Author Topic: Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance  (Read 8587 times)

S.S.

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Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance
« on: June 01, 2014, 11:00:54 AM »
Hi, everyone, I would love some advice from anyone who has themselves experienced similar circumstances.  I have been a SAHM mom since my son was born but started taking accounting classes at the local community college this past semester, and last week I was offered a part-time job as an accounting assistant. Needless to say, I am thrilled because entry-level positions can be hard to come by, but taking this job would make my life exponentially more complicated (at least at first).


1. I need to find quality, AFFORDABLE child care in a very short amount of time.

2. Disrupting my poor son's schedule completely and tossing him in a stranger environment with strangers.

3. I might need a car, as my husband and I are sharing at the moment, and pick-ups and drop-offs could get complicated and exhausting.

4. The pay for this position isn't great to start.  Half my pay (if not more) will be going to child care expenses.

5. The emotional hell I will initially endure being away from my baby and entrusting his well-being to a stranger.


On the flip side of this, I know I never wanted the SAH life for myself forever.  Although it has been wonderful being there for my son at all times in the early months and being available to BF and all that, he is 14 months now, and I am admittedly getting a little restless. 

Although the pay isn't great right now, I will be taking on a lot of responsibilities right away and training for better-paying jobs in the future.  I will be stocking up on "human" capital, if you will. 

What do you guys think?  Is it foolish to take the job?  Should I wait until my son is of school age, so at least I am not paying for (much) child-care?  The opportunities haven't exactly been pouring in.  I feel like if I wait too long to get my career started, it will be too late.

Being 23, I don't have much insight.  Hope those of you who are a little older and wiser can help provide some.



Update: With a lot of help from you guys, I decided to take the job. Now my question is this:
Quote
Is anyone having luck with "having it all", i.e. your life is in order and you feel like you get enough time with your family while pursuing a fulfilling career?  I hope to achieve this balance if it can be done.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 02:04:06 PM by S.S. »

former player

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2014, 12:20:58 PM »
1.  If you haven't already been scoping out the possibilities for quality affordable child care, you may find that it is just not available in your location for the hours you will want.  Ask anyone you know in the locality for recommendations.

2.  At some point in his young life your son will have to adapt to new routines, new situations and new people - assuming he is going to go to school at some point.  He's 14 months now and has had your constant companionship so far: a widening of his horizons at this point won't do him any harm.

3.  Can you negotiate your working hours to put the least possible strain on the family timetable and travel needs?  Location may well turn out to be a very significant factor in choosing child care: near your home, near your work, near your husband's work or near your community college are the sensible options.  Also, if you can set up some "spare" childcare for emergencies (sick child, sick carer, sick you or BF) that would be very useful - think parents and other family if they are nearby and have occasional spare time, think occasional babysitters, etc.  Often working parents have arrangements that are fine (if a bit of a knife-edge) when everything is OK, but a small emergency creates big knock-on effects when either work or study has to be dropped at the last minute because there are no back-up arrangements.

4.  If you are only paying half your after-tax income in child care, you will have a better deal than is often the case for a person with child-care responsibilities (welcome to the wonderful world of the working parent).

5. At some point you are going to have to start letting your son go a little: the best reason for having children is to see them grow up and leave you.  Why not start with a few hours now?

Starting paid work after having a child is a big thing.   It is scary to start moving out of the "mummy bubble" you are in at the moment.    But in your case, getting an early entry into your chosen profession sounds like an excellent opportunity.  You might find that you have to pass it up because you just can't get appropriate childcare, but it would be a shame for you to pass it up for more nebulous reasons.

Also, I note you mention BF, which I take to mean boyfriend, which presumably means not married.  That means you don't have much legal protection or rights if the relationship fails.  I hope it doesn't, but I also hope that if it does you are in a good place to provide for yourself and your child.  Which means getting yourself into the workplace as soon as you can.  Sorry if that is a little more blunt than you would like to hear.

