Can you Afford to Stay at home?

I have recently seen a few posts relating to stay at home moms and mom's who re-enter the work force. There are arguments for and against, that go around in so many circles in can make a person dizzy. Some of these posts/conversations/arguments have appeared on:

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's blog - SAHM vs Working Wenches
..there were a few others that got me thinking but I can't seem to find them just now.

I'm not pregnant, nor do I plan to be for at least a few more years, but I do think it's an interesting topic and one best discussed between partners. If I can afford to stay at home with kids, I would like to. My mom spent a number of years at home with my brother and I and slowly re-entered the work force as we went to school. I think we benefited HUGELY (oh yeah, i capped that) by having her at home. I know that even now we have a very strong relationship (she even reads this blog, which a few people have noticed, hi mom!) and I credit that, in part, to the foundation that was built while I was small.
I found a calculator on todaysparents.com that calculates if it is financially viable for a parent to stay at home. I don't know if this is complete but it seems to capture everything. According to this calculator, I would be able to bring home about $20,000 with my current salary and current costs (for child care, i guessed using the rates from the child care program we have through work).
If you're a parent - did you stay at home with kids or did you work? How did you make the decision?
If you are not yet a parent and want to be - have you decided if mom or dad will stay with kids, do you want to work or stay at home?
I will be credit card debt free in 9 days!


  1. Hi Jessie. By planning carefully, as you are doing, you will be able to make the choice. Whichever choice you make, you will be an awesome Mom one day.

  2. I stay home with my dd & I wouldn't have it any other way --- maybe working would get us out of debt a year sooner, but honestly, I don't care if it takes us 10 years longer - I would still stay home. Our family is very close (dh, dd & I) and I would not trade that for anything. But, one has to do what is best for their own family.

  3. My intention is to be a SAHM. Things may change by now and then, but that's the dream! ;)

  4. My mom never stayed home (though she worked night shifts and my dad worked day when we were little), so I think that influences me to not really think staying home is a priority. I had a great childhood and I turned out awesome!

    However, the best thing is to have enough savings/money to be able to make that hard choice when the time comes. I don't know for sure what I'll choose.

  5. I'm hoping I can stay home, but I'd have to do freelance work. With the new house, I'm not sure yet if it's a viable plan. Might be after another year or two!

  6. I'm with stackingpennies, my mom didn't stay at home and I think I turned out just fine anyway with a fantastic childhood. =)

    Each person is different and will tend to find data to support whatever they want to do in the end. So if you want to stay at home, great! And if you don't, that's great, too.

    However, either way you look at it (staying home or not) child care is still a huge expense. Whether it is the loss of an income or the expense of child care while you work. So keeping that in mind is probably the smartest thing to do when thinking about the future.

    Personally, I'm hoping I'll meet a guy who wants nothing more than to be my house-husband. I love working and am damn good at what I do, and once my stint now is done I'll be making at minimum $65k/year starting. So I could totally support a husband who wants to raise my children, cook my meals and clean my house. (I realize that should probably say: "our" instead of "my" - perhaps that is why I haven't found him?) ;)

    Regardless, I have no intention of ever being a SAHM, but fully respect people who do. I think BOTH decisions are hard ones to make, and each person has to do what they independently feel is best for THEIR family.

  7. Like SP I had a working mom who never dreamed of staying home, she thinks all parents should work so as to not be dependent on their spouse. She and my dad just divorced last year after 33 years together, thankfully she had a career to support herself with.

    As for our situation, it will be impossible for me to stay home. I'm the breadwinner and there is no possible way in this universe for Mr M to take over that role. But, he is starting to accept that he'll be a stay at home dad cause daycare is just too expensive. His current career (hollywood set building) has a lot of down time, maybe we can do a partial daycare situation so he can still get out and work a bit. I think a little day care, or preschool to be precise, is good for kids. They get exposed to authority figures other than mom and dad, have to learn to cooperate with their peers and hopefully get a wider view of the world. I hate the SAHM vs working mom debates, there is no right answer and each family has to make their own choice. But with so much emotion attached to it, everyone feels they must justify their choice as the "only" way to be.

  8. I can afford to stay at home, but that's primarly because I work from home :) If you're gonna be home, might as well get paid right?

  9. I don't think that matters. At least not after the kids start going to school. It's more quality time than quantity time as far as I am concerned.


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