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Old 06-18-2009, 06:34 PM
 
994 posts, read 1,108,609 times
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Here's the backstory.

I'm a married mother with a full-time career. I have worked since I was 15 and returned to work eight weeks after each of my children were born. The oldest is about to start kindergarten and the youngest will be in pre-school.

I am tired of the treadmill and feel I have missed - and am missing - SO many important, formative moments of my kids' lives, as well as opportunities to be the primary source of nurturing and values for them.

The guilt has been precipitously building for a while. What began as a nudge has turned into a push every day, to press on, go to work, perform and begin my second shift with the kids in the evening.

I feel more and more that this is not what life is intended to be about - the breakneck pace, the ongoing worries, the lack of quality time with the family, the burnout at the end of the day, the pressures manifesting into short, clipped responses riddled with impatience on the home front.

However, mathematically, it would probably spell our doom, if not severe discomfort, if I left my job. Moreover, I am not the type NOT to work at all anyway; I believe the best compromise would be to consult or work PT.

Has anyone faced this difficult prospect or seriously given it any consideration? Especially with the economy in the tank, is it even worth considering?
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Old 06-18-2009, 08:32 PM
 
3,084 posts, read 6,464,939 times
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If all the people that have been forced into it can do it, someone willing and able to plan for it certainly can do it.

We did it willingly and what it mainly takes is adjustments to the way you live. Sure it can be hard, but it is definitely something that can be done. I provide child care in my home, so I do contribute a little money coming in, but most people would never believe that we are living on the amount of income we have. (hubby doesn't make anywhere near 6 figures)

Yep. It can be done and is for many many families, especially in this economy.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:23 PM
 
Location: here
24,469 posts, read 28,730,432 times
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The people who have been "forced into it" may be living on credit cards or not making their house payments. I wouldn't take that as proof that you can do it. Keep track of how much you spend each month and what you spend it on. Decide what can be cut out and what must stay. Try living on one salary for a couple months and see if you can do it. Ask your boss if you can cut your hours w/o having to quit completely, but keep in mind that paying for part time day care can cost more proportionally than full time. Be sure to factor in the cost of trips to the zoo, museum, etc. because you won't want to be "staying home" all the time.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Denver area
21,134 posts, read 22,107,592 times
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I agree with rkb0305. There is a lot to consider. How stable/sure is your husband's income? What about benefits - who is currently carrying health insurance etc - will that change if you leave your job? Depending on what your current job/company is, you may be able to negotiate a lesser schedule or job-sharing situation. Some companies are more open than others to this sort of arrangement. Try living for 6 months as if you were only living on that one paycheck and stick the other in the bank (less daycare). Can you do it? Staying home is a wonderful opportunity if you can really do it but make sure you really can before you quit the job you have. If, after several months, you then find you actually can't do it, you may not be able to find another job in this economy. Best of luck.
And if you can't - don't feel guilty - that is wasted time and energy you could be spending with your kids.
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Old 06-19-2009, 12:09 AM
 
2,653 posts, read 4,595,750 times
Reputation: 1893
Quote:
Originally Posted by hautemomma View Post
Here's the backstory.

I'm a married mother with a full-time career. I have worked since I was 15 and returned to work eight weeks after each of my children were born. The oldest is about to start kindergarten and the youngest will be in pre-school.

I am tired of the treadmill and feel I have missed - and am missing - SO many important, formative moments of my kids' lives, as well as opportunities to be the primary source of nurturing and values for them.

The guilt has been precipitously building for a while. What began as a nudge has turned into a push every day, to press on, go to work, perform and begin my second shift with the kids in the evening.

I feel more and more that this is not what life is intended to be about - the breakneck pace, the ongoing worries, the lack of quality time with the family, the burnout at the end of the day, the pressures manifesting into short, clipped responses riddled with impatience on the home front.

However, mathematically, it would probably spell our doom, if not severe discomfort, if I left my job. Moreover, I am not the type NOT to work at all anyway; I believe the best compromise would be to consult or work PT.

Has anyone faced this difficult prospect or seriously given it any consideration? Especially with the economy in the tank, is it even worth considering?
My wife & I were in a very similar position to you. Like you, she has worked non stop since HS (including paying her own way thru college) up until now. We have 2 boys and the oldest is ready to start kintergarden. We both kind of felt we are missing out on something by the constant busyness and go-go-go of our hectic 2 career lives. Even when she did PT at 20/hrs a week, the job just took up alot of bandwidth. There was always a need to check voicemail & e-mail, answer calls from the boss, even on "day's off". So when a layoff came we were both pleasantly surprised and we figured it was a sign she should take the SAHM plunge.

Its been about 2 months and she is still feeling her way ahead & trying to adjust. We have a decent financial cushion - having saved for this possibility for years -and my income provides an adequete (but by no means lavish) lifestyle for us. She is enjoying volunteering at our church MOPS and spending more time with the kids. I am enjoying having her taking over most of the domestic responsibilities and handling all the errands - the drycleaning, making the odd run to the library or grocery store, all the little things we used to confer on then divide between ourselves to get done. I still help out and call to if she needs anything from the store when I am on the way home and such, put she has taken charge of that part of our lives and that has freed me up to spend more time with the kids and focus more on my work.

We are still working through all the details of our new arrangement, but we have both been less stresssed and better parents. Its been a definite upgrade to our lives. So far their has'nt been any significant financial impact, but that will change in time as the reserves come down and the severence runs out. We have always lived below our means, we just won't have a cushion anymore anymore. I feel a little more pressure on that front, but I am adjusting as well.

