Should I stay (at home) or should I go (back to work)?
March 10, 2022 1:53 PM   Subscribe

I’m trying to decide whether to become a stay-at-home parent to my two young kids and changing my mind every day. What else should I be considering as I make this choice? Many more details and additional questions inside. (And please know that I’m aware of how much privilege I have that this can even be a choice at all.)

Together with my husband (cis M), I (cis F) have two awesome kids, a newborn and a toddler. We both work full-time and our toddler has been in full-time center-based daycare (about 9 hours a day) since about 8 months (with a five-month COVID break). Our current plan is to have the baby start full-time care around 8 months, after both of us use up our parental leave (I’m on leave now and then my husband will take about three months when I go back to work).

The thing is, I’m increasingly uncertain about whether we should go forward with this plan and wondering about shifting to something like: I stay home full-time with the baby and we move our toddler to part-time daycare/preschool (either shorter days or fewer days). There are a few reasons:

1. This just feels like a lot of time for our kids to be apart from both parents. I firmly believe that kids in all sorts of circumstances can thrive, and that kids in daycare get all kinds of benefits (our toddler loves their teachers and friends, they do fun and enriching activities, there are different toys there!) that other kids don’t get. But other people are seeing our kid more than we are during the week, and I personally don’t love that balance for our family. (It also took a lot of time, pain, and struggle for us to become parents, and it can make me sad to think how little time we get to spend with our toddler after waiting so long for them.)
2. It’s expensive. Having both kids in full-time care at our loving but not fancy daycare center will cost over $60,000/year in our very high cost-of-living part of the United States. (We can afford it; I make just over six figures and my husband makes about five times what I do. But we are also trying to save for a house, save aggressively for retirement, max out our kids’ 529 plans, etc.)
3. My husband and I both had a stay-at-home parent when we were kids and are grateful to have had that experience for many reasons.
4. We regularly feel really stressed trying to manage life with two full-time working parents and two very small kids with no other family nearby (especially on workdays when our toddler is sick or daycare suddenly closes for an exposure). Having one parent home feels like it would go a long way towards easing some of that stress.
5. I just love our kids and want to be with them. And I like being home - I like taking care of it, I like being in our own space. I’m an introvert and don’t need a ton of social interaction to be happy.

At the same time, I’m aware that many stay-at-home parents get bored or depressed; that the work of taking care of your kids full-time can be a grind; that it can lead to a sense of power imbalance in one’s relationship. I’m also wary of leaving my job for all the reasons women are warned about leaving their jobs: losing career momentum, lower future earnings, etc. I’ve been with the same company (permanent remote) for many years and I find meaning in the work I do; my coworkers are great and I’m satisfied with my compensation (though it is on the low end for my sector/geography). I’m happy there but there is no room for advancement; this might be a natural time to transition.

All that to say, I’d love any perspectives on how to think about next steps. I’ve read through all the stay-at-home parenting AskMe questions, but they are mainly from pre-COVID times, and I know many more people have stepped into this kind of role in the last couple of years, either through desire or necessity. In particular, for people who became stay-at-home parents (or who are partnered to a stay-at-home parent), what conversations did you find especially important to have beforehand, or what did you wish you had talked about with your partner before it became an issue? Any and all thoughts on SAHM-parenthood are welcome.

A few final notes:

1. My husband is a great dad but does not want to become a stay-at-home parent and we both agree that it’s best for our family for him to keep working full-time. He doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other about my potentially staying at home.
2. Our finances are fully joint; I don’t anticipate issues with feeling like his salary is “his money” that I have to ask for some of.
3. I’m not sure how long I’d want to stay home. My own mom stayed home until my youngest sibling was in middle school, and this worked well for everyone, including her. If I did stay home after my younger child was in all-day school, I imagine I’d at least want to pick up some part-time work.
4. We are COVID-conscious but comfortable with the loosening restrictions in the US. My husband and I are both double-vaxed and boosted and anticipate vaccinating our kids once a vaccine for them is approved. If I decided to become a stay-at-home parent, I expect we would be going out to playgroups, the library, errands, etc., as opposed to being more isolated.
5. We're not really considering other care options (e.g., a nanny), but feel free to make a case for them if you want!

