My wife and I are 30 and our son is 14 months. Since he was born (and well before that, actually), my wife has been really upset that she can't stay home with him, even part time. We both have master's degrees and good 9-to-5 jobs, but our combined salaries are barely enough to cover our expenses as it is. We're looking to upgrade from our two-bedroom co-op to a decent house, so there's no way we can get by on only one salary. She knows that, but she still cries herself to sleep a couple nights a week and says she's a bad mother because she spends less time with our son than our babysitters do. It doesn't help that I get twice as many days off from work as she does.
I feel like this has only been getting worse, and lately I can't help but feel that the only solution is for me to make a lot more money so she can quit her job. She makes more than me as it is, so that's not a very realistic option. I just want her to be happy, but I'm at a loss.
This whole thing is really starting to stress me out. I want nothing more than for her to be able to stay home, but it just isn't feasible right now, or maybe ever. I hate that I can't provide the one thing she really wants, but I also wish that she could accept the situation we're in and try to find a way to be happy with it. I'm sure there are people who spend much less time with their kids than we do.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? If so, how did you deal with it? Any advice would be appreciated.
I got pregnant soon after I was laid off from a full time job. I had the 'good job'. Our daughter is two now, and somehow we have made it work with my only working part time. Yeah it is stressful sometimes, but I am continually amazed at what we are able to do on as little funds as we have. Keep in mind when someone is home, there is less temptation to just eat out, lunches can be packed, there is time to track down the best drug store deals, free activities can be researched, DAYCARE IS FREE - though those things don't bring in funds, they do keep them from going out. The biggest thing is that you have to assess priorities - together discuss and decide if being home with the little one is more important than a bigger place or other large purchases you might make in the next few years. If anyone had said 4 years ago that we would be able to make it on one income I would have called them insane... But we do - and we agree that we wouldn't have it any other way.
The biggest thing that led to my decision to stay at home (which I'm still nervous about) was the fact that the cost of daycare for the two youngest and money spent having someone pick up the oldest from versus how much I make in a month, and by staying home I'm only pulling $400 a month from our available funding, instead of the $50 deficit I'd have to make up by working. You don't realize how much child-care costs until you don't have to pay it anymore. On top of that, there are plenty of options through non-profit organizations (as well as federal assistance programs) that exist to help out when money gets tight, programs like WIC are amazing and go a long way towards picking up some of the slack losing that income will have.
That said, you two are the only ones who really know your financial situation, emotional state, disposition, opinions, etc. Well enough to make the decision, whatever it may be. Another option may be counseling/support groups, or even a play group. Sometimes the best thing the parents can do is to keep providing financially and get help to make sure they can provide the best possible physically and emotionally. Either way, I hope the two of you can find something that works.