I never thought I’d have to plan post-baby career decisions. I hadn’t really been after a career in the first place. I assumed I’d get married during my twenties, have babies, and stay home with my children. So when I took a job as the assistant editor of a children’s magazine after college, I thought the position was temporary.
I stayed in that job for 10 years. I was promoted twice and developed a variety of skills in my field.
Nine years in, I met and married my now-husband, Kevin. He shared a desire for me to stay home with our children someday, so we kind of assumed there wouldn’t be much “planning” involved when that time came.
But six months into marriage, when we learned we were expecting, our situation didn’t seem quite as simple. I still wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom after the baby was born, but as a store manager at a coffee chain, Kevin didn’t pull in quite enough income to cover our basic expenses.
During the previous years, I had gotten the impression that staying home with my children would be easy to do, but when the actual time arrived my husband and I had some realities we needed to consider. Here are a few basics couples should consider when making post-baby career plans:
Set Your Priorities
Up until the birth of our son, we had lived on two incomes, which allowed us “extras,” such as eating out, travel, and entertainment. We both agreed that we were willing to give up some things so I could stay at home. Disposable income — and the fancy lattes I enjoyed — went lower on our priority list, while me being in the home with my baby went higher.
In my book, Expectant Parents, one mom, Denise, talks about the priorities she and her husband, Andrew, came up with:
There are certain realities we just have to deal with, such as the economy, but we asked ourselves, “What are the things we know the children need?” Stability, love, security. There are different ways you can provide that and still be a God-honoring parent.
Even though Denise had to return to work to provide for her family’s needs, she and her husband came up with a solution where they were able to trade off caring for the children in the home. In this way, they upheld their family’s priorities.
Leave Your Options Open
It’s impossible to predict exactly how you will feel after your baby is born. You may go through pregnancy with one plan in mind only to discover you desire something else once that bundle of joy is in your arms.
Think through a few different arrangements that might work for your family. Maybe you can tweak your budget to live on a single income. Or perhaps one of you can bring in supplemental income from home, or work a more flexible schedule.
Even though Kevin and I couldn’t make ends meet on one income, we figured out how much money I would have to bring in each month through freelance work and decided that we could make it work for me to stay home.
Seek the Lord
God has a calling for your family. Both career and raising your children are a part of that. Spend time in prayer with your spouse about these important decisions.
When my son was born, my husband and I believed God was calling me to quit my full-time job and stay home. While I was pregnant, our pastor delivered a sermon on the Lord’s Prayer and the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread.” He asked us to write a prayer to God expressing trust in Him to provide for us. I wrote that I trusted Him to supply our daily needs as we took the leap of faith to go to a single income. I still keep that prayer in my Bible as a reminder of how God has been faithful these past four years. We have never been in need.
God will honor you as you put Him first in your career and family decisions. Seek Him, set priorities that are close to His heart, and allow Him to help you come up with creative solutions that work for your family.
For more practical ideas on how to welcome a new baby into your family, check out Suzanne’s new book Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood.