Why I’m A Stay At Home Parent…..

Deciding to be a stay at home parent was very nerve-wracking process for my husband I but happy we took steps to understand it. Don’t for a second think that you are alone when trying to figure out if being a single-income family is right for you. There is no definite right or wrong answer but a couple of things you need to consider.

Lifestyle Choice

Having a parent stay home full-time with the new little bundle(s) of joy is a lifestyle choice, some parents are quite happy putting their kids in daycare/in the care of family for work hours as soon as their parental leave is expired and that’s fine. Initially when I found out I was pregnant the first idea that we agreed on was that we wanted me to be a stay at home mom until our little guy was old enough to be in school part-time.  And after throwing around various numbers, costs and logistics of getting to and from work/daycare, we discovered that financially it would work for us.

Money, money and more money!

Most of us are really not aware of how much money it actually costs to go out and make money. First, let’s think about Commuting. You will be faced with the costs of maintaining a second vehicle (repair/insurance & possibly a monthly car payment). You also need to make sure there is gas in the vehicle(s) to get you from point A to point B….and we all know how cheap gas is today *eye roll*. Maybe you would rely on public transit like myself since we are a 1 vehicle household. In either case both time commuting and costs need to be considered.

My Personal Example: Should I be a Stay at Home Mother?

So lets use my situation to see example numbers : 1 x 1 month transit pass = $160 for me and its free for Peanut since he is under 5 years old.

Getting him to and from daycare would add anywhere from 1-2 hours a day to the already 1-2 hours commuting to and from work. We’ll be optimistic for my situation and say: work + commuting = 11 hours per day.

Obviously if you are going the route of the 2nd vehicle your monthly cost would be higher than that and the time getting to and from work would obviously vary.

Keeper of the Children- Day Care!

Next is daycare, which is not cheap at all unless you have very generous family members. Many daycare centers don’t tend to state their prices online, probably because there are many deciding factors that go into their rates. The standard prices I have come across for my area is around $25 for a half day and $35 for a full day for my toddler.

So cost for a month we are looking at: 20 days x $35 = $700

Mama doesn’t fit in her pre-baby dress pants no mo’-Clothing Costs

When at work do you need a uniform? Or maybe if you are in an office there is some form of dress code to be followed? Maintaining a wardrobe of some variety is not necessarily a monthly cost but it would still be present. Or maybe, if you are like me, after a 10-12 hour day of working and commuting you may not feel like making a home cooked meal so the odd take out lunch/dinner might sneak in.

All these little odds and ends can add up quickly. So again, let’s be optimistic for me and say that I have $100 a month go towards 1x “I’m too tired to cook” takeout meal for the family, a 1x “I really should try to be involved at work” donation to a birthday/retirement/etc or maybe a “oh no I missed the bus,the day care is going to charge me a late fee for not getting there on time” sort of thing.

Now all these numbers were applied to my own net income. In my case, my  job was paying me just above minimum wage here in Ontario which meant I brought home about $1400 a month net.
$1400 – $160 in transportation – $700 for daycare – $100 for incidental expenses = $440 free and clear and 220 hours a month spent getting it. Yup, you are reading that right…$2 an hour.

For some people $400 would make or break a living situation so they have no choice but to suck it up and do it. In our household we knew that with my husbands net income and some strategic belt-tightening that I’d be able to stay at home and care for our little guy as we had hoped.

Ways we Cut Expenses so I could be a Stay at Home Mom

  • We cut cable tv out of the picture
  • I use coupons to stockpile every day items that we use
  • Created a budget
  • Lived with-in our means
  • Planned our meals
  • We use fans instead of A/C on the tolerable-ish days.
  • I can count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve run the dryer in this house since we moved here in February to help keep bills down.

Also with my time spent at home I’ve started getting into the DIY/Frugal state of mind. I’ve learned to make my own household cleaners & laundry soap. I’ve also learned how to make fresh homemade bread. Our little guy gets many of his clothes at Value Village and garage sales since he will grow out of them in 2 months anyway.

All these things can add up into savings, even the small stuff. Lastly, budget, *do not* start free-styling with your monthly expenses because you can so easily have money disappear on things you can’t even recall buying.

