The Decision to Stay Home

the secision to stay homeOn our first date, I told my husband a lie.

I didn’t really know it was a lie at the time, but not long after falling in love with him and dreaming of having his child, I wasn’t quite sure how to break the new “truth”.

I ventured into my career at 21.  I was self sufficient, driven, and good at what I did.  The satisfaction that came with my career was positively overwhelming.  Working a million hours was worth it, being on call 24/7 was welcomed, and the stress served as a motivator more than an inhibitor.  And although I always knew I wanted children, the thought of ever giving up such a huge part of my life (and identity) was out of the question.

So I declared my hunger for my career to the man who would later become my husband.

“I definitely want children, but I could never be one of those women who didn’t work!”


And to a man who values financial security like a survivor of the Great Depression, this was one of my best qualities.

But then my view changed.  My best friends had babies, and I gained a new respect for the gravity of the time commitment and responsibility of parenthood.  My relationship with my then boyfriend shifted my perspective and suddenly making dinner and telling stories and holding hands and sharing dreams became far more validating than balancing budgets and customer retention.

And I slowly realized my career was no longer my identity.  My happiness came from elsewhere.

Not long after becoming pregnant, I broached the topic of staying home with my husband.  Sacrificing my salary was a hard pill for both of us to swallow- his need to remain financially ahead of the game and my need to feel the independence of having my own money jarred our vision of my staying at home with our son.

I knew the responsibility of being the sole bread winner in our home would add stress to my husband, thus adding tension to our relationship.  And I feared the day I might feel guilty for making a purchase he didn’t agree with since “our” money would really be “his” money.  How would I buy his birthday presents?  Ask him for the money?  Both our mothers always worked, so we didn’t have the best examples to follow in this department.  And meeting after we were both firmly planted in our careers, we never blended finances in the “traditional” sense. 

After many grueling conversations, we made a decision.

My desire to stay at home with our son (at least for six months) means I will leave my job.  And if after six months, our budget indicates I need to return to work, will I be able to find another job?  And if so, will it be enough to offset the costs of childcare? 

I feel blessed to have the option- temporary or not.  For now, this feels like the right and best decision for our family.  Sure, there will be growing pains along the way.  Adjustments aren’t usually easy.  Money will be tighter than we’d like.  I may miss some semblance of my “former” independence.  And my husband may lose his mind.


Was the decision whether or not to stay home with your new baby difficult for your family?  


*Image provide by the author.

What do you think?

The Decision to Stay Home

Jennifer Bruno is a credentialed trainer by day and a freelance writer and aspiring photographer by night. Raised in rural Kansas, Jen moved to sunny Florida after college where she met her husband, who married her despite hearing her sing Dixie Chicks karaoke. Shortly after saying “I do”, they moved to New York City to fulfill their dream of living amongst the bright lights and skyscrapers. They currently share their cramped apartment with two modelesque miniature dachshunds named Millie an ... More

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  1. Erin says:

    `I long to stay home with my kids. Unfortunately, we have never been able to make the budget work for that option because I am the main breadwinner in our household. I am an accountant currently working on my MBA and we have our 5 year old daughter, 4 year old daughter, 1 year old son, and a baby due to arrive this fall. I am SO hopeful that this MBA will open doors for me to work from home before the kids are all grown up! If I can make it happen, I may be able to squeeze most of the income doing taxes from home during tax season and then just supplement throughout the year. Just need to build a client base!

  2. arleen says:

    I will be a stay at home mom as long as things seem to work out this way.It was not hard for us to make, but it was hard for the independant part of me to accept. For all the same reasons you mentioned above. I don’t worry about my husband not wanting to let me freely access our bank account but that we may not be able to afford it…

  3. Ambur says:

    The decision wasn’t hard for us. I agreed to be a stay at home mom before I married my Husband. His mom stayed at home and he wanted the same thing for his children when the time came. Plus, he qualifies for better work than me and my paycheck would go entirely to daycare costs. Some days I miss working. Mostly I miss meeting other adults and having conversations about something other than naps or dirty diapers. But it just doesn’t make sense in our lives for me to work outside the home now.

