Author Topic: Golden handcuffs! Leave a position with great benefits, school aged children??  (Read 4489 times)

Starrett

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Hi Everyone,

Long time reader, first time poster looking for advice on life and job situation. I have been reading MMM posts for a while now and I know that many of you give very sensible and well thought out advice. So despite my reticence to posting online, I am doing it!

I am an early 40s female married to a high earner. We have two young children (3 and 6) and live in a HCOL area. Have been in my current position 8 years. Negotiated a 4 day/week schedule after my first child was born. Very good benefits, lots of vacation, great health insurance, 401K 10% match, etc.

BUT (you knew it was coming!) the job itself is very boring and isolating. I am alone much of the time. My heart is just not in it anymore. The job requires a lot of self motivation, which I have almost completely lost. I spend a lot of time doing nothing while trying to motivate myself to do something. I also have a very long commute (1.25-1.5 hours each way by public transit). I leave early in the morning before the kids wake up. Husband works late twice a week. Husband is also required to take emergency call about 4 months out of the year which makes things precarious and stressful (for him especially). We do have grandparents nearby but recent health issues mean they may be unable to help at the same level for much longer. I do not have time for myself, except ironically, when I at at work!

I feel petty sometimes complaining about my job because it is relatively easy and I have a lot of autonomy, a 4 day schedule etc. but the commute... and just having to be present every day is the problem. I am always thinking about the kids and all the things I could be doing to make life easier if I were at home.

My husband is supportive of me leaving, we live well below our means and could afford it, but my job gives us health insurance as my husband is self employed. If I leave, we will have to pay around 2K per month (estimated) to cover health insurance for our family. The health insurance we purchase privately will be a step down from what I have now. We save my entire salary right now. Total loss from not working - about 20K cash savings, 25K retirement savings, and the cost of paying for health insurance (maybe another 20K after tax deductions?). Hard to swallow these numbers! Even if we can afford to.

I would have the option to work with my husband on administrative tasks which would potentially help bring in more income, but we have no way of telling how much before taking the plunge.

I earned a graduate degree for my profession. I doubt I will be able to get the same level position in the future but could probably get a part time job (no benefits) or perhaps a full time job down the road, but not at the same level. Not sure how much I really care about this! I don't believe my boss will allow me to reduce my hours any further, though of course I would ask if it got to the point of leaving.

Kindergarten has been a bit of a shock, the shorter hours of coverage, so many days off, figuring out summer coverage, many more events and things to keep track of, juggling afterschool programs for coverage, etc.

I am interested in hearing from people that have stepped away from a career when kids were in full day school. Questions I hope people will address:

Did you find enough fulfillment in your days without working and kids at school? Bored? Lonely? I don't get much too social stimulation at work.
Did you find your family's quality of life improved greatly? This is important to me.
Do you find that you are able to parent better with more time and patience for the kids? Possible that behavior of kids would improve? Very interested in hearing about how this would benefit the kids.
How did you feel about not generating your own income, even with a supportive spouse?
Do you worry at all about what the kids will think about your lack of a career as they get older?
Health insurance! Buying this ourselves vs getting it from an employer really worries me as there is no stability. But do I stay at my job just for the insurance??
What else should I be considering?

I am a planner (and usually pretty risk adverse) so thinking well in advance. Even if I decide to leave, I will probably stay for at least another 6-12 months, but I want to be sure about my decision beforehand, hence all the questions.

Thank you in advance for reading this long post and for any advice you can give! I know this a personal decision but it always helps to hear others' perspective and experiences.


Scotland2016

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Hello! Thank you for posting. I don't have answers to your questions, but this very nearly something I could have written. I'm looking forward to the responses!

Assetup

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I'm totally a numbers person and understand your hesitancy to quit. If you aren't happy with your job, quitting won't make your family go into debt and your husband is on board then go for it!  You can always make money another way(even if it's less) but you can't get your time back.  I'm working towards goals so my SO and I can do something similar

Cassie

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Is it possible to work from home a day or two a week? I stayed home when my kids were little but once they were in school f.t. it was too boring.

Starrett

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Nope. Asked about that! Boss will only allow me to work at home once in a while if I really needed to. It was obvious he wasn't into it at all so I have not done it in a while.