Thank you for your thoughts if you read this far!
posted by onesocktwosockredsockbluesock to Human Relations (39 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you’re working from home, would a nanny instead of daycare mean you could get to see your kids on your breaks?
posted by The Last Sockpuppet at 2:01 PM on March 10, 2022 [8 favorites]

If you'll be spending $60k a year anyway, why not just make the investment in a nanny? The children would be home, you could maintain your career, you wouldn't need to deal with the childcare center grind. It will give you a ton more flexibility and you'll be able to take one child more on one day, another on the other, etc.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:03 PM on March 10, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I think all the ways are good ways if they work for you, and it's also okay to make a decision, try it out, and change your mind if it's not working.

My experience briefly has been:

- for me, working made my parenting partnership with my spouse much stronger because we both had similar days and understandings. The periods of time I was on mat leave (1 yr each child), I tended to forget how gruelling work stuff can be and my spouse tended to forget how gruelling caregiving can be. (This is obviously our Stuff but sharing.)

- with my kids the years I have needed to step my career back started just before middle school. When they were little, although it was expensive, their needs could be met with their other caregivers and there were benefits to having a team. But once they aged out of daycare, the kinds of issues they have needed my attention on (not always the same as time, but bandwidth) have been ones where they needed me/my spouse, not just a random caring adult.

- I actually calculated how many waking hours I was missing in a week (i.e. they nap at school, etc.) and it was fewer than I had felt, given that we had good weekends. But it definitely was a loss to me of some things and experiences. At one point we had a furlough and I took mine on Friday afternoons and that made a big difference, so it might be worth seeing what you can negotiate.

- I think women in this situation tend to do fine unless there's a divorce. No one plans for that. If I were doing it I think I would negotiate a post-nup, even though that's incredibly contrary to how my partner and I do's just that at 51, I've now seen so many of my female friends heavily penalized that it's on my mind.

- for me, I never put the daycare bill strictly against my salary (at one point that was negative dollars a paycheque once you added commuting costs in, on a cash flow basis, although with retirement contributions etc. it was closer to even) - I put it against both of our salaries as a percentage. Also, for me anyway, staying home would have involved some costs that were a part of daycare, like they had a mini soccer program etc.

- I know families for whom having one person home does make a huge difference in and benefit to their collective positive quality of life. So that is definitely worth taking into account. It does sometimes come at a burnout cost to that person. But working wouldn't necessarily change that, it would just change the shape of it.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:07 PM on March 10, 2022 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: I promise not to thread-sit! But re: the nanny suggestion (though I certainly get it!), I think it would be tough to fully focus on work knowing my kids were home (as well as for my toddler to understand why they couldn't just open my office door and be with me if I'm home). We live in a pretty small space, so it's not like I could decamp to another wing of the house. I also get the sense that some nannies don't love working in homes with the parents present because of the sense of having someone looking over their shoulder. And my toddler is happy with their current care situation - if we're going to change primary weekday caregivers, I'd rather it be to me than to another new person.
posted by onesocktwosockredsockbluesock at 2:07 PM on March 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Also, I'm not sure how staying home would save your family money -- you make six figures, after tax you're breaking about even now but would be making less if your toddler were still in care but you weren't working. And of course the long-term salary hit will make it harder to meet your family's financial goals.

Also, I find it hard as the breadwinner in my relationships to deal with feeling like it's all on my shoulders. Your husband may or may not feel the same way, but it's just much less risky to have two careers going than just one. Industries collapse, people become disabled, people burn out. He may find it significantly more stressful when it happens than he realizes now.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:10 PM on March 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

- I think women in this situation tend to do fine unless there's a divorce. No one plans for that. If I were doing it I think I would negotiate a post-nup, even though that's incredibly contrary to how my partner and I do's just that at 51, I've now seen so many of my female friends heavily penalized that it's on my mind.

