Author Topic: Should I go back to work?  (Read 5828 times)

mrgrump

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Should I go back to work?
« on: February 26, 2014, 07:12:45 AM »
Mustachians,

I have been wrestling with the question of whether to return to the workforce or not this summer. My wife makes very good money and we have been slashing unnecessary expenses that we thought we enjoyed...like eating out and high cell phone bills and cable. We have kept some luxuries...season tickets to a local team and 2 newer cars but are living pretty far below are means at the moment so more money is not urgent.

I am caring for our 1 year old so it's not like I am doing nothing all day but sometimes it feels like that. If I returned to work I could at least validate the $30k MBA I got 2 years ago and make some extra money for savings. If I returned to work we would need to pay Ivy League daycare rates as there are not many options around us. After daycare and taxes I would probably clear an additional $30k+ for the family which would almost all go to savings or debt.

I guess the simple question would be. For $30k above what you truly need would you go back to work or spend it with your kiddo?

Elaine

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2014, 07:21:01 AM »
I'm not a parent but maybe I can help you brainstorm, here were my immediate thoughts:
1. Do you think you would feel less antsy if you had an end date to your staying at home? Will it be when he is 3? 5? 8? Is part of the bored feeling because it seems it will always be that way? Maybe put an end date on it.

2. Is there a way you could do part time work? Or maybe make a timeline? Like, stay home full time until kid is 2 years, then work part time until kid is 4 years (with part time childcare), then go back to work full time when kid is 5/1st grade?

3. Or is it that you're just not the stay at home type period? Maybe it's just not for you? I don't think you have to justify it with making more money, it reads like the real issue is that you're just not very happy (since it seems you don't actually need more money). Would your wife want to stay home? Or maybe you'd both just be happier working and with the kiddo in childcare?

Hope this helps, I'm sure you'll get some responses from other parents that will be more helpful- but I guess a third party can always help.

mrgrump

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2014, 07:35:54 AM »
Thanks Elaine, I will try and provide quality answers to your quality questions. Thanks for asking!
1. The tentative end date idea is good and in theory that date is this summer when we return from an international assignment.
2. We have kicked around the Idea of part time work when we return home but not sure of how it would work. We love the family time in the evenings and weekends so the work would need to be during the day but that's when daycare kicks in. Not much point in working unless I can make more than daycare costs...any part time job ideas?
3. I am always a little antsy regardless. I could have billion dollars and would just worry about what to do with it or how to give it away. The wifey loves her job but since we have changed our lifestyle a bit she thinks she would like to drop down to 80% working at her office which is doable.

He went to daycare for about a month when we both worked and it felt like we were missing out and with me at home it makes my wife a lot less antsy to be at work.

lackofstache

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2014, 07:56:09 AM »
My wife is a SAHM and we wouldn't make the trade even for $30k on the plus side. I wish we could both spend more time with the kids while they're young. Our 5 yr old will start school in the fall & when our daughter starts my wife will go back full-time. We're looking forward to early retirement, but we're taking a few of our "retirement" years now & spending them w/ the kids. Obviously everyone has different opinions and feelings on this, which is why I can't tell you what to do, but I thought I'd let you know how I see our situation. Good luck.

MrsPete

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2014, 08:01:31 AM »
You say you'd make $30,000 after expenses, and it'd go to savings and debt. 

The debt part would probably get me out the door.  I'd want to wipe that out right away.  And saving now while work is available and you have the time for that money to increase is a good idea.  I'd also be concerned about having a gap in employment; even today, that's something women can get away with, but it's still a bit questionable for men. 

However, one year old may not be the best time for you to go back, given that you're already home now.  Three might be the right time.  Children change significantly at three:  Their brains advance at warp speed, their fingers suddenly become so much more dexterous, and they begin to socialize with their peers in a meaningful way.  Three is a good age to begin day care or preschool.  It also becomes less expensive and easier to find at three. 


