Author Topic: Help with my wife becomming SAHM  (Read 4722 times)

themagicman

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Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« on: February 24, 2016, 12:52:28 PM »
My wife and I are expecting our first child in early August and the plan is for my wife to become a SAHM after. She is currently a teacher and we need some advice on how to do this and what you all would do in our situation.

Her current teacher contract ends July 31 and she has the option to sign on for next year. The first day of school is August 1st. Her health insurance is through her school and is by far the best option we have for insurance. She also has short term disability insurance through the school which will pay 50% of her salary for 6 weeks.

For those main two insurance reasons, we are thinking of her telling her employer she is planning on returning after maturity leave, even though the odds are in favor of her becoming a SAHM (Maybe a 10-15% chance she ends up going back to work)

The problem with that is letting her coworkers and bosses down. Her particular teaching field is a harder gap to fill and she is going to feel bad not going back, even though it is what we both ultimately want. Also they can technically try to take her teaching license away from her for breaking the contract, but I do not think they would try to do that and if they did, she is not planning on ever teaching again anyway.

What would you all do? We are talking about maybe $1000 for the COBRA payments if she stopped being employed as of July 31 and an additional $3,500 for the loss of short term disability. Is there another plan that we could do that we are not thinking of? Any help is greatly appreciated!

pbkmaine

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2016, 12:59:50 PM »
Tell them she is going back. A substantial % of my friends went back after they found that SAH drove them batty. She will not know what she wants until the baby is born.

mm1970

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2016, 03:31:58 PM »
Tell them she is going back.

I always recommend my friends plan on going back.  In my industry and area, it's WAY easier to go back and quit later, than it is to quit and then change your mind and want your job back.


little_brown_dog

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2016, 03:46:11 PM »
Tell them she is going back - I suspected I would want to be a SAHM before we had our baby, but you can't be truly sure it is what you want until the baby has arrived and you are a few weeks in. Therefore, it isn't lying to say you plan on coming back until you can test run the whole SAHM thing.

When I had our baby, I told them my plan was to come back but I made sure I prepared to be a SAHM. I created detailed instructions and guides, and basically gave it my all in training those who were taking over my duties during my mat leave to ease the burden/confusion if I didn't return. After about 6 weeks with the baby, my suspicions were confirmed and I decided that being a SAHM was the right choice for us. I called my employer and gave them plenty of notice, way more than 2 weeks.

I think that's really all a woman can do - she should do her best to leave things in as good a place as can be, and give plenty of notice when she does decide to leave. Any more than that and you are really sacrificing way too much and putting the job itself above your own family's best interests.

Edit: While it is normal to feel badly about doing this, it is important to remember that any experienced supervisor/principal is well aware that pregnant women are huge flight risks. The research is clear - very few women want to work full time while caring for a young baby. Most want to be part  time, and a significant percentage want to be SAHMs. So an employer knows that when a woman has a baby, there is a huge chance that coming back like nothing happened is just not in the cards. They will have backup and contingency plans in case she quits, and while they will be sad to see her go, they most likely will not hold it against her.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2016, 04:01:48 PM by little_brown_dog »

tobitonic

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2016, 08:03:30 PM »
As everyone said, tell them she's going back. My wife is in year one of a two year maternity leave with #2, and is already thinking of going back part time after year one. Being a SAHP can be very isolating if you don't have family nearby, have a cohort of SAHP, or are generally a very social person. Also, she works far harder at home with a toddler and baby than she ever did at work.

Need2Save

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2016, 01:53:40 PM »
Would she be expected to return at the end of 6 weeks when STD ends or at the end of 12 weeks using FMLA? 

Assuming, she was planning to take the full 12 weeks - I would inform the employer at the end of the 6 weeks post-delivery of the decision which would give them 6 weeks to find a replacement. They didn't expect her for those 2nd six weeks anyway.   To inform them before the end of July would jeopardize her FMLA entitlement and also the STD benefits.  I don't think her colleagues will be shocked by the change and I'm sure it's happened a ton of times, even for teachers.  A new parent cannot predict what they want before the baby is actually here.

themagicman

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2016, 02:09:23 PM »
Thank you everyone for the help and advice!

