You cannot afford to be a SAHM

afford be stay at home mom

The argument is over: You absolutely, positively cannot afford to be a fulltime 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 offers the best listings of these positions.  

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 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.

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 (though you should figure out how to sell an engagement ring, it's therapeutic).

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

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:

82 legit websites to make money right now

11 financial steps to a rich life as a single mom

Broke? How to make more money now — and forever after

How to launch a blog in 1 hour, get 10,000 page views your 1st month & earn $1,000/mo

how make more money now








emma johnson family
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,, 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.

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,, 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.


  1. Toni South on October 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Amen, awesome advice… I am all for changing your life structure to do what you can to spend time with your kid(s) which I’ve done in my own life but you can never, ever lose site of your own career path. Life as a single mom becomes an amazingly creative business but it certainly is easier when you have your own career already. The tough thing with your advice is that the people who need to read it aren’t reading this site yet:). You can never, ever depend on someone else for your financial and emotional support. A backup plan is always key!

    • Emma on October 15, 2012 at 6:50 am

      What didn’t make it into this post is the story of a woman I interviewed recently: she was married for 15 years to a very wealthy banker — all the while she abandoned her career all together. She thought she was made in the shade, even after the divorce as she got such a hefty settlement. Then her husband lost his job and continued to struggle — he tried opening a hot dog franchise, but it failed. She is making due with a little child support and is building a craft franchise, but her lifestyle is TOTALLY different and she is really struggling.

    • sarahbee on November 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      Ugh, the middle-class assumption that all 5.1 million of those women left fulfilling careers with growth potential to have children. What about those of us who had jobs, not careers? What about all of us who, if we returned to our pre-baby jobs would not even be able to cover the childcare costs to replace ourselves? Not all of us were lawyers or marketing executives or academics in our past lives. I think this advice only makes sense for a minority of women

      • Emma on November 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm

        Sarah, I disagree. Even jobs — opposed to careers — get stagnated by time off. You miss out on raises, promotions and new skills every time you step out of the workforce, no matter if it is a white- or blue-collar job.


        • Cidalia Martins on March 22, 2014 at 9:06 am

          That really depends on the job. There are plenty of jobs (retail, cleaning, etc.), that offer no promotions and no raises (and no new skills). This includes my job. For some, a different line of work may be in order, if it’s doable.

      • Celeste on December 12, 2012 at 2:04 am

        I agree! Yes anytime off can put you behind. The reality is that with the costs of childcare staying at home is a better option for our family while I am still going to school.

      • Amy Rose on December 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm

        Why didn’t you get an education and cultivate a career prior to having a a baby? So you could use that you “only had a low-wage job” and no options? Get in the game girl, this is REAL life!

        • Emma on December 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm


        • Jamie on January 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm

          That is the most bigoted, mis-guided comment I have ever heard. There are various circumstances and situations that lead people to make differing life choices from yours. you cannot put out a blanket statement and expect it to fit the mold for everyone’s life. I agree that you should plan for your future and family planning plays a huge part in that. But to accuse someone they way you did is counter productive and in fact the very reason so many women feel that they have no options. Try being a little more open minded.

          • SNiclole on February 2, 2014 at 8:39 am

            Thank you Jamie.I thought the same thing. Well, my thoughts were filled with a bit of profanity but still, same sentiment. :-)

          • roger on May 19, 2015 at 5:36 am

            Jamie, its one thing to be open minded. Its another thing to be soft headed. And some choices are dumb. Period. Like driving on a freeway with your eyes shut. Maybe we should be open minded enough to respect that choice too. Doesn’t change that someone doing that could kill themself and other people doing it.

          • shadow on June 16, 2016 at 12:38 pm

            “you cannot put out a blanket statement and expect it to fit the mold for everyone’s life.”

            Yes, actually, she can. The blanket statement here being, “If YOU are not in control of your finances, YOU are screwing yourself over.” There’s no income limit to that sentiment. It is what it is. YOU need to make sure that you can take care of yourself (and any dependents) at all times, regardless of what job/career you take.

            • Emma on June 17, 2016 at 8:54 am


        • Kim on July 16, 2015 at 7:27 pm

          What a great point. When I got married, I dropped out of college thinking I didn’t need it anymore. Shortly before my husband decided to leave, I enrolled back in school and finished my degree with a baby on the way. Now, I’m on to my master’s.

