Work or stay home with the kids?

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - It's an age old debate for moms and dads.  Do you work and fork out the money for child care, or forgo that expense and try to find a way to be a stay at home mom or dad?

"It was like choose between a family or working, and of course I chose my family," said Shelly Conley.

Conley is one of the many parents faced with the question, should I be a working, or stay at home parent?

"I had a job that I absolutely loved, and I had to give it up to have a family," said Conley.

Like make parents, Conley says the cost of childcare got to be too much.

"I didn't have a minimum wage paying job, I made pretty good money and I still wouldn't have made any profit at all," said Conley.

"It was just more than my paycheck was worth," said Crystal Laiben.

Laiben had the same costly daycare problem.

"Between childcare costs and gas, there was nothing left," said Laiben.

Now both Conley and Laiben are stay-at-home moms.

"We don't have any extras anymore, we can't go out to eat, we can't go shopping, we don't have any extras, it's just the necessities," said Conley.

"We don't have family out here so there wasn't somebody that was just immediately able to take care of the kids while I was at work," said Laiben.

"When I became a mother, of course my first choice would have been be at home with them every single day, all day, but for us, and our situation, that just wasn't feasible," said Becky Wright.

Wright is a working mother, and sends her kids to a daycare program, despite any financial strain.

"Right now it's just a very important part of our budget and we make it work," said Wright.

Wright says she feels it's worth the money.

"They're playing with others, they're socializing, and that's important too," said Wright.

Some parents say it's not always the finances that determine that decision, sometimes it's the thought of someone else raising their child in a daycare.

"When we had all three in daycare it was hard, and my mother in law had even said well that's why I stayed home with my kids, because I didn't want somebody else raising mine, and it hurt, but I was like I don't know how else we can make this work," said Laiben.

"I remember when I first had my first daughter, there was some mothers that kind of, oh you don't get to stay home, you know, and that was hard, and there was some guilt, but you know I got past that and realized that this is what's best for our family financially," said Wright.

It's an individual choice, with an individual answer to the question, of how you raise your children.

"I was just thrown back, because I had not planned to spend that much in daycare fees," said Conley.

"We have to budget it," said Wright.

"It's just not cost effective," said Laiben.

Online: Child care costs: What do you pay? (Source: CNN)

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