Need to get my thoughts out about going back to work
Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive March 2007:
Need to get my thoughts out about going back to work
So I figured i'd come here... where I get the best advice!
DH gets out of the Marines next September ('08). His plan is to go into the police academy from there. In order for us to be able to buy a home, I have to go back to work full time. I don't really have a problem with that since i'm starting to feel a bit ready for it. I don't feel that need to stay home with Nathan like I did with Kaitlyn. Maybe it's a boy thing? lol. Nathan will be 2 years old and Kaitlyn will be 5, going into Kindergarten at that time.
I need to know how you WOHM's do it???? The balancing, I mean. The kids being in school or daycare, after school sports and/or extracurricular activities. Helping with homework and just being able to spend time with them.
When I go back to work, I will have been out of the workforce for 5+ years. I have to start my way from the bottom of the totem pole again. I just don't see how any employer would be sensitive to my need to be available for my children. Kaitlyn, more so. I don't want to miss out on her "firsts" with school. I don't want to be the mom that never makes it to practices and games. I don't want to bet he mom that is too swamped with work to be a mom.
Advice? Suggestions? How do you girls balance everything out? I want to try and get a handle on things now and in the meantime look to weasel my way into a position by "word of mouth" since I may have the advantage of getting in the real estate industry by knowing some of the right people.
All I'm going to say is, it's not always easy. For it to succeed, it will mean your DH stepping up and being just as involved with the kids and the housework, and the homework and the activities JUST AS MUCH as you are. It's a partnership.
There will be days where you are totally rushed, when housework and laundry get behind, when a fast-food meal is necessary. And don't fool yourself, it WILL mean missing out on some of the firsts. I've BTDT, both as a married working mom, and a single working mom.
You and your DH need to agree on how you're going to manage and deal with things now, and then you just do the best you can do.
Your kids are only kids once - your laundry and housework will be there long after they are grown.
I don't find it too difficult. I stayed home for 2 years and then returned to work. The first job I got and held for 2 years I was able to be considered a full time employee with full benefits working 30 hours a week. I could work more and make more and some weeks I did, but it was nice coming in a bit late every morning and leaving a bit early every day.
After that I went into a more career type position (paralegal) and when I interviewed with law firms I was very clear about my need for flexibility and I could tell which firms were sticklers and which ones were laid back. So I got a job at a firm with no set hours, no dress code and you could come and go whenever to school functions or whatever. I've been here 8 years.
Having a flexible job is the most important thing. I see moms who have more demanding jobs (and make 10x what I make) but they have husbands who step up or full time help or both. My son's best friend has a mom who has a very important time consuming job and the DH works only part time and they have a full time housekeeper and a summer babysitter (the kids are 12 and 16). When they were younger they had a full time year round babysitter. Now I could not pull that off because I don't make that much to fund all that help and I'm single. But this is how I see the working moms make it when they are doctors, mayors, judges, high level lawyers, etc. Lots of paid in house help and lots of eating out.
My son has no interest in extracurricular activities, but we did try a few. It's easier if they can do the activities that the after school care offers. My son schools have had karate, yoga, band, choir all these things between 3 and 5 and that's the easiest. We did try league sports once (1st grade) and lots of the moms work and the dads who coach work so the practices usually don't start until 6 or so. My son hated it, thank goodness, bec that was sort of a beating to go straight from after care to practice and then home at 7:30 or 8 and then there's still dinner and homework. That was way too stressful.
Working when the kids are little and before they start school is a lot easier than working when they hit school age. They start not wanting to go to after care and then some days they go home with a friend and you can't reciprocate. Then middle school comes and picking up schedules and trying out for cheerleading and all this stuff takes place after school and they are too old for after care and you have to figure out a way to get them to and from. It's harder to juggle. I almost wish I could take those first 2 years I stayed home and trade them for 7th and 8th grade. My son loved daycare and would have been perfectly fine being there from 3 months to age 2.
Anyway, good luck to you. Just avoid the jobs with the rigid schedules.