          My advice as someone who has been there and got the T-shirt, find a flexible career path and gain the skills to train for it. Time goes by so quickly and gaining those skills is a LOT easier when kids are younger. There are plenty of flexible career paths that provide high wage, part -time employment (accounting, teaching, social work, speech therapy, nursing).

          • Emma on July 20, 2015 at 2:19 pm

            Agree 100%, thanks for chiming in.

        • Beth on October 24, 2016 at 3:47 pm

          Wow. Why didn’t you read that before you posted it? That was very insulting. I didn’t go to college for a four year degree because I COULDN’T AFFORD IT. And I’m glad I didn’t take out 60k in loans to “afford it” that way either. Everyone makes their own choices in life and have to live with them. No need to belittle her because she’s not living your version of “real” life.

      • Eva kiss on February 22, 2014 at 9:05 am

        I can not afford to be a sahm but I couldn’t afford to go back to work either. I tried to build a career, but I left my country at age 20 and moved abroad. I did not speak English and I used all my money to pay for my fare. I looked after kids as an au-pair for two years and studied for a year after that. I left home as a qualified bookkeeper / administrator, but foreign qualifications don’t matter much. I couldn’t afford uni, but I am smart, quick to learn on the job and hard worker. I landed a job as a sales assistant and was there for two years as I was under the impression that I could become manager. That was used to keep me there, so I left and worked in admin after that. In this job I was always asking for pay rise (got it every time) and more responsibilities, but it became obvious to me that they did not want me to get any more ahead (my manager got told off when I was doing some of her work) and even with all the pay rise I had, I was still the lowest earner there. Me and hubby were both saving up as much as we could, but still couldn’t dream of getting on the property ladder. After I had my lo, I decided not to return to work, as with my hours I was away from home 8-19, and we couldn’t afford child care. Three years on I am looking to return to work part-time. Most of our saving is gone, but I will never regret staying home with my child. I did not give birth to her just to hand her over to someone else. Parenting is the most important, under-appreciated, difficult and rewarding jobs anyone could ever do. I have payed for everything from my own pocket since I was 14 and life was never easy for me, but I refuse to give up. Sadly we can’t afford to give lo a sibling, that is the only regret for me. Oh and we have no family to fall back on on either side, and no one to help to look after lo.

        • Emma on February 23, 2014 at 6:41 pm

          Eva – thanks for sharing your story, so many moms can relate. You worked hard, earned your independence, and now feel tied down with few choices because of the cost of child care. I urge you to expand your job search however. I just wrote this story for one of my clients, Retail Me Not, with some great work-at-home PROFESSIONAL jobs that are perfect for women. Consider all the part-time, telecommute, and entrepreneurial jobs you may be interested in. A lot has changed in the work world in the past few years- – much of it to the benefit of working moms:

      • Hannah on November 2, 2014 at 1:38 pm

        I agree, and though I understand to a point what Emma is trying to say below, I don’t think she honestly understands.

    • Felena Hanson on March 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      This is such a valuable article! I am the owner of three coworking spaces (franchising 200 in 5 years) and have a lot of members that are also mothers! The rise of the independent workforce is reshaping the way we view/do work and the possibilities of part-time, consulting, freelance work are vast and growing. Our research shows that currently 30% of U.S. knowledge-based workers are independent (freelancers, consultants, entrepreneurs). This figure is projected to reach 60% by 2020 (MBO Partners – State of Independence Report), I encourage all of our members (especially moms) to keep working, build their experience, and take their career into their own hands through freelancing. Love this blog! Great job Emma!

      • Emma on March 10, 2014 at 10:43 pm

        Felena – we are of mind meld! Great on you for the work you’re doing!

  2. Suzanne on October 15, 2012 at 4:24 am

    Hi Emma, I love this advice and since my own marriage breakup have tried to remind family and friends to plan for the worst case as I’m proof that it can happen to you. I was able to leave my marriage, provide for my child and for the most part be financially unscathed by my marriage breakup because I returned to my full time job after my son was born. Had I not done this – I dread to think where I would be right now.

    BTW, I enjoy your site and I investigated a laundry service this afternoon to do away with the grind of weekly washing. Thanks for the good advice.

