Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ever looming question

parker's 3rd birthday is coming up in less than 2 months!  i am super excited about his party that my sweet friends jennifer & shalini are helping plan.  but that is not the topic of this post.  for almost 3 years since sweet parker's birth, i've contemplated staying at home.  i often wonder if it is better to work hard & sacrifice now so james and i can have more financial freedom in coming years, or if staying home now on a tight budget would be better for our kids and our mental health.  i don't want to look back in coming years and wish i would've stayed home.  at the same time, i don't want to look back on the great opportunity i have at work right now and wish i would've worked another year or two to have the freedom of no house payment.

it's a never ending debate that sparked again while calculating our taxes this year.  for kicks i figured our tax with and without my income--we would save $xx,xxx on federal income tax alone if i quit working!  if the government wants to give motivation to quit that is pretty strong encouragement right there.  looking at our excel budget to see how much we could save on childcare (even though the boys are not in full time day care) just adds fuel to the fire.  what is the true marginal utility of my second income?

but then i think about how good we have it--i have a flexible job schedule, 3 weeks of vacation time plus holidays, weekends, etc. some spouses go overseas and miss out on whole years of their children's development to serve their family/country.  if i work 40 hours a week (and some of that from home), i am not missing out on very much of my children's lives. 

many firefighters get second jobs, but again--what is the marginal utility of that 2nd income?  not that i want to make less money to pay less taxes but our tax system highly rewards such choices.
an article pops up in my newsfeed about "how the happiest people spend their money" and then i watch a contrasting suzie ortman show about saving and planning for the future.  torn.

i can lay my head down to rest each night knowing that james and i are doing our best to love on our kids, provide for our kids, and make every choice with their best short term and long term interest in mind.  while we may not always know the best choice to make, they are choices we make together.  we are not trapped or locked into to a choice forever, whether it is continuing to work or staying home.  only God knows what the future holds and we need to seek his guidance and wisdom along the way.  g'nite yall.  love and peace in all of your decision making!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a stay at home mom, its completely a no-brainer for me. I could make a few extra bucks now, or I could be with my babies, teaching them, winning them for Christ and just having a deeper, more intimate relationship. Money will be there later. I am not interested in buying my kiss a lot of presents, but blessing them with my presence. The truth is, even with one income I have food on my table and a roof over my head. I could be richer, but to most of the world I am already beyond rich.

Silvy said...

anonymous,
that is great that you've found the best choice for your family. every person and situation is unique--what is best for your may not be best for everyone. you can still do all of the things you listed, "teach them, win them for Christ" etc as a working parent (does your husband not do these things because he works?).

money might not be there later (look at the number of foreclosures).

i don't think any parent says they work to "buy their kids a lot of presents." on the other hand, many parents like myself do want to provide experiences for their kids (sports, trips, college, etc). no parent sets out to "be richer" (i agree we are all beyond rich).

i know this is a very personal and sensitive topic. these are my thoughts based on our family situation--i respect your decisions and hope you do the same of others.

Krista said...

Silvy,

As a stay at home mom, I have a lot of respect for working mothers. I have worked part-time off and on since having kids and honestly wouldn't mind finding a part-time job now, but I have realized that it creates a lot of stress in our family. I really admire moms who can work and make time for their families too. It definitely isn't for everyone. I think the only time I would discourage a mom to work is if it meant that she would hardly ever see her husband or children, and if it only brought on more stress and chaos. I think some children can be happy and thriving in a daycare setting while others aren't. There are so many determining factors to this debate that I just would rather say, "Do what works for your family!If you are doing it and it is not working, then reevaluate and make changes."
The Proverbs 31 woman was a busy woman in the home and in her business ventures...the one thing she did not do was neglect one thing over another. She was honored because she chose to take care of her household well, but that did not mean she spent all her time at home with her family. :)

kristina said...

Silvy I admire not only you as a person, but you as a mother. Every choice you make may not be the same choice that I would make- but I bet you could say the same about me!

You are exactly right, every family must make the best decision that they can at any given moment, in their particular circumstances. What works for one family may not work for another. I appreciate your open mindedness and understanding.

It is tough trying to weigh out the choice of working or staying at home. I have gone back and forth on the very same issue since having Eleri. I am actually starting a part time job on Tuesday and will work until our new little one comes along. Like you, I am not working to "buy my kids a lot of presents" and even with a job, I feel I can "bless them with my presence" by being fully present when I am with them, without additional worry and stress about finance.

Bottom line Silvy, you are doing a great job of raising your two little ones. I know you will continue to do an amzing job whether you stay at work or stay at home!

Carol said...

Silvy,

I've spent countless hours debating this in my head and weighing the pros and cons. I work a 40+ hour/week job from home, and sometimes I'd rather just go out and work away from home and send my kid to a daycare, because it is really hard to separate work from family when it's so intertwined. If teaching jobs weren't so hard to come by here, and if I wasn't 9 months pregnant!, I would seriously consider it. I think either way has its pros and cons, but ultimately, I won't let my family or kids suffer because we don't have enough money to be responsible parents or to give our kids opportunities that they will love (sports, trips, etc!)

I'm sure whatever you do will benefit your family wonderfully :)

Kari Beth said...

Hey Silvy!

You are the cookie giveaway winner!

Please email me at,
thehighlifeblog(at)gmail(dot)com, with your address and Holly will ship your cookies out sometime this week!

Thanks for entering. Your boys are precious by the way :)

Erin said...

Statistically, this decision has virtually no consequence on the boys outcomes (emotional, physical, educational, financial).

In short, I totally agree with Kristina.

"Bottom line Silvy, you are doing a great job of raising your two little ones. I know you will continue to do an [amazing] job whether you stay at work or stay at home!"

Try to focus on what makes you happy.