Gronnie

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Is there a legitimate reason not to be able to work from home, or just an overbearing control freak boss?

I wonder if it came down to WFH or you leaving if they would be more amenable to it....

If you decide that you are ok with quitting you could just start working from home and see what happens.

CrustyBadger

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Kindergarten has been a bit of a shock, the shorter hours of coverage, so many days off, figuring out summer coverage, many more events and things to keep track of, juggling afterschool programs for coverage, etc.

A lot of these problems can be addressed with a really good aftercare center that covers teacher workdays, vacations, and much of the summertime.   It might cost more than some programs, or it might have a long waiting list, but is there any chance you could find one in your area?

I am a teacher so I have not had to deal with most of these issues, but I have friends who all do, and those who are happiest have found a place for their kids that run on teacher workdays, most school vacations, and at least a month each summer.   Or they find ONE camp that runs most of the summer.  That cuts down on the juggling for summer camp weeks which I know can be a huge pain.

MrsPB

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Iím in a very similar position right now, same age and same-aged kids,  and am working a few less hours a week than my coworkers. Only major difference is my husband is not self employed and we are in Canada so we donít have the health insurance issue. I have a great employer, but with the kids drop offs, my commute is an hour each way and thatís only because I leave super early (6:30-6:45am) in order to miss peak traffic. So yeah, the commute is a real pain and expensive too. Between me and my husband we spend $400 a month on gas....ouch. But my job pays well and I love the culture, Iím just not as invested personally and struggling with that. I changed careers to this company out of necessity but itís not ideal. However, due to my husbandís work and having no family close by, I am very limited in the jobs and careers I can look at, and at my age, Iím not interested in going back to school to retrain.
I want to work but part time would be better. I donít think itís an option at my job currently but I havenít yet asked.

Iím really struggling with trying to figure out a plan, Iím a planner too and financially enjoy the income but really questioning whether itís the best option in life for me. I canít really progress in my workplace if Iím less than full time and I have outgrown my role. I really would prefer not to keep moving companies too at this stage. But then I think, hey, itís a great workplace, very flexible and low stress. My husband is the primary earner and we could cut daycare expenses if I quit and also likely reduce other expenses as Iíd have more time to work on frugal impacts.

One thought I had was exploring taking a sabbatical for a year but hold on to my job if my employer agreed. I donít think anyone has done that before but might ask. Is that an option? Then you could test it out to a degree with less finality. It may be a pipe dream but Iím spending a lot of time contemplating things right now.....

I worry about the same things as you!! I am not a risk taker so I worry that we are taking too much risk with one earner.

Starrett

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Is there a legitimate reason not to be able to work from home, or just an overbearing control freak boss?

I wonder if it came down to WFH or you leaving if they would be more amenable to it....

If you decide that you are ok with quitting you could just start working from home and see what happens.

A little bit of both! I do have to be here for certain days/parts of my job, but could definitely find enough work to do at home at least 1 day/week if the boss let me. he is very old school in certain respects and likes people to be around in case he needs something, no matter how small. He def wants to see me here.

Starrett

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Kindergarten has been a bit of a shock, the shorter hours of coverage, so many days off, figuring out summer coverage, many more events and things to keep track of, juggling afterschool programs for coverage, etc.

A lot of these problems can be addressed with a really good aftercare center that covers teacher workdays, vacations, and much of the summertime.   It might cost more than some programs, or it might have a long waiting list, but is there any chance you could find one in your area?

I am a teacher so I have not had to deal with most of these issues, but I have friends who all do, and those who are happiest have found a place for their kids that run on teacher workdays, most school vacations, and at least a month each summer.   Or they find ONE camp that runs most of the summer.  That cuts down on the juggling for summer camp weeks which I know can be a huge pain.

Yes, child does go to aftercare on school days but its not open when no school so I would have to find yet another program for those days. Usually we cover days off with my vacation or grandparents. I did find a camp this summer that will be all day, all summer so that should provide some continuity.

