Re: October 2013 Pregnancy
posted at 10/10/2013 9:58 AM EDT
Whirled Peas, one thing to make sure you factor in to the costs/benefits of working vs. staying at home is retirement and other benefits, as well as money to join classes, have a regular babysitter for some alone time, all of that.
I've got a 3 year old and a 1 year old, so my monthly daycare bill now is about the same as my mortgage (and they only go 3 days a week!), but if I were to stop working, we'd lose my retirement (I get 8% employer contribution with no obligation from me), and have to switch our health and dental to my husband, which is considerably more expensive for less than optimal coverage. Also, depending on what field you're in, it can be hard to get back in after an absence, so that's something to consider too.
In talking to parents of older kids, I've been reminded it's a 5 year problem (aka investment), and if you are good about budgeting, once kids are in school (assuming public school), if you can save even half of what you'd been spending monthly on daycare into retirement and a 529 plan, you'll be in a better position for college and retirement, and won't be missing that money later. You'll also have the balance for things like summer camp, after school activities, etc, and again, be used to not having that money.
Plus, for me, there are the intangibles of work, that can't be measured or analyzed: I love what I do, and I love having something that is "mine", which I found even more important once I had kids. I also grew up with 2 parents who worked, so it's what I know. I also love that my kids are meeting new people, making friends, learning new things, and have some experiences that are theirs to share with us.
My goal now, and I think several of us have talked about it, is to be able to get to part time or flexible work once my kids are in school, so I can be home in the afternoons to help with homework, deal with activities/sports/etc, and be available then.
Just my perspective on the should I/shouldn't I work debate. It's of course a personal decision you have to make and be happy with.