Work or stay at home mom or change careers

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llcoolln
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Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by llcoolln » Thu May 19, 2016 1:56 pm

Hi everyone,

I know that everyone is going to say that the answer to this question is personal choice, but looking for feedback from those who have done it.

My husband and I make the same amount. I recently quit my job because my commute is 2 hours each way, high stress, and with a 7 mo old it was not only getting tiring but I felt like I never saw her. My husband was being Mr. Mom, which he has no problem with and he is amazing at. I had more of an issue with it and want to be more involved/see my daughter more.

We are planning on a #2 in the near future and I know that since I quit I likely would not apply for maternity benefits/FMLA anywhere I go at this point. I have several paths forward:
1) find a new job in the same field
2) stay at home mom
3) change careers
I turned down an offer to work 60% and remote from my boss because I felt like I could not be successful in my role being completely remote and I'm looking to be in a lower stress job. It could still be an option if I wanted to knowing that it takes at least 6-9 months to hire if not more. Technically, we could make one income work, though money is always nice. :happy

To add to that, I've never loved my job in IT project management. I always thought I'd do it for a few years, get good exposure, and then do something that made me happy. 10+ years later, I'm still here and feel pigeon-holed into what I do. The change careers option would be to get a masters in something that interests me, but I've had no practical experience in. The change careers option also means I would be close to net zero on salary/day care.

1...2...3...go! Need advice!

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Toons
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Toons » Thu May 19, 2016 2:01 pm

2) stay at home mom
:thumbsup

You will forget the money as time goes by.
Won't give it a moments thought when they are grown,,,but
You sure will have the memories spent with the children.
Been there
Done that :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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mhc
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by mhc » Thu May 19, 2016 2:23 pm

My DW is a stay at home wife and loves it. All the couples in my circle have stay at home mom's. They love it. I am very grateful for my DW not working. She does so much to care for our children and managing the house. I think it is a very valuable thing for a mother to spend that kind of time with her children.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu May 19, 2016 2:30 pm

Toons wrote:2) stay at home mom
:thumbsup

You will forget the money as time goes by.
Won't give it a moments thought when they are grown,,,but
You sure will have the memories spent with the children.
Been there
Done that :happy
+1 to this! If you are happy raising your children you should do so - they will also get your values versus those of a day-care provider.

Jeff P
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Jeff P » Thu May 19, 2016 2:31 pm

Kinda seems like working from home and doing your old job was the best solution. That cut out 4 hours a day of commute plus 40% of your work hours so about 7 hours a day. If that option is still available, I would try that and see how it goes. This saves you 49 hours a week...I'd imagine only working 5 hours a day would help you be more productive in those hours than your previous 12.

If not, stay at home mom.

GoldenFinch
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by GoldenFinch » Thu May 19, 2016 2:33 pm

Toons wrote:2) stay at home mom
:thumbsup

You will forget the money as time goes by.
Won't give it a moments thought when they are grown,,,but
You sure will have the memories spent with the children.
Been there
Done that :happy
^^This is good advice. Think it through and do what makes you happy (which I think is what you're doing).

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tyrion
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by tyrion » Thu May 19, 2016 2:43 pm

What would you like to be doing in 6 or 7 years, when the kids are back in school?

My wife stayed home with the kids, but she also worked part time in the afternoons two or three days a week while I watched them (I switched to an early shift). Once they were both in full time public school she started working on her teaching credential, and now she is teaching full time at their school.

She never wanted to stay home full time, and she never viewed kids as the end of her career. She wanted to keep some of the workplace interaction, vs only talking to kids and moms.


The 60% job with no commute sounds like a pretty good deal. Surely if you're only working 60% of the time there would be a reduction of your workload and realistic measures of your performance. It would keep your skills current and provide additional income.

summit
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by summit » Thu May 19, 2016 2:47 pm

I'm a SAHM. In addition to priceless time with my child, I like that staying home gives me the time and ability to do things that end up saving us money, such as scratch-cooking and DIY repairs around the house. Having a parent stay home definitely means less income, but it can also mean less expenses.

texasdiver
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by texasdiver » Thu May 19, 2016 2:49 pm

Not sure what kind of field you are in, but there is benefit to putting together some kind of part-time consulting gig from home if you can in any way swing it. Even if it is only an occasional thing. Something to keep your feet wet and fill out the gap years in your resume if you decide to go back to work full time.

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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by MikeWillRetire » Thu May 19, 2016 2:53 pm

My wife and I faced the same question 20 years ago. We decided to leave the private sector for the government to make the two-income family work for us. That allowed my wife to stay home with each child for the first 6 months, while retaining her job. The benefits in government are very friendly to families. We also chose to work in the same city, and chose a house as close as possible to work. It has worked out very well for us.

10YearPlan
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by 10YearPlan » Thu May 19, 2016 2:54 pm

Working mom here. I won't bother replying to all the comments that seem to suggest SAH is a superior choice. I chose to work though we could easily afford for me to stay home. DH and I make roughly the same amount of money--we compete each year for funsies. But I am much more "into" my job and career--it's very important to me.

I have foudn that I am capable of managing the house, the children (2) and a demanding job. I am secure in my choice and have no jealousy or resentment toward folks who choose a different path. That said, if I had the choice to work 60% from home, I'd probably jump at it. The only thing that suffers in our current equation is ME time. With that extra 40%, I'd have much more free time to focus on myself. If you're putting the question out there, I suspect you want to go for it. So, here's some internet stranger encouragement. Good luck.

anonforthis
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by anonforthis » Thu May 19, 2016 2:58 pm

Since you asked, I think you should find a new job closer to home maybe with a pay cut. Your child is very young and I know its very hard to stay on top of things. It will get better I promise. Can you outsource chores that you guys don't like to do?

GetRichQuick
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by GetRichQuick » Thu May 19, 2016 3:13 pm

My wife also decided to stay home with our children - she felt the decision was the best one for her and our family. It really allowed me to concentrate on my career - relocations, business travel and working long hours - without any worry about childcare.

However, she does have concerns about re-entering the workforce as the kids get older. If we had your option of working for the same company remotely and at 60% of the hours, I would have encouraged her to jump on it. You may find that working 60% of the hours and without that brutal commute gives you a better sense of balance to your life. Also, there isn't really any risk to the decision - you can always leave and stay home or change careers later. In an absolute worst case scenario, you are out a reference or two at your employer. Likely, your reference drops just slightly. As you are considering staying at home or entering another field anyway, those references are not worth that much. Finding fairly compensated, part-time positions has been a challenge for many of our friends in similar situations (particularly as their kids start school).

Good luck with the decision!

CoAndy
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by CoAndy » Thu May 19, 2016 3:15 pm

mhc wrote:My DW is a stay at home wife and loves it. All the couples in my circle have stay at home mom's. They love it. I am very grateful for my DW not working. She does so much to care for our children and managing the house. I think it is a very valuable thing for a mother to spend that kind of time with her children.
I agree 100% :sharebeer

Tal-
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Tal- » Thu May 19, 2016 3:25 pm

Wife kept working, and it was the correct choice for us. That was a hard decision for us, but it felt like it was "probably" the right call on day 1 - and it feels like every time we ask, we are more secure in that answer.

Because the wife kept working, we are on track for retirement, and are financially stable. We could have made it work without her income, but retirement and stability would have taken a big hit.

In your situation, I do have some thoughts...

1 - If you go back to work, change careers!!!! An IT PM is not a flexible job, and flexibility will be your friend. With 10 years behind you, I think that you will be able to find a job with normal and consistent hours, and that you can leave at work. Maybe you can stay in IT, or in a PM type role - but I doubt you can find what you're looking for within the IT PM arena.

2 - If you go back to work, outsource chores! To say it another way, for working parents, time with the kiddos is obviously valuable, so why spend it scrubbing toilets? One of the benefits of our personal choice was that time with the family was relatively errand/chore free. It will sound expensive, but it's worth it.

3 - For professional careers, it may be difficult to step away for a couple years and then go back to work. This was a huge part of the decision for us.

4 - There's nothing wrong with staying at home.

5 - And, there's nothing wrong with going back to work.

As you mentioned, the decision is obviously personal and the challenge is deciding what's right for you, your family and your future.

Best of luck, and let us know what you decide.
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

delamer
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by delamer » Thu May 19, 2016 3:48 pm

I was home full-time for a couple of years when my first child was born. My career allowed me to step out for awhile, albeit with a small hourly pay cut when I went back to work, which I know is somewhat unusual. I worked no more than 32 hours a week after I went back to work until my youngest was in high school. The part-time solution gave me the best of both worlds. It doesn't sound like the OP has anything to lose by trying the part-time option offered to her; it isn't an irrevocable decision. The fact that the OP isn't happy with her current field is a wrinkle that I didn't have to deal with, though.

I feel strongly that adults should be able to support themselves. Life is too unpredictable -- death, divorce, disability -- to be completely dependent on another person for your financial security. Obviously others here made different decisions, and I am glad that it has worked for them.