Would she be expected to return at the end of 6 weeks when STD ends or at the end of 12 weeks using FMLA? 

12 weeks through FMLA!

MontaniTrout

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2016, 02:31:45 PM »
I know the struggle. My wife is also a teacher and we had to make the same decision 3 years ago with our first child.

Her insurance through a public employer vs. my insurance was a huge difference. $850 month difference to be exact. This really put us on the fence of whether or not she should be a SAHM.

Ultimately she decided that SAHM would be the best fit for her. She loved her job and was really good at it, but couldn't imagine leaving her children everyday for work. Two children and 3 years later she still feels like she has made the best decision.

I feel like we haven't had to adjust our living that much without her insurance or paycheck due to smart money management. For us, working an extra 2 years to reach FIRE is a small price to pay for our children to spend the first few precious years with their mom.

She will go back to work when the youngest starts pre-school (I'm sure she'll be applying for a job wherever the kids go to school).

Good luck

MerryMcQ

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2016, 02:50:42 PM »
Just an FYI - the FMLA does allow an employer to "claw back" any health insurance premiums they paid (both the employer & employee portion) while an employee was on a leave, if the employee chooses not to return at the end of the leave. IF the employee does not pay them back, the employer can retroactively cancel the insurance, and the insurance can take back the money they paid for any medical treatment during leave - like the payment to the hospital for delivery - which leaves the full cost of any medical treatment for the employee to pay.

Not a lot of employers actually do this. But... with the potential risk of that and the potential loss of her teaching license for breaking a contract, I would be hesitant to risk it...  She may not be planning on going back to work ever, but life happens - you could be severely injured, disabled, die, etc, etc, and she may be supporting your family.

Honesty may be your best option. Also, many school districts offer a 1 year sabbatical to new parents. I would suggest asking for that, and if they say no, then be upfront and not take a contract she doesn't plan to complete.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2016, 03:12:35 PM »
First, congrats on your new baby.

As far as saying she was coming back and then not, it does seem like she would create bad will. And if you know you're not going back, but you keep letting them pay out money on your behalf... how is that not stealing?

Yeah, they probably wouldn't actually sue her. They might talk about her behind her back, though. That's what happened at my last job, when a woman waited until the last minute to tell them she wasn't coming back from leave.

I wouldn't put my name on a contract that I had no intention of fulfilling. And don't be dismissive of losing her teaching license! There are plenty of uses for a teaching license besides teaching full-time outside the home, including various work-from-home options.

If she is REALLY unsure, that's a different situation from an ethical situation--but give careful thought to what could happen if she signs a contract and doesn't fill it.

merula

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2016, 12:31:52 PM »
This stuck out to me:

she is not planning on ever teaching again anyway.

Really? She's never planning on teaching again? Not when the kid is in first grade? Sixth grade? College?

Maybe that works for her, maybe you'll both retire when your kids are fairly young, and that's great. But I gotta tell you, the mothers I know personally who quit after baby and NEVER reentered the workplace are, to a woman, unhappy people.

Granted, I don't know any couples personally who both left the workforce before kids. And I don't know any couples where the Dad stayed home and never went back. But I would still be really REALLY careful about "never" in this case. Never is a long time. And as other people have noted, being a SAHP can be really lonely and isolating.

themagicman

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2016, 04:57:36 PM »
This stuck out to me:

she is not planning on ever teaching again anyway.

Really? She's never planning on teaching again? Not when the kid is in first grade? Sixth grade? College?

Maybe that works for her, maybe you'll both retire when your kids are fairly young, and that's great. But I gotta tell you, the mothers I know personally who quit after baby and NEVER reentered the workplace are, to a woman, unhappy people.

Granted, I don't know any couples personally who both left the workforce before kids. And I don't know any couples where the Dad stayed home and never went back. But I would still be really REALLY careful about "never" in this case. Never is a long time. And as other people have noted, being a SAHP can be really lonely and isolating.

