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To ask how much you need to be a SAHP?

(41 Posts)
sahpplease Mon 01-Feb-16 18:48:21

As a household income, I mean. Have NC for this just in case.

DH and I, between us, have just come to the end of shared parental leave. One DC, 8 months. I've been back at work the past couple of months and DH has been off for 10 weeks. He's absolutely loved it.

Me, I'm not cut out to be a SAHP, I know I'm not. We've jokingly suggested that he could stay at home if I got a pay rise (this is probably unlikely, unless I actively looked for another job outside my current employer).

So... If you are a SAHP, or have a partner who is, what's your situation? How hard is it? Is the financial drawback worth the payoff of having a parent at home full time?

PicaK Mon 01-Feb-16 19:12:32

It has been for us. I think you need to make sure that your relationship is rock solid and that your appreciation for each other isn't financially motivated. That the wage earnt is seen as joint by both parties (sahp who martyr themselves are as bad as the wage earner who sees it as their money imo).
Have equal spending money, equal time off (ie no work/child responsibility). Try to find a way for wohp to decompress before coming in the house. (Dh found it better to get train home than drive). Both of you take responsibility for creating wonderful family time. Aporeciate each other, say thank you. Sometimes DH writes down how much he appreciates what i do and vice versa. Appreciate that the stresses and strains will be equal but different.
If you can appreciate the little stuff - unrushed mornings, no panic about sick days etc it does balance out the loss of foreign holidays etc.

DilysPrice Mon 01-Feb-16 19:21:54

I'd say to your DH, as I'd say to any married woman, that it depends on the precise career opportunities for his specific job. If he's an itinerant fruit picker with no career progression then go for it. But otherwise think about how difficult it would be for him to find another job when the time comes after a big career break, and how easy it would be to find part time work (as a general rule it's much easier to negotiate family friendly hours with an existing employer than it is starting from scratch in a new job).

On the money side it's a case of how long is a piece of string, and depends on your housing costs more than anything else. Most people who aren't mega earners find that there's little difference between childcare costs and net income in the first couple of years, especially if you go on to have another child pretty soon. You need to do a big budgeting spreadsheet, work out local childcare costs,and check out all your CTC/WFTC entitlements as well.

BrieAndChilli Mon 01-Feb-16 19:25:54

Would it be an option for your DH to go part time?

fedup21 Mon 01-Feb-16 19:32:42

But otherwise think about how difficult it would be for him to find another job when the time comes after a big career break


I know of two men who gave up work completely to stay at home and care for children and neither have been able to get jobs (other than minimum wage jobs) when they tried to return to the workplace ten or so years later. One became very depressed about it (the couple eventually split up-the children staying with the dad) and the other man is very unhappy in a job that pays nowhere near what he earnt before.

There are probably countless similar stories where this has happened to SAHMs as well. I would always recommend working part time for this reason!!

StrawberryQuik Mon 01-Feb-16 19:35:43

It happens the other way round too, where you don't earn enough to go back to work.

In our case childcare would be equal to or slightly higher than the lower earners salary plus travel costs.
(Plus logistically we're both out of the house from around 7.45-6.15 everyday. I'm not sure there physically is even childcare nearby that would open early enough and late enough)

Luckily although I like my job there's not as much opportunity for career progression as in DHs so I don't feel I'm missing out. Plus I'm really looking forward to doing the whole SAHM thing, I also think it helps that I'm from Italy where there are a lot of housewives and no one calls them lazy so my self esteem should remain ok.

Long term finance wise I feel relatively well protected as I'm married (so safer than if he was DP), I'm on DHs pension plan thingy and I'm going to volunteer an evening a week to keep my skills up.

witsender Mon 01-Feb-16 19:43:54

All depends on outgoings surely? With ours, which include a reasonable mortgage in an expensive area we would struggle on less than £30k, to include saving etc. Absolute bare bills and eat, and we could manage on circa £22k

JizzyStradlin Mon 01-Feb-16 19:54:24

YY re earnings. It won't be any help to you at all to hear how people with a £200 a month mortgage manage it if you're in the south east and ponying up 2k a month for housing. Or vice versa. Number of children, housing costs, council tax, area, commuting costs for you. Need all this.