Argyle

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2014, 12:59:39 PM »
My son loved daycare.  Loved it.  He asked to go on the days he wasn't scheduled to go.  He loved how many toys they had -- dozens and dozens of cool toys!  He loved hanging out with other kids.  He met his first best friend there, who is still his best friend many years later.  He loved all the group games.  He started out shy and became very much at ease with people.  It was a great experience for us.

S.S.

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2014, 01:50:55 PM »
Quote
Also, I note you mention BF, which I take to mean boyfriend, which presumably means not married.

Sorry, I thought it was clear. BF stands for "breastfeeding" (my son is fully weaned now).  My husband and I have been together 4 years.  Thank you for taking the time to respond, former player.  I appreciate your detailed input.  Perhaps I am in danger of falling into the "overbearing mother" trap.  I certainly don't want that for either of us.

S.S.

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2014, 01:52:48 PM »
@Argyle- I'm so happy to read a positive daycare story.  Hope to see more!

former player

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2014, 01:57:06 PM »
Quote
Also, I note you mention BF, which I take to mean boyfriend, which presumably means not married.

Sorry, I thought it was clear. BF stands for "breastfeeding" (my son is fully weaned now).  My husband and I have been together 4 years.  Thank you for taking the time to respond, former player.  I appreciate your detailed input.  Perhaps I am in danger of falling into the "overbearing mother" trap.  I certainly don't want that for either of us.
Thanks for clarifying, and apologies for the misunderstanding.

Sunflower

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2014, 02:00:46 PM »
Hey S.S..

I would definitely consider taking the job! It's not accurate to just compare the cost of daycare vs. current salary. Childcare costs aren't around forever whereas your earning potential will continue to go up with more experience in your field. Trying to start from scratch in 3-4 years will mean you're making entry level wages then (while trying to explain and even longer gap between the last time you worked/last time in school). That's 3-4 years of NOT having 50% of your paycheck going towards savings! Even if most of your pay is going towards childcare/transportation/etc., it gives you the opportunity to do something you want (re-join the workforce) and can translate into much higher future earnings.




S.S.

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2014, 02:18:23 PM »
Dear Chemistay,

Thank you! This is my reasoning exactly, but I needed other like-minded frugal people to weigh in.  From a purely "bottom-line" standpoint, the job isn't worth it.  The work clothes, extra gas, child care, etc., will eat almost everything I bring in.  Not to mention the intangible costs, such as the added complexity to my current lifestyle and being away from my kid.  But I suppose it's about how much this opportunity will benefit me in the long run.

Bearded Man

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2014, 02:35:10 PM »
I would take the job. You might end up liking it and growing your career in it, to the point where you go to grad school and sit for the CPA exams (in my state it reuquires credits equivalent to a graduate and undergraduate program combined to sit for the CPA exam.

S.S.

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2014, 02:41:02 PM »
Bearded Man: This is the eventual goal.  I already have my bachelor's degree, but I need more accounting units.  Obviously having a kid young has derailed me a bit, but hopefully not too much.  I expect to be qualified to take the CPA exam in California by next year.

Weyfarere

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2014, 02:50:19 PM »
1. When did you expect/hope to stop the SAH lifestyle? About now, or much later? If you'd planned to wait till much later, will you regret changing your plans?

2. How much time will you have left after work, school, driving to daycare, etc.? Is the remaining time enough for hanging out with your family, resting, and whatever else you need to do at home?

Gray Matter

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2014, 04:01:20 PM »
I would take the job for a few reasons:  any money you save now will have longer to compound and therefore is more valuable than money you might put away later; it's hard to re-enter the job market after a protracted (5+ year) absence; saving early and often will give you more freedom later; a job offer now beats hoping for one later; my kids need me more around middle school than in the early years, so if working/saving now would allow you to take time off/retire then, it might be a good deal.

2. Disrupting my poor son's schedule completely and tossing him in a stranger environment with strangers.

...