Starrett

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Iím in a very similar position right now, same age and same-aged kids,  and am working a few less hours a week than my coworkers. Only major difference is my husband is not self employed and we are in Canada so we donít have the health insurance issue. I have a great employer, but with the kids drop offs, my commute is an hour each way and thatís only because I leave super early (6:30-6:45am) in order to miss peak traffic. So yeah, the commute is a real pain and expensive too. Between me and my husband we spend $400 a month on gas....ouch. But my job pays well and I love the culture, Iím just not as invested personally and struggling with that. I changed careers to this company out of necessity but itís not ideal. However, due to my husbandís work and having no family close by, I am very limited in the jobs and careers I can look at, and at my age, Iím not interested in going back to school to retrain.
I want to work but part time would be better. I donít think itís an option at my job currently but I havenít yet asked.

Iím really struggling with trying to figure out a plan, Iím a planner too and financially enjoy the income but really questioning whether itís the best option in life for me. I canít really progress in my workplace if Iím less than full time and I have outgrown my role. I really would prefer not to keep moving companies too at this stage. But then I think, hey, itís a great workplace, very flexible and low stress. My husband is the primary earner and we could cut daycare expenses if I quit and also likely reduce other expenses as Iíd have more time to work on frugal impacts.

One thought I had was exploring taking a sabbatical for a year but hold on to my job if my employer agreed. I donít think anyone has done that before but might ask. Is that an option? Then you could test it out to a degree with less finality. It may be a pipe dream but Iím spending a lot of time contemplating things right now.....

I worry about the same things as you!! I am not a risk taker so I worry that we are taking too much risk with one earner.

Thanks for your reply! Nice to hear from others in the same situation. I would also love to take a leave and see how it goes, a test run! But I don't know if that is possible. I should look into this more. I know I could do FMLA if I had a family member with a health problem but just taking a leave for no reason probably wouldn't fly.

Tyson

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So do you want to just become a full time stay at home parent?  If so, for how long?

You don't mention it in your OP, but is FI/FIRE a goal for you and your SO?  What % of income are you saving now?  Would quitting work cause a large setback in the timeframe for FI/RE?

If it were me I'd definitely keep working as having continuity in a career is important I think.  If you're committed leaving your current job, I'd look for something more flexible re: time and ability to WFH, even if it resulted in less pay. 

Gronnie

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One other thing to consider is: are you sure you want to be a stay at home parent?

My wife was convinced she did, tried it for a few months, and decided it wasn't for her. Thankfully RN jobs are pretty easy to come by so it didn't really set her back in her career at all.

MrsPB

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I reduced my hours slightly a year or so ago from 37.5 to 32. I did the 32 hours over 4 days but with the 2 hours of commuting, it made for a very long slog for 4 days in a row with no wiggle room. I recently have spread the 32 hours over 5 days and I get off work now around 2:30 but work 5 days a week. I have to say, itís way better. If I skipped lunch I could pick up my daughter from school some days and be home by 3:30 with both kids. Alternatively, I can do an errand or two or even get back to gym and still be home by 4:30 most days. I find after just a couple of weeks of this new arrangement that I am less tired, less stressed and have a more subtle transition when arriving home compare to the previous hectic rush to get food made and served followed by the bedtime routine.

You said you are doing 4 days a week now, do you have the option to arrange the total hours worked differently? Or work an hour in the evening after the kids are in bed (although this doesnít work for me) in order to regain an hour with them earlier in the day when you are not exhausted?

Throw in a work from home day here and there and you might find this balance works for a while, especially if you can time it right to avoid the need for after school care.
The other thing I have done is banked some extra hours and then used them for the days school is closed for teacher training and such.

Edited for typos and to add more suggestions.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 05:08:09 PM by MrsPB »

MrsPB

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Also want to add that you may find 5 shorter boring days easier than 4 longer boring days...

Freedomin5

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Are there no similar positions closer to home? The travel time seems terrible. Since you still have 6-12 months before actually acting on the decision, perhaps start putting out feelers/letting your network know that you are interested in moving companies. Even if you take a small pay cut, the time and energy savings may be worth it.

Cassie

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This country is still in the 1950ís compared to parental leave in other countries. My generation really struggled with care for kids and you would think 40 years later some progress would have been made. It really pisses me off.

ysette9

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This country is still in the 1950ís compared to parental leave in other countries. My generation really struggled with care for kids and you would think 40 years later some progress would have been made. It really pisses me off.
I agree 110%. It is a society problem but as a short-term work around it falls on employers to fill the gaps. I was so irritated at how my last maternity leave went that I left that employee and went to one that, among many other things, has a much better parental leave policy.

