Planning to Stay Home with Baby

I’ve heard this one a lot.  It goes right along with “You’re so lucky to be at home” and “There’s no way we could afford for me to stay home with my children.”

Why didn’t anyone tell me I’d want to stay home with my baby?

I know that in this day and age, it seems quite impossible for mom to stay home.  In fact, many couples never think twice about mom quitting her job, assuming that having a baby will fit seamlessly into their busy work schedules and life will carry on as is.

Until that precious life enters the world and crazy baby love trumps all else.

Truth is, many people are waiting a few years (by choice or not!) before they have children.  During that time, they get used to living a two-income lifestyle.  They don’t know any different.  The house is purchased (with a mortgage),  the vehicles are being driven (on a loan), the money is already spent.

You know how I feel about Mom Coming Home, if she wants to. Yes, there are circumstances where it just isn’t possible, but I also know enough people happily making it happen (without a lot of money!) to believe that careful planning and sacrifice can net you full-time baby-time.

Maybe you are of the rare variety who planned for full-time parenting all along.  You’ve been smart about your money and lived frugally on one income even when you didn’t have to. Kudos to you!

As for the rest of you?  Here’s what you may not know.  Even if you, like Connie, are used to living in The House that Two Incomes Built,

I began to think of Romans 12:2 “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” What did that mean? Obviously “conforming to this world” is something to be guarded against and not to be desired. Yet, we looked exactly like “this world” with our big house, double income, and paid childcare.

you might be able to happily abandon that house for a home.

This is where we live now. In this house, we have brought home 3 new babies, fed and lodged drug addicts, convicted felons, one complete stranger who needed food and rest while she was on her way to visit her son in prison, and many friends and relativesIt’s the most beautiful home I have ever known.

Have you made drastic changes in your lifestyle to stay home with your baby(ies)?  I’d love to hear your story!

Catch up on the Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? series, and let me know a topic you’d like to hear more about!

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Comments

  1. I am pregnant with our first (due in September) and I’m SO thankful that from the beginning of our marriage my husband and I knew that I would stay home when had kids. We bought a house we could afford on one income and we’ve been living off his income and putting mine in savings. God has blessed us so much. What has amazed me the most is how shocked people are when they find out I’m going to stay home. It’s so normal to me (both of our moms were home with us) and I just can’t imagine it any other way!

  2. Oh, Amy, we have been there! We went from a McMansion with a commercial kitchen to a modest ranch home similar to yours :o) And we love it!!!!! It truly is a HOME.

    I’ve been meaning to do a post about it myself. Maybe your post will the the inspiration I need to sit down and do it…. THANK YOU.

    • That’s not my home (it’s Connie’s) but I’m so glad you can relate! In many ways I think my husband and I had it “easier” because our first home was purchased based on HIS salary (much to the chagrin of the bank…) ;) So we never had the BIG adjustment to make. I so admire those of you who do it!

  3. We made drastic changes for me to be home, moving from a large 3-bedroom home to a 1-bedroom apartment. It completely jump-started our our pursuit of simple living: http://frugalgranola.com/2008/04/living-a-simple-life-part-1-our-familys-journey/

    Well said, Amy!
    Blessings,
    Michele

    • It just dawned on me that I might not “know” you if you hadn’t made those drastic changes. I’m so glad you did! :)

  4. Awesome post! If we just lead a simple life like the bible tells us, we will have the time to raise our children ourselves.

  5. Thank you for featuring my post, Amy! This is a subject dear to me!

  6. I am so thankful that for us, me working full time after our daughter was born was never something that was an option. Even as my husband’s work has been slow and/or he’s been unemployed for several months, he says sending me to work has never even crossed his mind.

    I worked full time for my parents (who own a business) for about 7 months before we had Katie, and though parting with half of our income wasn’t fun or easy, we had learned to live frugally and just made it work. Making it work so I could be at home was really the only option for us.

    • Those of you who are prepared and figure out how to make it work even in the midst of job loss are a true inspiration!

  7. I did work the first 14 months of my baby’s life–and I hated it. My husband was still a student, we had a mortgage, and we were sure there was NO WAY IT COULD WORK. Well, he was.

    Now we have a mortgage AND a rent (and a lovely condo that wouldn’t sell), one salary, and another baby on the way. I love being home and I wouldn’t go back to work for anything. I freelance write some to make up a little of the difference–but I would do that either way. It’s a struggle … but it’s a close journey with God and I wouldn’t have it any other way for the time being.

