Women In The Black

The Cost Of Being A Stay At Home Mum

The cost of being a stay at home mum

By Jessica

This post is about my circumstance. I’m not asking for advice or standing on a soap box declaring the right or wrong way to parent. Thanks in advance for understanding.

My Jobs

When  my husband Dave accepted a job 3 years ago I was limited to finding my own job around the area we would live. I didn’t qualify for any positions posted since I was an entry-level dietitian.

My first job (and current job) was as a contingent clinical dietitian at a hospital. Contingent means that I fill in when needed. For example, since the hospital is staffed 7 days a week the dietitians take a day off during the week when their turn for weekend coverage comes up.

I used to fill in on some Mondays and Fridays but now there are two more contingent dietitians and I’ve suggested they get first dibs to cover shifts. The reason I suggested this is because the job doesn’t come with a glorious pay scale and I’d only have a fraction of my earnings after tax, babysitting costs, and gas to drive 90 kilometres round trip.

The other job I still have is teaching a nutrition class at a community college. The pay is great, it’s a five minute drive away, and it’s only a 4 hour class held twice a month.

New Job: Mum!

I’m still not used to the fact that I’m a mum. I knew I’d love having my little girl Nora but not as much as I actually do now that she’s really here! Nora is so entertaining and all of her smiles, coos, super loud farts, and excessive stretching bring me endless joy.

From Two Incomes To One

I wasn’t a big moneymaker when I was working before Nora but it was nice to have extra money to put toward retirement, giving, and extra principal repayments on the mortgage. Thirty percent of our total gross income was from my salary and went to all the extra categories I mentioned. It really sped up our debt payment and helped us to reach our big financial goals. We based our budget solely off of Dave’s income knowing we’d lose my income once we started having kids. We figured it would be easier to live below our means rather than figure out how to cut back 30 per cent of our expenses.

Cost Of Working Full Time

Say I worked full time (8 hours a day) and got a babysitter I paid $9/hour to watch Nora for 9 hours (half hour before/after work for commute time). I would have 29 per cent of my income left after 15 per cent was allocated to taxes and 56 per cent to a sitter. I imagine I would shell out more money if I were to pay for daycare rather than a sitter too! 

I’m not sure what dollar amount I would have to make to feel like it was worth working instead of being home. It’s hard to put a price on something you can’t quantify like raising a child. Dave works hard to support our family and I’m glad I can keep our home clean, keep up with laundry, and have a meal (somewhat) ready to eat when he gets home so we can unwind together.

I’m thankful I get to snuggle with Nora during one of her naps and get a workout in during another nap. I don’t take the blessing of staying home with her for granted at all. I know my stress level would be a little unreal if I had to somehow squeeze in grocery shopping, meal prep, cleaning, and exercising while managing to have time leftover to spend with Dave and Nora. I give props to the mums who do that.

For Now

Kids aren’t kids forever. I’ll likely go back to part time when our kids get older and eventually full time down the road. Until then we will continue to live simply, spend wisely, and enjoy this precious time with Nora.


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