La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2014, 08:11:56 AM »
I have a work-at-home job that I can do when the kids are napping/having "quiet time" without paying for child care. It certainly won't use your MBA, but this kind of thing might be worth looking into if you just want to bring in a little money and feel less bored. The company I work for is called Leapforce at Home (link below) and I think there are others that do pretty much the same thing (Butler Hill, Lionbridge). But remember how much a stay-at-home parent can save the family! It's not just daycare--there's a work wardrobe, for one thing, and all those foods that you don't have time to cook from scratch when you're working, etc.

It's not an easy call--good luck with it!
https://www.leapforceathome.com/qrp/public/jobs/list?uref=195bda36a5c5a2df16251c3f2b7985b3

Jules13

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2014, 09:21:39 AM »
I am a SAHM and though it drives me insane some days, I wouldn't give it up.  I have had both of my kids in what, where I live, is called "parents day out", usually run by churches, though not religious based or preachy (well, mine isn't) and is 2 days a week from 9-2.  My son goes Tues/Thurs, but others go Mon/Wed.  You might check into that in order to allow you 1) a break and 2) opportunity to work from home or look into those opportunities.

Also, I found that once my oldest started school....that was when I really felt glad to be a stay-at-home-parent.  The days and weeks got faster as the hamster wheel of life speeds up.  Every day you are dealing with the get to school/pick up from school.  Homework.  Projects due.  Activities/events at school.  Volunteer opportunities/needs at school. 

School ends at 3pm, the kid wants downtime to play because they've been told to sit and be still and be quiet all day long.  Then, you have to get homework done and then there's dinner and oh yeah, it's bath night and then they want a story or a game with Dad and wow, now it's bedtime because you have to get up super early for school tomorrow.  Hamster wheel.

Then, there are the sports your kid all of a sudden wants to be a part of because it's baseball season or soccer or basketball and his/her school friends are playing.  Oh, and they are talking about scouts at school and he/she wants to do that too.  What's that?  They are starting chess club?  And then birthday parties on the weekends because your kid now has 20-25 classmates and invitations abound. 

At don't forget the petrie dish that school is (or daycare as well) and how thankful I am that I don't have to call into work when my kids comes down with strep or stomach bug that is going around school. 

I'm not trying to sell being a stay-at-home-parent, it's not something everyone can or wants to do.  I'm just saying that the "waiting for your kid to start school" is not all it's cracked up to be and is usually a harder time that you imagine.  I had no idea and thought it would be easier.  I was wrong.  It's a harder/faster/more involved life than toddler/preschool years ever was, in my opinion.  In fact, I'm thinking about homeschooling simply so we can get some time back. 

Noodle

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 08:48:07 AM »
Among several parents I have met, there is a school of thought that the time when it is really valuable to have a parent at home (or at least flexible) is when kids are older because there are fewer societal support networks available. I know that when my sister's son turned eleven, they found that all of sudden there were many fewer after-school/out-of-school options available and what existed was much less carefully supervised than Sis would like. Since her son was not ready maturity-wise to supervise himself for hours a day, and has struggled with adolescence since, it has been a blessing to their family to have a self-employed parent who has more flexibility to be available for him. So working now to be flexible later is not the worst thing in the world. 
And not everyone is cut out to be home with tinies full-time. I much prefer kids who are older and more interactive, myself.

MountainFlower

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2014, 10:28:41 AM »
My kids have been in daycare 4 days a week since they were small.  I believe that what others have written is true:  the need for parents at home doesn't always diminish when school starts and may be greater once they are pre-teens.  I finding that I have more motivation to get my financial house in order to be able to go part time when my kids hit middle school.  It's a powerful motivator for me. 

To the OP, I don't have an answer.  I think it's fantastic that you are home with your child.  Perhaps there is a way to gently get back into the workforce a little at a time.  You might or might not use your MBA, but it never hurts to let people know you're looking for an opportunity to use your skills part time. 

