Author Topic: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?  (Read 1577 times)

Mellabella

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Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« on: March 30, 2019, 07:19:44 PM »
Hi, so I'm not at this stage yet but I have been thinking when I'm ready to have kids I don't really want to be working full time and sending my kids to daycare but I know this will slow down my savings considerably. When they are school age sure because school but it is such a precious age that goes so fast and I don't want work to be my first priority like it is now (I am a social worker which is pretty draining). I could send them to my mum's (she lives close by and has said this is ok) 2-3 days a week and work part time until they go to school at least. What do you think? What have you done?

11ducks

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2019, 08:59:07 PM »

Through necessity I studied full-time and worked part time when DS was young- if i had the option i would have rather done part-time. Kids are so full-on in those years 1-5, and it goes so quickly. You are exhausted constantly. I would certainly keep my foot in the door of my career, but would do part time if it is affordable.

beer-man

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2019, 09:17:56 PM »
If you can go part-time I recommend it although your situation is definitely different than ours.
 My wife tried to go part-time and her company would not let her. She stuck it out for another year and quit to stay home. Now 10yrs and 3 kids later she is trying to get back into her field and is having a hard time as the technology has changed immensely and employers in her field don’t like seeing a resume gap. Despite all that she has enjoyed  staying home and we wouldn’t change our situation.


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bogart

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2019, 09:38:21 PM »
My husband and I both worked full time, and made use of both paid childcare and help from a grandmother.  If I had this to do over again, I'd do the same thing in a minute.  Our son is now fast approaching teenage years, and I so much more enjoy doing things with him, and there are so many more things we can do together, than when he was small.  I loved the early years too, but I'm way better with this age than I am with little kids.  When he was little, his life revolved around us (our use of paid childcare notwithstanding), but now of course he is starting to explore more independently and way more readily influenced by peers, and I really value the time we have together as a way of keeping a hand in his activities and perspectives.

Of course, YMMV.  Many parents do seem to put a lot of value on those very early years, so focusing on them may be the best choice for you.

seemsright

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2019, 10:34:46 PM »
For my family and my kid, I FIRED when DD was born. We ran the numbers and it was going to cost us $3600 a year for me to continue with my job. So I FIRED.

My kid at almost 9 needs a ton of sleep so if she had to go to daycare she would have been a mess. She just has gotten to the point where she can handle sleeping 'just' 11 hours a night.

With me home I was able to work with her she learned at such a high rate of speed that when she entered Kinder we started the process of fighting the school district of grade skipping her...they did. She will graduate HS at 16.  But I would have not been able to make that work if I was working.

DH has had many promotions due to the fact that he did not have to take time off work to take care of a sick kid, or leave early to go get the kid. Or there is no school who is taking off.

Our life is just more enjoyable. We can do things as a family on the weekends.

Every family is different and staying at home is not the easiest thing ever.

Freedomin5

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2019, 01:47:42 AM »
For the first three years, DH and I both worked part time and took turns with childcare (no grandparents nearby who could help care for kiddo). Once DD was old enough for preschool, we enrolled her school for the socialization and school readiness aspects, and DH went back to full time. I stayed part time so I can drop her off at school and pick her up after school.

obstinate

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2019, 07:12:44 AM »
Hi, so I'm not at this stage yet but I have been thinking when I'm ready to have kids I don't really want to be working full time and sending my kids to daycare but I know this will slow down my savings considerably. When they are school age sure because school but it is such a precious age that goes so fast and I don't want work to be my first priority like it is now (I am a social worker which is pretty draining). I could send them to my mum's (she lives close by and has said this is ok) 2-3 days a week and work part time until they go to school at least. What do you think? What have you done?
If it is a strong desire, I'd try to find some way to make part-time work. You can't get back those early years. On the other hand, neither me nor my wife are down for spending all day with a 0-3 year old. It is exhausting, and not very rewarding most of the time, at least for us. We like our kids in small doses. So DW went back to work full time after maternity leave was done, with no regrets.

