Quitting Job to Stay at Home
Berkeley Parents Network >
Working & Careers >
Quitting Job to Stay at Home
I am a SAHM of two kids, a toddler and a 5 yr old. I LOVE being a SAHM and
hardly ever have days that I feel like I miss being at work. I worked in a fairly
creative job but the hours were really bad (not 9-5), there were egos and
politics, and it is not a family friendly career. I did freelance off and on with
the first child. I couldn't afford child care so I worked during naps and at
night. But since it is deadline-driven, project based work it was very
inconsistent and difficult to know how many hours I would be working each
week. This was stressful and I couldn't take on big projects. Even if I could
hire help, that person would have to be very, very flexible. Well, when #2
came a long I had no time to fit in my work so I have stopped taking on
projects. We are ''ok'' financially--being very careful with money and living a
humble lifestyle. I never feel that I miss working--I just miss the paycheck. I
have other creative outlets for that side of myself and I definitely miss it when
I can't find time to create for me. I find spending time with my children a
much more rewarding experience then working. I feel that this time with
them is going by quickly so I am trying to savour it. But, I wonder will I regret
not keeping my ties to my old career? Taking on little projects kept me
connected, but I have no time for that now. My oldest will be in part time
Kindergarten in the fall, but my youngest won't be in preschool for another
18 months so that will put me farther behind. Juggling two kids with work
seems so crazy, especially if you don't really crave the work. Will I regret
taking time off work? If I do need to find work again in a few years will it be
impossible for me to find it if I haven't been working all this time? I have
always found a job easily and feel that if I really wanted to work again I could.
Am I being naive? I need a role model--someone in a deadline-driven,
creative field who has managed to balance work and family. Most of the
moms I know in this field just had kids, so I don't have a real example of
someone who has found this balance. I guess I just want to know that I will
still be able to find work once I decide to start doing it again.
Your post could have been me but with older kids, I've been out of workforce
for 5 years and did about 4.5 years of working with kids. A fact that I take
some solace in that I have done this at some point.
I too feel perfectly happy not working but wonder if in the future I'll wish I
had done more.
I have decided that I won't live in fear or doing something counter to my
current instinct of fear in the future. Sure lots of people will say if you don't
do something now you may never have an option, but I just am not going to
buy into that kind of fear. I figure I can have what I want when I want it and if
in 3-5 years I want to work, I can make it happen then. That said, I am
thinking of a class or two, a conference or two. Frankly though my
motivation a little low on that front.
I just think life is too short to change something you love doing for the fear of
maybe not having what you want in the future.
That's my take, good luck
I am not convinced being a SAHM has as much of an affect on
our careers as we think it will. Yes it means you loose $X
for so many years and therefore your retirment might be
delayed or your disposable income tight for a while. But I
know many woman older than I who took years off from their
careers to be at home and that currently have very good
jobs. I mean if you want to run a large company, law firm
or be president then you probably can't take time off but
for the average professional I just don't believe it is
that much of a problem. When you are getting ready to start
back up again ease in part time, take classes & things will
unfold naturally. You can always put off going back to work
for a couple years but you can't put off your children
growing up. Good for you. You very fortunate to be able to
take this time with your children.
After being home full time for several years with my
children, I have just returned to work part-time. Because of
my schedule - and partly due to economy - I'm not making as
much as I was even 6 years ago. I am not in a creative
role, but I work with people who are (graphic designers,
etc.) and my role is very project- and deadline-driven. I
don't love my job and I don't hate it, but the paycheck is
I can't tell you how glad I am that I stayed home with my
children for those early years. I, too, tried to work on a
project basis while they were young and I could never swing
it. (Seems the important issues always came up on the day
the baby wouldn't nap! Or I'm in the middle of a call when
the kids start fighting...that's always nice.) I did enjoy
my SAHM status while I had it, but I also dreamed of working
(both for fulfillment and for the paycheck). Now I am
sentimental about the old days and can honestly say I spent
as much time with them as I should have! They are young for
only such a short time. When they're both in school full-
time, you'll be more than ready to go back!
In the meantime, I suggest treating your back-to-work plan
as your part-time job. Just because you choose not to go
back to work doesn't mean you have to cut ties with your
career. Keep in touch with your professional
contacts...occasional e-mails, even meeting them
occasionally for lunch during the work day. If you were
involved in any professional organizations, attend a meeting
or function once in awhile. Stay up-to-date on your industry
(technology, trends, etc.) and maybe attend a conference
every 6-12 months if that is relevant to your position. You
might find that keeps you feeling connected, and instead of
the door to your career closing, it just keeps revolving!
I could have written your post, but I'm about 5 years
ahead of you with older kids. That said, I did freelance
just like you did after working f/t, and then totally cut
my ties to my old deadline-driven, creative field, even
going so far as telling contacts not to call and tempt me
with work offers. Fast-forward a few years later---I got a
call and have more work than I know what to do with. Now
that both kids are in school, it's more do-able. I'm
trying to decide if I want to continue long-term because
it is so intense. Like you, I feel that I want to savor
time with my kids and find it more rewarding, but I'm
riding it out for a few months- the paycheck is really
nice to have! So...yes, work will always be there and
remember that it's not an either/or. The one thing I have
learned is to try to live in the present and enjoy what
you want to enjoy, circumstances can change at any time,
and then you can adapt. Hard words to live by, but I'm
trying to stay balanced
You can't get back time lost with your children/family. You
can always get back in the job market. Careers can be
recreated and you can build back to your previous status.
Have not regrets about being a wonderful mother (working
mothers are wonderful too) with the good fortune of raising
your children full-time.
I believe my working and kid life is very similar to yours,
but my kids are older (11 and 15). I'll tell what I've done
over the years (and why) and how I feel about it. First of
all, if you truly love being a SAHM, then you won't regret
it later. Second guessing during parenting is unavoidable
for the most part, but it will drive you absolutely insane.
There's that old saying about how no one ever put on their
tombstone, ''I wish I had spent more time at the office.''
Secondly, here's my take. I worked in publishing for years
as a writer and editor. I was a managing editor when I
decided to work part-time freelance from home. (My youngest
was about 5 months old when I quit.) At first I worked
because I wasn't ready to give up that part of my life. But
as you pointed out, working in a deadline-driven job with
two little kid is hell. I eventually scaled back to maybe 10
hrs/week, plus I got help with the kids. Basically, it
turned my job into a hobby that just paid for itself.
After years of that, I stopped working altogether. That was
actually really nice and I could have done it for a lot
longer, but when the economy started falling apart, I got
freaked out about being a one-income family and being so
dependent on my husbandC",b"s job, health, etc.
Now, I am editing books freelance here and there to keep
myself sharp and connected. Like you, I've never had trouble
picking up work, but I was worried that my luck would run
out with so many extremely talented people out of work with
fresh experience and contacts. I feel that I cannot risk
letting my skills and industry connections go stale.
Even though my kids are older, it is still difficult to
balance things. I allow myself time between assignments so I
don't feel too stretched all the time. Maybe you could do
that? Just do two or three projects a year? One thing that
helps is that I have to tell my kids to respect my work
time. I think it is good for them to see me working and
learn that they cannot pull on me and demand my immediate
attention 24/7. You also need to get buy-in from your
partner. That is crucial. My husband and kids have to do
more around the house when I am working, which I think is
good for them.
I hope hearing my experience with this has helped you in
some way. Maybe when/if your toddler starts preschool, you
can set a few hours a day aside for working? And then, as I
said earlier, only take on a few projects a year? If you end
up really hating it or cannot find the balance between home
and work you need, then stop. YouC",b"ve already said you love
being a SAHM, so it isnC",b"t a bad plan B. That's the good
thing about freelance, you can let it ebb and flow as your
time and temperament allow. Personally, I am just worried
about the economy right now and have seen so many people I
know have to sell their houses, borrow money from their
parents, and make other sacrifices due to losing jobs or
Good luck. I don't thing you can make a ''wrong'' decision in
this case, which is probably why it is so difficult.
