Is Both spouses working important in a family?

Both spouses working necessary or important?

Note: I generally write about one post a week and generally write long post, this post is over 1300 words, read it at your leisure and share your opinion on how you feel about it. Thanks.

In right now in down economy, many jobs are cut. A few people are still making good money but some are making less money doing same job. There are many stay at home moms and dads are like me who do not make any money.

Zenguy works as a consultant and he was unable to get any project for long time. I Stay home with my 2 kids, home school, teach at co-op as a volunteer. Our life is simplified enough that, we survived in little saving that we had. I have electrical engineering and marketing background and worked in corporate doing well while ago. I was talking to a relative and she said that made me think, basically she said I am wasting earned degree and money spent on education by not using it and doing things for free. If we both had a job, there will be always one income coming in. She in a way is right, and many times, I wish that I had an income/paying job. If I was working, we would not be in pressure when Zenguy did not have a project or contract for long time and we would be in better financial shape.

I thought of writing an analysis and Pros and Cons of both spouse working or not as it could help someone in similar situation to make a right choice for them. You will also see why my staying home is saving us more money, even if I was making 6 figure income right now too. Please read on, and make choice that works for you and your family. There are no right or wrong choices, we all do what works for us, this is simply my choice based on my experience.

Benefits of both spouses working

1. We still would have at least one income coming in for paying bills.

2. We would be all covered under my work insurance, saving us $710 month on medical premium and $6000 yearly deductibles.

3. We would be covered for dental and eye coverage through job and would not have to be without or pay from our pocket.

4. R would be able to go to best private Kindergarten and Little P ould have best care at home or day care with Nanny.

5. Zenguy would not have so much pressure to find a job and look for right one that feels right for him.

6. We would not be stressed (internally) about money as much.

7. I would get a social adult time outside, enjoying occasional work lunches, and conversation with other professional adults.

8. I will be using my electrical engineering and marketing classes: My education will be useful to earn and keep our lifestyle going.

9. I will be wear and buy new decent clothes from stores without guilt.

10. I may get professional hair cut or beauty care. (I am not usually in to these thing though)

11. I would be moving up in my career ladder.

12. Maybe I could help Zenguy and other friends/family with my professional contacts and job prospects.

13. We would be able to travel and take vacation, often as we used to.

14. We could eat out without being guilty.

15. We can attend parties, gathering without worrying about we can afford it.

16. We would be generous as we used to be with friends and family.

A Few Possible Issues with of both of us Working:

1. Since I would be working, kids would be in day care/preschool whole day. These are rough estimate cost for school and daycare in California. Cost for R’s Private Kindergarten : $850 (reasonably priced) plus afternoon daycare cost till 6pm $300-$500 : Total cost for R= $1150-$1350 per month. P’s cost for daycare since he is under 2 year and needs diaper changes/feeding: $1200-$2200 depending on care. Very expensive, most of my pay would go for kid’s care/school.

2. Since P sometimes gets (due to his lung issues) sick on and off, I would not be able to leave on day care (strict policy of all day care to avoid other kids getting sick) I would have to take off from work, if we both worked or Zenguy would have to do all caring for him, whole day while I am at work.

3. I may not be able to get time off whenever kids are sick, If I do, I might get laid off or create a tension at work.

4. We have to wake kids up at 6am to get ready and rushed to daycare/preschool by 8am and rush traffic to get to work. We have to pick up kids at 6pm or before, or getting extra charged for being late (unless situation is worked in it already), which creates extra stress.

5. If I am working or both of us working, we might have to do overtime without extra pay as it is expected and occasional weekend working too, leaving kids alone again? or finding a weekend care person.

6. We might be eating out or getting ready made food often , if I am working from 8-6PM everyday, not leaving me much time to cooking as often.

7. Kids will not be taken care of as well as myself by day care people, no matter how nice they are, as they may have 1 adult to 10 kids ratio (typical )

8. After extra tax, child care costs, car and extra gas costs, work clothing and other unforeseen work expenses will not much in my hands.

I used this calculator here Should your spouse work? and I assume I will make $5000/month salary (high amount), what would be take home income will be after all above expenses? it came out to be $286 per month. That is not much at all for all the efforts and stress that it will include. Check it out yourself with various pay and tax rates.

9. Sometimes at work, you would have to go out with co-workers or office parties, even when you brought your own lunch, adding to your lunch expenses.

10. You would have to pay some money every month towards some office party sometimes, such as birthdays, baby showers, outgoing employee, new employee and other outings parties.

11. You will be driving more, adding more cost to insurance, gas and wear and tear of your car.

12. Some of my mommy friends who work, they hire cleaning lady as they do not have time to clean house, adding more money. We usually do all cleaning work by ourselves right now.

13. Some of working mommies get cooking lady or food from outside, more often adding more expenses.

Why Staying home is Working for us:

Overall, in our case me working with 2 kids in not beneficial at all. I do help out our household income by;

1. Free child care

2. Free cleaning/cooking as I love to cook and like cleaner house

3. I have time for selling extra items from home

4. I can do more by saving money by living frugally

5. Saving on clothes/beauty care, gas, clothes prices, gifts for work expenses by being home

6. I can do still freelance writing, tutoring kids to make little income doing what I love.

7. I have sanity to wake up with kids and not be rushed, living life to smell the roses and not living fast life I used to live when I was working crazy hours.

8. Best part about this is, I get to choose what work I want to do regardless of earning anything, such as blogging. 🙂

In conclusion, we may not have income, but we do not have rush and stress ourselves for extra $286 month income for me. What do you think? $286 is good for groceries!