5. The emotional hell I will initially endure being away from my baby and entrusting his well-being to a stranger.

That said, if these two quotes above are truly how you feel about putting your son in daycare, I think you're going to struggle with it.  I wouldn't do it unless I could come around to thinking my son might actually benefits in some ways, that he will have a larger circle of support, new and wonderful relationships, and that you might find work rewarding and the time away from your son fulfilling in completely different ways than parenting.  I'm not saying your thoughts above are wrong, just incompatible with being a happy working parent, in my opinion.

I'm not trying to minimize how hard it is to leave your boy the first day, but if it is truly (and remains) "emotional hell," then I wouldn't even consider it.

Noodle

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2014, 07:08:15 PM »
Assuming that you can find daycare you feel comfortable with, why not give it a try? In the worst case scenario, it isn't right for your family and you go back to being a stay-at-home mom knowing that you at least experimented with the work world and you have some more resume experience if/when you go back to work down the road. They only other suggestion I would make is to try to tough it out to the 5-6 month mark. Every job I have had, there's the honeymoon period first, and then a totally frustrating and stressful period when you're still learning the ropes but no longer getting the "newbie pass" from colleagues. Then you really get into the groove.

S.S.

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2014, 10:38:13 PM »
Noodle: Leaning towards at least giving it a go, but finding child care has been a nightmare.  Much more simple to just pass it up.  I think you're right, though.  If I try this job out, it should be for a few months to figure out how I really feel.

Gray Matter: A lot of the negative energy regarding daycare comes from my husband.  I know he doesn't want me to work right now when the kiddo is so young.  That, coupled with some trust issues on both our parts when it comes to our son, has made us a little paranoid.  This should subside with time (hopefully).

Wayfarere:
1. I originally planned to enter the workforce when my soon was of school-age, but I now I believe that will be too long.  I feel somewhat unfulfilled as it is being a SAHM, and I fear the same opportunities will not be there for me once I decide I'm "ready".

2. I told my employer I will only work 25 hours max, and I will most likely stick to that until my son is in school.  I prefer less (like 16 - 20), but they initially wanted 30, so I guess this is a good compromise.

EngineerMum

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2014, 11:43:25 PM »
Do it!! Assuming you can find daycare, there are some really big positives.
1.- Taking home half your wage to start with is nice, and more than some mums start with. But this is a starting position, likely to improve over time, whereas daycare costs are likely to stay where they are more or less. As soon as you start being paid like a professional instead of a graduate, that is going to start making a big contribution to your stache. Don't forget that if your OHs pay is currently covering all your expenses, then ALL of your pay after tax and DC can be investments. That's awesome!

2. Honestly, I think there is a sweet spot with leaving your child with strangers, it's extremely difficult when they are tiny, but only for you as they are so adaptable that they might cry at first but are really going to be ok! If you wait too long then they have trouble coping without you. I had to go back to work when bub was 6 months, and I couldn't have done daycare that young, but leaving her with her grandparents was bearable. By 9 months daycare was ok. I see other mums who had their kids at the same sort of time who, now that their child is 2 has barely ever been away from mum unless it's with dad, and I don't think they could cope with starting daycare now (either mother or child), so they are setting up a really tough situation for preschool. You know that leaving your little one with strangers is inevitable eventually, at 1 they are still pretty adaptable but also less needy of 1 on 1 so to me, it's a great time to start daycare. Most centres near us with let you do a half day trial to see how the child goes, so that's something you might want to look into. I'm really pleased at how independent my daughter is, she is comfortable in so many different environments, and has lots of people she loves. But of course Mummy  is still special, don't be afraid that you will lose that because it won't happen.
3. You don't say if a second child is in the plan, but if it is, it's much better to get some work experience on your CV, rather than finishing school, then taking another year or two with second baby, and THEN trying to get a job. If you are already experienced, another career break is less of a big deal.
4. Not knocking long term SAHPs, because I know that's the right thing for some people, but if that isn't your personality, then it's best not to get locked into it by default of being out of the workforce too long. Frankly, being a full time SAHM for much longer than my 6 months would have severely impacted on my mental health - having a job / paying my way is too important for my self worth. Plus I felt like I was losing a lot of workplace skills - I felt so dumb when I went back to work. It took me probably a year - until my boss actually told me I was doing a good job - to feel like I was any good at my job again. It can only get harder the longer you leave it.

