In the sake of keeping some sort of mystery in my life, I’m not going to give you an exact timeline of when my husband and I plan to have kids (and trust me, there’s a timeline – I’m a planner!), but I will tell you that it could happen tomorrow or it could happen in 3 years. (And, of course, I’m banking on the fact that we’ll be able to have kids easily, which is a whole other issue in and of itself.)
When I think of this kids timeline, one question seems to pop up in my head:
Would you take time off from your career to stay home with children?
As we prepare to buy a house, we’re loosely basing our future budget (that includes a mortgage) on one income. Partly for emergency matters (if one of us were to lose our job) and partly for parenting matters (it’d be nice to have the option for one of us to stay home with our kids).
Staying home seems like it would be a nice experience, and I definitely have the possibility of doing that now that I’m generating a reasonable amount of side income (although, it’s inconsistent, which is another factor to consider).
But I am terrified of leaving my comfortable, steady job to raise a family and make inconsistent income on the side. Here’s why:
- Re-entering the workforce might be difficult. I will no doubt return to full-time work after our kids are grown. Who knows if that will be when they’re in elementary school or high school. Either way, I’ll be behind by the times when I re-enter the workforce. There will be new generations of hungry 20-somethings who will probably be smarter and more tech-savvy than I will be. Who knows if I could even get a job at the same level.
- I might take a pay cut. If I do leave the workforce for an undetermined amount of time, I’m guessing I’ll take a pay cut (unless I can get my old job back again). Honestly, this doesn’t bother me much, but it would if it were a severe pay cut.
- My husband could lose his job. What if I quit my job and we were relying on my husband’s income and then he loses his job? Sure, we’d have emergency savings, but it’d still be terrifying. What if he couldn’t find work again?
- My kids might not appreciate me. I was lucky enough to have my mom stay home with my siblings and myself. But I didn’t appreciate that until just recently. My mom worked so hard to live frugally, cook good meals three times a day, create fun activities for us during the summer, encouraged us, kept the house clean, planned vacations and more. That’s a lot of work. Probably more than I do at my full-time job. I was always told to tell her thank you, but I just said it because I had to. Now I realize the full extent of her sacrifices and hard work. Can I handle being under-appreciated for all my work? (Insert jab to my current job here … haha.)
- I might start to hate freelancing/writing. Right now, writing and freelancing are all fun for me. When I become dependent on them, will I start to detest them?
- My freelance income could dry up. I’m grateful for the freelance opportunities I have, but freelance is just that: not a guaranteed job.
On the plus side of things:
- Family and love are all that matter. This is the tipping point for me. This is what really sways me in the direction of wanting to stay home. When it comes down to it, nothing in life really matters except for love, especially family love. Don’t believe me? Try creating a movie in your mind of all the happy memories from you life. These memories probably don’t include a designer purse or a new car. They probably include experiences you’ve had with your loved ones. Love is all that matters. If love is the most important thing, shouldn’t I sacrifice to put it at the center of my life?
- I won’t miss T-ball games or dance recitals. I’ll be able to cart my children around to all their activities without worrying about getting off of work early. I’m not a parent, but this gives me an inckling of hope that I might have more time to clean the house or cook good dinners. Most parents will probably tell me to stop dreaming. 😉
- There will be no more Mondays. I feel like I can’t get excited about this because, 1) my husband would still have them, and, 2) there will be more Monday’s when I re-enter the workforce. So, I guess this isn’t even a perk at all.
- Maybe I can cook and clean? If there are any mom’s reading this, they’re probably shaking their head and laughing. But, in my fantasy world, I could cook great meals and have a clean house on top of staying home with my kids AND freelancing. That’s possible … right?
Another option that I haven’t looked into yet would be part-time work (my current job probably won’t allow that) or securing a more stable writing job (any takers?). I think tackling these two options is next on my to-do list before we even start thinking about having kids.
Like I said earlier, I’m not quitting my job any time soon. I love my current position and love my stable job. I love having somewhere to go every day. But, as the season of motherhood approaches, I can’t help but wonder if I’d be willing to give it up for the sake of my family.
What are your thoughts? Would you quit your job to stay at home with your children?
- I should have mentioned that I’ll LIKELY have at least 2 days per week where either my mom or my husband’s mom will watch our child(ren) so I can work that day. And by work, I mean freelance/blogging. So, I’ll still have at least 2 days where I can feel like I have a job outside of staying home with the kids.
- Little Miss Moneybags made this excellent point: When your cost of daycare starts to creep up towards your income levels (or even HALF of your income levels), is there really a point to even working? Not sure we’ll have that problem with living in the Midwest (where daycare is cheap), but I could see it being a problem for other areas/careers.