10YearPlan
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by 10YearPlan » Fri May 20, 2016 6:33 am

Tal- wrote:Wife kept working, and it was the correct choice for us. That was a hard decision for us, but it felt like it was "probably" the right call on day 1 - and it feels like every time we ask, we are more secure in that answer.

Because the wife kept working, we are on track for retirement, and are financially stable. We could have made it work without her income, but retirement and stability would have taken a big hit.

In your situation, I do have some thoughts...

1 - If you go back to work, change careers!!!! An IT PM is not a flexible job, and flexibility will be your friend. With 10 years behind you, I think that you will be able to find a job with normal and consistent hours, and that you can leave at work. Maybe you can stay in IT, or in a PM type role - but I doubt you can find what you're looking for within the IT PM arena.

2 - If you go back to work, outsource chores! To say it another way, for working parents, time with the kiddos is obviously valuable, so why spend it scrubbing toilets? One of the benefits of our personal choice was that time with the family was relatively errand/chore free. It will sound expensive, but it's worth it.

3 - For professional careers, it may be difficult to step away for a couple years and then go back to work. This was a huge part of the decision for us.

4 - There's nothing wrong with staying at home.

5 - And, there's nothing wrong with going back to work.

As you mentioned, the decision is obviously personal and the challenge is deciding what's right for you, your family and your future.

Best of luck, and let us know what you decide.
This is good advice all around. Re: 2. We do outsource all the things I/we can't or won't do. Housekeeper 2x/month. Lawn care in spring/summer weekly. We go out to eat more than most. If I worked fewer hours, I would potentially cook more often, but quite honestly between our work and the kids' schedules the only thing that works is the crockpot some nights. And there is only so much crockpot that we can take.

Carson
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Carson » Fri May 20, 2016 9:51 am

I switched from Megacorp high demand corporate finance to an internal program management role, 50% remote and it's been fantastic. I really am glad I'm keeping my feet in the door and employed, even though I miss finance so much. I have browsed for alternative part-time roles, and am really disappointed with what is out there. Nothing even comes close to the same salary/benefits/opportunity. And I'm seeing peers with their kids in school struggling to get back in. So I strongly suggest you give that 60% role a shot.

That said, I appreciate what a previous poster said before about the part-time schedule giving you that time for yourself. I really wasn't mentally ready to take time exclusively for myself until my youngest was about 2, and we enrolled him in a co-op preschool. Just seeing him get a little more independent gave me that push to use some of my kid-free time just for my own hobbies and interests.
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.

Runner01
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Runner01 » Fri May 20, 2016 9:59 am

llcoolln wrote:Hi everyone,

I know that everyone is going to say that the answer to this question is personal choice, but looking for feedback from those who have done it.

My husband and I make the same amount. I recently quit my job because my commute is 2 hours each way, high stress, and with a 7 mo old it was not only getting tiring but I felt like I never saw her. My husband was being Mr. Mom, which he has no problem with and he is amazing at. I had more of an issue with it and want to be more involved/see my daughter more.

We are planning on a #2 in the near future and I know that since I quit I likely would not apply for maternity benefits/FMLA anywhere I go at this point. I have several paths forward:
1) find a new job in the same field
2) stay at home mom
3) change careers
I turned down an offer to work 60% and remote from my boss because I felt like I could not be successful in my role being completely remote and I'm looking to be in a lower stress job. It could still be an option if I wanted to knowing that it takes at least 6-9 months to hire if not more. Technically, we could make one income work, though money is always nice. :happy

To add to that, I've never loved my job in IT project management. I always thought I'd do it for a few years, get good exposure, and then do something that made me happy. 10+ years later, I'm still here and feel pigeon-holed into what I do. The change careers option would be to get a masters in something that interests me, but I've had no practical experience in. The change careers option also means I would be close to net zero on salary/day care.

1...2...3...go! Need advice!

My wife cut her hours to 8 hours per week when our son was born. Working 8 hours per week allows her to get out of the house and not have a gap in employment. She is happy with the decision she made and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Afty
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Afty » Fri May 20, 2016 12:04 pm

10YearPlan wrote: This is good advice all around. Re: 2. We do outsource all the things I/we can't or won't do. Housekeeper 2x/month. Lawn care in spring/summer weekly. We go out to eat more than most. If I worked fewer hours, I would potentially cook more often, but quite honestly between our work and the kids' schedules the only thing that works is the crockpot some nights. And there is only so much crockpot that we can take.
We do the same thing as working parents with 2 small children, right down to wishing we had time to cook more. But this also reinforces summit's point that having a SAHP reduces expenses beyond just childcare, and you have to consider that when doing the financial calculation about whether it's feasible to stay at home.

