I am a stay at home mom (SAHM). Unfortunately today I actually have to explain to people why I am a stay at home mom. First of all the cost of child care is ridiculous. Day care is approximately $250-$300 a week per child (full time), and a full time (live in or out) nanny is also $300-$400 a week. Second of all, I personally do not want someone else raising my child. I have worked in day car (good ones) and as a nanny/babysitter, and I know that no matter how much we loved the kids and time we spent with them it was not the same. I do not believe that being a SAHM is the right choice for every mom. However I do believe that being a SAHM is a perfectly viable and acceptable choice for a woman to make. Does it mean that we have to budget more carefully? yes. Does it mean that we have to make sacrifices in other aspects of our lives? Yes. We only have one car (bought second hand and financed), we don't go out to nice restaurants very often (once every few months or so). We don't go away on vacations to exotic locations, in fact we rarely go anywhere, (except Israel, thanks to my in laws who live there and want to see their granddaughters, and therefore allow us that opportunity which we otherwise wouldn't have had). I buy clothes for my kids at walmart and target and watch for sales. I take advantage of consignment shops and hand me downs. We rarely eat meat and chicken usually only on Shabbos.
Are these (and other) sacrifices worth it? for me the answer is YES! absolutely. I get to be the one who sees my children when they reach all their milestones. I am able to nurse full time without pumping ( I have had friends who pumped, and i completely admire their dedication, if i had to do that i would never have been able to do it.). I get every hug and kiss every boo boo. I don't have to scramble when one of them is sick because I am here with them.
For me, staying home was the best decision, especially because it was MY choice. I wanted to do it, and my husband and I made it happen. Staying home is not the right choice for everyone, and there are times it is not financially viable for a woman to stay home. However I don't criticize women who go to work because I am well aware that this choice is not for everyone. I just hope that women who work don't criticize my choices, because they feel that there is only one way.
Would we be better off financially if i worked? Honestly I'm not sure. I am not a doctor/lawyer/businesswoman etc. I have a degree in Jewish studies. I hope to complete my teaching certification so that when my children are all in school i can go back to work and help us out financially. But for right now staying home is actually more fiscally responsible than working. So again, for ME being a SAHM is 100% the right choice and i stand by it. Being Orthodox will always mean that things will be even more financially tight for us then other SAHM families, but for me there is no other way.