Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

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HardHitter
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Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by HardHitter » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:40 am

First kid is due this year and I'm trying to anticipate finance changes. Based on the scenarios below, there is a $600 difference between the wife going back to work and needing to pay for child care vs being a stay at home mom.

I feel as though having the mother at home to take care of the kid is worth a lot more than having an extra $600/mo in savings would you agree? If we decide for her to stay home, I want to make sure we are on the same page as far as what her expectations are in regards to watching the kid and help out around the house/errands. I know taking care of a kid is already a full time job, but for those who have stay at home wives, what else do they do to help out around the house/errands?

Current savings/mo = $6.3K
Savings with 2 income & $3k child care = $3.3K
Savings with 1 income: $2.7K

Twood
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by Twood » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:49 am

Does she want to be a stay at home mom? If so, I'd say she should go for it. And it sounds like you may have too high of expectations for the baby years as for what she can accomplish in addition to child care. Is she not driven and self motivated? If she is, she will do as much as she can handle; you may find yourself stretched as well whether she's at work or at home, children are like that, especially if you get some like ours that don't sleep. Unfortunately this next phase of life is a lot harder to plan and control compared to when there were just two competent adults in the family. Good luck, it's a wild but rewarding ride.

daheld
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by daheld » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:50 am

For me, $6000 is absolutely worth it to stay at home, assuming that's what she wants to do.

sjt
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by sjt » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:50 am

A very personal decision, much more than finances at stake - what does your wife want to do?

For my wife, her career was important to her, and taking several years off to care for young children was not appealing. Financially, it was about a wash.

It was also important to us that the children experienced socialization. We had a nanny come to the house for the first 2 years, but then we put them in preschool. Being around several other children (and adults) for 8 hours a day has been a great decision that you can't really replicate at home.
"The one who covets is the poorer man, | For he would have that which he never can; | But he who doesn't have and doesn't crave | Is rich, though you may hold him but a knave." - Wife of Bath tale

myisland
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by myisland » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:51 am

Her decision obviously, but if she were on the fence I'd vote stay at home without a second thought. You will not regret losing out on $600/mo, not even close.

Now's probably not the time to start working on her to-do list unless she's driving that discussion. Hard to anticipate how your lives will change with the first kid, and she's got a lot on her mind already. You should not expect her to have much free time or energy for anything other than the kiddo for at least a year.

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Toons
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by Toons » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:55 am

I feel as though having the mother at home to take care of the kid is worth a lot more than having an extra $600/mo in savings would you agree

Agree 110%
600 bucks in the scheme of things.
Meaningless.

Been there ,done that,,,
I was the one that stayed home,
Looking back best decision my wife and I ever made.
My son and I get to reminisce about the memories we created,
Together,,,priceless.
He is 26 now.
I am 67
: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

chevca
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by chevca » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:56 am

Agree with above asking, what does she want to do?

My ex and I had 3 kids under 4 years age when the twins were born. She wanted to work, but wouldn't have been able to find a job to even cover child care costs (young at the time, no college). Even though it made sense financially for her not to work, she never did accept it and I believe held it against me. I also like having her home with the kids. But, being a SAHM was not her thing no matter the finances of it.

You told us how you feel and what you would like. What are her feelings and wants in your situation?

Darth Xanadu
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by Darth Xanadu » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:00 am

HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:40 am
FIf we decide for her to stay home, I want to make sure we are on the same page as far as what her expectations are in regards to watching the kid and help out around the house/errands. I know taking care of a kid is already a full time job, but for those who have stay at home wives, what else do they do to help out around the house/errands?
My spouse and I both work, but I think it's safe for you to assume that when you get home you will have primary caregiver duties until the kid goes to sleep. That stay-at-home spouse will need a mental/emotional break. "Me time" is very important.
"A courageous teacher, failure is."

HardHitter
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by HardHitter » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am

Wow, appreciate all of the quick feedback on this.

I haven't had the honest conversation with my wife yet, but just wanted to have this as an option in the back of my mind in case she does want to go that route. I get the "feeling" that she wants to be a SAHM based on her asking if she could take the 4 week unpaid leave prior to the due date and always saying she is "tired of working". She definitely works hard and is self-motivated, but I think if she had the option to be SAHM, she would take that in a heart beat but time will tell when we have that discussion.

What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?

Skierajs
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by Skierajs » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am

Consider that the first 2 years is, for many people, the least fun time to be a stay at home parent. An option would be to play it by ear initially - she can get a taste of what it would be like by planning a 6 months maternity leave and decide 3 months in if it’s right at that time.

On the financial side, future earnings potential is also something to consider. Many people become stay at home parents early in their career when earnings are lower, only to give up much higher earnings later due to being unable to rejoin the workforce at the level they’d be at otherwise.

SagaciousTraveler
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by SagaciousTraveler » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:17 am

My wife decided to stay home after the second child due to the following:

1. Her salary essentially paid for two kids in daycare.
2. She wasn't doing something she enjoyed.
3. For 10 years she saved like mad for retirement. So we felt she had a nice foundation to work with on top of maxing out her Roth.
4. Time management. Parents who both work can attest that getting everyone up and out the door is a flipping nightmare. We were trying to feel less rushed.
5. I have a job that can support us and still allow us to save for our goals.

