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.