Cassie

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2019, 01:46:39 PM »
I would definitely work part time. I was a social worker and itís exhausting. The early years are precious and go fast.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2019, 05:20:59 PM »
Honestly, I feel like I'm more likely to go part time when they reach school age. Kids have so much going on, so much is expected of parents, and school schedules are not conducive to full time work.

Under 5 is when it's easy to work.  Also, I am not cut out to be a SAHM. I always thought bi would be, but work is important to my sanity. Literally.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2019, 06:06:19 PM »
Hi, so I'm not at this stage yet but I have been thinking when I'm ready to have kids I don't really want to be working full time and sending my kids to daycare but -
You don't have to. You could work full-time and your husband could be a stay-at-home father.

I work 20hr pw in a home business, and have about another 40hr pw of child and home stuff. My wife's a professional, she does 40hr pw in the office and another 20hr pw of child and home stuff. Her earning potential is higher than mine, but the real reason is that I'm a domestic person and she's not.

Unfortunately our society assumes it must be the woman. Women have to have the babies, but once the baby comes out a man can do everything except breastfeed, and with expressing he can do a lot of that work, too. Not all women are willing or able to breastfeed, but even if they are, that's still just 6 months of multiple feeds a day, after that the baby gets onto solids and the breastfeeds decline, so with expressing the woman can do whatever paid work hours she likes, and the man can take care of everything else at home. Too often the fact of the birth and the 6 months or so afterwards with the woman at home, sheer inertia keeps the family going that way and 5 years later she's still there doing the dishes.

It need not be so.

Talking to and watching other families, I think it works best for most to have 1.0-1.5 full-time equivalent paid jobs between them. This could be one maniac doing 60hr pw or 2 people doing 30hr pw or 40 and 20, for the 1.5x ones, and of course many combinations making up 40-59hr pw, too.

People tend to look just at the income, but as you note, childcare does cost money, so the household as a whole isn't necessarily better off financially. And someone at home has other benefits. If you're both doing 40hr pw jobs then meals will be rushed, more packaged stuff and junk. The house will be messier, and everyone will be more stressed as a result. There are many nonfinancial benefits to having someone at home most of the time. But again: this doesn't have to be the woman.

If you don't talk about it with your husband, then sheer inertia will mean it'll be you at home. But on talking with him and having a back-and-forth considering money and stress and what sort of family home you want to have, it may turn out to be him. Or perhaps you'll both do 20-30hr pw paid work and split the household stuff equally. There are zillions of ways to do it. Think about it and discuss it with the guy.

I actually think it's better to have the man at home than the woman.

Cassie

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2019, 08:05:05 PM »
Totally agree it can be the man. Whoever is more nurturing.  Life is more relaxed with someone home. But some people are great parents but staying home wouldnít fit with their personality. I think if people do what makes them happy the kids will thrive no matter what they choose. Happy parents equal happy kids.

ysette9

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2019, 10:59:42 PM »
I agree with I am a red panda that if you are going to work full time with kids, the daycare years are probably the best. I’m dreading when our oldest starts kindergarten and starting to seriously contemplate pulling the sabbatical/part-time/FIRE trigger at that point. We are holding things together now with two full-time careers, two kids, and a nanny. Adding school pickup and drop off and taking different kids to different places each day is enough to make my heart rate go up. My kids enjoy getting out and having interactions; I actually feel they were better in daycare than at home with a nanny, but that is what we have working for us at the moment.

ysette9

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2019, 11:05:40 PM »
On thé subject of fathers vs mothers and sharing childcare responsibilities .....
In my experience I took maternity leave where I was almost solely responsible for the baby, and when I went back to work my husband took off his paternity leave. That meant we effectively switched roles and he became the primary parent. I think that was really important for establishing early on that we were (mostly) interchangeable, we were both competent parents, and we could both be confident in our abilities. I feel this is a really important precedent to set early on.

