Itching to get out of the 9-5 workforce and spend more time with your kids? I share why you cannot risk quitting your career, especially since economists believe a U.S. recession is around the corner.
In a recession, prices go up and spending goes down. Businesses make cuts to stay afloat or increase revenue. You can also expect companies to slow hiring and tighten spending on things like raises and bonuses.
And while it’s too early to pinpoint exactly when a recession will occur, now is not a good time to be out of work.
According to data from The White House, between July and September 2022, job growth averaged 372,000 new jobs per month, with more employers embracing remote and hybrid schedules (a mix of remote and in-person work).
What does that mean for you? If you’re looking for a new job you can do from home, now is a prime time to find one — or to ask your current employer if you can do some or all of your work from home.
In this post, I’ll show you:
- How you can afford to be a stay-at-home mom
- Why you can’t afford to be a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t work
- Ways to make money for stay-at-home moms
How can I afford to be a stay at home mom?
1. Start a flexible career you can work at home
Ask yourself: How can you keep a foot – toe, knuckle, nail – in your industry while still giving your children the time you feel they deserve? Brainstorm, ask colleagues and mentors for advice, and get creative to make sure you remain relevant. You can’t afford not to.
20 of the best jobs for stay-at-home moms for 2022
29 jobs for single moms: Best high-paying jobs in 2022
These posts outline popular, easily accessible careers that many people can start from home, without special degrees or training, including:
- Virtual assistant
- Social media manager
- Grant writer
- Graphic designer
- Coder / programmer
- Travel consultant
- Event planner
Do not aim just to pay the bills and get by, but focus on a longer-term career, advancement and the education and skills you need to get there. There are countless ways moms can earn a high income, from home, with legitimate, flexible careers — many of which earn $100,000 or more.
Our Top 2, highly paid work at home careers, without degrees are:
Proofreader. If you’re great with words, detail and grammar, you may also be interested in a proofreading career, which can pay $15-$30 hour from home, on your schedule.
Bookkeepers. Bookkeepers can earn a salary, or build a business earning $75+/ hour, which can be more than $100,000 per year. Entry-level bookkeeper jobs can pay $20/hour. Bookkeeper Launch is the top-rated online video course to help you start and run a successful, 6-figure bookkeeping business.
2. Budget — track spending (and cut expenses)
Take a close look at your monthly income and expenses so you can plan a budget that limits how much you spend in fluctuating categories like food and entertainment. Look for ways to save each month, such as cooking at home instead of dining out and limiting your girls nights out to just once a month. (Read: How to set up a budget you will stick to).
You Need a Budget is a spreadsheet-based app that helps you pay off debt, create a budget and set and reach all your money goals. Try YNAB's 34-day free trial now >>
3. Ask for a raise – and then bank it
The fastest, surest way to make more money is to ask for a raise and/or promotion. But make sure you have a plan for that extra money ahead of time. More money often leads to more spending if you’re not committed to a strict budget.
One easy way to save is to open a savings account and set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking to your savings. Once you calculate your after-tax raise, send that amount directly to a savings account and don’t touch it. You can also invest it and build wealth.
You might be surprised how fast it adds up. You can use the money for an emergency fund if you don’t already have one.
Here is my advice (with videos!) about asking for that raise.
4. Cancel subscriptions to save money
Speaking of cutting your expenses, you may also want to cut the proverbial cord — as in, cancel your cable television subscription! Doing so could easily free up $100 or more in cash for you to save, and you’ll have more free time to earn money, too. Learn more about the awesome services that will negotiate your utilities and cancel unused subscriptions on your behalf.
5. Shop around for insurance rates
Compare rates among different companies for auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and other insurance products you buy.
6. Transfer your debt to 0% credit card
Be sure to keep an eye on your credit score. If you carry a credit card balance, see if you qualify for a 0% balance transfer credit card, and save thousands of dollars in interest each year.
7. Meal plan
One easy way to overspend is to avoid meal planning — and rely on take-out, restaurants and prepared meals at the grocery store. These are less healthy, and more expensive than cooking from scratch. Get some ideas for meal kits, meal planning and other ways to save on food for your family.
“I want to be a stay at home mom but we can’t afford it”
The argument is over: You absolutely, positively cannot afford to be a full-time stay-at-home mom.
No need to delve into arguments about personal choice or what is good for children or families. That’s all been hashed out in the mommy wars. It’s not about those issues. This is about money.
You. Cannot. Afford. To. Be. A. Fulltime. Stay-at-home-mom. You just can’t.
What’s that you say? Your husband is a banker? And your family is rich? Your spouse adores you? Doesn’t matter. It makes zero financial sense for any of those 5.1 million women in the United States who are stay-at-home moms (per Census data). That is about one-in-five married-couple families who have decided to put their family’s futures in jeopardy.
Don’t just take it from me. I recently interviewed Joanne Cleaver, a career consultant and author of The Career Lattice.
