Pity Party

A date night out, ruined by discussing the state of the economy.

The state of our health insurance premiums.

The state of where can I get a job?

I think one of the biggest challenges for a stay at home mom isn't about the child raising.

It's about the income...or lack there of.

For 10 years I've been without a paycheck. And after 10 years it feels more ominous than ever that I haven't contributed financially to our family.

Of course I am raising 3 amazing, brilliant children, and I don't regret being home for a minute.

But there are costs to raising a family. Costs that put pressure on the ONE bread-winner in the house.

My hubby works in town, comes home for lunch daily, and ends his day at 4:30pm with a 5 minute commute. We have it good. Spoiled even.

Could we ever change that for the commute-for-bigger-bucks lifestyle? Or the move-out-of-town-so-we-can-all-afford-a-better-healthcare-plan route? Would we change what's worked for 10 years to a mom-works-puts-K-in-daycare-thus-bringing-in-pennies-due-to-childcare-costs choice?

Ugh.

74 supporters in group:

  1. Dan said...

    I've done it both ways and I have to say the commute (or in my case fly out of town all week) path does not seem like the best path.

    I always figured it finally reaches the point where some one factor forces the decision or non-decision and the hard part is knowing when that decision must be made.

  2. Beth said...

    I did get to be a SAHM for a couple of years. Had to get back to work when my marriage was falling apart. But I have such great memories of my time with my little boys. I wonder if they will remember.

    Figuring out how to survive in this economy has been tough! Good luck to you guys.

  3. Weaselmomma said...

    I feel, your pain.

  4. Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

    Boy do I understand this...it's hard and if feels like we're caught in the middle with no win.

    I often think about how much better things could be if I worked...but then I think about how much my kids need me here...wether they like it or not...lol.

    It's a tough decision...but I always think of it this way...my kids will only be little once...and then it's gone...I would rather regret not having enough money, than regret not being here when my kids really needed me!
    Good luck with your decision.

  5. Candace Jean July 16 said...

    Bigger bucks aren't always "better" bucks. Sounds like the current state works for you. Just ask yourself..."what do I really need?" The answer is so rarely money, and more often time. And sometimes the stress that accompanies the paycheck isn't worth it.

    That being said, it's still important to ask the question - and prayerfully listen to what the answer is.

  6. Martha said...

    A very tough decision. I wish you the best. Change is challenging! Being a single mom since my DD was 8 months old, and even before the primary bread winner, I have been fortunate enough to be able to work from home for these 11 years, the best of both worlds, good income and being here for my child. It has it's own challenges though! The corporation is now changing the policy and sending people back to offices. My personal situation has led me to choose to retire from that company and move back "home" to be with family , and start over at 51... but I am looking forward to new challenges and horizons!

  7. Misadventurous Mommy said...

    This is my predicament every day. I'm in college, but I know that until I actually have the degree (if then the way the economy is) it makes no sense for me to get a job making nothing basically and then having most of that go to daycare.

  8. Wheezer said...

    I am having the same soul-searching, gut-wrenching, internal argument with myself right now. It has been almost 12 years for me and BoyBoy is pretty self-sufficient so I could work and it wouldn't cost a fortune in childcare. But, I am so picky...want to be home by 4, only work 3 days a week, most of the summer off...makes the job search more challenging! Hang in there, you know you will make the right decision for you and your family.

    Now, quit wasting those date nights with heavy conversation and start pole dancing for your man!

  9. won said...

    I noticed your tag on this post of "sacrifices". Perhaps they are not sacrifices, rather investments.

    You are making an investment in your children. The dividends on that investment, while not measured in dollars in cents, will be huge. Huge in a way that can not be measured in monetary ways.

  10. Jen said...

    Can I come to your party? I've been a SAHM for almost 9 years (well, actually I work from home a little) and I'm thinking about getting a job outside the home. And it is really daunting. I worry that it will affect my kids in a negative way and that my already disorganized home will get even worse (if that is even possible). Also, I really dread having to scrape ice off my car. I know that is pathetic to admit since most of the world scrapes ice daily, but I've just become so spoiled w/ the no-ice-scraping and it will be hard to go back to it. :(

  11. Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures said...