Yes, this. I was a SAHM and got incredibly, incredibly screwed in the divorce. None of those people walked into it thinking it would happen, but it did. The worst part is that it really affected my child's quality of life and his future. Knowing what I do now, I'd never take the risk. I'd downshift, maybe, temporarily, but I'd never plan to spend years outside of the working world.

I promise not to thread-sit! But re: the nanny suggestion (though I certainly get it!), I think it would be tough to fully focus on work knowing my kids were home (as well as for my toddler to understand why they couldn't just open my office door and be with me if I'm home). We live in a pretty small space, so it's not like I could decamp to another wing of the house. I also get the sense that some nannies don't love working in homes with the parents present because of the sense of having someone looking over their shoulder. And my toddler is happy with their current care situation - if we're going to change primary weekday caregivers, I'd rather it be to me than to another new person.

Fair enough, although I was a nanny for years with parents in the house in NYC! It does take a certain personality, but I always liked it; it was good fun to do things like have lunch together and the kids loved it.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:14 PM on March 10, 2022 [6 favorites]

I have an in-law whose company allowed a number of parents to reduce to 60% time, maintaining full benefits, and wonder if an arrangement like that might be something to consider, if your company would allow it - 2 days a week your kiddo could stay home instead of going to daycare?
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 2:22 PM on March 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Postnup. Don't think it won't happen to you.
posted by HotToddy at 2:42 PM on March 10, 2022 [13 favorites]

Chiming in to say that having a nanny is an excellent option. I have two kids with the same age distribution as yours, and being the primary caregiver can be rough after a while. Having a nanny allows me to work while seeing my kids a lot more, and the nanny is able to handle baby related laundry and cooking, which really helps with the amount of house work I'm doing.
posted by MFZ at 2:44 PM on March 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

My mom staying home really benefited me, especially in my high school years, when both my sister and I did hours of after school activities (I couldn't have gone to the fancy clarinet teacher across town for example without her being at home). I think she liked it too. But it was upsetting to watch how she never really could get back to work- when I was in high school she started talking about working part time but by then her resume was 15 years old, and she didn't have anything new to put on it, and it just never happened. So I would plan aggressively to go back, when you want to go back, the volunteer work you'll use to bridge the gap in the meantime, etc IF you ever want to.

The other thing she did was she was ALWAYS room mom, etc, which I liked as a kid but more importantly imo she still has friends today from when I was little and I'm 30. So I would plan to throw yourself into school life/preschool life to help with isolation.
posted by clarinet at 2:51 PM on March 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

My mom stayed at home until I was 5, then she started looking for job and got one before I was set to start first grade. She was an elementary school teacher, which generally doesn't punish women for taking time off. I don't have many memories of that time, but I know she loved it- it helped that three of her best friends all had kids around the same time, so she had a community of new moms.

Have you talked to your boss? While it might not be possible, the pandemic has sparked all sorts of conversations around the difficulty of parenting, the potential for remote work, etc. Perhaps your boss might be more amenable now than they would have been a few years ago to figuring out some type of part-time work for you, with the understanding that you may want to transition back to full-time in the near(ish) future. That might also help you better decide if you want to be a full-time SAHM.
posted by coffeecat at 3:01 PM on March 10, 2022

Best answer: Are there any intermediate options to explore, like working part-time now and sending both kid(s) to daycare part-time? Does your experience make freelance consulting an option?

4. We regularly feel really stressed trying to manage life with two full-time working parents and two very small kids with no other family nearby (especially on workdays when our toddler is sick or daycare suddenly closes for an exposure). Having one parent home feels like it would go a long way towards easing some of that stress.

