Editor's Note: Do you have a question about your finances? Crosswalk.com welcomes financial columnist, Deborah Nayrocker. Deborah will be answering selected readers' questions in her monthly column. To submit your question, email us at: moneyquestions@crosswalk.com.

Dear Deborah,

Do you have any guidelines to help a mother decide if it is beneficial financially to go back to work once her child/children go to preschool or kindergarten?

As a parent, you probably already know what kind of lifestyle you want for you and your family as your children are growing up.

Couples need to discuss what they want for their family. It’s up to the parents to come to an agreement on what’s truly important and how they can best achieve this for their family.

Some mothers think they won’t be able to pay the bills if they don’t work outside the home. Parents often forget about the extra expenses when they both work and when they have children who need to be looked after.

There are many evenings of take out food due to time constraints or exhaustion. Hundreds of dollars are spent on upgrading the wardrobe for work. Child care costs can add up to thousands of dollars every year.

You’ll want to crunch the numbers to find what you will be realistically earning per month.

Second Income Worksheet

Monthly:

Gross Income                                                __________

Estimated taxes                                               __________

Deductions (Social Security, etc.)                  __________

Net Spendable Income                                  __________

Second Income Expenses:

Transportation (Gas, parking, etc.)                 __________

Child care                                                        __________

Clothing                                                          __________

Lunches at work, snacks, drinks                     __________

Dining out (instead of home cooking)            __________

Additional work expenses                              __________