Another example: grocery shopping. We aim for convenience and go to a single store where we can get everything, even if it's more expensive than the alternatives, because we don't want to spend our precious weekend time driving around town to multiple stores.
Last edited by Afty on Fri May 20, 2016 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kithwang
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by kithwang » Fri May 20, 2016 12:08 pm

Look for a new job and see what is out there and then decide.
Read Shonda Rhimes' commencement speech http://www.dartmouth.edu/~commence/news ... dress.html

If you compare yourself pre-kids to now, you will always fail. That's not a fair benchmark.

kithwang
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by kithwang » Fri May 20, 2016 12:19 pm

from the commencement speech
If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and story time at home. If I am at home sewing my kids' Halloween costumes, I'm probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in. If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby's first swim lesson. If I am at my daughter's debut in her school musical, I am missing Sandra Oh's last scene ever being filmed at Grey's Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the tradeoff. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother. You never feel a hundred percent OK; you never get your sea legs; you are always a little nauseous. Something is always lost.
Something is always missing.
And yet. I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them. I like how proud they are when they come to my offices and know that they come to Shondaland. There is a land and it is named after their mother. In their world, mothers run companies. In their world, mothers own Thursday nights. In their world, mothers work. And I am a better mother for it. The woman I am because I get to run Shondaland, because I get write all day, because I get to spend my days making things up, that woman is a better person—and a better mother. Because that woman is happy. That woman is fulfilled. That woman is whole. I wouldn't want them to know the me who didn't get to do this all day long. I wouldn't want them to know the me who wasn't doing.
I guess you have to ask yourself what makes you whole and what you want your kids to see you as. I don't have my own 'land' but working makes me whole.

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investorguy1
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by investorguy1 » Fri May 20, 2016 1:05 pm

duplicate
Last edited by investorguy1 on Fri May 20, 2016 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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investorguy1
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by investorguy1 » Fri May 20, 2016 1:08 pm

investorguy1 wrote:
llcoolln wrote:Hi everyone, 1...2...3...go! Need advice!
I can totally sympathies with your situation as I am in a very similar situation (but I'm a male). Something I think is important to note is that in just about every other country in the world you get a lot more maternity leave, often 1 year with some kind of pay. Also until very recently like the past 20-30 years and even more the past 10 years, it is becoming more normal for infants to go to daycare and baby sitters and not have a mother at home. I see this as kind of a big social experiment and we don't really know how it is going to work out. For many people they don't have a choice financially. However I think this could potentially have a very large negative impact on development. No one will love your baby and care for them like you will. There is also the topic of bottle feeding which some people feel strongly about trying to avoid.

The first few years of a child's life are extremely formative and have lasting impact for the rest of the child's life. If you could afford staying home and could do so in a happy way without being resentful about not having more money than it is worth it IMO. Staying home will likely reduce your current income and long term earnings potential. But as long as you are not going to be living in poverty I think it is the better move. Just think to yourself what would you have preferred your mother to do for you?

I know it is a tough decision and whichever way you go there are going to be pros and cons. A lot of people don't really have the choice so you should be grateful that you do. It is also important to get your husband's input because this will affect him to.

Good luck with your decision.

ekgreen
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by ekgreen » Fri May 20, 2016 1:19 pm

I was recently in a very similar situation and ultimately decided to stay home for at least a couple years. It was a tough decision and I do sometimes miss my professional identity.

There so many financial, personal and professional considerations, and I'm sure you've thought through them all. For me it came down to this: when I'm older, I don't think I will ever look back on my life and regret the years spent at home with my kid.

Also, assuming you're in your early 30's, it could be an option for you to step away from the workforce for a while, figure out what you want professionally, re-train if needed, and potentially have another 20+ year career ahead of you. In some ways, you have time on your side.

