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How do you decide to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom?

Updated on November 5, 2011

I gave up my job to look after our son. Financially it was tough, but I know for our family it was the right thing to do. I took my little boy everywhere with me and as a result he was my right hand man. Now that he has started school I have started a small business of chocolates. I loved every minute of spending with my son. If you have second thoughts about giving up work I say do it. You will never regret it. But that was my personal decision.

But generally speaking, there are many factors that need to be considered when deciding to be a Stay At Home Mom or a Working Mom.These factors can be broadly categorized under two heads - financial issues and personal issues.

Financial concerns are the number one factor that deters many women from staying home with their children. Financial Issues includes your family’s Income, Expenses, Childcare, Debt Load, etc. You have to ask questions to yourself like can we afford it? Would you be willing to reduce your expenses for the privilege of staying home with your children? What are your debts? What can you do to eliminate them as quickly as possible? Can you sell something to pay them off or get rid of a burdensome monthly payment? How much of your budget would be freed up if you no longer had debt payments? Consider options for bringing in a little extra income at home. Will your current job allow you to work a few hours a week from home? Can you do freelance or independent consulting work? Sell things on Ebay, Craigslist or Etsy? Offer babysitting or tutoring? Do some part time work in the evenings, when your husband is home? But before you rule out the stay-at-home option, do your math. Figure out how much it will cost you to work.

If the husband and wife both have full time jobs outside the home and divide the work of the home and care of the children equally between them, the both may end up with putting in 80 hour work weeks. They may make more money, but the extra money may end up being spent on housecleaning services, fast food, childcare, and work related expenses, including clothing, meals, commuting, taxes, and other payroll deductions, etc. When wife makes the work of the home and the care of the family her primary job, she doesn’t come home from her first job to a second job. Her husband doesn’t come home to a second job. Both have the luxury of free time. Thus although their income may be less, their ability to enjoy what they have is greater.

Personal Issues involves your opinions, feelings, and situation as to whether you will be a stay at home mom or a mom who works outside of the home. If you feel like you have to work for personal satisfaction, get a part-time job that gives you both employment and time with your children. Talk with your partner. Compromise on all aspects of running your household. Discuss the ups and downs of parenting with friends and other parents. Being a parent is hard work. In case, you take up work, then you should be able to balance work and family. If your kids are small, then this is the time they need you the most. You should also find time for your spouse, apart from work and children. If you have any support system – your parents, in-laws, relatives, friends, and so on, make use of them. Don’t hesitate to involve them and reduce your load.

Other questions to consider are Do you have a career or just a job? How you feel about your profession can make a huge difference in how you feel about staying home. If you love your job and have worked for many years to attain your current position, you may not be ready to give it up. Does your current job offer you the flexibility you will need as a new mother? Will you be able to leave work to take your baby to pediatrician visits? If your baby becomes sick, does your current employer offer you the option to stay at home or telecommute for the day? If your job requires you to travel frequently, do you have a plan for who will take care of your family when you are out of town? Do you have a reliable daycare option that you feel comfortable with? A good daycare environment gives many working mothers the reassurance that they need while they are at the office. Are you comfortable leaving your child with someone else? Do you have a parent or family member that is available to watch your baby? Finding good daycare for your child should be your number one priority if you plan to continue working. Will you be bored staying at home? Many women who take the plunge to stay home are afraid they will be bored silly. Contrary to popular belief, stay-at-home moms don’t lay around all day eating and watching television. A stay-at-home mom of an enthusiastic toddler will find herself busy throughout the day.

In case, you decide to be a working mom, think of taking up a part time job or do the work from home. There are lots of options, these days. You should also consider the fact that even a couple of years out of the workforce can devastate your career if you’re not careful. In worse case scenarios, you can become unemployable in your field. It’s much better to spend that time preparing to be employable than to hit the job market cold after years at home. Talk with your employer to identify potential part-time or consulting work or periodic assignments you can do during the years you plan to work less than full time. Stay active in your local association by attending meetings, writing for the newsletter, acting as a good will ambassador and attending national conferences. Volunteer for the activities that most closely match your career field and interests. Choose activities in which you’ll interact with many members to expand your network at the same time.

There have been several studies and articles that reveal that children of working moms may have more difficulties than those with stay at home moms. In today's ever changing world, more and more children are succumbing to societal and peer pressures. Moms who stay home may prevent harmful effects. It is just implying that children benefit more from direct instruction and attention in the home.

Finally, after weighing all of the pros and cons, decide that staying home with the kids is the right choice for you or not, don’t feel guilty about it. It’s important that you, as a mother, feel happy about what you are doing on a daily basis. You can still work outside the home and be a loving, productive, wonderful mom.


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    • Ruchi Urvashi profile image

      Ruchi Urvashi 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Great hub. Enjoyed reading it. Stay at home mom or working mom is discussed in good details.

    • lovelypaper profile image

      Renee S 

      9 years ago from Virginia

      I was blessed to be able to stay at home with my boys when they were little. Those first five years with them were priceless. They grow up so fast. But, I know that it's not always possible to stay at home. These days, it takes two incomes to make it. Great hub.

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 

      10 years ago from Jaipur


      This hub is selected for Hubbers India with some other of your hubs.


      Thanks and thumbs up!

      Jyoti Kothari

    • LelahKimball profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      I like it. It looks at the issue from both sides and really answers the question. It's well thought out.

    • LondonGirl profile image


      10 years ago from London

      a fantastic, balanced, and interesting article. I agree, mothers shouldn't feel guilty about the decisions they make for their own families in this regard.


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