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## Facing Unemployment and Considering Stay-at-Home Motherhood

I am currently facing the challenging prospect of losing my job while also navigating the responsibilities of being 7 months pregnant and caring for a 2 year old. Despite our household income being relatively high at 240k, it will decrease to 175k once I am unemployed. This significant change has led me to seriously consider becoming a stay-at-home mother for the next three years in order to devote my time to raising our children.

### Exploring Options for Stay-at-Home Motherhood

My desire to stay at home and prioritize the upbringing of our children is met with resistance from my spouse, who believes that my income is necessary for our financial stability. However, I firmly believe that with some adjustments, we can make do with a lower income and still provide for our family. I am willing to tighten our budget and make sacrifices in order to make this transition possible.

### Addressing Financial Concerns and Planning for the Future

One of the main reasons my spouse is hesitant about me leaving the workforce is the fear of losing out on potential savings growth in the stock market. While I understand the importance of financial security, I also believe that the value of being present for our children during their formative years outweighs the short-term monetary gains. I am confident that taking three years off from actively contributing to our savings will not jeopardize our long-term financial goals, especially considering the potential benefits for our family’s well-being.

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With the help of AI Legalese Decoder, I can easily navigate the legal aspects involved in making this decision. By using the platform to decipher complex legal language and understand my rights as an employee, I can confidently approach my upcoming job loss and potential transition to stay-at-home motherhood. The tool can provide me with valuable insights and guidance on how to navigate any legal challenges or concerns that may arise during this process.

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41 Comments

  • GrinsNGiggles

    I think you’re going to have to run the numbers, with or without a financial advisor.

    I assume I’m in a much lower COL area than you, but I know lawyers and other people with advanced degrees who became SAHM’s because even with a law degree, they’d barely add to household funds after paying for daycare.

    Numbers I’d choose to run:

    1. income & expected earnings while working from home, possibly include 1 day/week daycare because OMG, everyone needs a break.
    2. income & expected earnings while you both work. Include full-time daycare, a bump in the meal budget, and cleaning help. Maybe a woman really can have it all, but no one can safely DO it all.
    3. Savings growth over time reflecting both of the above scenarios
    4. Where you think the fat can be cut
    5. Statistics on child performance in various care scenarios. Don’t just show one side – it’s generally true that early daycare is pretty good for social development. Bad for how sick you all get, though!

    Good luck! I hope you update us.

  • Dear_Ocelot

    Plenty of people live on 175k or less, of course it’s possible. (That’s with two working parents in my case, I’m afraid!)

  • stop-rightmeow

    Where do you live? Are you paying for daycare today?

    I live in HCOL area and I know quite a few middle class SAHM. For their families, the cost of daycare is so outrageous here, that it’s actually cheaper for them to stay home with their children– most of them made around what you do, so after taxes, their salary completely went toward daycare.

    I also have a few friends that work part-time and keep their children at home, so they are saving on daycare and still have some income coming in.

    A lot more info is needed here to make an educated decision but I’ve seen it done on income levels like yours.

  • HistoricalBridge7

    You can do it on 175K income. Plenty of people do it on a lot less. It’s not going to be easy and you should expect a lifestyle change. You need to change your mindset of “but I make 6 figures” to making $85K a year and live an $85K a year lifestyle

  • 37347

    175k is more than doable to be a SAHM. Many people live on less.

  • Okiedokieartuhchokie

    Unless you’re in a lot of debt, 175k is doable in most major cities. It’s not rolling in money rich but it’s manageable

  • LilJourney

    This is as much a relationship/values question as it is a financial one.

    On the one hand – ANYTHING can happen in 30 years. ON the other hand – ANYTHING could happen tomorrow. The market could grow / the market could tank.

    You might be put on bedrest. You may love being a SAHM and could even start your own business from home and end up making more than you did before. You could hate being a SAHM and decide to go back to work. Your spouse could be injured in a car wreck and lose their income.

    You just don’t know the future. It’s always a risk – key is being on the same page so you and your spouse face the risk together. Talk it out and practice listening and come to an equitable solution/plan. Then both of you need to be open to modifying that plan depending on how things play out.

