Roughly 6 months ago, my wife and I decided it was time for her to quit her part-time job and become a stay-at-home mom for our two girls. This decision was made both because she wanted to spend more time with our daughters and because she wasn’t making enough to pay for the gas to get her to and from work.
When we discussed the positives and negatives, most of the positives focused on the benefit to our daughters and we never really discussed how her being at home would affect our marriage. In fact, when it came to our relationship, the only discussion we had related to how we would handle the stress caused by not having that second paycheck coming in. However, as it turns out, this decision has made our relationship even better for a number of reasons.
First the lack of money is offset by us being able to spend more time together. Part of our concern about not having a second income was we knew we would end up sacrificing some of the things that had become routine, such as lunch dates and nights out without the kids. However, it turned out not to be that big of a deal because we get more quality time overall.
For example, when she was working, one of us would usually have to get our kids from my parents’ house. That meant, even when I got done at 5, we might have to wait until 7 or 8 before things settled down. Or, as an alternative, she would work in the evenings and we wouldn’t see each other until after 9.
Now, I can go straight home, can spend time with the kids earlier and have them to bed at a decent hour so my wife and I can spend time together. Plus, since she takes care of the routine house duties (dishes, laundry, etc.) during the week, we no longer have to spend our weekends catching up on them. We still need an occasional “date.” But, we are OK with not going out nearly as often.
Second, the stress is greatly reduced. We still have some stress, especially when it comes to paying the bills with less money. But, unlike before, we no longer feel like we are constantly running around. For example, we don’t have to coordinate with my parents to make sure someone can get our oldest daughter from school or figure out who will take her to skating lessons.
I won’t say we are perfectly relaxed. However, having less to worry about has its benefits.
Last, we get to spend more quality time together with the kids. This was actually something we discussed prior to her quitting her job. But, when we did, we only discussed how it would benefit them. As it turns out, this extra quality time with our daughters as a family has made our marriage better too because it reminds us about why we originally decided to get married and raise a family and gives us added incentive to find ways to keep that going.
My wife becoming a stay-at-home mom wasn’t an easy decision for us and there are definitely some negatives when it comes to money. But, both because of what it means to our kids and to our marriage, we still believe it was the right decision.