“Stepping off the career track completely is career suicide,” Cleaver told me. “Don’t do it.”
Her reason? You will no doubt lose the momentum you’ve built, the network you accumulated, the credibility you’ve earned. But these longtime truths are accelerated in today’s tech-driven world – no matter what industry you’re in. “If you completely leave the workforce, when you return you’ll have to completely reinvent yourself with new skills, new credentials and a new portfolio,” Cleaver said. “You might as well start in a new career.”
These challenges translate into a tougher time getting a new gig when you want one. And once you do, you’ll earn less than had you kept a foot in the workforce while caring for your kids. Researchers at Harvard and the University of Chicago found that when professional women leave the workforce for three or more years, they suffer a compensation hit of 37 percent. For female MBAs who take time off to be with children, pay drop 41 percent relative to male MBA earnings.
However, if you plan ahead and keep a hand in the game, things might turn out differently. Of course, things don’t always happen as planned.
What happens if your husband leaves or asks for a divorce? You’ll have no income. In this post, I talk about what happens if you want to get divorced as a stay-at-home mom.
16 signs your husband or wife is ready to leave you
What to do when your husband or wife says they’re done
What to ask for in a divorce settlement agreement
How to make money as a stay at home mom
No matter how much income you bring in every month, most moms feel they could use a little more cash. Or, a LOT more cash. Most of us could use more spending money, and there’s always debt to pay off or college tuition to save for. If you don’t have any other uses for more money, then hell, might as well splurge for something you want, amiright?
One of the best things about being alive today, is there are more ways to make money than ever these days. The internet is a treasure trove when it comes to making money.
Here are ways stay at home moms make money:
How to make money selling products
You can absolutely make money selling products, although you’ll want to be careful you don’t get sucked into a multi-level marketing company, or MLM. Research shows that most who join MLMs never earn real money anyway, and they even wind up spending their money on products and marketing by the time they quit.
But you can sell products and make more money. If you’re crafty, for example, you could earn money selling homemade goods on Etsy.com.
You can also sell items you already have (think old clothes from your closet, electronics, and more) online through craigslist.com, eBay.com, or local Facebook groups.
Learn more about our $500 single-mom monthly grant
Online resale sites like Mercari and Poshmark make it easy to turn this concept into a business. You’ve heard of eBay, right? If you have a knack for sniffing out great deals, posting an item for sale online is easy with your smartphone.
If you’d rather not deal with the hassle of keeping track of physical products, dropshipping might be a good fit. By partnering with a dropship wholesaler, you can sell products online without keeping up with inventory yourself.
With dropshipping, a customer orders from your site and the wholesaler packages and ships it directly to them. The best part? You get to keep the profit.
How to make money selling services
You can also earn money selling your talents and abilities in the form of a service. You could mow lawns, clean houses, help people with bookkeeping, or teach piano lessons, for example. Other ways to earn money selling your services include:
- Start a virtual business as a bookkeeper
- Perform tasks through TaskRabbit.com
How to make money selling services online
Selling your skills is one of the most sustainable ways to make money online, and can grow into a full-time career, or even a scalable business. This is how Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson started — by freelance writing, and then by starting a blog.
One of the best ways to start growing an online service-based business is with freelancing gigs.
The benefits of freelancing, opposed to having a j-o-b, is that rather than following someone else’s rules as an employee, you have control over your schedule and the work you do.
Popular freelance gigs and careers include freelance copywriting, grant writing, and virtual bookkeeping.
Most types of freelancing don’t require any formal education. You don’t need an English degree to be a successful freelance writer. And if you can answer emails, manage social media, or do other administrative tasks, the role of virtual assistant could be perfect for you.
There are also excellent online courses that can help you learn the basic skills to launch your new career, plus support for finding clients. Bookkeeper Business Launch is a popular first step for many successful freelance, work-at-home bookkeepers who can earn multiple six-figures.
Coding, or programming, is a high-demand, highly paid industry that is especially short of female workers. This work can be done remotely, online.
Don’t panic if you can’t write code. There are many online resources for how to get started, as well as online communities of other coders from whom you can learn.
How to make money fast
If your goal is making money in a hurry, you need to find ways that don’t require long waiting periods or a bunch of hoops to jump through. Here are some of the best ways to earn money in a hurry:
- Rent out your car through ZipCar
- Use GetAround to rent out your car for the day
- Rent out your home or a room in your home on Airbnb, VRBO.com, or HomeAway.com
- Sell jewelry you no longer wear
- Sell your gently used clothing on ThredUp.com
If you need to earn more money than you’re making now, you may face an even bigger challenge than many working moms: How can you possibly increase your earnings when you have so little free time already?
Fortunately, the Internet makes it easy to learn how to make more money and also make money online in your spare time, affording you the flexibility to control your time, and build your work around the rest of your life. Keep reading to learn some of the best ways to earn cash online without putting yourself out.