So before you run into work waving a resignation letter, or before you sign away 8-10 hours a day of child raising to a daycare think about the outcome. Sit, write-down all the pros and cons to being a stay at home or a return to work parent before making any final decisions. Take the time to discuss what you are willing to do budget wise to make either happen.

Good luck

Guest Post By: I’m Melissa a stay at home mom who runs the blog A Rambling Stay at Home Mom. I have an 8 year old step-son, a 17 month old son and a loving husband. I spend my free time finding and writing articles to share with my fans. I also enjoy finding ways to make our own money go a little further be it by budgeting, couponing or maybe  good-ole household DIY projects.

Photo Credits: ALL Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB

Comments

  1. Mary F Campbell says:

    I applaud your decision to invest your time & energies in the raising of your child on a full time basis! It’s not easy to remove yourself from the world of adult conversation & focus on the needs of a child who can’t even communicate a thank-you to you. I was lucky enough to be raised by a stay-at-home Mom and I have forever been grateful for the benefits that I received from her. That’s not to say I didn’t do the terrible two’s, I wasn’t an obnoxious teenager and that I didn’t know better than her until my mid-twenties…every step of the way she was there as my sounding board & offering unconditional support even as I dished up “attitude”. My mother taught me my values, gifted me with self-esteem and courage & all the tools I have needed to try to be as good a woman as she was. God bless you for your choice!

  2. What a difficult decision to make for some. I stayed home an extra 6 weeks after my mat leave and I enjoyed every minute of it with my little guy. Unfortunately I was not financially prepared but I felt it was well worth it. I get laid off every summer, Christmas break and March break so I will enjoy those times with him :-) If I have a second child anytime soon and would require daycare for two, then I would seriously consider staying at home. It require a lot of number crunching and sacrifice I think :-) Good for you for making that decision and enjoy! :-)

    • Anytime soon.. oh maybe another CBB fan baby on the horizon!!! Yes number crunching would be in order and certainly worth it.

    • We are still on the fence about having a second child, but for the time being we are enjoying our days with eachother…even when he gets mad at me for not letting him water the living room with his sippy cup ;)

  3. My daughter turns 2 on Monday and my plant has announced its closing so it’s been a blessing in disguise. I plan on being a stay at home mom until the day my girl goes to school. I soooo can’t wait!

    • Sorry to hear of your job loss but at the same time you get to stay home with your daughter. what are your plans after she goes to school? Will you be doing some upgrading or simply look for another job with your skill set?

  4. Great article; you pointed out a lot of factors that you should consider when making your decision. Glad it worked out for you.

  5. Joanna Cheevers says:

    Melissa, looks like you put a lot of thought and consideration into your decision to stay home. Good for you. How I would love to be able to be a stay at home mom, but being a single parent with no child support, that just isn’t possible. I just love the time I spend with my daughter and often wonder what she is up to during the day while I am at work. I also miss out on all of the school activities (she just finished S.K.). My daughter actually got quite upset with me one morning asking me why I don’t come help in class or go on school trips like the other parents do, I actually felt so bad that I cried. Your son will remember his childhood and will cherish this time he got to spend with you as will you cherish every moment of watching him grow. Although I am sure it is tough financially at time, the time you have together with your children is much more valuable than the money you would have earned working. Thanks Melissa for sharing.

    • She may get upset now because she is just little and doesn’t understand, but she will have immense respect for you and your sacrifices when she is older :)

  6. Christine Weadick says:

    I was a stay at home mom for all three of our kids (now adult). I went back part time when the first two were babies but my husband looked after them as I worked days and he was on nights. It worked but was a pain in the backside. I left after the store I worked at was sold and the new people said that because I “wouldn’t ” work afternoons I was fired. I took them to the Labour board and won as they never actually asked me to work afternoons. I was offered my job back or severance…… I took the severance and have been home since. We got by with one vehicle as my husband has been on an afternoon shift or straight midnights most of the marriage (36 yrs) I volunteered at the school with my kids, went of school trips and such. I made most of thier clothes when they were small. I’ve watched our money for years. Now the kids are grown but the 2 boys are still living at home for different reasons. I’m OK with it. Right now my husband is off work as he isn’t well,so I do the driving to appts and such and am home with him looking after him. I look after him and the boys look after me. That’s been our life and it works for us…..