Its not that she would never go back to work. It is that she would not go back and teach. She has not enjoyed it and has found out that it is not for her. She has taught different subjects and grade levels and does not think she would give it another try down the road

merula

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2016, 11:21:35 AM »
Its not that she would never go back to work. It is that she would not go back and teach. She has not enjoyed it and has found out that it is not for her. She has taught different subjects and grade levels and does not think she would give it another try down the road

I'm glad to hear she's considered it more than "I don't want to work with an infant, therefore I'm never going to work again." (I wish I was exaggerating, but I've actually heard that.)

Still, given that teaching tends to be much better for work/life balance for parents than pretty much any other profession, I would think pretty hard about closing that door permanently.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2016, 10:20:10 PM »
Its not that she would never go back to work. It is that she would not go back and teach. She has not enjoyed it and has found out that it is not for her. She has taught different subjects and grade levels and does not think she would give it another try down the road

I feel the same way, yet there are times I wish I had a teaching license. I had an opportunity once to do curriculum development online from home, but they were only hiring licensed teachers. And now that I'm a librarian, I'm interested in school librarianship--which would be a lot easier if I had a teaching license. I never had one; I taught in an independent school, but if I'd had one, I would not give it up.

mm1970

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #14 on: February 29, 2016, 06:05:56 PM »
First, congrats on your new baby.

As far as saying she was coming back and then not, it does seem like she would create bad will. And if you know you're not going back, but you keep letting them pay out money on your behalf... how is that not stealing?

Yeah, they probably wouldn't actually sue her. They might talk about her behind her back, though. That's what happened at my last job, when a woman waited until the last minute to tell them she wasn't coming back from leave.

I wouldn't put my name on a contract that I had no intention of fulfilling. And don't be dismissive of losing her teaching license! There are plenty of uses for a teaching license besides teaching full-time outside the home, including various work-from-home options.

If she is REALLY unsure, that's a different situation from an ethical situation--but give careful thought to what could happen if she signs a contract and doesn't fill it.
Eh, sometimes people really don't know till the last minute.  Happened to a friend of mine.  The night before she was to go back to work, packing for work and packing the baby's things...couldn't do it.

I swore up and down that I would never quit, but add a second baby and a shitty work environment, and I came really close.

Goldielocks

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2016, 01:01:32 PM »
Tell them she is going back. A substantial % of my friends went back after they found that SAH drove them batty. She will not know what she wants until the baby is born.
+1

And of course, if you say that, then actually make the real effort to go back and try it.  Then decide.  She may choose to finish out that term / contract, and THEN end it...

TabbyCat

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2016, 11:41:56 AM »
Do you have family in the area who could provide short term care? It's different in an office job, but I have a friend who went back for one day before putting in notice - in our state you have to return to work or the company can require you pay back your health insurance and STD pay/leave pay. Returning for even one day protects you from that. She could also go back for a few months and extend the time in the role, especially of it bumps her into a new year, to keep another year marked on her resume. Those strategies may just not work in a teaching role though. If she's worried about talk behind her back, going back for a few weeks or months and then resigning explaining it just isn't working may help also. And it would be true, unless she ended up actually wanting to work.

TheSecondLaw

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Re: Help with my wife becomming SAHM
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2016, 02:23:32 PM »
I was in a similar situation without the complication of a contract. We were pretty sure we wanted one parent to stay home and we were pretty sure that would be me. I took 8 weeks leave 6 was paid sick time 2 vacation and went back to work. I gave my notice on my first day back. This gave me the time to see if I could hack it as a SAHM and it gave my employer a heads up on my departure. Everyone involved was very understanding and were not at all surprised. I waited to leave for similar reasons, paid 6 weeks off, insurance, I wanted to be sure about being a SAHM etc.

For the ethical conundrum maternity leave is usually a form of disability insurance and part of my benefits package. I don't see taking the benefit as any different from the older guys who made sure to get their knee replacements done because they knew they were going to retire in a year or two and they wanted to take advantage of paid time of and better insurance while they have it.

If your wife wasn't so sure she wants to leave teaching I would also suggest unpaid sabbatical if it is an option. I loved my time as a SAHM but now that DS is almost a toddler I'm ready to get back to work and I think he is ready for a daycare setting.

Best of luck and congrats on your new addition!