Stay at home or working spouse?

The spouse and I are trying to decide as we are expecting. Is it better for her to work (and have dual incomes) or for her to be a stay at home? Obviously day care is expensive plus other expenses associated with working (lunches, work clothes etc.). She has had a successful career up until this point and kind of wants to pull back and be a stay at home. I just worry more about the financial security side of things. Two incomes affords a pretty nice lifestyle where we live. One income makes it a bit harder financially speaking. I know there are a few on this forum with kids.

Need more info. What is her annual take home versus estimated annual daycare/nanny expense? I think quantifying the opportunity cost is the most important analysis here, but I should probably defer to people who actually have kids…

If you can swing it, a stay-at-home parent is awesome. You both need to understand what it takes - it is exhausting when the kids are under school age. My wife went part-time when kids came along and then quit entirely when they went to school. (Kind of backwards, but worked out best for us.) Everyone is happier with one parent at home: the stay-at-home, the child and the person who is working. Lots of communication about responsibilities, finances, etc. Good luck and congratulations.

My wife was able to work from home for the first few years after our oldest was born. The double income was nice, and necessary back then. Once I was making enough that she didn’t need to work - even from home - she quit and we’ve never looked back. If your financial situation allows it, I’d definitely say she should stay at home. Be warned, though, having a stay at home wife can be expensive. Not only do you lose the income she was providing, now she has all day to shop, non-stop Starbucks, etc.

Also, if she does decide to stay at home, be sure she has a good social network in place or plans on joining a mom’s group or something. Having a woman cut off from other adults and just caring for a kid all day every day can lead to an unhappy wife. Unhappy wife = unhappy life.

You don’t want other people f#cking up your kids. That’s you wife’s job. In all seriousness I’d highly recommend she stay home at least part time in the first 3-4 years. Unless you have family close by that can help take care. I was lucky enough to have both parents in our town so they watched some days and my wife went back part time.

It’s better if your wife works. First, the financial situation will be better. Second, It’s boring for her to stay at home and even dangerous for you if you have handsome neighbors :).

^haha id want to be a stay at home dad.

While there are obvious benefits to a stay at home wife, I think it’s important to consider the negatives. With the caveat that I don’t yet have kids of my own, I don’t think I’d want my wife to stay at home. I’ve met many stay at home moms who turn into mindless drones and the only thing they can contribute to conversations is how their child pooped their pants the other day or their run-in with the PTA at their school. It would drive me bonkers if my wife turned into someone like that. Furthermore, speaking from personal experience, seeing both of my parents work hard in my childhood years has had a big impact on my personal work ethic.

yeah she will prob get lots of cats to go along with home life as well.

krnyc - what do you recommend?

3 cats to start, add 1 every year?

Why cats? Dogs are more lovable :). I think dogs require more time than cats. She can have 3 dogs for instance if she has a lot of free time.

PS: But maybe the neighbors have dogs also. They can go with dogs outside sometimes and god know what will be happen :).

My wife “works” at home 3-4 days/week and is home in time to meet the bus when she has to go to the office, so we kind of have the best of both worlds. If her schedule weren’t so flexible, we would probably choose for her to stay home. About 1/2 the moms in my neighborhood stay home, so there’s a pretty good mom network in place.

Stay at home (working at wife house) and work from home (teleworking) are different for me. I know a couple, both work from home for a informatics firm.

Thanks for the responses. They all make sense. I think we are leaning towards stay at home and perhaps she can pick up a part-time job once the kid gets a bit older or a work from home type scenario. I don’t think I want her to work full time where the kid is in daycare.

That’s the right call. You’ll also get more nooners this way.

Play your cards right and you can be like STL, coming home for a quickie and back to the office to surf Reddit for the rest of the day.

The highest form of wokeness.

You can pick one or the other but if I were you I’d get prepared for both outcomes. I heard stories of people with the plan changing their mind (in both directions) after the baby arrives.

Just curious what does you wife do now and how difficult it is to re-enter her industry after a few years break?

Really depend on your financial situation and opportunity cost. If your wife makes $1m per year or more, I’d say it would be foolish for her to stay home unless retirement is fully funded. Also, I agree with STL that having that social network is critical. It’s not easy for somebody who is used to dealing with adults all day to switch to hanging out with babies all day. Or, for that matter, hanging with certain groups of SAHMs.

Early on, I think a combo approach works well. Get the flex schedule so one day a week you can just be with the kid, get a nanny for a day or two, get daycare so the kid gets socialized two days a week (best you can afford) and have grandparents in the wings to pick up the slack (if available).

The Chinese have this on lock. Grandparents rotate and take care of the kids up until the age of 5

Definitely many factors to consider

  1. Spouse desire to stay home or work
  2. Impact on budget
  3. Options for childcare (Family members or affordable child care options)
  4. Impact on spouse career trajectory. I know a lot of moms who find it easy to go between kids and work who are teachers or nurses etc. Much harder in other industries.