I would really evaluate the NEED to work full time to buy a home. With good budgeting and buying what you can afford you may be able to work flex time or part time that is more in line with mothering. We have been married for 16 years and have owned a home for 12 of those years, have four kids and have NEVER relied on two incomes since our first was born 13 years ago. It is difficult to find both a full time and flexible job. Also really think about the missing out on items, like Karen said it's impossible not to and being a WOHM. When I worked outside the home, I worked nights only, so my husband and I tagged team, and one of us was always available for the kids. I now work from home which is a huge blessing and I highly recommend looking into that, not necessarily in my industry, but if you look hard and make that offer to companies the possibilities may be out there. Did you know that Jet Blue's reservations agents work from home?
It's great you are looking at things early on so you can take positions that work for you! Hope it works out well.
I have been a wohm for a long time, and a single wohm for a good portion of that. The way you do it is to just not be a much of a perfectionist. What I mean by that is your house doesn't have to be spotless enough to eat off the floor every day. But the best help is to get into a routine that works for you.
I get off work and pick up my DDs from after school care or when they were younger day care then I go home and immediately start asking about homework. I have them sit in the kitchen and do homework while I start cooking dinner, so I can cook and help at the same time if needed. Most of our time spent together is after dinner and on the weekends. As for extracurricular activities I try to find ones that don't have more than one practice a week and maybe a game on the weekend unless the after school care people will do the transportation for it. Because it wears me out too bad to have too many nights where i am out too much after work.
Having a DH will really help especially if his job is flexible too. He can take part of the responsibility like some of my kids friend's fathers do. I think it is really cool that they have dads that care enough to take that much of a part in their lives because my kids dad just doesn't.
Good luck and just take it one step at a time. Sometimes it turns out to be a lot easier than you ever thought it would.
Well, I have to respectfully disagree with Tarable and Mommmmie - and certainly no offense is intended!
It has always been necessary for me to work, and when my youngest were 1 and 2, I had 2 adolescents/teens in the house as well. Working full time was not fun then, nor was it fun when the oldest 2 were out of the house, and I was then a single working mom with the 2 youngest at home.
As Kym said, full time/flexible, good paying jobs are hard to find. I've always worked 8-5, Monday thru Friday. When I was single parenting, both of my kids were involved in extracurricular activities, and very often I had to have each one somewhere at the same time, in opposite directions. During baseball/dance revue season, we had to be somewhere 6 days of the week. Weekends were OK, but after working all day, it was difficult, fighting traffic to get home, pick up the kids from after school care, drop them off at their respective activities, attempt to spend time @ each baseball game, or be involved with dance class (I was taking a dance class too at the time!) and to work dinner and homework into the equation, while trying to keep to a schedule.
It wasn't always *bad*, and as was said above, you have to find a routine that works for you.
But if I'd ever had a choice about it, I definitely would NOT have been a WOHM mom....
Good for you, for trying to figure out a game plan before the time actually arrives
I'm a SAHM and have been for about 8 years. While my kids were younger, like yours, I found that I was stressed out being a SAHM, and contemplated finding a job, just so I could get out more, lol. But, once my kids started school, everything changed. It's nice to have "me" time while they are at school or activities. I love that I can always be at their school programs during the days, and their recitals in the afternoons, etc. Once they start school, it's a whole new ballgame.
Also, if you want to continue being a SAHM, could you maybe move to a less expensive area so that you could afford a home on your DH's income alone? Sometimes it's not as expensive as you think. We are building a brand new home just under 4000 square feet and our payments are quite low. We are doing a loan program which requires no down payment. We had no idea that we could afford this, and especially without a downpayment. The only way we discovered it, was to go to a lender and lay it all out and ask what we could afford. We were shocked, lol. This is the 2nd home that we have purchased since we've been married, and on one income.
If you ARE wanting to be a WOHM, I would be upfront with potential employers and let them know that you would like your hours to be flexible. That way, they know where you stand, and when something does come up where you need a couple of hours off, it won't be an issue.
Good luck with everything
The way you do it is to just not be a much of a perfectionist.