    • Emma on October 15, 2012 at 6:47 am

      My favorite part of your comment? About the laundry! Let us know how it turns out

  3. Ana on October 15, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Very true. I would not have made the transition to being a stay at home mom if I didn’t have a plan to transition my career home as well. Even with my husband having a decent job it would have been too hard to make ends meet, and I wouldn’t put 4 young sons in that position. And, it’s just not me to NOT write or work professionally, I would have been very unhappy. I think I need to remember more to add the “working” in my new title when speaking with other Moms. I know that many resent that I have quit my job or wonder “how can they afford it?” But, it took many years of planning.

  4. Janine on October 15, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I was talking with an economist this weekend who told me for every year a woman delays having children her lifetime earnings go up 10%.

    Spousal support laws need to be changed to take into account the terrible financial hit the primary caregiver in a couple takes over a lifetime. Unfortunately they’ve moved in the opposite direction, putting short deadlines on any support received.

    • Celeste on December 12, 2012 at 2:07 am

      Yes it is true that womens earnings go up the longer they wait. Have you conciser the costs of IUIs? Or IVF? They are STAGGERING! A lot of women who “did things right” are cleaned out after fertility treaments (95% are not covered by any insurance)

      • Jenny on January 9, 2014 at 1:23 pm

        This is a very important point. Fertility decreases quickly after your late 20’s – this is biological fact. Infertility treatments are very expensive, and their effectiveness decreases sharply with age. If you choose to put off having children in order to make more money, you may well end up with no children at all. But at least you’ll have your money.

        • Emma on January 10, 2014 at 10:57 am

          Very well said. Time is ticking, ladies!

  5. Annie Logue on October 15, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I would add, as someone happily married: if both spouses are working, it is a bad idea to get used to living on both spouses’ incomes. Use one income to qualify for the mortgage, not both. Use the fact of two incomes to contribute to retirement and college savings. Here’s why: things happen. My husband was unemployed for a while, leaving me the primary support for our family. I was able to make the mortgage because we had a mortgage that only needed one income. We had to cut back on some luxuries, and everyone got new coats for Christmas instead of more frivolous presents, but we did fine.

    • Emma on October 15, 2012 at 10:06 am

      Thanks Annie – your scenario is a classic example of what happens to families all the time — and yours is a dual-income professional urban family. Shit happens. Get real and plan ahead!

  6. Gina Beckwith on October 15, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Yup. I was out for 10 years. I’ve had dozens of interviews but no one wants to hire me. I wish I’d read this ten year ago.

  7. eemusings on November 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    This would be my main concern, too. It’s just so risky. Who knows what could happen to your partner, your skills… and what about the lost earning potential/retirement savings?

    • Emma on November 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      eemusings: So true. Women (and men) often ignore the long-term ramifications of staying home with kids. The decision need to be more than just whether you can pay the bills those years.

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  9. Erica on March 5, 2013 at 8:26 am

    I am a SAHM (out of the workforce for 4 years now) who has just finalized my divorce. I’ll be going back to start a one year grad business program this summer. Because when I do go back, I’m not just going to settle for whatever job I can get based on previous experience that is now 4 years old. I’m going to go back and kick ass!

    I agree with you now about being a SAHM, hindsight being 20/20 and all that. Though actually I will never regret staying with my kids and getting to spend this time with them, I should have at least more seriously looked at part time work. More so to maintain my individuality and maybe for the mental challenge than for the money.

    The problem is I didn’t make the decision based on finances or future career prospects. And I definitely didn’t think I needed a plan B. After all, I was going to be one of the 50% that was together forever of course! I made it to attempt to make the quality of life for the family as a whole better. And I’m not talking about just spending time with the kids, I’m talking about all the nitty gritty chores, errands, cooking, etc. Which, yes, I could have started outsourcing some of if I worked, you’re right. But I think that when you have kids someones career (usually the woman) takes at least a bit of a backseat for a while, even if you do both work. And actually, I’d already sacrificed my career when I agreed to move to this smallish town with my husband and that was before kids. I thought that for the family, for the relationship, compromises should be made on both sides and that I would find other things (volunteering, or other types of fulfilling work that may not pay much) to fulfill me besides a “career”. Unfortunately, it turned out I was the only one making sacrifices and he couldn’t even keep his basic marriage vows. So, here I am.