I can't decide whether to quit my lucrative, and relatively easy,
public sector job in order to spend more time with my 7 month old
daugher. My boss absolutely won't let me go to a reduced
schedule. I could easily find consulting work with more
flexibility, but would miss out on the benefits (especially the
retirement) of this job. OTOH, I am missing out on being around
for my daugher, most likely my only child (I am in my early 40s).
For those Moms who quit, any regrets? How has it worked out as
your child got older and entered pre-school and school?
Could I have your job? Actually, I'm as torn about returning to
work as you are about leaving work. I've had both experiences and
I think being at home is definitely better for your child, at
least through high school. (I'm not kidding!) There is just too
much that you are willing to overlook and ignore when you're at
work. I know, because I did that for my first child. If you must
work, make sure you have an excellent nanny for your child,
because they do need love and attention and someone to play with
and learn from. It also helps if you have an extended family
nearby, so that your child's doting aunts and uncles can be there
for them when you can't. I also can't say how important it was
for me to be around to see who my children's friends were, to
catch up with them on their days, to be there for school errands,
holidays, special projects, etc., etc., etc. Believe me, kids are
sponges and will soak up your time and energy.
Having said all that, the reason I said earlier that I wish I
could switch places with you was that I want my husband to retire
earlier. In addition, I have an older child from a previous
marriage and now that she is ready to graduate from college and
enter the working world, I cannot relate to her the way I wish I
could. I was in college at the same time as she was and both she
and my elementary school child were able to talk about school,
homework, tests and even though it was at different levels, it
was fun and really brought us very close together.
So I think it's a catch-22, on the one hand, you want to be at
home with your children, on the other, how can you resucitate a
career after so long out of the workforce?
It's hard to provide the best for your family. As commuting times
increase and we become more reliant on technology, it seems, we
get further away from our core, our family. A real dilemma. I
wish you good luck with your search for the right balance.
Super Mom wannabe
I think that it is hard for people here to tell you what to do.
I think the key might be seeing someone who can help you figure
out what is the right decision for you. I personally love doing
part-time work but for my best friend, she's only happy on a
I think a life coach might be a good route for you since you
have a specific issue. It would be great to have someone think
through how YOU want your life to look and feel and then come up
with a plan that you believe in for achieving it. I love Toni
Littlestone (528-2221) but there are I am sure many people who
would be happy to help you think it through. I encourage you to
do this instead of jumping to a rash decision that might not be
the best one for your situation and desires.
Figuring it out myself
Have you looked into using the Paid Family Leave Act (PFLA)? It
is a new program that gives you 6 weeks of leave within the
first year of your child's life. You can use this time in one
lump or to reduce your hours to part-time or to take a day off
here or there. I believe that, unless you are an executive at
work, your employer is obligated to give you the time off. This
is not a long-term solution, but it might buy you some time.
Contact EDD for more info.
Currently of PFLA
My guess is, since you have put so much thought into this
decision, something is telling you that you DO want to spend
more time with your daughter. Or, you feel guilty for not
spending more time with her...? First, no need to feel guilty
if your current work makes you happy. Happy mom, happy
family. But if you find you are missing your daughter and want
to know her better, then who cares about the fringe benefits at
work? You will never get this time back with her. It is a one-
shot, limited time offer. I quit my full time job when my
daughter was born and have worked part-time (very few hours,
overall) on consulting projects since (she just turned 1). I
have absolutely no regrets. I had a well-paying, senior
management position and a solid career path. No doubt I have
derailed it by taking this time off to raise a child. But by
continuing to work (consulting) even a little bit, I will have
kept a hand in the game and presumably will be marketable when
I re-enter the work force full-time in a few years (I am 37
now). I presume you can re-enter later, too, in a similar
position that you have now? If so, this special time with your
daughter is probably well worth the trade off. Of course, I
don't know how much retirement money you are giving up. My
litmus test for decisions like this is the death bed--what will
I think when I'm there...?
If you can make ends meet without your salary, or can make it by
working part-time, I'd say leave your job. I've been home for a
few years now, and though I'm occassionally a bit bored and
occassionally stress about not using my education, I love being
home with my little ones at this point in the game. My feeling
is that the 'job' of mothering young children is only available
for 4-5 years, so if you can stay home, and enjoy it, then go
for it. An additional benefit to having one parent at home, in
my opinion, is that it's easier on one's marriage/partnership
and in general less stressful for the family. I plan to go back
in a few years, and imagine I'll have to take some sort of
step 'backwards' to get back into the workforce, but for me it's
been very worth it.
I had the same struggle when I had my second child, more than five
years ago. I went back to work just to see whether I could still enjoy my
job and motherhood. It was too much for me. I felt like I wasn't doing
anything well. Working freelance a little bit has helped tremendously
because it gives me a life outside of being a wife and mom. I won't lie to
you, though, it was a tough transition. I felt like my needs and schedule
were at the bottom of the family totem pole. I finally realized that even
given that, I was probably the most important person in the household
because I made everything happen that needed to happen. So, I was
the most important but least considered, if that makes sense.
5 years later, I can honestly say I don't regret my decision at all. My kids
are both in school now, and I can pick them up and take them to do
things, have their friends over, and so on. If they are sick, my husband
and I don't have to go into strategic planning mode to deal with it. So
many kids have to get dropped off early at on-site childcare and get
picked up from there hours after school is over. Many of these parents
don't have a choice, so I'm not criticizing them. I'm just grateful that we
have enough income that I can be here with my kids and still work a little
doing what I enjoy. I doubt you'll regret it. And if you can consult, do it.
Because if you find you're not the stay-at-home type, your resume will be
fresh and you can try to reenter the workforce with current jobs on your
I quit my job about a year ago (I'm 37) to ''stay Home'' for
awhile. My kids were a bit older--3 and 5. The five year old
was just beginning kidergarten. I can't say that I regret my
decision but it has been harder than I thought. It has been
really hard to meet moms in the neighborhood. They all seem to
know each other already and have their cliques. Also, I can't
get anything ''big'' done around the house while watching/picking
up the kids. Financially it has been tough. Things that bite us
are property taxes, car maintenance, home emergency repairs and
the like. You can forget any kind of travel, visits to the hair
salon, nice shoes, home upgrades and restaurants. It is so
expensive around here. I would advise looking for another part
time gig to allow you more time with your child. That is the
best solution. You have worked for a long time and it will be
hard to re-define yourself IMO.
I quit my job and went to private consulting after my 2-year-
old was born. The job I had had great benefits and retirement,
and I'm now barely scraping by with the reduced income.
However, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
For one thing, we don't have to pay for childcare, although we
do pay for health insurance (my husband is also self-employed).
But the most important thing is that my schedule is flexible, I
think our son has benefitted from it, and I know I'm not
missing out on any of his development. Although I get bored and
miss work at times, I still work part-time. I figure this time
while he's a toddler will pass soon enough, and I don't want to
regret not spending it with him (and our next one, due early
I quit my high stress job on my 40th birthday to completely
focus on getting pregnant. 8 years later, with 2 little kids
and pushing 50 years old, I can't even remember what I did for
money. My savings are running out and I do need to remember
what it was that was easy about it.... My advise to you is to
keep your hand in. Even if you have to change jobs now, it will
be easier than later because your skills are current and your
confidence is solid. I know they have a name for people like
me ''re-entry'' and that there are plenty of us. Still, I feel
unemployable especially at the level I was, and it is
petrifying to think of actually getting out there again. As to
your role as a mother, I don't think that the intimacy I have
with my kids from being together constantly is fundementally
different than the bonds that form by getting up and going
together, then sharing impressions of the day later. It sounds
so trite, but as long as you are happy and secure, your kids
will be too. So really just think about what will be best for
I quit my job a few months ago when my son was 10 months old.