These were our main points to work with, hopefully they help you with deciding what to do.

SagaciousTraveler
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by SagaciousTraveler » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:26 am

Darth Xanadu wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:00 am
HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:40 am
FIf we decide for her to stay home, I want to make sure we are on the same page as far as what her expectations are in regards to watching the kid and help out around the house/errands. I know taking care of a kid is already a full time job, but for those who have stay at home wives, what else do they do to help out around the house/errands?
My spouse and I both work, but I think it's safe for you to assume that when you get home you will have primary caregiver duties until the kid goes to sleep. That stay-at-home spouse will need a mental/emotional break. "Me time" is very important.
Yes! This is very important as well. Communication is key when it comes to 'breaks'. Also, be prepared to talk more. I'm not joking :happy Before my wife got into the swing of things with fellow moms, she just wanted long adult conversations when i got home. This was a big shock to me as I'm not a big talker after work.

HardHitter
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by HardHitter » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:29 am

Skierajs wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am
Consider that the first 2 years is, for many people, the least fun time to be a stay at home parent. An option would be to play it by ear initially - she can get a taste of what it would be like by planning a 6 months maternity leave and decide 3 months in if it’s right at that time.

On the financial side, future earnings potential is also something to consider. Many people become stay at home parents early in their career when earnings are lower, only to give up much higher earnings later due to being unable to rejoin the workforce at the level they’d be at otherwise.
Good thought in seeing how things go when she's on her maternity leave.

From a financial perspective, she is already at her financial ceiling in her career and is why there isn't a loss from a potential future income perspective. I am about 3/4 way to my expected salary ceiling with the cap being another $100-$200K from what I'm making now.

bikechuck
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by bikechuck » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:31 am

HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am

What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?
Lazy is not going to happen. My wife and older daughter both went through this and stay at home moms work far harder than people that have not lived this realize. You will understand this when the day or days come when your wife needs to be away and you need to care for your child/children 24/7.

From a purely economic standpoint don't forget to factor in what might or might not be going into a retirement account from your wife's employer.

We sacrificed and my daughter sacrificed income and retirement benefits for a time and from our perspective it was the right decision and something we would do all over again. My daughter would as well with her family.

Good luck with your decision I am sure you can make it work either way.

mountain-lion
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by mountain-lion » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:42 am

Financially, there are really two issues here, and you--as well as most couples--only look at one of them. (Not that the analysis below is purely financial, you have to decide if the non-financial benefits and costs are worth it.)

The $600/month more-or-less a cash-flow analysis. "This is how my monthly income changes." This is absolutely an important number, as if you can't cash flow the expense, you can't take on the expense.

But there is an important second analysis that you need to perform, and this makes the financial side of being a stay-at-home-mom look way, way, more expensive. (Again, it may be worth it, but you need to accurately account for the costs.) That analysis is how it affects your long-term income potential.

Say your wife stays out of the workforce for eight years--enough time for a second child to start elementary school or so, and lets assume (against all odds) that she jumps back into the workforce at exactly the same place she left it. Regardless, that is eight-years of delayed career advancement, missed social security contributions, missed promotions, missed job opportunities, missed networking chances, and on and on. And all of this comes in the prime of her earning years.

And that is assuming she is able to jump right back in where she left off. In reality, her skills will likely be somewhat dated, her resume will be stale, and business networking chances will have declined; picking up where you left off is really, really hard.

Quantifying exactly how much foregone income all this adds up to is very difficult, but it is an extremely large amount of money over one's life.

It may well be worth it to her, and to you. Only you can decide that.

But on the financial side, don't just just calculate the monthly cost, but in terms of long-term earnings, and long-term earning potential.

HardHitter
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by HardHitter » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:55 am

mountain-lion wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:42 am
Financially, there are really two issues here, and you--as well as most couples--only look at one of them. (Not that the analysis below is purely financial, you have to decide if the non-financial benefits and costs are worth it.)

The $600/month more-or-less a cash-flow analysis. "This is how my monthly income changes." This is absolutely an important number, as if you can't cash flow the expense, you can't take on the expense.

But there is an important second analysis that you need to perform, and this makes the financial side of being a stay-at-home-mom look way, way, more expensive. (Again, it may be worth it, but you need to accurately account for the costs.) That analysis is how it affects your long-term income potential.

Say your wife stays out of the workforce for eight years--enough time for a second child to start elementary school or so, and lets assume (against all odds) that she jumps back into the workforce at exactly the same place she left it. Regardless, that is eight-years of delayed career advancement, missed social security contributions, missed promotions, missed job opportunities, missed networking chances, and on and on. And all of this comes in the prime of her earning years.

And that is assuming she is able to jump right back in where she left off. In reality, her skills will likely be somewhat dated, her resume will be stale, and business networking chances will have declined; picking up where you left off is really, really hard.

