For many families today, buying their dream home comes with a new type of price tag: Less time with their kids. With the cost of real estate at an all time high, many moms and dads who would like to spend more time at home, have no choice but to take demanding, full-time jobs to pay for their houses.

It makes me wonder, is buying that dream home always worth it?

I recently met a mom at the playground who was having a hard time finding daycare options for her one-year-old. She wanted to care for him and was distraught about leaving him with strangers. Then she admitted that her pay check had to cover the costs of their new home renovations. Now her father has become her nanny (or manny) and it sounds like a difficult situation for everyone. I actually knew about the home she and her husband purchased, when it was for sale. We toured the house with an agent and thought it was beautiful, but it needed too much work for us to handle.

My husband and I were on the market for a house for three years. But when we finally did some real math and faced the numbers, we settled for an apartment so that we could cover costs while I stayed home with our boy. I know most families need bigger spaces and would not want to live in a third-floor walk up. I don’t wish the challenge of climbing up stairs with groceries and a screaming toddler on anyone.

And yes, many moms and dads would rather have fulfilling jobs than be home all day with a little one (or three!), and I respect that. Lord knows that being a stay-at-home parent is not for everyone. But for the moms and dads who would rather have more time at home, I question if the shiny, dream of real estate is actually more of a nightmare.

Another friend I know with two little girls just purchased a top dollar brownstone in Brooklyn. She is dreading going back to work in the advertising industry, which leaves her only a couple hours a day with her kids after her commute. But with the costs of new home and full-time nanny have added up and she has to bring home a substantial pay check along with her husband.

I can only imagine how wonderful it is to have a beautiful home with a yard, fire place and large bedrooms. Trust me, I sometimes wish we had more space for all the things (or dare I say crap?!) we accumulate every day. Like those toys, they are everywhere!

However, nowadays we have that choice between the house with that white picket fence or more time at home with our kids. What’s a family to do? Now, please excuse me as I go declutter my living room.