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  10. Caitlin on March 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    This is a great article. As a twenty-something who is going through a divorce after just a year and a half of marriage (no kids), who never thought it would happen to her, I thank you for putting this out there. This has nothing to do with trust or love or anything. Do not ever put yourself completely at the mercy of another person. We have no control over other people, and no matter how well you think you know someone, people change. People do crazy things. My soon to be ex-husband has severe depression and decided after we were married that he didn’t want children, even though I did and made that clear before we were married. After a year and a half of taking care of him and enduring him quitting his job without telling me (luckily he had savings and so this didn’t affect me financially), he decided that he didn’t ever want children and we both need to move on. Which is fine–I am heartbroken, but I have a good job and health insurance and I can take care of myself. I’m grateful that he figured this out before I facing this children. Although I didn’t give myself over to him completely or stay home, I’m glad I’m learning this now before I did. Depend on yourself and take care of yourself.

    • Emma on March 14, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      Thanks Caitlin – it is so true that you never know what life will throw at you. Your story and mine are unusual, yet it is so common for people to find they require two incomes, whether because of divorce, illness, accidents, unemployment, random financial blows, etc. It is simply silly to think you can afford for two people (plus kids) to survive on one income.

      • AMANDA on December 4, 2013 at 7:14 am

        I find this whole thread to be so depressing. Having a college savings fund is not a requirement to have children, nor are any of the other laundry list of items you mention. My children can earn their way through college, as that is how they will learn to appreciate what they have. Our society has raised an army of children who have everything handed to them because their parents have worked hard to provide these comfy lives and thus….they appreciate nothing. I have ten brother/sister-in laws that are all SAHM/one-income families with multiple children and they do not use a lick of government assistance. Life happens, stuff comes up. But really, stuff comes up while you’re working, too!! DUH! So your comment that it is “simply silly to think you can afford two people (plus kids) to survive on one income” is not only grossly inaccurate, but simply silly.

        I’ll bet your future self would thank you if you prioritized your life.

        On that note, I am 25 years old…have my BS in business management and entrepreneurship, my MBA in finance, I’ve worked 3 years for a Fortune 500 company, own my own company (, published a 200 page memoir on losing my mom to cancer when I was ten years old (The Woman of the House), got married, bought a nice suburby house, and I have a six month old daughter. I am also going to sit down and write a book about how to become a stay at home mom and live on one income.

        I do make side money here and there with my business and other fun, entrepreneurial things I like to do (like write). But at the end of the day I am with my daughter full-time and my 26 year old husband brings in the steady paycheck. And…guess what…wait for it…we’re happy!

        • Kristin on May 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm

          Thank you! Your response is so perfect, Amanda! I’m not a SAHM yet but we are planning on it as soon as possible. We will be homeschooling so being a SAHM would very beneficial. I have an MA in Counseling Psychology, btw. I know many SAHM’s and many who aspire to be SAHMs. It’s a valid choice. I even know some SAH Dad’s as well. I think it is incredible for the kids if a family can do it financially. PS I would totally read your book.

        • shadow on September 15, 2016 at 12:32 pm

          Well, fantastic for you, but that is definitely not everyone’s’ outcome. Realize the fact you got lucky, feel blessed for that, and take your time to help those who are struggling.

          • Emma on September 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm

            I am … by giving free advice to readers like you!

  11. kate on May 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I have been a SAHM on and off over a period of 16 yrs, doing various different jobs from time to time,i have three gorgeous children but have been through turmoil as one of my daughters has very severe allergies and thyroid problems to name but a few! I have been married 17 yrs
    I know that if my daughter was well i would of managed to hold down a permanent job. However i loved constantly being there for each of my children but i have now been offered a job in an office and yes it will be tough for me to adapt from being a SAHM for so long but i have been given this opportunity so am hoping i will be able to do it well, We have lived of one wage for so long now that hopefully we will reap the rewards!

  12. Emma on May 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Good for you, Kate! Best wishes in your new endeavor !

  13. Mathilde on June 16, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Great article– the grist, for me and really all who want to safeguard the future for their kiddos, is that you just don’t know what the future will bring. I woke up on my 36th birthday needing change. A few years previous, I stepped out of the workforce with my first child but continued to consult, which was great until the jobs dried up. For months I looked for work to no avail. My husband lost his job, found a job, lost the job. It was an unsteady time. All the while, 2 beautiful beautiful boys. However, I could not stagnate anymore and without work prospects sensed I should switch careers. I applied to grad school, got in took classes immediately (despite not knowing how/ if we could really afford it) which led to work within 2 months–quid pro quo. Within my first week of work, I find out I’m pregnant -WOW did I cry and was surprised!. Dear sweet husband on rebound from previous work crisis with sales swagger returned– encourages me to quit job to be home again. He encourages me to just be happy, work because I want to not because I need to. I choose work, I will not feel helpless like before. We adjust, he steps up in every possible way at home (long commute for me, still taking class), things are hard but beautiful. He dies 2 weeks before our third child was born, another beautiful boy. What can I say? I am so grateful for the nudge I got that led me back to work, I cannot imagine where the boys and I would be. Parents basement, likely. Sorry for the length on a comment, but my point is: in life there are no guarantees…build in the parachute, have options.