    Afraid I'm not much help here, I am a single mom going to school full time and am fortunate enough to not have to work at the moment. I still worry about going back into the work force and how much child care will cost when I do! ughh! Good luck to you!

  12. BMB-The Mom said...

    I totally hear ya on that one! Our life is the EXACT way! Sometimes I hate not having $$ and sometimes I remember I LOVE staying home with my kids. I always say someday we'll have $$ again...maybe when all the kids are 20!

  13. April said...

    That's a sucky decision to have to make! I'm sorry!

  14. ♥georgie♥ said...

    Jen this is something I battle almost daily...

    even tho my beanies are older and we wouldnt need daycare there is still the issues of getting them picked up after school or even getting them too school,gettting them to activities etc if I worked-I can tell you as they get older it doesnt change it gets different...

    i feel ya!

  15. mom3crazygirls said...

    I feel your pain!

  16. Sarah McBride said...

    I think you have stumbled on the inner monologue of most stay at home moms.
    in a few years when baby starts school, maybe look for a part time something or other to fill your day and bring in some extra cash.
    But I TOTALLY know how you feel. I have had this conversation with myself for YEARS.

  17. MOMMY-MOMO said...

    my thoughts... not worth it. good job mommy!

  18. happymommy3 said...

    I know exactly what you are talking about. My boyfriend and I were just talking about that last night. He works 80+ hours a week but since he is on salary he is not really getting paid anywhere near what he should. We have 3 kids and since he works so much, me getting a job would mean daycare and that just doesn't make sense. I have only been doing this for a year and a half but wish I could somehow contribute more.

  19. The Thompson's said...

    Yeah I totally get all of that. I guess we just have to look at the pros and cons and make the decision that is right for our family. To me putting them first comes before money or anything else.

    Have a great weekend!

  20. Lindsay said...

    ooo I hear you! I went from working 15 hours just for fun to working 34 do to the pay cuts and my husband's company no longer paying for health insurance.. I will be praying that you guys!

  21. Sarah said...

    I'm pretty sure I've had this conversation in my head at least 3 times this week alone. The helplessness is overwhelming some days.

  22. Lori said...

    It's a double edged sword. There is no right or wrong answer. I've been working since Bug was six weeks old. We just never thought we could make it on one salary. Maybe you could work part time? Maybe from home? At least until K starts school.

  23. Lori said...

    PS: You are not alone, sister! Maybe if we all put our heads together, we moms can solve the economy crisis!

  24. Leah said...

    I feel your pain. Making the right decisions concerning work, money, kids etc. It's all very overwhelming (and not romantic) at times. Your lifestyle parallels my own and many other moms. Sometimes we need confirmation that we're doing the right thing...Well... You are! You're contributing just as much as your husband. It's a team effort. Support him and look in the mirror and know that God supports you!

  25. Ranch Girl said...

    Ugh is right!

  26. Merrie said...

    I hear you more than you know. Or, because you know me, perhaps you do know. ;) I think what you're doing IS worth all that you give up, but it certainly is a lot to give up. Parenting is all about sacrifice, right? And your 3 truly are amazing and brilliant. :)

  27. Average Girl In Average World said...

    It's a tough one.

    We pay $550 a month in childcare cost - for 2 kids - 1 who is in school. BUT, I make enough money to justify the cost. Believe me, as soon as we can - they are both coming out of daycare.

    You just have to decide what is right for you and your family. Everyone's situations are different.
    Best of luck.

  28. Rachel said...

    I stayed at home for 2 years with my son and then my hubby worked from home so he could stay with him until he started school. My now 3 year old girl has always been in a home daycare (with 2 or 3other kids) until last year and we put her in a school day care and she absolutely loves it.

    When I did stay at home it made sense due to my income after you subtract daycare...but I got a part time job at night a few nights a week for extra money.

    Do what you feel is best for you and your family.

