Mommy, Come Home: The Cost of Working

If this is your first visit to the Mommy, Come Home series, you might want to catch up here. Welcome!


When our daughter was born, I switched from a full-time teaching position to sharing a classroom with another part-time teacher.  I wanted to come home full-time, but was I really ready? I was partly sad to leave my job and partly nervous… we had planned, we had prepared, we had saved, but were we confident we could make it work on just my husband’s teaching salary?

During that two-year transition, we had my paycheck automatically deposited into our savings account.  We did not use that money for living expenses.  That gave us the concrete evidence that we could indeed live on my husband’s salary.  It was also during those two years that we realized what my working outside the home was actually costing our family (besides the money for gas, clothing, teaching supplies, childcare, etc.):

  • Time: With a baby in the house, time is precious.  You better believe I was spending lots of time playing and nursing and cuddling my little one when I was home.  Everything else around me completely fell apart.
  • My health: I was exhausted from my up at 4:30, nursing once or twice a night, teaching till noon schedule.  Nearly every mom I know will admit to caring for her family before she cares for herself.  I was useless to my home (and my husband) much of the time because I was exhausted and didn’t feel well.
  • My marriage: Caring for my husband and making time for him and for us should always be a top priority. When I was working and caring for a little one, he was last.  Dead last.  That two-year season truly pruned me as a wife.  I definitely was not serving our marriage as I should.

For my family… for our situation, my job was costing us so much more than it was worth.  It was time for me to come home!

Phoebe has graciously agreed to share her coming home story.  I am in awe of her perseverance; she and her husband are on a mission to tackle their debt while keeping first things first!

…if I were to go back to work next week, everything as we now know it would change.  For instance, to beef up our debt snowball, I lowered our grocery budget and started making everything from scratch.  If I were to go back to work, this would be no more, and our grocery budget would feel the effects of it, as well as our waistlines.  In addition to the added grocery costs, I would also have to add in additional fuel costs for me to be able to drive to town everyday, as well as day care fees.  Roughly all this adds up to about $900/month or roughly $225/wk! So, while off the bat going back to work may seem like a good idea, the very paper that told me I could stay home, is telling me that should stay home…

…If that wasn’t enough reason to firmly ground us in our decision, the relationship that I have built with my children is.  When I was working they spent roughly10-11 hours a day in day care.  I didn’t know them then, but I do now!  I’m now in a position where I am able to be the mother and wife my family deserves.  The decision to stay home was a hard one, but we are financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually better off because of it…

Please head over to Phoebe’s blog, Cents to Get Debt Free, for the rest of her inspiring story!

Again, every situation is different, but when the desire to come home is strong… for some, it helps to take a close look:  What is it costing you to work?

This post is linked to Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.


  1. I really like the idea of putting your paycheck into savings and just living off of your husbands. We still have to pay off our cars first but after that is done is when we will get serious about me staying at home. I think this is something that we definitely need to do to help us transition.

  2. I popped over here from 5 Minutes for Mom. I liked your comment. And I liked this post too. I quit my job in the corporate world to stay home with our kids and haven’t regretted it for one minute!

  3. I have really enjoyed reading these stories. But almost every story I hear of a woman who left the workforce and actually found it cheaper are situations where they wife’s salary accounts for 50% or less of the total household income.

    I would love to hear some stories about wives who were the primary bread winner. I bring in 60% of our household income and have the more comprehensive, less expensive health insurance. And even with the cost of daycare, the loss of my income and insurance would strike a huge blow to us financially. My take-home pay (after taxes, health insurance and retirement contributions and daycare)is over $30k.
    We are working on a plan to eliminate our debt so eventually I can stay home. I’d love to hear a few stories of how others have done it.

  4. That’s what my in-laws did. They used to say that his paycheck was the cake and her’s was the icing. They saved the icing and now their retirement is sweet:-)

  5. I am really enjoying this series. I came across it from Phoebe’s blog. What an encouragement! I too, am a newly “promoted” SAHM… To say it has been a struggle financially is an understatement. Emotionally, my husband and I know I am where God wants me to be, but financially it has been a strain. Thank you for posting this series!!

  6. My old boss made over $100,000 a year, and his wife made over $200,000. When they had a baby, she decided to stay home. She didn’t care that she made more; she wanted to be home. They live in a very expensive part of the country, and yet they have made it work.

  7. I believe God truly blesses when He calls us to be homemakers and we do what He says! 😀 Loving this series!

  8. When we decided I would leave my job to stay home with our children, we needed to sell our home and move into a rental to make it work. Fortunately we had no consumer debt besides our mortgage and few other small bills, but it was a big decision. At times I really miss owning my own home, and things are still really tight financially, but we have managed to make it by God’s grace and provision. I think if the loss of income is going to be as significant as Suzanne said, perhaps coming up with a plan of action over a 6 month time frame or something? Perhaps researching out alternative insurance programs, and other ways to cut costs so you can live on one income in that time. Just a thought..

  9. Very nice story. I too stay at home and it is a struggle. Since my background is finance, I make a very strict plan. It can be hard (especially with school stuff), but so worth it!

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