The choice of whether to stay at home with your children is a personal one. Some people have a definite preference and know that they plan to return to work or stay home after childbirth. Others are less sure and may want to play it by ear. Some future moms would like to stay home but aren’t sure if they can manage financially. If this is you, there are some things to think about before making the decision.
Is There Extra Money in the Budget?
Money is the first thing on the mind of most people when they are thinking of staying home. Making ends meet can be a struggle on one income. If you are weighing your options, one thing to consider is the extra money you can find in your budget. For example, if you are repaying student loans, look at your refinancing options. Refinancing your private or federal student loans with a private lender can lower your monthly costs. You can then direct this money towards other expenses.
What Are the Costs of Working?
Working isn’t free. Heading to the office involves transportation costs, you may eat out more either for lunch or dinner because you are too pressed for time to cook, and you probably have a different wardrobe for work than you do for home. Add to that the cost of childcare. If you haven’t priced childcare yet, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. The cost of working combined with the cost of childcare may help you make your decision. Of course, if you plan to stay at home, you should still budget for some childcare. Whether it is time to yourself or a night out with friends or your partner, you need a break and should not feel guilty about including it in the budget.
Are the Sacrifices Worth It?
Going from two to one income will probably create some changes in your lifestyle, and only you and your partner can determine if they are worthwhile. Whether it is fewer restaurant trips or forgoing vacations, you shouldn’t make sacrifices that will make you unhappy or leave you feeling trapped. Remember, you will be home all day, every day with your child. If budget cuts keep you from activities that you enjoy and provide stress relief, it is unlikely that this will be a satisfying transition.
Do You Have a Long-Term Career Plan?
Whether you are considering staying home just through the newborn and toddler years, until your kids are school-age, or something more open-ended, take time to consider your plans. At some point, you will probably want to re-enter the workforce. What will that look like if you have been away for several years?
Keeping up with tech, staying up to date with trends in your industry, or taking online courses to continue your education are all ways you can make your time at home pay off when it comes to your career. While those first months and even the first year with a new baby may be all-consuming, you may find yourself missing the mental stimulation. Ensuring you create time to exercise your brain will not only make it easier to find employment later but can also be rewarding on its own during those early childhood years.