Unfiltered Mommy

An honest view of parenting in today's world

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now

on February 26, 2014

When I was pregnant with my oldest my husband told me that he wanted me to quit my job and be a stay at home mom. I wasn’t surprised since the German culture has a very different attitude about parenting and family values, but I just didn’t see how we could do it financially. The cost of living here in San Diego is pretty high as I am sure you can imagine.

We were also new to this area and I had just landed my full-time position after a year and a half of waiting. I wasn’t ready to just walk away from a job I had fought so hard to get. I also wasn’t ready to give up my career at the tender age of 32. Afterall, I have a lot of time and money invested in my education and training, and we are still paying of my student loans. I was working toward my lifetime goal of being able to do private practice child and family counseling and was about halfway done with the hour and supervision requirements needed to sit for the LCSW exam so I wanted to go back to finish the hours.

As my maternity leave drew to an end, I knew that I needed to make a decision. We looked at our budget, and I just didn’t see how we were going to be able to manage if I didn’t go back to work. I figured that I would be able to finish the hours I needed in about a year and by that time we would be ready to have a second child. I didn’t have a choice that time. I felt like being a stay-at-home-mom was a luxury we couldn’t afford.

Since that time our lives have changed so much. I have finished the LCSW hours and am awaiting approval to sit for the exam and my husband has been promoted. Now the cost of child care for two children under three is a huge expense and is a major factor in whether or not I will return to work this time around. Despite the fact that I have a Master’s degree and 12 years of experience in my field, my income is nowhere near that of other’s with MBAs, law degrees or those in computer related fields.

My maternity leave is now half over so we sat down to look at the budget again. I was planning to go back half-time but when we ran the numbers it just does not make sense. To have both girls at the childcare owned and operated by my work (see my post “Picking a Preschool”), it would actually put us in the red! How can this be? I had a hard time believing it myself but it’s because the child care costs so much. I am still trying to wrap my head around this whole “Stay-at-home-mom” thing. Can’t say that I am not ecstatic to be able to spend every day watching my girls grow and learn new things, but I’d be lying if I said I was not conflicted.

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