Many people like the idea of having one stay at home parent while the other parent works full time. However, financially speaking, this may not be an affordable option for many parents today. The high costs of housing and other living expenses may mean that having a full time stay at home parent is out of the question.
You have to crunch the numbers because in some cases the cost to put children in day care full time may not work out well either. However, a part-time situation in which the stay at home parent stays home with the child or children some of the time and works outside the home some of the time may be possible in many cases. The thing to do is to sit down and make a list of all fixed and variable expenses and then decide on the best way that the family as a whole can meet those expenses.
Don't leave out any options during the discussion as you may come up with some workable ideas you hadn't considered before. For example, if the stay at home parent can also work at home part of the time, you may have a win-win solution. Just be sure that the mix of work and child care is a realistic one. Providing child care for another child or two may also work, but only if the stay at home parent realizes the amount of energy and patience involved in watching additional children that belong to someone else.
Early in your career planning, before you ever have children or even think of getting married, it is a great idea to think about types of jobs that would allow you to remain home with children if you plan on having some. Or, although on-site daycares are still quite few and far between, consider trying to get into a company that has an on-site daycare. The earlier you begin planning your finances around the possibility of being a stay at home parent, the more likely you'll be able to be one!