    • Emma on June 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Mathilde – I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing, your story (sadly) illustrates why it is so important to have some measure of financial independence — not just in times of crisis, but for the ups and downs of life, not to mention for everyone’s sense of fulfillment and mental health.

      • Mathilde on June 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm

        Yep — though I think the fulfillment piece is personal, but survival is not. SAHM’s need to think about life’s curve balls and be prepared. In my town I call what happened to us the “scared straight” plan. Everyone is on it now. Life insurance, people. Living will. Have the hard conversations. Have a plan. Don’t wait.

  14. Lana on July 30, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Emma,

    I wasn’t a SAHM but I did give up a great career to support my husband’s dream. A couple of years ago I discovered that he was unfaithful. I wish I could have left that night but he made it very clear that he would make the business we had grown together worthless if I left. I feel so foolish for not having my own income stream to be able to support myself and my children. I’m making secret career plans but I’ll struggle to find work at the grade I left a few years ago.

  15. Emma on July 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Lana – thanks for sharing your sorry. Sadly, your tale illustrates so many women’s situations. Money and earning potential = power = choices. Keep us posted on your journey!

  16. Lana on July 31, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Thank you Emma, I’ll keep you updated. Your blog helps me think that everything’s going to be ok :)

    • Emma on July 31, 2013 at 11:26 am

      It will! Feel free to reach out here or privately if you need anything. You’re strong and awesome, and writing is amazingly cathartic!

  17. Jasmine on August 29, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Do you try to walk in a stay at home mothers shoes and look at their points of view on why they stay home instead of working. All I get is negative judgement for being a stay at home mom before people even know the reasons behind my choice to be a stay at home mom. I was born completely deaf in my right ear and minor loss in my left ear but I can still hear out of my left ear. I struggled with school due to having a learning disability. Life has been a struggle can’t find the help I need because people are so ignorant they think people who are deaf and hard of hearing don’t want things out of life either. For the passed eight years because I have to live with my left ear being able to hear one minute to being completely deaf the next. Try being told that by the time you turn thirty you may face being completely deaf, that’s three years from now and having a toddler who won’t understand when mommy can’t hear she’s not ignoring you she just can’t hear you. I had dreams to have a successful career, go into fashion designing, one day own my own clothing line. I have lost jobs because my ear has gone out and the companies unwilling to help accommodate me.

  18. Emma on August 31, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Hi Jasmine,

    I’m really glad you commented – thank you. I am sorry you are having such a hard time – I have known people who are hearing impaired and I seen how hard it is for them to develop careers. I am so sorry for your struggles.

    To the point of this post, it sounds like you may need to take even more seriously the importance of financial solvency and independence. Your career choices are limited, but they are not non-existent. Would you like to email me directly so we can figure out a way for you to pursue your dream and/or a career?


    Happy to help,


  19. sisters from another mister on November 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm…
    Things definitely arrive on your screen at the right time.
    Currently mid divorce, gave up a very lucrative career to follow my soulmate around the world. We lived all over, raising two kids, traveling and homeschooling and then he hits 50 and is apparently not happy …
    A year later, two houses, plus him in a Miami beachfront condo, one child not speaking to him, divorce proceedings just starting after 20 years together … and reinventing a website that I used for fun because it was not good for our taxes for me to ‘earn’ … regrouping. Massively.
    sigh. One lives and learns.
    LOVE your blog.

    • Emma on November 19, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Thanks for chiming in — you have a lot going on and it sounds like taking steps to reinvent yourself. You will find happiness again. Hang in, reach out if I can help.

