Mrs. Zen and I have long been battling the decision of a dual income, or having her be a stay at home mom. As much as I’d love to be a stay at home dad, I’m the main bread winner – her income is basically pure profit, free to spend as we desire (and mind you, it’s going towards debt reduction). We recently traded in my 1996 Honda Civic for a 2005 Honda CRV – mainly because we had the extra income to do a large down payment, and trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s with packed bags, stroller, and dog in tow. Once in the Civic was enough – and with a dual income we could more than afford a new(er) car.
As was pointed out – the after tax and childcare income is about 13k. But let’s make some adjustments:
Our childcare is about $2,340 due to our baby-sitter service. We only use them for one day a week – for now. If Mrs. Zen becomes full-time salaried, that will change, but no matter how you look at it – her additional income is after all bills are paid.
Let’s tackle their considerations:
- Career Advancement Goals – There is *always* more to a career than money! What about happiness? Mrs. Zen desires a career in paramedicine – she enjoys staying at home, but she also loves her work (as do I!)
- How to Return To Work? – I can’t really argue this one – leaving for eyars ad coming back in – that’s potentially ‘resetting’ your career unless you continue your work part-time.
- Extra Expenses – I’ve got to agree – working has expenses, just as staying at home. If no one is home, the heater/AC is off, less electricity, and at work you may have “job functions’ – happy hours, lunches and the like (I *DO* consider these essential – I owe my current job due to lunch-time networking! And pizza.)
- Breadwinner May Become Workaholic Career Freak – C’mon, really? This is a personal thing, and if you can’t balance your career and life, you need to reassess your values.
- Coupon Clipping – I’ve got mixed feelings here. My brother-in-law works from home (ebay business) and is an excellent father and cooks, while also shopping at night. He’s thrifty and is business than some other people I know. Coupon clip, regardless, I say.
- Schools – This is something I’m still looking into. I moved into a certain area for its reknowned public schools – you can send your kids to a private school so that by the age of six they know three languages and a head start on other students. Do you really want to make your kid go through that? You’ve got to focus on your kids being kids and not being “intellectual geniuses” or “young athletes” – they’re not here to live out your dreams. Do what you can to provide, but don’t force your kids to be something other than children.
Now the stay-at-home parent conundrum is an interesting one – I’ve talked to work-at-home, stay-at-home and day-care parents, with plenty of pros and cons. Your children need you to be their parent, but htey also need to develop social skills and learn to go out on their own – not developing an attachment on you, needing you for everything. I’m a parent, and the wife and I are working on him not developing separation anxiety, but I’m still reading on the psychology of it all (which is a never ending quest!)