In my circle of stay-at-home moms I've gotten a bit of startled silence when mentioning that I got a part-time job. I've received a couple comments on my blog, and even an e-mail stating "You've proven yourself wrong - a family apparently can't live comfortably on a limited one income budget."
I think it hits on all sides of the "mommy wars": stay-at-home vs. working, one income vs. two when someone who is a self-proclaimed stay-at-home mom living comfortably on ( a smallish) one income mentions getting a job.
I partly did it for my sanity; when you go weeks without talking to another adult other than your husband or mom you realize that you need a social circle, even if it is just co-workers at a job that you don't particulary like. A change of pace in your day can also help your sanity, especially when your days start to remind you of the movie "Groundhog Day". My hours correspond with my husband's so the children are not in day care or having babysitters (not that there is anything wrong with that, but it's not financially smart to work a minimum wage job just to pay babysitting fees for 3 children).
I can say without a doubt that I am not doing this because we couldn't make ends meet. This is a seasonal job and will end before the baby is born. With medical bills this year and a heafty co-pay for my prenatal care due in a few months the extra money won't hurt, but we could have managed these bills without the extra money. It would mean stretching our pennies a little tighter for awhile but I figured that since this was a perfect time to work for a few months before the baby was born, get myself through winter without being stuck inside 24/7 (does anyone else here have SAD?), and get ahead on bills I decided that a seasonal job was the perfect solution.
It's funny to say that getting a job wasn't really a financial decision, as we were doing okay before.
I spoke with HR and got my hours cut to a reasonable amount and my schedule looks more manageable the next few weeks. Those are the hours I wanted in the first place!