  • Alarming-Mix3809

    Where do you live that you can’t support 2 adults and a baby on $175k?

  • 4PFChangs

    if you can’t make bye on 175k for a family of 4 there are serious spending problems

  • Mama_Mushie_1996

    Isnt $175K like upper middle class?

  • lynxss1

    My wife is a SAHM. My salary now is $150k but was more like $110k when she started. Day care was so expensive/non existent with years long waiting lists to get in that it just made sense for her to stay at home. Even if we could get into a day care it would’ve cost more than she was making.

    She is now disabled and would have a hard time finding anything, kids are in school but she’s still a stay at home mom. I don’t mind but it does make it a bit harder on us. It’s hard to avoid comparing yourself to the neighbors and coworkers who are all dual income and go on overseas vacations or cruises a few times a year while you struggle to afford a family road trip vacation to the next state over.

    We are managing allright and still on schedule for retirement. Just manage your expenses and have realistic expectations. Don’t let lifestyle creep eat up too much of your finances.

  • PursuitOfThis

    Let’s say over the next 3 years you are able to save $100k from the $65k per year you would have made, less day care costs.

    Let’s say you are in your early to mid 30’s.

    In 23 years, at 10% compounded monthly (30 year VTI total stock market rate of return) your 3 year hiatus will have cost you $976,753. Or, $618k if you use a more reasonable 8%.

    In 30 years, that same $100k could be worth $1,954,447.

    How does this affect your retirement outlook? Do you have a plan to make up the difference?

  • Major-Distance4270

    We need more details. Where do you live? What is your rent/mortgage? Also, what industry do you work in and how hard would it be for you to re-enter that job market in 3 years?

  • cv_init_diri

    Of course, My wife stopped working both times for our two kids ~4 years each. And our household income was certainly less than yours. It all comes down to how you budget. Of course certain luxuries will be missed but life is always a matter of tradeoffs.

  • Lower_Trade_2313

    I know low income stay at home moms, so it’s up to you what you’re willing to sacrifice. Just know if you stay at home, you’re sacrificing your career and some of your security. You can’t just pick up your job again like if you never left for 5 to 10 years. Get a post-nuptial agreement for your plans if the marriage goes wrong. Assets are your friends and store them now so you can have something to show for. I think 5 years of consistent high savings that is just for you will give you the security you need that you have lost. Rich people can stay at home parents because they have trust funds and so much in assets they will never be trapped in a bad marriage. I’m warning you but I do subscribe to this stay-at-home mom lifestyle. I was a stay-at-home wife. No kids for 5 years and that was great

  • mklinger23

    $175k really isn’t bad. You’ll have to make a realistic budget and see what you can cut. Maybe with your current savings and lifestyle, it’s not possible. Child care is crazy expensive. I’ve heard some people say it’s $25k/child. It would be about the same if you worked or not.

  • [deleted]

    I have to guess, but you must be living in CA, otherwise I cannot understand my you would not be able to live with 175K.

    If you have million dollar mansion and a million+ dollar mortgage, well yes, maybe, but I tell you, I am considered middle class in my state with 60K take home, I am debt free, my house is paid, my car is paid, I never run a balance on my credit cards, and I still save $1,000+ every month. And trust me, I do not look what something cost, if I want it, I buy it.

  • UsidoreTheLightBlue

    Unless theres something going on that we don’t know about like you like a $2m house then yes absolutely you can be a SAHM and live off of a $175k salary without question.

    I mean good lord when I got married and had our kid my wife was a stay at home mom while I worked for the first year on a $50k salary.

    It all depends on your expenses and what your goals are, but I’m sure you can make adjustments.

  • SwimmingArm765

    So my answer depends a lot on your career, its trajectory, and how a 3+ year break would affect you.

    Mathematically, as the lower (dollar amount) earner of the relationship, your staying home could pencil out. Factor in lack of daycare costs, plus the ability to potentially save costs on things like cooking from scratch.