Are there any steps here that might be viable, like moving to be near family (or friends interested in setting up some kind of shared-care or mutual-support arrangement), paying for housekeeping help (if you don't already do that), and so on that might help with the stress?

Could it be possible for you to get a year's unpaid leave, try it out, and see how you feel about it?
posted by trig at 3:07 PM on March 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

this is not adequate or sufficient financial planning, just a floor to build on: whether or not you currently have an individual bank/investment account separate from joint finances, get one. get a second one if you do already have one. into it will go, from your husband’s paycheck, the most generously calculated salary you could pay a full-time nanny, adjusted upwards for any hours you can expect to spend on childcare that a paid outside professional would not, factoring in overtime. increase the amounts annually to keep pace with inflation. increase the amounts if you discover you underestimated the number of hours you would be working. after this is done, divide the remainder into whatever joint/individual account distribution you already have going. If you currently have a system that distributes some portion of your husband’s disproportionately higher paycheck to you for your individual spending, keep it going. separately.

if a lawyer tells you this arrangement won’t mean anything in hypothetical divorce proceedings, just scrap the whole idea of staying home.

this doesn’t touch the bigger problem of lost career growth & the probable difficulties you will face in returning to outside employment in 4-18 years, if you try to do that. find an expert to put a number on that for you. if it doesn’t feel too high, it’s not high enough.

if your partner hesitates at any point when the discussion turns from support, respect, and logistics to cold hard cash, scrap the whole idea of staying home.

I do not think it can be fair to say that a man who agrees that one home parent is desirable, but is not tempted to try to be that parent himself, is truly neutral on the question of whether you should do it. I have no trouble believing he is supportive and not coercive, but that is somewhat different.
posted by queenofbithynia at 3:32 PM on March 10, 2022 [17 favorites]

Best answer: Staying home is great but it's also a career hit that ripples for the rest of your working life; so my advice is, don't do it the traditional way - times have changed.

First of all, I would ask for a "salary" from the husband so you can continue to save. I feel it's never good to be completely dependent on a spouse, even if they're a great spouse - having a little fund of personal money is always good.

Also, consider if you can continue to do some career work from home. Personally I stayed home (pandemic helped) but also kept freelancing with some additional childcare, and thus I was able to really continue my career growth AND spend quality (well, and also sometimes stressed over-stretched) time with kiddo. That was a win-win for me.

PS - Nannies are great and everyone adjusts - don't discount!!
posted by nouvelle-personne at 3:34 PM on March 10, 2022 [7 favorites]

Purely from the perspective of the impact on your future earnings, don't do it. It's not just "losing momentum" etc.--the employment options for women who have left the workforce for a while are just WORSE. And that decision will compound over the entire length of your career, which will probably last longer than your kids are living at home. Even if you end up "zero-ing" out your salary for a few years with preschool, aftercare and hiring cleaners etc., long-term, you will make more money than if you leave the workforce for even a year.
posted by purple_bird at 3:35 PM on March 10, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: It sounds like you want to stay home with them. Most of your cons are about the hypothetical or average experiences of other people, whereas your pros are all your own desires. You don't mention career dreams or anything specific and definite you'd miss about work. It sounds like you really want to be with your kids. I agree about asking your husband to pay you a salary and socking some money away for a rainy day, but apart from that, it sounds like you want to quit and can quit, so I'd quit!
posted by shadygrove at 3:40 PM on March 10, 2022 [7 favorites]

The only way I'd do this is if my partner and I jointly financially prioritised me returning for a MA or MBA in my field to help me return to my career over the education funds of my kids. And a post-nup. And an absolute shitload of insurance. Which sounds awful but that's the truth.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:45 PM on March 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

& yes it would be a salary from your husband, not a “salary” with softening scare quotes. the problem is real and so would the money be. income is paid by somebody, and you are contemplating a setup where it is paid by him. if it makes you queasy to consider it that way, you are not alone. but the alternative is to do the same work without any guaranteed compensation at all, which I do not believe is more dignified.

