When I found out that I was pregnant, and would therefore be going on maternity leave, I thought for sure I would lose my mind being away from work!
I was like many of you, show up early, stay late, and get so involved in what I’m doing that I would even forget to eat most days!
There was no way I could stay at home!
Well, here I am exactly 4 years after going on leave, a stay at home Mom, who never returned to work! Go figure!
I would love to say that the deciding factor was me wanting to stay home with Maddie and be there as much as possible, but it just wouldn’t be true. While I really did want to stay with her (what Mom wants to leave her child to return to work?!), the deciding factor was money.
When you’re deciding if you should be a stay at home Mom, the bottom line is your bottom line!
While it’s all well and good that you want to be there for milestones and cuddles, if you can’t afford to feed your child, it’s just not in the books!
You have some big decisions to make, so ensure all your bases are covered before you dive in!
How To Decide If You Should Be A Stay At Home Mom
- Figure out your actual take home income after gas costs. If you work farther from home than most (as I did) this can play a big role! Figure out what actually would go in your pocket after making those daily trips, and use that number.
- Shop around for daycare. You don’t need to decide at this point on a specific daycare, just shop around to get 2 or 3 prices so you have a number to work with. Don’t be afraid to include different types as well, such as city day care centers versus in home options.
- Contact Service Canada (or your applicable government office). Ask how that additional income will affect your child benefits, or any other income you are receiving that is based on your total household income (the higher your income goes, the lower this payout will be).
- Does Your Child Have Special Needs? This type of childcare will probably cost you extra, on top of different educational therapies that may be needed depending on your child, so keep those costs in mind!
- Do the Math! Subtract the daycare costs and difference in child care benefits from your take home income, and see what’s left. Does it make sense to work full time for that amount?
Once we did the math, I divided it by 4 to get an idea of the weekly take home amount, and for me it worked out to $200 a week…I would be working for $4.44 an hour…NO THANKS!
After this reality hit us, we sat down and set up our budget, learning that we needed an extra $300 a week coming in once my maternity pay ran it’s course. Knowing it just didn’t make sense for me to be working full time, our next step became finding $300 a week!
Some options for finding a way to make it work…
- Work part-time around your spouse’s schedule to save childcare costs. While a great option for most, my hubby’s schedule didn’t allow for this.
- Increase your spouse’s income. The only way you will not get a raise is by not asking for it!
- Scale Back Monthly Expenses. Get rid of the things you can do without, such as Cable, high cost cell phone bills, subscriptions…weigh the value of these items against the chance you have to stay home with your little one and it will be easy!
- Work from home. Luckily, I had already started my previous website, and was earning some money from home that way! But there are other ways to earn from home by working online, check them out here!
You could also explore the option of providing day care in your home, even if just for friends and family!
You get the extra income, and those parents get the added comfort of knowing their child is in the care of someone they know and trust!
Ultimately, the decision is yours to make.
For some people it may work out that the ideal situation is for Mom to go back to work and Dad to stay home to save childcare costs if she is the primary “breadwinner”, do whatever best suits the needs of your family, and your bank account!
Are you a Stay At Home Mom? Or do you want to be? How did you make that decision? What is holding you back?
Share in the comments below!
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