I have spoken to many stay-at-home or primary parents (mostly women) who ended up shouldering most of the childcare burden themselves in large part to precedents set early on. If you can’t have each of you take leave then I think it is important for each parent to take time for himself/herself and leave the house for several hours at a time, leaving the other in charge. And no cheating by having the grandparents come to “help” during that time! It is about each parent building skills and confidence independently. My poor neighbor never did that and her kid was 3 and she still hadn’t had a single night away from her kid, still didn’t feel comfortable leaving her kid with her husband to go off with friends for an afternoon. That is just ridiculous.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2019, 12:55:31 AM »
My poor neighbor never did that and her kid was 3 and she still hadnít had a single night away from her kid, still didnít feel comfortable leaving her kid with her husband to go off with friends for an afternoon. That is just ridiculous.
That is indeed ridiculous. You shouldn't marry someone you think is so irresponsible they can't be trusted with their own children. Or the flipside... you shouldn't marry someone if you won't ever let go long enough to see if they can be trusted. It's both of these things, being trustworthy and being trusting.

My wife has holidays away each year overseas, and weekends here and there. I'm not interested in travel, but later this year she's going overseas and taking the kids... I'll be two weeks at home on my own... the house will be quiet. Dear God, I am looking forward to that.

She also said, "I love my children, but I don't love motherhood." By which she meant the idea of being defined entirely by the fact you've had children. I think this is important for parents - you're not just a parent, you're still a man or woman, still an accountant or Presbyterian or person who does macrame or friend of Kim and Jen or whatever. Once the children come along, you have to make a conscious effort, working with your spouse, to remain you.

This also, by the by, helps guard against becoming a helicopter parent.

ysette9

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2019, 01:01:45 AM »
My poor neighbor never did that and her kid was 3 and she still hadn’t had a single night away from her kid, still didn’t feel comfortable leaving her kid with her husband to go off with friends for an afternoon. That is just ridiculous.
That is indeed ridiculous. You shouldn't marry someone you think is so irresponsible they can't be trusted with their own children. Or the flipside... you shouldn't marry someone if you won't ever let go long enough to see if they can be trusted. It's both of these things, being trustworthy and being trusting.

My wife has holidays away each year overseas, and weekends here and there. I'm not interested in travel, but later this year she's going overseas and taking the kids... I'll be two weeks at home on my own... the house will be quiet. Dear God, I am looking forward to that.

She also said, "I love my children, but I don't love motherhood." By which she meant the idea of being defined entirely by the fact you've had children. I think this is important for parents - you're not just a parent, you're still a man or woman, still an accountant or Presbyterian or person who does macrame or friend of Kim and Jen or whatever. Once the children come along, you have to make a conscious effort, working with your spouse, to remain you.

This also, by the by, helps guard against becoming a helicopter parent.
I think this is a great point and I like how your wife puts it. I love my kids and am grateful that I have them, but I would be a very unhappy person if my only identity was “mother”.

danakado

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2019, 09:19:36 AM »
I worked part time (really reduced hours as it was 32 hours).  One thing I struggled with was that I was between both worlds, I didn't have enough time to hang with SAH parents and was also more disconnected at work.  But... having now done this for 13 years, I think PT is a great way to go all things considered.  I could come back to FT easily but without a doubt coming back after a few years off would have resulted in a less desirable position/pay. 
I'd also say that from my experience, there will always be a bit of the grass seeming greener on the other side during these years.  Just came with the territory for me at least.  Now that my kids are older I'm really glad I stayed in the workforce. 

Laura33

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2019, 11:21:47 AM »
Plan so that you are financially in a place where you can afford to do what you and your DH both want.  See what you feel like when you get there.  And then be flexible and willing to change things up if you find that that is not working for some reason.  For example:

-- Maybe grandma gets older or more infirm or has issues that prevent her from watching the child as much as she thinks she wants to
-- Maybe you decide you want to be with your child all the time
-- Maybe you decide that you're not cut out to be home with your child that much
-- Maybe the part-time job gets too difficult, because you are carrying 100% of the home burden and the daycare-falls-through burden and the funky-school-schedule burden
-- Maybe the market changes or you buy a bigger or smaller house and you find that you need more or less income than you thought
-- Maybe your kid has developmental delays and requires intervention and special schools; or maybe your kid is such an extrovert that s/he needs to run around with a bunch of kids all day

