Tuesday, June 13, 2017

SAHM and Money

June is my stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) One Year Anniversary, 
and so far I've posted about my general feelings and common questions.  

But one major aspect of being a SAHM that I've glossed over is the

Of course the MONEY part is the driving factor for many moms, 
so it's not a fair topic to ignore. 
If you know me or have read this blog for a while, 
the automatic assumption is
 "well she's married to a lawyer so they have money.
And yes that's certainly a large part of it. 
But not all of it completely. 

I have a girlfriend who lives in a 5,000-sqft house, 
her husband has a great position in an Fortune 500 company, 
they belong to a country club, 
and the family goes on very luxurious vacations. 
Her take: "Well, if I wanted to stay home, 
we'd have to sell our house or give up a large part of our established lifestyle. 
I don't want to do either." 

While staying at home is just plain not feasible for some, 
for others, the money may be there, 
but it would require sacrificing something that they have adjusted to. 
It's easy to sneer at the "rich housewives" 
who don't want to give up luxury to stay home, 
but honestly,
if we had to sell our house and downsize for me to be a SAHM, 
would I? 
No, absolutely not. 

So how do we do it? 

Well, it's been relatively easy because
 Adam and I have always lived on one income. 

Just a few months after we got married, 
Adam started law school. 
I joked that "for every dollar I earn, my husband earns $0.50 debt."  
We bought a tiny little 1700-sqft townhome 
while most of our friends were buying larger starter homes. 
We wanted to be able to put down equity 
but still have money left over to minimize law school debt. 

We lived on one income up until October 2013 
when Adam embarked into Big Law Firm World.  
As soon as his first paycheck hit our bank account, 
we moved my paychecks to our savings account. 
From that point on, every dollar I made (less taxes & 12% 401k) 
went directly into our savings for our next house. 
We never touched a dime. 
This allowed us to buy our upgrade house 
and immediately begin renovations without further years of savings. 

Thus when Oliver was born and I gave notice, 
we didn't feel a single pinch due to my lack of paychecks. 
We hadn't used my money for living expenses in years. 
The only change was that our savings ceased to grow by thousands every month. 

Additionally, we bought below our limit because we anticipate Adam someday leaving Big Law Firm World and most likely taking a paycut to work for a corporation. 
And when I say paycut, I mean drastic paycut. 
Some lawyers have taken a 50% paycut 
in order to trade those horrid 90-hour-work-weeks for something more family-friendly. 
So be it. 

So that's a little background on our financial situation. 

My running routes take me through a lot of wealthy neighborhoods in our area, 
and sometimes I imagine what it would be like to live in these homes. 
If I wanted to be a Working Mom, 
or Adam wanted to make partner at his law firm, 
we could have bought a house like this: 

Instead we have a house like this: 

Before I wrap this up, 
I want to spell out again that I know I am fortunate to have the money to be a SAHM. 
(I hate the term #blessed and refuse to use it, 
but yes you could use that term here.) 

There are many many many moms who have no option 
no matter how small their house (or apartment). 
Single moms, I bow to you every day.
College debt, medical debt, entrepreneur debt... 
And don't even get me started on minimum wage jobs. 
There's a million reasons why some families must be dual-income. 
So when I write about WHY I chose to be a SAHM, 
understand I do know that I'm lucky to have a choice. 


  1. Yes, you're lucky you have a choice, but it sounds like you planned wisely to make having a choice possible, so props!

  2. I have been the breadwinner for probably 75% of our marriage (Brent worked for a state agency for over 7 years when we first got married), so if someone was going to stay home, it wasn't going to be me, and that would have made no one happy, ha! Now we make just about equal money, so we'd be in that boat of having to drastically change our lives in order for me to stay home, and we don't want to do that. I absolutely LOVE the school the big 2 go to (and Paige will start there in the fall and the infant room is just AMAZING) and feel like I have a great set-up with them being in school from 8-3 vs. 7:30-5:30 (or longer) for a lot of my friends' kids. And now we're comfortable with our situation and while in my heart I might wish I could stay home I'm not willing to change our lifestyle as drastically as would be needed to make it happen...

  3. Here's my situation. If I quit my job we would lose our healthcare and have to purchase our own healthcare which is a ton of money. My husband's job doesn't offer him healthcare as a benefit. Go USA! *insert eye roll here* My husband is the breadwinner (I work in an education field, he works in a STEM field), but I'm the one providing the healthcare coverage. I do agree with you on living m ore simply in order to have more life choices. A lot of our friends are moving up into pricy 2nd homes right now. We're staying in our first home. Our housing costs are low which gives us more flexibility with our money.

    1. Ugh I hate how backwards we are in healthcare! And I'm surprised that a progressive field like STEM would not provide healthcare. Is it a very small company? I think you are wise to stay in your current home. I think too many people jump to the next level too quickly!