TL:DR It's good for you to get back into work, it won't harm baby, and the financial benefits are more than just your current paycheck.

Zette

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2014, 06:35:22 AM »
On the childcare, you may find that a part-time nanny costs the same or is cheaper than a daycare until the child is 3 years old.  A nanny also reduces the complexity of your life -- she comes to your home, so there is no dropoff/pickup to deal with, and you don't have to rush around in the morning to get your child ready to go because the nanny can handle breakfast and getting dressed if needed.  You can also add chores to do during naptime like folding family laundry and emptying the dishwasher to the job description when you are hiring, which takes a lot of stress out of your life.

I worked from home with a part-time nanny for two years starting when my son was 22 months.  It was a very nice setup and I don't regret that time at all.  I have since had twins and stayed home for almost 5 years.  I could've returned to my former employer part-time, but wasn't really excited about the work -- I had kids late (at 35), and so had 12 years experience and lots of savings under my belt.  I'm currently thinking about trying my hand at freelance software instead of working for someone else. 
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 06:43:53 AM by Zette »

historienne

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2014, 08:32:07 AM »
On the childcare, you may find that a part-time nanny costs the same or is cheaper than a daycare until the child is 3 years old.  A nanny also reduces the complexity of your life -- she comes to your home, so there is no dropoff/pickup to deal with, and you don't have to rush around in the morning to get your child ready to go because the nanny can handle breakfast and getting dressed if needed.  You can also add chores to do during naptime like folding family laundry and emptying the dishwasher to the job description when you are hiring, which takes a lot of stress out of your life.

Also, look into nanny shares.  When I lived in California, the limited number of infant daycare spots meant that most of my friends ended up putting their kids into nanny shares for the first two years or so.  Cheaper than a nanny would be otherwise, but with most of the same benefits, and usually easier to find on short notice than daycare.  Try your local parenting listserve/facebook group/whatever, or look on Craigslist, care.com, or sittercity.

Noodle

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2014, 09:53:01 AM »
A follow-up on the child-care issue...the posters are right about it being easier for children to learn the important life skill of being away from parents when they are younger. I had a friend who was a single mom who practiced attachment parenting, so there was a very tight bond. They had never spent a night apart. When he was 3, she needed emergency surgery. His trauma at being separated from her made the whole scary situation even worse, and she admitted later she wished she had worked on that area with him earlier on. FWIW...

totoro

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2014, 11:18:13 AM »
I would not do it myself.  Particularly if there is no net economic advantage except your future earning potential - maybe.

If you have the ability to stay home until your son is school-aged that is the option I would choose.  I regret that I had no choice but to work when my kids were pre-K.  My kids are pre-teen/teen now and it is good too but there are a lot of beautiful moments when they were toddlers/kids that you don't get a redo on.  Of course a lot of work and tears too - but you don't remember that so much later.

That said, it is a personal choice based on personal preferences when you do have the freedom to choose.  If you are feeling restless and under-stimulated at home and would rather work outside the home I would think  taking the position could be a great decision for you provided you find good care for your son.

S.S.

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2014, 10:10:08 PM »
Southern Saver: Thanks for the in-depth response. He's my first (and probably my last).  I found out I was pregnant literally weeks after graduating from college.  I stayed home because it was the best thing for our family, not because it was necessarily what I really want to do long-term.  I think working is important to my self-worth as well.

Zette and historienne: I'll be forthcoming with you guys regarding my wages- it's $12/hr for 25 hours per week.  Although a nanny would be wonderful, I think it's a little out of my price range, even if I were to share her with other families.  I might still do a little research on it, though.  Thanks for the suggestion.