Quantifying exactly how much foregone income all this adds up to is very difficult, but it is an extremely large amount of money over one's life.

It may well be worth it to her, and to you. Only you can decide that.

But on the financial side, don't just just calculate the monthly cost, but in terms of long-term earnings, and long-term earning potential.
Total understand where you are coming from, but her industry (food/restaurant) isn't anything crazy in comparison to my industry (tech) where we would need to analyze that long term sacrifice. Her industry/company doesn't offer 401k matching, poor benefits, etc.

With that said, she has always mentioned wanting to do something "on her own" and has told me if she started her own thing she would be able to make way more than what her jobs were paying, but I never really let her take that chance to do it because we wanted stable incomes and that was a risk we weren't willing to take. If she's going to be a SAHM now and once we get into the flow of things, I would tell her to "go for it" and see how it pans out.

bluejello
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by bluejello » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:00 pm

I'm a mother of two young kids under 3, and recently left my job as a VP at a tech company to be home full-time with the kids. My plan originally was to go back to work at the end of this year (after about 9 months out of the workforce) but I'm already chomping at the bit to start job hunting.

A few thoughts for you:

1) Make sure you're doing your math right. You say there's a $600 difference between her working vs. staying at home — is that before or after tax? Does that account for the benefits her job might provide (e.g. health insurance, 401k match, social security contributions, etc.)? What about expected salary increases, bonuses, future promotions? Do you plan to have more children? Many people mistakenly underestimate the cost of stepping out of the workforce. In about 5 years or so your child will be in school and you won't need to pay for full-time childcare anymore. Meanwhile if your wife kept working she would continue to grow her earnings during that time, whereas if she stepped out for 5 years she would have trouble even getting back in at the salary she has now. So you really need to do the math based on what working vs staying at home looks like over say, 10 years, not just right now.

2) Taking care of small children is waaay harder than working. I balanced work and full-time study all through high school and college, I'm used to 60-hr workweeks, I've run marathons, and taking care of a baby is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. Especially for the first few months, when you are feeding around the clock and never getting more than 3 hours sleep while recovering from childbirth. After I had my first child I went back to work at 3 months and trust me, every Monday felt like a holiday after spending the weekend full-time with the baby. I love my kids but at the office you at least get to use the bathroom or drink a cup of coffee in peace!

You ask "what you should do to help out around the house/errands?" The answer is "as much as humanly possible".

3) Every single working mom I know feels guilty for not being with the kids more, and every single SAHM I know misses working and having her own income and professional identity. We all do the best we can but there is no perfect solution. Also, whatever your wife thinks she wants now may or may not be what she wants after the baby comes. Be prepared for her to potentially change her mind and be supportive if she does.

bluejello
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by bluejello » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:08 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am
What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?
As a mom of two under 3, this is so far off the mark it's hilarious. After the baby comes, believe me you will look back at this sentence and also find it hilarious.

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Tamarind
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by Tamarind » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:12 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:55 am
mountain-lion wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:42 am
Financially, there are really two issues here, and you--as well as most couples--only look at one of them. (Not that the analysis below is purely financial, you have to decide if the non-financial benefits and costs are worth it.)

The $600/month more-or-less a cash-flow analysis. "This is how my monthly income changes." This is absolutely an important number, as if you can't cash flow the expense, you can't take on the expense.

But there is an important second analysis that you need to perform, and this makes the financial side of being a stay-at-home-mom look way, way, more expensive. (Again, it may be worth it, but you need to accurately account for the costs.) That analysis is how it affects your long-term income potential.

Say your wife stays out of the workforce for eight years--enough time for a second child to start elementary school or so, and lets assume (against all odds) that she jumps back into the workforce at exactly the same place she left it. Regardless, that is eight-years of delayed career advancement, missed social security contributions, missed promotions, missed job opportunities, missed networking chances, and on and on. And all of this comes in the prime of her earning years.

And that is assuming she is able to jump right back in where she left off. In reality, her skills will likely be somewhat dated, her resume will be stale, and business networking chances will have declined; picking up where you left off is really, really hard.

Quantifying exactly how much foregone income all this adds up to is very difficult, but it is an extremely large amount of money over one's life.

It may well be worth it to her, and to you. Only you can decide that.

But on the financial side, don't just just calculate the monthly cost, but in terms of long-term earnings, and long-term earning potential.
Total understand where you are coming from, but her industry (food/restaurant) isn't anything crazy in comparison to my industry (tech) where we would need to analyze that long term sacrifice. Her industry/company doesn't offer 401k matching, poor benefits, etc.

With that said, she has always mentioned wanting to do something "on her own" and has told me if she started her own thing she would be able to make way more than what her jobs were paying, but I never really let her take that chance to do it because we wanted stable incomes and that was a risk we weren't willing to take. If she's going to be a SAHM now and once we get into the flow of things, I would tell her to "go for it" and see how it pans out.
This seems like a sensible approach provided she wants to stay home for a bit. Especially if she is in a field where barriers to re-entry are low, she wouldn't be risking as much by stepping away for a bit.