  20. Jaqueline on November 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Perhaps for someone who values their career and/or job more than they value spending as much time as possible with their children this post rings true. However for someone who would be seriously unhappy having to choose work over their children, this whole post sounds like a load of materialistic hogwash. I could care less about how much money I have in the bank, or where I am on the workforce ladder, or where I’ll be 20 years from now. I’m very, very happy staying home with both of my kids and being able to give them a stress-free mommy who has time to colour, play with blocks and scrape her knee trying out her son’s skateboard. (He is much better at it than I’ll ever be!)
    You are free to write what you wish, of course, but please remember that what’s good for one person is not necessarily good for another.
    I absolutely cannot afford to miss out on as much time with my kids as possible, and I’m happier than some who have 10x the amount of money I do.

    • Faith on October 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      I really admire you. That’s what I hate about working 40 hours a week. I work at a Veterans hospital as an LPN and it is very rewarding , but my toddlers and 8 year old also need me. I feel I have missed out on a lot. Now I’m pregnant with my fourth and I’m just too tired after work to do crafts and games with them. I can barely even read a book without falling asleep. It takes a lot of effort just to cook dinner every day and I have been failing at that too. I’ve found that I can’t do it all. Work gets 40 or more hours of my time and my home and kids suffer for it. We were broke a lot on my dad’s teachers salary but I always have great memories of my mom taking us to do things and baking, reading, and doing crafts with us. She also homeschooled us full time. I wish I could do those things with my kids.

    • Kim on July 16, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      Duly noted. You can either spend time with them now or have to spend time with them later. It’s no fun having to baby your adult child because of the lack of time you gave to them when they were younger. I think more people need to realize the monetary benefit of parent’s ensuring a healthy and nurturing environment with lots of parental involvement. One would only need to look at the statistics to see how leaving kids to raise themselves negatively affects society. This is often why single parent homes get so much flack. It’s because children are often left to raise themselves when the only parent they have is busy working.

      However, what I take from this article and what parents should try to focus on is creating a balance, whether it be through flexible and part-time work or through home-based endeavors, in order to provide and benefit the family as a whole.

  21. Emma on December 4, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Jacqueline – I agree – kids can and should pay for at least part if not all of their college educations. And clearly many families — whether by choice or circumstance – live on one income. Zero arguments there.

    But, uh, did you read my post? My point is that while this scenario is fine for the moment, it gives zero consideration for the very real likelihood that a second income will be needed — whether the 50% chance you will divorce, or your husband becomes disabled, unemployed, or dies. It is a giant financial risk to abandon your career — not necessarily for the moment but the future.

    • Jenny on January 9, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Yeah? And maybe you’ll need a THIRD income someday. Shit happens. Try to be prepared, of course, but to say that it’s silly to choose to spend time with your children over making more money – just wow.

    • Faith on October 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      There’s risk almost everything about life except for recieving the love and forgivness of Christ. No one is totally in control.

  22. BippityBoppity on January 2, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Please advise… I presently HATE my job… and technically, we don’t need the income to support our current lifestyle. I am happily married with one 4 y.o son. I would like nothing more than to tell my employer FU and stay at home and have another baby. But somehow, the rational part of my says that is foolish and unwise. I am looking for a job with a more flexible schedule, but all that interview me seem to think I’m overqualified or pay sh*t. What to do? I am salaried plus bonus, but our bonuses are paid out 4+ months after the quarter ends, if at all… and there are a myriad of other things at work. It is a really unhealthy environment, ESPECIALLY for a mother, trying to look out for the best interests of her son, and her family. And I grew up in a poor/financially-disadvantaged family. I never want that for my son. So which is worse? Sacrificing time/sanity, or income/resume cred? I am literally a week away from telling everyone where they can go.. not in a good way. I need some sane advice. Family, or career? I’d like to attain another position (again, work/life balance), but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of opportunities in my field.

    After our son was born, I took about 12 months off to stay at home, then took a part-time job as a fitness instructor, where I set my own hours, took our son to work… quite happy and satisfied. However, I’m not sure that is financially responsible or relevant, given the economy and our two mortgages now (we bought pre-crash in another state, moved, and have managed to meet payments, keep on keepin’ on despite the loss). Our current mortgage is considerably less than the cost of rent, so yes, the second purchase was not made on a whim. I would just love my “old life” back… is this realistic? I have plenty of other skills (BS Marketing, significant events planning experience, administrative/clerical/AP), but…?