    • We were in a tight spot at first, my husband had been sick and was just returning to the work force. We ended up living with my parents for awhile but this year with alot of work and *alot* of cost-cutting we now have a little house for our family to grow in :)

  7. well I have to say at this point it is probably very close to costing me money to work !! 175.00 a week to daycare , 10 $ a week in busfare , hubby drives me one way but of course that consumes gas and when I factor in the considerable amount my child tax benefit was cut …well I might as well be working my very physical job for the benefit of my health ! ..oh and lets not forget how much I miss my kids for 8 months a year ( my job is seasonal )

  8. Paige. In Virginia. ON says:

    So wish i didn’t have as much debt as i do otherwise i so wouldn’t be going back to work.

  9. It is such a difficult decision and really all any couple can do is run the numbers (speaking of…that’s not a bad number for day care! Glad I’m a SAHM while I’m in school, but wish our numbers were that low here.) I don’t think anyone should feel guilt one way or the other. What works for one family, even if they have identical financial situations, won’t necessarily work for another.

  10. Congratulations to Joanna C you are our WINNER of the contest!!!!
    Joanna Cheevers says:
    July 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm (Edit)
    Melissa, looks like you put a lot of thought and consideration into your decision to stay home. Good for you. How I would love to be able to be a stay at home mom, but being a single parent with no child support, that just isn’t possible. I just love the time I spend with my daughter and often wonder what she is up to during the day while I am at work. I also miss out on all of the school activities (she just finished S.K.). My daughter actually got quite upset with me one morning asking me why I don’t come help in class or go on school trips like the other parents do, I actually felt so bad that I cried. Your son will remember his childhood and will cherish this time he got to spend with you as will you cherish every moment of watching him grow. Although I am sure it is tough financially at time, the time you have together with your children is much more valuable than the money you would have earned working. Thanks Melissa for sharing.

  11. Interesting post. It’s a controversial topic (god knows why, do what works, right?), but at the end of the day I think it comes down to preference. If you are in a couple (meaning single parents usually can’t stay at home) and want to stay at home with your tot, then it can usually be made to happen. If a parent doesn’t want to cut out their smart phone and transition to one care to stay home, then maybe the underlying reason is not that they can’t afford it, but that they don’t want the lifestyle.

  12. Tara Knott says:

    I think that I had avoided reading this post subconsciously, on purpose. I love my 2 boys, but I would be lying if I said that I don’t miss my old job. It was really hard for me to give it up, but after having my second son, I knew deep down, that I would not be returning. I was the store manager for a party supply store. I had an awesome staff, incredible customers and got to be creative everyday. To me, the money I made, was a bonus. I truly LOVED my work. I am an extremely blessed individual. My husband makes a really good living and I have never needed to work tohelp out. I enjoyed contributing but it reallydidn’t make a difference to our lifestyle. After my first child, I took my full mat leave, searched for he perfect daycare, went back to work, and cried. A lot. I felt guilty. I felt like i picked what i wanted. I tried to justify it…I was an emotional wreck. Then came my paycheque. After killing myself at workfor 2 weeks, then paying for daycare, I only cleared $74. I felt sick. I felt torn. My son did extremely wellat daycare, thank God, or I wouldn t have made it. It got better as I worked more, juggled family members helping with childcare, and working when my husband was home. It took a lot of help, of trial and error and of me sacrificing family time to make sure I could work, that he was well taken care of and that we did had some family time together. But, when I had my second child, i knew the extra expenses would not be worth it. So, I made the right choice for my family, which meant, I gave up something I loved, but for those I love. Anyone who has to go through that, has all my sympathy and I cannot even imagine if finances were a part of my decision. My kids are worth it…i have earned more in love, in joy, in laughter and in life than I could have ever imagined. For a while, i was lost. I felt like I had lost a part of who I was, but now,I know who I am. I am a Mom, and. I gladly stay at home. :)

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