Can I afford to be a stay at home mom?

I have to admit, I’ve been very lucky.  Through an unpaid leave of absence after my maternity leave wrapped up, I was able to spend nearly the first two-years at home with my girls.

As of January that all changed, as I introduced the twins to the world of daycare and I headed back to work.

My career has always been exciting and ever-changing.  It’s challenged me in many amazing ways over the past 14-years, but…it just wasn’t enough anymore.

I think it’s always been in the back of my mind that I wanted to be able to stay home with my kids.   My mom left her career when I was born and stayed home until my brother and I were older.  It’s something I grew up with and loved and it’s something I always hoped I could do.

But how would we ever be able to manage it financially?  Life is so much more expensive these days; we have more things, more bills, more luxuries, so figuring out a way for our family of four plus our dog to live on a single income seemed daunting.

Yes, I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom, with my kids all day, everyday.  Yes, I came to terms with the fact that quitting my job likely meant never being able to get back into my competitive industry.  But what about the money?

The tipping point came when we realized the cost of sending two kids to daycare and what that meant to my pay check; the reality is it really doesn’t leave much of a pay check to speak of.

So, it was decided then.  I would become a stay at home mom after all!

We definitely needed to juggle some numbers and rejig our savings.  Without getting into the specifics here are few of the financial decisions we made to help make it work:

  1. We slowed down our fast-tracked mortgage payments to be accelerated but not quite as aggressive.
  1. We rejigged the monthly amounts being put into our various savings accounts to help us now. Down the road we will revisit these again and revise them to suit our needs.
  1. We waited until our car was paid off to put in my notice. That resulted in a savings of about $250/month.
  1. I became more serious about price matching at the grocery store. I also had to rejig the way that I buy groceries.  Rather than buying huge amounts to last the month I now purchase for that week.  That way I’m not biting off more than we can chew (no pun intended).  Also, if big items like meat are on sale for under $1.50/LB I stock up.
  1. I had to realize that we “can’t keep up with the Joneses.” No more dreaming of my mini van, no more searching for open houses and really limiting any unnecessary purchases.

Yes there will be unexpected expenses along the way and our savings will take a hit at times,  but hopefully with the restructuring we’ve done everything will be okay.

It’s a scary new world and I’m navigating through some very unfamiliar waters, but I’m home with my kids and that makes it not quite as scary.

 

Brianne Ducharme

I’m a busy mom of twins with a passion for sharing stories and information. This comes from my background as a local TV producer, where I’ve had the opportunity to share experiences with viewers for many years. Now I’m finding a way to couple my background with the hardest and most fulfilling job I’ve ever had…being a mother to my amazing identical twin daughters. I write my blogs as a way to share my experiences, but also hope that it provides a bit of help to those parents out there who might be going through something similar.

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