6 Things to Consider as a Working or Stay-at-Home Mom
Did you recently have a child and you can’t decide if you should stay home or go back to work? Or, do you plan to have children soon but don’t know what factors you should consider?
There are so many things to consider when deciding what is best for your family as you raise your children. And sometimes, you have no idea if what you’re doing is right. (and honestly, that’s how much of parenting feels, anyway).
The decision varies from family to family because everyone is in a little bit different situation. For many of us, the decision may have been a no-brainer. For others, we may be praying for months and weighing every factor we can think of in order to come to a decision that is best for our family.
To help you in your decision, we have compiled a list of a few considerations to think about when you are deciding whether to become a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) or a working outside of the home mom (I don’t think there’s an acronym for that one!)
Consider Your Financial Situation
Ahhhhh, money. This is likely the first factor that comes to mind as you begin this process.
Initially, many moms think they can’t stay home because they can’t afford it. However, once you crunch the numbers, your family may not be in as bad of shape as you initially think. Of course, you have to consider the loss of income you will incur by dropping down to a single-income household.
However, you must also think of the cost savings of not paying for childcare, likely using less gas in a day, and saving money on groceries by spending the time shopping around and clipping coupons, to name just a few considerations.
If you start to crunch the numbers and you realize it simply may not work to live off one income alone, but you want someone to stay home with the children, consider creative ways to make extra income that doesn’t involve a typical 9-5 work life.
One of my best suggestions is to become a secret shopper. Secret shopping is great because you can choose exactly where and when you want to perform each shop. Plus, many shops allow you to bring your kids with you! For those that don’t, they often offer flexible time windows (10 AM – 8 PM, for instance) so it’s easier to find someone to help watch your kids.
Our favorite secret shopping company is Bestmark, because it pays you for doing things you normally do, like buy make-up, eat lunch, and change your oil!
Consider You and Your Spouse’s Work Flexibility
I found the PERFECT in-home daycare, but the hours were less than perfect. I had to adjust my work hours to drop my son off at 6:30 a.m. and be back to pick him up by 4:00 p.m. If my position wasn’t this flexible, I would have had to find another daycare provider (basically impossible) or stay home with my son.
On the flip side, maybe your current job allows for you to drop down to part-time hours or even work from home entirely, while still caring for your child. Maybe your spouse’s job is more flexible and allows him to help you with daycare drop-offs or caring for your child during the day.
The biggest point here is that you never know what’s available unless you ask. Some jobs are inherently more flexible, while others may seem inflexible until you ask. Don’t be afraid to reach out to HR to see what’s available to either you or your husband if you do believe dual incomes is the right route for your family.
You must take all of these things into consideration when deciding whether to quit your job or not.
Consider Your Passion
Maybe you aren’t sure if the numbers will add up and your job would be totally accommodating to a daycare’s schedule, but you would much rather stay home with your children. That’s your passion. That’s what you want. However, you can’t figure out if it’s the right decision.
Consider this: is it worth it to you to continue working while you know someone else is caring for your children?
I have a friend who can’t stand the idea of someone else watching her children during the day, so she chose to stay home. That family just made the numbers work for them.
I have another friend who says that after her maternity leave she was happy to get back to something “she was good at.” She found an in-home daycare that she trusts and who cares for her son just as well as she could while she went back to her passion, teaching.
Think about where you fall on this spectrum to aid you in your decision.
One thing to note – your decision doesn’t have to be permanent. Maybe you or your husband leaves the workforce while your children are young and then comes back a few years later.
One resource that really assisted me in determining if going back to work was the right decision for me is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. In this book, she discusses what it’s like to “lean in” to the workplace when the career ladder is overwhelmingly difficult and when your life is ridiculously busy. I had so many takeaways from this book and if you believe your passion is work outside the home, I sincerely recommend it to you.
Consider Your Support Group
This is probably not a consideration you’d think of, but it is an important one. Sometimes, who you have around you changes whether it makes sense to stay home or not. It won’t always be feasible that you or your husband can take care of your child 100% of the time. Even with the best intentions, it simply might not happen.
If you are stuck at work with a car that won’t start, your husband is out of town, and your child needs to come home early from school, do you have close family or friends who can be there for you in a pinch?
If you find that you don’t have the close support you would need in order to be away from your family and your home for long periods of time, staying home might make the most sense.
Use School Plans to Help you Decide
Oftentimes the decision to return to work or stay home is based heavily on how you plan to educate your children. Many parents decide to homeschool their children for a multitude of reasons, and it’s becoming more and more popular.
If you plan to homeschool, Alpha Omega has great Christian homeschool materials that may interest you. They have 5 different Christian curriculum options and an online academy as well, so it can suit any type of learning style! Check them out today.
If you can’t see yourself or your spouse homeschooling your children, that’s also okay. Just because a parent stays home, it doesn’t mean either of you has to homeschool.
Consider What God Says
My husband and I don’t make a large decision in our house without time in prayer. With big decisions that affect the entire family, we always ask God for His guidance.
This doesn’t mean that we always get a clear-cut answer in return, though.
Sometimes, we start leaning one way or another without talking through it. That’s God at work. Other times, however, we may pray for weeks and never come to an agreement. In these cases, we begin praying for acceptance and understanding of whatever choice we decide upon. We may never know what God really “wanted,” but we asked for peace in the decision and His guidance to help us through it.
Turn to prayer. And try not to do it as a last-ditch effort. Make prayer part of your decision-making process and you’ll have a better understanding of when God provides you with an answer.
What are some things your family considered when you chose to stay at home or return to work outside of the home? Let us know in the comments!