    If you think you could transition right back to a similar job after three years then it’s something to consider.

    Your spouse is not wrong, however, that there could be some financial opportunity cost. For example, if your total savings towards retirement is reduced while you are home. Or if you have to dip into savings to get through the three years. That will need to be balanced with the benefit to your family of having you home.

    In reality, however, I have seen many parents who take “a couple years off” find that 3 years turns into 5+. And then when they do return they are taking an effective pay cut (when adjusted for inflation). In addition, their career trajectory is off track, so that by the time the child is 5 or 7 or 10 the parent is far away from what they would have been earning if they had not taken that “break.”

    Money is not the sole consideration here, but every parent who takes a break to do home care needs to understand that it changes the math. It could be as simple as both in the relationship working an extra year or two on the back end before retiring. Or it could mean more, depending on your situation.

    My advise is to not just think of how it will affect your family for a year, but how it will affect your family for decades. This is both emotionally and financially. There can be a lot of benefit of one parent being home and taking some stress off the parent bringing home the paycheck. But it could also put a lot of responsibility on the paycheck parent to provide financially. The child’s early years are also a consideration. (My kids both went to daycare so this isn’t a dig at parents who choose to continue working.)

    Parenting is wonderful but also very hard. This is one of those decisions that you have to agree on together. Good luck.

  • Shot-Artichoke-4106

    These decisions are always easier when you have real numbers. So, run the numbers. See what your budget would look like on one salary. Also, rework your current budget to include the 2nd child for a fair compassion. If you can create a workable budget on 1 income, then the conversation is less about can we are more about should we. What will you give up to stay home and based on your priorities, goals, lifestyle, is it a good trade off?

    Regarding losing out on savings – you can run those numbers too as part of deciding if the tradeoffs are worth it. Look at how much your houshold would save if you worked and how much would you save if you didn’t. Then assume a reasonable rate of return on that difference over the next 30 years. Then you’ll know what kind of savings you would be giving up.

  • _throw_away222

    Without knowing any other information it’s difficult to say. I will say that being a SAHP is a 2 two yes decision. Because if not, resentment will likely grow and that’s the biggest killer of relationships.

    And realistically, can you cut back? People love saying they could cut back but behaviorally it’s difficult to do so. I see you’re in San Francisco. So while your income combined is very high, so is your cost of living.

    More information is necessary however to truly see if this is feasible for your family. Sure others do and have done this at or below your HHI, but that’s because it was an aligned vision between partners and spouses

  • Significant_Tie_1016

    If you want to be a SAHM, it’s pointless to try to project your earnings

    The numbers you need to crunch are your current expenses and see if you can make it on one income

    The feeling you have about wanting to stay home will only become more exaggerated if you go to work and start to see that your kids miss out on activities bc your schedule won’t allow it and you feel guilty for leaving work when they’re sick. The two parents working, kids in full time daycare is a grueling and soul crushing routine.

    If you want to do it, find a way to make the numbers work

  • terrapinone

    You will never ever get that time back with your kids. For their own personal and educational development, stay at home with them. You both make enough, you’d be throwing every penny you make on daycare anyways. But at a cost to the kids.

  • ajgamer89

    It’s definitely possible, but will require some sacrifices that you’ll want to discuss with your spouse before making the jump. My wife wanted to make a similar jump and it meant reducing our household income from 130k to 90k, and while money has been tighter we’ve been fine for the past 2 years since we made the change (and my income has also gone up a lot since then too which helps).

    You’ll want to discuss where your income is currently going and how that will change without that extra 65k coming in. Things like mortgage/rent and utilities are going to be pretty static, but you can make cuts in other areas like how much you eat out, how much you save (knowing it will likely be temporary until kids are all school age), your travel budget, etc. And don’t forget to consider savings on daycare costs and income taxes (when you go to a single income, all that lost income was being taxed at your highest marginal rate so it can be a significant difference).

    Also remind her that this is not a permanent change. Take it one year at a time. You may decide after a year you don’t like it and want to go back to work. Or you may want to keep at it.