But it is unfair that only the most affluent who work for the best companies get decent leave while the people who really need it suffer the most.

Starrett

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Hi everyone, thanks for your replies.

MrsPB, I like your suggestion of 5 shorter days but doing that adds 3 hours of commuting time a week so I havenít considered it before. It also wouldnít get me home in time for school pick up unfortunately. You are right that the worst part is commuting home, picking up
Kids and rushing through dinner, homework, bed routine. I have split the day off into 2 half days once or twice.

I have Been looking for a closer job, but most will not offer a 4 day a week schedule with benefits. I actually got offered one but I figured it wasnít worth it to go back to 5 days a week and be stressed at a new job. It still entailed an hour commute so it wasnít that much better in that respect anyway. Have been looking for part time work close to home that would keep me in the field but free up lots of time. Of course, then I lose all benefits and health insurance though. I also have the option to do work for my husband but I am not sure if that will fulfill my needs. Working for him also wouldnít  help out if I ever wanted to work in my field again. I mean, I probably couldnít put it on my resume.

ysette9

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This country is still in the 1950ís compared to parental leave in other countries. My generation really struggled with care for kids and you would think 40 years later some progress would have been made. It really pisses me off.

Yeah, but the ďsolutionĒ I see is some cluster**** program that costs twice as much as it should, and allows employers to skirt their responsibility by tossing it on the taxpayers plate.
Paid family leave is being implemented in a few states via a temporary disability insurance program. It is working well in CA and recently got expanded to be slightly more generous. I canít speak for other states but I think there are workable solutions.

The hidden downsides to not having paid leave are things like poorer health outcomes for mothers and babies, reduced breastfeeding rates, loss of income and productivity as workers feel they have to drop out because they canít handle going back to work with a newborn at home, etc.

startingsmall

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Kindergarten has been a bit of a shock, the shorter hours of coverage, so many days off, figuring out summer coverage, many more events and things to keep track of, juggling afterschool programs for coverage, etc.

A lot of these problems can be addressed with a really good aftercare center that covers teacher workdays, vacations, and much of the summertime.   It might cost more than some programs, or it might have a long waiting list, but is there any chance you could find one in your area?

I am a teacher so I have not had to deal with most of these issues, but I have friends who all do, and those who are happiest have found a place for their kids that run on teacher workdays, most school vacations, and at least a month each summer.   Or they find ONE camp that runs most of the summer.  That cuts down on the juggling for summer camp weeks which I know can be a huge pain.

Yes, child does go to aftercare on school days but its not open when no school so I would have to find yet another program for those days. Usually we cover days off with my vacation or grandparents. I did find a camp this summer that will be all day, all summer so that should provide some continuity.

You might want to try your local YMCA. I'm sure this is location-specific, but our daughter is in our local YMCA program and they offer before/after-school care AND day camps for all of the teacher work days, unimportant holidays, winter/spring break, etc... plus an awesome summer camp that runs all summer long. Literally, any non-school weekday that we don't have plans as a family, our daughter is at the Y. And she LOVES it.

CrustyBadger

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Yes, child does go to aftercare on school days but its not open when no school so I would have to find yet another program for those days. Usually we cover days off with my vacation or grandparents. I did find a camp this summer that will be all day, all summer so that should provide some continuity.

Are there any options for aftercare programs in your area?   Could you find one off-site with transportation that is also open on "schools are closed" days?

I know a lot of working parents find the transition to elementary school from daycare hard for this reason.  A good aftercare that can help kids with homework and have time to relax and play can really help a lot in the early years.  Alternately and after school nanny or babysitter would work, but it is pretty hard to find someone reliable.


cloudsail

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I made a similar post a few years ago when I was considering quitting my job and becoming a SAHM. While our situations are not exactly the same, I feel like I got some really great responses that might also be helpful to you. I also posted an update a couple years later.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/seriously-considering-the-sahm-thing-(update-i-did-it!)

seemsright

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I FIRED the day my DD was born.

Am I board..yea some times. But our life is so much better. I was able to support my hubby and his career. I was able to work (and still work with) my DD to have her skip a grade. She is still way ahead. I get to work on my goals and take care of my family.