Finally, I know this probably isn't what you want hear, but I got this advice and it gave me some comfort as I was going through it - There is no "wrong" answer. You have some great options! The fact that you're asking these questions and struggling with this shows you're a good parent striving to make a good life for your family. I had to step back and remind myself how fortunate I was to be deciding between two viable options.

new2bogle
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by new2bogle » Fri May 20, 2016 1:55 pm

GoldenFinch wrote:
Toons wrote:2) stay at home mom
:thumbsup

You will forget the money as time goes by.
Won't give it a moments thought when they are grown,,,but
You sure will have the memories spent with the children.
Been there
Done that :happy
^^This is good advice. Think it through and do what makes you happy (which I think is what you're doing).
My wife has been a SAHM for nearing 6 years now. She is ITCHING to get back to work. Being a SAHM has its tolls also, but I do envy her more special relationship with the kids.

remomnyc
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by remomnyc » Fri May 20, 2016 3:22 pm

1. Relying on a single income is riskier. Make sure you have a significant emergency fund and insurance to cover job loss, disability, and death.
2. Make sure you’re on the same page. I know people who are thrilled their spouses stay home. That may change. People who were thrilled their spouse wanted to stay home started resenting their spouses when they lost their jobs, burned out at work, or wanted to switch to a lower paying, less stressful job or retire early.
3. Don’t underestimate how hard it is to get a job after not working for a long time. Even if staying at home is good now, it may not be later because of spouse’s job loss, divorce, etc. Ideally, work part-time to keep yourself marketable and maintain networks.

In an ideal world, parents with young children could work part-time with a flexible schedule. If your employer is offering you this option, I would try it out. When you’re not working or caring for your child, you can be exploring other career options. Good luck!

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greg24
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by greg24 » Fri May 20, 2016 4:26 pm

My wife has worked 40% or 60% for the last 13 years, which has been great for our family.

Put me down for another vote to pursue the 60% WFH option if it is still available.

Hector
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Hector » Fri May 20, 2016 5:25 pm

I am sure that you are going to get responses on both sides.

My mom was stay at home mom. My MIL was stay at home mom too. We have a 2 year old. DW took 6 months or so off when we had new born. Right now DW is working 2 days at office and looking after our kid full time rest of the week. Out of 2 days that DW goes to office; kid goes to daycare one day and to grandparents another day; I am grateful that my in-laws love looking after our kid one day a week. I am grateful that DW loves looking after our kid more than working at her office. She tried working from home for 8 more hours a week, but then she had to work couple hours at night and not spend time with me and we decided to stop that. We probably will have another kid and DW will likely look after our kids full time. DW staying at home definitely means less income. If I had an option I would love to look after kid full time with DW, but we do not have enough money to do that and I have to work to earn $$. I do not have any benefits from work. If DW works 30 hours or more, we would get good benefits through her work, but that means lowering standard of living in our opinion by DW not able to spend more time with kid.

I think both options of SAHM and working full time are good as long as you really love what you are doing.

CedarWaxWing
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by CedarWaxWing » Sat May 21, 2016 1:22 pm

SAH or not is a good option if it makes your life better.

In our case.. we both worked part time.. we both made good incomes, but still needed child care for when we both worked.

It was never possible to get child care equal to what we ourselves provided, and we decided we would be fine on one income for those years of Grade school until college.

Therefore... DW decided to stay home for about 12 years.. I went full time at work and our income were ok... but reduced.

The kids, 3 boys, all did great in many ways, including academically.

DW and I and the boys we think all had a lot more great memories for their having a parent home with them most of the time... and more time was spend in their schools, coaching, scouts, etc.

No one can tell if the outcomes were really different (but we believe they were), but the memories were great.

You only have your kids for a limited number of years... but the memories of those years are forever.

best..

M

Non7WoodUser
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Non7WoodUser » Sat May 21, 2016 1:24 pm

Stay at home.

llcoolln
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by llcoolln » Sat May 21, 2016 2:00 pm

Thanks everyone for the feedback. It is very much appreciated.

I know this is all very much a personal decision but you guys did point out some things I had not considered.

I found the response about IT PM to be quite helpful in that it confirmed what I knew in my heart but didn't want to admit to.

Still deciding but doing some numbers to see what makes sense. I am a proponent of women working and being independent but also because this is a two income world. Will continue to ponder and let you know what I decide.

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Cheese
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Cheese » Sat May 21, 2016 2:08 pm

If you can make it work financially, I would advise staying at home - just my 2p.

If you have a strong career skill-set and really want to get back to working for someone else you will find a job at that time.

Do yourself a favor and read the short excerpt titled 'Regrets of the Dying' by Bronnie Ware. Life is too short and your kids will grow so fast. Best of luck in whatever you choose. :beer

Isabelle77
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Isabelle77 » Sat May 21, 2016 2:26 pm

I stay at home and don't regret it a bit. That said if I had the chance to work a day or two a week in a profession I loved I would jump at the chance, especially now that my kids are getting older. Unfortunately that wasn't an option in my former career or with the mobile nature of my husband's job.