Above you mention a concern about her becoming "lazy". I suggest you stuff that thought down the memory hole immediately and watch yourself like a hawk to make sure it doesn't get out again. Taking care of an infant is a more than full time job (especially if you expect her to do most of the housework as well). Take care you don't confuse the pay she receives for her work with its value.

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Pajamas
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by Pajamas » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:14 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am
What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?
Please don't say anything like that to anyone without anonymity, especially not to your wife, for your own benefit. Reality will hit you soon and you will realize how hilarious it was for you to even think this.

You need to be 100% supportive of your wife in the months and years ahead even when she is not at her best. Be very sensitive to the fact that "baby blues" are almost universal and postpartum depression is very common to one degree or another.

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HueyLD
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by HueyLD » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:24 pm

It is so incredible to read what the OP wrote about the misunderstood "lazy" SAHMs.

With that attitude, his wife should probably be thinking about what she may do in the event of marital problems.

I have seen too many SAHMs who became "poor working single moms" after being out of the workforce for an extended period of time. Potential employers do not value the experience of SAHMs and that's very unfortunate.

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marti038
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by marti038 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:24 pm

+1 for stay at home if that's what she wants to do. I'd let her set the expectations for what "gets done" while she's at home too. Just be thankful you have that option.

We have two kids, 4 & 6. My wife has been at home full time, worked part-time, and worked full-time each for various periods of time over the last 6 years.

My least favorite is when she worked full time, even though we had more cash. My favorite was when she was at home full time, even though we had to restrict spending a bit. We've decided that when possible, she'll work part time which has been a happy middle ground for her (she's a mechanical engineer).

As the kids get older she will probably move closer and closer to full time, but we'll see.

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bligh
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by bligh » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:25 pm

Infants need more than full time attention during the day. Some kids wake up at night (sometimes more than once) and ask for a meal. They also get sick more often in Day care. It's brutal juggling that and full time work. It is really rough and having a SAHM or SAHD is an excellent option if you can swing it financially. It is really hard for a parent to get "lazy" with around their kid. I mean you'd quite literally have to actively work to be lazy. Kids have WAY more energy than you do.

What we did was to have a second kid in quick succession (we knew we wanted a second kid) and so the cost (in lost income) of having the mom SAH was compared against the cost of 2 kids in day care. This made the numbers work much better and my wife was able to take a good 2 to 3 years off to spend time with the kids. We still left money on the table by doing it that way, but life isn't about making money. This was way more important, and frankly, if I could go back I would have asked my wife to SAH for longer if she was willing.. maybe till the kids were in Kindergarten.

A SAHP can really help with eating out costs. Cooking at home is much cheaper and much healthier .... you will want to eat out less often with a baby anyway. You'll likely order in or eat home cooked food much more. For us we order in food quite a bit more often during the week now that we are both working, than we used to when the mom was SAH. Sometimes when both our schedules get crammed we have no choice.

But don't look at it strictly from a numbers point of view man. The quality of care your kid will receive from his/her own mother is not going to compare to that of a stranger getting paid to do the work and watching 4 other kids at the same time.

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knpstr
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by knpstr » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:26 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am
What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?
My first child is 4 months now. My wife stays home.
They only way your wife can be "lazy" is if she is a SAHM and hires child care to come in and take care of the baby all day/night and a housekeeper to tend to the house chores.
Last edited by knpstr on Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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veindoc
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by veindoc » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:27 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am
Wow, appreciate all of the quick feedback on this.

I haven't had the honest conversation with my wife yet, but just wanted to have this as an option in the back of my mind in case she does want to go that route. I get the "feeling" that she wants to be a SAHM based on her asking if she could take the 4 week unpaid leave prior to the due date and always saying she is "tired of working". She definitely works hard and is self-motivated, but I think if she had the option to be SAHM, she would take that in a heart beat but time will tell when we have that discussion.

What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?
This is your first kid right? Expect very little when it comes to household chores for the first two years. In fact be prepared to come home and essentially “take over.” Newborns are very demanding. It’s essentially feed, clean, try to get them to sleep. Stop and breathe for 30 mins and then start over. By the time you start something, the baby is up and crying and you can’t get back to the task for another two hours. I basically made our bed and dinner. That was it. Tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry were saved until my spouse came home and took the baby. By the time your wife gets the hang of things a new challenge begins. Baby starts teething and won’t sleep through night creating a zombie mom during the day. That resolves and now baby becomes mobile and you spend the whole day trying to prevent baby from killing themselves or becoming frustrated because they are not allowed to rip out the indoor plants or get into the kitchen cabinets or put he remote in their mouth. Keep your expectations low about the amount of household tasks that get done. Some days your wife will feel like supermom and other days she will be just plain tired.

And remember the goal of your wife being a SAHM is to take care of your baby. That’s the job description- be a mom. It’s not to be a housekeeper. So don’t treat her like one. Your job during the day is to do whatever it is you do. Your wife’s job during the day is to take care of your child. Both of your jobs is to take care of the house.

go_mets
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by go_mets » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:29 pm

knpstr wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:26 pm
HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am
What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?
My first child is 4 months now. My wife stays home.
They only way your wife can be "lazy" is if she is a SAHM and hires child care to come in and take care of the baby all day/night and a housekeeper to tend to the house chores.
I caught that sentence too!