The first few years was scary but we made it work. Now I struggle in getting push back from others during small talk on how I do not work...Lady the goal is no boss...one boss between hubby and I is more than enough...they just cannot understand.

Our investments are bringing in way more than my salary ever did. I do not have to deal with who is going to watch DD, what to do about sick days or other random days from school. It just makes our life simpler with me home. I do not have to go to the grocery store while everyone else and their sister is there on the Weekends...I can go on Monday mornings.

A job should not be your identity. There is nothing wrong in supporting your husbands business and making your life simpler, less stressed and taking care yourself and family.

The entire MMM philosophy is being FI and sometimes you have to take a deep breath and know that in the long run it will be better overall.

BeanCounter

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This is one of those posts that I wish I could go out for coffee with the OP! We are in almost the exact same situation. I too have an easy six figure job with an awesome boss, that I hate going to. We have two boys ages 6 and 10. And I think Iím ready to leave my career and stay home. But Iím scared for the exact same reasons!
One piece of advice that has really helped us- find an after school nanny and a summer nanny. We have a college girl that comes three days a week (they go to aftercare the other two days). She gets them off the bus, gives them snack, does chores and homework with them, and takes them to their activities. This gave us our evenings back. When we get home at six we eat together and relax. I pay $15 per hour for this but it has been worth every penny. Plus it helps her pay for her education. She will also watch them on random days off if she doesnít have class. I pay $100 per day for that. We found her by putting an ad in the local collegeís school of Education. We had many really great applicants and held several interviews to find the right one.
For summer we have a high school girl that watches them and we alternate two weeks with her and one week at camp to keep things fresh. I pay her $450 a week for that plus $50 of ďfun moneyĒ to take the boys out.
So this has worked really well for us the last couple years but I can feel that my oldest (10) is becoming less enchanted with having a nanny and would rather it be a parent. So Iím planning to quit at the end of the school year next year. He will then be a rising sixth grader.
I expect it will still be a difficult change for all of us, but Iím just done with juggling it all.
I wish you the best of luck with your decision!

Starrett

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Hi All, thanks for your thoughtful replies! very helpful. Cloudsail, I will definitely check out your posting. Seemsright, I sometimes feel as you do, that the benefits of a calm, less stressful life will be worth more than the money (or even the health insurance). My husband feels this way too and could def use help with his business. It would take a lot of stress off of him if I could help out. He could also get more work done as now he takes care of kids in the AM and does the drop offs. Me being home would probably mean he could start earlier in the day and get home earlier, and not have to do work at home on the weekends all the time. It would be a big change. I have always worked, since I was 14! But have never felt a real passion for my career or any jobs, even though I went through a lot of education to get them.

I would definitely negotiate before leaving. This is my plan. You are right Finances_with_purpose, that once you get to the point of leaving, you might as well try!

BeanCounter, I wish we could go for coffee too! I do not make 6 figures unfortunately! Good for you. We did try to hire an after school nanny when kindergarten started. At first everything went well, she came over and watched kids a few times, did a test run for pickups with me, I did background and license check etc. But then she ghosted on me and sent an insane text excuse the day she was supposed to start on her own! That really shook my confidence on relying on someone besides grandparents. I was already very nervous about giving someone full access to our house, car and kids! So after school program with me picking up a few days a week is the default. I guess i should try again though. I am sure there must be a good babysitter out there. Other people seem to find them.

MrsPB

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Itís a tough decision. I will say that some general advice I use that is helpful is, if you arenít sure, then you arenít ready to decide yet. Hopefully it will become clear either way soon!

Starrett

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Can anyone address if staying home seemed to benefit the kids? Did you Notice improved behavior? I donít think we have behavior issues too far beyond what is normal for a 3 and 6 year old but they do seem to do much better when we are less stressed and rushing around. Could we expect fewer tantrums and defiance if we had more time and patience, and could connect more?

Tyson

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Can anyone address if staying home seemed to benefit the kids? Did you Notice improved behavior? I donít think we have behavior issues too far beyond what is normal for a 3 and 6 year old but they do seem to do much better when we are less stressed and rushing around. Could we expect fewer tantrums and defiance if we had more time and patience, and could connect more?

