I left the workforce indefinitely before our first son was born. I am university educated, but decided the most important thing for our children was to have Mum home full time. Through a series of wise moves and some financial good luck, we can easily afford to live on one income if I manage the money well.
When I say I left the workforce indefinitely, I mean I have no intention of returning. Not even when all my children are at school.
As far as I'm concerned, parenting doesn't finish when I pass the kids off to their teacher. I want to be available for my kids without the pressure of an employer. After school, school holidays, vomiting bugs, trouble with classmates, athletics carnivals, school excursions, show and tell. I want to be available for them all. I want my kids to know that they can come home from school in the afternoon and debrief about their day if they need to when it's fresh in their minds, not when I've picked them up from After School Care and have to rush home to get food on the table before they watch some TV then go to bed. I want to be able to know my kids' friends. Until they are grown-ups, they need a grown-up to steer them through their choices: not so that I can keep them out of trouble, but that I can help them learn how to not get themselves into trouble. I believe parenting is about quality AND quantity.
I can't quite bear the thought of spending my days making the house pretty and baking cakes, so I'm taking up writing - something that I've wanted to do since I was 13 - and we are hoping to split the work hours 50/50 between my husband and I so that he doesn't have to be so stressed by his job.
My husband teaches at a private school at the moment, and the Big Boy is enrolled to start Prep there next year. The fees for the school are quite hefty, and being able to afford them on one teacher's salary will be a stretch. If it gets too tight, I'm happy to move the kids to a public school. (I'd be happy to send them to a public school now, but my husband thinks differently.)
The best school plus two incomes to pay for it, or an average school and a parent home to support the children? I want the latter because I know that schools aren't perfect, and just because the school is brilliant doesn't mean that all the students are people you want your children to be friends with.
My family is the most important thing to me, and I don't want to be chasing after so many things that we need to full time incomes to pay for them all. Something has to be sacrificed: my family or the things. The wonderful thing about having discovered minimalism is that I've learnt that things are easy to sacrifice when you learn that they don't matter.