If he keeps up with that attitude about lazy, his wife may end up being more than a bit annoyed.


.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:30 pm

My wife stayed at home beginning with the adoption of our second. We ran the numbers. In retrospect, some of our assumptions were waaaaaaay off. She was a relatively new manager, so had "skyrocket" as a real potential in salary. Anyways, a list:

Miles per year on vehicle. Assumed it would go down. Instead, it went from 12k a year to 18k a year.

Assumption that she'd go back to work full time once the kids were both in school. My youngest is starting his senior year in high school. She has not gone back full time but does 4 shifts a month per diem.

Assumed that since she's home, we'll save all this money on day care. Instead, she put them into part time day care and took a very low paying job at the church where the kids were in part time day care.

My guess is that had we kept the 2 of them in full time day care and later in after school care (there were busses that went right from school to after school care), we'd have at least $1.5MM more than we have. Probably approaching $2MM.

Hind sight is 20/20 and of course, your mileage may vary.
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knpstr
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by knpstr » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:31 pm

veindoc wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:27 pm
HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am
Wow, appreciate all of the quick feedback on this.

I haven't had the honest conversation with my wife yet, but just wanted to have this as an option in the back of my mind in case she does want to go that route. I get the "feeling" that she wants to be a SAHM based on her asking if she could take the 4 week unpaid leave prior to the due date and always saying she is "tired of working". She definitely works hard and is self-motivated, but I think if she had the option to be SAHM, she would take that in a heart beat but time will tell when we have that discussion.

What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?
This is your first kid right? Expect very little when it comes to household chores for the first two years. In fact be prepared to come home and essentially “take over.” Newborns are very demanding. It’s essentially feed, clean, try to get them to sleep. Stop and breathe for 30 mins and then start over. By the time you start something, the baby is up and crying and you can’t get back to the task for another two hours. I basically made our bed and dinner. That was it.
I gave my wife the suggestion to take a nap when the baby naps... she looked at me like I was from Mars.

That being said... leading up to the birth she made 2 months worth of homemade dinners and stored them in our freezer. That way we just had to "warm up" dinners. She said she was so happy she did this.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by HardHitter » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:31 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am
What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?
Let me put context behind the word "lazy" which is why it was in quotes. I fully understand taking care of a kid is already a full time job and is more work than any day job, which I had eluded to in my original post. If one would to say that to any SAHM, let alone their own wife, there would be a bigger problem at hand.

Thank you all for the contribution! I think the best approach is going to see how things go when the baby is here and how she feels when she goes through the maternity leave. I just like knowing that we can do either or so she knows she is supported whichever she decides.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by Wellfleet » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:38 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:31 pm
Thank you all for the contribution! I think the best approach is going to see how things go when the baby is here and how she feels when she goes through the maternity leave. I just like knowing that we can do either or so she knows she is supported whichever she decides.
[/quote]

Good plan. SO was happy to stay home for almost a year then happy to get back to work. Plans evolved as we went.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by marti038 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:39 pm

What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?
I know this is piling on because others have already addressed it, but she's not going to become lazy by becoming a SAHM. Your day-to-day job will probably be less stressful (mine is).

I was laid off a few years ago and got to be a stay at home dad for a couple of months while my wife picked up more hours. Looking back, I'm thankful for the amount of time I got with my kiddos, but it was no piece of cake. I was ready for help at the end of each day and also learned a lot about the amount of work/prep/planning you have to put into each day so the kids benefit from it (i.e. - not vegging in front of the TV all day).

In summary, I'd caution you not to view a stay at home role as something of minimal value just because it's hard to put a price tag on it. When the time comes, be sure to acknowledge the hard work your wife is doing all day while you're at work and thank her regularly for it.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by newbie_Mo » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:49 pm

veindoc wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:27 pm
HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am
Wow, appreciate all of the quick feedback on this.

I haven't had the honest conversation with my wife yet, but just wanted to have this as an option in the back of my mind in case she does want to go that route. I get the "feeling" that she wants to be a SAHM based on her asking if she could take the 4 week unpaid leave prior to the due date and always saying she is "tired of working". She definitely works hard and is self-motivated, but I think if she had the option to be SAHM, she would take that in a heart beat but time will tell when we have that discussion.

What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?
This is your first kid right? Expect very little when it comes to household chores for the first two years. In fact be prepared to come home and essentially “take over.” Newborns are very demanding. It’s essentially feed, clean, try to get them to sleep. Stop and breathe for 30 mins and then start over. By the time you start something, the baby is up and crying and you can’t get back to the task for another two hours. I basically made our bed and dinner. That was it. Tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry were saved until my spouse came home and took the baby. By the time your wife gets the hang of things a new challenge begins. Baby starts teething and won’t sleep through night creating a zombie mom during the day. That resolves and now baby becomes mobile and you spend the whole day trying to prevent baby from killing themselves or becoming frustrated because they are not allowed to rip out the indoor plants or get into the kitchen cabinets or put he remote in their mouth. Keep your expectations low about the amount of household tasks that get done. Some days your wife will feel like supermom and other days she will be just plain tired.