Everything in Moderation

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2014, 10:55:46 AM »
Do what is best for you and your family, but I will add that the longer you are out of the workforce, the harder it is getting back in.  My 3 siblings and I went to daycare full time at 6 weeks old.  I have the best memories of day care. Also, I have so much respect for my mom for managing the home AND a full time career.  Watching her really impacted me and opened doors to what I though I could accomplish in life.   

nottoolatetostart

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2014, 12:17:01 PM »
I can only weigh in on the side of having a 18 mo old and a baby on the way and as a current working parent. I struggle with whether to be a SAHM as we could definitely afford it (we have enough assets to cover a safe withdrawal rate of 4% for our basic living expenses).    I make 6 figures (thanks to my MBA!) and if I left, I would be done and it would be almost impossible to get back in at this salary.  Somedays I don't think I could be a SAHM and others I do. It's a constant battle in my head. My 18 mo old daughter loves her daycare and I feel that we get a lot of quality time together, so I am just maintaining my career right now to ride it out. 

What keeps me working right now is to fund an even more secure lifestyle for us and knowing that I'll be completely theirs when they get older and need Mom around more. I agree with others that kids need parents even more as they get older, not less, so I want to be there to get them from school, help them with homework, extracurricular activities, and make sure they stay out of trouble.

jrhampt

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2014, 01:00:04 PM »
I have a work-at-home job that I can do when the kids are napping/having "quiet time" without paying for child care. It certainly won't use your MBA, but this kind of thing might be worth looking into if you just want to bring in a little money and feel less bored. The company I work for is called Leapforce at Home (link below) and I think there are others that do pretty much the same thing (Butler Hill, Lionbridge).

https://www.leapforceathome.com/qrp/public/jobs/list?uref=195bda36a5c5a2df16251c3f2b7985b3

This is an interesting idea...how many hours a month do you typically work, and about how much can you average a month through this job, if you don't mind sharing?

mrgrump

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2014, 01:32:49 AM »
I appreciate all the feedback. I think what I am struggling with is not having a role model as stupid as that sounds or someone to relate too. SAHMs have each other or a mom/grandmother they can relate too. SAHDs seem to be much fewer and far between and frankly there aren't many older than say 35 because life didn't work like that back in the day. So there isn't really anyone to look at and say "life turned out (great/crappy/failed/amazing) for them." Couple that with the stereotypes of men being terrible or not as knowledgeable about babies (true early on for me, and most) and all the backhanded comments that follow..."you make your wife work" "do you do the vacuuming too" "have your wife pack the diaper bag, you forgot xyz last time"

I apologize for the generalities but SAHMs are not too receptive to SAHDs because were men and like sports not talking about lattes and how hard it is to lose baby weight. Also, every time you approach one it's like your a criminal for being at the park with your kid on a Tuesday morning.

I guess it's like being mustachian at first...everyone thinks you've gone bat shit crazy. Add in moving to a foreign country and being a stay at home dad and people are ready to have us committed.

Nottolate, I like your strategy but when is enough enough and how do you decide? Is it an age, a dollar amount?

Mountain flower, noodle, Jules --- all great advice. But I sure wish someone had an answer!!!!


greaper007

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2014, 04:21:24 AM »
Ok, I didn't read the whole thread because I got excited to comment, so I apologize in advance if you've already gone over this stuff.

I'll have hit my 5 year anniversary for being a stay at home dad in May.   I found that the first few years were brutal.    So much of our worth as men is wrapped up in how much we make or being a good provider, but that's ridiculous.   I think I have a much more positive impact in my house than out of it.   I'm a great cook, a reasonably good parent and I've saved us from ever hiring someone to fix anything (I'm handy enough to watch youtube videos 10 times before I embark on a project).   I bet you're the same way.

Unless you're the kind of guy that's always had a lot of female friends, just give up on the moms groups.   It's good for socialization for your kid(s) but not for you.   I've done it, but I couldn't take shrill suburban moms.   My wife doesn't treat me like a hapless sitcom type dad so I'm not going to take it from you guys...I digress.   If you look really hard you'll be able to find some stay at home dads, or even part time SAHDS.   Just look around when you go to story time at the library, or do drop offs at pre-school, we're out there but we're a solitary bunch.