besides, if he will be paying the mortgage and the bills alone once you quit your current job, that’s financial compensation right there. the question is not whether you can bear to accept a salary that originates from your husband, the question is how low a salary you are willing to accept. just room and board and utilities seems unacceptably low to me.

how to live with security and dignity when your husband functions financially as your employer, while trying to safeguard against letting him come to function as your employer socially, privately, and interpersonally, is a hard problem and an old struggle. the best collective knowledge we have won from that struggle is that motherhood under marriage is a problem of law, labor, money, and contracts, and no part of that problem is solved by rhetoric about love, teamwork, or family. or even by the things themselves.
posted by queenofbithynia at 3:58 PM on March 10, 2022 [14 favorites]

I have worked 60-75% time ever since my first child was born three decades ago and it has been wonderful. There was a hit in terms of salary and advancement but much less than if I had been out of the workforce. More importantly, it enjoy working and appreciated having that ability to have clear accomplishment and adult co-workers during the day. At the same time, I was able to adjust my schedule to my kids' needs and be there much more than if I was working full-time - good for me and for them.

What made it possible in the beginning was that I was already in job where I was valued in respected. I was able to make proposal for how to cover my job when I went out on maternity leave (only 6 weeks back in those days) and then when I came back, I only took back 75% of the work load. After that it was a mix of working as a consultant and then getting hired on to continue the same work and same hours, having specialized skills and a reputation and later working for myself.
posted by metahawk at 4:01 PM on March 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Is there any middle ground? Like, he leaves later in the morning, you leave early in the morning, you come home early, he comes home late, to minimize carer time? Is part-time work an option for you, job-sharing, or part-time consulting? Women lose a huge amount of work experience, raises, etc, when they leave the workforce.

It can be boring and mind-numbing to be at home with babies, which also argues for at least part-time work. Quality child care or a good nanny are actually fine for children, who benefit form having several loving adults in their lives. So, if you stay home, make sure there's some playschool or other activity in the budget.

If you do stay home, put in education time to keep your skills fresh. And decide now when you'll return, so you have a mental timeline, even though you can change that at any time.
posted by theora55 at 4:31 PM on March 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As someone who looks at a lot of later-in-life financial scenarios, losing career momentum (and Social Security, worker's comp, etc) are real problems. After a year or two, it's almost impossible to get back to where you were if you change your mind, even more so in a lot of fast moving careers, like tech.

However, I have often seen it work out when women worked half time (or even less) for the years until their kids are in late high school or college. So long as they kept their oar in and made a real effort to keep up with the latest tech and information, they often come out relatively unscathed, financially speaking.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:37 PM on March 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

No mom who decides to stay at home expects divorce. God knows my mom didn't.
posted by cyndigo at 5:39 PM on March 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I mean, no one expects divorce. For seventeen and a half years I thought I was in a remarkably solid and happy marriage, for about eighteen months I was puzzled and worried, and then I was divorced. It just happens. I never had stayed home with the kids, so I was financially fine, but I was certainly surprised.

And that’s not necessarily a reason not to stay home, it might still be a good decision. Just a decision that you should make after working out in fairly realistic detail what your financial position will be if your marriage does end after, say, ten years out of the workforce.
posted by LizardBreath at 6:00 PM on March 10, 2022 [5 favorites]

And one more report of a successful nanny/work-from-home parent relationship. I couldn’t work from home, but my ex did, and he really enjoyed having the kids around in odd moments of free time. Gender roles may have worked in his favor — I think it was easier for a man to be physically present in the apartment but still hold the line on not being available for the kids all day than it would have been for a woman — but it was very successful. Also, we got insanely lucky with our nanny, who was the best. Fifteen years after she stopped working for us, we were still visiting on holidays.
posted by LizardBreath at 6:15 PM on March 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Unless you fear layoffs in your husband's field, I think your family might benefit from you staying home until the youngest enters Pre-K or kindergarten. This depends upon how driven you are on those financial issues like 529s and what kind of home you want to purchase. In my opinion home is where the family is, so you can possibly accommodate some of your financial goals when you stay home by lowering requirements a bit for the house - but that's just how _I_ feel, you do you.
posted by TimHare at 6:51 PM on March 10, 2022