Start a side hustle today to make more money
Finally, don’t forget the prospect of starting a side hustle — or a temporary job you can take on in addition to your full-time work. Side hustles look different for everyone, but they can include concepts like driving for Uber or Lyft, babysitting kids, painting houses, mowing lawns, and more. Read: Our list of side hustles for moms
Online side hustles include some of the ideas we’ve mentioned already — jobs like tutoring or finding online freelance bookkeeping work.
Some side hustles you can do from home also overlap; for example, you can work as a virtual assistant or freelance writer online and from your couch, just like you can write freelance articles anywhere with an internet connection.
Maybe you need a little extra cash (or a lot – hello, savings account!), maybe you’re bored with your current career, or you want to safeguard yourself against a recession or an industry crash by having a fall-back plan. Or maybe you’re interested in pursuing your passion project, but you’re not quite ready to make the leap into full-time business ownership. Whatever your reason is, you NEED a side hustle.
The good news is there are many jobs you can do from home. Many of them can be done with just a laptop and an internet connection. If you need job training, you can find free and affordable courses online through sites like Udemy and Coursera.
- Postpartum care
- Graphic design
- Freelance writing
- Project management
- Reselling items online
- Virtual support
To learn more about these jobs, check out 10 business ideas for moms
How do I know if I can afford to be a stay at home mom?
The first step, says Doug Carey, is to create a budget. Carey is a Chartered Financial Analyst and president and owner of WealthTrace, a consumer retirement and financial planning software company in Zionsville, In.
Carey offers the following tips:
- Use a budgeting app to track your spending. It’ll help you gauge the impact of a salary loss. It will also give you concrete data on how much money you need versus how much you want.
- Figure out how much you'll save by staying at home. Expenses like gas money, babysitting, and clothing are likely to decrease. However, there could be new expenses such as health insurance.
- Cut back on luxury items and dining out.
- Think about downsizing your home or moving to an area with a lower cost of living.
- Think about starting a home garden to save money on groceries. Even if you live in an apartment, you can have a container garden on your balcony.
“In addition to having a budget, it could be a very good idea to hire a financial coaching or planning service to keep you on track,” Carey advises. “By seeing how your finances look in the future, it will help you get your arms around the situation better.”
In short, create a tight budget, crunch the numbers, and be realistic about what you can afford. If the numbers don’t support your decision to be a stay-at-home mom, make a plan to get there by exploring new opportunities to earn extra income.
After all, spending quality time with your children is worth the fight to make this happen.
How do I prepare financially as a stay-at-home mom?
Start by taking a detailed look at your finances, and identify your short-term and long-term financial goals.
“Create a budget to make sure you can cover your current expenses and save for future financial goals,” advises Rachael Burns, Certified Financial Planner with True Worth Financial Planning in Northern California.
In her work as a CFP and Certified Divotrce Financial Analyst, Burns regularly helps newly single women get ahold of their finances after divorce or the death of a spouse.
Burns offers the following tips to prepare for these scenarios:
- Establish an emergency savings account. Ideally, you’ll want three to six month’s worth of income to take care of your expenses.
- Don’t create new debt — it’s a sign that you’re spending more than you’re making.
- Get and stay involved with family finances. It’s important to understand the details of your family’s financial situation: what you own, owe, earn, and spend.
Burns says that preparing now will help you feel in control if you have to to take over the financial well-being of your household.
How do stay-at-home moms survive?
While some stay-at-home moms can survive off of their spouse’s earnings, it’s important for stay-at-home moms to retain some financial independence in the event of:
- Death of their spouse
- Spouse losing their job
Many stay-at-home moms take on a part-time job or side gig to keep cash flowing and to keep a foot in the professional world.
Beware of these 18 sneaky divorce tactics so you can overcome them
Bottom line: Being a stay at home mom will require you to work
The fact that the majority of moms today will be an unpartnered mother, and divorce rates still stand at around 50% only underscores why all women must prioritize their careers, earnings and future investments.
If you have no income (or not enough income), apply for recession-proof jobs to establish financial stability initially. Long-term, it’s important to keep your eyes open for jobs that align with your interests so you can build a fulfilling career on your own terms.
If you already have a full-time job, be open to working outside of your home until you can establish financial stability, but give thought to lucrative side hustles that could turn into a full-time business — giving you the necessary cash flow to stay at home.
One of the best things about being alive today, is there are more ways to make money than ever these days. The internet is a treasure trove when it comes to finding side hustles or new ways to sell your product or service, and there are money-making apps you can use as well.
The first step, says Doug Carey, a Chartered Financial Analyst, is to create a budget.
Start by taking a detailed look at your finances, and identify your short-term and long-term financial goals.
