My husband paid me $15 an hour to be a stay-at-home mom. Here’s what I learned.

I have two kids who are a bit more than four years apart, and we’ve been through all sorts of strollers. Singles, doubles, umbrella strollers, joggers, and so on. Of the six or so strollers we used heavily, only one broke down before the or kids outgrew it. Some we gifted on, some we keep just because who knows, and a few we have sold for a decent profit.

If you do some research and find the most popular new strollers, you can then search out used units for sale on the cheap. Posting them at a markup can make you handy cash, especially when you sell locally only, avoiding shipping costs.

  • Melissa Petro is a freelance writer, wife, and mother living in New York.
  • Instead of returning to full-time work after she had a baby, she convinced her husband to ‘pay’ her to handle all the childcare, housework, and other familial responsibilities.
  • She added up the hours she’d work each week and multiplied it by an hourly wage, subtracting this figure from what she owed the family budget.
  • Still needing a second job to make ends meet, Petro soon grew exhausted by all the responsibilities on her plate, especially as her son got older.
  • Later, her husband lost his job, compelling the couple to switch roles entirely.

Before I became a mother, my husband and I had an equal partnership: We both worked full-time – he as a consultant in digital media, me as a freelance writer – and contributed 50-50 to a family budget. We also did our best to split the household work equally.

Then, I got pregnant and gave birth, and equality went out the window.

Mentally and physically exhausted, breastfeeding around the clock, and overwhelmed by the duties of managing our household, I didn’t think I had my former hustle in me. It was also a fact that – even though I was relatively successful at what I did – my yearly income as a freelance writer barely covered the cost of full-time childcare.

And so, instead of my returning to full-time work after maternity leave, I convinced my husband of an unorthodox arrangement: Rather than hiring a nanny or sending our then four-month-old off to daycare, I told him I’d handle the childcare – along with all the housework and other familial responsibilities. Instead of paying a team of professionals, I reasoned, we’d pay me. 

In our case, then something interesting happened: My husband lost his job, compelling us to switch roles entirely. He took over household responsibilities, including childcare, while I worked full-time. It was a blessing in disguise; I realized how much I missed my former career. I also discovered that my earning potential had nearly doubled – thanks in no small part to the time management and multitasking skills I’d sharpened during my tenure as a stay-at-home mom. Meanwhile, my husband realized exactly how hard I’d had it for the past year. More than once, I came home from a rewarding day at my office – aka the coffee shop down the street, where I typically set up shop – to find my normally even-tempered husband in literal tears, overwhelmed and frustrated by the tasks expected of him.

In the end, my family learned a valuable lesson: Taking care of a toddler for 12 plus hours a day is work – harder work than my husband and I ever imagined – and so, just as soon as my husband found a new job, we decided to leave it to the professionals. Oscar will start full-time daycare this fall.