Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Deciding Whether You Can Stay Home With Baby

Once baby comes into your life, you may find that you are not as willing to leave her with strangers as you had thought. Instead of accepting that daycare has become a part of children's lives, you look at your little miracle and think that you cannot imagine anyone being able to care for him the way you can. That means that you are left to consider whether or not one of you can afford to stay at home with the new baby. Here are some factors to consider.

First, which of you makes more money? In some couples, either mom or dad will not be willing to stay home and that makes the decision on who would stay home easier. In other couples, deciding based on current salary and future career path makes more sense.

Next you will need to think through whether or not you can afford to have only one income. Instead of trying to "wing it," make a budget. Sit down together and write down all of your necessary expenses. Then determine how much you realistically spend on entertainment and other expenses. Decide how much you are able to sacrifice here without feeling more pressure than you can bear.

If you can make it on one income, then you're all set. If you cannot, then you will need to decide if the one of you who is going to stay home can change to part-time hours. If she is a newspaper reporter, she may be able to stay on as a stringer at that paper or find other work writing. There are options out there, such as starting a home-based business or working another job part-time. Be creative here in thinking of ways to be able to sustain yourselves financially without going into debt and with only one full-time income. You may even have to work second shift for a while but make the sacrifices you think are necessary to make the best decision for your baby.

Once you have decided on the incomes, then you will need to prepare various people in your life for this decision. Luckily, baby will not be one of those people. She will be happy to have you close. Tell your friends and family first. Make sure that your family understands your decision, but if they cannot support you, move on. You must make the right decision for your family. Make sure your spouse makes this trip with you. Otherwise, it can look as if you are not joined on this choice.

When you tell your boss, you can give a succinct reason. Offer two weeks notice and explain that you would like more time with your new family. Do not allow your boss to bully you. Make sure that you prepare your co-workers for your departure by taking care of explaining your current projects. Give them your phone number and a time frame. They can call you for one month with questions. Make a decision and stay firm.

Once you have told everyone, you will find that you feel better. You have your life's desires out in the open, and you can move on regardless of everyone else's opinions. If you ever have any doubt about your choice, just look at your sleeping newborn. That will melt away any parent's doubt.

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