Updated: Sep 16, 2021
Stefanie Miller is a regular MomSub blog contributor who knows firsthand how to confront conflicting emotions when searching for affordable and trusted childcare.
I Chose to Stay at Home And Stop Working Because I Didn’t Have a Choice
When my husband and I decided to start our family, childcare wasn’t even on our radar. We so badly wanted to expand our life as a couple, that we didn’t even think about the difficulties we would be facing along the way. I had no idea what the cost of daycare would be like, and I hadn’t done any research. During my maternity leave from my job, I was hit with the reality of what it was going to cost, and I was scared.
Fast forward to when my older son was six months old, I found out that we were expecting again. The pain I felt in my heart knowing that there was no way we could afford care for a second child crippled me. I couldn’t even enjoy the first few months of pregnancy because I was overcome with worry. At that point in our lives, we were living in a one-bedroom apartment with a six-month-old baby, I was working full time, and my husband was working part-time. We thought we could cut some expenses.
We made the difficult decision to move from Vermont and stay with family in Florida, so we could figure our lives out. My husband eventually found a new and better-paying full-time job, and I stayed home with both of our kids. This was fine since we were (and still are) living rent-free with my mother-in-law. It was meant to be a temporary situation, so we could save up and eventually move into a home of our own. Many families face similar dynamics and end up staying with their parents far longer than expected.
As for us, now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, I am still home with my kids. My husband is also still working for the same company. It is incredibly hard trying to find that work life balance since I started doing freelance work from home. We still have that dream of living in our own space, and every day it feels like it’s slowly slipping away.
It seems pointless to take on a job if most of the earnings would go to childcare because of the high cost of care and the gender pay gap. The Census Bureau estimated in 2019 women were paid 82 cents for every dollar a man earned. But there is hope. Bankrate created a guide that lists eight ways women can shrink the gender pay gap and improve their finances. It includes researching salary ranges, asking for more money, prioritizing saving and investing, and more.
I loved my job back in Vermont. I loved my staff and our customers. I miss interacting with people outside of our household daily. The sacrifice that stay-at-home parents make is much larger than most people realize.
I am very much intrigued by MomSub, but not just for myself. I would love to give back and help other moms who are going through a similar situation. It has been harder than ever to get simple house chores done, and with the unknown of this virus, my little ones are constantly cooped up. We don’t even take them on grocery trips anymore.
I still have hope. I feel like we are about to turn a corner, and when we do, moms like us are going to need each other more than ever. The idea of trading childcare so you can go get your hair done or properly deep clean your house probably sounds like the best gift you could ever receive. Not only would I love that for myself, but I long to be that safety net for other struggling moms. I feel it in my heart that if we just hold on a bit longer, this could be our new reality soon.
In the meantime, so many other women have faced the kind of dilemma I have, and it's one reasons 2.2 million women have left the workforce because the childcare system in our country is broken. MomSub hopes to be one small piece of the puzzle that will improve the system, so it is beneficial for families.
Stefanie Miller is a freelance writer living in Florida with her husband, two young children and mother-in-law. She shares the challenges of parenting through her blog at https://stefmillerwrites.wordpress.com/.