Does a Six Figure Salary Make My Decision to Stay Home Harder?

My mom always knew she wanted a family. It was her one hope and dream growing up as a child. When my brother was born she knew without a shadow of a doubt that she would stay home to raise him. When I came along she continued the trend and stayed home for a total of twelve years. She returned to work when I turned nine.

My mom was never particularly good in school and had quite low self-esteem, which made it difficult to find a high paying job after graduating from high school. Throughout her working career she never made much money.

When I asked her about the decision to stay home with my brother and I she said it was a no-brainer. In essence, she and my father knew her salary would barely cover the cost of day care.

They carried health insurance and other benefits through my dad’s job and my mom didn’t particularly enjoy her work, so there was really no benefit in her dropping us off at daycare.

When I told her that I was considering staying at home she asked if my six figure salary made it a tougher decision. Interestingly enough I never considered the weight of my salary on my decision until she asked me.

The decision to stay-at-home is almost entirely emotional for me. An extremely low salary may make the decision easy, but above a certain threshold I’m not certain what difference a higher paying salary really makes.

If I made $50,000 would it be easier to stay home than if I made $100,000? I’m going to have to think about this for awhile, but off the top of my head I’m going to say no. It’s more a question of desire and affordability.

If we can’t pay the bills with my husband’s income then I’m not sure if it makes a difference if I earn $50,000 or $100,000. At the end of the day I would need to go to work to pay the bills. Similarly if I loved my job it might not matter how much I made either. The fulfillment of work might be all that I wanted regardless of salary.

Still I thought it was an interesting question and one I wouldn’t have thought about if my mom hadn’t asked me about it.

3 thoughts on “Does a Six Figure Salary Make My Decision to Stay Home Harder?”

  1. I left a well-paid job in software 9 years ago to stay home with my kids. To me, it does make a difference. It is hard not to think about the paycheck that you gave up. I don’t think that would be the case if the paycheck was not very good. I sometimes think how much closer we would be to our savings goals if we had my check – it is enough to make a significant difference.

    I am not saying that you should decide based on this. I am thrilled that I have been and remain home with my kids. Like you said it is not really a financial decision – once you have decided that you can live on your husbands income.

    • Thanks for the comment Tamara. It’s so hard to make a decision like this. I weigh what I know now against what I think our lives will be like in the future and realize much of it is a guessing game. I really appreciate hearing from someone who has been there and done it.

  2. I think the more you make, the harder is it to step away. I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom. I now have one child with another on the way. But I’ve managed to make my work life so I work from home most of the time, I make a six figure salary and I don’t have to work that hard most of the time. If I’m able to continue my same career after baby #2, I don’t think I can make the decision to stay at home.

    That being said, I do have full time childcare and it does get hard at times when I have deadlines. I get stressed out about work and upset when my husband can’t come home “on time” when I have a deadline. If I find myself needing to go back to the office everyday and commute for the same salary, it would make decision to stay at home a lot easier.


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