How I Decided to Quit My Job to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

Half of working moms would quit or work less if money was no object. But when we did the math, the numbers added up to me staying home.

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Mother whispering in daughter's (2-3) ear, close-up
Clandestini/Getty Images
Recent studies have an interesting thing to say about working moms: They're happier. As someone who was a working mom, I can understand why. When I'm working full time, my husband and I both bring in income, meaning there's less financial strain on our family. I have a set routine, and I have a career where I am valued and able to interact daily with other adults. It's by no means easy, but it can be a very satisfying choice.

Despite all of that, I recently decided to quit my job to be at home with my 18-month-old daughter. And the numbers say that I am not alone. A Pew Research study found a significant increase in the percentage of stay-at-home moms in the past decade and a half. Being home with my daughter has always appealed to me, but after she was born, it made more financial sense to continue with my full-time employment. According to another survey, nearly half of working moms would like to stay at home or work less, and their main motivation for continuing their career is to provide income. I fell squarely in that camp. Here are the financial considerations that came into play:
  • Loss of income. Obviously, the biggest consideration was losing one of our two full-time salaries. We wanted to ensure our husband's income by itself could be cover all of our expenses and provide for some monthly savings. Our monthly savings will decrease significantly, and we'll have to watch our spending more carefully.
  • Freelance work. As a copy editor, I'm able to supplement our income with part-time editing. Being in a line of work that's conducive to contract work made my decision to quit my job slightly easier.
  • Insurance. We had to calculate the monthly premium when our family switched over to my husband's employer's insurance plan. We also looked into the differences in the deductible and out-of-pocket costs.
  • Day care. When I worked full-time, I got help from family in taking care of my daughter. But if I had continued my full-time job, we would have hired someone to care for our daughter full time in our home. There was one major problem with this scenario: It would cost nearly 60 percent of my salary. Working hard for eight hours a day while someone else watched my child and got paid the majority of my earnings seemed unnecessarily complicated. The Pew study I mentioned earlier found that the increase in stay-at-home moms is possibly due to the rising cost of child care.
  • Retirement savings. I'd been considering quitting my job for several months, but I wanted to wait until my retirement contributions were 100 percent vested. In January, after working for the company four years, that happened. Saying goodbye to my employer's monthly 403(b) match was tough, but I plan to continue beefing up my retirement via a Roth IRA.
My choice isn't the right one for everyone. Some stay-at-home moms choose to go back to work after choosing to be at home, and more than half do so to be able to interact with other adults. Working provides both that and a way to identify yourself separate from being a mom. Perhaps working mothers as a whole are happier. But for me, right now, being at home is the right choice for this happy mother.


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gfcarlton

This person should be blocked for inappropriate comment. Clear off the trash comments.

June 05 2014 at 10:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply