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How To Live On One Income With A Baby – Transitioning to a Stay At Home Mom

I know the thought of missing your baby’s milestones breaks your heart. I get it. She has soft, delicate skin and the scent of perfection. She’s so brand new, fresh, flawless, and tiny. She needs you and you need her. You could stare at your baby all day. I feel the same way. Except, my babies aren’t babies anymore. The closest I have to a baby is THREE YRS OLD! That baby time is gone… Forever! Fortunately, I did not miss a single moment. Not one milestone. I have been at home. Sitting. Staring. Being with them. I am certain, not a moment of that time could have been spent any better. I’m so grateful we learned how to live on one income with a baby and I’m going to show you how you can do it too!

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How to live on one income with a baby. Stay at home mom putting money in piggy bank.

But First… The Pain.

For 4 months after I discovered I was pregnant with my first child, I sobbed every morning on the drive into work.

I worked with especially great people and I really enjoyed what I did. When our family was in the planning stages, we knew that I’d have to work until my husband’s income got to a place where it could sustain us all.

I grew up with a stay at home mom and so had he… but times are different now. It’s more difficult to know how to live on one income with a baby than it was 30-40 years ago.

During those four increasingly difficult months, we searched child care options, prayed, discussed and still, I could not find peace. Finally, one day, I tearfully admitted to my husband how much pain I was in.

The thought of leaving my precious baby every day while I worked, broke me deep. down. inside.

You know what he said?… “Then you won’t go back to work!” –

“But?” I replied. “We’ll figure it out,” he answered. “Are you sure? You are the one with all the hobbies. You’ll have to give up a lot.” I asked. “Yes,” he stated.

Wow! I was shocked, to say the least. Had that really just happened? I was sure that coming to him with my concerns would be more of a counseling session.

I figured he would help me see how leaving my baby would be OK. It IS the norm for so many modern families. But… it wasn’t the norm for us!

Tips For Living On One Income With a Baby

After that conversation, I instantly felt like I could breath easier, walk lighter, and smile bigger with the peace that was in my heart. We had decided to learn how to live on one income with a baby. We would figure it out. And we were making the right choice!

Now, I could tell you all kinds of sacrifices we made for me to be a stay at home mom. There was a lot! However, I’ll just highlight a few to show you, if it was possible for us, then it’s possible for you!

  • Our income was cut in half. Maybe, yours would be too. I made as much money as my husband at the time. I’m not talkin’ going from six figures to a modest income. We went from a not-even-modest income to an “are you freakin’ kidding me?” income.
  • We sold both our financed cars and bought two (janky) paid-for cars. One of which you had to climb in and out of the passenger side door to get in. (he drove that one to work) The other car had well over 250,000 miles on it, but it was one of the few models that just keeps moving. You know what? We were never left stranded.
  • We gave up cell phones, cable TV, and a litany of other luxuries. Used a push mower, began coupon-ing, etc. We did what it took to make it through those first few years. You can too.

Expressing Gratitude

I was so blessed by my husband’s commitment to his family and learning how to live on one income with a baby. I made sure he knew how grateful I was if you know what I mean… wink wink. Our marriage blossomed.

The days were sweet and simple. He went to work early. The baby and I played, danced around, worked on sleep, food and other training. learn more about baby sleep and food

When he got home we devoured a couple of boxes of macaroni and cheese (praise God we can afford better food now,) put the baby to bed, hung out, and went to sleep ourselves. This was our everyday.

You can still have a life. If we wanted social interaction, we invited friends over and asked each to bring some food. Need a date night? Make popcorn and watch one of your old favorite movies at home. for more at-home-date ideas check here.

When we occasionally started to feel sorry for ourselves because we were barely getting by, we drove around gazing at big beautiful houses and dreaming of our future home. We’d chat about what our life would look like in 5…10…15 years.

Will We Be Broke Forever?