I think as your kids get older and ask for classes and lessons and afterschool playdates, it can be incredibly helpful to have someone at home. But along with that, I think you should consider the fact that you may find yourself staying at home longer than the start of the middle school years because their schedules have the potential to get so much more complicated.
posted by avocado_of_merriment at 7:05 PM on March 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm really surprised you aren't considering a nanny, at least for a couple of years. Yes, working from home with your kids around at all can be challenging, but good nannies take the kids out of the house for a chunk of the day, and their job is keeping them entertained and out of the way so you can get a lot of the fun of wfh and seeing your kids some during the day with an adult around to really manage things. It sounds like you are financially in a good position to do this and it would almost certainly be long-term financially better for your family than you stopping work completely. And nannies provide a lot of flex and support beyond pure childcare, including helping with cleaning, shopping for the kids, etc (obviously depends on the nanny but these seem reasonably common). I think people underestimate the convenience that you can get from this setup in the early years.
It might also be a great time for you to look into part-time work, since you say you're somewhat underpaid for your geography and sector. Could you find a part-time gig that paid near what you're making now, and use that to have more flexibility?
posted by ch1x0r at 8:27 PM on March 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

My mother stayed home for a couple of my early years, cycling in and out of the workforce a couple times. When she was working, we had a nanny and she was *the best* - another vote for nanny.
posted by randomquestion at 8:55 PM on March 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Nthing the suggestions for a nanny and maybe scaling back to part time or consulting work if you can swing it. My best friend went with this combo and it’s given her the best of all worlds in terms of security and flexibility, especially as her family’s needs have evolved (from one kid and a toddler, to two kids and a baby, to two kids and a toddler).

Her husband earns multiple times what she does, but he works long and irregular hours. She is in a profession where her license would lapse if she were to step out for more than a few years. She is able to stay current and maintain her standing by working 2-3 days a week. The nanny has taught the kids to speak a third language fluently and the kids love her. My friend still spends a lot of time with the kids but she and her husband also get to have some breathing room, which has been hugely beneficial for their mental health and the quality of their relationship.
posted by keep it under cover at 9:23 PM on March 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My husband and I took turns in taking time away from work. Probably both our careers have suffered. That's ok with us. I really enjoyed the time with my kids, and it shifted my perspective on the role of work in my life. Consider all the important points people make about finances and equity, but also, make a decision that works for you guys. You are not a statistic! I am ultimately very happy I had the opportunity to spend time with my kids at home. I also think it's kind of silly to say that stay at home parenting is mind numbing. It's quite challenging, working and playing with little people all day. It's different to the kind of work I do for money, but it's not less challenging and it required plenty of thinking, planning, strategising, reading and creativity.
posted by jojobobo at 12:19 AM on March 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I haven't heard a ton of people talking about part time work, but as someone who did that--part time work is a really amazing option if you can do it.

I was between jobs when my son was born and didn't care for being a SAHM (it sounds like you will like it more, which is great). I lucked into a part time professional position at a startup--they needed my flexibility as much as I needed theirs, and the position grew with the company but always stayed part time at my insistence. I worked between 15 and 25 hours a week at different times over the 7 years I was there, with clearly set hours.

I did pass up on opportunities for more seniority, but that was also because I preferred to be an individual contributor instead of a manager. It was definitely not as much career progress as I would have made if I'd wanted to push, but I made good professional money, had current skills and a current resume (and I'm a non-technical person on two patents!), really enjoyed grown up time. My son had great day care experiences, but only about 6 hours a day, 4 days a week, so it was a lot more like school, with adventures and things and lots of time at home.