I think this line says it all!! And that is likely the reason I am so grateful that I get to be home. I did work for dd's first year and I was miserable. By nature I am a perfectionist and being behind on EVERYTHING and feeling so rushed and just so go go go all the time really did a number on my nerves! And I was very organized and had everything ready the night before and all of that too. But I just ALWAYS felt two steps behind on everything. Add to that the fact that I wanted to be the one taking care of dd all day and I just couldn't take it. That one year of working after having a child almost did me in. LOL I applaud those that work and have it all together... I never felt that way.
If it were me and I still had a 2 yr old at home and a 5 yr old that I wanted to be involved with in school, I would try working long before you buy the house. If you are dependent on 2 incomes to buy the home, then you will be locked in once you buy it and you COULD be the mom who goes to work bawling everyday and has no way out of it with a 2-income mortgage. Just a thought.
Then, if you go back to work and 6mths. in you say to yourself "wait a minute, I'd rather be home, more involved, etc." you have the option of coming back home, you know? If you don't feel that way, great, no loss. Once you've been back in the workforce awhile and you realize that you might be "missing" something, houses don't always look that good anymore. It would only be a few more years until Nathan is in school anyway. Ditto someone else on downsizing in the house dept.if necessary or just renting for a few years until your littlest one starts school.
Lots of things to consider. Would the daycare costs be worth your income? Is your DH really going to be competent enough to help?
To answer your question (I think I got off track) I don't know how working moms do it because everything that they have all described is how I feel now as a SAHM!! There will definitely be a housekeeper in our future as a working mom (we had one before I quit) and DH and I work well as a team so there are no troubles there with what needs to be done around here.
Vicki - Ditto!!
I hate this argument. Nothing but shame comes out of it. YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOUR FAMILY. Some mom's need to work outside of the home. Not for money but for personal sanity. Some mom's stay home because they truely feel it is their calling, and best for their children. Both can be done well, and both can be really screwed up. In order to work outside the home and raise your children you need to be very organized. I disagree you don't have to compromise your inner perfectionist. You do need to know how to ask people for help (esp. DH and DKs). I've done both and enjoy both. I don't know if I would work just for a house though. Remember the more you make the more you spend. If you truely want to go back to work--Hold your head high and do it! If you truely want to stay home --Stick to your guns and stay home. Either way remember your decisions effects everyone in your household. No pressure-LOL.
P.S. Crockpots are the key to WOHM.
DH has been really great in the last 6 months or so doing his share so i'm not too concerned about that. But I do know that I can't *fully* rely on him through the police academy and as a entry level police officer. He's going to end up with horrific hours and probably nights/weekends/holidays until he earns his seniority. Going into the academy/department he will be bringing in about $800/month more than he does now, and that doesn't include overtime that the department is really needing now. His base pay will start around 60K but it's not unusual for an officer who chooses overtime to bring in between 100K-120K. So, I may not HAVE to work but I don't want to count on the overtime until we see that he actually gets it. DH said he'd rather pull in the overtime so I can continue to stay home and/or do what I want in life.
We are staying inland to buy a home because it's about 150K cheaper than the coast. I would really love to be a SAHM completely involved in my kids life but at the same time I want to be able to financially help the family if I need to. I have to think about our retirement, emergency savings, kids college funds and things that we are looking at in the long term. I don't want DH and I to struggle financially just so I can stay home.
Of course, we don't know that I 100% DO have to work but I want to act as if I have to, just in case. We have about 7K of debt to pay off before he gets out (I've paid off $3500 since the beginning of the year so I think we're fine there) and then all we have left is vehicle and trailer debt, the vehicles will be paid off in 2009 and 2010. I do in home daycare now and all my earnings go straight to the bills.
Anyways... i'm going off on a tangent. Thanks again for the advice. I appreciate it. I'm excited and stressed at the same time. Not a bad stress but an "oh my gosh, he's actually getting out!!! stress" lol.
Theresa- I don't think it's much of an argument. People do what they feel is right. Some days i'm jealous of WOHM's, other days i'm just as happy being a SAHM. LOL. Both sides have great results and not so great results. Just depends on the needs of the particular family.