  23. Mitzy on February 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Wow, some real food for thought here. Unfortunately, women and CHILDREN both get the shaft in our society. Women that buy into the you can work too, are the women whose children I cover for when, 1. they are locked out and mom didn’t think to hide a key or give one to the trusted neighbor 2. they are locked out AND hungry and no one will be home for hours so I have ANOTHER kid, not mine, to care for and mom is furious with the KID, not taking any responsibility herself and I have to witness this poor kid take the blame for what the ADULT should have been responsible for 3. Their kids ie the parents, are NEVER taking their turn on the list of carpooling to school, school activities, parties, or are frequently sending their kids without what they need for the day. 4. my family members who are teachers, cannot “conference” with these parents (at work not taking calls) or get them to pick up their SICK kids, which lead to number 5. These “working moms” who can’t miss work or lose their jobs are sending sick kids to school or leaving the home alone all day. (and they get bored and push their way into MY home, under the guise of playing with MY kids and are SICK and hungry and feeling like NO one cares, and frankly can easily eat me out of house and home in the process 6. these working mom’s cause the cost of everything to got sky high and now THREE people working isn’t adequate for anyone to live on 7. they often “flirt” with our husbands and frequently start affairs at the workplace…and we, SAHM’s, look kinda shabby, while trying to live within the means of one income, so we can RESPONSIBLY raise our children. 8. Every day you read about how competent day care worker “oops” forget a poor kid and his brains are fried on the day care bus in 100 degree plus heat. Most day cares and day care workers have NO training or uniform certification. 9. your working woman “voice” has guarenteed generations of women before you who CHOOSE to stay at home and thereby making an investment in HOME, and husbands career will get legally screwed out of their alimony (which is division of shared earnings) and I expect child support payments to soon follow. 10, and most importantly, contributed to an entire nation of “lazy men” who expect to be taken care of like teenagers (who take NO responsibility to shop, clean, maintain or take care of business but play video games all day) by these working women.
    That being said, the best option seems to be NOT getting married, not having children, and never giving up your job for anyone for any reason..
    It is the only way no one “gets hurt” or overworked.
    What women should be doing for each other is not “mommy wars” but defending the procreating aspects of our sex, and fighting for compensation for those that see the rationale of if your are going to procreate you should be present and accounted for in your own childs/childrens lives. Not convincing women they are men. Women don’t have wives, to pick up the slack. So we should be fighting not only for CHOICE, but support for our choices and some “benefits” for doing this all important SUPPORT job, and recognizing that sometimes working actually COSTS us and society more than we make. .
    I know many working women that did NOT benefit in divorice because they worked, but rather they LOST pensions, homes and children too. Working is no guarentee of smooth sailing. Just ask the men. Planning well for a better outcome for all women, just might. We have widened the gap of the sexes not shrunk it. I know many a “working woman” and that didn’t stop their hubby from leaving and giving them and their kids the shaft. The inequities will ALWAYS exist, including the fact that men don’t give BIRTH, and are NOT and you can’t make them, the responsibile primary caretakers of those children.

    . As long as that fact exists there will always be “penalities’ to women. We need to to embrace and accomadate this difference, and make our children (the future) important not expendable to the “money wars”. So much needs to be done but women, rather than seeking equality (which would require men to get pregnant to KNOW the experience and how “nature” truly does “handicap” our earning potential ) and get back some of the equalizing benefits, whether divoriced or not. Whether chosing to work or not.

    Many workplaces STILL see hiring a women as a liability, not an asset. It is nature more that experience that handicaps our potential. Now we have successfully removed the equalizers to that, and have only proven we are willing to have NO equal pay or compensation for our sex and its differences. Sold a bill of goods, hon. And MEN love it, and now feel empowered to just sit back and take advantage? This is NOT progress.

    Yes, you may fare ok, but will your kids in a society where they don’t REALLY matter as much as a dollar? How do they FEEL, knowing these men don’t want to support them, or see them and have left mom (very stressed mom I will add) to do it all. This is good for society HOW? And worse, what example is this for these boy children to see. Maybe that is why men are so lazy and non protective….they don’t KNOW DADS roles anymore, and no one is teaching them. Ya think?
    Money, should not be what widens the divide of the sexes, but the differences accounted for. All working women have done is REMOVE what benefits women did get, for their “nurturing roles”, which every woman may encounter, should she reproduce. We are getting closer, but so far off the mark. The only way to dissolve a man’s world, and male privledge is to equal woman’s privledge as women, not psudo men. Working for equal pay is still a long way away. We need to address those inequities, and restore the intact family by abolishing no fault divorice. What is good for families is good for society.