As someone else mentioned, there is no wrong decision here.

csmo3456
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by csmo3456 » Sat May 21, 2016 5:18 pm

I'm an IT project manager and the mother of three boys (including a one year old). I've always worked full time since my oldest was born almost 13 years ago. For our family, the flexibility was always with my husband. He's worked full time third shift, part time, and been a SAHD at various times. I personally would not do well at home full time-in fact I get antsy at the end of my 6 weeks leave to head back to work. But that's not the case for my husband, so he takes the flexible path.

Personally I've always found it helpful to have a spouse at home to take care of those million things around the house, errands, kids activities, sick days, snow days, and so on. It made me be able to focus on my education and career while my kids have someone at home.

Only you know what will work best for your family. It depends on how you both feel about your careers, and how important it is to you to have someone at home. And remember your choice doesn't have to be permanent. You can try staying at home for a while, then work part time, go back to IT in a different way, or any number of other options. There's no right or wrong choice, there's just what's best for you and your family at a given time. Good luck to you!

texasdiver
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by texasdiver » Sat May 21, 2016 6:43 pm

I was a stay-home dad for 4 years when my wife and I relocated from Alaska to Texas for her medical residency. That 4-year period happened to correspond to the birth of our two youngest daughters who came 3 years apart. I went back to work full time when the youngest reached 1 year old and we could put her in daycare.

During the first 3 years I worked part time out of a home office as a consultant for my old agency. The hours were basically whatever I wanted to put in and averaged about 20 hours a week, mostly when the kids slept or in the evenings but I did have to fly back to the west coast quite a bit which meant flying my mother out to Texas from Oregon to babysit during the week+ trips I had to make out to the west coast for meetings. That was kind of crazy. During the last year I was going back to school part time (mostly evenings) to get an alternative teaching certification.

Now that we are once again relocating I am grateful that I did keep busy professionally during those 4 stay-home years. I have a nice resume entry listing the name of my (one-person) consulting company and a couple bullets describing the types of projects I worked on. Fills up that 4-year gap quite nicely. No one needs to know there were months that I basically did nothing and that it was all part time stuff. And frankly no one has asked.

Point is, regardless of what you ultimately decide, there is some benefit to planning ahead to eventual employment again by keeping some kind of resume filler stuff on your plate even if it is very part-time style consulting. Here's a recent NYT article on the topic: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/busin ... r-not.html

Leemiller
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Leemiller » Sat May 21, 2016 8:16 pm

Someone posted 'what would you have preferred your mother do.' My answer is work so that we would have grown up without hearing fights about money and being stressed about money. Also, so that she would have enough money to retire with dignity instead of living at poverty level for the past several decades. As for my father, he's also in bad shape financially, but he's a harder worker so at least I can respect that. Besides, after elementary school we were in school most of M-F anyways.

So I work. It gives my family more financial security, gives my daughter a role model, and protects me if anything happens to my marriage or my husband!

travelnut11
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by travelnut11 » Sat May 21, 2016 9:08 pm

Another response for what I would've preferred my mother to do: work. She was a teacher by trade but a SAHM when we (my siblings and I) were kids. It made her incredibly dependent on my dad so when they got divorced it was stressful. Later when she remarried my stepdad she couldn't find a full-time position so again she was dependent on a man because she was only bringing in part-time income. My mom's experience of being man-dependent is a huge part of the reason I could never be a SAHM.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrowmindedness ...and many of our people need it solely on these accounts. - Mark Twain | | Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing. - Helen Keller

jumppilot
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by jumppilot » Sun May 22, 2016 3:21 am

My wife and I made the decision to have her stay at home with our daughter when she was born and we couldn't be happier.

We had the opportunity to move overseas with my job and took it. There are other women here who are in similar situations and have formed their own moms club - except this isn't your average moms club. They do hiking, scuba diving and girls weekend trips to Japan.

It's almost like we are partially retired. We are having a blast.

Point I'm trying to make, is we turned the SAHM situation into an opportunity to enrich our lives, baby and all. Without the inflexibility of having to deal with two job schedules we are better able to live life on our own terms. Overseas assignments, vacation time that doesn't conflict, etc.

Buckeye
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Buckeye » Sun May 22, 2016 6:41 am

Stay at home! Though she only worked part time she did have outstanding benefits, so it stung quite a bit when she quit. Actually I wanted us both to work part time instead of her quitting but it wasn't feasible for me....though I got to work plenty of 32 hour weeks instead of 40+. :happy

carolinaman
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by carolinaman » Sun May 22, 2016 7:01 am

My wife was SAHM for our children. Once they were in school she did parttime work and was always at home when they got home from school. My daughter has done the same thing. She could have had a successful career in finance but chose to be home with her kids. She has 3 children and one is special needs. I honestly do not know how she would have time to work. She is one of the busiest people I know. Your children are only young once and time with them is precious, plus I am a firm believer that it will make a difference to your children as well.