  4. Mindy says:

    I am a housewife and homemaker and I used to be a feminist working women my partner used to stay home and go to school. We had the role reversal thing going on. We were both miserable for us it just didn’t work. I liked working because I liked collecting titles and I had some good ones. But I just wanted to be a women as well and my partner felt unfulfilled because he was staying home not earning money and I was unfulfilled because I was working outside the home all of the time. I had two to seven jobs at a time no I am not joking never less than two never more than seven. Trust me if you want to buy something if it fits in your budget than do it you are going to be doing enough housework and childcare to earn yourself a pony. I wish you the best of luck with your new endeavor I know being a housewife homemaker is not for everyone but me me and my partner it works.

  5. Rose says:

    I want to stay home with my baby. I think childcare is ridiculously expensive. And even if I worked, I would then be handing over, half of my salary. I am hoping to be able to pitch to my company the option to work from home, as they sent computers home with everyone, and then told us we can no longer work remotely. So I need to find the best way to pitch working from home, and coming into the office 2 days a week. Very nervous about asking. But it’s either that, or I think I say good bye and find a part time evening job.

  6. Shakeerah says:

    The decision was pretty easy for us. We had long decided that we could not afford child care. And that I was more than willing to become a SAHM. I would not have it any other way. We have been able to get by.

  7. Theresa says:

    I have two kids, one girl who is three and a little boy who is almost nine months old. I went back to work after my daughter was born and regretted it. Now that we have a little boy, my husband and I had decided that I would be a stay at home mom. I personally love the decision that we have made.

  8. LaTasha says:

    This article has me in tears literally!! I’ve gone from working full time to bed rest to stay at home mom with my 6 math old son. I feel like my independence was snatched away so early on that I’m not sure if or how to get it back. My son also had medical issues early on which made me SUPER worried about letting ANYONE else take care of him. My military spouse and I are always in a new city far from relatives so daycare would be my only opinion when I do return to work. Now in total love with my son I’m not sure how to maintain getting back to work and making sure my son still has our full focus, any ideas ladies please help!! Newmom1026

    • Felicity says:

      I feel like I could have written this myself. I got out of the military while pregnant. After having a microphone at 2lb 6oz I stayed home with our son for y months. My husband is active duty and money is tight but I’m so grateful that our son is doing well. I want to continue staying home and go back to college.

  9. Bri says:

    This was a great article! I want to be a stay at home as much as possible mom. So I think I’m going to keep working part time. I know there are a lot of expenses that come and come suddenly and without warning but I feel that life is too short to worry about money ALLLLLLLL the time. That enjoying the little things and mini me are more of a value then money and materialistic items.

  10. Stacey209 says:

    I am a single mother raising my daughter on my own. I stayed home for 4 months and then went back part time. I am now back to work full time. At first, I thought I was a horrible mother for putting my daughter in daycare, but I realize now that it has its benefits. She has thrived in her daycare facility. She is so sociable and loves to be with all the other kids. She is so stimulated by all the crafts, reading, singing and playtime. I do these things with her at home and also attend a mommy and me class, but I find that she gets bored being home with me! THis was especially so this past winter and there was no way to get to a playground. I am lucky that I get to spend plenty of time with her – the balance of daycare and home time with me works for us.

  11. Erin says:

    I enjoyed working, but I LOVE being a stay at home mom. Once my daughter is in school I’ll go back to work. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology (which is about as useful as a degree in basket weaving unless you go on to grad school) and worked for years in health and human services, which was wonderful and very fulfilling, but I didn’t really climb any ladders to get to where I was career wise, so It’s not too hard for me to leave. My husband and I tend to lean more towards “traditional” family roles, with him as the breadwinner and me as the homemaker, but he is super involved in raising our daughter and spends lots of time with her when he’s home. He’s not shy of diapers or bottles, and he gives her a bath every night, which he says is his favorite part of the day.