I can chime in a little.  I work from home 100% and my (recently) ex-wife did not.  On my days it was always pretty low stress because we had plenty of time to get everything done as I was just coming back home and not going to the office.  On the other hand, when it was her mom's turn, it was always super stressful and rushed.  You can just see their little minds absorbing all that negativity. 

I think my daughter was lucky that she had both of us and could see the differences, and also she could get a break from the stress when it was my turn.  If it has been always stressful all the time with no break, I think it would definitely have affected her days and her behavior. 

BeanCounter

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Can anyone address if staying home seemed to benefit the kids? Did you Notice improved behavior? I donít think we have behavior issues too far beyond what is normal for a 3 and 6 year old but they do seem to do much better when we are less stressed and rushing around. Could we expect fewer tantrums and defiance if we had more time and patience, and could connect more?
I canít speak to SAH parenting...yet, but I can tell you that leaving the aftercare program has helped my guys tremendously. And yes, I see the difference in behavior between the three days they are not there versus the two they are not. Itís just too much for them. Itís loud. There is no place to lay down and relax if youíve had a hard day. And itís a lot of time with the same kids theyíve been trying to negotiate the regular school day with. It essentially elongates their school day and IMHO itís not the healthiest option for my kids. Add to that me struggling to get there to pickup in time, and that we are all hungry for real food- somebody ALWAYS has a melt down on the way home from pickup. Sometimes itís ME!!
This is why the after school nanny has been so great for us. Iím sad you didnít have good luck with that. Weíve been really fortunate I guess.

red_pill

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Youíre looking at this with only two options - quit or not.  Thereís got to be more options. Expand your thinking to come up with them.  Youíre also combining several negatives - long commute, lack of child care, boring job, isolation at work, your own lack of motivation - into a single problem that you are trying to escape from.  Maybe you can parse it into the different problems and attack them one by one.

I also recommend watching Tim Ferrissís TED talk on fear setting. Itís a great exercise to go through when considering a big move.

Starrett

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Youíre looking at this with only two options - quit or not.  Thereís got to be more options. Expand your thinking to come up with them.  Youíre also combining several negatives - long commute, lack of child care, boring job, isolation at work, your own lack of motivation - into a single problem that you are trying to escape from.  Maybe you can parse it into the different problems and attack them one by one.

I also recommend watching Tim Ferrissís TED talk on fear setting. Itís a great exercise to go through when considering a big move.

Thank you, I will check out that TED talk. Working on thinking about this from many angles, that's why I am giving myself time before making a decision.

danakado

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I've faced this precise dilemma for years and stuck with work because I just could never pull the trigger.  My kids are 10 and 14 so I feel a bit like I'm on the other side of it.  For "me" I'm glad I did not quit.  My work is still boring and mind numbing, but I work with great people and have almost zero stress.  I have found my fulfillment outside of work and am content with that for now. 

A few thoughts for you to consider.  1)  I do think the grass is always a bit greener on the other side, especially when you are juggling kids and work.  2)  It really does get easier once you your older child can stay home alone for some period of time.  It's a game changer.  3)  How will this affect the dynamics of work sharing in your house?  Will your spouse expect you to do more (like his laundry, dry cleaning, whatever) and if so are you ok with this?  4)  I used to work 4 days a week (32 hours) but changed to 5 shorter days once they started school.  This allows me to leave in time for school pick up and helps dramatically with the evening hustle as I'm home by 4.  I also work from home 1 day a week and try to squeeze appointments in during my lunch hour that day.  I prefer this arrangement to one full day off, for what it's worth. 

As for the health and happiness of your kids, I can't really respond as I didn't make this leap.... but I can say that as they got older my home stress level went down as they were less hands on.  Although now I have a teenager so the stress is back up but that's another story lol. 
Good luck and keep us posted!

MrsPB

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I've faced this precise dilemma for years and stuck with work because I just could never pull the trigger.  My kids are 10 and 14 so I feel a bit like I'm on the other side of it.  For "me" I'm glad I did not quit.  My work is still boring and mind numbing, but I work with great people and have almost zero stress.  I have found my fulfillment outside of work and am content with that for now. 

