The Hidden Cost for Stay-At-Home Parents

Bloomberg News posted a fascinating article about the money a stay-at-home parent loses over time.  Beyond the obvious loss of a regular paycheck, it discusses reduced wages when returning to work and the loss of retirement funds.  With the costs of daycare being sky-high more and more families are keeping a parent at home to raise a child.  This is what we choose to do and while we can scrape by each month these expounded costs are eye opening… and a little depressing!

It’s really worth reading if you want to learn how a stay-at-home parent can, “lose about $706,778 in lifetime income from taking five years off to care for a child.”  WOAH!

In our situation at least, staying at home was precipitated by a birth injury he suffered (it’s fully healed now).  We don’t have any family near by to help with raising our kid so to be able to help him recover it was a no-brainer that one of us was going to leave our job.

Being the main breadwinner, I kept working while my wife became a stay-at-home parent. And not having family around means that she is always on, no sick days, no breaks and no extra hands to help out.

We’ve thought about daycare or a nanny-share but now that our income is so reduced it’s just not possible.

On the flip side… If we were both working he wouldn’t see either of us either.  I don’t know how so many families can handle this emotionally.  As his dad I feel like I only get slivers of time in the morning and at night.  It’s a bummer to not be involved with him more.

Weekends are so important in helping us bond – something I really notice when he falls, skins his knee and Mommy is the only he will allow to comfort him (note to self: it’s only a phase!).

At the same time we are all so lucky that he’s been able to bond so closely with his mom. That’s a financial sacrifice we have chosen to continue to make. We know that when he does have his sad moments she can comfort him in a way that no caregiver will ever be able to.  A hug from mom is somehow always that much better.  (Do you agree?)

My wife has the hardest, most exhausting and important job on earth now.  It’s a shame that it’s costing us so much money to provide that to our son.

What do you do?  Are you a stay-at-home parent or are you working?  How do you manage the emotional strain and stresses that each causes?  I’d love to read your thoughts in the comment section below.