Author Topic: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!  (Read 1853 times)

Millennialworkerbee

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Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« on: April 18, 2018, 07:45:51 AM »
Hi all,

I’d love to hear some experiences from families that have had both parents work part time, rather than 1 FT - 1 at home. My husband and I both make about 140k combined. In an ideal world, we’d both love to cut to 80%, where we would work 4 days/32 hours a week and still bring home good money. This would allow some potential  flexibility in childcare arrangements and more importantly, more time with our children. We have one little guy who is almost 2 and a little lady due in September.

For those who have some kind of similar situations:
- Did you change from FT to PT with the same employer or move to a new one?
- Any roadblocks to going back to FT later on? My thinking is, if the work is the same, it wouldn’t “show” any differently on a resume?
- Did you love the extra time as much as you thought you would?
- Any tips if we could choose the schedule? Right now, I’m thinking one of us off Monday/other off Friday. Any benefit to working 5- 6.5 hour days instead (I assume this is easier to sell to your boss, but I don’t think it would “fell” PT).

Thanks!!

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2018, 11:52:11 AM »
Hi, I have 2 kids (3 year old and infant). I work three 12 hour days per week, which is considered full time in my profession. My DH cut down to part time at the same place after our first kid and works one or two days per week depending on my schedule, so we don't have to pay for daycare. He is the lower earner and daycare is expensive and sometimes hard to find in our area. We also have no nearby family. I am exhausted after my work days but I feel like I have more time with the kids this way than if I worked a more traditional schedule. Days off during the week are great too. He likes having the pert time job for some adult interaction and a little extra money. I would like to cut down to 2 days/week after we get to half of our FI number.

historienne

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2018, 07:32:11 AM »
You may be interested in the book and blog, Equally Shared Parenting.  The couple that run it did exactly that.

lazy-saver

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2018, 09:27:56 AM »
We did this temporarily, in our same jobs. We're really lucky that they were both flexible about that. Around one he went back to full time and I went up to 30 hours a week because that's what we wanted to do.

It doesn't seem to be a problem for our careers but I can't say that's universal. It can hamper advancement during the part time period, and assuming you stay with the same company I imagine people might not want to give you too much responsibility in case you have another kid and do it again. We're both getting where we want at work though. And the impact will be much much smaller than quitting work entirely for a period.

Personally I find short work days easier than either full work days or full baby days, which is a lot of why I went from working three eight hour days to five six hour days.

It's not great from a saving money on daycare perspective. Part time can cost close to full time.

It can be great from a life quality perspective. And think it's really good for both parents to experience both with staying home with a baby and working with a baby before making any permanent decisions about whether to work or stay home.

Kapiira

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2018, 10:12:24 AM »
My husband works full time, but I work 30 hours.  It is absolutely as great as I thought it would be.  I generally take Fridays off, but sometimes work shorter days Mon-Fri.  I prefer having the whole day off, but both schedules are far easier than working full time.  With the age of your kids, working part time won't save you much on daycare, but it can when your kids are school-aged.  I live in a lower-cost city and was spending ~$800/mo on before and after school care for two kids.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2018, 10:57:47 AM »
DH & I have each done some part-time work during our parenting years so far (our oldest is 11).  When we had babies and preschoolers, they went to montessori/daycare 3 days/week, and our montessori gave us a pro rata discount.  I LOVED having a part-time schedule with some full days at home and days in the office.  DH stayed home Fridays after our second was born, which gave me some flexibility to work more if I needed that.  But if I didn't need to work, we just all enjoyed the extra family time.

My career "suffered" in that I got taken off partnership track and never returned to it.  But now I have my own law practice and prefer to work directly for my clients and not deal with organizational politics.  DH has always worked for himself.

Now that all our kids are in elementary school, we use our Fridays for "day dates" fairly often, or for running errands sans kids.

elliha

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2018, 02:19:06 PM »
My husband and I hope to do this in a couple of years. I have worked 75-80% at different times since my daughter was born soon to be 6 years ago. I have been with the same employer the whole time. I live in Sweden though were it is the law that people with children below the age of 8 can reduce their hours to 75% and the employer can't say no to this. I have soon to be 2 year old too so I would be under protection from this law for a few more years and hopefully I will go down to 75% this autumn again. I have tried both working two 4 hour days and 5 6 hour days and both worked well for us. I might try taking a day off sometime but if I reduce my hours this autumn it will be 6 hours a day most likely.

Frugalroogal

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2018, 03:41:17 PM »
Hello, as you can see this is my first post on the MMM forum but I have been lurking for quite some time!

I work 3 standard days per week. My husband has a more complicated situation as he works and studies. He is at work 3 days per week but is paid for 4 days (work pays for 1 day per week of study leave). The other day off is not paid as he works part-time as well as having study leave.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Part time hours are great. My son attends daycare 3 days per week and as lovely as the daycare is we wouldn’t want him to go more than 3 days as he gets super exhausted and quite unpleasant after daycare due to tiredness. We also get more time hanging around as a family than the typical working couple with kids would.

The downsides - we don’t earn a huge amount of money but it’s definitely enough to get by and of course we have a low spending rate which helps a lot. I am also looking at changing jobs within the same employer but it’s slightly more complicated to find a 3 day a week job. Oddly (and I’m pretty sure I remember reading that studies have found that once a man has a baby he is more employable) my husband has had no trouble finding a new job at the same employer for 3 days per week and has had multiple job offers. He starts in the next couple of weeks at his new job. Also the three days I am at work there is a lot of pressure to get through my task list while the full time people around me seem to take a more leisurely pace to their work.

