DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Before we even got married, my husband and I decided that if we were blessed with children, I would stay home, at least until they were all in school. Now that our youngest is finishing first grade, I feel like I should be making some money, but daycare in our area is crazy expensive, and with four kids needing after-school care and fulltime summer camps, I would have to be making more money than my current skillset would probably earn me, especially after being out of the workforce for 8 years. My husband tells me not to worry, but I do. We need to start saving for college, and while we make enough to cover all our bills and take a nice vacation every couple years, it isn’t enough to put anyone through college.
I guess I just want someone to tell me it’s okay to still be home and not making money, even though the kids are in school all day. --- SAHM IN LIMBO
DEAR SAHM IN LIMBO: Even when the kids are in school all day, there is still plenty to be done around the house and in your community. Volunteering, finding a part-time job that meshes with the kids’ school schedule ─ like substitute teaching, temping, or working in a local business that may be looking for seasonal help ─ are options you could explore.
You could also take the time to brush up on your already existing skills and learn a few new ones by taking classes in fields of interest to you. Investigate free or inexpensive offerings through community colleges and job placement services to keep costs down.
None of these options are likely to fully fund four four-year college educations, but finding something to keep you engaged and contributing financially might lessen your guilt.