Hiddlesnake Mon 01-Feb-16 20:01:32

We're just looking into this. DH hates his job. I love mine but it's not as well paid as his.
However, our DC are 7 and 10, so he'd be less SAHP and more housekeeper!

throwingpebbles Mon 01-Feb-16 20:07:04

There is a lot of pressure on the sole earner if one person is staying at home. Better for both to be part time or one nearly full time and one very part time?

Also just to be aware that if you were to split in those circumstances your DH would likely get main residency etc and you would get every other weekend or similar

Riderontheswarm Mon 01-Feb-16 20:07:13

We have done this. We worked out a budget beforehand and it looked really tight but we were sure we wanted to do it. It turned out that we saved more money than we thought we would by one of us not working. It wasn't just childcare, travel costs, lunches and work clothes. I also had more time to buy cheaper versions of everything, buy things in sales, shop around etc. We didn't need take aways and convenience foods the same way we did when we were both exhausted from working full time and having to do everything at night after the DC's bedtime. We didn't need as many treats or to eat out as much as our daily life was less stressful and more pleasant (to us). So it hasn't worked out as expensive as we thought it would and you may find the same. As for whether it has been worth it - so far totally. I think the PP who said it would depend on how much of a joint effort you made it was right. I would also add that you both need to think it a great opportunity for your family. If your DH isn't that keen to spend every day with his DC then it won't go well. If you would prefer your DH to be making lots of money then it won't go well. But if wants to spend lots of time with the DC and you would like for them to be looked after by him and to have less stress about household stuff and more of your evenings and weekends free (because he'll have time to do some jobs you currently both have to do at night during the weekdays) then I'd say it is worth trying. It works very well for us.

museumum Mon 01-Feb-16 20:16:11

I'm self employed so we have always tried to keep our absolute essential outgoing within dh's salary. If I didn't earn we could survive but it would be very hand-to-mouth. Currently my salary covers all the extras from cable to to gym memberships to iPhones to going out and holidays.

blobbityblob Mon 01-Feb-16 20:35:32

I think the amount you need depends on where you live - here everything is expensive.

So we did the one parent working Saturday/Wednesday and just had one day's childcare, so that they could up hours when it suited.

I think they do need more as they grow really. They start caring about clothes/shoes, want to play the guitar, do karate or whatever and it all costs. Holidays as well - quite happy as a 3 year old spending all day on a beach. At 10 they want fun fair, archery, Monkey World or whatever. You can say no of course and it's not such a big deal. But better to have some sort of fall back career imv where you've got some flexilbility rather than opting out for 10 years and then thinking I don't want any of these entry level jobs.

FankEweVeryMuch Mon 01-Feb-16 20:48:11

We managed ok on just under £50k household income in Greater London with one/ two small children. We had to keep an eye on the spending but our mortgage was paid, we ate well and had a small holiday. This was about 5 years ago. They do get more expensive as they grow.

I was in the position of being quite young and not having an established career so I gave up work and stayed at home because nursery fees would have cost more than my salary so it was an easy decision for me to stop working. I want and will need to retrain when I do go back to work.

Me being at home as enabled my husband to focus on work a lot more and gained some promotions. He'd have got them anyway but it would probably have taken longer if we'd both worked (nursery pick ups, sick days).

It's worked well for us but certain factors have made it successful.

sahpplease Mon 01-Feb-16 20:52:28

Thank you, there are some really good points to consider there.

I don't think that realistically it would be an option for us. It's nice to think that it would! If DH went p/t his hours would change possibly for the worse (which sounds odd, but at present his f/t week includes a day off in the week and a half day on a weekend, so it helps us with childcare costs). I think the p/t shifts involve late afternoons/evenings or a full day on a weekend.

I think we're both just struggling with the prospect of both being back at work. I've reduced to 4 days rather than 5 but it's still tough. I imagine it'll be easy to feel like we never see baby, and each other, sometimes.

StrumpersPlunkett Mon 01-Feb-16 21:06:29

There are so many variables I don't think that there is a once figure that could give you the answer

We are v v lucky that we don't have a mortgage on our house, as a result of that one solid income has been enough, however, if we had to factor rent or mortgage into things it wouldn't have been possible.
Dh's salary covers bills with enough spare to have treats as well.
I am just about to go back into paid employment and the extra £4,000 I will earn will feel like a massive bonus.