For me, it was a great decision because I was also burned out on
my job. I have absolutely no regrets but it is harder! My
advice is to go for it if you can afford it. The time when they
are young goes so fast. I have seen a big difference in both of
my kids now that I am at home. Especially during the first 3
years, it is such a gift for your kids to be there if you can and
tired but happy SAHM
I have been a stay-at-home mom for 5 years. It has taken me
quite a while to get over the guilt (and stress) of giving up
some financial security to stay home. But, I have to say that,
for me, I've decided that staying at home is the way to go. It
was REALLY tough the first couple of years. As much as I love
my kids, I just wasn't getting any kind of intellectual
stimulation. As I cleaned the floor for the 8th time, I would
really miss my old office (and paycheck).
But, I feel like the benefits that my kids have received have
out weighed that. Our lives are so much less stressful. My kids
enjoyed preschool without having to be there all day. You get a
lot of time to understand your kid & their needs. I always
thought that once my daughter started kindergarten that I would
have lots of spare time & could get a job. But, I have found
out that mothers are the reason schools are successful. Schools
need help with yard duty, library, volunteering in the
classroom, fund raising...5 years ago this would have sounded
like torture but now I can see the value. Anyway, I'm trying to
say that every year I find more reasons to stay home. Some kind
of consulting work would be great, but I would not want to
return to work full-time as long as I have the financial means
to stay at home.
I think discussing the logistical differences between staying at
home and working would help in the decision making process. I
have often wondered if I should re-enter the paying world but I
don't have a good grasp on what the trade-off would be.
My typical day consists of making the kids breakfast and getting
them off to school. I then have a couple of hours in which I
typically take care of all the household nitty gritty: cleaning,
shopping, doing finances, paperwork and volunteering at the
schools. After I pick up the kids it is homework time. After an
hour or so of downtime we are back out again for sports
activities. Upon our return, we have a sit down (homemade) family
meal, then showers, reading and bedtime for the kids. Weekends
then get taken up by more sports, social engagements, and I try
to keep sunday completely unscheduled for us.
I don't know how I would get all this done if I had a job on top
of it all. Are there much more efficient ways of getting things
done that I don't know about?
If you work outside the home what is your typical schedule and
when does it all get done?
wondering how others do it
I need advice and support on the issue of becoming a stay-at-
home-mom. I am married and have a five year old and 8 month old
baby. I have been working as an attorney part-time and am due
to go back full time next month. I have been unhappy at my job
for some time and have decided to quit before I go back full
time. In addition to staying home with the baby and having more
time for the 5 year old, my husband and I are hoping to improve
our quality of life with only one parent working outside the
home. We are exaughsted all the time (order lots of take-out,
barely feed the cat, house is a disaster). I feel constantly
overwhelmed and am impatient with my older child. On the other
hand, the financial stress when I quit will also play a role (It
will be MAJOR).
I am scared and feel a bit lost about this process. I am also
worried about getting bored with playing with the kids and
feeling guilty if I just schlep them around to do errands all
I would love any ideas on how to make it through without just
trading one type of stress for another.
I could have written your post myself about two years ago. I
was working 20 hours per week, with two kids, and finding it to
be incredibly stressful on my family. I did quit my job in
spite of all the concerns you describe, and I can tell you it
was the best thing I've ever done. My kids are so much
happier, and I am much less stressed and able to enjoy them
more. Those days when they can't go to school/day care
(because they are sick, the school is closed, doctor's appts,
etc) no longer cause a big crisis. My husband is much happier,
too, because he sees I'm less stressed out and that the kids
are doing really well with this arrangement.
I will say that I'm sometimes bored, I sometimes miss working,
and I do get lonely. What's been key for me is to hook up with
other moms and get out of the house every day. It took me about
6 months to really build up a support system, find other moms
to hang out with and other interests that can be pursued from
home. The kids don't mind errands much; it's actually kind of
fun for them so I don't feel guilty about taking them. Plus,
one thing about being a SAHM is that you never have to worry
about whether your kids get enough of your time--so you don't
have to feel guilty about doing stuff with them that's not
necessarily ''fun.'' ANyway, best of luck, I hope whatever
choice you make brings you some relief from the stress you're
happily staying home
Becoming a SAHM was an easy decision for me once I realized that
work was just that...work, or a job--and I, too, was unhappy
there--and easily (relatively speaking) replaceable. Being with
my child was not. Having said that, the financial strain has been
great, and we basically live off the equity in our house so that
I can be at home. Would I do it differently? Probably not.
Knowing, or feeling, that this is the only opportunity I will
have to be with my daughter, I know that it's worth it in the
long run. However, what I do find difficult is not being involved
reguarly with other adults. ALL of my closest friends live down
south and even though I am in a mom's group, which is helpful, I
would not consider these women to be close friends. This is very
hard on me. As far as getting bored, I highly doubt that would
happen to you, as there are many many activities for your
youngest child to be involved with or to partake in. So with
that, I would recommend that you go ahead with staying at home,
but make sure you maintain or develop some outside interests so
that you continue to be an individual besides being wife and
mother. This will truly allow you to enjoy this precious and
irreplaceable time in your children's lives. Good luck.
Some things i have found that really help me are having
something planned every day - either a class or a outing with
the kids (even to the park), or may be a craft project that i
see in a parents magazine or online. My son goes to school two
mornings a week and it is nice to get a break to do household
duties that are hard with him around. There are dull moments
for sure, but i never regret my choice to be a SAHM. My
husband says that he feels less stress because he knows i will
be taking care of certain things around the house and our
children so he can concentrate on his career. Make sure you
sit down with your spouse and are clear on what things you will
be responsible for when you become the SAHM. I pay all the
bills, do all the household shopping and make dinner (or
arrange for dinner) every night. My spouse has a really
stressful job and works late so it takes a lot of pressure off
him to not have to worry about those things and he can play
with the kids when he gets home. He also takes the kids a lot
on the weekends and takes a class with our son so that I can
get some personal renewal time.
My situation is slightly different than yours-I had a more-than
full time career before motherhood which I opted to leave
behind when I had my now 10 month old son. Nonetheless, I can
relate to the issues that you raised. First, congratulations
on your decision! I love staying at home, which for some
reason lots of people find hard to believe, but I do love it.
Looking around at couples where both parents work, I can't
fathom how they do it and keep their sanity. During the week I
take care of all of our family/house business-cleaning,
appointments, money, shopping, dry cleaners, laundry, meals,
etc. The evenings and weekends are strictly family time-no
frantic chores or trying to get things done. I treat my
responsibilities in this regard like a job and try to get
everything done during the work hours so that off hours really
are off. Its huge and we love it and needless to say my son
loves it! As to how not to get bored at home...the key for me
has been connecting with friends for outings, lunch, whatever.
Also I go to the gym regularly and leave my son in the
childcare there-the workout is nice, but honestly sometimes I
just go for a long, hot shower. I really like a nice,
leisurely day to day routine with my little guy, but when I do
start to feel as though I'm climbing the walls, I call up the
girlfriends. Also date night with my husband and friends is
very important-since I don't always get adult interaction
during the day, its vital that I get it on the weekends. As
far as errands go, I try to limit the errands to one per day-so
Monday is Target day, Tuesday is dry cleaners, Wednesday is fun
only, Thursday is groceries..you get the idea. I get
everything done in a week but limit driving around time for
both of us. When I first started staying at home, I used
www.flylady.com to organize my house/days/weeks and I swear she
has done more to improve our quality of life than I can even
begin to say here. Stay at home mothering is, in my opinion, a
funny combination of slowing down and speeding up. The slowing
down is related to the letting go of your previous expectations
of ''getting things done'' since, as you know, time with kids is
different than time with adults. When you shift into all kid
time, it takes a while to mentally adjust. The speeding up,
for me, was in relation to wanting to take really good care of
house and home so that we had a nice, clean, peaceful place to
relax together as a family. So basically I work fast and
furious during naptime to do chores and make a nice dinner, but
when my son is awake I relax and try to just be with him
without worrying about other things. Also I try not to live up
to some perfect Martha Stewert ideal and torture myself trying
to make everything just so. I do what I can, and then I make
myself stop and just be with my husband and son. We talk ALL
THE TIME about how happy we are with this arrangement..our home
really feels like a sanctuary, we eat healthy meals together,
we have time to talk and plan and go on outings, and we both
feel busy but mostly sane.