  8. We have had our fair share of struggles in the fight for me to remain staying home with our daughters. I made more money, I carried the insurance, blah, blah, blah….well, we had tried for so long to have these prescious babies that I can’t imagine not being with them. So, we sold the house, moved into an apartment, sold one car, and bought private insurane. Yes, we make sacrifices, and yes there are times when there are more bills than money, but every morning I get to wake these sweet girls up and know that it is just us today. No rush to a sitter, no rush to be somewhere, just time to soak up every minute of these two blessings I prayed so hard for.

  9. crazyquilt says:

    Oohh. All those posts bring tears to my eyes! I am middle age, have 3 children (2 adult, 1 teen). I remain a stay at home mom. Ladies, you will never, never, ever regret your days at home with your children. I remember numerous times, doing loads of “potty,poopie,throwup”laundry, and asking myself, “Would I rather be behind a desk, dressed up in a suit right now? After a couple of seconds, I out loud would say “No way!!!!!” My husband has always supported me as a sahm, and still does. Things are tight, but that’s where sacrifice comes in. Blessings to you all.

  10. Carrie M says:

    My husband and I had decided it was important that I stay at home with our child(ren). My husband entered Nursing School, and I supported us, so we’ve lived on one income (plus a little) for several years. We waited to have our son until my husband graduated from Nursing School, in fact my son was born 9 months to the day of the graduation! I’m now expecting our second child in October. I couldn’t imagine it any other way! I agree, if people plan for it, it can work. I don’t ever feel that we are “sacrificing,” but we are blessed. We bought our dream home in January, and just live a quiet life. :)

  11. When Jason and I first discussed marriage and children we agreed first-off that I was going to stay home. It took a lot of budgeting, cutting out unnecessary things, and moving across the country to do it, but we are so much happier now. In our case, we were able to upsize our home while simultaneously losing my income. We went from renting an 800-square foot mobile home in California to renting a 4-bedroom home in southern Alabama. We’re going to be downsizing soon though because the fourth bedroom is going unused now and we don’t want to pay for space we aren’t using. I so admire the families who make sacrifices in order to raise their kids without daycare and babysitters. I will always be a little sad about losing out on so much of my first son’s first two years while I was working and he went to daycare. Back then I was a single mom and had to work, but I will always feel bad that he didn’t receive the same one-on-one time with me that his siblings will.

  12. kathleen says:

    When our daughter was born I yearned to stay at home with her. We knew we didn’t want a stranger raising our children. Like other we just didn’t thinly it was possible. So I went back to work. She was with my father in law, which was a temporary situation. He would not be able to care for her long term nor when we had more. His health was not great. We sat down and looked at our options and knew in our hearts me at home was the only way. I lasted a month back at work before we decided for me to stay home. 5 years later and I’m still home and it has not been easy but we make it work because we have for our children. We know have 4 and could not be happier with our choices. If you really want something you will make it happen.

  13. We always planned for me to stay home (and I have), but what I didn’t anticipate was wanting to CONTINUE staying home. (At least I think so…) My kids are still little (1, 4, and 5), but I always figured that once they were all school-aged, I would head back to work, at least part-time. Now? I’m not sure that’s the best use of my time and talents… even from a financial standpoint. Only time will tell, but I’ve been amazed how my heart has changed already as the years pass by…

    • Right there with you. Not sure what the future holds when all the kids are in school, but can’t FATHOM “keeping up” with everything here AND a job…

  14. Kathryn says:

    I’m so thankful we planned from the beginning to have a parent at home with any children (it ended up being me, but that wasn’t settled when we first married). And we’ve really been able to minister to younger friends who are worried if they can “afford” to have children at all. I tell them all the same thing, “If you’re a middle-class American, by definition you’ve got so much luxury in your life that there are definitely areas where you can economize.” And my husband always adds, “Once that baby is here, all the extras (the gold-plated cell-phone plan, the HBO package, etc. etc.) are going to seem a lot less important–and you’re not going to have much time to use them!” Thanks for speaking truth, Amy! Our treasure is not in McMansions, new SUVs, and designer clothes. It’s in the things of God: love, family, and faith.