Noodle: I think you're right.  I never thought that having such a tight bond with my kid might actually be detrimental down the line, but you and several others bring up a valuable point.

totoro: Very true.  This is my worst fear regarding going back to work, but that is why I have only accepted part-time work.  I just want a little more balance in my life going forward- I hate to say it, but right now it's just too much time at home with the baby.  I'm going a little nuts.

Heart-felt thanks to everyone who responded! You've been really helpful.  I think I'm going to take the job and see how things shake out.

On a separate note, what did/do you all pay for child care for a toddler??  I knew nothing about pricing until a couple days ago. Holy shit, $1500/month for "good" daycare in my home state of CA?! Is this typical?




Argyle

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2014, 10:42:20 PM »
Does your husband's job (or your forthcoming job) offer a pre-tax account that will pay for daycare, in other words out of pre-tax money?  That could save you up to 30% or so.

In my neck of the woods daycare is $250 per week for tiny kids, $236 per week for bigger kids, for fulltime daycare (7:30 am - 5:45 pm).

Gray Matter

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2014, 04:50:35 AM »
Daycare is expensive in my neck of the woods, as well, making me wonder how parents just starting out or in lower-paying professions do it.  In my personal experience (and I've read all the research I could get my hands on), in-home daycares worked really well for my kids until about age 3 or 4 and they were less expensive.  Babies and toddlers do really well with mixed ages and the more home-like setting of an in-home daycare.  Just make sure you check their standing with the state, if there have been any complaints filed, and references (for any daycare, really).  In-home providers may be more flexible as well, unless there is a shortage.

historienne

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2014, 10:17:19 AM »
Zette and historienne: I'll be forthcoming with you guys regarding my wages- it's $12/hr for 25 hours per week.  Although a nanny would be wonderful, I think it's a little out of my price range, even if I were to share her with other families.  I might still do a little research on it, though.  Thanks for the suggestion.

On a separate note, what did/do you all pay for child care for a toddler??  I knew nothing about pricing until a couple days ago. Holy shit, $1500/month for "good" daycare in my home state of CA?! Is this typical?

Yeah, sounds like you would net almost nothing after a nanny share.  Though it still might be a stopgap measure if you can't find a decent daycare straight away.  $1500/month sounds right for daycare in the spendier parts of California, though look into home daycares.  They are usually less expensive than centers. And presumably you will be looking for a part-time spot.

FWIW, I could not wait to go back to work when my maternity leave was over, but would have loved to be able to do part time.  So, even if the finances are a bit tight at the beginning, I hope you will enjoy getting back into the workplace.

totoro

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2014, 11:17:53 AM »
At twelve dollars an hour plus the additional costs of working you will be paying more for daycare than you will make. 

If you need a break I would actually look at child care share.  You look after someone else's child part of the day, or a day a week, and they look after yours.  You can advertise for this.  This would allow you to get a lot done around the house and maybe have more social life and reduce the feeling of too much time with the baby.

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2014, 11:46:29 AM »
I'm a happy long-term SAHD. I work PT weekends to meet extra savings goals, but as debt reduces and DW's income keeps ticking up, that's going to end.

I worked PT during the week, but the stress of home->daycare->work->reverse even a couple days a week really turned me into a crabby, crappy parent and spouse. Obviously YMMV.

I would also find no joy at all in working for a net zero income. I'm totally about FIRE, so my "career" isn't important to me.