The money issue is hard, too, and I confess that I take on
weekend work once a month or so just for the income. It only
breaks us even, though, so I've just been trying (not always
successfully) to not lust after ''things'' and live more simply
(no fancy vacations for us, no major housework, inexpensive or
no new clothes, no gymboree, a grocery budget, etc.). I throw
away catalogs without looking at them and avoid retail at all
costs. My boy is already looking so big to me, I try to remind
myself that its him that I'll remember and not the fact that
our dressers are ugly and we can't afford new ones.
If you have friends in a similar situation, connect with them
now. If not, consider networking here or with a more formal
Good luck and congratulations again to you. I think you have
some sweet summer days ahead.
I would suggest that you try being a SAHM and see if it works
out for you - financially and otherwise. I see it as you having
not so much to lose if you don't like your job and will have to
be working full time. If staying home doesn't work out, I would
think you could find a different job - although it would likely
be hard to find a part-time one.
Sometimes you have to make somewhat scary changes if you want
things to get better. Good luck.
I chose the same path -- to stay at home after working for
about two years after the birth of our first child. I have now
have two kids and am so glad I amde that choice -- even though
I was the primary breadwinner by a large margin. I can't offer
any specific advice -- but I can say i expected a big change in
our lifestyle and that I would be stressed out by that. And it
is true -- we eat out less, don't go on fabulous vacations, are
mosre modest in our gift giving, and generally ourchase less,
bt I can honestly say I don't miss that life. The balance and
pleasure in our new rhythm is more than enough -- and its funny
how all the things I thought were crucial -- I don't even
notice their absence. To be sure, being a SAHM has its own
stresses -- its not all picnics at poolside -- but I choose the
stress of this life over feeling torn and rushed and incomplete.
Best of luck!
Happy I took the leap
With the small cavaet that lifestyle changes take time and
energy, require adjustment and create some stress
(initially), I encourage you to take this opportunity and make
the most of it. You may find that you love it, once you've got
A key may be using some of the skills you acquired while
working (organization, teamwork, negotiation) while learning
to live on ''baby time'' (hurry up and wait). If you go out and
find them there are moms like you in the East Bay, and the
potential for wonderful friendships exists.
Please feel free to contact me with questions and for
support in a less public forum. I think you are making a
About becoming a stay at home mom, I can relate very much to
your dilemma. My kids are spaced at about the same range as
your own and I worked both part time and full time while they
were young. They are now 6 and 10 and I am sad to say that the
entire period when I was working had the effect of making their
toddler years a blur. I cannot remember when my youngest began
talking, what his first words were, etc. This is too great a
price to pay in my opinion. If you have the choice to stay at
home count your blessings. It does sound boring on the face of
it but there is so much you can do to find personal fulfillment
for yourself as well as through your children. I am very
involved at my children's school and have made many meaningful
friendships there. It is also quite a benefit to be able to
drive on fieldtrips, volunteer in the classroom, attend all the
day and evening school functions. I just feel so much more a
part of their lives than I would if I had to work full time.
Like you, when I was working I always felt absolutely
overwhelmed, missed school deadlines, spent weekends doing
laundry and cleaning, it wasn't much of a life.
As an example, it is now summer break and instead of having to
spend thousands on summer camps I can take my kids on
adventures we all enjoy: rollerskating, beaches, museums,
biking, etc. When I need a week or two to myself for rest I
can enroll them in a one or two week camp. When you work full
time (unless you teach) you scramble each spring to fill up
your child's entire summer with camps, schools, etc.
Since you have a child that is entering regular school you will
have a much greater view into their world if you actively
particpate in their school, get to know their friends, etc.
Our children attend a well regarded public school and I do
notice a unintentional division that occurs between those kids
whose mothers work and those that do not, mainly due to stay at
home moms' availability for weekday play dates, after school
activities, etc. You also develop your own relationships this
way that you will need to keep your sanity.
I also feel like I'm living a life of luxury when compared to
the time crunch I experienced when working and commuting.
While the kids are in school I can spend at least an hour or
two doing something for myself whether it's working out,
hiking, taking a class etc. I just feel like a much more
balanced person now that I am home full time.
In the end, so many mothers must work full time. If you have
the choice you are fortunate. You can always return to work if
being a full time mom doesn't suit you, but you can never
retreive that lost time with your children during their most
Congratulations on your decision. It is truly the best decision
you can make for your children's well being. My advice is to
concentrate most of your time on your children and do errands
around that time. I have a 6mo and a 2 1/2 year old. My week
typically consists of the following: Mon we go to playgroup at
10:30 then come back and eat lunch, nap time during which I
excercise, get dinner started, kids wake up. My 2 1/2 year old
may play outside until dinner. Eat dinner, get son in bath, read
stories, sing and he's in bed between 7:30 and 8pm. In between, I
clean and straighten up. I usually clean up dinner the following
morning while I'm getting breakfast ready. I probably pick-up and
vacuum twice a week. I grocery shop early in the morning before
our activities or I go on Saturday or when my husband gets home.
I really don't make it to any specialty shops anymore and I
don't stress about. If the grocery store has it, I buy it there.
Tuesday I go walking with friends, wed is a free day so we stay
home or go to a park, Thursday is my baby swap day for two hours,
Friday is my hiking day. The lunch/afternoon time is pretty much
the same everyday. I put mine and my children's fun in front of
every thing else (except husband) and I make sure I have plenty
of friends that I interact with. Most of what I'm doing is free.
I make exceptions for the mom's groups because that's my support
group. I am not stressed. I am relaxed and very content. Also,
keep in mind that if you are a type A personality and think you
will be bored, get creative. Redirect your energy as an attorney.
Think of all the women who have done great things because they
stayed home (ie. the women who wrote Super Baby Food, the mystery
writer, and others). Have fun with your kids!
As a former investment banker, I also decided to stay home with
my son and felt that the advantages of spending time with him
during his early childhood outweighed the drawbacks of exiting
the workforce for a few years. While I sometimes miss
interaction with other professionals, I strongly believe my
investment of time with my son is far more worthy than doing
M&A deals right now.
I think the phrase ''you can have it all'' still applies but not
at the same time. Something will definitely suffer if one
tries to do too many things at once or if one does not have at
least one parent who is able to spend a lot of time with the
kids. The situation with two professional parents with
executive jobs makes it particularly challenging with kids.
In terms of moving forward, I suggest getting involved with
classes or activities with your child as well as meeting up
with a mom's group. This will enable you to interact regularly
with other interesting moms.
retired investment banker
Here’s the truth: you will be trading one kind of stress for
another. Some things you are currently experiencing may not
change or become better just because you’ve decided to stay at
home with your kids. You and your husband may still find
yourselves exhausted all the time. Your husband may feel added
physical and emotional stress of being the sole breadwinner of
the family, and as for you, being with two young kids non-stop
IS exhausting. Your quality of life may not improve, just
because you’re at home with the kids. You might still find
yourselves ordering lots of take-out, forgetting to feed the
cat, and living in a house that’s in a constant state of
disaster (at least that’s the way it is in our household). You
may still get tired, overwhelmed, impatient, or irritated with
your kids and/or husband after a sleep-deprived night or a
marathon day with the kids. Your kids may vocalize their
boredom and displeasure at having to be dragged from one errand
to another with you all day long.
