Is it financially viable to be a Stay at home Mum?

Over the last 12 months I have asked myself time and time again if it is still financially viable for Australian family’s to have a Stay at home parent?  There are a number of blogs and websites which are rich in advice, and give tips and tricks about how to save money in many different ways (www.simplesavings.com.au), but what if you feel like you have exhausted all your options?  What if you have gone through the budget and culled everything down to the last cent?   What if you have changed service providers to get the better deals, but still you can’t afford to have a lifestyle.  Its all work and no play.  This does not make a happy mum and it certainly does not make a happy dad.

I am not a women’s libber by any stretch.  I am someone who does not think its a priority to take on your husbands name, and I certainly do not want to encourage that old 1950’s stereotype of women giving up their careers and interests and solely looking after house and then waiting on their husbands and children 24/7.   If one could have the best of both worlds I would have that, but when the rubber meets the road, the term ‘stay at home parent’ does not mean one should give up one’s own personal dreams and ambitions.  It means that for a period of time in a family’s history, a mum or the dad is going to be available to the children’s needs full time.   Most parents try to do this until their last child goes to school, some are able to stay home longer, but these days unless your able to have a work at home job that financially helps the family, and allows much flexibility – it seems that house hold expenses have become too big for one income, and this means that its financially no longer viable to have a stay at home parent.

Any mother out there will tell you that parenthood involves sacrifice, bucket loads of it actually, but the question I find myself asking these days is how much sacrifice is too much, and where do you drawer the line?   Sacrificing an income these days seems equal to the idea of having a limb amputated from the family.   The average single income family doesn’t seem to work (financially) without that second income, and while we have managed well and have just dealt with the sacrifice of not having that second income, I am thinking that for us as a family – having a full time stay at home parent is actually not viable for us any more.    The sacrifice is income, but the limb we have lost or losing is actually lifestyle.

I am lucky that my husband has always encouraged me to find what I am good at and run with it.  My priority as a mum is to be available to the kids, but I also realise that its time that I step up to the plate.   I told you in my last post that I was applying to university to do a degree in communications and media studies.     I have now applied for this and while I wait to hear back I am looking at other opportunities for me to earn an income.   I can’t go back to hairdressing as I have issues with shaky hands and although I am able to cut a straight line – its not very comforting to the client to watch me cut their hair with shaky hands in the mirror.

This probably sounds crazy, but I feel like I am on an little adventure.  The parameters are set in terms that whatever I do, I have to be available to my children.   I need the flexibility….but other than that I can pretty much do whatever I want to do – and that sounds pretty exciting to me!   I say bring on the challenge!

Does anyone want to join me on my challenge ??

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