Resenting the Stay-At-Home Decision

As I was digging through a series of emails I came across the offer for a job I declined two and a half years ago. My monthly salary on the initial offer was just over $12,000 per month.

I planned to start the day my little guy turned six months, but as the date drew closer I completely changed my mind. Mentally and spiritually staying home has been the most amazing experience of my life. From a financial perspective it was an extremely difficult decision to make and as I look at that initial offer letter I realize that I passed up a ridiculously large sum of money in favor of feeling good.

By staying out of the workforce for four years I am passing up half a million dollars. Of course taxes and childcare costs would be taken out of this money, but when you add up the numbers over a couple of years the combined total is mind-boggling. Add in another couple of years and you are sitting on a million dollars in lost wages.

Do not get me wrong I do not regret my decision to stay home, but I do worry that this decision will delay our future plans. Am I putting too much of a burden on my husband’s shoulders?

My husband says many of his coworkers, who are sole providers of single-income families, resent their roles. Obviously you want your spouse to be happy, but misery does love company.

What do you think? If you plan to stay home do you think your partner would come to resent that decision? If you do stay home do you feel your partner holds resentment toward you?

So far my husband has not expressed any concern about our decision. In fact he says that my working would solve financial problems but bring about many other issues for our family. Still I wonder if he will change his mind in the future especially if I don’t return to the workforce for another four or five years.

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9 thoughts on “Resenting the Stay-At-Home Decision”

  1. Staying at home most definitely will delay future financial goals. You won’t get those lost years of earnings back. Of course, you can’t make your kids reverse age to see them grow again. It’s a choice anyone would be lucky to be able to make. Some people just don’t have the means to make the choice and those who do definitely make their own decisions and that’s wonderful.

    We’re a stay at home family with one toddler. At this point daddy comes home and I feel bad that he had to go to work, but jealous that he got to spend time with adults and could decide to take a break whenever he wants. He comes home and feels bad that I had to put up with tantrums (and that second set of molars) and jealous that I didn’t have to commute and get to play with our daughter all day.

    For now it definitely works for us. But it’s not a decision set in stone. I may or may not decide that I want to return to work before or after the little one is in school. He may decide to switch careers and we may need another income. He may decide that he no longer wants to work and we’d have to decide if I should work full time, or if we should both work part time.

    • I love your comment about revisiting the decision and that what might work now may not work at some point in the future. My husband has talked about scaling back his hours at some point in the next five to eight years and I often wonder if I will return to work just as he is beginning to make his exit. Interesting that you and your husband have had similar conversations.

      I also agree wholeheartedly that it working and staying home is not without its tradeoffs. You miss your child while you are at work, but you also crave the benefits like adult companionship that the workplace provides.

  2. I’ve talked about this with my husband. For financial reasons, I will 99% have to continue working. However, by the time we have two kids, I am hoping I can scale back to part-time in some form. Living on one income would be nearly impossible for the expensive area we live in, and I’ve seen other families in the field my husband is in, that live on one salary and they are just mired in debt and the husbands are always working overtime. I hope that we are able to find some balance, but overall I wish the U.S. was more flexible for working families. I mean, MOST people at one point or another would benefit from flexibility (either when you have kids or when YOU were a kid and your parents were working– so none of this, it-doesnt-benefit-childless-people talk)

    • I feel unbelievably blessed to be able to stay home with my son. I know a lot of women do not have that option and it is a shame that there aren’t better solutions for families making less. I never thought that I would stay home, (despite the fact that my mom stayed home with me), but I am so thankful that we saved a butt load of money while I was working so that we could make that choice.

  3. I hope my husband doesn’t resent my staying at home. He was willing to do it, too, but we couldn’t have supported a family off of my income. Perhaps someday we will switch roles (unlikely given the earning potential I have given up) but at any rate we try to appreciate what the other is doing for our family.

    • My husband and I revisit the decision a few times a year. While neither one of us has wavered on our original decision I do think it helps to talk about how grateful we are for each other and the role’s we have assumed.


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