Thursday, April 19, 2012

PYHO: Going Back To Work . . .

When Jason was born, just under 13 years ago, we decided I would stay home with him and not work full-time anymore.  Then 2 1/2 years later Andrew came along, so I continued to stay home.  As we were preparing for Andrew to start Kindergarten, I took the tests and classes to be a Substitute Teacher so that I could start working a little more when he started school, but still be around for the kids when they didn't have school.  I took my classes on a Thursday, was supposed to get a TB test on Monday, and then I would be able to start.  Only that Saturday we found out I was pregnant with Sarah Beth.  So those plans were put on hold.  

But now she's going to be starting Kindergarten in the Fall, so I guess it's time for me to go back to work.  (At least RYAN thinks it's time for me to go back to work)!  :(  I was thinking of doing the Substitute Teaching and refocusing on Real Estate on the days I'm not teaching, but he wants me to get a full-time job where I can get insurance for the family. 

Here's my dilemma.  I've been out of the work force for 13 years.  THIRTEEN YEARS.  I have no marketable skills.  So what do I do?  Not to mention, if I get a "real" job, that will mean having to put Sarah in Before/After School Care.  That costs $75 a week.  Of course, on the days they are out of school, that means I'll have to put her in there all day, so that will be more money.  Not to mention summer.  I've been able to spend the summers with the kids since Jason was born.  I won't be able to do that anymore.  And they, at least Sarah, will have to be at the Y program all day, every day, because I'll be at work.  So that's MORE money.  All in all, we're probably talking AT LEAST $7000-$8000 a year for child care, and more than that if we put Jason and Andrew in there also.  

Here's the other part of the problem.  I will be the first to admit that I'm not a very good housekeeper.  I HATE CLEANING HOUSE.  WITH A PASSION.  BUT, I still do it.  I also cook all of the dinners, and I do all of the laundry.  Everyone always has clean socks and underwear and clean clothes.  Plus, I lay Ryan's clothes out for him every morning before work.  If I start working full-time, that will NOT be happening.  We have been married for almost 16 years, and I can count on one hand the number of loads of laundry that he has done since I stopped working full-time.  I remember when we bought this house with the laundry on the same floor as all of the bedrooms.  One of the things he said to me was, "if the laundry is upstairs with us, then I can help you do the laundry."  Do you KNOW how many loads of laundry he's done since we moved here EIGHT YEARS AGO?  ONE.  That's right, ONE.  MAYBE TWO, but I think just ONE.  So yeah, he's a BIG help with the laundry.  NOT!  Again, that would be changing.  If I'm working full-time, I would NOT be the only one doing the laundry, the cooking and cleaning.  Our house might not be spotless, but at least HE doesn't have to do it.  NOW.  But again, that would change.  

The kids are getting older so we don't have a lot of wake ups in the middle of the night, but we do still have them on occasion, and I'm the one that always gets up with them, or stays up with Sarah if we can't get her to go to sleep, because he has to work in the morning, and I don't.  But if I'm working, I definitely won't be getting up every time.  He'll have to be doing some of that as well.  And getting the kids to before/after school care?  That's another thing we'd both have to take turns on.  The way things are now, he gets home between 5:30-6 and we eat dinner when he gets home.  Then the kids help me clean up from dinner and we're finished and playing outside or watching a movie by 6:30 or 7 pm.  But if I start working full-time I won't be home until at least 5:30 or 6, which means we'll just be starting to cook dinner at that time, and it'll be 7:30 or 8 before we're finished.  And again, I WON'T be doing it all by myself.  

Also, he travels.  Quite a bit.  And he said it's likely to be increased.  When I was planning on substitute teaching, I just figured I'd call myself off on the days he's out of town.  But if I'm going to be working full-time, that's not going to be an option.  So I'll be doing it all by myself, AND working full-time.  Just the thought of it stresses me out!  :(

I also pay all of the bills, do all of the grocery shopping and clothes shopping, take the kids to the doctor, pick them up when they're sick, pick them up when they have to stay after school for an event or practice, schedule all the things that need to be fixed around the house and make sure I'm here to let them in, do all of the Christmas shopping, and basically everything else that needs to be done.  EXCEPT the outside.  I don't cut grass or mess with the yard.  He does all that.  But I pretty much do EVERYTHING else.  And that's okay.  I took all of that on because he's working full-time and making the money for our family, and I'm not. 

I GET where he's coming from.  I really do.  I know he has to be envious that he's the one that has to get up and go to work every day, especially to a very stressful job, and I don't have to.  I get to sit around all day, watch my soaps and eat Bon Bons. Come on, you know that's what everyone thinks SAHM's do.  (I don't do either by the way.  Haven't watched a soap since before Andrew was born and don't think I've ever even HAD a Bon Bon).  So yeah, I GET it.  I know that has to suck.  And if I could get a job making the money he makes, then we could switch roles.  But I can't.  NOT going to happen.  But having BOTH of us work so he doesn't feel envious anymore, isn't the answer either.  Because if he thinks he's stressed now, wait until he works all day then has to come home and cook dinner and do laundry.  How stressed do you think he'll be THEN?!

So what do I do?  Do I get a job, any job, and just keep my mouth shut and go back to work?  Because I think once he realizes how much more stress it'll put on HIM, he'll decide after a few months that it's not the right decision and that I should quit.  Or do I try to convince him of this BEFORE starting a job?  But I think until he actually SEES and EXPERIENCES it, he's always going to think me working full-time is the answer.  And I don't know how to convince him otherwise, unless, like I said, he actually experiences it.