Before you consider going back to work, figure out what you bring to the family by being home.   It's more than a straight 30k number.   Like you said $1000 pre-school, commuting costs, a wardrobe that doesn't consist of jeans and a 2000 Phish world tour shirt.    Then there's the less tangibles.   Spending more on food because you guys can't cook everyday, paying someone to fix your stuff etc.

Then there's the intangibles.   When you stay home, you'll never have to be that old guy saying "I didn't spend a lot of time with my family, but I gave them a comfortable lifestyle."   If you're on this site you don't care about material possessions as much.  We don't get the time we spend with our kids back, and you'll never regret the time you've spent with them.

   

Gray Matter

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2014, 04:48:52 AM »
Also, I found that once my oldest started school....that was when I really felt glad to be a stay-at-home-parent.  The days and weeks got faster as the hamster wheel of life speeds up.  Every day you are dealing with the get to school/pick up from school.  Homework.  Projects due.  Activities/events at school.  Volunteer opportunities/needs at school. 

School ends at 3pm, the kid wants downtime to play because they've been told to sit and be still and be quiet all day long.  Then, you have to get homework done and then there's dinner and oh yeah, it's bath night and then they want a story or a game with Dad and wow, now it's bedtime because you have to get up super early for school tomorrow.  Hamster wheel.

I agree with Jules13--it seems like my kids need me more now (at 8, 9 and 12) than they did when they were little, and I'm only now finding myself wanting to work less or not at all.  It just feels harder to be a full-time working parent now with all that's going on.  A little bit of quality time with babies goes a long way (my experience, I know others feel differently).

This is a really difficult decision if you don't have a really strong feeling either way.  For me, I had no desire to be a SAHP when the kids were young, so it wasn't a hard decision.  It's just not a decision you can make based on money, I don't think, unless your hair is on fire and you can't feed your family--then it's clear, you go to work.  But is an extra 30K a year worth the trade-off of a home that runs more smoothly and time with your child?  Only you can say that, but I'd probably say no.

But if you add other things into the equation--would you find work stimulating and rewarding?  Are you bored and restless at home?  Do you need the structure and accountability of an outside job to be productive?  How stable is your spouse's job/industry?  Would you feel more secure with two earners in case one of you lost a job?  Depending on how you answer these questions, it might start to tilt towards going back to work.

quilter

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2014, 04:51:26 AM »
I appreciate all the feedback. I think what I am struggling with is not having a role model as stupid as that sounds or someone to relate too. SAHMs have each other or a mom/grandmother they can relate too. SAHDs seem to be much fewer and far between and frankly there aren't many older than say 35 because life didn't work like that back in the day. So there isn't really anyone to look at and say "life turned out (great/crappy/failed/amazing) for them."

But think of all the role models out there of dad as just the breadwinner, or just the disciplinarian, for example. What a wonderful thing you can be more. I find modern dads, working or not to be such a valuable part of their kids life today, from the delivery room to the classroom, to the home, just wonderful.

If it makes you feel any better, I could not relate to other moms very well.  My hobbies are art, history (reading and exploring historic places) and sports. Never had a manicure, not concerned with fashion etc. I also had no desire to gossip or talk about my husbands faults. It was hard, but I found my tribe.

Maybe you could find a softball team, or get into a running or biking group to help with some of the social stuff. 

The career wise stuff is harder. I am out of touch on how people today are treated after an absence from the workforce. I had no problem going back to be a nurse after an absence but different field, different time and different social attitudes in your case.

Gray Matter

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2014, 05:02:55 AM »
If it makes you feel any better, I could not relate to other moms very well.  My hobbies are art, history (reading and exploring historic places) and sports. Never had a manicure, not concerned with fashion etc. I also had no desire to gossip or talk about my husbands faults. It was hard, but I found my tribe.