NickyEds Mon 01-Feb-16 21:17:28

I'm a SAHM. DP earns around £45K and we're comfortable (we rent a lovely house in a very nice area). No immediate money worries but no foreign holidays, no real savings until I return to work . Tbh I wasn't an even remotely high earner and we have a small age gap(19 months) so childcare costs would completely eat up my salary, and probably then some. Even if they hadn't I wouldn't want to return-I love being at home with my childrensmile but it's tough and certainly not for everyone. I think out of my friends the ones with one ft worker and one pt worker seem to strike a good balance and the ones where both parents work full or almost full time struggle most. Good quality chiildcare that you can trust is essential.

BillBrysonsBeard Mon 01-Feb-16 21:27:51

Picak post is lovely, says it all. We are on 27k and we're fine, sooo worth it to be home with my little one.

Runningupthathill82 Mon 01-Feb-16 21:55:58

We do it on £30k and manage - just. Mortgage is a third of my take-home wage. We have one 15-year-old car, and holidays are all camping in the UK, but we're very happy.

LoisWilkersonsLastNerve Mon 01-Feb-16 22:02:17

I'm a sahm but work two evenings a week just to be employed and have something to put on a cv. I also up my hours if we need more money, is that an option? You need to earn enough to be able to pay the bills and have some savings ime.

AnotherStitchInTime Mon 01-Feb-16 22:10:23

I am WOHM and DH is a SAHD. One of us would need to be at home as childcare for 3 dc's too prohibitive. We have managed by swapping over the years. I did first 7 months with Dd1, it made sense as I am the higher wage earner and it was just after the 2008 crash. DH stayed with her until aged 2.5 when I was due with Dd2. I then stayed at home until dc3 was 10 months old. This way we both have recent work history to fall back on when ds starts nursery next year.

Suzietwo Mon 01-Feb-16 22:12:43

My partner is a stay at home. The first time we tried it it went really badly. We just weren't mentally ready for it. The second time it's worked brilliantly but we had a few ground rules, the most basic of which was he wasn't allowed to do anything which might earn him money. Sounds odd but the first time around the fact he was trying to earn a bit of money but not doing it properly or partic well made me furious. And it was cutting across his child care duties.

He almost certainly won't ever earn again unless he starts a successful business (unlikely) but we are both ok with that. If we split up I'll have to pay out a bit if the kids are young but that's fine. Why shouldn't I given that he's given up his earning power to look after the kids?

One thing to beat in mind tho, was giving up my motherly/maternal/house wifely duties, despite the fact I've never been a stay at home mother, was bloody tough!!

rollonthesummer Mon 01-Feb-16 23:30:36

He almost certainly won't ever earn again

Why? confused are you going to be the sole earner until you both die? With him earning nothing even with the children at school/left home?

vichill Mon 01-Feb-16 23:40:56

We do it on 27k. Mortgage is about 1/3 of take home pay. I haven't worked in 3 years and we've still managed to add to our savings. I appreciate things will get more expensive when they get to school age but I plan to work when the youngest goes to school.

MrsOlaf78 Tue 02-Feb-16 00:10:24

I was a sahp for three years. I have absolutely no regrets - I was always there to cuddle dd when she was poorly and we had lots of fun together. I couldn't afford childcare but for me if didn't feel right to hand her over anyway. If she had a restless night it didn't matter and I am positive she benefitted from the one to one time as she is very articulate for her age. It did me good to experience the world from a child's point of view and enjoy the simple pleasures. She's not clingy - she made the move to preschool well and she got into swimming and other activities because I was around to take her. I don't think an employed carer would have done all that with the same level of enthusiasm and interest in her. I'm proud of what I did for her.

However it's not all roses of course. It was lonely and monotonous at times. I missed working and surviving on one wage was a struggle and we got into debt although we are quickly working our way out of it now I'm working again. I was a minority as a sahp and I really felt it, surrounded by grandparents and nannies rather than fellow mums! I also had to work very hard at not resenting what I had given up when I was going through difficult days. It was a challenge to get back into work too and sahps rarely get the recognition they deserve so I had to be so wary of getting a chip on my shoulder about all that too!

I'm just giving you some insight from what I've experienced. My personal view is that there's no right or wrong - what's right for the parents tends to be right for the child so go with your gut feeling and you'll make it work. I'm sure your child will be fine regardless!

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