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TO STAY AT HOME OR NOT STAY AT HOME: What if you disagree?

QUESTION:

My husband liked the idea of my staying home from work to care for our kids . . . UNTIL I got pregnant and started planning to quit my job.  Now he wants me to put the baby in day care and keep working.  My paycheck will barely cover the expense so I don’t see the point and resent that he’s going back on our agreement.  What should I do?

ANSWER:

I’m sure it seems unfair that something you thought was set in stone has changed, but life in general (and parenthood in particular) sometimes throws us curve balls and we need to be able to shift with them.

First, do you have clarity about why your husband changed his mind?  I’ll assume his motivation is financial, which tells me he may be feeling the pressure that comes with moving from a dual-income to a single-income family with a baby to boot.

If my assumption is correct, think creatively about the answer and try to avoid a black and white, “win or lose” solution.  Work together to brainstorm some possible ideas – like working for a temporary number of months or years after the baby is born or moving to a part-time schedule – to try to meet both your needs.  Believe it or not, there are numerous ways to compromise.

For starters, check out our blog on
5 Ways to Compromise in Your Marriage

 

Second, reach out and ask others for advice.  So many mothers struggle with this and are happy to share what they’ve learned about staying home, going back to work, and everything in between.  Aside from simply helping you to navigate this decision, getting support from others who are also walking this road can be tremendously helpful.

Check out this personal and helpful article on
The Decision to Stay Home

 

Third, get laser-focused on your savings plan and exactly how much you’ll need in whatever scenario you choose.  It’s always a great idea to meet with a financial planner to create a reasonable and realistic budget and ensure that you have what you need for anticipated expenses and a well-padded emergency fund (at a minimum).  Parenting always costs more than anticipated!

Finally, be honest about your priorities.  If you are committed to staying at home and want to make it work financially, be willing to make the sacrifices this may require.  Moving to a smaller home, postponing some of your travel plans, or cutting your monthly expenses on things like premium cable or the gym may be difficult but worth it if it allows you to stay at home with your new baby without your finances taking a major hit.

Whatever you decide, make sure that both you and you husband are reasonably content with the outcome and remember that it’s not permanent!  Just as your husband changed his mind, you should also feel free to raise concerns, make suggestions, or request adjustments as you begin parenthood so your unity remains intact and you provide a stable, loving, and nurturing environment for your expanding family.

Enjoy motherhood!

 

 

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