While some stay-at-home moms can survive off of their spouse’s earnings, it’s important for stay-at-home moms to retain some financial independence in the event of: death, divorce, or spousal job loss. That's why many stay-at-home moms take on a part-time job or side gig to keep cash flowing and to keep a foot in the professional world.
This post is gold mine! I will definitely be linking to it in a future post.
Thank you for this wealth of information.
I’m reading this article about all the things I’ll lose if I drop out of the workforce to become a full-time stay at home mom.
I’m sure the article is good advice for some women…maybe just not for women like me?
I’ll lose a foothold in my industry… meh, I don’t even like my industry. I’d rather not keep a foothold in it. I’d rather change industries if I need to go back to work later.
I’ll lose my network? I would be bored stiff working at the same high-paying, but very repetitive job I do day in and day out. If I put my head up and look around, there are no jobs that seem more interesting around (in this field); either above or below me.
I should keep my toes in the game by having a side hustle such as chat jobs and data entry jobs? I’d rather not, to be honest. These suggestions seem a little boring to me. Plus a lot of the jobs suggested will be automated out in a few years. Heck, a lot of everyone’s jobs will be automated out. There will be more SAHD’s AND SAHM’s in the future.
I do intend to go back to school after a few years of being a SAHM, but in a completely different field than I’ve been working for the last 10 years. I think being a SAHM for a few years is a good way to take a break and redirect my career path. I’m not sure if the article was intended for women like me, but I did think it was over reaching.
Funny, from what I’ve seen over and over, most women can’t afford to be single mothers. Considering what the statistics show us, their kids suffer as well.
I’m sure you’re not ready for those discussions though.
Hmm. I dropped out of college and became a stay-at-home mom for six years and loved it. I loved being home. I didn’t care much for the lack of respect or the lack of options with his wandering eye, but being home with my kids, I never regretted. We did get divorced, and I had to move back to my hometown and finish my degree. Turns out I don’t care much for my field, and it is so catty, I really wish I could spend my days at home. I don’t worry too much about divorce (my older kids are grown), or being a single mom again , although my second husband and I have three kids, one still needing fulltime care during the day. I live in a low cost-of-living area and I’ll make ends meet, even if that means living in an apartment. Whatever. I’ll get by.
However, I do wish to stay home with my kids…forever. I am introverted, the politics of work exhaust me, and frankly, my career field isn’t challenging. The only way we could do it is if I did something like home daycare, full–time. While I love that idea, it’s the fact that I’d have to cash out my retirement to pay off my credit cards that holds me back. Watching babies now, no problem. Watching babies in 20 years when I am 65? I am not so sure.
So I watch my boys get older and older, spend my days counting the minutes until I am back in my sanctuary, and wonder how life got so far off track that I have to spend my days with strangers instead of doing the homey things I love.
Me fucking too! No respect for me as a SAHM.
Life can be difficult. We all have to make choices based on our given circumstances. Some choices we look back on with regret and others, relief. The modern economy and workplace has changed dramatically in the last few decades and will continue to change. Businesses don’t care if you can multitask your kids’ activities, juggle laundry with breastfeeding, or run a successful bake sale. It’s harsh but they don’t care. Many women talk about caring for their children but are you able to provide financial care for your kids if you are faced with your spouse’s death, job loss, or disability? Divorce isn’t the only negative life event you have to think about. In fact, in the grand scheme of life, I’d rather go through a divorce than experiences some of the atrocities that occur daily throughout the world. It’s just something to think about. No offense to SAHMs, but you’re not the only demographic who is busy and works hard. Gainful employment can be tough when you are in the workforce full time because it’s competitive out there. The world isn’t going to stop and accommodate someone because they’ve chosen to be a SAHM for several years. You can’t always pick up where you’ve left off. The workplace continues on with or without you. Employers are not obligated to hire you just because you’re a SAHM just like they are not obligated to hire your husband/partner because he’s supporting you and your children. It’s harsh but that’s the reality.
I agree with you 100%. I learned the hard way, I was a SAHM for 4 years, due to my son having medical issues, being out of the workforce just for those years, it took my almost one year to get hired at a part time job. I lost 4 years of paying into Social Security, which I will never be able to catch up because I will always be 4 years behind. I believe these SAHM are living in a June Cleaver fantasy, which never existed or they are believe in the myth of so-called 1950’s nuclear family was the best.
I wonder how these SAHM(s) husbands/partner feel about SAHM leaching off of them. I work with a bunch of married men whose wives are SAHM, these men are working 60+ hours or more a week, and they don’t even get to spend time with their children, they do this because the wives refuses to work. I think it’s selfish to put the full financial burden on one person’s shoulders, just because one wants to be a SAHM.