It sounds like this is not about the money, it's about your family's well being, both short term and long term. I really think part time work might be a great answer for you, if your employer can be flexible or you're able to find the right opportunity.
posted by gideonfrog at 4:31 AM on March 11, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I cannot assist with your root question but I will give you this, whatever decision you make will be the wrong one. It won't really be the wrong one, but at some point down the road your brain will tell you it was the wrong one. This is just part of what brains do, but it's a thing that causes a lot of. human misery. When this happens don't let your brain get away with it. Instead just have a quiet laugh and remember that hindsight is perfect and second guessing just makes you nuts.

In case you're curious this is a fundamental teaching of Buddhism, I recommend the secular variety. Also, if you meditate it's a lot easier to see the crap your brain pulls and not let it make you nuts.
posted by Awfki at 5:07 AM on March 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It sounds like you want to be home with your kids. Future financial and career challenges should not be ignored (for example, life insurance), but neither should your desire to stay home with your children.

Having children takes a lot of sacrifice no matter how you slice it. As you point out, you wanted to have them, and you like being with them. They are not going to be little forever, this is precious time for you and them.

If you try it and hate it, you can always revert to something simalar to what you have now.

Good luck...
posted by rhonzo at 5:48 AM on March 11, 2022 [3 favorites]

I don’t have kids yet, but had a fantastic childhood experience with a nanny. She was an older woman whose own children were in high school; my parents helped her secure a green card (she was an immigrant from Mexico). She was a beloved auntie figure in our family, my parents are still in touch with her and she came to all our weddings. We moved when I was 9 and a few years later her daughter came and lived with us for a year as a nanny as well. A good experience all around.
posted by amaire at 5:55 AM on March 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

I love (and terribly miss) spending time with the kid as a working parent. And this has worked for us. We do half-time care outside the home. In our city there were many options for half-time care. So my partner or I go pick up kid over lunch break and then we have a babysitter come in for the afternoon. We both WFH for covid. And being able to watch kid, have a quick conversation, watch them play - has been huge for me. And end of day pick-up at exactly the minute I finish work rather than half an hour later after commute - has been precious for weekday evenings which seem to rush by so quickly.
posted by alady at 6:05 AM on March 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

DM'd you :)
posted by nouvelle-personne at 10:32 AM on March 11, 2022

I was a full-time mom for a bazillion years, until my kids were in high school (and also Mr Corpse was able to take on more of the parenting and household responsibilities as his career changed). I don't regret leaving the workforce for all that time, even though now at work I'm a generation older than all of my coworkers. If you have the right personality for it and the financial resources, it's a great job. I do sometimes wonder how things would've gone if I'd had a career but meh, you can't have everything.

I’m aware that many stay-at-home parents get bored or depressed

Absolutely! But so do a lot of people with paying jobs.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:15 PM on March 12, 2022

Response by poster: So many great thoughts here - really appreciate the various perspectives/suggestions/ideas/cautions shared. I marked particularly helpful comments as best answers, but every single one gave me something to think about. I'll come back in a few months to share any updates about what I decide.
posted by onesocktwosockredsockbluesock at 3:09 PM on March 14, 2022

Response by poster: For anyone who finds this at a later date - I thought and thought, and had a lot of talks with loved ones, including my husband, and ultimately have decided to go back to work full time. I love, love, love my kids. They are incredible. But I am finding that full-time work is absolutely making me a better parent, partner, and human. My kids are very well cared-for by their daytime caregivers, as much as part of me wishes they were home with me all the time.

This is not to say that there haven't been challenges - there have already been multiple instances where one of the kids is sick and needs to be home, and the juggle and struggle is real on those days. But overall, this is working for our family. I may reevaluate remaining full-time as they get older, but this is where we've landed for now, and where I think we will stay for the foreseeable future.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts.
posted by onesocktwosockredsockbluesock at 3:25 PM on October 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

« Older Inflation filter: coffee   |   Where to buy amla powder? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.