When you are planning for a family, expenses are always a concern. Whether you plan to return to work quickly or would prefer to stay home for a while, there is no question that becoming a mother changes your financial picture. If you want to stay home past the length of paid leave your company offers, you may wonder if you will be able to make ends meet. Everyone has different needs when it comes to financial security. Running the numbers, including the cost of childcare as well as your transportation expenses, often shows that you may be able to afford to stay home after all. For anyone considering taking an extended period off, there are a few money moves you can make to make it more affordable.
Consider how much you will save each month by staying home. In addition to not paying for childcare and work transportation costs, think about meals. If you have a stressful job, you may have relied more than you would have liked on takeout and convenience food. While you won't eliminate that cost entirely, you may be able to cut it down if it made up a significant portion of your budget. If you are still paying off student loans, consider using a private lender to consolidate this expense. You can apply online and get an estimated rate in two minutes. Consolidating can lower your monthly payments, adding some breathing room to your budget.
Don't think that by not working you can avoid childcare entirely. There will come a point when you need a little time away. If you don't have close family or friends to help out, hiring a babysitter may be the best choice. It is important to take this time to recharge. It allows you to be a better partner and mother. Don't assume because you make the decision to be a stay-at-home mom you don't deserve a break.
Concerns over giving up all of your income are common. If the thought of not having your own income or being too worried about your finances is keeping you from staying home, consider looking for a part-time position. Whether it is in your field or something new, working part-time hours allows you to spend time at home as well as in the workforce. Some families are able to coordinate their schedules to avoid using childcare while both parents work. While this is great if you can manage it, you shouldn't do it at the risk of taking away from time as a family.
Nothing you decide before you have a child should be set in stone. You may find that time home is not as fulfilling as you expected and you are anxious to return to work. You may have planned to return to work, but realize you would prefer to stay home. There is no one right answer, only what works for your family. Flexibility in your approach is also helpful as your child grows. You may choose to stay home full-time initially, return to work part-time for a while, and then return to full-time work once your child starts school. Adapting to the situation and making plans that work the best for everyone in your family is what matters, not what you think you should or should not do.