TL;DR: part time is awesome and I would love to continue forever.

onemorebike

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 05:57:51 AM »
We are starting this arrangement in a few short weeks. I actually inquired about the part time aspect here to help shore up my thoughts on the transition.

My wife was already a 32 hour employee with summers off, I decided life is too short and I wanted time more than money. (This summer is going to be chalk full of three day weekend, family adventures!) For us this means our retirement date is put off but our kids are at the perfect age where I really treasure this time together. We had let our mustachian belt out a little bit so it was the perfect reason to dial our spending back in and think more strategically about how we want to spend our lives together.

All to say I haven't experienced it yet, but in a few short weeks I'm going to over the moon with joy. ;)

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Freedomin5

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2018, 07:24:23 AM »
We did this for three years until DD was old enough to attend preschool. It was not as rosy and sunshiny for us.

We did it to avoid having to hire a local domestic helper (ayi) since we didn’t want someone else raising our child for the first three years of her life. So DH worked three days per week and I worked the other four days per week.

It was exhausting. We hardly ever saw each other, and on top of taking care of a baby/toddler, we had to squeeze in grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning...in a foreign country where everything takes twice as long. Those days are kind of a blur now, one year later.

The good thing is that DD has a very strong relationship with her dad.

nickybecky1

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2018, 04:53:01 PM »
We're working on this. I currently work full time but only 11 months a year. Mr. NB works 3 days per week. I'm hoping to go down to 4 days a week, but we'll still have childcare expenses because we work some of the same days. There's opportunity for Mr. NB to move around, at least at his company, with the 3 day per week schedule. Less clear if that's something that can go to other companies. There are a number of part time/part year people who do what I do so I think there's some possibility for moving around in the future, but I'm also in a field where there's not a lot of moving around and since I love my boss and work set up, I'm hoping to stick around in the same job a long time. In both cases, there are also plenty of opportunities to go back to full time since we're doing work that is also done full time and would just need to shift positions. 

We started these schedules almost a year ago, not just for the hope of future parenting but just to have a bit more freedom and we love them. I can't imagine ever going back to us both working full time (honestly, I hope we can never go back to either of us working full time!). Mr NB's schedule is WThF on, SS off, MTW on, and then ThFSSMT off, repeat. If I can get down to 4 days a week, It'll likely be either W or F off.

Baby is due in a few weeks, so we haven't started the parenting bit, but it's been really helpful for the pregnant bit to have someone else who is around and can take care of things. I guess I'll be able to report back in a bit about how it's going for us - though between maternity and paternity leave it will be awhile before we're both working part time and really getting that going. Looking forward to hearing from others and checking out their resources!

px4shooter

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2018, 05:49:40 PM »
What is your plan for benefits (insurance, etc)? The part time/full time barrier is the one that seems to separate benefits.

We will likely continue with me working full time and the spouse cutting to a much smaller schedule.

nickybecky1

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2018, 09:03:53 AM »
What is your plan for benefits (insurance, etc)? The part time/full time barrier is the one that seems to separate benefits.

We will likely continue with me working full time and the spouse cutting to a much smaller schedule.

I can't speak for everyone, but at both my company and my spouse's company, the benefits barrier happens at a much lower threshold (i.e. 50%). People working regular schedules of more than 50% are benefits eligible and people working less are not. In my case, I just need to be more than 50% FTE for a contract of 9 months+ per year to remain eligible for year round benefits (there are a number of seasonal employees in my field). Since we're both working more than 50%, we've remained benefits eligible in both places. I'm guessing a lot of other people considering this type of scale back have found similar situations. We would actually only need to be benefits eligible (insurance) through one employer but being benefits eligible through both is nice since we're getting employer matching on our savings.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2018, 12:06:52 PM »
I thought about this thread again and wanted to add:  I really appreciated the input I got from the daycares where my kids went.  I liked having the perspective of some who had done this before, especially when we only had one child.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work part-time, true, but I was fortunate to have the daycares I had, also.

I learned a lot from my daycare providers, and I found it valuable for me as a parent.  It was great to have them on my team.  Sometimes they could answer my questions or calm my nascent fears about some issue.  I didn't always agree with them, but some of the women (it was all women) who were helping care for my kids had successfully raised children of their own, and some of them had studied early childhood development.  All of them had cared for multiple babies and toddlers before.

A high-quality daycare can add to a parent's development as well as the child's.  It's not always inferior to parental care, especially if that parental care is bought at the price of sleep or other activities that can contribute to the overall family welfare (like a paying job that's still needed). 

nickybecky1

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Re: Both parents working PT- share your stories with me!
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2018, 11:29:37 AM »
@TVRodriguez Thanks for sharing that perspective. I wanted to clarify that we do still intend to use childcare both because we aren't able to stagger our schedules in a way that would let us not, and for reasons along the lines of your post. For us, there are some savings associated with more flexible schedules, but we also are taking a hit on our savings rate to be able to have a different balance between work and home than if we were working full time. I'm glad you mentioned it because I'm not sure that was clear from my original post, and I'm not sure how many people on this thread are hoping to avoid childcare vs change time balances.