Money & Career

Can you afford to be a stay-at-home mom?

Right now I know a lot of women getting ready to go back to work after maternity leave. Some are keen to get back (hot coffee and adult conversation — yay!) and some are finding it really hard to get psyched.

mother, baby

Right now I know a lot of women getting ready to go back to work after maternity leave. Some are keen to get back (hot coffee and adult conversation yay!) and some are finding it really hard to get psyched. 


For a lot of new mothers, deciding whether or not to stay home full-time is a tough choice. Of course it’s about much more than money but the thing is, until you crunch the numbers, it’s hard to know if staying at home is even an option. 

Working it out is easy. You just add up your earnings and all the costs associated with working (even your commute and work clothes) and deduct the cost of childcare (which of course can be pretty hefty). Don’t forget to factor in tax benefits like the Canada Child Tax Benefit — every little bit helps, right?

So what happens if the calculation isn’t on your side? 


Well, there are few options to consider. The first is to take a very serious look at your spending and what you can cut. Or are there ways you can make money at home while looking after the kids (freelance, additional childcare, etc.)?   

There are also a few ways to have your cake and eat it too I know a couple who both cut back to part-time hours in order to share childcare duties (with additional grandparent support when needed). They’re very happy with the arrangement and with the kids going into school full-time, they actually have full-time jobs to transition back to. 

In my case, I pared down my freelance business to three days a week and arranged childcare in our home Tuesday to Thursday (so I could still be near my kids all day). I actually found I got more done when I only had three days to complete everything. 

So with a little creativity and flexibility, staying at home with your kids might just be doable for you.