Why I decided to be a stay-at-home mom
When I first got married. Staying at home was never an option. I felt like I worked this hard to get all these degrees why would I stay home? Then as time went on I started to think about how convenient it would be if I stayed home, and it started to appeal to me. Not having to work, being able to relax and take care of my baby, very dreamy. Of course, in real life that's not the way it really is, but a girl can dream.
However, when I actually got pregnant we had recently moved to New York, and I didn't think that staying home was going to be a feasible option. So I was planning ahead to take my daughter to daycare at 6 weeks old. This was before I held her, and kissed her. It's always harder after you hold them. And then I got hit with the even more sobering reality of daycare cost(s). It was going to cost almost $300. If I tried to put her somewhere Manhattan it could have gone anywhere from $3,000 a month and up if she was close to my husband. So we decided to create a financial snapshot for the year to see if it paid more to go to work or stay home. We included the price of driving back and forth between Jersey and New York, which included gas, car maintenence (I was driving over a 80 miles round trip each day), traffic and tolls $10 every day to cross the bridge. We also had to include things that didn't have an actual cost to them. If the baby was sick or the weather was bad. We didn't have the extra help so that meant that one of us would have to take off work.
And now we're here, two babies later, and I think it's one of the best decisions I made. First, let me say as a mother and wife and overall supporter and provider you have to do what works for you and what's best for your family. This works best for me financially, but also as I started to define my role as a parent and choose my parenting style (which I'll talk more about later).
People ask if I'm ready to go back to work, and sometimes I feel guilty for saying no. Society can make you feel like staying at home and taking care of your family is not a noble work. But it is; and if it is meaningless and it's not that hard, why do we pay people to do? Working moms feel guilty for not having the time to spend with their children, and women who stay at home feel guilty for not working and providing financial support for their family. What a crazy jacked-up mentality we place on women, it's a no-win situation.
For me deciding to stay home was more about dollars and cents. I knew and understood my skills in the market where I'm worked, and it wasn't worth working for what I was bringing home. Especially not when I considered the alternative. I'd like to think that I've done more good being home with my children, and provided them with more then I could have ever provided being at work. Unfortunately, there's no tool to really measure that. Eventually I'll go back to work, but for now I'm content where I am. And I think we need to support all moms in whatever decision they make and cut them some slack.