Staying at Home in a Two Income World

I choose to be the one that raises my daughter. Don’t get me wrong—working moms are not bad people. As I’ve said many times before, you choose what’s right for your family, I choose what’s right for mine. In this particular case, staying at home with my Peanut is what’s right for me. I’m all for working outside of the home and plan on doing it one day when she doesn’t need me so much. My problem is the fact that I’m practically forced into working just to survive.

My husband and I are looking into buying a house. We’ve been living in my in-law’s basement for over a year and a half now and while I really struck it rich when it comes to the in-law lottery, you can only live with people for so long before things start to go downhill. We need our own place and I think that’s a reasonable thing to ask.

Originally we were planning on renting, but a local money fair turned us to the idea that it may be better to buy a home even if we only live in it five or so years before selling it. There are tax benefits and of course the equity and honestly the idea of calling something so immense ours really strikes my fancy. So we dived in and started the house search.

We searched much lower than what we were approved for (well actually, what my husband was approved for because the bank man decided that there wasn’t a benefit of putting a non-working spouse on the application… grumble grumble) and we put an offer on a house yesterday. Only after we did the offer did we actually sit down and work out our new budget with the house payment and utilities in there.

Oh my.

As a pretense, my psychologist said that what we went through was a pretty common thing called “sticker shock” where you say “ZOMG I’m buying a house I can’t do this!!!” Now we’re thinking that we can probably figure things out, but it’ll be tough for a while.

Anywho, we did our budget and were actually in the deficit with buying a house and barely making ends meat if we rented instead. Of course we’re paying a lot less for living space at the moment, but really that much less? How does this work out? How can we afford a house? Do I have to get a job? I don’t want to be away from my Peanut!

Of course we’re budgeting as much as we can and we’re going to be spending less on things like going out to eat, but really I think we’ll pull through this. I’ll continue to go to school (which is already too much time away from Peanut IMO) and I don’t think I’ll have to get a job. We’ll have to decrease our food bills, but I won’t do it by buying crappy, unhealthy food. I’ll buy things in bulk and make things from whole foods which I’ve already been doing. We’ll figure this out, but why do we have to fight so hard just because I want to be the one to raise our children?

I’m all for feminism, but it’s backfired for the women who don’t want to work outside of the home. Since all the women went out the work, prices of things inflated accordingly and now it’s impossible to survive on one income. How is this fair? Why do I get punished because I want to be there for my Peanut’s milestones? Why do I get punished for being the one to teach my daughter the ways of life rather than some stranger?

Simple answer: life isn’t fair.

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19 thoughts on “Staying at Home in a Two Income World

  1. It is interesting how we seem to all need two-income families, but if you don’t have free childcare from family or friends, you have to have a really pretty good paying job to pay for much more than childcare for only one kid!

  2. I know how you feel. I’ve recently taken the plunge into SAHMhood after working part-time the first 8 months of my son’s life. It is hard financially, but so worth it.

  3. OH, I am with you sister!

    DH and I have and still are in outs with me staying home with DD. I do daycare, but I will not do more then I can chew and that is more than 3 children above my own. DH wants me to have more children…

    We get into fights all the time about my staying at home, and when I point out that I will be lucky to bring home (after Daycare, Travel, Food, Clothes), $200 Canadian a MONTH! I am pretty much paying to work and be away from DD.

    He says single parents do it all the time, they have to work out of the home to provide for their families. He asks me why I can’t do the same. I am still trying to figure out how he connected me staying home and single parent families. Considering it’s totally different…

    Ok my vent is over. Sry 🙂

  4. Me and my Hubby have been struggling for the same. Things are bit different in Australia, but everything is still based around two incomes. House prices are two income prices. Theres a cry for mothers to stay home and raise their kids, but everything is priced otherwise.
    Mastering a budget is something me and my husband have done. It does get easier.
    But the cost of childcare for two would probably not equal the wage of me working.

  5. I hear you Claire! I struggle with the financial means to support my family while trying my hardest to stay home with my little guy. It has been a fight owning a home, affording all of our expenses, and having me stay home full-time but somehow it all works. If you need any tips about saving money I’ve got plenty of resources!

  6. Hang in there, lady.

    If you have to work, I can tell you, it was not as bad as I thought. Liking the job helps. Also, starting when the kid is older (for us it was 9 mo) makes you feel less like you are missing milestones, I think. I used to say things like, “I don’t want strangers raising my baby” while I wept about having to go back to work. However, I chose what I consider to be the best daycare in the area so I’d feel OK about leaving him. The 2-3 women who care for my Q treat him as lovingly as I do (complete with hugs and kisses). They’re not strangers any more. I don’t feel like I miss milestones. I’m away from him 7-330 and as a teacher I get tons of time off. It’s working out well so please don’t feel like being a WOHM is the worst thing ever… but if YOU don’t want to do it, that’s OK, and you should do what you can to avoid it! I understand that the choice that works for one mom doesn’t work for another. I hope you can make being a SAHM work.

