I work about 30-35.

    It depends! Do what works best for you and your little one. 🙂

  5. I went back to work after my 12 weeks of maternity leave. We were in NYC, daycare wasn't the greatest, fortunately my husband was able to work from home while caring for him. After a year I couldn't bear to be away from Luke any longer, and knew I wanted another baby, so we moved upstate NY so we could afford for me to stay home. It is still a struggle financially and we have dipped into savings, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Luke is off to kindergarten in a few weeks, Eliza is starting preschool. I'm starting to feel ready to go back to work, knowing I gave my kids a great foundation. Its truly an individual choice, what is best for one person isn't best for all. Time just goes so fast, I wanted to grab it while I could.

  6. I work full time outside of the home. It isn't really an option for me to stay at home although I would love to tbe a stay at home mom. I carry our health insurance and my husband and I now make about the same amount of money since I have gotten a promotion since having our daughter. Some days I desperately want to be able to stay at home and other days I am glad that I am working. I do feel guilty for leaving her at daycare but she loves it there. She likes the other kids and she loves her teachers. She gets excited when we leave in the morning and on days that I don't work and I keep her home with me I can tell that she misses going to school. She is getting old enough that she can start asking to go. My eventual goal would be to stay at home though. But I hate to put the financial burden completely on my husband. I know that he would feel responsible for us having to make sacrifices and cutbacks.

  7. I plan on staying home and finishing my degrees until Peanut and any subsequent 'nuts are all in school. I am scared to send my kids to daycare and since I EBF staying home is the best thing for us. Also, I hated my job so when I had Peanut it was easy to not go back.

  8. I have a 14 month little girl and I always planned to be a working mom. I'm a CPA and love what I do. I think part time would be ideal for me, but that isn't an option financially for us. I'm more concerned about her teenage years and by then should be able to be at home more often. My firm is super flexible and makes it easy to be a working mom. Sometimes it is hard and I don't want to leave her…like this morning, but most of the time I'm good. I really felt so much better going back to work. Good luck in finding what works for you b/c it is a very hard decision.

  9. I work full time. I was able to get about nine weeks off for maternity leave with Emma and she will be starting daycare at 7 weeks. I don't neccessarily like it, but we really have no choice becuase we could never afford it financially to live off of one income. Luckily we only have to have the kids in daycare part time, because my mom has every Tuesday and Wednesday off so she watches them then. Ethan's Godmom will also pick him up early a lot. Both those things really help, otherwise we would be paying more than double for full time. My wish would be to stay home til they started school and then go to work part time. As much as I love being with my kids I couldnt not work for very long. I love what I do, and I didn't go through all these years of college to not do something with my degree. Even if I did stay at home though I think I would still want them to go to daycare, even if it was just 1 or 2 days a week because I think it is good for them to have some interaction with other kids their age. Ethan loves going there. We had thought of pulling him out to save money during my maternity leave, but decided to have him still go a couple days a week because he does look forward to it and always talks about his friends there. Good luck!

  10. I am a sorta SAHM. I say sorta because I do a few things that bring in a little money working from home. But, I do not work alot, so mostly I am a SAHM and have been for about 5 years, since I was pregnant with my son.

    I love it! Sometimes I think that I need to go get a PT job. We have family here in town that can help with the kids, so daycare is not an issue, but I don't want to work!

    I like being home, I like hanging with my kids. Plus, we plan on homeschooling so me being here is not required, but will make that decision go more how we want it to.

    I have a couple of websites and do a little wedding planning. That helps supplement our income a little. My husband is just a regular old working dude, does not make a ton of money, so we have to really cut out alot of “wants” to make ends meet. It is tough sometimes, but I would not trade this time I have with my babes for a fancy house or faster car!

    I do think working on my websites and my wedding business helps me to think and do “grown up” things so I am not stuck in baby land all the time. I get to do stuff that is fun and fulfilling for ME! I think that is important!

  11. I stay at home, but I do my best to try and make money where I can. I write for a few websites, and do stuff with my blog too. I also sell Avon. We really have to cut back for me to stay home, but for us it was really important.

  12. I stay at home, part of it is logistics -I wouldn't be able to get a job that paid enough to be worth it while still covering day care costs. I also do not want to put my son in daycare – I had a child so that his parents could raise him and not spend most of his day in daycare. I would love love love to find a way to work at home though.

    There is some weird thing about sahm/wohm relationships- working moms do a lot more “work” in a way so they feel like they have it harder, while sahm have it hard too because they don't get that social out of the house stuff going on. I see some moms think they have it harder and don't like/relate to the other type of mom and it forms cliques kind of.

  13. I'm a SAHM. I was a nanny before having my daughter so I always knew I'd stay at home. I never really had a “real” job, so it wasn't a matter of loving a job and not wanting to give it up. I played house with other people's kids until I could have one of my own 🙂

    My husband and I are actually really glad things worked out the way they did–he just finished his phd and even though we had to live with his parents for a year, now we can live a job based solely on his income and buy a house that we can afford on one income alone. It makes it a little easier b/c it's not like we had a lot and have to give up stuff–we never had anything before!!