  29. Brittany said...

    Oh man, it's just so horrible. I am also having this nightly conversation with my husband. And in the end, it's just hard to imagine that giving up what we do our families is worth the small paycheck. I don't want to regret not taking the time formy kids while I could, and if that lands us in the poorhouse, so be it.

  30. Drama Mama said...

    I was a SAHM until my 3 kids were all in school! Now I work Part time for the local newspaper. I get to work after I drop the kiddos at school and I'm at home by the time they get off the bus! No Daycare/after school care. It works out good! You just gotta find a FLEXIBLE Job!

    ALSO...sell on Ebay! I used to sell ALL my kids outgrown clothes and toys..etc. on ebay! Its a little time-consuming...but you can do it right from home!

  31. Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

    Amen to that conundrum. I decided to stay home with one child... now there are three and my lack of income is hurting. But if I went to work, how could I afford full daycare for two kids (one a baby) and after school care for my stepdaughter??? Its a no win.

  32. Cathie said...

    I feel this all too much.

  33. Tenakim said...

    I'm right there with you, too! We don't have it quite as good, my husband has a 45 min commute (one way)- that sucks. He also has impossible hours for me to work around- which means if I work, we would need a very full time care giver!

    I'd love to get a job and supplement, but hate the idea of someone else raising my kids and being there when they get home from school. With the economy- it's really putting our back up against the wall!!!

    Great post- you're not alone!

  34. Threeboys1mommy said...

    This is the saddest party evah! Where do I set the guacamole down? Any beer? Right... who can afford beer, I'll drink from the water hose ;-)

    I guess we're all in the same boat, like everyone else I feel lucky to be in this position (not everyone has a choice) but it would be nice to contribute not only to our family but to our retirement fund... Who wants to be a Wal Mart greeter during the winter of their lives? ... ahh don't stress mama, we'll figure something out.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  35. Swirl Girl said...

    If I actually went out to get a job that paid me...I would have to make a gazillion dollars because child care alone would suck up 1/2 of that...not worth it.

  36. The White House said...

    Tricky times! I am really with you on this one (except I would have to put four in daycare- and that just wouldn't work!)

  37. Coffee with Cathy said...

    It breaks my heart that young families like yours -- and my daughters' -- have to face these decisions. It is so, so painful to make these choices. But have faith that whatever decision you make will be the best one for your family and that you will make it work. Together.

  38. Ann said...

    There must be something in the air Jen. Just 2 nights ago this was a topic in our house. And although the talk was fine, no raised voices, things still feel a bit off. It's hard to explain.
    We're not mad at each other, I think he's just overwhelmed in one way and I'm overwhelmed (with guilt for one) in other ways.
    Man I wish we were neighbors! I'd be right over with something yummy and talk it all out :->

  39. Smart A$$ Mom said...

    The grass is always greener. We have had 5 minutes commutes, we now have over an hour commute to get good schools and (semi) affordable housing. But I wouldn't change it for a thing. Plus, my hubs is the lynchman at work right now. He is the guy ruining lives. And he is miserable over it. That really sucks.

  40. Shannon said...

    I'm sorry your date-night was ruined :(

    But you're not alone! I've got almost two years of being a SAHM under my belt... and some days I think I should go back to work. But then that would mean having to put the girls in before- and after-school care... find someone to watch them on days they don't have school yet I still have work... not to mention during spring break, the summer months, Christmas vacation, etc. So then I think its just not worth the hassle.

    One factor of me staying home was that my paycheck mainly went to paying childcare costs.

  41. Musings of a Housewife said...

    Oh man. I hear ya. That's why I started blog design. Love the new header, by the way!

  42. Krystyn said...

    I think you have to make your situation work. Trust me...daycare is pricey...and I'm putting two in daycare and making pennies afterwords.

  43. Semi-Slacker Mom said...

    I'm a SAHM & my hubby is self-employed. You do not want to know how much we pay for insurance!!! It's un-freakin-believeable!