When I was home on maternity leave or adoption leave, I felt the same way.  I couldn't identify with many of the moms--some of them were very cliquey and queens of turning molehills into mountains and they just cared about stuff I didn't and vice versa.  But I started talking to a few moms who hung out on the fringes, and when I got to know them better, I discovered they felt the same way.  It was blessed relief to find someone who wanted to talk about something other than the drama going on in the PTA. 

So I wouldn't give up on all the moms--there are plenty of women who care about art (me!), history (me!), and sports (not me!).  But I would steer clear of groups for the most part, unless they're based on something you're really interested in.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2014, 05:22:43 AM »

I am a SAHD in ER with 4 kids though there all in school now. My wife runs our biz at the office 25-30 hrs a week soley by choice and at Max for 3 more years. Helps further our FI and also Health Insurance.  We have been doing it for 2 years now and everytime I have the thought of starting another business or maybe working for someone else for extra cash we simply agree no. The time i get to spend with the kids is priceless. When there not in summer I give them 2 hours a day of reading and homework and then we all go to the park and work on soccer drills. We have a inground pool so there in that.  This summer I am installing 4 raised gardens they will help me with. I find there is so much outside of the classroom they can learn from me more on the street smart side that I feel kids need today.  For 30k I wouldnt think twice about it BUT alot has to do with your financial situation which unless I missed it we dont know. If your wife is making good money and your saving and leaving a reasonable MMM lifestyle No-way would I do it.  Now if we closed our business and didnt feel comfortable with our FI position then roles would flip as I think you could consider too.  Like others mentioned there are ways to pick up some money working out of home and  I am very antsy like you. My problem is I know I could go back in the office and make that in a half a day BUT no-way! So i found alot of my job now to find ways to save money and keep things in good order. There are always projects. 

Good Luck to you!!

GregO

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2014, 10:23:58 AM »
Why can't you have the best of both worlds?  You have an MBA, start a business.  I'm not suggesting you go crazy with some big endeavor, but just start something very small that you can work on at your pace.  Find a need, maybe among the parents of small children around you.  I'm sure if you start paying attention and think about it, you'll find a small business venture that can meet a need.

But here's the best part, that gets rid of almost all the negatives that have been discussed.  Now whenever someone asks why you're at the park on a Tuesday morning, you can just say that you run your own business.  They will respect that and ask you about it (which equals more exposure for your business).  Also, you've now closed the employment gap that everyone says you should be worried about if you go back to work.  If you ever end up in an interview, now you can proudly say that you started your own business during that time.  And lastly, it would prevent you from being bored/antsy.  And as an added bonus, you may even make some or all of that 30k you feel like you're missing out on!

This is exactly what my wife has done.  She's a SAHM, but started a jewelry business.  She makes jewelry whenever she has time and never has any trouble selling it.  She loves being able to do something productive and still be able to be home with our daughter.  And she's already been approached by some big-name people about her jewelry.  If things work out, that business could be our FI at the end of the day.  We aren't counting on anything like that, but the potential is always there for something like that.  But she's just doing it because she enjoys making an artistic product and it gives her something very tangible to work on when she has time.

So start thinking like your MBA taught you to think and look for those needs that a small business could meet!  Who knows, it may turn into your FI or at least be a side income that helps your family reach FI sooner!

Cassie

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2014, 11:15:15 AM »
I raised 3 boys & stayed home until the youngest went to school. Then I went to college & then F.T. work. I don't think kids need you more as they get older-they are in school all day which leaves plenty of free time to do other things.

MayDay

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Re: Should I go back to work?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2014, 12:23:20 PM »
As a SAHM I run into some stay at home dads, but not many, sadly.  The two I know best, one a super social person who could make friends anywhere.  The other had a harder time, and ended up with a close knit group of mom friends who he had specific things in common with.  Acid for both, it took some time. 

I think being home with a baby is hard, and if you want to work just to escape that, don't feel bad!  If you want to work for more money, do it.  If there are specific things that make being at home hard (lack of friends to hang out with during the day, ie no village) then maybe think about how you can solve that problem and give it a try before you give it up (if you do indeed want to remain home).