You cannot afford to be a SAHM

stay at home mom work from hom

Itching to get out of the 9-5 workforce, and spend more time with your kids?

I share why you cannot take the risk to quit your career. 

However, there are countless ways moms can earn a high income, from home, with legitimate, flexible careers — many of which earn $100,000 or more. 

Keep reading! 

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 daddy is rich? Your spouse adores you – even though you gained, like, 40 pounds with each pregnancy? I don’t care. It makes zero financial sense for any of those 5.1 million women in the United States who are stay-at-home moms (thanks, Census data). That is about one in five married-couple families who have decided to put their family’s futures in jeopardy.

Want to find work-from-home or freelance jobs? My friends at FlexJobs.com offers the best listings of these positions. Remember to use FlexJobs promo code FLEXLIFE to get a discount.  

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.”

You cannot afford to be a stay-at-home mom

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 University of Chicago found that when professional women leave the workforce for three or more years, they suffer a compensation hit of about 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.

Take me, for instance. I was married to a really nice, devoted guy who made a handsome income. We had a baby, bought life insurance, set up automatic contributions to our retirement accounts and emergency savings, and even started a college fund. He had disability insurance, but that never came into play after he fell off a cliff and nearly died of a brain injury – of which the lingering and devastating symptoms played a big role in dissolving our marriage.

Who could have planned for that? That is a crazy story. Not so crazy are these scenarios:

  • Divorce
  • Unemployment
  • Death of a spouse
  • Disability
  • Life. Stuff just happens and you have to stop working.

[How to find affordable life insurance for as little as $5 per month for single moms]

When I had my first child I’d enjoyed a lucrative freelance writing business, which I cut down to about third-time after Helena was born. After my ex moved out, I quickly ramped up my workload. So when the child support and health insurance stopped because he was fired (again, related to the injury), I was able to swing my family financially, even after I had another baby.

Had I not had a career, or an ongoing business, my son, daughter and my life would be in a very, very different place. We would likely be broke. I would be angry. I would be selling stuff I really care about and making decisions about our futures out of fear instead of love and happiness. I would have fewer choices, less power. 

That’s all the scary news. Here’s the good news: we live in an age when part-time, consulting and freelance work is not only increasingly available to employees, but also growing in popularity among employers.

[17 steps to a rich life as a successful single mom]

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.  Then, check out these posts about making money now, from home:

Work at home jobs for moms

Start here:

13 highly paid work-at-home careers that are great for moms

This post outlines popular, easily accessible careers that many people can start from home, without special degrees or training, including:

  • Virtual assistant
  • Social media manager
  • Grant writer
  • Copy writer
  • Graphic designer
  • Clinical research coordinator
  • Bookkeeper
  • Coder / programmer
  • Travel consultant
  • Blogger
  • Event planner

Other legitimate work from home jobs for single moms

When exploring what kinds of side hustles, careers, gigs and jobs you may qualify for, consider:

Work from home jobs on a computer
Work from home typing jobs
Work from home data entry jobs
Work from home customer service jobs (chat jobs)
Work from home medical jobs and medical transcription jobs

In addition to FlexJobs, which is an excellent source of quality, vetted flexible, work-at-home careers, also check out Steady, which lets you create a free account where you can find local and remote flexible jobs.

82 legit websites to make money right now

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.

103 Comments

  1. Jill on May 5, 2019 at 10:02 am

    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.

  2. […] Perhaps being out of the field for an extended period of time, would also be considered “career suicide” if you wanted to return to work in the future.  Or, maybe it is your desire to stay home […]

  3. […] social skills, give you a break which in turn makes you a more relaxed parent, and take the financial strain off if you are struggling as a one-parent working […]

  4. Kids and careers • NZ WEALTH & RISK on June 29, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    […] of the more powerful personal finance articles I’ve read was titled “You cannot afford to be a SAHM“. (It’s dated November 2016, but I read an earlier iteration of the article more than 5 […]

  5. Jennifer on June 3, 2018 at 6:37 am

    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.

    • Coppertone on November 19, 2018 at 7:32 pm

      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.

  6. Mariah on May 12, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    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.

  7. Lesson learned at 8, not 38 on February 12, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    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

    • Lesson learned at 8, not 38 on February 12, 2018 at 4:23 pm

      Ha ha ha, I put a link on your blog to an article YOU wrote!! At least your message is consistent ;-)

      • Emma on February 13, 2018 at 10:08 am

        ha!! I AM EVERYWHERE! YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE!

  8. Jan on January 10, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    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.

  9. Nikky Bella on February 22, 2017 at 3:21 am

    Hello,
    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.

    • Emma on February 22, 2017 at 9:54 am

      Very good point, but the world doesn’t need ANY more kids …. so any kids at all is really selfish (says a mom :) )

  10. Colerte on January 23, 2017 at 12:36 am

    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!

    • Lisa on July 22, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      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

    • Coppertone on November 19, 2018 at 11:17 pm

      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.

      • Coppertone on November 19, 2018 at 11:19 pm

        I meant *think* not thing.

  11. Trish on September 21, 2016 at 9:32 am

    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.

  12. K on September 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    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!

  13. You're probably right. on August 26, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    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.

    • Emma on August 28, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      I feel for you. What are you interested in?

  14. SanDiegoLabRat on July 15, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    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.

  15. ANNOYED on March 29, 2016 at 9:33 am

    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.

    • Emma on March 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      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!

      • Mariah on May 12, 2018 at 12:10 pm

        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.

  16. N on January 18, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    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.

  17. Lindsay on November 16, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    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.

  18. Canuck on September 29, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    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.

  19. Sandra R on August 1, 2015 at 8:00 am

    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.)

    • Emma on August 2, 2015 at 4:53 am

      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.

  20. J. S. on November 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    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. (http://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.

    • Emma on November 18, 2014 at 10:43 am

      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).

  21. Faith on October 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    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.

  22. pinkmaman on March 29, 2014 at 7:27 am

    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.

    • Emma on April 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      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?

  23. Mitzy on February 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    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.

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