A few thoughts for you to consider.  1)  I do think the grass is always a bit greener on the other side, especially when you are juggling kids and work.  2)  It really does get easier once you your older child can stay home alone for some period of time.  It's a game changer.  3)  How will this affect the dynamics of work sharing in your house?  Will your spouse expect you to do more (like his laundry, dry cleaning, whatever) and if so are you ok with this?  4)  I used to work 4 days a week (32 hours) but changed to 5 shorter days once they started school.  This allows me to leave in time for school pick up and helps dramatically with the evening hustle as I'm home by 4.  I also work from home 1 day a week and try to squeeze appointments in during my lunch hour that day.  I prefer this arrangement to one full day off, for what it's worth. 

As for the health and happiness of your kids, I can't really respond as I didn't make this leap.... but I can say that as they got older my home stress level went down as they were less hands on.  Although now I have a teenager so the stress is back up but that's another story lol. 
Good luck and keep us posted!

This is interesting to hear! I was working 32 hrs a week over 4 days but with the long drive of an hour each way once the drop offs are added in, those 4 days were exhausting. My husband  works away at least 50% of the week too so often I was solo doing everything for the kids before and after the workday too. Iíve just switched to 5 shorter days instead but have only been doing it a couple of weeks but already, I feel the difference from getting home earlier and spreading out errands over the week instead of cramming them all into my one day off and being exhausted from that. My kids are 3 and 5 so Iím struggling to see the light for a number of years yet. I am contemplating asking to reduce my hours further to 3 days a week but will mull over. Stopping work is an option too but Iím scared to pull the trigger on that without first trying something less drastic

danakado

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This is interesting to hear! I was working 32 hrs a week over 4 days but with the long drive of an hour each way once the drop offs are added in, those 4 days were exhausting. My husband  works away at least 50% of the week too so often I was solo doing everything for the kids before and after the workday too. Iíve just switched to 5 shorter days instead but have only been doing it a couple of weeks but already, I feel the difference from getting home earlier and spreading out errands over the week instead of cramming them all into my one day off and being exhausted from that. My kids are 3 and 5 so Iím struggling to see the light for a number of years yet. I am contemplating asking to reduce my hours further to 3 days a week but will mull over. Stopping work is an option too but Iím scared to pull the trigger on that without first trying something less drastic
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I really expected to not like the 5 day option so I was surprised that it ended up working so well- it really was the evening hustle that was wearing me down.  The day at work goes by infinitely faster this way.  Also because I still work from home day I get that one day of late sleep in which also helps.  As your kids get older this sort of schedule is almost a necessity if they are going to do sports or other activities. 

formerlydivorcedmom

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My husband actually quit work a few years ago to go back to school and become a part-time SAHD to our elementary-school-aged kids.  It was GREAT.  The kids really loved having him home after school.  We seemed to have more family time and more time in general, because he was running errands during the day.  The downside was that I seemed to be working later and later because he had everything covered and I had a very stressful job with a lot to do.

A year and a half ago, we swapped.  He is graduated and has a job.  I have a new job where I work at home 4 days a week and commute into the office (an hour each way on public transportation) one day a week.  The oldest kids are in middle school (my goodness, the carpools - they have to be at school before or after school almost every day).  The youngest kid goes to day care after school.  He likes playing there, and I get nothing done when he's home with me.  We split the parenting duties pretty evenly now, and this seems to be working quite well for our family.

My kids didn't think it was weird at all that my husband didn't work for a few years.  They loved having him home, and my son now says he wants to be a SAHD for a while when he has kids.  (Note that we're a blended family, and my two biokids have a dad who works full-time, so they always had that role model too.)  They have friends whose mothers stay at home, and we've talked a lot about the fact that not all families have to look alike.  I think it's great that they are seeing there are different paths in life and they will have options to do what works for their families.

I lucked into the WFH part of my job - it was supposed to be very temporary, but then I transferred to a different director in the same department and she approved it for long-term.  She has two of us who work at home most of the time (both women); the rest of the group (all men) have 1 designated WFH day a week and come to the office.  I pitched it to her as a win-win - if I worked at home I would set my hours to be more convenient to the company (in your case, offer to work all 5 days; in my case, this means sometimes I'm online really early in the morning to support Europe), and the one day a week I'm in the office I try to be VERY visible.  I also send regular status updates of what I'm doing so they know I'm not just cleaning my house.   From my side, I was candid with her that we were transition my husband back to work and we had some medical issues with the kids that meant a parent needed to be home to take the kids to the doctor.  They could approve WFH or I'd have to go part-time or I'd quit.

Reach out to your network too.  I had a long catch-up chat with a former coworker and discovered she was looking for a WFH job.  She had new skills since we'd last worked together - and I just happened to be looking for someone with that skill set who wanted to WFH.  She now works for me, and I never would have thought of her as a fit for the job if we hadn't been visiting.

There might well be other options for you if you look for them.


doingfine

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I can't imagine having that kind of commute on top of a full time job, with young kids. I would consider quitting just to get rid of that commute and taking any work you can find close to home. If you are a skilled worker you should be able to earn enough to cover your health insurance costs and then some likely working even part-time. That would seem to be the logical halfway point between keeping the current job or quitting entirely - you gain 3 hours of commute time plus a couple of days a week by switching to part-time, yet should be able to still earn enough to contribute to the family finances in a significant way.

mm1970

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I just wanted to say, I feel you.  My kids are in 1st and 7th grades.

While I have a very flexible job, and crappy-for-the-title pay, I often think about quitting.

Some of it, I think, is peri-menopause.  For sure the PMS is worse now than it used to be (I'm 48), and I'm less patient.
But it's also:
- I really kind of hate my job.  I got moved into a program management position, but our entire company is understaffed.  I like to *do* things and my boss doesn't want me to *do* things, just make everyone else do things for their projects.  Blech.  So while I used to have about 30% of my job be "doing things" because I like it, I'm being forced out of that to do shit that I don't like - which is pester people in a company that has too many projects and not enough people.
- My pay sucks and we get very little recognition
- We run out of money every 2 years

I'm a planner too, so I feel you there.  I mean, I don't have to work either but I do.

On that note, today sucks and I'm going to go buy myself some chocolate to get through the afternoon.

nic1

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I can very much relate to this post,
I negotiated 3, 8 hour work days once my first child was born, who is now 14 and I have a second child that is 11.  For quite a while this worked great, not perfect by any means but overall was a good fit.  Once school starts childcare is challenging, and my oldest is very involved in dance and horse back riding and so just doing after school care did not work after kindergarten.  These are things she actually wants to pursue as an adult, so it has been worth the inconvenience, but I have had to find a part time after school sitter for the last 8 years, which has been challenging to say the least.  I have had some wonderful ones and some not so great experiences. 
The last 2 years I have been working from home.  On paper I should be loving life.  Flexible work, low stress and able to run the kids around after school.  However, it is very isolating.  I am an extrovert and I am extremely bored being home every day, and my husband travels half of the year, which adds to the lack of adult interaction. I also started working 4 days a week because I make less money at this position, and I miss having another day off every week.  I recently decided to go back to my 3, 8 hour days outside of the home.  It will not be perfect, and I will have childcare stresses (my kids are old enough to be home alone but they need someone to drive them to activities).  This is all to say that really until you test drive a new situation it is really hard to know how you will feel about it and if you will see an improvement or not. 
As far as it affecting kids behavior, I think the biggest thing that helped was not having them in afterschool care.  I am sure some kids love it, but mine really wanted to be home after school.  It is a really long day for them and they wanted the comfort of being at home.  Once they got to know their sitters, they really bonded with and enjoyed spending time with almost all of them. 

As someone that has older kids, I would say if you can financially do it I would try out the stay at home mom thing.  If you don't love it, something will work out, maybe a better part time option.  Honestly it doesn't really get any easier as they get older. Yes, it is less labor intensive, but school can be really stressful for working parents.  The homework, practices, days off, sick days, it is hard, especially before they can be home by themselves. 

Starrett

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OP here. Thanks everyone for your very helpful replies.  I was away from work last week and trying to minimize screen time while on vacation.

Our situation seems to be very common. So hard to make the decision to get off the rat race treadmill!

 My plan right now is to try and find an after school sitter to start for the new school year in September. If that doesn't seem to give us much relief, I will consider leaving by the end of the year and trying to find a part time option, which would be ideal. I will keep this thread updated! 

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!