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Stay-at-home mom wants to work

Dear Dave: I’m a stay-at-home mom now, and my husband brings home $2,600 a month. We’re trying to get out of debt, but we need more money coming in. I want to go back to work, but emotionally part of me feels like I should stay home with our two-year-old daughter. What do you think?

— Kayla

Dear Kayla: I understand the feelings involved, especially if you’ve spent all of your time home with your child. But don’t make the mistake of blaming the debt if you simply want to go back to work. You’re not a bad person if you have kids and you work outside the home.

I have several ladies on my team who have young children, and they work 40 hours a week. Guess what? They’re excellent mothers! Anyone who says a woman can’t be a great mom because she works outside the home is full of it. On the other hand, if anyone says you’re not fulfilling yourself as a person or you’re stunting your intellectual development because you’re a stay-at-home mom, they’re full of it too!

I’d advise you and your husband to sit down, talk about this a lot, and pray about the situation. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, because it’s none of their business. You guys are in charge of your lives and your family. That makes it your job to decide what’s best.

If you want to stay at home, and you guys can make it happen financially, that’s a great thing. If you can’t right now, or you simply want to go back into the workforce, that’s fine too. It’ll help solve your debt problem. Then after you’ve got your money under control, you might find you want to come home again. The option will be there.

For now, I think you should go back to work. Why? Because you want to!

— Dave

Dear Dave: We live in New Jersey, and my wife and I can afford the $10,000 to send our son to a state college. However, we have a younger child who is heading to college in a couple of years, and I’m having a hard time justifying room and board when he can commute. My wife doesn’t have a problem paying for it, even though it would mean taking out a loan. What do you think?

— Andy

Dear Andy: I’m with you on this one. If you had an extra $40,000 lying around, this wouldn’t be an issue. But if you’re talking about borrowing money just for him to live in a dorm, my answer is a resounding no!

If your son, or your wife, wants the “college experience” to be part of the equation, then Junior can get a job to pay for the added expense. Anyone can make $10,000 a year delivering pizza while in school, and it would be a great life experience. You might spot him a little something to get him in there and get things going, but I’d make it contingent on him working to pay the remainder.

There’s no reason to take out loans for something like this. It sounds like you guys can cash flow the important stuff, but make sure this kid learns what work is and why it’s important. I worked full time while I was in college and still graduated in four years.

Besides, most college dorm rooms look a lot like prison cells; they’re tiny, with concrete block walls and maybe a window, if you’re lucky. Does this really sound like an “experience” worth going into debt for? I don’t think so!

— Dave

Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

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Published May 18, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm)

Stay-at-home mom wants to work

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