Although this post may not be on all fours with our Philippine experience, I find that it still brings up similar questions just the same, such as: Can I afford to stay home and take care of my child?
I myself am facing the same dilemma at present, wanting to be a full-time, stay at home mom, but at the same, not yet knowing how we’ll pull it off. The original plan was for me to stay at home for the rest of the year once the baby was born, but we never got around to crunching the numbers so I never knew if that was really feasible, although I wished with all my heart that it was.
Anyway, that dream is still very much alive and now I know that instead of just wishing and hoping it to be so, we actually have to take concrete steps towards it. The first step being owning up to our monthly expenses and armed with the knowledge of where our money goes, to eventually plug the leaks with a monthly budget.
And after that long introduction, here’s today’s guest post from Bridget Sandorford.
Many new parents face the same conundrum: Should I go back to work or stay home to take care baby? Mothers are usually the ones facing the decision to go back to work or not, but the choice has an impact on the whole family. The biggest reason that many moms decide that they can’t stay home with their babies is financial. They have become used to a living in a two-income family — with enough debts and monthly bills for two incomes — and the loss of a whole income would be devastating.
Or would it? When many parents look at their budget and start making the needed cuts and changes, they find that more is possible than they would have thought. Many even find that once they consider the additional costs after they have the baby, they can’t afford NOT to stay home. Here are a few reasons why:
The biggest expense of welcoming a new baby, by far, is daycare — that is, if you go back to work. Depending on where you live and what kind of daycare situation you choose, daycare can cost as much as $1,500 per month or more.
Many parents find that the additional income they bring in through their job either doesn’t cover daycare, or it barely covers the cost, making going back to work not worth it. With all the benefits of staying home, the small amount that your income covers over the cost of daycare may not seem like enough to justify going back to work.
What will happen when your child is sick? Most daycares will not accept your child if any signs of illness are shown, and they won’t allow your child back until all signs are cleared. You could be out childcare for weeks for some illnesses. In those cases, you have to pay for emergency care — which will be more expensive than daycare since you have to pay hourly and which will be in addition to the cost of daycare (since daycare doesn’t give you a refund on days not used).
Your only other option for caring for your sick child is to take the time off work. When your child is sick often — which will happen in the first few years of life — you could lose a lot of time from work. You will exhaust your personal time off and start losing hours and money in your check. You may even risk losing your job altogether from absences.
Many moms find that they are unable to make breastfeeding successful if they return to work. They may not have the time they need to pump, or they may not have access to good facilities (such as a private place to pump and a refrigerator for storing milk). Even moms who are able to pump find that their milk starts to dry up because they aren’t with their babies as often.
Breastfeeding confers a number of benefits to both mom and child, including reducing the incidence of sickness. Breastfeeding increases immunity, which is even more important if your child is in daycare and is exposed to a number of germs from other children. By staying home, you can ensure the success of breastfeeding and can reduce sickness, helping to save on doctor visits for you and your child.
The first few years of your child’s life are critical to forming a strong attachment. Studies have shown (http://lifespanlearn.org/documents/A_Sroufe.pdf) that strong attachment between parent and child can lead to healthy psychological and behavioral development. By staying home with your child, you can more easily build a strong attachment, helping to reduce the risk of developmental delays and behavioral disorders in the future, which could be costly to treat.
Staying home with your child may seem like the impossible dream for some parents. However, when you consider all the costs and benefits involved, you may be surprised to find that you can’t afford NOT to stay home with your baby. Of course, the decision will depend entirely on you and your partner’s income level and your own personal choices.
Did you stay home with your baby? Tell us what the saving benefits were for you in the comments!
About the Author:
Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching culinary schools in New York. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.