My full-time career has been put on hold so I can stay home with my son. I don’t believe this makes me a better or a worse mother, or one that will never work in a paid profession again. I have friends in both camps and respect his/her choices. Below are the factors that helped me personally chose to be a stay-at-home mom and leave my career in the nonprofit sector.
The Childcare Question
Providing childcare, even for your own child, is a job. I don’t use this term to feel better about myself, but if I don’t do it, I have to pay someone to do it for me. Sadly, I don’t live near a benevolent relative that would watch my child for free. Childcare options usually come in the form of in home daycare, a daycare facility or a nanny. The rates that are charged in my area range from $5-$15 per hour.
Incoming vs. Outgoing
My most recent position paid $15 per hour. In addition to childcare being deducted from my take-home pay, I would have to factor in the cost of gas, a professional wardrobe and inevitably, a few more take-out meals. Also, the wages I earned may have put us in a different tax bracket. Essentially, my take-home pay would have been pennies.
I wasn’t in a job I loved and I have a partner who encouraged my decision to stay home. My husband also earns enough money to support a family. In addition, being married provided him with a tax incentive and then I gave birth to another one. You’re welcome, husband!
I enjoy getting to be the one to spend so much time with my son. I get to watch him blow bubbles in the back yard for, literally, hours. However, there are days when I envy my working friends, because I miss the socialization and getting to use my brain in a different way.
Now that my son is starting kindergarten, I have started doing some freelance writing on a very part-time basis — and that is work I enjoy. I can also do this work from home. Ultimately, these were factors that helped me decide to stay at home. However, everyone has different circumstances and must do what is right for his/her own family. As parents, I like to think we’re all in the trenches together, doing the best we can.