  15. Great post, Amy! I knew I’d want to be a SAHM after our son was born, but I thought just working one 12 hour shift once a week would fit well into our plans. Even that seemed tough at times! We cut and cut and cut. We learned the art of couponing (and are still perfecting it!), the cut cable, changed phone plans, sold the car, and changed insurance companies to save money. We don’t go on lavish vacations and rarely visit a mall, but we wouldn’t change our life for a thing! It is worth every sacrifice to be a SAHM. God answered the desire of my heart and I am thankful every single day….even the days where I want to throw my hands in the air and run the other way screaming! ;)

    • I had one of those “throw my hands in the air and run the other way” days just yesterday! Still glad to be home, though. ;)

  16. We had always planned for one of us (who ever was making the least) to stay at home. It turns out that it was me and at the time I would have been working for stock options only if I had continued to work. That was not worth it to me. It also would have been difficult since my first pregnancy I had twins that were sensitive to everything, including disposable diapers. For a very brief time I thought I would want to go back ( since 6th grade I had always had a job and it really scared me that if anything happened to my husband I wouldn’t have a job etc) so, I started calling around to various Day Care places to see what it would cost to send two infants. I was told that they HAD to wear disposable diapers. It was at that time
    I decided that it would just be best for me to stay home and if by chance something happened I would somehow figure it out. Turned out to be the best decision ever. After the twins started solids we found out that they had several food sensitivities and I am still making most everything from scratch. I don’t think a Day Care would have worked for us and to have someone come into the home, I don’t think would have saved us that much. I was very anxious for over a year and really missed my job. But, now I am completely ok with it. It did take some work and still does living on one income with 4 kids and 2 adults, but sooooo worth it and I don’t regret our decision.

  17. We got married young (20 and 21) and always planned that I would stay home with the kiddos, once we got rich! =) We are still waiting. =) Anyway, we were married 5 short months when God richly blessed us with our first, then 24 months later, #2 and 21 months later, #3. My dh finished his first graduate degree about 3 months before #3 was born. Those were tough years, but they taught us that God would provide and that HE was the source of all our provisions. We live comfortably now in the midwest with two older cars, a modest house and those three are now 17, 15 and 13. I would not trade my time at home with them for anything. Aside from salvation and my husband, my children are the greatest blessings I have ever received. They are wonderful teenagers. It is all God’s grace, we have made a million mistakes with our parenting, finances, etc, but staying home with them is one decision that we NEVER regret. If you are young and struggling, hang in there, those days that last forever wind up being the blink of an eye. I didn’t believe it but I am on the other side now and it is sooo true.

  18. For the three years we have been married, we have always striven to formulate our lives to escape the double income trap. This includes living with friends for a year to pay off student loans, among other sacrifices. The main problem we face right now is that hubby has a good job that allows him flexibility (works from home), but our health benefits are through my job (phd student). We could pay for all our essentials (mortgage, food, etc) with his job, but we would have NO insurance if we had kiddos and I came home. I have several chronic health problems that keep me from getting private insurance.

    All this being said, I don’t think it is as simple as the double income trap. I really feel like a lot of people face the HEALTH insurance trap, and I don’t know how we get around that one.

    • Sounds like you’re doing everything you can. I hope it works out for you! I still think, though, that you’re in the minority, and that most people do suffer from the double income trap. We’ve always paid out of pocket for private insurance… such a bummer that you are unable to do that. Things could get interesting, too, with all the new legislation…

  19. I am a stay-at-home mom (always planned to be) of a 3 month old baby girl. It is definitely the hardest job in the world (I’ve done a lot of different jobs) but also the most rewarding! There are days that I wish I could talk to grownups and feel more “fulfilled”, but then I am quickly reminded why I am doing this. I see that smiling face or hear that giggle and just melt. She takes my breath away.

    Yes, living on one income is tough. But we make it work because we want it to. We would have it no other way. I truly believe that most families can have a full-time parent at home if that is what they desire….but of course being a SAHM (or dad) is not for everyone. I wrote a blog post about being a SAHM….
    http://thevaccaropeanut.blogspot.com/2010/06/mess-can-wait.html

    Thanks for this post! :-)

  20. It was nice to read all of the SAHM stories here in the comments. Hopefully I will have my own SAHM success story to add as well. :-) I generally don’t comment, but I had to second Amanda’s statement above to show that she is a bigger ‘minority’ that many people seem to think. At least the new legislation will make it so preexisting conditions aren’t the loophole many insurance companies exploit them as currently. Sometimes things are a simple matter of choice, other times it is much more complicated than that.

  21. I am a young mom (kiddos 3,2,&1) and I really appreciate moms with school age children who still stay at home and volunteer their time where I can’t. As I young SAHM I feel a lot of pressure to do and be involved in a lot of things in the community and at church as I am perceived as “having the time”. I don’t feel I have the time however and I feel my young children would be robbed of so much if I gave so many of our hours to things (although good things!) outside the home. So I appreciate moms whose children are in school but who remain home and volunteer their time to help fill the gap and enable me to “Stay at home”, not just from a career, but from too much ministry as well!