    I fully respect a mom working outside the home. For whatever reason they work, it's a hard decision and not only do they have to deal with a 9-5 job, they STILL have to get up at night, do the laundry, etc etc. I wish there weren't such tension between SAHM and working moms 🙂

  14. I will be a sahm when our baby girl arrives in September. That has always been something very important to me. My mom was a sahm while we were all young. I definitely think there are sacrifices made by mothers who either stay at home or work outside of the home. For us, we had to save up some extra money, re evaluate spending/budget, downgrade vehicles…after looking into tightening our budget and downgrading things like cars, we realized we didn't miss these “things” that much after all. This doesn't work for every mom or every family for sure. I do want to find something part time eventually, where I can take our little peanut with me to work. Maybe nanny (I have done this before) or mother's day out programs.

    Both staying at home and working outside of the home are HARD. I think you have decided what works best for your family and children.

  15. I have been a SAHM for 4 years. I always wanted to stay at home but my husband expected me to return to work. We finally managed to come to an agreement about it when we did the actual math. I was a kindergarten teacher and it would have cost us more money than I brought home to put our kids in daycare. I was a little restless for the first 6-12 months, but now I love being a SAHM! I will probably never go back!

  16. I was planning to stay home when I was pregnant with my first, but found myself wanting to go back part time–and was pleasantly surprised when they accepted my proposal. I worked two days in the office and one from home, with my son at daycare all three days. I often worked more hours than I was supposed to, and w/out OT bcs I'm salaried. For the most part, it was the best of both worlds. I had a benefited PT job and got to spend 4 days in a row w/my baby–twice that of other working moms.

    But things got tougher once I had my daughter last year. First, she didn't seem to like daycare as much (though I still think the socialization is good for her). Second, the double-daycare bill almost wipes out my part-time paycheck. Third, I feel more confident as a mom and that I could handle them both 24/7 (work was sort of a respite at first).

    I almost quit last fall, and then was offered the option to telecommute, still part time, and keep my benefits. Although I'd much rather leave my employer and do some freelancing on the side, we're not ready to take on buying our own health insurance (Hubs is self-employed) in this economy. Whatever happens with healthcare reform could also be a factor. Like if they tax my insurance, it won't make sense for me to stay.

    So personally, I feel kind of stuck and wish I took the SAHM plunge when I had the chance. On the other hand, I'm grateful for the security I've got where I am. It can get very tricky. A lot of it has to do with how much you love your job. I've lost a lot of passion for mine for various reasons, which I'm sure contributes to the “grass is greener” syndrome.

    Best of luck with whatever decision you choose!

  17. P.S., sorry to take up so much space, but thought I should add that I still use 2 days of daycare while I work from home, and make up the other day's worth on nights and weekends. So I basically work 7 days a week so that I can be part time from home.

  18. Well,When I had my daughter(11 yrs.ago)I had no choice but to work being a single mom. I eventually got married and I continued to work. Once we got pregnant with my son-years later.
    I had enough of my job for now and decided to stay home. But, much like you I thought just for a little while maybe a year or so. 3 yrs later I'm still staying at home -There's a few reasons- Finances,dealing with my son's dairy allergy,easier for me to stay home and be there before/after school for my daughter-etc. We have cut down on a lot of things and been very budget conscience though. I would like to work again-at least work from home or part time or something. Just finding something that works for all of us-Can be hard!

  19. That's a hard decision. When my son was born, I didn't have the option to stay at home because we needed the money. I didn't think I'd want to stay at home either but now I hope that I can stay at home if I have another child. I missed so many things when he was little because I worked full time and didn't pick him up from daycare until 4-5pm. I did have him over the summers until he was 3 though, since I was a teacher.

    I wish you the best in your decision.

  20. I have to work because my hubby is finishing up school & so I am the provider for our family-I never had a choice to stay home. Brayden goes to a sitter that I found through a friend & we LOVE her. I am teacher, so I get the summers off, so I get more time with him than if I wasn't a teacher. I have really enjoyed my time off with Brayden this summer, but I also love teaching & eventhough it is hard to go to work somedays- once I get there I love it so much.

    My hubby graduates in May & once he gets a job, staying at home could finally become an option, BUT I don't know if I will choose to do so or not. I love that Brayden has friends he can play with at the sitter & if I stayed home with him he would miss out on that opportunity since none of my friends have kiddos yet. And I love my job so much! So we will see.

  21. I've been a SAHM for almost 4 years. I am a former teacher and staying at home with my kids was something I knew I would always do. My mom stayed home with my brother and me and my mother-in-law was a SAHM as well. We didn't have to cut down on anything, but we have made wiser decisions when it comes to money just because we do have 2 little ones to think about. For example, rather than splurge on designer bags and jeans, we put that money in IRAs and share certificates for our kids. I honestly love what I do; what I love most is being available for my kids during the day…if they need me, I'm there.

  22. I had decided I wanted to be a teacher so when I got pregnant I was going to school. I only had a few years left and I would be a teacher! So, our plan was I would just take the summer off to have our baby and I would continue school and graduate and then possibly work as a teacher. That didn't happen! I got pregnant at the start of fall semester and 3 days after fall semester ended I ended up in the ER and almost lost the baby. So, I was on bed rest for the rest of December. In January I was supposed to go back to school for Spring Semester, but my husband and I talked about it and we had a bad feeling and decided I would just go back in the fall. Once our little angel came into our lives, we realized it was more important for me to be home. I didn't want to miss out on anything! I don't regret me decision…although there are times I think about how I should be graduating next year…but then I realize he will never be this age again and I can always go back to school once my kids are all in school! My husband makes decent money…hopefully he'll soon become a supervisor and it will be even better…but we do have to make some cutbacks and don't get as many extras as we would if I was working, but for us it's totally worth it! Good luck on your decision!

  23. I don't know a lot of women who stay home full time 100 percent with their kids. They do something at least on the side to bring in extra income.

    I work out of necessity as my income is far greater than my husband's. Fortunately, I enjoy it and hope to have a fun and successful career.

    When my son was eight weeks, my husband had a job that was decent paying and I didn't HAVE to work. It was a hard decision to go back. I decided to because I didn't know if his job would be permanent and because I wanted to retain my economic power.

    And from my observation, if a woman has economic power she's better off long term both financially and in her relationship. There's something about one spouse giving money to their partner that makes the recipient a lower status.

    If you have a talent or skill that you can use to earn income, I think you should do it. God gave it to you for a reason. I think it's very Proverbs 31 to use it. Maybe not full time and may be not outside the home.

    And I guess that leads me to my next point. Think out of the box. I never would have thought that I'd be working from home, earning a great paycheck and doing something I enjoy.

    Bottom line–be all you can be. Whatever that looks like.

  24. I was dead set on going back t owork all the way up to the first moment i saw Baby DIVA. And after one look I did a complete 180 and decided I would NEVER go back. We also discovered that daycare would pretty much be my entire paycheck, so I became a WAHM. After 6 months I was laid off from my WAH job and now i have been a SAHM for almost 4 months. It is amazing. With coupon shopping and learning to conserve in area we used to embellish on,, we now have more money to play with on one income than we ever did on two! WILD! And I get to be with Baby DIVA all the time. I know it is not for everyone, but I can tell you I LOVE it!!

  25. Hi! I love reading your blog! I'm a stay at home Momma, I was a hair dresser before I became a SaHM 5 years ago, When we were pregnant with our 1st (girl Madyson) I worked up until I was about 7 months pregnant all the time I spent on my feet forced my doct to take me out of work b/c I was having such issues with swollenness on my feet and legs! And then we prayed about it, and My husband and I decided it was worth all the sacrifices for me to stay at home! Some years were sooo hard and tight, but then again God always provides one way or another, bt I also am able to do hair at home for friends and family and that little income is always good! Now we have a 2 year old little boy named Bryce and a 3rd baby due in Dec. and I wouldn't have it another way! You start to learn where you can cut corners by food shopping and different things and it makes it more of a challenge and more exciting things always work out! The one thing I loved/love most about staying at home is that I was the 1st one to see our kids, 1st smile, their first everything!! That means the world to us both!!

  26. I plan to homeschool, so staying at home is pretty much essential. Currently, I am working from home, but I'd love to quit. Staying at home with my little guy is such a blessing. I'm thrilled to be able to truly be his primary caregiver.

  27. I stay home. And have for about two years… my daughter is a year old. My husband is Active duty Army is gone A LOT. The reality of moving constantly and being a single parent 75 percent of the time basically requires me to be home. Granted, I have friends that work. But most of them work part-time or from home or a job where they can set their own hours (like a nurse). Because my hubby is in a special ops unit he is deployed in a combat zone four to five times a year for a few months at a time and when he is home, he is frequently away for training or just at work for 12-14 hours a day. It would be too stressful for me to work and do everything else. All while being on the opposite coast from our families.

    But it has made me a better mom. A better wife. A stronger person. Yeah it sucks sometimes. But I think I can handle a lot of things that other mothers couldn't. I don't say that arrogantly. I just think that's the truth.

    I love staying and we keep very busy with a mom's group I have joined. I run with these moms. We have pladates. Book clubs. Mom's Nights Out. It is the number one best thing I have done since becoming a SAHM. I don't think staying home is for everyone. I totally respect those that work because I know it is a lot of work. I just figure if we can afford for me to stay home then that is what I want to do because I enjoy it and feel it is best for my family at this time in our lives.

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