Bottom line - good economy or bad, if you can swing it & it is what you really want to do I'd say go for it. There are seasons in life and once those seasons pass they are gone and you cannot recapture them. The work will always be there, your childs preschool years won't.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:59 AM
 
Location: (WNY)
5,384 posts, read 9,587,018 times
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The first year we did it we were really TIGHT!!!!! But we did it in a whirlwind. We did EVERYTHING all at once at a really young age. I had only just started teaching when hubby and I had gotten married, I got prego a month into our marriage.... at the end of the school year we decided I would not go back, sold our house, moved to a little bigger house with a slightly biger mortgage... And that was that.... SHOCK of our life.... BUT we did it. I stopped doing a lot of things I was really accustomed to and life was totally different. You really HAVE to be willing to make the changes to sacrifice YOUR WANTS/NEEDS for the the family. I didn't go out and get my haircut as often and when I did I went to SuperCuts for like $7 or whatever it was at the time. I stopped my manicures... didn't buy as much makeup and went to cheaper brands. Grocery Shopped on a budget with Coupons. Never went out to dinner... and if we did it was a bogo situation with a coupon and never fine dining..... maybe five times a year! Loved when people gave me gift certificates for clothes because I NEVER got new clothes for myself. Dreamed about soes..... See what I am getting at? Until about three years in and then I would do a little bit more... hubby and I could go out a little bit more... or a pair of shoes for a wedding wasn't so painful.... but it really took about 3 years to not feel the pain of the one income drop. When he got a few raises.... we realized how to budget better... got used to what we were doing... It isn't easy... but you can do it And it is great for the kids.......

Let me make a suggestion... Get into playgroups.. you will go a little nuts if you don't. You are going to want the adult interraction... Try MOPS or MOMS or other local mothers groups and get into playgroups where you will be able to meet other mothers and have social hours and get out and talk to adults.... you will need it...
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:20 AM
 
2,893 posts, read 5,165,880 times
Reputation: 1973
Yes it can be done.

First step is to make a budget and then start slashing and burning expenses. If you have CC debt you should probably consider working long enough to get rid of that. Once you have a base "living" budget, not a luxury budget, a living budget, you will know if you can live on the one income.
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:20 AM
 
3,842 posts, read 9,240,900 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hautemomma View Post
However, mathematically, it would probably spell our doom, if not severe discomfort, if I left my job. Moreover, I am not the type NOT to work at all anyway; I believe the best compromise would be to consult or work PT.
Doom as in you would lose health insurance coverage or the ability to pay a mortgage? Severe discomfort in that many of the "extras" would have to be cut?

Reality is that to get into severe credit card debt or have absolutely no way to pay major bills (mortgage, cars, food, utilities) needs to be avoided.

We are managing. It's not easy, but we are doing it. Many times I want to go back to work so that we can have the cushion...not vacations and bigger cars cushion, but security. But, we keep getting by. I scheduled a hair appointment for July. Last one? Last August. The a/c? It goes on at night for a few hours to cool down the house. Steak? Doesn't happen. Our summer vacation? Our backyard with the slip n slide and kiddie pool. It's those things that get the axe so I can stay home.

I've done both sides. And as batty as they drive me some days, I sometimes get tears in my eyes when it is 11am and its a beautiful, sunny day and we can go on a walk and my son picks me a dandelion and says "Here, Mommy, here is a beautiful flower for you.". I get to be present with them and give them routine & structure in their home environment. Priceless IMO.

It's not the big moments that get SAHMs through the worries and concerns, its the little moments. And I will budget and budget and budget again to have those moments.

I don't know of many SAHMS who are NOT worried about finances. Comes with the territory.

But, again, sometimes the financial reality is what it is. Good luck.
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:22 AM
 
2,838 posts, read 8,843,441 times
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I've been a homeschooling SAHM for 7 years now. We went from me making half of our combined salary, to me making nothing. It was an adjustment at first, but it's certainly doable. Remember that when you stay home, you will save on gas, work clothing, and convenience foods. You won't be too tired to cook a healthy dinner from scratch, so you wo'nt be resorting to takeout or high-priced and unhealthy prepackaged foods from the grocery store. You'll have time to enjoy all of the free activities that your community has to offer. For example, this summer we're participating in weekly free movies at the local mall, library programs, and free concerts on our town green. I have time to look for the best sales, so that saves money too.

I don't do things like buy brand-name clothing for myself, get expensive haircuts, have weekly manicures, or go out to expensive restaurants regularly. I do these things rarely; they are special treats. I don't have sixteen pairs of shoes or a Coach purse. My children don't participate in every activity known to man... they're limited to one spendy activity at a time. (Right now my daughter is finishing up ballet, and my son has already finished karate. They can pick something new in the fall if they want.) We've downsized since that day that we took a leap of faith and I quit my job and got off of the merry go round. We went from a large house, to a small house, to an apartment. There is no part of me that thinks that continuing to do the work/daycare thing and having a large home would be preferable to spending my days playing with my quickly-growing children and living in smaller quarters. (Less to clean, too!)

I now do some freelance writing, which is extra income. We're trying to bolster our savings account after a my DH's layoff last year, followed by a cross-country move mostly depleted our savings. There have been some rough spots, but we've never looked back. This time passes by so quickly, and I know that I would regret it if I did not invest this time into my children's lives.
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:24 AM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
25,907 posts, read 34,973,454 times
Reputation: 42369
Quote:
Originally Posted by scarmig View Post
Yes it can be done.

First step is to make a budget and then start slashing and burning expenses. If you have CC debt you should probably consider working long enough to get rid of that. Once you have a base "living" budget, not a luxury budget, a living budget, you will know if you can live on the one income.
This is a good idea. I also think that living for a month or two on one income is a good idea, so you can see how it feels. Put all your salary toward the credit cards--that way, you accomplish both at the same time.

Make sure you have some emergency funds.
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