It sounds like your former company gave you a good option to work from home and reduced hours. That sounds like a good fit for your current situation and would give you time with your child. Once you had a second child, you could reevaluate your situation. You were concerned about being successful working remote which is a reasonable concern. An alternative might be to spend one day or part of a day each week in the office to connect with people face to face.

Modern communications technology makes it much easier to interact and communicate with people remotely plus you would eliminate many of the distractions of an office environment. However, there are times when face to face communications is necessary (body language does not lie). FWIW - I spent 44 years in IT and have lots of experience managing and overseeing large projects.

minneapples
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by minneapples » Wed May 25, 2016 1:26 pm

Mother of two children here, 3.5 years and 6 months.

If I had a viable PT option, I would strongly consider it, but that's not realistic in my industry. People are happy to agree to part time pay, but it doesn't translate to part time responsibility. So as a practical matter my options were work FT or stay at home, and I have chosen to work FT. My major reasons were:

1) My industry is more stable than my husband's so if either of us were to be a stay at home parent, it makes more sense for him to do it than me
2) My own mother worked FT (though she had summers off for most of my childhood) and that worked out really well for our family in terms of short term and long term financial stability, family dynamics
3) I had strong, positive relationships with my childhood day care provider, and I'm actually still in touch with her. I am really happy with my kids' day care situation, and have zero reservations about their care when I'm at work. I actually think their day care relationships (both with providers and with other kids) are really beneficial to them. And I think they are developing the same type of bond I had -- I hope so.
4) My friends with older kids tell me that although the baby years feel hard, the older kiddo years are hard in a totally different way, when physical presence is important in a new way. I feel like by working now, when I'm happy with the child care situation, I am creating the option for me/my husband to scale back later in middle school or high school when being more present might become more important.
5) It's really hard to hop out of this industry and hop back in, so leaving now would mean having to come back in at lower pay/responsibility. If I left and tried to come back later, I can't be confident this position will be available to me.
6) I worked really hard to become qualified to do this job and there are lots of things I enjoy about it. My husband has more complaints about his workplace, so us both working now creates flexibility to contemplate a big job change down the road.
7) I want my children to see me working and having responsibilities beyond just them and our household.

Some of those things are more unique to my situation, and some of them could apply across the board. I think there are pluses to staying home, of course, but also drawbacks, and those are rarely discussed. That is particularly true, I think, of the drawbacks that aren't just about money -- the decision to continue working is often framed as a purely financially motivated decision but that often is not true. As long as I can continue to create the type of home life I want while continuing to work in my chosen field, that's what I will do. And if at some point I can't, well, that's when my husband gets to be a stay at home dad. :sharebeer

cricketlives
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by cricketlives » Thu May 26, 2016 3:10 pm

10YearPlan wrote:Working mom here. I won't bother replying to all the comments that seem to suggest SAH is a superior choice. I chose to work though we could easily afford for me to stay home. DH and I make roughly the same amount of money--we compete each year for funsies. But I am much more "into" my job and career--it's very important to me.

I have foudn that I am capable of managing the house, the children (2) and a demanding job. I am secure in my choice and have no jealousy or resentment toward folks who choose a different path. That said, if I had the choice to work 60% from home, I'd probably jump at it. The only thing that suffers in our current equation is ME time. With that extra 40%, I'd have much more free time to focus on myself. If you're putting the question out there, I suspect you want to go for it. So, here's some internet stranger encouragement. Good luck.
I've been a SAHM for over a decade. I totally agree with you. Quality part time work is the parenting holy grail. If I could get a good part time job in my field I'd do that happily. Unfortunately that's not the reality for most of us. It's generally just people who are able to "step down" from full time work. So, OP, I would definitely give it a try!

I love being home with the kids and it makes all of our lives enormously easier (no one has to duck out of work for a sick kid, I can grocery shop when it's not crowded, etc.) but I do wish I'd had the opportunity to keep my foot in the door. In a few years they'll all be in school and as of this writing I don't know what I'm going to be when I grow up. ;)

researcher
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by researcher » Thu May 26, 2016 4:14 pm

10YearPlan wrote:I have found that I am capable of managing the house, the children (2) and a demanding job...

