How To Determine If You Can Afford a Babysitter When Working From Home

If you began working at home when your child was small, you might have thought, "This isn't so bad." After all, your baby likely took 2 or 3 naps a day and went to bed early in the night. Unfortunately, this phase only lasts so long. Babies become active toddlers, and for some, the afternoon nap is given up much too early.

Suddenly you're trying to fit in work when you child sits down for his one hour of TV time. You may find yourself staying up later and later at night trying to get it all done. Eventually something has to give, and you wonder if a babysitter is a worthwhile solution.

Sound familiar? 

Babysitters can be the perfect solution. You have time to work and your child has someone to play with and entertain him.

However, you must first know if you can afford a babysitter. Consider these points: 

1. How much more work could you take on? If you hire a babysitter for 5 or 10 hours a week, how much more work would you be able to take on? How would this additional work help you grow your business and increase your bottom line?

2. What's the hourly difference between what you pay the babysitter and what you make? In some areas, you might find a babysitter for $8 an hour. In large urban areas, you might pay $12 to $15 an hour. If you're making $15 an hour, hiring a sitter likely isn't worthwhile. It may simply be easier to cut your workload during this season in life. However, if you make $35 an hour, then paying $15 an hour for a sitter likely is worthwhile. (Also remember to compute your additional tax responsibility. As you make more money, you have to pay more in self-employment taxes which also affects how much you make per hour.)

Remember, too, that you cannot count your child care costs as a business expense. 

Many moms focus on their kids when they are young and only take the workload they can complete when the kids sleep at night. After all, when the kids are a bit bigger, perhaps 8 or 9, there will be more time for work. For other moms, work is a joy or is a necessity to make it financially. In that case, a babysitter may be the perfect solution--if you can afford it.

Melissa is a freelance writer who is a homeschooling mom to three kids, ages 9, 4 and 3. She blogs at, where she writes about personal finance, family, homeschooling, and living with food intolerances.

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