But, at least in my experience, the rewards of being a stay-at-
home parent are great. Some thoughts:
1. I wake up in the morning with my kids and instead of
rushing off to childcare/work as I used to, I get to ask
them, “What do you want to do today?” The day is open and ours
2. Spending so much time with my kids, I know my kids so well
and get to experience their thoughts and emotions as they
3. I like being a major influence in teaching my kids certain
values, beliefs, and how to navigate their way in the world.
When people compliment my kids and say, “Oh, you have such nice
kids,” I try not to be too egocentric and think it’s because of
me ;-) but having spent a lot of time with my kids, at least I
see how they got that way.
4. I get to discover--or rediscover—new interests as my kids
explore them. Since my son has become interested in astronomy
and biology, we’ve both embarked upon a journey to learn and
experience as much as we can in depth on the subjects…much more
interesting than my former line of work.
5. I enjoy putting on “play clothes” every day and expect them
to be messy with dirt and sweat at the end of the day (I have
boys), instead of having to dress up for the office. And I’m
saying this as a former dress-up professional gal with a habit
for Banana Republic clothes and corporate-babe shoes. Okay, it
was an adjustment to shop for my clothes at Target and Old Navy
(on sale!), but I will say this—I don’t ever want another job
where I have to dress up and go to the office every day.
6. My husband has a lot of stress at his job—and not everyone
he works with loves him at the end of the day. Being at home
with the kids is my full-time job. At the end of the day, I
know my kids (and husband) love me. That makes my “job” so
much more rewarding than any job I’ve had before.
I tell people that I consider myself “lucky” to have the
opportunity to stay at home with my kids—-a lot of my friends
say, “Oh, I’d love to stay home with my kids but we can’t
afford it on one income.” But really, it has less to do with
luck as it does a willingness to do it this way (we are not a
high-income family so it is a big financial hit to live this
way). Bottom line, though, I’ve never regretted my decision to
quit work and stay home with my kids, and sometimes I wonder
why I didn’t do this sooner.
Your kids are young for such a short window of time—and you’re
not going to get that time back, ever. Being a stay-at-home
parent is stressful and overwhelming, kind of like training for
an extreme endurance sport every day, but so worth it…I say go
for it and good luck.
Another stay-at-home parent
Congratulations on your decision! While it's not always easy to
be a stay at home mom I find it to be one of the most
satisfying times of my life. I think it's key to establish a
good network with other moms. I've met some great friends just
by going to baby gym, kindermusic, etc. It's very important to
get out and have contact with other adults.
It's inevitable that you'll be running errands with your kids,
I find it's easiest to do while my 4 year old is in preschool
so that I only have to deal with one. I just try to balance it
with a children's activity so that my 1 year old gets some play
time as well. The reward of doing those errands during the week
is that you have your weekends free and the stores are
generally a lot less crowded.
Another benefit of being a stay at home mom is the flexibility -
I love that we can change our schedule if it's a beautiful day
and just head to the beach or whatever.
Good luck to you!
I am sure you will receive many responses. I don't think the
transition to being a SAHM (I prefer to just call myself a
homemaker - it seems more descriptive) is an easy one at all. It
took me the better part of a year to really feel satisfied. I
have the following suggestions from my experience:
Embrace the domestic godess within. Through this list, I found
Flylady.net, and have been really inspired to devote 2004 to
getting my house organized, clean and maintainable. And for a
person who *hated* housecleaning, this is really something, but I
love the sense of accomplishment of getting things orderly and
keeping them that way.
Consider it a management opportunity. For an ambitious person,
staying at home can feel like a demotion, but it doesn't have to
(feel that way). I view my job as running this household, and I
keep my lists, I make phone calls, I plan meals, I do the
shopping and all that time, I take care of my daughter. It helps
that my husband places great value on the work I do, and lets me
run with the whole ''Chief Operating Officer'' title (though I
suspect it amuses him a bit).
Plan activities for your kids. There are oodles of books about
games and crafts and activities you can do with the kids, and
having a few things planned each week may be fun for all of you
(well, both of you until your 8 month old is a little bigger).
Cultivate hobbies and interests. When I have time, I am learning
to sew, doing a little decorating, trying out new recipes. I'd
like to sit down at the piano a little more, read a few more
books, learn to garden. With one child, some of these things are
possible; when my second arrives, I expect the time will
diminish, but just knowing that my life extends beyond cleaning
and changing diapers gives me a sense of dimension, like I'm
still here under this 'Mom' title.
Keep the big picture in mind. Early on, I kept thinking about
how long it would be until I could go back to work, but as time
has passed, I think more about the kind of home I am trying to
provide for my family. I want our home to be a safe place for us
to return to when the world outside our door is cruel; I want it
to be a place where our kids and their friends gather and spend
time; I want to create serenity for my family because things are
orderly, saving weekend time for more fun stuff.
I can't imagine how hurried our life would feel if I was working,
and I'm grateful that my husband's income allows me to stay home.
Hopefully, when it all nets out, the financial hit will not be
as bad as you expect. As a homemaker, I think I can feel brain
cells dying sometimes, but then I also notice that my mind is
growing in completely new directions, too. I do laugh at this
''new me'' - I never, in a million years, expected to be happy
being ''Holly Homemaker'', but at some point, I realized that the
ultimate irony would be to sacrifice my career to stay home with
my child(ren) and then miss their childhood because I was so
wrapped up in a ''Am I happy or am I not?'' quandry. I may go back
to school someday or back to work, but it seems sort of distant
and irrelevant right now, since I don't know who I'll be when
that time comes, and what I might want to do.
Hope that helps!
I am currently a SAHM, but have been a working mother both part-time
and almost full-time (4 long days). My experience was that part-time
the best arrangement in terms of balance between true quality time with
my kids (now 4 and 1) and the need for fulfillment outside the role of
mom. If there is any way you can find another part-time arrangement, I
would suggest that. Otherwise, here are my thoughts:
I love my kids dearly, but I have to admit to fairly frequent bouts
boredom. I would suggest if you do stay home, to find some kind of
activity (volunteering, book clubs,etc.) that you can do to keep that
of your brain that doesn't think ''diapers, naps, Goodnight Moon...''
functioning. I have found that just doing playdates/moms groups, while
fun and good for the kids, does put you in the position to be talking
about your kids all the time. I am the first to go on and on about my
adorable prodigies, but it doesn't always satisfy my need for ''adult
conversation'' during the day.
In my observation of the SAHM's I know, the happiest/most content
appear to be the ones that have sufficient means to do lots of
with their kids (classes, etc.) and/or hire a sitter regularly for a
Since we are on one income and it is a stretch, there isn't room for me
hire a sitter for my baby so I can have my own time. My solution has
been to do a childcare swap with another SAHM. You can use the
Childcare Digest for this. Just remember this means for every break you
get, you also have a time with two babies.
Also, I think I have mastered the free and cheap things to do in the
Bay to keep things interesting for the kids. If you haven't already,
Oakland Zoo and one of the science centers (Cal Academy, Zeum,
Chabot, LHS) and you will have reciprocal discounts at all of the other
zoos and science centers in the area. Add to that plagrounds, parks,
free beach areas and you will have enough variety for yourself and your
As far as schlepping the kids around, this does happen, but what I do
try to make one day each week the schlep day. My older daughter
knows the drill so its just part of her routine, too. Every Wednesday,
grocery shop, stop at Longs, whatever, and sometimes I reward her for
being a good helper for the day (her favorite dinner that evening or a
short video). If you can get most of the week's errands done in one
you can focus more on the fun outings for the rest of the week. It also
means that there is hopefully less busy stuff to do on the weekends and
you can spend time with your husband doing family things.
First, you'll be surprised how much less you spend when you stay
at home and you don't really need to do without, just
differently. Some of this may seem blindingly obvious, but here
are a few things:
- Public school for the 5-year-old. Most of them are a lot
better than you might think. Don't spend scarce money on
private school. Also, many schools have good afterschool
activities for a nominal cost. Don't feel guilty about using
these because having two kids at home is HARD.