    Reading some of the comments, it looks like the core of the question is more of a relationship one than a finance one. It’s not hard to support a family of 4 on $175k, especially in a MCOL area. But it is hard to navigate differences in values, where you value quality time with your kids while they’re young and your spouse values travel and saving aggressively. You need to figure out how to compromise when you’ve got competing values and desires.

  • sunflower-frog

    This isn’t enough information to answer your question. But for context, you make over 2x the average household, and are in the 94% for earnings at 175k, 240k is 97% – I find this really important to be aware of and to have perspective on the reality of most families in the US. You should be able to save for retirement, save for college, have a one income household, and life a very comfortable life on 175k. Although where you live matters.

  • humanbeing1979

    1. If you don’t know your mortgage I would start by looking at your finances together. This isn’t and shouldn’t be siloed. If your spouse suddenly dies, do you know how to proceed? This is my first worry.

    2. How miserable would you be having to work while paying someone else to watch the kid you wanted to be with? If you think it’s going to affect your quality of life then the 65k you make by keeping your job is actually costing your life, and your family’s well being. If your spouse doesn’t understand this that’s my second worry.

    3. With your spouse’s income and where you live, I think you are middle class but I’m not seeing how that’s the real question. If your spouse wants to aggressively save (is she trying to FIRE?) then sure, your 65k would be helpful but what’s vital is your health and happiness. That should trump everything in a solid relationship.

    Your spouse should still be able to save a decent amount in South Florida without your income for 3 years. Speaking as someone who is the breadwinner while husband freelances and we live in a HCoL city, we make about $200k combined but husband’s freelance fluctuates wildly. Even if we weren’t planning to retire early, if my husband had a particularly bad year or two my family of 3 could still just use my $133k income for our average spending ($80-90k) and save at a slower rate. Slower in that we’d retire at 50 instead of say 47. A slight bummer but definitely not the end of the world by any means.

    It’s only 3 years in the scheme of your entire life and they are only babies once. Enjoy and I hope for your and your new kid’s sake your spouse gets all that.

  • GroundbreakingRun186

    My wife and I had 275 (base salary) HHI when our first kid was born and she quit to be a SAHM. I made 155 (171 with bonus) at the time. We now have 2 under 2 and our second is just a couple months old. We live in a MCOL city.

    I won’t lie, it’s tight. We bought a house when rates were at 7% so mortgage is a big chuck of our take home. The biggest adjustment though was cutting out the lifestyle creep we let happen pre kids (eg frequent take out when we’re tired, being wasteful with food, not really paying attention to grocery prices, ordering the extra appetizers, not buying generic brand household items). We also cut out travel and nights out, but doing the travel and nights out we used to seem impossible now that we have kids, so that was easy to cut.

    Some things that helped us make the decision

    1. Model out your 401k (DIY in excel or google a calculator). If taking a break in contributions and picking back up in 5 years still leaves you comfortable and financially independent, then it’s more of a question of how do you want to prioritize your money (now or when your retired). The difference between 20k compounding at 10% for 35 v 30 years is about 200k, so assuming you were contributing 20k total, and completely stop contributing , that’s 1 million dollars in opportunity cost.

    1a. Would you pay 1 million dollars to get more time with your kids when they’re babies/toddlers? For us the answer was yes

    2. What short term savings goals do you have? Can we go without/push back a you years?

    3. What spending can we cut (see paragraph above for easy ones). But we also switched from fresh to frozen berries for our oldest to save money. Small things like that add up

    4. How easily could you get your job (or a similar one) with a similar salary?

    5. Do you have anything unvested at your current company you’d have to give up?

    Then there were also things that my wife (and I) found out the hard way about SAHMs. Everyone knows (or should) that it’s extremely hard. But it’s so much harder than we thought it would be, mentally, physically and emotionally (both our kids had some temporary complications as babies which made it harder). I had 4 months paternity leave so I kinda experienced stay at home parenting and wfh parenting, even though it’s work,the mental break of going to work and not constantly being mom/dad duty is huge.

