Friday, January 14, 2011

Pros and Cons

This will be my last post regarding the decision-making process, then we are onto the fun part-savings! You and your spouse will most likely mention many positives and negatives for having a stay-at-home parent in your household, and for some people it helps to organize your thoughts into a pros v. cons list. It would be best to work on it together, but it's also a great way to present information to a doubtful spouse.

When making your list, keep in mind something that is a "pro" for one person could be a "con" for another (ie: spending more time at home). For this reason, I cannot simply give you my list because I am sure our lists would look quite different. Give yourselves several days to add to both sides, many things will occur to you as you go through your day. Once you have a decent list for comparison, you will again need to use your best judgement regarding which areas are most important to you. One side might be much longer than the other, but if it's full of things you don't care too much about anyway, then the shorter list may actually be the winner.

They say hind-sight is 20-20, and after several years of being a stay-at-home mom, here are my top three pros and cons:

Pros: 1. The memories and moments we are sharing together are invaluable, and these are years that I will not be able to get back in the future for anything.  I'm always there for my children's "firsts" and we have a strong bond from our time together.  2. Quality family time during our nights and weekends. Since I get most of our cooking, cleaning, laundry and shopping done during the day we do not spend our family time doing this. Instead we are able to sit down together for a quiet dinner every night (or as quiet as it can be with two toddlers) and we spend more time playing together. 3. Being the primary caregiver for my children. I know what they are learning because I am the one teaching them. I make sure to talk about our values and morals throughout the day, and know that my children are being held to my own standard of behavior--instead of a more strict or lax set of rules.

Cons: 1. My career and resume are on standby. When I go back to teaching I will not have the same amount of experience or be making the same salary that I could if these years were spent inside the classroom.  2. It is a 24 hour job. No matter how many hours you work at your job, there does come a time of day when you are finally finished and can go home. Instead, that is just about the time of day when both kids start fussing and I am trying to make dinner. I never would have predicted how jealous I am of my husband's quiet 30 minute commute!  3.  If I'm not careful I can lose my identity and become "Cole and Leah's Mom". Meeting up with friends, joining a group that meets regularly and provides childcare (for me that was MOPS) and monthly book club meetings have been my sanity savers.

You may not need a list at all to know what is best for your family and that is great. This is not a fail-safe method, just another tool to empower you in the decision-making process. If you decide that staying home is not for you, I hope that you will still be able to find some value in the money-saving tips I am going to share.

Also, and this may be one of the most important things I mention in any post--please remember to be respectful and supportive of the other moms out there. The wonderful thing about diversity is that we are all different, and what works for one family may not work for another-and that's ok! I have yet to meet a mother who did not feel any amount of guilt for her decision, whether it is to work or stay home. The working mothers tend to feel guilty that they are not spending enough time with their children, and the stay-at-home mothers tend to feel guilty that they are not climbing the career ladder and bringing in the same paycheck. If you make the change from one to the other, don't think you'll be leaving the guilt behind because there is rarely a perfect solution. Lastly, don't forget to take the time to tell your friends what wonderful mothers they are and how lucky their children are to have them in their lives!!! 


  1. Great idea for a blog Jo! I know I'll be faced with this decision in a few years or so. We're both teachers though so I have no idea how it will work for us finiacially...

  2. Great blog, Joey!

    For me, the decision was an emotional one. I just couldn't imagine having someone else take care of my baby after the seven weeks of (unpaid) maternity leave were over. I sometimes feel overwhelmed, but I don't regret my decision one bit!

  3. I was laid off when I was 8 months pregnant so the decision was sort of made for me at the time. I now believe that getting laid off was actually divine intervention and feel extremely blessed to have gotten this time with my daughter. I do feel guilty to not be working (Cant find a job), but I know if I was to find one, I would absolutely miss this time with her.

  4. I chose to stay at home when I married A military man and already had 1 sweet baby boy ! I would not turn around and switch that decision at all . Thanks for starting this BLOG !