Then get busy. A slow, methodic, and strategic kind-of-busy… Talk and pray about a plan to get to the life you really want. It CAN happen, you don’t have to be broke forever.

So how do you do it? Three Most Important Steps for How To Live On One Income With A Baby:

  • Get debt-free. (that was a humbling process, read how WE got debt free here) click here for how you can get debt-free
  • Sell the big stuff! We sold our home and moved into a cheap apartment, so my husband could go back to school if necessary.
  • Get serious! My husband got really serious at work. He made sure everyone around him understood, he had no intentions to stay at the level he was at. He also took a second job for a while.
    click here for our favorite resource to making more money at work.

Look… there are a million tiny details to how we got where we are today… I can sum it up by telling you, over the course of 11 years, we made one good choice after another (with a few bad ones thrown in there) and no longer have to eat cheap macaroni and cheese!

The first of which, was choosing to learn how to live on one income with a baby! It is an option for you too.

My life (our life) is no more difficult and never was more difficult because I didn’t work outside the home. The truth is, it has been much easier, more rewarding, and full of peace and joy.

I would certainly have been miserable going to work every day. MIS. ER. ABLE! Even today, the very thought makes me feel bad. You know… that heavy, burdened, sick feeling?!

Desperation = Motivation.

When you have a comfortable amount of money with two incomes, you settle. You make enough money to have a couple of nice cars, a cute house, and eat out, so you don’t feel particularly compelled to more.

You get sorta stuck! Things seem “pretty good” the way they are.

The opposite is also true of being broke. You feel desperate to “DO SOMETHING!” Look at your bank account and say, “OK, well… it can’t stay like this forever! So, what do I need to be doing?”

That could mean your husband digging his heels in at work for a promotion, starting a home business, or something else. My husband has tirelessly worked and achieved a lot of success.

It is safe to say, that it would not have happened if he didn’t feel desperate to replace my income!

But I Want What They Have

There will be times that you whine and feel sorry for yourself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the way we think our lives should look. Particularly when you are young, just married, newly pregnant. The house with the pretty decor. Two cute cars with two matching incomes to pay for them.

The reality is: those things will be available 11 years in the future (or 20.) However, your child’s babyhood won’t be. My first baby is a pre-teen now and our relationship is different than when he was a little guy.

No Regrets Living On One Income

I would live with a heavy regret if I had not spent those early days with my babies. Chances are, you will too. Being a stay-at-home mom is an option for you. I’ve shown you the basics of how to get there and give you our success story as proof.

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4 Comments

  1. What about being a stay at home single mom? Ive been at home(not by choice with my son for 2 month’s now. He was in the hospital for the first 2 of his life. I was let go from my job due to medical reasons. I had planned on going back to work but missing the little moments with my son would just kill me. Idk what to do. I know I don’t want to miss the little bit of baby time I have with him.

    1. Hi Monique!
      Thanks so much for sharing your heart. I can only imagine your heartache during this time. First of all, let me say that I am so glad your little man is home and seemingly doing well! All the truths I laid out in the post are still important for you to know. Choosing to stay home, whether married or not, comes with a lot of sacrifice. I’d like to point you in the direction of two blogs. One is ran by a friend of mine, who left coorporat America in order to work from home full time with her two children. She specializes in helping moms learn how to make enough money at home, to be at home. Her blog is https://redefiningmom.com/ The second blog is https://www.sarahtitus.com/ I don’t know the owner of this blog personally, but her story is inspiring. She is also a single mom and has made a comfortable living from working at home so she can stay with her children as well. What I can tell you for sure is that being a single mom is hard work, no matter which way you slice it. If you really want to figure out how to stay at home as a single mom, roll up your sleeves and be ready for a lot of “work.” The possibiity of being able to support your little one while still being near to him throughout the day is real. I hope you’ll stay in touch and let me know how it all goes!

      Many blessings, Shelley
      p.s. if you’ve subscribed, I have a whole section in my resource library on baby care:) Enjoy!

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