And remember the goal of your wife being a SAHM is to take care of your baby. That’s the job description- be a mom. It’s not to be a housekeeper. So don’t treat her like one. Your job during the day is to do whatever it is you do. Your wife’s job during the day is to take care of your child. Both of your jobs is to take care of the house.
This pretty much sums up our last 12 months of life. Don't expect a clean/neat house when your baby starts to crawl. You will realize keeping a baby fed, warm, clean, entertained, safe and stays asleep is more than a full time job. Enjoy.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by MnyGrl » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:59 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:24 pm
It is so incredible to read what the OP wrote about the misunderstood "lazy" SAHMs.

With that attitude, his wife should probably be thinking about what she may do in the event of marital problems.

I have seen too many SAHMs who became "poor working single moms" after being out of the workforce for an extended period of time. Potential employers do not value the experience of SAHMs and that's very unfortunate.
This would be my concern. If she can keep one foot in the door (freelancing or PT work) it will help her get back into the workforce later.

Have you run the math to see how things will work if she never returns to work?

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by TheDDC » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:59 pm

+1 for stay at home mom. Outsourcing your job of taking care of the kids is something you will regret. We as a society will pay dearly for abaonsong kids the way many do. In fact, we already are.

-TheDDC

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by Pajamas » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:04 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:31 pm
HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:12 am
What I don't want to happen is that she becomes a SAHM and just becomes "lazy" where she is taking care of the kid, but just staying in the house watching tv and doing "nothing" you know?
Let me put context behind the word "lazy" which is why it was in quotes. I fully understand taking care of a kid is already a full time job and is more work than any day job, which I had eluded to in my original post. If one would to say that to any SAHM, let alone their own wife, there would be a bigger problem at hand.
You shouldn't even joke about that because your wife's sense of humor may change. Might even not be so funny to you in a few months, either!

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by bottlecap » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:08 pm

Worth it if she wants to do it and you can afford it, definitely.

Don’t worry about socialization. Unless a person has an unsocial personality, we all get socialized.

Although it won’t seem it at first, one baby is actually pretty easy compared to two or three kids. They can’t crawl, nap several times a day, and don’t generate too much laundry. It’s not convenient for a work schedule or doing something for more than an hour or two at a time, but someone staying at home can keep up with what needs to be done. I even did it for a time.

When they get older and you have more, you’ve got to drive them places, feed them all at once, and your house becomes a constant laundromat.

My wife worked 2 days a week with the first two. She probably won’t go back now until the third is in preschool. I help out around the house on weekends and whenever I have time during the week.

Congrats and enjoy these times, even when it seems crazy.

JT

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by MnyGrl » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:14 pm

TheDDC wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:59 pm
+1 for stay at home mom. Outsourcing your job of taking care of the kids is something you will regret. We as a society will pay dearly for abaonsong kids the way many do. In fact, we already are.

-TheDDC
Working is not abandoning your kids.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by J295 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:17 pm

Can’t tell you what to do, but can tell you we had a stay at home parent and it was excellent. Some other observations:

1. The stay at home parent, in my opinion, works much harder than the spouse who goes to work outside of the home. I was the work outside the home parent, and my stay at home spouse had a much more challenging job than I did. And I was working as a professional with substantial responsibility.

2. The work outside the home parent needs to really dig in and contribute materially with household chores and parenting, etc.

3. We are super tight with our kids and grandchild, and loved and still love being parents. Having said that, it’s really hard work and requires a team effort.
Last edited by J295 on Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by BradJ » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:17 pm

My wife recently began staying at home with our second child, and yes it is a personal choice. One aspect you need to be aware of is that "less money will be spent during the week" is a lie. Our kids have mother-day out programs, lunches , and recreational activities.......all things that were not on the budget when both worked and the kids went to daycare. If your wife wants to stay home and you can afford it, I say give it a go.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by BradJ » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:21 pm

MnyGrl wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:14 pm
TheDDC wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:59 pm
+1 for stay at home mom. Outsourcing your job of taking care of the kids is something you will regret. We as a society will pay dearly for abaonsong kids the way many do. In fact, we already are.

-TheDDC
Working is not abandoning your kids.
Amen! We have done both routes as parents, daycare and stay-at home. As a Christian, I feel like churches highly encourage people to only have one spouse working, and sometimes that encouragement crosses the line into guilt territory. Listen, if you don't want to be at home watching your children, everyone looses. The three aspects to being a good parent are love, intentional focus , and consistency.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by ThankYouJack » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:22 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:31 pm

Thank you all for the contribution! I think the best approach is going to see how things go when the baby is here and how she feels when she goes through the maternity leave. I just like knowing that we can do either or so she knows she is supported whichever she decides.
Sounds like a very good plan. She may love staying home or she may hate it, so nice to know you have both options.

You may also want to factor in your job security and if there's a chance you could lose your job and have trouble getting another one.

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munemaker
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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by munemaker » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:23 pm

MnyGrl wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:14 pm
TheDDC wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:59 pm
+1 for stay at home mom. Outsourcing your job of taking care of the kids is something you will regret. We as a society will pay dearly for abaonsong kids the way many do. In fact, we already are.

-TheDDC
Working is not abandoning your kids.
My DW stayed home with the kids, who are now grown and successful in their respective professions, and are really good people. Some of our relatives had successful kids with working moms, and some are the opposite of successful. I don't think SAHM is necessary for the kids' success, but I do believe it improves the odds. That being said, a price is paid in terms of income, benefits and the like; in our case, we are in a very good financial position. I am very pleased about how SAHM worked out for us. I would not be critical of either position - career mom or SAHM.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by cncm » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:30 pm

Disagree strongly that the difference is $600 between having your wife stay at home vs work.

Keep in mind, she’s giving up not just her current income, but future income as well. Whenever she does decide to return to work, she’ll likely have trouble getting anything more than entry level job, whereas if she’d stayed in the work force, she’d be a lot more senior and most likely making a lot more money. Over a period of 5, 10, or maybe even more years, that difference can compound and become significant.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by HardHitter » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:33 pm

cncm wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:30 pm
Disagree strongly that the difference is $600 between having your wife stay at home vs work.

Keep in mind, she’s giving up not just her current income, but future income as well. Whenever she does decide to return to work, she’ll likely have trouble getting anything more than entry level job, whereas if she’d stayed in the work force, she’d be a lot more senior and most likely making a lot more money. Over a period of 5, 10, or maybe even more years, that difference can compound and become significant.
This was mentioned in the thread but probably didn't want to read through all the replies haha. In short, she is already capped out in her industry (food/restaurant) so there isn't much lost opportunity from her being out of the workforce from a salary perspective. She would be able to pick up the same job regardless of it being 5/10/15 years being out of the workforce.

Others have mentioned 401k matching and benefits, etc. All of those perks were not offered by her employer so again, not much given up.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by gunn_show » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:38 pm

Twood wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:49 am
Does she want to be a stay at home mom? If so, I'd say she should go for it. And it sounds like you may have too high of expectations for the baby years as for what she can accomplish in addition to child care. Is she not driven and self motivated? If she is, she will do as much as she can handle; you may find yourself stretched as well whether she's at work or at home, children are like that, especially if you get some like ours that don't sleep. Unfortunately this next phase of life is a lot harder to plan and control compared to when there were just two competent adults in the family. Good luck, it's a wild but rewarding ride.
Agree with this. You still have not stated, that I have seen, what she wants to do?

Father of near-10 month old here, and I can tell you the last 10 months have been a blur. Plan all you want, it goes out the window. All it takes is a cluster-feeder baby or non-sleeper and teething and everything else to turn it upside down.
SagaciousTraveler wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:17 am
My wife decided to stay home after the second child due to the following:

1. Her salary essentially paid for two kids in daycare.
2. She wasn't doing something she enjoyed.
3. For 10 years she saved like mad for retirement. So we felt she had a nice foundation to work with on top of maxing out her Roth.
4. Time management. Parents who both work can attest that getting everyone up and out the door is a flipping nightmare. We were trying to feel less rushed.
5. I have a job that can support us and still allow us to save for our goals.

These were our main points to work with, hopefully they help you with deciding what to do.
Similar here. Wife is SAHM and not returning to work anytime soon. Her barely-above average pay combined with crappy work environment deemed it not worth it to return. We would net out very little vs. paying for childcare in CA. Similar to OP, it was something in the hundreds of dollars. No way. Again, as someone with a 10mos old, I can say I would much rather have my wife here at home with the kid (and I am WFH sales guy, so we are all home pretty often) versus going to work and dropping off with caretakers. Kid grows leaps and bounds home with mom all day, and grandparents coming weekly. This time is priceless to us. Recent threads written by lawyers who see their kids for minutes in the morning and maybe minutes/hour at night, I could not do it man. Might as well send the kids off to boarding school, see you in summer!

I have a job that can support us with SAHM (and sounds like OP is more than in the same boat) and will do so until something changes that would require us to revisit the plan. But you have to give the wife massive credit if she becomes a SAHM, it is an incredible amount of work. I would not want that job!!!
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by BradJ » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:46 pm

gunn_show wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:38 pm


Wife is SAHM and not returning to work anytime soon. Her barely-above average pay combined with crappy work environment deemed it
I am a little jealous, my wife is staying home but will be finishing up her Master in Teaching and will be going back to work next year. If she told me tomorrow she wanted to stay home, I would go back to swing shift work to have more free time with her and the kids.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by MnyGrl » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:51 pm

munemaker wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:23 pm
MnyGrl wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:14 pm
TheDDC wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:59 pm
+1 for stay at home mom. Outsourcing your job of taking care of the kids is something you will regret. We as a society will pay dearly for abaonsong kids the way many do. In fact, we already are.

