Well, my husband and I don't have college degrees. We are typical lower middle class people that are generally in the restaurant business. My husband has been a Front of the House manager or a server for the past 10+ years and I have been a host and server since I was 15. When Rowan was born, my husband was managing a small restaurant and I had just finished my Esthetics program. We decided he would keep working and I would eventually get a job later on. He lost his job this past December and we have since then started a home business. We are just starting to make a profit and are actually doing better financially every month. We hope to have enough saved by January to have a down payment on a house. I love having had the opportunity to stay home with Rowan, but honestly I am ready for a break. I am looking for a part time job to get me out of the house a few days a week. My husband loves working from home and is the perfect Mr. Mom, so it totally works out.
The majority of the families in this country especially don't have that option though. Both parents have to work 40+ hours a week, low wage jobs and put their kids in daycare. I see it all the time, and it's really sad. It feels like there is such a disconnect in America sometimes.
Both my DH and I have degrees, and I'm a SAHM. Mine is an honours BA in Social Science. His is an honours BA in Biochemistry. After we graduated, we decided we'd work for a year to save some money and to get some experience in our fields before going back to do a masters. He hadn't decided on what he wanted to do a masters in, but I wanted to do one in Psychology.
Anyway after working and saving up some cash for our masters we had quite a healthy bank balance, having scrimped and saved for an entire year. It was at this point that I began to feel really broody and we decided we would NTNP. Lo and behold, I was pregnant within a couple of months.
My DH continues to work in his field, he hasn't done his masters yet but is hoping to do so in the next three years. I'm at home with Amelie at the moment and will be for the foreseeable future.
I don't see education for women who plan to be SAHM's to be a waste at all. Most women develop careers when their children are grown - What's to say they can't put their degree to good use then?
I have a bachelors and a masters (in teaching incidentally) and am completing my second masters now. I took 14 months off to be home with my boys before going back to school 'full' time. It works out to me working on my thesis for about 5 hours while they are preschool and then doing more school work at night after they are in bed. If everything works out as we have planned it I will be going back to work 60% this fall after I have completed my degree.
Our choice for me to work part time is motivated by the fact that I am conflicted- I want to be home with my boys but I also want to work (for a wide variety of reasons). Additionally we have heard some research about the long term (adult life) effects of preschool and feel strongly that we want our children to attend (Look in to Perry Preschool Program or check out these podcasts: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/...-for-preschool and http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radi...-with-it?act=4) plus the LOVE their school and I would feel awful if they didn't go anymore. (They are 22 months old and they start squealing in glee and yelling the name of their school when we walk by.) We were lucky to find a place that we feel aligns very well with our views and attitudes on parenting very close to our house.
As a student I am not earning income right now so joining the workforce will give us a bit more flexibility in our budget, but it will definitely not be as easy financially as if we were both working full time. However, this is a sacrifice that we feel has positive benefits for our family in the long run and strikes a balance that works for our family.
I wouldn't change having stayed home with them for the first 14 months. It was an amazing experience and one I feel very privileged to have had, but it also taught me that I was not meant to be a SAHM, at least not full time. I am not that tough!
Good luck as you consider your future decision.
I am a college graduate and a stay-at-home mom. My husband never finished college. I wish I hadn't spent so much money on a degree because I LOVE being with my daughter, who is now 8 months old. When she was 4 months old, I tried to go back to work, but that caused major chaos for everyone in our family. I was unhappy, and Millie, my daughter, was sick all the time. My husband was overwhelmed because I needed more help with housework and taking care of Millie at night. After 3 months of working, we decided that I needed to be a stay-at-home mom.
Staying at home is HARD WORK! In my opinion, it is harder than going to work every day, but it is so worth the effort! I think that Millie is learning faster now that I can work with her one-on-one during the days. She has started to say and sign words. I am usually able to keep up with housework and dinner, and my husband is able to rest when he gets home at night. Our finances are a little trickier, but God has taken care of us. We are all much happier.
Both my OH and I are graduating within the next few weeks, and we're not planning on marrying or starting a family for a few more years yet, so I anticipate I'll be working for at least five years. My current plan is to work from home when we have young children - I'm aiming for a career in journalism, so I'm planning on freelancing to supplement his income a bit when the children are pre-school age, work while they sleep sort of thing. Once the youngest is at school I don't know whether I'd continue freelancing or go back to an office job part time, have to wait and see.