- Look into co-op daycare or preschool for the little one. You
do need SOME time without a child for difficult errands or time
for yourself. Co-op can mean trading off with a friend. If you
don't know anyone yet, go to your local parks and playgroups.
You'll soon meet wonderful people. These relationships are good
support and will keep you from going crazy.
- There have been many good money saving tips published in
these newsletters. Mostly they involve shopping at certain
stores and cooking everything for yourself. I hope some of the
threads have been archived, but to summarize: Eating out (as
well as take-out) is by far the biggest money burner I can think
of. Trading off dinner with friends (preferably ones who can
cook!) gives you a respite from the kitchen and entertainment
for free. Now that you don't work, you can go to Trader Joe's,
Costco and Monterey Market in the morning before things get
crazy, and I find these to be fun trips for the little one
(though not always for the 5-year-old). Rent movies, listen to
the radio (rather than buying CDs), watch the ballgame on TV,
use the public library.
- Before you quit, get a line of credit on your house (if you
have a house and enough equity). It'll be easier while you have
a job and it will be your back-up.
When I quit working, we cut our income by 60%! Yeah that's
right, I was the big earner, but it's the best thing we've ever
done. Our lives are much better and I'm perfectly happy being a
mom and a housekeeper. It's been 4 years and we're doing pretty
well. we occasionally have to dig into our equity line for a
big ticket item, but the house is going up in value so I think
Glad I did it - you can too!
I am looking for some advice from other working mothers out
there who although may be satisified with their work, might at
times feel resentment towards their husbands or their situation
due to the fact that they ''have to'' work due to the fact that
their husbands do not make enough for the whole family to live
off one income.(oh yeah, we live in the bay area)
Since I returned to work (when my son was 4 months old, he is
now 2) I always felt working part time with one child was
managable and I have felt so lucky to have the best of both
worlds- a career and being available to my son. At times the
balance is really tough because I work in the city and work a 10
hour day with an additional time for the commute and I have
moments when I really miss my son and feel like I need to stay
home with him. I always figured I would eventually take time off
when I had a second child as our quality of life with two
parents working would definately suffer. Not to mention, I have
been feeling as though it was time for a career change and i
would welcome the time off while I searched for a new job when
my kids went to school.
My husband and I have talked about wanting a second child and
also buying a home (should we stay here) but to afford a home I
would have to work and to afford quality child care as we have
provided for our first born, we would need my income again- I
may even have to go back full time since child care for two
children would be very costly.
I know everyone has a choice in life and plenty of people try to
live off of one income but we do live in the bay area we have
run the numbers and we cannot do it unless we were to rent a one-
bedroom apartment! We do not live extravagent lives but we are
also realistic of how much we can live off of- and my husband's
income is just not enough.
I can't help but feel recentment towards my husband for not
earning more to give us more flexibilty. Before I had children I
thought I could handle both a career and children but I am
finding it more and more difficult and the thought have having
two children and a full time job makes me so depressed- for
several reasons- the first not being able to raise my children
and the everyday chaos associated with two working parents- I
just feel like everyone will suffer.... in the end the kids will
be alright but it is me and my marraige I worry about!
I know this is the bay area and a majority of families are two
income. How do you handle the day to day? For those who may have
had some recentment towards your partners for not making enough-
how do you make peace with this?? Did any of you make career
moves that would allow for a more flexibility with your family?
I would like to encourage my husband to think about other
positions (in his field) that may allow him a higher earning
potential but part of me says I just have to own up to reality
and cope!! I never wanted to feel locked into a job for money
but that is how I feel and what's worse is that I feel it is at
the expense of my children.
Any advice out there???
Resentful Working Mom
Wow, you've got a lot going on in your posting. It sounds like you have
more than just a concern about your husband's income (and you
brought up some good points about living in the bay area that another
poster mentioned as well.)
My experience is similar to yours where I was totally a career person
before kids and thought I would be able to keep my job momentum and
have a baby, too. It turns out, that I went to 4 days after my first baby was
born and now, with baby #2, I am basically a SAHM (some freelance at
home). I went through lots of opinions and emotions about my
husband's income and wanting him to earn more (which is ironic since I
used to be so proud of being the higher-earner previously). It is such the
double-edged sword of marriage in today's society/economy--we want
women to earn as much as men, but we also want men to earn enough
that we women can live with just their income. Tough to do in the bay
If I were you, I would have a full discussion with your husband and tell
him how you are feeling. Clearly you have some resentment, but you
also sound just stressed and tired. Do you need more time to yourself?
Alone with your husband? Sleep? You should also to talk about what
both of your priorities are. Is the bay area TOO expensive for you, based
on these priorities? Are you able to do the career change you talked
about? When would you want a second child?
I never thought we could do it, but we are managing to get by on just
one income for now. We live very economically (luckily we bought our
house before we had kids). We talk about our budget a lot. I know my
husband works really hard, so I try not to focus on his income.
Good luck and hang in there!
I am sympathetic to your wish for more income, because I think
that it is really really expensive to live in the Bay Area
comfortably, especially with two children. But why a priori is
it your husband's job to earn such a high income? Different
families have to come up with a balance of work and family that
works for them. When my husband lost his job, when the company he
worked for went bankrupt, he was able to find some work part
time. I felt very lucky to be able to move from part time work to
full time work, and help our family stay in our home, and pay our
outrageous mortgage. Being the bread-winner for our family was a
worthwhile experience, for giving me sympathy for the pressures
on my husband. Trading places was also good because it helped my
husband understand the pressures on me to work part time, do the
errands and cooking, and take care of our two kids after school.
It is a real balancing act in the Bay Area. I tend to be
resentful that things are so expensive here, but I don't consider
that my husband's fault. We work together as a team to try to
cope, and stay here because of all the friends, family, school,
church, and people dear to us here.
I would strongly encourage you to consider moving away from the
Bay Area if you want to be a Stay at Home mother. We can't
necessarily have it all--we have to pick and choose whether the
advantages of living in the Bay Area outweigh the disadvantages
of having both parents work, having children in childcare, having
a small house with a big mortgage and never enough money to do
all the things we wish we could do.
I sympathize very much with your desire to stay home with your childen
and children. Life is short and kids are only with us for a short time--we
ought to be with them as much as possible. Of course they benefit from
that too. As I look back, I dearly wish I had spent more time with my
children and less with my job. I can't believe I cut short breastfeeding to
go back to work! However, I do not know how a young family makes it in
the Bay Area. Without knowing too much about your situation, you might
consider looking at other places to live, if your husband's career has
As to the resentment, don't blame your husband for a mistake you made.
In other words, you presumably knew a lot about his potential career
and income when you married him, or else did not pay attention to it.
You said yourself you assumed it would not be a problem. That is not
his fault. Again, without knowing more about the situation, you chose
your current situtation, he did not trick you in any way. So you have no
right to be resentful and you need to work together on how to find a
solution to your current dilemma.
If you're interested in having a full-time stay-at-home parent,
then there's another option that you didn't mention: you find
the higher-paid job, and your husband becomes the full-time stay-
at-home parent. It might not be the right solution for you, but
then again . . . .
A stay-at-home dad
I don't know if this is ''advice'' so much as an understanding of
how you feel. We have a 4-month old son and I too have felt the
resentment of having to return to work.
I grew up with the notion that I would go to college, get a
great job, work my tail off and fall madly in love with a man,
get married and raise my kids at home. Lo and behold, I just
went back to work last week.
My hubby and I crunched the numbers and for me to stay home
that would mean selling our house. We just bought it last year.
So, I know how you feel. The bay area is a major let down when
it comes to home buying. My husband and I make pretty decent
money but it still doesn't seem to be enough for the bay area.
We moved into suburbia.
Keep your head up. Do what is best for you and your family.
