I remember clearly the day I was talking with one stay at home wife. Her kids were all at least 16 years old, and she was hoping I would have advice because her mother-in-law had finally "cut them off" after she paid off their last multi-thousand dollar debt and she wanted to make sure they wouldn't get in that situation again.
After reviewing her budget, I told her that it looked like they could make it work if they kept to their basic expenses, but if they were still having trouble, she should probably look at getting a job. She told me she couldn't do that because she drove her son to the virtual high school and back every day. I tried bringing up the possibility of at least a part-time job and got shut down again. Honestly, I'm pretty sure that this particular person had never worked in their life,
Here's the thing, I may be somewhat spoiled, and I may be a "stay at home" mom right now, but I do know the value of hard work, and if circumstances changed, I would be back in "at work" in a heartbeat rather than go into debt. Right now I'm enjoying the luxury of only having one part-time job (most of the time). Although, apparently that was not enough for me, since I just started another part-time gig selling Norwex products.
Many years ago, before kids, I felt bad being a 20-something non-parent and judging this mom (and others in two-income families), so I decided to put my own advice to the test and got a part-time job during the Christmas season in addition to my full-time work. I enjoyed the pleasantries of working in retail the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Saturdays and Sundays leading up to Christmas. I even worked a few weeknights from 6-10pm when I had to get up and go to my "real job" in the morning, While it's not something sustainable long-term, it can be a good way to get income for the holidays or get out of debt more quickly.
So how do you make money staying at home? Many people post online work at home jobs, which can be a great option (I work for tutor.com and bring home about $200 a month before taxes for 5-6 hours a week). There are other options many people don't consider.
- Retail or food service jobs. Many of these jobs, because of the extended hours, can work around a 9-5 schedule (if your husband can provide childcare for example). If you prefer to work evenings, weekends, and holidays this can be a great option.
- Any job that you can bring children with you. From what I have seen, you may be able to bring my children to part-time jobs at the YMCA, church (preschool, childcare), gyms that offer childcare, and many daycares also offer reduced childcare for employees and are often looking for "floaters".
- Your own business. If you own your own business, whether you work from home or not, you may be able to bring your children with you. Most direct sales business can be done during evenings or even during the day and bringing your children with you. I have also seen children helping their parents in the vending machine business. And older children often help in the landscaping business with easier jobs. You could also start your own in home childcare, tutoring, or after school business.
- Working during school hours. If your children are school age, consider working for the school system. While the jobs don't pay well they do have great benefits. You can often get "full time" benefits and work just during school hours. Some of these jobs could include substitute teaching, assistant teaching, working in the lunchroom, working as a bookkeeper or secretary or attendance monitor. Even if your child is not in school yet, a bus monitor or driver could be a good part-time schedule as well, although the afternoon schedule may be difficult for some people if they need to arrange childcare. Another option for homeschooling parents, would be to consider working in an after-school program. Generally these program provide free or steeply discounted childcare for their workers, and your kids would get access to "homework help" and "socialization" if you are worried about those things.
- Working overnight hours. While I don't recommend this option for most people, if you really need the income there are plenty of jobs with overnight hours. Most office cleaning staff work at night. There are thousands of healthcare jobs at night. There are probably even some customer service jobs at night, depending on your area (someone has to be "on call" for those 24-hour toll free numbers, and not every company has gone overseas).
These are just some of many ideas about how to make money staying at home. Really, the options are limitless, you just have to be willing to be creative, work hard, and think positively about your future.