By the way, let me add that we have NO payments.  Our house is paid off and we don't have any car payments.  (And never will again).  We max out our 401K contributions and have separate ESA's for the kids that we fund every month with the maximum amount allowed.  We also have 3-6 months expenses in savings.  (THANK YOU DAVE RAMSEY)!  :)  So the point is, we don't NEED me to go back to work in order to live.  Yes, the money I make will give us more spending money and let us bulk up our savings more in case something happens, but we don't NEED it to live on.  I think that's very important to the situation.  If we needed the money to live, then I wouldn't even balk at it.  But we don't.

So now I'm asking, what would YOU do?  Am I wrong to think this way?  Am I acting like a spoiled "East End Housewife?"  Should I just keep my mouth shut and go back to work even though I will likely just be making enough money for insurance and child care with a little left for spending money?  Since I haven't worked in 13 years, it's not like I'm going to find a job paying 50K or more a year.  I'll be lucky to make 30K.   Not to mention all of the stress it's going to put on both of us.  What would you do?

Pouring My Heart Out with Shell today.  If you haven't checked out her blog, you REALLY should.  She ROCKS!  Plus, she has the most AWESOME name EV-ER!  :)

7 comments:

Amy said...

Honey, you're already working a FULL-TIME job! I would write out everything that you do, just like you did here. Tell him that he will be responsible for 1/2 of all of it if you go back to work full-time. Then explain things like sick kids, dr visits, and the fact that neither of you will ever get to go to Sarah's things at school which isn't fair to her since I'm sure that you were to the class parties for the boys.

Then I'd talk about the money and how much you'd have to make to cover day-care before and after school, summer care, etc....

Then I'd look for a job with the school system. :) One where you can work when the kids are in school and be out when they are. Realistically, unless you plan on letting your 13 year old provide summer care and after-school care for the younger 2 or unless you can find a job making more than $15/hour plus benefits, it's not worth it for you to enter the job market. Maybe take classes towards your teaching certificate while subbing?

Your Doctor's Wife said...

I think, for the sake of your marriage and your husband's trust, you try to go back to work. That was the original plan you both agreed to.

I think if you ease into it with a part-time job, you both can work together to find a rhythm and a division of chores which will work for the both of you. If not, at least you can BOTH say you tried and found you working wasn't a good fit for your family.

Most likely, he won't like pitching in and, since you don't need the income, he'll want you home taking care of the stuff he doesn't want to be bothered with.

I would highly recommend staying away from real estate. No matter what anyone will tell you, you have to infuse a ton of money to make a profit. If you find any success in it, you will be on-call all the time and miss out on lots of the kids activities.---even Christmas and vacations. It's not an easy life.

Good luck!

Your Doctor's Wife said...

I think, for the sake of your marriage and your husband's trust, you try to go back to work. That was the original plan you both agreed to.

I think if you ease into it with a part-time job, you both can work together to find a rhythm and a division of chores which will work for the both of you. If not, at least you can BOTH say you tried and found you working wasn't a good fit for your family.

Most likely, he won't like pitching in and, since you don't need the income, he'll want you home taking care of the stuff he doesn't want to be bothered with.

I would highly recommend staying away from real estate. No matter what anyone will tell you, you have to infuse a ton of money to make a profit. If you find any success in it, you will be on-call all the time and miss out on lots of the kids activities.---even Christmas and vacations. It's not an easy life.

Good luck!

Shell said...

I never want to go back to work. With the kids and the house... it would just be too much. Though I do work from home and even this has caused some fights with my husband- b/c he thinks since I'm home all day, the house should still be my responsibility like it was before I was working... I think that line would be clearer if I were out of the house... though I also think he would still expect me to do it all on top of a work outside the home job.

It sounds like you don't really need to be working- can you look into something that is just part time and then only work school hours?

Kim said...

So much ground to cover in what could turn into a minefield.

It sounds like the two of you know how to communicate regarding finances and life, since you have become debt free via Dave Ramsey. Kudos on that-what an accomplishment! As an FPU facilitator, I know how much work that can take.

Since you became debt free, have you set other life and financial goals? Could you find a quiet time to hold a discussion on you moving into the workforce, and how that fits into the families' collective and individual goals?

Express your concerns about all the things that will need to be handled since you won't be home any longer, including attending to children home on vacation/sick. Come to some agreement about how this will work. Perhaps it's time to involve the family more in all the duties, including making dinner.

In our house, it was all about what made sense based on who left earliest, who was home first, etc. We did things like having the girls be responsible for their own laundry starting around age 11 or 12. Everyone packed their own lunches from the groceries we had chosen that week. My husband even ironed his own shirts.

This wasn't about every man for himself, but about spreading the workload around to all the family members so we didn't drown any particular family member.

A powerful question we have used in the past is, "What has to happen so that?". In your case it might be, "What has to happen so I can continue to be home for the family?"

Good luck with your conversation!

Recovering Supermom said...

I really agree with Kim and Amy. I think a heart to heart conversation with your husband is key here. You laid out all of your points in this blog post that I think would be good for a spouse to know.
And I think just because an agreement was made however many years ago, that doesn't mean plans don't change. Flexibility is helpful for a happy life.

cassee01 said...

You know your husband best - will he get it or do you think he will always wonder unless he experiences the difference? make your decision based on that I say.

I also liked the suggestion above about sitting down and talking it out and seeing what could be accomplished with utilizing the whole family and part time/full time options - I mean even if you don't go back to work maybe you might get more help!