I’d rather be a stay at home mom than send my kid to daycare where he could be mistreated, abused,
or even killed. If something drastic were to come up i’d just go back to work. You’re acting like being a stay at home mom will be the end of the world. It wont. You deal with one problem at a time, not 10 potential problems that are likely not going to happen. My mom was a stay at home mom and recently is going through a divorce. She got a job and a nice house. My grandma was a working mom and said that it wasn’t worth the extra paycheck and it didnt make a difference in the end. So, I will be a stay at home mom. If something happens, thats what emergency funds are for. You’re supposed to be able to have at least 6 months of living expenses covered saved up and locked away for times of unemployment, divorce, etc.
Love this Emma – thank you. I disagree with the previous post; LIFE can be mean spirited and miserable; and failing to plan is planning to fail.
I have always felt like the women that are fiercely anti-working Mom operate from a place of fear.
Maybe you have a rock-solid marriage, but what happens if the police show up at your door to inform you your spouse was in a car accident and dead? Or brain damaged? You will be devastated, not to mention your kids.
Then, if you are lucky enough to have savings to pay the bills and allow yourself time to process that, you have to deal your kids another hard blow and tell them the SAHM they had grown accustomed to expired along with the other parent.
The reality of leaving your children to go to work every day is harsh, but it protects their future because you protected your own. The reality of losing one parent and watching helplessly while another one struggles makes their childhood the third “death”.
And the divorce-front looks just as harsh: https://www.forbes.com/sites/emmajohnson/2014/10/27/are-you-a-stay-at-home-mom-facing-divorce-dont-expect-alimony/#7a416b667a91
Ha ha ha, I put a link on your blog to an article YOU wrote!! At least your message is consistent ;-)
ha!! I AM EVERYWHERE! YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE!
Emma you are really disgusting. You are mean spirited and you sound miserable. I feel sorry for your kids and any man that can stand to listen to you for more then 30 seconds before wanting to harm himself. Leave SAHM alone and get a life. You need an exorcism and prayer. You sound as though you hate your kids. You could of aborted you know? Instead of spewing jealousy and hatred towards SAHM who love their kids and family. You are sickening.
I have a question. Don’t mean to offend anyone, but just want to check people’s opinion. Why most of them have more kids, like, 2 kids are Ok, but 3, 4 or 5 kids especially when they are running on low budget is making me wonder if they could have a balanced family, then the kids will be taken care of in a better way. Again, don’t want to offend anyone or their believes, but this just makes me think. If having only 1-2 kids means we can take care of them in a better way rather than sharing the same budget with 4-5 kids. Someone please help me understand.
Very good point, but the world doesn’t need ANY more kids …. so any kids at all is really selfish (says a mom :) )
This is bullshit. No job equals satisfaction of staying home taking care of your family. You have over 15-20 plus yrs after your kids are gone to have a satisfying career and if your smart hard and hard working and know how to manage money than you will be fine. I smell liberal trash and I’m glad with Trump in we have finally taken you to the curb for pickup!
no you don’t. After years of working menial jobs while raising my kids, my ex decided after 20 years, that he wanted another woman and told me in his actual words “you thought I was going to be around forever, you should have planned your life better”. No alimony, nothing, cleaned out the bank accounts, cut our college daughter off of insurance and when our car broke down, he refused to assist me in buying another one when I became laid off. I am working and going to school at 50. FIFTY, because I put the welfare of the kids first. The kids? Oh siding with daddy and talking about how they never had anything because I was either at home playing stay at home mom, or not making enough money, and friends with the mistress/wife and too busy for me. I barely make enough to pay the bills by myself, I roommate with one daughter, who wants to start her own life. So we see time and again the price so many women pay for playing the June Cleaver role and we still choose to be foolish
LOL, Trump!!! Why should the husband be the one to work and support YOU and the children! Why can’t YOU get a job and contribute financially to your family? I think it’s very selfish to make your husband carry all the financial burden, he loses precious time with his children working two jobs just so you can sit at home.
Sure quit your job and be a SAHM for 15 -20 years, do you really thing a potential employer would hire someone who hasn’t worked in two DECADES, I doubt it. You will competing with YOUNGER, more ATTRACTIVE, more SKILLED, and has more EDUCATION than you, believe me when I say, ” Staying at home baking cookies,” for 15-20 Years doesn’t look good on a resume.
Remember this, during a divorce, a judge decides whether or not you get alimony or even child support, or if you even get the house or not, just because he married you doesn’t mean you’re entitled to everything.
I meant *think* not thing.