  12. Rachel says:

    I appreciate everyone’s views on this subject. My husband and I are beginning the process of seeing if me staying home with the baby would be feasible at this point in our lives. We both hope it is!

  13. Miranda says:

    I can relate. Financially it is better for me to stay home with my son and my fiance and I agreed that for the both of us, only having one vehicle too, it would be best. We agreed that he’d tackle the finances if I tackled the children and household chores. It gets hard sometimes because I’m on his schedule, taking him to work and everyone to their appts and taking him home, there’s never any time for “me” and it’s hard not to resent him not doing anything at times. However there are times that he steps up and helps. I do have a full time college course that I’m taking online- which I chose to do online so I could manage school around work but it’s also nice not needing daycare because daycare is super expensive. But it gets hard trying to be a mother of a 5 yr old, pregnant and a full time course load with minimal help. For example I never get to just sit around and watch tv I am always doing something whereas my fiance spends his days outside of work watching tv. So IDK. It doesn’t help that neither of our families support my staying home. In fact I have at least 2-3 close family members that regular say things about me not having a job. :/

  14. We chose for ne to stay home as well. Financially it just seemed fit for me to stay home. Returning to work would only leave me paying for child care. This way we can ensure our daughter has the upmost care, love, and affection! It’s awesome for me as well, being a first time mom I am able to see all the firsts and it is breathtaking! I feel so blessed to have a man as wonderful as her daddy that I can stay home

  15. Krystal says:

    My husband wants to be a stay at home father, problem is he’s the one with the job. He works a 12 hr night shift at a dairy farm, 7 days every two weeks@ $10/hr. I haven’t been able to get a job since 2010, and because my school woyldn’t accept my as an “independent-student” I haven’t finished my schooling yet. I need to transfer anyways, but the two nearest univerity’s at an hr and a half, and three hrs away. My husband doesn’t want to risk moving because he’s unsure if he can get another job, it took him three years to get the one he has now. Even if I finish my schooling I also want to be able to spend time at home with my family. To top it off I’ve been stressing about the medical costs as neither of us has healthcare. We’ve been attempting to get medicaid as we’ve been told that we’re applicable but DHS sent us an immediate denial before the rest of our paperwork was due.
    My parents (who live three hrs away, near a university) have been very supportive of us and even offered us a place to stay with them until my step-mom can find us a place. My mother-in-law’s offered help too, but as I’ve learned her help comes with a high cost.

    • Apryl says:

      Your best bet with Medicaid is when you feel out the application be sure to include bank account statements, check stubs, and any other resources that you have. Including all paperwork with the application makes it harder for them to deny you.

    • Kenny says:

      Maybe he can start looking for a different job while still working at the dairy farm? And how about online schooling for you? Hang in there!

  16. Alanna says:

    I won’t be working for up to the first year of my child’s life. I found out I was pregnant right before I graduated from college and never had a chance to establish my career. My soon-to-be husband is just beginning his so he will be the prime financial provider for a while until the baby is a little older. At that point I will find my career path. Luckily, my parents are unbelievably supportive so we won’t be struggling too much.

  17. This topic feels foreign to me… I made $660 a week when I worked. I worked 50 hours a week, anywhere between 4am and 12pm. $660 would BARELY cover childcare for two kids, and childcare is only available between ‘office hours’.

    Being a stay-at-home parent was never optional.

    I worked at first, my husband stayed at home (he worked 20-30 hours a week). When I got another supervisor who wasn’t willing to work with my husband’s schedule, I left, thinking I could find part-time work. SO wrong….. no one wants a mom with a schedule. They want flexibility.

    My husband works 50 hours now, and I stay at home…. no part-time job. We’ve got number three on the way, so childcare is definitely not a feasible option now.