    • Kim on July 17, 2015 at 9:20 am

      You make incredibly good points. You definitely validate the need for SAHM moms. Society has taken a real hit due to moms leaving the homes and having children basically raise themselves when mom’s away at work.
      Parents definitely need to find flexible work schedules that allow for much needed parental involvement. My advice is to find those flexible employment options and work your butt of to gain the skills, education and experience to get there.

      It’s not an excuse to neglect your kids needs’ just because you have to work. There are many employment opportunities that parents should endeavor to get qualified for.

  24. Mitzy on February 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I get very disturbed when visiting sites like Shrinkmen. The hate for women, (not understanding of their differences) is running rampant. Virtually all benefits for women have been ignored, removed or shirked (men just stop being men) in any sense other than as a gender title.

    This makes this old woman very sad indeed. It is how they protest what equalizers generations of lobbying finally obtained for women and their PRIMARY roles in society. I am all for CHOICE, but the hate and terms like Golden Uterus, have only recently been so “accepted” by all that to see someone actually go public with such bad mouthing, and talk of putting “spendthrift” (really the MAIN family consumer, ie women who buy for EVERYONE) women are to blame for men’s total irresponsible behavior towards women and children and just how important those ROLES are, Virtually ANY woman can and are now called such women hating terms as “gold diggers, golden womb num nuts etc.

    This is CLEARLY not a step forward in, what I am sure, were the expectations of women who fought for equality for the differences in the sexes. Equal pay for equal work, adequate and regulated child care, or more workplace childcare. Non discriminating against women and their natural differences as the carriers of the future. Benefits that insured women and children were cared for by society laws in marriages that did break up. Rampant divorices, as “no one” is ever at fault. Children being told to “love” Daddy’s that replaced them too, with “newer” or more accomadating models. This is NOT progress, when several people in a family ALL have different last names. What have we allowed to happen?
    I see far far too many of these men, totally hating and misunderstanding what women are “about” still. I NEVER saw this hate early in my experiences as a woman. I never saw such lazy, irresponsible and accepted behavior in men, either.

    This is how we gain “equality”? Now we have women, also BASHING the female experience, and many who are finding out, (as you only would if in the trenches) how they have been sold a bill of goods by todays “standard” expectations and work load handed to women, and frankly how generations of men, have gotten meaner and lazier in protest, and how THEY and their likes, with the support of many women too young to know (who think they are gonna be the exceptions to this hate) who think a JOB is going to offer them protection from the persecution toward our sex and it reproducing capabilities.

    I see tale after tale of men who “dumped” women of a certain age or the minute they do reproduce and how they KNOW THEY CAN STILL THREATEN, the economic viability of the “dumped” and still go forth and multiply, just to repeat that with ANOTHER woman who “better mind him” and how ALL women are put in a “no win” and are so busy bickering at each other, work vs don’t work, that NO one is really paying attention to the harmful effects such “think” has on ALL women and children.

    If I didn’t know better I would think we have regressed to the 1800’s were women and children are property, not to be cherished, and supported, well, at least until something less “problematic” comes along.

    I do not wish to offend but frankly am very saddened, that with women (and children) far out numbering men, we haven’t accomplished much but go backwards. Once again, women have been “put on notice” and frankly none of them seem too happy with the forced lifestyles, these attitudes are bringing about.

    Please, we need to wake up here, ladies. Anyone can become a mom, and be threatened, anyone can work for peanuts and no benefits to accomadate children, and anyone can be labled negatively. I see generations of young women totally FEARFUL to even THINK about reproducing, getting married, and otherwise in a “no win” of “no choice” and hurt so badly are the children. Our society needs a WAKE up call, just how damaging this “woman” hate is to all women and children. We KNOW it is there, and yet we in fight with each other, and dance around the reasons WHY it is there.

  25. Mitzy on February 20, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Perhaps the only way to bring about change that supports the family concept, is that stay at home Dad’s (with no life training, as they probably didn’t have a Dad/husband in their home, consistantly) will see the view from the other side? If just women protest nothing happens. Now, if we could only have the MEN capable of going the WHOLE nine yards of being the ones to be pregnant, and all THAT entails, we might see a shift? That is like asking a chimp to be a swan. Don’t see it happening.

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. 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.

  29. 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. ( 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).

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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?

  37. 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!

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

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

    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 :) )

  41. 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.

  42. 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:

    • 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


  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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 […]

  46. […] 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 […]

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