Melissa, I have a freind who is trying to get out of debt so she doesn't have to go back to work, she is using the daveramsey.com plan, she is really enjoying it, and is making great progress. Her biggest thing was groceries, they were spending a crazy amount of money of just eating It may be a way for you to pay off that debt and get savings in order on the income dh makes, check it out!
I hear you about being jealous of the WOHM's But I still wouldn't change, but there are days when a quiet office with no goldfish crakers, sippy cups and legos sounds like heaven!
Theresa, I certainly did not intend to shame anyone, so if my comments were taken that way, I apologize for that; but as someone who has BTDT, those are *my* true feelings.
And Kym, *I* was always jealous of the SAHM's. And though my kids are grown now, I am still jealous to a certain extent - maybe envious is a better word. I feel like I missed so much, and I feel that I would have been a better parent if *I* had been able to stay home. That is not said to shame anyone, it's how I feel about my life. Of course, most of you don't know the issues I've dealt with in the last 18 months that were the icing on the cake in my thought process, and I am not going to go into it on the board. But I feel as if I have to defend what I said above.
We all do the best we can do and we do what is necessary for our families. Some moms work because they want to; others work because they have to. It doesn't make either one better than the other. I know some moms who are better parents BECAUSE they work outside of the home. Working outside of the home does not make you a bad parent. For me, being able to stay at home would have made ME a better parent.
Karen- If it makes you feel better, I always hope that you, and a few other "seasoned" members, answer my questions and chime in with your advice. I mean, you've been around for a lot of things that have happened in my life, even though you weren't *there* in real life, lol. So I feel like the advice I get from you is more personal because you know my situation, even though i've been MIA lately. And I totally get what you're saying about the SAHM stuff.
I don't have any advice really, just my little story to add. I had no choice but to work full time for a few months when my youngest dd was 9 months old. I hated every second of it because I had no choice. Fortunately dh's hours picked back up as well as commission and I went back to part time. I loved working part time! I stayed home full time until my third child was born, so I stayed home for almost 5 years. We had one car and I rarely had it for what I wanted or needed to do while dh was at work because he often needed it for work. I was pretty stir crazy to say the least, lol! With working part time I made friends and I was in a relaxed work environment. I made enough to sometimes pitch in with an extra bill or the flex expenses like clothes. Dh and I have always had our money together and he felt a little less pressure being completely responsible for our income, even though I didn't make alot. Now it seemed a good time to go to school. I would have never felt right about my older 2 being on childcare even though it was right on campus, but with dd it was no problem. I guess I'm more relaxed. Just do what works for you.
What someone else said, "I wouldn't work just for a house." That's what I meant.
I think whether one decides to be a SAHM or WOHM they're deciding that the sacrifices/advantages to both of those is acceptable. Maybe for SAHM's it's less $ or less "me" time, or for WOHM's it's less time with kids or having too much to do. Whatever the choice, I think it's safe to say that it's hard to "have it all". There will always be something that one side or the other is missing out on or wishes they had more of. Plenty of days when I miss work terribly or the healthy cash flow that went with it, but I never once think of going back until dd starts school. Being home is so worth the trade-offs to me, just as being a WOHM is so worth the trade-offs for someone else.
Melissa-your comments about wanting to add to the family financially are completely understandable, but it sounds like you really want to be at home. Remember this, that being home is only temporary and you have a lifetime to work. When I was making the decision to stay home or work, that thought kept coming back to me. (And that's a thought for people who have the *option* of staying home. I realize not everyone has that option.) When I thought of things that way, it seemed like an easy decision for me. For me, 5 years in the scheme of life is NOTHING! LOL I consider this to be the absolute best time of my life and I will never look back in 20 yrs and regret all the $ I lost during this time. Your kids will still go to college even if you stay home for 3 more years when your dh starts a new job. You'll both still retire. The end of the world will NOT come.
Everyone has to do what is best for them, those are just things to consider. I hear in your post that you want to be home.