  44. Aria said...

    Right there with ya, Jen. I'm on my second stretch of stay at home; first was 5+ years, this one included a bed-ridden pregnancy, so I'm at 2 1/2 years this time.
    It is so hard in ways that we don't communicate ~ even to our partners, cause they'd never understand even if we did.
    The loss of independence and paycheck is huge, even with the payoff of daily time with the kids, and not having to spend an absolute fortune on daycare... which is what my EX thinks I should be doing so I can send my daughter more child support... Hey, at least you don't have a total buttheaded ex in the background trying to make you feel guilty every single day for your mutual decision with your husband to stay at home (mine is doing it now and did it when it was our child as well ~ did I say he was a butthead?); it's a huge sacrifice even if no one acknowledges it.

  45. Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

    You are definitely not alone... Almost every mom I know is thinking the same thing right now. It just stinks when you've been out the work force for so long (I've been out for about 10 years, too) and there just aren't jobs available to us that would pay enough to make a difference once you take out the cost of childcare.

    But health insurance being paid by an employer would be awesome, wouldn't it?!

  46. Heather of the EO said...

    OH, how I hear you. I'm sorry. It just plain stinks.

    I wish we could all stay home and have no income issues at all as a result.

    If I were being paid for this at-home thing, I'm pretty sure I'd be a gazillionaire by now.

  47. jill jill bo bill said...

    Have you checked ypour local churches Mother's Day Out or Preschool programs? It is something you with a degree in education can head up and get paid AND take her with you. You wouldn't have to do it all day everyday, but some have it MWF or M-F half a day. It would be fun for her, some money for you and no expense for childcare. Some of those places pay VERY well.

  48. therextras said...

    Don't have time to read all the wisdom in the previous comments, but I know whereof I speak on this topic.

    Only you (and your Hubby) can decide what is best for your family.

    While we have decidedly lived on one income for over 2 decades, we are in the same place as you right now - contemplating increasing the earned income of the SAH-Parent - currently me. There.will.be.tradeoffs.

    My encouragement is to pre-determine where the 'new' money will go - what is the driving reason for modifying everyone's lifestyles for the money.

    All the best, Barbara

  49. Mel @ A Box of Chocolates said...

    Very tough choices to make! Only you and your family can answer it though. Follow your heart! I'm thinking about you all.

  50. Elaine A. said...

    These are definitely hard questions to ask. I am sure you all will make the decision that is best for you family. Good luck and here's to prayers for the economy to not tank completely! UGH is right!

  51. Piece o' Coconut Cake said...

    Love the header! PS-I clicked on your ads! :-)

  52. Jenni Jiggety said...

    There are SO many people thinking about making changes like that right now...

  53. SweetPeaSurry said...

    A man told a story at a training seminar that I was at. He and his wife had started a business, make BOO KOO(sp) bucks doing it, but they were working 10 hour days 6 days a week to do it. They didn't see their kids enough. Finally, they said forget this. They cut their pay in half, he took another job, she stayed home. They've never been happier.

  54. Mia said...

    I only work 3 days per week. I only work for the health insurance because I do not want to rely on the government for that or to have the kind of insurance I would afford to pay for. The rest of my paycheck is for daycare (well it was until my son was removed)/sitter. Enjoy your time with your kids, I wish I could.

  55. Michelle said...

    I hear you! My husband is doing contract work (ie. without health benefits) looking for regular full-time employment. I didn't realize how good my health insurance was at my last two jobs until now. I left my full-time job in August for among many reasons, I was brining home nothing after paying daycare for three children. I wish there was an easy solution!

  56. Michelle said...

    I love the new header too!

  57. Jamey said...

    That's a tough one Jen, I have been both. working mom for 6 years and SAHM for 10. For me & my Hunbby it's a no brainer. We both agree staying at home is the best for our family. But I also don't have a teaching degree either and could never make the kind of money to even afford daycare.
    Not to mention (most imprtantly) if you go back to work, how will you find time to blog!!!:0)

  58. ciara said...

    ugh. it seems no matter what you do there's always something that's gotta give. hubs has been commuting for 25 years...he's yet to get a store closer to home :-/ we have great benefits, but even w the kind of money he makes, i, too, am looking for some way to earn money. so frustrating. i do like being at home, but i get bored, too. at least you have a college degree. i don't. :-/

  59. LifeNStuffUSA said...

    I've done both and mixed it up with working-at-home to top it off, and I think each situation has its advantages and disadvantages regarding all aspects, i.e. lifestyle goals, quality time, learning opportunities, challenges, and character development.

