A few months ago, I read an article (can't remember where) about the increasing number of stay-at-home dads. The reason? The mass amounts of lay-offs due to the recession. Apparently, more men than women have found themselves unemployed and therefore, staying home with their young children.
Now that we are faced with having two children not yet school-aged, the idea of spending $2000/month September--June for two years, getting a toddler, a baby and two adults ready to go by 6: 45 am, and spending the evening in a scramble to wash bottles, prepare dinners, nurse a baby, and do laundry, clean bathrooms, etc sounds like my version of hell. Mind you, my paying job requires me to deal with large numbers of 12 and 13 year olds for 6 hours, so there is little patience or energy left to manage the juggling act required to keep the family running.
Before you ask yourself: What is the husband doing? Sitting on his ass drinking beers, farting, and playing video games? I will tell you the answer is: No! He is scrambling to prepare dinners for the crockpot, do the dishes, clean the cat boxes, pick up the dog shit from the yard, do the laundry, etc. Thing is, even with two of us flying around the house at break-neck speed, the place is still a wreck and we are left stressed and exhausted.
One possible, albeit financially precarious, solution to the problem is for one of us to stay home for two years until Zoe is in school and Nameless is 2. Traditionally, it is the mother who quits her job, but in our situation, that does not make sense. I am a public employee which means I carry our health insurance with very little out of pocket, I have PERS (public employee's retirement), and I build seniority on the union payscale, not to mention that I earn 34% more than my husband does. Last night, we realized that during the school year, all but $300 of my husband's monthly salary will go to to daycare. If he quit his job, it would be an annual loss of $10,000. I could earn back at least half of that by teaching summer school and SUN school classes, we would save approximately $1000 annually by not buying a transit pass for him to go to work, and we could switch to cloth diapers and wipes, saving an additional $500+ yearly. Of course, we would still need to cut some "luxuries" like eating out and buying fancy foods, but we would have more opportunity to expand our garden and grow and can/freeze more food.
We have decided to take a "wait and see" approach to making this decision. Exactly how much more hectic will it be with the new baby? Is it worth the risk of not being able to re-enter the work-force? Fortunately, a huge male ego is not a factor.