Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Work Decisions

A few weeks ago The Washington Post had an article titled After a Baby, Full Time or Part?"   It just reminded me that I'm still torn over the work full or part-time issue.  And as I talk with many of my friends, who have little ones at home or are still waiting for their children to come home, they are torn too.  We all would love to stay home, but there is the little issue of money. I think this is a never ending conversation. Who knew that we would go to school for umpteen years, get so many degrees then decide to take a lesser paying job to stay at home with our little ones?  Well, at the very end of the article this was said that made all the sense in the world to me:

"There's no perfect solution," Lippman said.  "When you have a baby, you kind of have to throw all of your preconceived notions of what you want out of your life our the window...In terms of career, you don't know what your priorities will be until you're in it.  She added that she was surprised at how much she wanted to be with her baby.  "I take it one step at time.  I feel like what I'm doing is trying not to worry about the long term and be happy right now."


Leslie said...

I agree. My daughter is 7, so it's not just an issue with babies. When I first came home with her and then she started school, I still left work when she got out of school, and in the last 3 weeks she's been going to an afterschool program from 3-5. Even though it's only 2 hours, I miss that time with her, and feel like our time together is so short before we go to sleep. I used to work late all the time and now my perspective on work has really changed.

Tami said...

Leslie- this worries me. I so want to be at home with Baby I, but Mommy has to work. I know those times are precious no matter what the age. I'm such a control freak about my life and I know this won't be perfect so I'm trying to do all I can now, but this is uncharted territory. siggghhhh. I guess I can only do what I can do.

Anonymous said...

As a single, I have to work, but having been home (9months), worked part time (1 year) and full time (1 year) I can HONESTLY say 100% that part time works best. I think with very little children going to daycare, being able to work 3 days a week is perfect, once they are in school being able to work school hours is great. My big gripe with working full time was that evening and weekends don't allow for real quality time as I was trying to cook, clean, pay bills, run errands etc. On top of that I felt terrible that 5/7 days they were with someone else.
My honest BTDT is if you can make sacrifices, cutbacks, move etc and work part time, you'll never regret that time with your kids. I just regret I didn't do it sooner!
Best wishes, I'm hoping to adopt from Ethiopia in the future!

Tami said...

Thanks Anon. This subject really keeps me up at night! I am trying to learn how to live a simpler life now, although I don't do such a good job at that. I think that should be a post. (smile) I know I won't regret it. My mother did it and I don't think she regrets you Mom? I'm just trying to figure this out now. Why is daycare so dang expensive? That is the question? I am really feeling the part-time I'm just trying to figure out how to make that work.

haze said...

I don't have the option to "off ramp" as the article called it. I'll have to go back to work full-time and probably sooner than I had originally hoped. If I was not single I would opt to be a f/t SAHM or work p/t.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tami
Absolutely agree re price of daycare, where I am a licesed daycare is at least $90 a day per child. I want good quality and would never never go for the cheapest options (I have friends with 2 6 figure incomes and they went for the cheapest option of about $100 a week, an at home way too many kids daycare provider).

I actually saw a really good show on PBS that looked at working costs and it actually showed that for most mom's working 5 days a week is more expensive than 4, it took into account gas, daycare costs, extra tax etc, the more money working full time mom's spend - things like eating out more, paying for haircuts etc. It was fascinating. I wish I had thought to record it (it was a few years ago).

What I did and will do to cut back costs:
planned ALL meals
stopped buying ANY pre packaged food (this basically cut my grocery bill by 30% at least)
used cloth diapers (a saving of about $1500 per child)
used baby face cloths instead of baby wipes (a saving of about $200 per child over 2 years)
made all my own baby food and snacks
remembered that our parents raised children without every gadget known to man, and apart from a safe crib, carseat, highchair and stroller (and maybe sling if you are adopting a baby) how many other things do you need?
started growing some of our own veggies
stopped buying gifts for people, instead made gifts or bulk purchased small unique items
asked friends and family to buy activity passes (zoo pass, swim lessons) instead of toys or clothes that aren't needed
joined a toy library and public library to borrow toys and books each week
stopped eating out and getting coffee's out - even $25 a week works out to $1200 a year, after tax that's probabl 10 weeks of only working 4 days a week right there!
Joined a house swap vacation program, so we can do a yearly vacation by swapping houses with another family instead of having to pay for hotels etc.
I swapped to a very small, but safe car, the saving on gas and insurance alone made me see a difference instantly.

Also pre fostering and adoption I rented out a room in my apartment, putting all the money in my adoption account, I did yard sales, I got an extra job tutoring 2 nights a week. I used all this to offset unpaid FMLA.

Truthfully, I'm amazed at how much I spent when I worked full time, by getting creative, having more time, factoring in saving daycare costs I know I can continue to make it work working 4 days a week. It takes dedication and creativity but honestly it's sooo much more delightful than working full time. I look at what my friend's working full time spend and the added stress they have and I 100% feel like I've done the right thing.

You could also look for other mom's in your area who'd switch 1 day free daycare with you, so let's say you are home Fridays, you take care of her child Friday and she takes care of yours another day, meaning you only have to pay for 3 days a week childcare, again this makes it much easier. My cousin does this with 2 ladies and basically her daughter has the consistency of 2 other playmates 2 days a week and then goes to daycare 2 days a week.

I'm now looking at housing options, seeing if it would be possile to sell and purchase into a duplex with other single mom's by choice. Property is very very costly in my neck of the woods and this may be the ideal solution.

Tasha said...

This subject keeps me up at night too. I understand about putting career on the backburner but the reality is we still need to 'bring home the bacon' and with a recession looming, finding work won't come easily.

Anonymous said...

I should say I also took out 2 magazine subscriptions and didn't allow myself to buy anymore. I also way cut down on what clothing I bought etc.