  60. Liz said...

    You know, I was at home w/ my kids for a solid decade, too. I was with all 3 kids from birth til they were Kindergarten aged. When our youngest was 4, we enrolled her in Mother's Day Out, thinking she would enjoy it, and I ended up getting a job teaching in the classroom next door to her. We had fun. It was a special thing that she & I shared--our own special mommy/Sarah "date" of sorts. Two years later, when she was in 1st grade, I went back to work 5 days/week, but I still teach preschool at a private half-day school, so I am able to take my kids to school & I am the one there to pick them up in the afternoons. It's ideal. They don't miss me b/c I work while they're gone to school. I know you were a teacher in your past life (tee hee), so think about it. I bet you could find some sort of situation like mine!

  61. Paul Eilers said...

    I think long-term, you guys are doing the right thing.

  62. Martha said...

    Love the new look!

  63. ♥spoiled mommy♥ said...

    I am RIGHT there w/ya!!
    I was JUST about to right a post very close to this the other day when I was in my "not having my own money" sucks mood.
    Money has alwasy been a issue around here-but having the things that are important makes it not so much of an issue.

  64. Ann(ie) said...

    That's a seriously tough dilemma and it's gotta be hard. Especially right now in our sucky economy. I think there's pros and cons to both, but our bills demand two incomes and I've never not worked so I'm kind of in the opposite boat. Staying home sounds hard...I'm certain I'd screw it up.

  65. Tena said...

    rest assure you are not alone on your bench!
    {{{{ hugs }}}}

  66. Mel Fraase said...

    Ugh, I feel your pain. I've been trying to find things to do with three out of four kids NOT in full time school yet. Maybe something with school hours so no daycare once all the kids are in school?

  67. Erica said...

    I hear you! And I started to talk money on our date night and my husband immediately said nope, we are not talking about that! That's great that your hubby is so close at work!! I think that is worth something!

  68. Tony said...

    Jen,

    Colleen quit working 2 yrs ago after 19 yrs with Delta as a flight attendant to ensure she could be there for all the fun kids school activities that I was attending in her place( =daddy at Mother's dad tea? ) . It has worked well until lately with the dogass economy Yeah we missed taking trips everywhere all the time, and having no worries about spending, but it was and has been all worth it for the kids most importantly. We put off our hot tub dream for a while. Now she is looking, but there are no jobs out there. Oregon has a 9.5% unemployment rate and getting worse. we could use the new extra income, but at what cost? So we enjoy what we can and we will weather the storm best we can. I think everyone is in the same boat.

  69. Mariah said...

    I was a SAHM too and I couldn't even think about putting my kids into daycare when they were little. When your kids get older you can get a part time job and contribute. Your job is important right now!!

  70. bARE-eYED sUN said...

    i'm not a mom {nor could i ever be}.

    i DO commute. hmmmmm. . . how do i say this politely? commuting loves lollipops.

    g'luck.

    ..
    .ero

  71. Jill said...

    Ditto... seriously, ditto!

  72. Elaine said...

    Ugh is right on this one. We have had this type of debate for the last four years.

  73. Northern Gal said...

    Oh, do I hear you! There is always the pressure to bring in extra income. The ideal situation would be to do something from home but I am at a loss as to what to do that can 1) bring in a decent paycheque and 2) can be done with toddlers destroying the place in the background! If you figure this one out let me know!

  74. Rach (Mommy Learns to Blog) said...

    You're preaching to the choir (at least my choir). Being unemployed in this economy sucks. Being unable to get a job because of my back problems, even worse. The worst part of it all is that I'm an intelligent person with many skills - I so wish I could find a legit work from home job!

    You need to look into doing something with your mad graphic design skillz!

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