Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Working mom vs Stay at home mom - Dr. Phil

Last night Hubby and I watched an episode of Dr. Phil. It was about stay at home mom's versus working mom's. They were at war with each other. Of course there couldn't be a civilized conversation, as that wouldn't make good TV. I want to know why we must be at war with each other. It is a different life choice. I think we should be supportive of what ever life choice.

Being a working mom, I was able to feel a sense of accomplishment. I liked my job for the most part. Some days I loved it. Some days I hated it. I unfortunately had a job that required me to work a lot of hours. The whole premise of the Dr. Phil show was really about finding balance in your life, no matter if you are at home or out of the home. With my job, there wasn't any balance. If I didn't work extra hours, I wouldn't make enough for daycare. Some hours were required, like at the end of the month. I could not get off any time to go to those special things like field trips. We had black out days that you had to be in the hospital to get out of.

My problem with the show was that it didn't fully address the high cost of quality daycare. They had a short segment where they discussed finding daycare for a new mom. They researched nanny options, an in-home daycare and a daycare center. The mom did not want to go back to work, but found she HAD to financially. No one discussed how expensive it is for a mom to work. I wish they had set down and run the numbers. How much was she going to be making at work, versus staying home. The cost of clothing and food and travel. I am not saying that staying home is the only or best option for someone. I am saying that if you WANT to stay home or go to work, to be honest with the numbers.

For years Hubby and I could not afford for me to work and we couldn't afford for me to stay home. I went to work, because the bills had to be paid. But they rarely got paid on time. It was a constant struggle. We had two car payments that combined totaled over $1k a month. Daycare cost between $1200 (for one child) to $1800 for two (full time). You might think that if we eliminated the $1k a month for our vehicles (which we did) that we would be good to go. That is not how it worked. We were constantly behind on our car payments. Eventually having one go back to the bank. So we didn't have that "extra" $1k. We were always late on paying for daycare so we would have to pay late fees. We borrowed money from family to stay afloat. We could not afford to pay for daycare. We could not afford car payments. So we had to find a way to cut out both.

We tried to have my parents watch the girls. This would have been ideal for us, but turned out to not be ideal for them. They raised their kids. They were retired and wanted to be free to do what they wanted to do. This was totally understandable. At first I was upset, but now I understand their side of things. I do not hold it against them at all, but this made our lives a little more difficult. We couldn't afford daycare and at the time we couldn't afford for me to quit.

Once we started following Dave Ramsey, we learned how to budget and cut out things that were not necessary. I discovered how much we spent on food. I set out to find a way to cut back. We went from spending about $175 a week on food to about $100 a week. Sometimes as little as $75 a week. We decided to only drive cash cars from now on. We have found cheap things to do for fun. We cut out a money sucking hobby. We did lots of things to cut back.

So why could we still not afford daycare. All of these money cutting things, were only getting us to a place where we could pay for things on time. They were not actually freeing up money. We figured that we would be paying about $200 each month, for me to work during the summer. Why would I want to pay to go to work, when it meant I only saw my kids on the weekends and for about an hour during the week days. You tell me how that makes sense.

So all of these things has led me to becoming a stay at home mom. I know it seems like I have blogged a lot about this choice lately. Trying to explain to people about my choice. But I still get flak for my decision. I wish I could get people to understand. But I guess I have to just suck it up and be confident with my choice. So you tell me, how is it you came to your decision to go to work or stay home. I would love to hear your stories.