Back to work but would rather be with my son
I really have to disagree with your resentment. As a mom, I
earn 60% of our income, pay for the mortgage, and most of the
bills. I have no expectation that my husband owes me a certain
income. It is easier for me to command a higher salary because
of too many years in school, but when we married, I married him
because I loved him, and because he loved me and has supported
me in all aspects that matter. My husband works very hard at
what he does best. It isn't a great salary, certainly not one
that could make it alone in the Bay Area. In that sense, I
consider myself lucky but I also had to sacrafice to get where I
am at right now. No spouse owes you a certain salary. If he is
working at a stable job, and not lazy about it and enjoys it, it
would be wrong of you to ask for more than what you
have...unless you don't have healthcare, not enough food on your
table, or clothes on your back. What he does owe you is his
emotional, spiritual and physical support. I do expect my
husband to do his chores, to kiss me everyday, to tell me I am
wonderful, & to support me when things go crazy. Having a nice
house isn't all that. Our parents got by with much less. There
are plenty of moms out there with nice homes and husbands that
are less than what they want. If salary is your only complaint,
it should be a small one.
I can't relate to your situation exactly. I am not always
pleased with my husband's income but that is a little different -
I am the breadwinner in the family (& the mom.) My on-and-off
unhappiness, which seems to fluctuate with my stress level at
work, stems from the pressure of being the source of income my
family most depends on, and the knowlege that if anything were
to happen to my job, we might be forced to leave the bay area
and the home we love. I don't resent my husband really, but do
often wish things were somehow magically different and there
just wasn't so dang much pressure. When I feel this pressure and
stress, I have to remind myself that my husband didn't cause it.
It's just grown up life.
Now, from a breadwinner perspective, I can't imagine coming home
to someone who resented me for not earning more, when I am
working my butt off every day to provide. I assume you knew your
husband's earning power when you married him - I did and I have
to remind myself of this - and you knew that the bay area was an
expensive place to live. Your resentment of your husband
actually sounds like a childish perspective, as if you expected
him to provide for you as your parents did - hence the
term ''sugar daddy.'' If you approached this more from a
partnership perspective - how can WE change this situation to
make BOTH of us happier - I think you would get more cooperation
from your husband.
In the current job market, which seems to be improving but not
all that quickly, I'm not sure it's as easy as compelling your
husband to find a higher-paying job in his field. Indeed, you
may consider yourselves fortunate that neither of you is facing
My advice would be to shift your focus: rather than resent your husband (since
resentment isn't likely to contribute positively to your marriage), take a look at
what's really the problem: we live in a society that requires money to survive,
and quite a lot of it to survive here. We have an economic system that is not
really equitable, that promotes nuclear families as the ideal to strive for. I think
about how much more people would have and accomplish if they pooled their
resources. How much easier it is to raise kids with *several* adults
contributing, rather than just two. This economy (and accompanying ''family
values'' of which the nuclear family is one) is not good for children or families,
(in my humble opinion) when everybody has to work so much that the kids get
no time with their parents. Maybe you can find alternatives to just making
more money? My husband and I are discussing with another couple the
possibilty of allying on things like home-buying and child-rearing, figuring it's
much easier for four adults than for two! Maybe there is an alternative out
there that would work for you?
It might help to get a little historical perspective here.
There was a time when earning the family income was entirely
the male partner's responsibility. Many men refused to let
their wives take on outside employment because their manhood
would be in question. Now many dual career couples have chosen
to live/remain in the bay area. How many people can earn a
salary that makes possible a 3+ bedroom home near good
transportation and schools all by themselves? Don't assume that
the stay at home moms you see at the park all have incredibly
high earning husbands. People I know who do this are making
huge sacrifices to stay at home, cutting way down on family
spending vacations etc.Or they rent instead of own. Of course
we also live amidst plenty of wealth. But there will always be
people wealthier than you with nicer houses and fewer jobs per
couple. Whether we choose mates who are teachers or social
workers or computer programmers or real estate developers I
think we have to support each other in the journey between
satisfaction and fulfillment and settling. Maybe the full-time
creative genius has to realize that to support a family he or
she has to find a well-paying day job, but if someone is
already doing the 9-5 slog at some occupation they love or are
settled enough in,it's not really fair to ask them to go for
earning more so the other partner can realize their dream of
job change or stay-at-homing. But if the COUPLE decides on some
belt tightening and temporary job reduction for the family and
a job change comes out of that, that's another story. I've seen
marriages crumble when some women who've always dreamed of
a 'big spender' meet one; I always wonder if they've traded in
a life for a life style. But I think it is historically and
geographically anachronistic to resent one's spouse for having
to work in the Bay Area. I'd like to win the lottery, too. In
the meantime couples will have to decide together if a second
child really requires a bigger house, if the commute/childcare
expenses and family sacrifices make a secondary income worth it
or not; even whether a second child is the right choice for
their material goals. I sometimes think if I were a man I'd
resent all the pressure to provide. Until our society truly
becomes family friendly, it's couples as individuals who will
bear the costs of the demands of the workplace on both one and
two job couples. Hazy stereotypes from the past aren't
particularly helpful in this.
my two cents
Hi, I understand how you feel completely and know it's very
hard to go to work when all you think about is your
child/children. While I did not have the resentment toward my
husband, I did resent my full time job when I went back to work
after having my first child. Eventually, after becoming
pregnant with my second child, I made a career change. I
studied for my real estate license while I was still working
full time and passed it. I chose to become a loan officer
since it affords me the flexible hours and I could make good
money after the first several months. I am not sure if you
have considered other career options, but an office job with
long commute just doesn't make any sense after having two kids
for me. Real estate is a good option, but I know there are
others also. If you have to work, you may want to consider it
as an option. I've been very happy with my career change so
Bread winning mom
Well, to be honest I think that resenting your husband is a
pretty sexist attitude! I've had my moments of resenting our
situation, and envying my friends who live in lower-cost areas
for their ability to pay a mortgage and live comfortably on one
income (and I am certainly experiencing my fair share of dread
about paying for childcare for two kids, as well as about how
much more cramped our home is likely to feel with two -- my
second is due this summer), but I've never felt that somehow
it's my husband's responsibility to enable me to stay home. Our
marriage is a partnership, we are each equally responsible for
financially supporting our family, and we are each equally
responsible for our mutual decision to remain in the Bay Area!
We have plenty of friends who've made a different choice and
moved, mostly, it seems, to Oregon. :-)
Perhaps this viewpoint is more obvious to me because, before we
had a child, it was always my husband, not me, who thought it
would be nice to be an at-home parent. Now that I've had a baby
I understand the attraction more, to be sure, but although I'd
love to work part-time I can't imagine doing the full-time mom
gig. But then, I've never been interested in the type of Major
Career that requires long hours and lots of dedication and
allows no opportunity for a full personal and social life,
either. Neither has my husband. So, we both have a sufficient
but not large income, and we both have sufficient flexibility to
take the odd day off for a preschool function but not enough to
just quit working for a long period of time. Life is a series
of choices and no choice is perfect! I think you make peace
with your own choices simply by recognizing that you *do* have a
choice and have made the best possible one for your family.
So you and your husband may have some choices to make. A job
change for him, which might involve more money but less family
time? Stay in the Bay Area, with all its advantages, or a move
to a cheaper area? A second child, or stop at one? What about
a job change for you? These are all things you can discuss and
ponder, but ultimately you and your husband have to take
responsibility for these choices and deal with the attendant
compromises *together*; to me, that's what marriage is all about.
Wasn't expecting a white knight
I can appreciate your frustration. My husband left a good paying
job to attend graduate school, and I started to really feel some
financial pressures. I had been a ''stay at home mom'', and really
wanted to continue that focus in my life.
Thanks to a post from another member, I learned about the job
that I currently have. It is not one that I EVER considered
doing, but allows me to be a mom full time, and earn a pretty
good income at the same time. I only leave the house a few times
a month for business...
If you don't feel comfortable asking your husband to leave a job
that he enjoys, maybe you might consider doing something that
would be more flexible and allow you more time with your child.
