Graphic designer Ngobile M. always yearned to be a mom. Now that she is one, she's finding it hard to stay focused on the design job she once loved, and wants instead to stay at home full time with her 18-month-old daughter.
But like the many Circle of Moms members who say they'd also like to leave their jobs to stay at home with their children full time, Ngobile is the first to admit the decision to quit her job is complicated. "I have missed a lot already, like the first time she stood by herself and her first word (which was 'Go Go,' meaning granny). But I also want to provide for my child the best that I can, and need the income. So I'm not sure what I should do: stay at home and be a freelancer and not get a stable income, but be with my child? Or work and have a stable income but also miss out on my child growing up? "
Many Circle of Moms members who have struggled with the questions Ngobile is posing have offered up good advice on how to make the decision. Here we share 6 questions to help you decide if being a stay-at-home parent is right for you:
1. Can We Afford It?
Moms need to ask themselves if they "honestly can afford to stay home and be happy and fulfilled," recommends Darkle J. She suggests that moms ask themselves what they will have to trade in order to say home: "It's one thing to say that you are willing to wear secondhand clothes, buy off-brand foods, give up the second car, and live in a cozy (small) home in order to stay home with your children; and it is another thing to live that way and be happy."
2. Will I Miss Working?
In addition to the financial challenges that leaving a job can create, Circle of Moms members advise that potential SAHMs (Stay-At-Home-Moms) ask themselves if they will miss the stimulation, companionship, and other emotional benefits of a paid job. "Will you feel emotionally fulfilled as a SAHM?" Darkle asks.
3. Can I Ignore Everyone Else's Opinions?
Many Circle of Moms members contend that moms should make the decision to leave on their own druthers. In other words, you shouldn't abandon a career because of pressure from others to be home with your babies, nor should you stay in your job because others tell them it's too risky to leave. As Heather B. says, "Do what works for you in your partnership, taking into account the needs of your child. That answer will be as individual as your life, your relationship, and your child, as it should be. It's just too bad that society doesn't offer more part-time solutions for the many part-time roles we (mothers and fathers) lead."
4. Will Life As a SAHM Suit Me?
Staying at home with a baby is not for everyone, many Circle of Moms members warn."I agree that every mom should have the choice (and in some cases they do not because of financial needs)," says Jen R. "But moms also need to consider that being a SAHM is no walk in the park. Being a mom is a tough job in [and of] itself."
5. What's Best for My Family?
Many Circle of Moms members are quick to point out that staying at home is not the best decision for every mom and her family. "Having been both a stay-at-home-mom and a working mom myself I know that both are difficult in different ways and both are amazing in different ways," says Marisa D. "In many cases, children are benefiting from a mom's choice to work - maybe not in the same way that they would benefit if she were with them 24/7, but in different ways that are also very valuable."
As Andrea S. points out, there are families for whom what's best is that mom continue to work -- because she's the primary breadwinner. "I'd love to do the same as would a lot of my girlfriends, but I actually am the breadwinner in my family and cannot consider staying at home with my baby. If not for my salary, we would not be able to have a roof over our heads or pay the utilities, etc. And, no, we do not have a huge house or new cars in the garage. Crazy as it seems, some women have good jobs for which they went to college to obtain. And, along with the good job comes a good salary and benefits for my husband and two kids. I managed to breastfed both of my babies even as a working momma by pumping when necessary."
6. Which Option Gives Me the Most Quality Time with My Baby?
"I actually get more quality time with my daughter as a working mother than some people I know who stay at home with their children," says Krystal Y. "Why? Because I know my time is limited and I make special time for us. I chose to go back to work and I think I'm a better person for it. She is with a nanny who loves her like a grandparent during the day, and gets special one-on-one time with mommy and daddy in the evenings and on weekends."
Trusting Your Heart
Financial considerations and career goals aside, some Circle of Moms members advise that moms "do whatever your heart tells you to do." As Felisha S. shares, "I have worked in the full-time corporate world and been able to stay at home with my children. Bottom line is, my children know I work hard at home or at a workplace for them. You'll know as a mother when it's [the right] time to do either."
Did you leave your job to stay at home full-time with your baby?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.