  22. We are contemplating it, big time!

    I really identified with what you said about making life choice before you had any idea that you might want something different. We did all of those things (purchased vehicles and a home that required two incomes to stay in it) because we had no idea that we might want anything different. I wish someone had told me! But would I have really listened or believed them? I don’t know…

    • Thanks for chiming in, Tiffany. The choices definitely seem more black and white on the “other side” of the advice. ;)

  23. Oh, Amy, I’m so glad that you Tweeted your link just now. You totally described me in this post.

    I never intended to stay home with my baby, but once she was here, I ached. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent crying over having to go back to work. I used to love my job, but for the past three years, I’ve hated dropping my daughter at day care every day and going to work. Loathed it. I have more stress-related medical issues now than I ever before in my life.

    My husband has never been on board with me staying home. He’s committed to our lifestyle that two incomes built, and that has created a lot of resentment in our marriage. (I can’t believe I’m telling you all of this! It has been on my mind, though, and I’m glad that you brought it up.)

    And then I got pregnant this time. Two days later, we got a letter that our daycare increased the rates by $60 A WEEK. We can’t afford $2000 a month for day care.

    We also can’t afford to live on my husband’s meager income. I’m not sure what we’re going to do if he can’t find a job that will support us.

    I’d really like to go on and on, but I’m going to cut it off here.

  24. This is a wonderful blog series that I have stumbled upon at the right time in my life. When my husband and I first got married, he made it clear that he would like for me to stay home with our children when we had them. He came from a family where the women stayed home. I, on the other hand, come from a family where NONE of the women stayed home. I began to feel the call to be a teacher at age 13, and more specifically, I knew I wanted to teach elementary music. Because my mom teaches music, she took me with her to workshops and conferences, and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. I went on to get my degree in music education and have been teaching three years. I love my job, so I bristled at the idea of staying home. About a year ago, however, the Lord made a great change in my heart. Over the course of a week’s time, I just knew that my staying home was God’s will for our family. I did not accept this with reluctance, but with joy. My family has had a hard time with my decision. When I told my dad, he was shocked, and his first words to me were, “Well, I hope you never plan on owning a home!” But God can do the seemingly impossible, and I trust Him to provide for us.

    Although my husband and I have always lived below our means, I began to learn as much as possible about frugal living. He is a teacher, too, without a master’s degree, so our income will be very small. We cut the cable, decided not to buy a house (although everyone thought we were nuts) and stayed in our $410/mo. apartment. We stopped eating out so much (still working on that one), and I began making all my own cleaning products, cooking from scratch, couponing, etc. All of this has helped us pay off $25,000 in debt over 3 years. We want to train ourselves in this way of living before it’s time. We are now trying for a baby and we know that God will provide for His will in our lives, in His timing.

  25. I’m 24 and single right now, but i’ve been trying to make desisions that will allow me to stay home with kids. Should God chose to bless me with a husband and kids. Right now it’s taking the form of not going to medical school because I don’t want a ton of debt. And taking a job teaching in a high needs school so that the government will start paying off the loans I have from undergrad and I can focus on some other debt. If things go the way I plan. (Which they rarely do). I should be debt free in 3-5 years. That way I could stay home with a family without worrying about additional debt.

  26. I have a blog called Mommy Stays Home that I abandoned over a year ago. I have been praying a lot about what I can do as a ministry while still being a full time wife and mother. I really feel that the Lord led me to this post for a reason. I have been wondering the last couple of days if I should start posting again at Mommy Stays Home. I think after looking over this series that is exactly what I will be doing. Thank you for the inspiration.

  27. You know, the dad could stay at home too. I think that’s a big piece missing in most discussions about stay at home parenting. It’s just assumed Mom has to be the one to stay home.
    Right now, we both have to work and work opposite schedules so the kids don’t go to daycare. However, if the option were available, my husband would be a MUCH better stay at home parent than me.

  28. I know I shouldn’t be jealous, but I just don’t know what else to feel when I read these responses. My daughter is 8 weeks, I’m sitting here the day before Xmas eve at work. We have no house, no car and I can’t see any future in which we will have these things. Living in Boston is extraordinarily expensive, my rent is $1325 for a neighborhood cabs won’t drive to. I can’t afford to go back to school, my student loans are in default because I don’t have the extra $600 a month….my boyfriend was fired from him job two days before I gave birth and even if he hadn’t been I am the breadwinner- the option to stay home just isn’t there. We love God, give him glory…I’m left to believe it has nothing to do with His blessings, but your social status…I’ve begged Him to let me stay home with her…the answer is no

    • My hope for you is that the answer isn’t “no” but rather “not now.” I have no experience at all living in the city (for which I am grateful) but I do hope you are able to find work in an area that is not so terribly expensive to live in. How stressful for you!

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