    I guess I just wanted to say, if you have a good caregiver arrangement, you don’t have to feel like strangers are raising your baby. It’s never easy to leave them, and the initial transition was tough, but now my baby has 3 other people who show him affection, and show him how to play, and show him that the world is a great place.

    I remind myself daily that I am working so my baby can have financial stability, and to keep my fabulous job in case God forbid something ever happens to my husband, or he loses his job. I also remind myself that I’m working to fill the bank account so I can have a long maternity leave with other babies I hope to have. Those are the reasons I feel OK (not great) leaving him.

    I’m not saying you should feel the same way, I just wanted to let you know that even for someone like me who would prefer to be a SAHM, being a WOHM can turn out ok.

    • The same is true for us. My husband and I both work, and our son is cared for by a wonderful friend. No strangers at all! It’s working out really well for us. We both love our jobs, and Owen is happy as a clam at with his babysitter. And maybe in a few years we’ll be able to afford a tiny little house in a city where housing prices start at $400,000 for a small three bed bungalow! It also helps that we get government subsidized mat leave for a year here, and I was able to stay off oven longer, so didn’t have to go back to my job until Owen was 15 mos. If we were talking about my going back within his first year, it would have been a whole different story!

      • I go to school part-time and have been lucky enough to have my father-in-law watch Peanut when I go in the day and my husband watch her when I go in the evening. I think it makes a big difference when it’s someone you know watching them. It makes me feel much more comfortable leaving her with them.

  7. Really you just do what you can. At the end of the day, YOU being home with your child is the best thing for them.

    Having your OWN home is worth it, even if it’s a weekly balance act to pay the bills/groceries/etc.

  8. I guess will be the devil’s advocate (not on the SAHM front, but rather on the home-ownership one). Owning always seems to end up being way more expensive than you plan for it to be. I think renting (at least at first) would be much less stressful for you. Just some unsolicited advice. 😉

  9. I totally know where you are coming from. My fiance and I rent from my parents. They don’t live with us and just own this house as an investment property. We do want to own our own home as well. We started calculating housing costs: taxes, utilities, HOA’s, etc and were dumbfounded. How do people afford it? I think it’s nearly impossible in California or other bigger metropolitan areas without 2 incomes.

    I’m in school now as well. I think putting off buying a home to experience the first years of your child’s life is really important. Going to school, working, and balancing family time is going to be really tough. Can you rent somewhere cheaply until you finish school? This way you will feel more fulfilled by a job you truly love instead of working for something you want at the moment.

    • We actually decided to buy the house after our loan officer did the math for us and we found out that with tax breaks it ends up costing 150 less a month than it looks like. I’m not sure if that made any sense. You should go talk to someone and have them do the numbers for your situation. I was surprised.

  10. Amen. We are in a unique situation right now that is a big factor in our ability to survive on one income – but that’s what we’re doing – surviving. I know we’d be MUCH more comfortable if I went back to work (if I used my degree – I’m a lawyer). But damn it, I want to be with Kieran! I want to homeschool. I want to give him a full time parent. Why is that option such a burden today?!

    • I know! It’s ridiculous that we have to fight to survive on one income!

      On a side note, I didn’t know you’re a lawyer! After this semester I’ll have my degree in paralegal studies. I was planning on law school, but now I’m thinking teaching.

  11. I am feeling you. We would like to buy a home soon. My husband feels that we won’t be able to, because he thinks his one income is not enough. We are barely making it now. I hate renting though. We’re both tired of renting. We wonder if we wold actually save money by buying a small house to live in for five years. I think it would be so worth it. I’m tired of trying to live by what the rest of society says is acceptable.

    • You should go talk to a loan officer. Ours did our specific numbers for a thing he calls “rent versus buy” and with what we’ll make in taxes, it ends up costing the same as if we were renting a place that was 150 less. There’s no harm in getting information.

  12. It is tough, isn’t it? My husband was feeling a LOT of pressure being the sole breadwinner, so when my son was 20 months I decided to go back to work. I made sure I found a job that was really flexible and I even can work from home some days. We are really happy with his daycare – it is small, homey and very loving!
    That being said, I sometimes question our decision and wonder if we REALLY need the extra money I am making.
    If you feel like you guys can make it work with you at home, then go for it! In my opinion the most important job anyone can have is being a mom!

    • Thanks! I always say that being a mom is my first profession and my most important. I entirely intend on branching out into the professional world when my children are old enough, but for now Mama is my profession.

  13. How about a joke? Employment Standards determined a small woodworking shop owner was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him….”I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them,” demanded the agent…. “Well, there’s Jake my finisher who’s been with me for 3 years, I pay him $900 a week….The apprentice Tom has been here for 6 months, and I pay him $500 a week….Then there’s the half-wit that works here about 18 hours a day. He makes $10 a week and I buy him a case of beer every Friday,” replied the owner… “That’s the guy I want to talk to; the half-wit,” says the agent.”… The owner says, “That would be me.”

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