The only thing that suffers in our current equation is ME time. With that extra 40%, I'd have much more free time to focus on myself.
You don't think your children would benefit from spending more than just a few hours in the evenings with their mother?

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by JDCarpenter » Thu May 26, 2016 5:41 pm

texasdiver wrote:I was a stay-home dad for 4 years when my wife and I relocated from Alaska to Texas for her medical residency. That 4-year period happened to correspond to the birth of our two youngest daughters who came 3 years apart. I went back to work full time when the youngest reached 1 year old and we could put her in daycare.

...

Point is, regardless of what you ultimately decide, there is some benefit to planning ahead to eventual employment again by keeping some kind of resume filler stuff on your plate even if it is very part-time style consulting. Here's a recent NYT article on the topic: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/busin ... r-not.html
+1. I also did the SAH although DW was past her residency when I quit doing law because three kids age 4 and younger. In our case, it lasted for 15 years, when the youngest started driving. I taught 1/2 time as an adjunct, but it was much like texasdiver's consulting: full-time for two weeks every quarter or so, with very little in between (cept for a couple semesters when I taught a seminar). That kept the resume somewhat active; obviously, I could not get back on the escalator at anywhere near the same salary level as my peers who had continued working, but I did get back on (even though there was very little planning on that count--never expected 15 years....)

Worked for us and glad that I kept a flickering candle of professional activity going. We'd be retired already if I hadn't stayed home, but DW and I agree that working three or four extra years (in her case, at least!) was well worth it. Definitely not one-size fits all; as you can see from above, good results from many approaches. All comes down to your particular marriage's facts/situation/desires.
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minneapples
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by minneapples » Thu May 26, 2016 7:32 pm

researcher wrote:
10YearPlan wrote:I have found that I am capable of managing the house, the children (2) and a demanding job...

The only thing that suffers in our current equation is ME time. With that extra 40%, I'd have much more free time to focus on myself.
You don't think your children would benefit from spending more than just a few hours in the evenings with their mother?
Are you being deliberately provocative? Do you not belIeve childten would benefit by spending more than just a few hours in the evenings with their fathers? And are you aware of any occupations that can support a family on just a few hours of work each week?

Way to belittle all fathers and all employed mothers at once.

Theseus
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Theseus » Thu May 26, 2016 7:42 pm

My wife works part time (16 hours a week) and we have raised two kids. She did not want a babysitter for the kids. While income was not necessary, she needed to keep working part time to remain sane. She has been happy with the choice.

In your case, you should be able to find something part time (I am in IT also) and potentially work from home. It allows for some distraction and adult conversations during the day also :-)

researcher
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by researcher » Thu May 26, 2016 8:23 pm

minneapples wrote:
researcher wrote:
10YearPlan wrote:I have found that I am capable of managing the house, the children (2) and a demanding job...

The only thing that suffers in our current equation is ME time. With that extra 40%, I'd have much more free time to focus on myself.
You don't think your children would benefit from spending more than just a few hours in the evenings with their mother?
Are you being deliberately provocative? Do you not belIeve childten would benefit by spending more than just a few hours in the evenings with their fathers? And are you aware of any occupations that can support a family on just a few hours of work each week?

Way to belittle all fathers and all employed mothers at once.
Yes, I do believe children would also benefit from spending more time with their fathers.

But in this case, it was the MOTHER who posted that "the only thing that suffers is ME time" in a household with two working parents.
Had the father posted this, I would have directed the same question to him.

So how exactly did I belittle all fathers and employed mothers?

MN Finance
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by MN Finance » Thu May 26, 2016 8:35 pm

I didn't read all the posts but want to weigh in. My wife gave up a fairly decent career to stay home. You might have to ask her, but it was probably the best decision of her life. I often wish that I would have been the one to give up/reduce the career to have the family moments some people miss. It's not easy but even when it's hard, it's nothing compared to the 'hard' much of the world deals with. I think our culture overall fails us all miserably by promoting career and achievement at the expense of family (both genders). The absolute privilege to be able to shape another human beings life is humbling to say the least. In the end money really means nothing.

Leemiller
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Re: Work or stay at home mom or change careers

Post by Leemiller » Fri May 27, 2016 9:17 am

researcher wrote:
10YearPlan wrote:I have found that I am capable of managing the house, the children (2) and a demanding job...

The only thing that suffers in our current equation is ME time. With that extra 40%, I'd have much more free time to focus on myself.
You don't think your children would benefit from spending more than just a few hours in the evenings with their mother?
You don't think children, especially girls, benefit from seeing role models that work and use their education in a manner that benefits society?

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