    Ultimately it’s 100% worth it though. My wife says she works 10x harder as a SAHM, but is 100x more fulfilled. I also love it since I wfh and can take breaks and see my kids throughout the day. Some days I’ll work 3 hours during normal business hours and finish the rest after the kids are asleep. I love being able to see my kids whenever I want throughout the day.

    If you’re questioning it, try to see if you can get a couple months unpaid leave after paid leave ends. If it doesn’t feel right go back to work.

  • AGWS1

    What do you value more: spending the early years with your children or a bigger bank account?

    Get a firm budget in place and then make the determination. I believe you can make it work.

    Your spouse may be concerned that you may not want to return to the workforce or that she has added pressure of being the sole provider. Neither of these things is a wrong feeling. Ferret out what her true concern is and address it.

    Only you and your wife can determine what is important to both of you and make the necessary concessions.

  • mamamerganser

    Just do it. I’m doing it right now (last day of work is this week) and we make a lot less than you. My spouse was also semi-unsupportive initially although he’s coming around to it. I made my choice. Seriously, the health/growth rate of your stock market money? Bleh. Plus it’s not forever. Fast forward 10 years and you’re lucky if you see your kids for dinner every night, especially if you don’t bond with them as youngsters. I went back to work after baby #1 because he was so fussy and hard to watch but he did great in a group setting at daycare. But now I’m leaving my job and prepping for baby #2, while baby #1 is now old enough for swim lessons, and a lot more fun preschool type actovities. Can’t wait. Wish me luck! Good luck to you.

  • Bird_Brain4101112

    You’re going to have to give a lot more info than gross HHI. In some places you guys could coast on that easily. In others you’re going to be shaking cans at passersby to eat.

  • Deadsure

    Is this real? 175k in Florida is more than doable unless you are way overstretched on the mortgage or you have some expensive habits / hobbies.

  • One-Introduction-566

    You can definitely be have a SAHM at a middle class income. Especially yours. In the end it’s about priorities. You might make a bit less money, things might be tighter, but you can’t necessarily put a price tag on being home with kids if that’s important to you. They’ll only be small for so long and studies show it’s often for the best in the first three years of a kids life.

    At 175k, I think it’s definitely doable if you cut back in some areas. Especially if you live in a MCOL area. At that point, it’s just priorities. People make it work on less than that all the time and plenty of two income families with kids make less than that. Especially if you only plan to take 3 years off

  • AssociationOpen9952

    1. Is it fair to your spouse to be the only one working?
    2. Is it just about the numbers?
    3. What is the long term impact?

    We have two young children with 2 incomes and we could have scrapped by on one income but it would have put us way behind. We upgraded homes and stacked a good bit of savings.

    Also – most SAHM that I know still utilize daycare so that is not a full cost savings.

  • lakelifeasinlivin

    Yes you are wrong, because its 2 person decision and partner is not on board so goals are not aligned. Maybe there is a middle ground 7 months pregnant not going to be much opportunity. Maybe compromise of one year postpartum.

  • Servile-PastaLover

    Not sure what you mean by “losing out on our savings growing in the stock market”?

    Is this your 401k? Would you be stopping your 401k contributions during all three years?

    Keep in mind that your existing contributions will continue to grow, even if you’re no longer adding additional money to your account.

  • Bradimoose

    You’re not wrong but some people are out of control with investing and amassing millions of dollars in stocks so they can be rich at age 70.

  • Omnom_Omnath

    lol get a job. You think your wife wouldn’t also love to watch her children grow up? Thats a privilege, not a right.

  • Effective-Finance641

    Lololololololololol

  • roxxtor

    Need more info. How old are you and your spouse? How many years away from retirement are both of you? How much do you currently have saved? Will you be a SAHM save you on daycare costs/nanny costs? If so, how much? How much are your monthly living costs? Do you have an emergency fund?

  • babb33

    Financially it is possible. Emotionally and relationship related can only be answered between the two of you. Communicate openly, honestly, and often is the only recommendations I have.

  • manatwork01

    7 months pregnant and about to lose your job? Id be hiring an employment lawyer.