Stay At Home Mom Dilemma – Work or Not Work?

Shot of a mother and son baking together in the kitchen

Rarely do I ever have second thoughts about being a stay-at-home mom, because c’mon—how lucky am I to be able to witness every second of my daughter’s life? I cherish every moment… at least until the tantrums start, but I’ll let that slide for now.

However… my student loan payments are about to kick in, and as I take a look at our budget, the little knot in my stomach is steadily growing, while our spendable income is steadily shrinking. I have visions of running out of diapers, chicken nuggets, and apple juice all at the same time, and panicking.

Clipping coupons, organizing baby clothes swap parties, and selling household clutter on Craigslist is just not making a big enough dent to make up for the loss of a second income, and it has kick-started the Great Debate in our household: should mommy go back to work?

Daycare vs. income. Full-time vs. Part-time. Exhaustion vs. stomach knots.

My degree is not your typical 9-5 job either; I’m supposed to be a journalist, who are notorious for working odd hours, needing to head to an interview at the drop of a hat, and usually get stuck working the nighttime police scanner as an entry level job. I can’t think of many daycares that will be flexible enough, or affordable, or won’t laugh in my face when I ask if they are 24 hours a day.


My plan was always to start working after my kids went to school, but I very much underestimated the cost of the too-cute-to-pass-up toys and clothes, along with the outrageous cost of gas, groceries, and electricity. Thank goodness air is still free for the moment.

For now, I’ll keep pinching those pennies, tightening the purse strings, and clipping those coupons, but geez… I need to start playing the lottery, or write the next Harry Potter series.