-TheDDC
Working is not abandoning your kids.
My DW stayed home with the kids, who are now grown and successful in their respective professions, and are really good people. Some of our relatives had successful kids with working moms, and some are the opposite of successful. I don't think SAHM is necessary for the kids' success, but I do believe it improves the odds. That being said, a price is paid in terms of income, benefits and the like; in our case, we are in a very good financial position. I am very pleased about how SAHM worked out for us. I would not be critical of either position - career mom or SAHM.
I was a SAHM for eight years, but once the kids were in school full-time I thought the benefits would be significantly less.

Do you think there is a difference between a SAHM or SAHD, in terms of benefits to the child? Would a dad staying home mess up the kids too badly? :D I'm not sure what you mean about it improving the odds of "success."

In any case, staying at home with kids is not possible for the majority of households financially. According to Dept of Labor:

-- Seventy percent of mothers with children under 18 participate in the labor force, with over 75 percent employed full-time.
-- Mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under 18 today, compared with 11 percent in 1960.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by gunn_show » Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:15 pm

BradJ wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:46 pm
gunn_show wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:38 pm


Wife is SAHM and not returning to work anytime soon. Her barely-above average pay combined with crappy work environment deemed it
I am a little jealous, my wife is staying home but will be finishing up her Master in Teaching and will be going back to work next year. If she told me tomorrow she wanted to stay home, I would go back to swing shift work to have more free time with her and the kids.
Lot of variables in these "is a SAHM worth it" threads, no single right answer. I am fortunate to be a remote sales guy for a tech megacorp that pays really well, and I have a modest mortgage with no other debts, two 10-yr old vehicles we bought last year (because why do WFH sales guy and SAHM need new cars? you don't). I make a nice amount and save a ton (30-50% net)(entire 401k contrib was done in Feb). So saving an extra $600 (like the OP stated) is not really worth having the wife go back to work, squeeze chores in at night and weekends, rush out of the house, etc. etc. when that amount doesn't really change our lives for the better or worse. Sure I would love to have an extra $5000-6000+ a year and the home office to myself all day [ :-) ] but for the good of the kid, this works out very well. I probably get to spend 500-1000% more time with my daughter than most dads. Went to the zoo yesterday! Hey, I had no sales calls, so why not..

Wife had a modest sales job that anyone can get off craigslist type thing, made solid money as second earner, had a 401k (that we started stockpiling in the last 1-2 yrs when we planned for kid), and was ready to jump off that hamster wheel. Not really a job or career to run back to. She has no degree. If she were a teacher with a masters or a doctor or high powered tech exec, perhaps the answer would be different. This is where "YMMV" and no right answer. She is a bikini designer and makes / sells those on the side, so that also helps keep her busy and gives her a side gig to do in the few precious spare minutes she has (mostly when grandparents are here in 2-3 hour blocks). I think that keeps her "in the game" a little bit and gives her something to work on and work towards, trying to grow that business. We don't ever need it to seriously contribute to the family income, but it gives her some pocket money here and there, and maybe some day it catches on and takes off and we'll see what happens. My wife loves being a SAHM and really left no option to not do it anyway, so we make it work just fine. I know plenty of women who would never want to do it, too career-focused and love what they do.

Also, we plan to have a second kid soon, so that further increases the ROI of SAHM in my book.
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:16 pm

I would encourage you to run the numbers again, treating the daycare expense as a *household* expense, rather than as an expense that has to be balanced against her paycheck alone. The reason that I suggest it is that it *is* a household expense, and you need to be thinking of that decision as one that affects the overall budget, just as you would the purchase of a car or a house. It might affect the decisions you make, if you're thinking not "she nets only $600" but "we have to find another $1500 per month in the budget." Especially when you consider that a SAHM is going to spend more on outings than the working mom -- not nearly enough to equal daycare, but enough that you can't assume the entirety of the cost savings just by staying home.

I have seen people be fulfilled as stay-at-home parents. I know a lot of stressed out working moms. I've also seen the reverse, and a lot of moms who plan to go back who don't, or can't go back, and more suddenly single moms who are really scrambling because fifteen years out of the workforce was great until it wasn't.

IME, it is a lot easier on the working parent if the other stays at home, but I haven't seen much in the way of evidence that the kids are affected. The idea of a nuclear family where only one parent cares for the kids is really, really recent in world history; alloparenting is much more common. In any case, we had one in daycare at nine months and one who started at two and a half. Both are fine, crushing milestones, etc.

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Re: Decision for Stay at Home Wife?

Post by TheDDC » Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:29 pm

MnyGrl wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:14 pm
TheDDC wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:59 pm
+1 for stay at home mom. Outsourcing your job of taking care of the kids is something you will regret. We as a society will pay dearly for abaonsong kids the way many do. In fact, we already are.

-TheDDC
Working is not abandoning your kids.
For the majority of the time of the history of not only this country, we saw a benefit in having kids raised by parents. And guess what? It worked pretty well. Kids know when a parent chooses them versus work. Try and convince them otherwise and see how that works.

-TheDDC

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