Check out Other Related Articles;

No spend month Challenge : I did a challenge to spend $300 per month only during July 2010, check it out.

Ways to Help Your Unemployed Friend or Family Member: This is very useful right now with down economy.

Surviving without money possible? An interesting case study of a person who is living without any money, impressive.

Creating a simplified Financial Plan: Simple plan to follow for all of us.

Story of Stuff: Do we really need all the stuff in life? We want it, need it? Most likely no.

Although finding a job for me after a few years break is also challenging, decisions decisions..sometimes it is not so easy choice. It was sure tough when we were both were not making money but we stuck it out and more surprising fact is that we survived for 22 months. Zenguy has a small project now and things seemed to be looking up.

Your turn: What works for you and how did you made a choice?

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  1. Betsy Bargain says:

    Very thoughtful analysis of the issue, Preeti. I think couples have to do the math and figure out what works for them. It sounds like in your case you have definitely made the best choice for your family!

  2. Carla says:

    I stay at home with the kids, I love it. But we just had a big income drop, with another to come, so i’m wondering how we’ll be able to continue having me at home. 🙁

  3. rob white says:

    Hi Preeti,
    The most important thing is that you are listening to your heart-mind and not allowing the world-voice to decide what is best for you! Indeed, these are tough times for a lot of folks… that is a reality. It appears to me you are putting the well being of your family first and foremost. Whatever your choice, it is obvious to me that it will be for the greatest benefit of the family unit.

  4. ZenGirl says:


    Thanks for the kind note. Yes, I really believe I am following my heart to do what works right, sometimes it is not the easiest to make a decision. Luckily, we are in situation where I can make this choice by using our savings, or living simply has enabled us to live in one or no income for little while. Many folks do not have that choice and I can see it is a tough choice right now for many.

  5. ZenGirl says:


    I stay home with kids too and I homeschool, so I can understand where you are coming from. We have survived on little to no income for past 22 months, and it has been not the easiest to say the least but I know it is possible. You are savvy and doing well on your no spend month rightnow, I think you will make it. However I do wish some money fairy to help here and there, we can all use it. Congratulations!

  6. ZenGirl says:


    Thanks, yes there are income calculators out there, that tells you, how much your hourly wage would be after all the job related expense and it sure opened up my eyes. While, I am happy for my choice to stay home, I am working on finding a balance in life so we would never be in dire situation where there are no income coming in.

  7. Squirrelers says:

    This is a very well explained and thought out post. It’s a big topic for a lot of people.

    What works best for each couple is what should be done. In some families, it works for all that both work. In other families, it works when only one works. Whichever is the case, and whoever works/stays home, I think that there ought to be no preconceived notions of what should or should not happen.

    I’m sure, given the thought and feelings you’ve put into these choices, you are both doing the right thing. That would also be the case if both people worked and you had the same level of thoughts and feelings. It’s all personal and individual, I think that’s what it comes down to.

  8. nazimwarriach says:

    You have made a valuable analysis of both living styles. But I am currently very happy with my situation of working myself while my wife take care of our 2 children and other house chores. I think there is a definite difference between responsibilities of both, Dad is responsible for financial matters while Mother is responsible for take care of children and house.
    Although it is not a rule of thumb but according to my experience it really works very fine.

  9. Keith Davis says:

    Hi Preeti
    Positive thing about both working is that if one of you loses their job, the other is hopefully still working.

    My wife and I both work and probably will do until retirement age.
    We both enjoy our jobs but the spectre of the credit crunch looms ever large.

    Here in the UK we are dragging ourselves out of the recession but we still have nearly 3 million unemployed.
    The only sector making big profits is… banking!

    Both of us working is no longer a choice but a necessity.

    BTW – not visited for a while.
    Blog is looking good and attracting plenty of comments.
    Well done Preeti.

  10. ZenGirl says:


    Zenguy and I both used to work before, and I thought after my first child was born, I would go back to work but somehow I enjoyed being with my son and decided to stay home. I am glad working well for both you and your wife, in many ways both spouse working is good ideas in bad economy.

    I know I have not seen you in awhile, Hope to see you more here.

  11. ZenGirl says:


    I am glad you found a style that works for you and family. Sometimes making these choices takes time. We all do what works for our family. Thanks for commenting.

  12. ZenGirl says:


    Yes, I have looked at every part of equation to make this choice but there are times when I wonder was this a right choice and usually answer is yes. It may change in future but right now it seems to do the job. I agree, these choices are individual and personal base as I have also mentioned in the post. What works for one, may not work for others. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Aileen says:

    Preeti, this is a great analysis! These choices are so individual and every persons situation is different – but the way you analyze it is a gift – it allows others to analyze their own situation with logic not emotional judgement.

  14. ZenGirl says:


    Yes, this analysis was based on my personal life but it might makes sense to others and we can take and leave what matters to us and make a choice. Being home is not for everyone. I sometime miss the income and social aspects of it but happy with choice, specially right now when we are sick with cold!

  15. Walter says:

    While my wife really wants to be with the kids in order to care for them thoroughly, financial lack is the greatest hindrance. We had to leave our kids in the care of our relatives as we go on to work everyday. Oftentimes, we felt guilty leaving them throughout the day, but God knows it is for their benefit. 🙂

  16. ZenGirl says:


    I know financial lack and insurance are two biggest thing against staying home. It sure has not been easy decision for us or many people we know. Sometimes we all do that works for us and make little changes as needed. Living simplified life and making passive income are great two ways to make this happen. I have simplified life somewhat but none in income part yet 🙂 It is good to see you.

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