Budgeting · Homemaking

Dear working mom who desperately wants to stay home but your bills won’t allow it

Dear Working Mom who desperately wants to be home but your bills just won’t allow it, 

I have been in your footsteps. You are not alone.

I know that you let down a tear at work when you look at your child’s pictures. I know that it happens because I have cried my eyes out in the mothers room at work, had to turn my head away from coworkers to avoid them seeing tears running down my face,  and sometimes turn my children’s pictures down to avoid the swell up of emotion I felt looking at their sweet faces.

I know you think that you staying home with your children is a dream that will never come to reality. You are having trouble meeting all of your bills as it is. You think that you will never be able to make it on one income.

I know because these are all the things that happened to me. As we began to total up our debt and realize we had $245,000 worth of non-mortgage debt, we were overwhelmed. With the addition of a second child in daycare we were going to be spending more than we made every month if we didn’t make some drastic changes. 

Even though I loved my job I would cry everyday that I wanted to be a stay at home mom with my babies. I knew that losing my income to come home was absolutely not an option at the time. I kept working for two more years before we felt financially ready for me to stay home. Those two years of perseverance to keep working were not easy, but the following tips really helped in the transition time.

If you are a working mom who wants to stay home with her children but think it’s not financially possible you need to follow these 5 steps. 

  1. Pray

I’m a Christian and thus our life is centered on prayer. Pray that God will open the doors if staying home is the path He wants you to take. Pray that God will bless your communication with your spouse. Pray that He will direct your finances to allow you to stay home. Pray for perseverance to keep working until you are able to come home.

  1. Talk with your spouse

Communicate the desires of your heart with your spouse. Be patient with one another and remember that your change of heart to be at home may come as a surprise. Be proactive in proving the value that being at home will add to your family.

  1. Make a plan

Once you’ve decided in your heart that it’s your desire to come home and you’re on the same page with your spouse it’s time to make a plan. Don’t just assume that you’ll be able to stay at home ‘soon’, outline what steps are necessary for you to come home and put them to a timeline.

Are there certain milestones you want to accomplish before you stay at home?

  • Do you have professional milestones you want to meet?
  • How much debt do you want to pay off first?
  • How many months of proving you can live on one income will make you feel comfortable with losing an income?
  • Is there an age of your children that you really want to be home by?

Our milestones: We decided that the milestones we needed to accomplish before I came home were: 

  • Get a very good start at paying off debts
  • Make enough room in our budget to survive on one income and continue paying down debt
  • I wanted to get my architecture license.
    • The day I got my license in the mail my daughter said “Yea, now you can quit mommy!”
  • Somewhere around Baby #3
    • We originally thought I would work up until after I had baby #3, but ultimately ended up quitting half way through my pregnancy with baby #3.
  • Before our oldest hit kindergarten
    • During our journey we also decided that it was our desire to homeschool so we knew that the ultimate cut off for me working was before our oldest started kindergarten.
  1. Financially prepare to stay home

Evaluate your finances

  • Calculate all of the expenses of working (daycare, commuting, extra groceries, professional attire, higher tax bracket, stress, etc.). How much money are you actually profiting?
  • Are there ways you can make extra income to come up with the salary difference?
  • When will the addition of extra children make your salary not worth it?

Cut your budget

Do everything you can to cut your budget. Follow these steps for beginning to cut your budget. Cutting cable, cell phones, eating out, extra clothing, house décor, going out, fun money, etc. is a lot easier to cut when you know that it is enabling you to be at home.

Pay off debts

Getting rid of your debts as much as possible will help once you come home. We didn’t pay off all of our debts before I came home but we did pay off about $80,000 of our $245,000 beginning balance.

Live on one income

Don’t just assume that you’ll be able to live on one income, practice! We had enough months of regular expenses to know that we could survive on one income without me working any side jobs and still have some money left over to pay off debts.

  1. In the meantime, be grateful for your current situation

Work friendships

While I was working I had the opportunity to develop a sweet relationship with another mom friend. She ended up having a heart to come home with her children as well to homeschool and we ended up quitting within a month of each other. Your friendships change so much once you’re a stay at home mom so having the ability to develop that bond was a huge blessing of my season of working.

Solitary time 

When you’re working even though you’re around coworkers, you have time to yourself. You can go to the bathroom without kids at foot, you can drink your coffee in peace, etc. Being able to drink my morning coffee in peace is the biggest thing I miss about not working now.

Extra Income

As much as you desire to be home having the extra income right now helps you to work faster at your financial goals. Try to be thankful for the opportunity to work for this season.


If you want to be at home with your children but don’t think it’s feasible right now, don’t give up hope! Pray about it, talk with your spouse, make a plan, start preparing financially, and then be content in your current season of working.

If this hits home with you and you desire to be at home, please know that I’ll be praying for you and your journey.

Do you know someone who is working currently, wants to be home with their children, but doesn’t think it’s financially feasible? Share this article with them so they can be encouraged!




3 thoughts on “Dear working mom who desperately wants to stay home but your bills won’t allow it

  1. There is so much practical advice in your post today. I am transitioning back to being a work-from-home mom after working outside the home for the past four years. I have also been a stay-at-home mom, and everything you say is right on target for budgeting, planning, and adjusting. Glad to be your neighbor this week at #fridayfive.

  2. This is good advice, but I wish you’d do the same post for dads! How many dads would love to stay at home with their kids, or even homeschool them, but never even realize that this is a possibility, much less that it’s something people would respect?

    Two of my friends are stay-at-home dads, and they are wonderful parents with incredible ids who are getting an experience that most people never even think of. And their wives have the shockingly rare joy of continuing to work toward their own career milestones while knowing their kids are being raised by a stay-at-home parent.

    But for most people, that option doesn’t even get briefly considered, because it’s not even on their radar as a Thing People Do.

  3. Great practical advice here. Finances is often a tricky subject to discuss in marriage. But when done prayerfully, it can lead to many blessings. Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth.

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