Not once do you make mention of the incredible cost of childcare and how some women would be working to literally just pay a nanny or daycare to watch their kids. That doesn’t make financial sense, at all. Even if you take into account future income potential, I don’t know a lot of women who’d be interested in working just to pay for childcare in the hopes they’d make more in the future. This quite clearly applies more to women with more lucrative positions. Take my job as an administrative assistant, for example. In my area you’re absolutely going to cap out at around 40k. They just don’t pay more than that. Doesn’t matter how good you are. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with a company. That’s what the job is worth around here. But the reality is most people are making far less, especially if they are just starting out or do not have an extra set of skills. I wasn’t willing to wait around to make more and put my infant in daycare just so I could hang on to the hope I might, at some point, make more money. My time with my son, especially in these young years is worth more to me. I think it’s really shortsighted to suggest a woman needs to work just because of an imaginary future where the family might need the money. A better solution would be to help families learn how to budget and manage money. Help them figure out how to save so they can build a hefty safety net. Then they can live the kind of life that feels right for them, knowing they’re going to be ok if both people don’t have jobs for a little while. And not related to the topic at hand, but I found this snippet of your post incredibly offensive: “Your spouse adores you – even though you gained, like, 40 pounds with each pregnancy?” Seriously? That’s not ok. Do you realize what that read likes? “You’re fat and you should feel pretty lucky your husband still likes you.” Because, you know, no one has ever loved a fat woman. Shameful.
I went back to work full time after my first two children, but realized I was essentially working for free after childcare costs the second time around. I quit my full time job and got a part time job I did around my husbands schedule, and I have done this ever since (I have 3 kids now) I currently have 4 different jobs that I do part time to try and make it work around everyone’s schedule and not have to pay so much for childcare. I’ve always felt it was important to have at least a part time job for the sake of my resume because the plan has always been to work full time again once all the kids are bigger. I would really love to have more normal job hours, but childcare is $7.50 an hour PER child where we live and I don’t make enough money to pay for it. My youngest (3) goes to preschool part time, 16 hours a week. I’ m always looking for more work, another job, another way to increase my income! Suggestions for things I could do from home would be very much appreciated! I have a bachelors degree, never ended up going to graduate school. I have a lot of student loans, I’ve though about going back to school for something else but I would have to finance it with more student loans. Thanks for any suggestions!
Hmm, maybe the title is overgeneralizing a tad, cause there are certainly some women who can afford to do that. However, I am definitely not one of those women. You would be right about me. However, I can’t help but wonder if this article is more directed towards women who have had a steady job/career but then decided to stay at home with the baby after it was born. Probably not. If that is the case, then I don’t fall under that blanket, either. Which brings me to my next point: If I cannot afford to be a stay-at-home mom, but that’s the majority of what my adult life has consisted of, then what is my next step? Because I have a couple of ideas: Education. Not necessarily college, but perhaps some class where I can learn a skill. Or, freelance work may be part of the answer. Either way, it’s pretty obvious that I need to get my crap together.
I feel for you. What are you interested in?
This is a touchy topic (obviously) and, while each family must make the decision that’s right for them, I DON’T feel it should be taken as offensive that the author is, at the core, simply telling women to be more circumspect in their opting out. There ARE more factors in deciding if a parent should stay home than simply being able to afford the bills during that time. And, frankly, I can think of situations when it would almost be NECESSARY for one parent to stay home–for instance, when the other parent travels a lot/is away with the military, when the other parent is working 60+ hours per week, etc.
But even so, this article suggests asking some very reasonable questions and suggests removing the assumption that a job will be waiting for the parent who decides to return to the labor force after x amount of years. It’s just not that simple. Not only does technology quickly become obsolete, but there seems to be more college graduates than ever before. And if THESE newly minted job-seekers are struggling to find meaningful, well-compensated work, imagine how difficult it can be for a mom who has a huge gap in her resume.
I’m not saying it can’t be done, or that even going back to school to “start over” once you’re ready to return to the workforce isn’t a viable option. Many SAHMs seem to re-enter successfully due to a strong network, family-run businesses, etc.
But, from what I’ve seen, it’s not easy… and it’s worth slowing down and looking at the situation from all angles.
Of COURSE our children deserve our time. I’m sure most of us here would LOVE to spend the rest of our days skipping along hand-in-hand with our children. That’s not what this is about. It’s about taking time to weigh out the pros/cons. The reality is that the job market can be unforgiving. Not only can it be incredibly challenging to re-enter, but it can just as easily cut jobs at a moment’s notice. Our economy is unpredictable that way. No amount of just wanting to “live in the moment”, “enjoy our kids while they’re small”, or trying to convince oneself that “it’s just a few short years” changes the fact that even OVER-qualified people often struggle to find work these days… so why would it be any different for a SAHM?
So, at best (and assuming it’s possible), keeping a foot in the door SHOULD be done, in my opinion.
This article is downright disgusting and offensive to me. We’ve been trying to conceive this baby for a very long time and had a 5% chance of getting pregnant on our own. By all accounts, this child is a miracle baby and no job is worth it to stick him in daycare that will take up to 80% of my take home pay. I absolutely plan to be a stay at home mom, I hate my “day” job and i do data entry from home for my 2nd job and will continue to do it for a little extra income, but don’t want to be in that field either. I plan to further my education and find my niche in the 3 years I plan to stay home with the baby. So you suggest I stay with the job I hate, and work myself to death bringing home a net income of $500 a month, and that’s a smarter choice than taking a step back and focusing on what I want to do for the 30+ years after the kid is in school? Also, not everyone chooses to have a kid when their ovaries are shriveling up, some of us still have a pretty long work-life ahead of us that a couple of years won’t hurt.