Because we are not supposed to advertise our individual
businesses on this forum, I will be fairly vague. But I will say
that I work in the Direct Sales industry (I would have gasped to
hear myself say that only a year ago!) and really love it. I
really love the freedom to run my business as I wish and also
love the fact that there is unlimited potential and loads of
positive reinforcement. I recently went to a conference and was
surprised to find corporate people who had quit their 6 figure
salaries to do what I am doing. They wanted to focus on their
kids, and their former jobs did not allow this. They are now
happy to be with their families, but still bring in good income.
There are different types of Direct sales companies, so there is
probably one that could suit your interests:
toys, candles, cooking tools, scrapbooking, home decor, etc...
If you'd like to discuss this avenue further, I'd be happy to
share more details about what I am doing. I also know several
people in other branches of this type of business and would be
happy to put you in contact with them.
Happy mom...who loves her flexible work schedule
When I read your post, my first thought was, ''did I write this
while I was sleepwalking?'' I have felt the very same feelings
you have. When we first bought our house, it was before I got
pregnant, and I was very insistent that we purchase something
that we could afford on my husband's income alone so that I
could stay home with our child when we had one. Well, we ended
up buying something that was just above our price range which
was fine at the time when the economy was high. But since the
economy has tanked, so has my husband's earning potential. This
meant I had to go back to work when my son was 14 months old. I
tell myself, I should be greatful that I had that amount of time
at home with him, but I still feel resentful. We also
accumulated a lot of debt on our credit line before I started
working, because my husband did not tell me that we weren't
making enough to pay the bills until we were in over our heads.
He just kept thinking, ''when the next client comes along, I'll
be able to take care of it.'' I guess I'm not offering much
help, just doing a rant of my own. I do have one suggestion.
We attempted this, but for numerous reasons, which I won't go
into, it did not work out for us. My suggestion is to move
somewhere where the cost of living is much lower. There are
loads of places where you can buy the house of your dreams and
be able to stay home with your kid(s). It all depends on how
much you are willing to comprimise as far as weather, location,
etc. We had planned to move to Sacramento, and, even with our
high credit line, would have been able to get by with a very
small mortgage. Other than doing something drastic like this,
the only thing I can suggest is just doing your best to make the
most of it. For me, it has gotten a bit better (although, you
can tell that I am still a bit bitter about it). I think I have
resigned myself to knowing that things could definitely be worse
and that I do love my husband and my son with all my heart and I
treasure (as much as I can for an exhausted working mom) the
times we spend together. Best of luck to you!
sorry I couldn't be of more help!
My first thought when I read your posting was whether you and
your husband had discussed the idea of your living on one
income, as a prerequisite to having kids. Otherwise, I don't
think these days you can or should assume that having kids
means the man needs to become the sole breadwinner in the
family. Even in places where the cost of living is lower than
it is here in the Bay Area, I would hope that this is something
that couples work out, based on the career and family desires
they both have. My husband and I have two kids. I've always
made somewhat more money than he does, mostly because the kind
of work I do pays better. There have been times (like right
now) when I've worked a bit more than I'd really like to,
because he didn't have much work and wasn't bringing in much
money. But, the same has been true in reverse. I was out of
work for 5 months a couple of years ago, and we had to survive
on his income. Whoever is working less has more
responsiblities with our kids, and I think that has been
healthy for them, and for us. If your husband is happy with
the work he does, you probably wouldn't want him to make a
career change that would make him unhappy. That would only
make him the resentful one. I would recommend sitting down
with your husband, if you haven't already, and discussing
what's most important to each of you. If you would really like
to stop working, and he would like to keep doing what he's
doing, and you both respect each other's goals (that can be the
hard part!) but you both agree that financially it's not
possible to have it all, then you have someplace to start from.
Hi- I know how you feel. My son is 15 months old and up until he
ws 10 months old, hubby was sole income for us... it was
difficult to manage, but we cut back in other ways and also go
on WIC program and that helped a little. At 10 mo my hubby lost
his job and I am sole income for moment (I am a doula and soon
to be a CBE) and I bring in a little money, but obviously not
enough for rent and everything else. Luckily things have been
good lately with clients and all, but its stressful when he's
not working. We've made it work and its really about staying
positive about what you DO have, not what you DONT. I know its
easy to be resentful about it all, but trust that things get
better and maybe you could find a way to have a part time job
with a little more income? Or he could look for a diff. job or
possibly go back to school nights to get a better job. It is
very difficult to live on a smaller income than you think you
should have, but its doable and you just have to find the right
ways to cut back.... email me off list if you want to talk.
I didn't read the original post, but after reading the
responses I can say from my experience that it is a double edge
sword. My husband left a non-profit job close to home for a
higher paying job in the SF. This job allowed us to buy our
house and for me to be a SAHM (granted with some budget
cutting). However, he leaves the house at 6:30am, deals with 45
minutes of traffic each way and many evenings doesn't get home
until long after the baby is in bed. He is stressed and unhappy
with his job. It is very painful for me to see him so unhappy
at times. It is painful for both of us that he doesn't get to
see his son every day, nor enjoy the hobbies he used to have
time to do. In a fair world parents could take turns being
the stay-at-home parent. It's not fair for you to resent your
husband's income -- who knows, maybe he resents you for being
the one that gets to stay home.
I think you need to change your attitude and get creative with
other ways to bring in income or adjust your life styles to
make staying at home a more affordable option. We looked at our
budget and saw that just having my husband take a lunch to work
several times a week instead of eating out added up to a lot of
money. We check books out of the library instead of just buying
them. We make coffee at home more often instead of going to
Wow -- I feel some of last week's posters were a little hard on you. I
sympathize greatly because my partner's been unemployed for almost 2 years
now. I also have resentment because we did have a tacit understanding that I
would leave my career after we had a child. Well, our baby is 6 months old and
I'm back at work. It's very very hard when your plans for life don't turn out how
you expect them to.
Someone once gave me this advice -- You can't change someone's behavior,
only how you react to it.
So rather than let the resentment eat away at me and our relationship (he is a
loving caring man, just a software engineer who got caught in the dot com
craziness), I decided to do something. I told my partner that I have to leave my
job because it makes me unhappy. So we are saving money, cutting our costs,
and I plan to leave this year. And he continues to look for a job.
We will most certainly go into debt but being unhappy in my job was a big part
of my resentment towards my husband and my desire to stay at home. I plan
on finding another career that allows me to work at home. I may be naive, but
I'm putting my faith in the universe that we will be okay.
Look at what you really resent -- is it your job? is it your husband's lack of
understanding of your desire to stay at home? or?
Then, you and only you can do something to change your life.
I understand how you feel. Raising a family here is
challenging. I was born and raised in the Bay Area and all of
my family is here. Moving is not an option for us. My
husband's income is very sporadic and we can't rely on his jobs
to pay our expenses. So working is a necessity for me. Here
is what we have done to make it work.
I work from home. My job pays a high hourly rate. We use a
health plan with a high deductible. We live aggressively on
the edge of financial ruin. We recently bought a home in a
nice but not fancy area. Our mortgage is interest only
adjustable for minimum monthly payments. We do not own new or
even newer cars. We rarely eat out and we don't shop much. We
may not have a second child due to financial constraints.
But life is good!! We get to spend lots of time with our
daughter because we both have flexible schedules. We take it
one day at a time and focus on her. If my husband worked a
straight 9-5 job he would be a very unhappy busy person who we
would not see very often. I much prefer worrying about how we
will pay our monthly bills than about how I can improve my
daughter's realtionship with her Dad.
You have to take responsibility for the situation you are in.
Be creative and find the compromise that works for your
family. Your husband probably won't make more money anytime
soon so figure out a way around that. I get upset sometimes
too about my husband's income but the alternative of him
working all the time would be so much worse.
Living on the Edge and Loving It
this page was last updated: Mar 12, 2011
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network