This week, I want to spend some time discussing a question that has shown up in my inbox a few times recently. Especially after I received one email from a reader who was recently laid off TWICE in the past year and considering this idea, I thought it might be a good time to revisit the topic of how to be a Stay at Home Mom. Our friend Erin wrote about being a STAY AT HOME MOM, Stacy has written about it for other sites, and I’ve even covered how I feel as a husband of a STAY AT HOME MOM via video, but today’s post is specifically for those who want to know whether or not they CAN and SHOULD be a STAY AT HOME MOM. Let’s look at the top 10 questions I believe every couple should agree on before making this BIG decision (in no particular order) and hopefully that will get the discussion flowing in the comments. Here goes:
1. Do the math:
INCOME – SAVINGS – EXPENSES = 0. On one income, can you make that work? If not, what can change and when? Don’t leap too soon.
2. Do you both agree?
If he says no and you say yes, that is a big problem.
3. How are your budgeting skills?
Every bill you pay and ongoing expense you have means you have to earn more to cover those expenses. Simple as that is, many people don’t see it that way until it is pointed out. You need to be good at budgeting your income and making it work, even if it means “cutting some of the fat” as we like to say in the south.
4. What does God want?
If He wants it to happen, there will be a way. Don’t do something foolish and then blame it on God if it goes wrong, but trust His provision if you know He’s telling you to do it.
5. Who influences your child at daycare/school?
I don’t want to point out the obvious here, but there are those at daycare who are less than a positive influence on your little one(s). You’re spending a lot of money to send them there – is it money well spent?
6. Can/should Mommy work at home?
If going the whole nine yards of being a STAY AT HOME MOM isn’t a realistic option, could you do something at home to earn income that would suit your family’s needs? If so, is that a permanent or temporary solution? Make a plan.
7. Can you deal with social pressure?
In a “normal” home these days, all the adults work, all the kids go to daycare or school, and any family that doesn’t follow that model is a little weird. I still have people look at me funny when I praise my wife for staying at home, especially before we had kids. We joke she eats bon-bons and watches soap operas all day, but in reality I know she just sits on the computer and shops on Amazon. ;0)
8. Will you enjoy it?
Some women report they are not programmed to stay at home. They like the idea of it, but in reality they need social interaction with adults, challenges that a career brings, and all that other stuff your two-year-old likely won’t provide. Everyone isn’t supposed to be Susie Homemaker.
9. Why do you want to do it?
Really? Make a list, be ready to defend your position and make sure that the reasons you’re considering staying at home aren’t things like, “I hate my job” or “it will be easy” (HA!).
10. What are you waiting for?
If you’re considering the decision, what got you to this point? Why did you not stay at home to begin with? This question is just something to consider – I think it sort of wraps up all the questions #1-9 into a nice, neat little package.
As a husband, I am glad my beautiful bride and I chose to live on one income. I’ve been blessed to literally double my salary since we got married ten years ago and that’s still not saying we make a lot of money. However, I have no regrets that Stacy stays at home as a wife and mom…and I bet if you asked Annie and Andy, they wouldn’t either.
Is the choice right for you?