Well, be disgusted all you like … you have statistically a 50% higher chance of divorce when one spouse does not work, and interview any of the countless now-single moms who abandoned their careers and are now really, really struggling. Best wishes to you and congrats on the new baby!
i feel like you cant afford to be a stay at home mom, and you’re salty about it. just my opinion.
you seem to respond to people who disagree with you like they’re wrong, when it’s all just opinions.
Life takes us on different paths. I went to college, had a well-paying job with a lot of stress. Don’t really like the field I am in because of some of the employers, some women in the workforce, and the amount of physical stress it causes on my body but I do it anyway. Have to see a chiropractor regularly, etc. Well, I was fired from my job one year ago. My husband worked in the same place and had to quit because of what happened to me. He now drives 2 hours every day. That employer screwed our family over and treated us terrible with a new baby and all. He told me I am terrible at what I do and he fired another employee that day as well. He told her she had no friends except for one person in the office. I still can’t get over how people are treated in this field. I have since been doing temp work at offices, and have built up good references. Well, one year later we are still trying to sell our home and move closer to his work. I am taking care of my 17 month old daughter and working weekends at a menial job. I do sometimes temp in my profession, but I am having difficulty finding a sitter on a temporary basis. I do not get work every week. Started to apply to jobs an hour away but worried about the daycare situation. I am trying everything I can to stay afloat but we are stuck in loads of student loan debt and I have a sweet baby at home that needs me but I am pressured every day to find work. My daughter is not learning everything she needs to because I don’t know what I am supposed to do in this world and my depression is very bad. I am a very reliable, hard worker but this situation has really messed with my confidence. I hope to find work soon.
The divorce rate in the United States is not currently at 50%, nor has it ever reached 50%. That statistic came from a projection in an article that was published in the 1970’s based upon current trends at the time and has since been perpetuated throughout society and touted as truth. The divorce rate peaked in the early 1980’s and has been on the decline ever since. Currently, economists predict that 2/3 of marriages from the 2000’s will never end in divorce. You seem to only include the data that is relevant to your side of the argument. Do a little research rather than using scare tactics to influence women into making a decision.
I spent highschool drinking and doing drugs. My parents kicked me out before I graduated. I never had good grades. And it was hard work supporting myself that last year and was lucky to get that diploma. I had been told how stupid I was for as long as I could remember. It took until my thirties (with the time afforded as a sahm with kids in school full time) with my husband’s support and encouragement to apply for a mature student bridging program. I’m now studying history in university.
It is unlikely I would have attempted going back to school if I weren’t a sahm. While I was working with kids at home, I never would have thought I could do it.
Telling women who have jobs and not careers what they should’ve/could’ve done before having kids is callous and unhelpful. Not all of us come from homes that supported us or our education.
This just got quoted in the NYT. Some guy working finance talked about how great it was for their family for his wife to stay home. But YOU have the truth of it. Have you heard of Terry Martin Hekker? Google her and get her last book to read if you have any doubts. Here are the facts about SAHM. Roughly half of all marriages end in divorce. Opps, no job security with divorce for SAHM. Men can die, become disabled, or get fired. So can women, but why tie the entire family security to one wage earner? I have known women who gave up careers to be SAHM, and got hugely hurt by the outcome. That kept me in the work force, that and the fact that I could never be blonde, petite, and spend my life in the gym, which seemed to be a job requirement for SAHM. (Not that those qualities protected them, because there are always a new crop of YOUNGER candidates for the position.)
Woah, did not see that, THANK YOU SANDRA!
I wrote that post a few years ago, and I would add a whole bunch more to it — that fulltime childcare is not an emotionally fulfilling proposition for any professional woman, that the toll that equation takes on a marriage is too high, etc.
Do divorces happen at a higher rate in a marriage where one spouse stays at home? This comment is interesting: “fulltime childcare is not an emotionally fulfilling proposition.” I’ve heard that SAHMs do have a hard time and need another outlet for adult conversation. However, with more people in the workforce working from home and concise email becoming the norm in business communication, I also think that a stereotypical career is not an emotionally fulfilling proposition as well. Thoughts on this comment in 2019?