If you do find that you guys want to have a SAHP or work part-time or whatever, don't worry about lengthening the time to FIRE (as long as both of you are 100% behind the plan, because of course one person's early FIRE means the other's delayed FIRE).  The point of living frugally and saving a metric shit-ton of money isn't to hit some arbitrary number by some arbitrary date; it's to have the financial freedom to live the life you want.  And if working less for one or both of you is the life you want, and you are saving a sufficient amount of money now to be able to do that when the kid comes, then you are on track.

mm1970

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2019, 12:54:23 PM »
I worked PT for 1.5 years with kid #1 (from age 18 months to age 3, I had 3 months mat leave before that).  PT was 30 hrs/week.
I worked PT for 1 year with kid #2 (2.5 mos mat leave, then to 32 hr/week until he was 1).

It was glorious. 

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2019, 05:08:27 PM »
I worked part-time with daycare when my kids were very small. It... was almost good. Their father was an asshole about it. (We are no longer together.) I enjoyed having more time to take care of the house and be with them.

They are school-age now but I agree that NOW is when having someone work part-time is a LIFESAVER. My work schedule is inflexible and involves evenings and weekends. My new husband reduced his work hours to 33 a week and his employer is flexible. So he usually gets off at 3 to pick them up from school. But he can also do things like go to work on Sunday so he can take off a teacher work day. It's brilliant. He even enjoys it. I never, ever imagined myself as the breadwinning spouse but we all seem to like this arrangement pretty well.

He would be interested in being a SAHD... but we live in Denver.

ysette9

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2019, 07:14:41 PM »
I worked part-time with daycare when my kids were very small. It... was almost good. Their father was an asshole about it. (We are no longer together.) I enjoyed having more time to take care of the house and be with them.

They are school-age now but I agree that NOW is when having someone work part-time is a LIFESAVER. My work schedule is inflexible and involves evenings and weekends. My new husband reduced his work hours to 33 a week and his employer is flexible. So he usually gets off at 3 to pick them up from school. But he can also do things like go to work on Sunday so he can take off a teacher work day. It's brilliant. He even enjoys it. I never, ever imagined myself as the breadwinning spouse but we all seem to like this arrangement pretty well.

He would be interested in being a SAHD... but we live in Denver.
My friend lives in the greater Denver metro area and her husband stays home with their three kids. I think it just shows that he is that much more of a man to do that and go against a social trend in the area. It takes real confidence to do what you want regardless of what other people think. I happen to find that sexy. :)

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2019, 09:57:27 PM »
Oh, the Denver comment was about social stuff? I'd assumed it was expense. You know, like, "he could work part-time but we can't afford it."

Well, to hell with what anyone else thinks. When you're a stay at home parent you don't get out enough to see what people think of you anyway.

Historically, most people worked from home as farmers, artisans, or merchants. Both parents were around both children all day, and the children helped do the work of the household. "Daddy goes out to work 9-5 while Mum bakes cookies" is an historical aberration that existed for about 20 years of human history. It was always a bizarre fantasy which hardly anyone followed, which is why books, magazines and movies were always insisting it had to be so - nobody needs to tell you to do what you're already doing (well, except a second lieutenant), if they're going on about it that means everyone is doing something else. Even in the 1950s, about a quarter of women with dependent children did paid work outside the home.

Take a note from the Amish or flamboyant transvestites. Do what suits you and your family. To hell with everyone else.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2019, 10:05:32 PM »
@Kyle Schuant, it was definitely a money comment! He doesn't care what people think and I don't care much, either. My BIL is a SAHD... but my sister is a newly minted nurse practitioner who's about to make more money than the two of us put together! @ysette9 's friend is probably not a public librarian like me :-). Or maybe she was smart enough to buy her house five or ten years ago, when they weren't north of $400K.

We could probably make it work for one of us to not work if the SAHP had a side hustle, even if it was just babysitting.

ysette9

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Re: Work fulltime with kids under 5 or go part time?
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2019, 11:14:25 PM »
Aaaah, sorry for thé misunderstanding. Clearly my bias coming from the bay area is showing through. I know the Denver housing prices have gone up a lot in that recent years but they still feel affordable from where I am standing. I can certainly see that the view looks different from the perspective of a librarian than my engineering manager friend.