Fist of all, the other answer is wrong. The law does not have to offer you part time work! If your job is full time, it is full time. That's just silly.
For me, I felt so blessed to be able to stay at home full time. If I think about what I've given up -- shopping for fun clothes, lots of lunches out, nice dinners out with my husband and such, well that stuff didn't matter any more after I saw how great it was to stay home. First of all, with a little baby, when do you get the chance do spend extra money anyhow? And it is really honestly rewarding to live on a budget (is fun if it isn't too demanding, I should say) and to be a successful homemaker. Finding ways to be a good mom, make great healthy dinners, keep an organized house and what not... well it sounds like dribble to some people but to me is more rewarding than my previous career in corporate training and market research. I did miss the fun work stuff though like after work drinks, inside jokes with colleagues, the thrill of a promotion, but all of that can wait. I can do that for the rest of my life. Right now, I have this one special window of time to spend on my family and the challenge it is to be the best at that. I make sure for me time and that if I go out I wear make-up and look presentable, not to "let myself go" just because I don't "have" to get dolled up for work. Finding balance and fun in the every day stuff is the real work. The money will come in the future. That said, every once in a while I am jealous of women who get to get dressed up and go to the office and have that time away from the home and family. Find a moms group in your area if you decide to stay home -- www.momsclub.org is a great one to check out to start.
I am a stay at home mom with a 17 month old. I am going to start working part-time in a couple of months. I found a wonderful preschool in a church that I feel very comfortable taking my little one to so that part is good. My husband and I made the decision for me to stay at home when our daughter was born. It has been a wonderful experience being able to be with her and I wouldn't trade anything for it. In my opinion, it was well worth the sacrifices that we had to make (less dinners out, less travling, etc) but I always knew that at some point I would be ready to go back. Think about waiting awhile before you decide, unless you absolutely love your old job. You will probably get to a point where you actually miss working. For me it was around a year old. You might also see that your child needs more stimulation than you can give him at home and that a preschool or day care might be a really good thing. Just a few things to think about.... Hope this helped. :)
I posted a very similar question myself not all that long ago and surprisingly there wasn't one answer that said childcare was not good for both bubs and mum. I was shocked, all the mummies painted a very happy picture of childcare.
My work paid me for 18 months so since December I have been on no pay, only living on my husbands wage, at first we found it very difficult but over the time it has become much easier, maybe because I am starting to get used to it or maybe because I have looked at what we can and can't afford and if we don't really need it, we don't buy it. I am much better with less money because I only spend what I need to spend.
I also looked at all my regular bills and where I could save, I did, and example was my car and house insurance, I save over $500.00 per year just on them, we were also lucky to be able to refinance our loans (credit card and personal loan with home loan) and this saved us a packet every week too.
I have been a stay at home mommy since my baby girl was born. We gave up things that we normal would have, but we also try and save money so we can at least do them every once and a while. We have thought about putting her in day care so I can get a job, but in the long run I don't think it would be worth it money wise for us.
I would just cut out things that aren't necessary and cut down on things that you do quite often. Yeah its nice to have the extra money so you can do what you want, but being a stay at home mommy is worth having to watch and budget your money more.
Being a stay at home mom can be difficult for many reasons. I have more issues with the whole finding something to do and not feeling like I contribute as much to the family as I use to when I had a job. Some people really love it because in return for living on there budget they get to spend as much time as they want with there child while they are young so I guess it really depends on your personality. One nice thing though is that you will get to see your husband a lot more when he is off work insted of him coming home and you going off to work.
My best advice would be to cook all your meals at home rather than going out and eating. You would be amazed how much that tends to save people as long as you are a smart shopper when it comes to groceries. It is also great because it give you something to do while your husband is at work to keep you occupied.
Check the laws regarding that, I'm pretty sure after maternity leave you have the option to return part time