  18. miriam says:

    Let me just thank everyone one of you ladies for sharing your feelings and struggles coz many a times we forget that there are others making these tough choices like us. Its been a real struggle for me to put on hold my nursing carrier to stay home with my son. I absolutely love being with him, but it was hard giving up my financial independence an stay home. My hubby loves that I stay home and cater to our homestead and has encouraged me to take online classes to further my nursing degree while am home. I wish you all the best and pray that God sees you through your decision making!

  19. Kirstin says:

    I do just a l little bit of both. I work 2 days a week when my husband isn’t, so he watches a kid and a stranger doesn’t. Not that I look down on people who choose daycare (or those who don’t have a choice), it’s just that I want my kids watched by me and mine only. It’s hard, because I can’t fully take the focus off of my career, and it isn’t really my identity anymore, yet I still have to be attached to it. It has made me appreciate fully what full time working moms do – I don’t know if I could split myself between needing to give it all at home plus at work. I never imagined myself as a mom, much less a stay at home mom, but it just shows you that life can change way past what you think your plans are.

  20. Leah says:

    I’m planning on staying home. I’ve been a homemaker since my husband and I were married in June 2013, even though I searched and searched for a job. About a month after I’d completely given up hope of ever finding a job where we were located, we found out I was was pregnant. In a way, it made the decision to stay at home even easier. I have always wanted to stay at home with my baby so I could always be there for him/her. My mom stayed at home with me and my two sisters and it was really nice. I remember she worked for a brief period and it was horrible just because she wasn’t there.

  21. mommy nhoj says:

    Very well said. I can relate somehow but concerns would be the other way around. I started my career at the age of 20 and been working since then for almost a dozen of years! I love to take care of my family and it was agreed upon that even working – family would be top priority. I have to quit my job at the height of successful career because we need to move here in the US. I have to support my husband’s decision and aspiration. I am now a stay at home mom for almost 3 months and yes, things can be frustrating at times. I see myself back at work in a year or two which my husband is supportive. So far, even with adjustments, I can say that I am learning to go with the flow and take care of my family especially my 8 month old baby.

  22. Genevieve says:

    I can very much relate. Before I got pregrant I was working four jobs. I was full time at Walgreens, on-call at a Nursing Home that I use to work full time before getting a full time postion at Walgreens, I worked oposite weekends at a Board and Lodge and I was a sub. for Early Head Start. One by one I left all but Walgreens the further along I became. It was a adjustment for us especially the Board and Lodge since it was the third biggest income maker for us. I had six weeks paid leave from Walgreens and then had to return to work. Now I have been back to work for more then eight weeks and have been considering being a stay-at-home mom. My husband and his mom don’t believe that I could ever make it that way since I am a busy body and need the socialization. I have been trying to work less but still keep us fincially stable. I keep looking at the budget and trying to figure out what we can give up or how I can use one of my many talents to make us some money to help make up the difference. I miss my son and am trying to do the right thing for us.

  23. Amanda says:

    I have been married for a few years now, and JUST pregnant. I have been a housewife since my marriage with the occasional job, but I feel best at home. I am planning on continuing staying at home with my kids because that’s where I fit. I am a coupon addict and a clean freak, but also have health issues that keep me near home most of the time. I don’t feel like I am any less by staying home, and luckily my husband likes having me home. Our finances are just that. Ours. He makes it, I use what is needed for us and the home, and if there is any left, we split it.

  24. jonel says:

    I’m scared to stay home as I’ve been working for so long and use of having my independence of making money,but starting Feb.2014 I will be stay at home mom. The hardest decision i ever make. my husband and I have a 2 year old son and we are planning to have another one so I guess is just make sense for me to stay home with the babies. I do miss my son every time i go to work and breaks my heart when Mon.comes because my son will hold on to me,scream and cry every time i leave the house to go to work. it will be hard but i’m sure we can make it.

  25. Bethany says:

    I stayed home with my son for 10 months and then had to go back to work for financial reasons. It was at a preschool so I could still see him across the hall. I left there when he was 2 1/2 for various reasons. We knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle financially, but it was worth it for my peace of mind.

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