I am loving this thread! Thank you encore, for starting it and thank you to all of you who have added your input. I am not a mother yet, but I am working on my undergrad right now and planning/hoping to go to law school after that. I would love to work in the legal few for a few years, but then I think I would want to be a SAHM.
I don't stay home nor do I ever wish to do so, but I do think there are a couple of things to take into consideration. Firstly, there are a great, great numbers of jobs/careers/professions where you cannot sit out for a few years and ever hope to get back in in a meaningful way. Mine is certainly like that. Secondly, even if returning to the workforce is an option, many jobs require evidence of continuing education-- keeping up with the changing times, retaining certification, pursuing professional opportunities-- to retain membership in whatever field it is.
In general, the more highly remunerative a field is, the higher the barrier of entry and the more competitive internally it is. Sitting out for 5+ years not pursuing any professional opportunity will place you at the exact bottom of the heap when trying to get back in.
Even in high-earning fields you might not be able to afford staying home. Law school in the US costs on average about $140,000, and medical school costs $200,000. An MBA might run you $80K. Other Masters degrees, in public policy, public health, journalism, etc run between $40 and $100,000. Coupled with the cost of undergraduate education, if you finance your studies with loans you could easily have student loan payments topping $2000/ month (I personally know doctors who went to bad medical schools and who had to borrow every dime of their education who pay $4000/ month and will until they're 60). I would be very, very leery of attaining these degrees with no plans of using them, or using them for only a short time (too short to pay back your debt) and then staying home.
I just also wanted to say that I don't think that a college degree is always necessary, and that you shouldn't get yourself into enormous debt for a degree that has no clear benefit. There are exceptions, but a good rule of thumb is to never pay for an advanced degree. You don't want to be subsidizing the education of the students the school thinks will actually achieve something, just so you can end up with something to hang on your wall. And yes, of course, degrees and very enriching and so forth, but it is completely possible to be an educated person without ever paying tuition. The library is free. It is also possible to have multiple degrees and still be an unenlightened bozo.
There are many ways to make a living and not all of them require a degree. My husband has one sister who manages a fancy restaurant, and a brother who is an electrician, and both of them make about the same as he does w. a masters degree. BUT I also think that if you know that you are going to want a degree for whatever reason, it's best to get this before you have kids. Whether or not you have a degree, it's a good idea to have a plan. What will you do when the kids are in school? What about when they are grown? What is your contingency plan for when life doesn't work out the way that you thought it would? It is also good to have something you do with your brain outside of having kids.
I’m really enjoying all the opinions on this thread.
My husband is currently getting his bachelors degree in Theology (online Seminary) and I have an associate’s degree in general studies (woo hoo). I have taken the last year off hoping that I could figure out what I want to do, and I still have the same answer: Writing. Which, incidentally, is one of those “Starving Artist” professions.
We have also been TTC for the last eight months (with no luck) and I have toyed with the idea of going back to school just for a change and to get my mind off of children. Personally, I love going to school (I’m weird, I know) I love learning new things and soaking up information. However, I live in a very small town and just to go to college I have to drive an hour and the colleges don’t offer Creative Writing Degrees. The main focus here is on Nursing (not my cup of tea) or Education (which I’ve considered, but I can’t talk in front of people without being in physical pain). When I was in college, I took every English, Creative Writing, and Journalism class that they offered, so I’ve exhausted my options here unless I move two to three hours away.
My mother worked from home when I was young. She designed websites and she got to take care of my brother and I, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. My MIL was also a stay at home mom and my husband and I have always wanted our children to have that same experience. I’ve always wanted to be a mother above anything else and, if our financial situation allows me, I will stay home with my children until they are of school age.
For right now I’m pretty happy with my job as a full time Legal Assistant. And I’m still writing and reading constantly, so I’m still doing things that I love. Honestly, I think doing what you love is really the most important thing. If you love your career, stick with it. If you love staying at home with your children, do it. Whatever you love to do is your calling, and you should do it to the best of your abilities.
I have 2 degrees, I worked 13 years before becoming a mum. With my first 2 children I taught a few evening classes once they were older and the occasional morning class when they were over a year just to have a bit of life for me, but since my DD was born almost 3 years ago I've been a SAHM and will continue once this baby is born. I've been the main bread winner sometimes, other times it's been my other half. He currently has a very good job so we can afford to have me at home. It's not forever and I would struggle to find much work here in Finland anyway since I don't speak the language well, but I'm happy with how my work/mum balance has worked out. I will go back to work once this baby is around 3, this will give me time to learn Finnish better and make more contacts.