I could not agree more. I’m sure you’ll get all kinds of nasty responses from SAHMs, but kudos to you for saying what many of us truly believe. I LOVE being a working mom. While my post-secondary education consists of nothing more than a few career-related courses taken post-childbearing, I have worked my butt off to move from a general administrative position to a management position in marketing, and more than doubled my starting salary in 4 1/2 years. I married young with the intention of also having my children young. At 19 I married, had my first child at 22 and my second at 24. Just shy of 25 I was ready to go back into the workforce full time and build a career after working odd jobs and doing book work for my then-husband’s small business. My ex husband and I separated within a year of me being back in the workforce, and I was able to comfortably support my children with minimal help from my ex. I started taking night classes during my ex’s time with our children. My time with my girls is more precious than ever now, and they are thriving in school and socially. I recall a conversation with my old-school dad prior to my return to work wherein he told me I was doing my children a disservice by working outside the home. I’m still waiting to see the downside! My girls have a happy, healthy mother who loves her work and thus is happier and more fun outside of work. We have the resources to do more as a family and we enjoy regular trips to the zoo, local amusement park, pool, science center, etc. They also have the influence of a strong female role model who is smart, capable and hard working. If I had remained home from the time my eldest was born until my youngest started school, I’d be 8 years out of the workforce. To put that into perspective, check out Business Insider’s list of 21 things that have become obsolete in the last decade. (https://www.businessinsider.com/21-things-that-became-obsolete-this-decade-2009-12?op=1) Pretty eye-opening if you ask me… 8 years is an eternity in today’s world. Note: I have absolutely no affiliation with Business Insider whatsoever. Thank you for writing this blog. I respect and appreciate your honesty and candid-ness.
Hi J.S. – thanks for sharing your thoughts and that link. I’m going to make my own list of technology, which renders the SAHM obsolete: dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, grocery delivery, zoombas, lax immigration laws (making housecleaning affordable), affordable food (so you don’t have to can/preserve/freeze food yourself), self-cleaning ovens, and feminism (so you can make way more money than you would spend doing these tasks the old-fashioned way).
Reading this list confirms what I tell my SAHD spouse: SAHMs are better for the environment!
It’s a matter of what you think is more important. My mom stayed at home with my me and my siblings while I was little and that was living off my dad’s Teacher’s salary. Sure we had some hard times but we turned out well and I believe it was a good choice. Some people think career is more important. Some people think raising their kids full time is more important. Everything has a risk involved. I personally would stay home with my kids if I could because I think it is more important , but at this time I cannot because of some major bills that need to be paid and we couldn’t make it. Being with my kids is still a goal I strive for. Telling all women they shouldn’t be stay at home moms or they can’t afford it is just an opinion and it’s not necessarily what’s best for the kids. I don’t think it’s best for my toddlers to be without their mom 40 hours or more a week.
So happy, I’ve found tour site! I’m a new french single mom, and I manage to go to work everyday for a lousy pay, while taking care of my three kids aged 5,3 and 1!
In France, the social security services strongly suggested me to stay at home. By doing so I would get so much help from the state that I will have more at the end of the month by sitting on my coach all day, than by fighting every day to make ends meet!!!
what to do? I’m reading honoree single mom series (so happy I took those English class!) and I’m looking forward to share what I learn with other French single moms.
working on my website right now! I’ll keep you posted. Thank you so much for your sound advice.
Hi! This is such an interesting perspective … I wonder: Why do you chose to work when others may find it so much easier to accept social security services instead?
Far too many have forgotten marriage is also a business arrangement. I know of no other business arrangement when an executive board member can just “walk away” and not receive any penalty or compensation for years put in the company or partnership.
I rarely hear about two executives “duking it out” over money owned, and both arrested, based on blind equality.
You will find out what a business arrangement it is when divoricing. That applies to both men and women. I frankly think there out to be a law that no one with three failed marriages (usually hurting someone economically and forcing someone into the culture shock of yep, get a job making what you WOULD have if you had NOT married or reproduced, overnight). NOT be given another chance to marry and repeat, without some type counseling, as clearly we have a common denominator here.
We have NO training for the displaced, no REAL enforcement of child support, NO penalties for perjury in family court, and way too many attornies profiting from all of the above. NO consistant enforcement of anything but spending thousand of dollars to get OUT, and most consider themselves lucky if it ends THERE. Usually it doesn’t.
Why not legislate more support for the working man and woman? Why promote “no fault” ? I am NOT about staying in unhappy, non sustaining marriages. But, most marriage cannot sustain the burden’s being placed on them by inadequate support for the jobs they are trying to do.
. Stress about roles, benefits, whose money it is (yep even in community property states) and finding “fault or enforcement of what you paid so much to obtain, in fairness, usually doesn’t EVER get out of court in practice, the same way equal pay, and family minded benefits are still a dream of the future. We need to LEARN from what is clearly a mistake in progress, and HOW INADEQUATE REGULATION everywhere is somewhat to blame for the breakdown of a system (family) that worked for years and years.
. We need to stop making marriage certificates and or divorce decrees, worthless. We owe it to future generations to fix the stressors that have been placed on families. We need a total overhaul for consistancy in practice to the laws we have. We need to fix the failing “American Way”. We are way behind similiar countries in supporting the working man or woman, with the goal of family success in mind.