Kmp2

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2014, 12:59:27 PM »
My little one is also 14 months old so I thought I'd share our story. Because of the generous maternity leave in Canada I have only been back at work for 6 weeks. We are on several wait lists for daycares and dayhomes in our neighbourhood - but the wait is exceeding 6 months right now. Our first stop gap measure has been one of my friends, who is a stay at home mom with a daughter in grade 2,  has offered to help watch our daughter. We pay her 10$/hour for 3x8 hour days a week (which is much less then a nanny, but we treat it as a cash babysitting fee - instead of a tax deductible child care fee). She drives our car and takes our daughter on all her normal daily errands. My husband takes Mondays off, and I take Fridays off to cover the remaining two days. When she goes on vacation this summer, my mom and another friend will be helping out as well. I am hoping to finally have a permanent spot in September. Generally childcare costs here go down at 18 months because the legal child:caregiver ratio goes up.

 I have noticed that kijiji has loads of postings for summer child care share arrangements; I think this is your best bet, find another family (or families) in a similar situation, and share. It's probably going to be tricky for a little while!

Here is my experiences of the last few weeks: Because she is watched at our home, she doesn't even bat an eye when I kiss her goodbye for the day and walk out the front door. This is not the same when I drop her off at either my aunts or a gym daycare for an hour or so - she cries when I leave and is grumpy (but not inconsolable) the whole time I am gone. I tend to hold the belief that kids are resilient, that this is good practice for both of us. I also recognize that we are at peak separation anxiety age - it will pass. I don't take it personally, nor do I think daycares are harmful or that being unhappy for short term adjustment period is a bad thing. Having a thick skin, and framing your values and beliefs in such a way that it supports your decision to return to work goes a long way towards helping with the guilt. I love my job and that certainly helps too!

Be generous and forgiving to your self when you transition back to the workforce - everything can start off hard, but I found most of it is a skill set and it does get easier after a few weeks of practice. And you will be learning a new job too!

S.S.

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2014, 01:55:53 PM »
Kmp2: Thank you for sharing your story.  I might look into child care share arrangements, although right off the bat, it doesn't sound like the right thing for us.  I don't have much of a support system where I live- it's wonderful that you do.

Thegoblinchief: I have to at least give it a shot.  All I know right now is that I am unhappy with being home so often and not contributing, no matter how much my husband assures me that I am.  I feel a part-time gig will bring a little more balance to my life.  However, it might turn out that you're right.  The planning alone that's going into how we will pull this off (with one car currently!) makes my head ache.

Thegoblinchief and totoro: Yes, most certainly the starting pay is a drawback.  I was very hung up on that, but as other posters made me see, I was not making an accurate assessment of my financial situation.  I was only looking at this commitment in the short-term.  Not only am I earning $12 an hour, I am collecting "personal" capital as well in the way of work experience.  With more accounting experience and eventual CPA licensure, my income will double (even triple), in a short amount of time, and child care costs will become negligible, especially as my LO gets older.  Already my boss tells me that if they are happy with my performance, in 3 months I will get a raise. 

historienne and Gray Matter: I've been having luck with a couple in-home daycares around here.  Some of them are quite affordable.  I've decided that I don't I expect these places to make my kid a genius, and I won't shell out the extra $$ for the ones that claim they will.  I just need to know he's in a place where he will be taken care of by someone who genuinely loves children, rather than simply earning a paycheck.

Argyle: Interesting, I've never heard of that!  Please elaborate?  I am applying for a child care subsidy program geared towards military families.  That should help us out at least a little.

Is anyone having luck with "having it all", i.e. your life is in order and you feel like you get enough time with your family while pursuing a fulfilling career?  I hope to achieve this balance if it can be done.

Unique User

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Re: Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2014, 02:34:01 PM »
I went back part time when my daughter was 2.  Her first day was harder for me than for her as one of the teachers met her at the front door with a guinea pig in her arms, she walked in without a backward glance to mom.  She loved going and was happy when I increased from 2 days a week to 3 days a week as I got busier.  I remember that we paid for however many days we signed up for  whether we showed up or not, but we weren't anywhere close to $1,500 a month.  I think the costs are much lower for 2+ than they are for under 2.  Maybe look at the YMCA or YWCA?  We used those for summer camps in 3rd and 4th grade when I had to go to an office.  She was at a parochial school at the time and I loved that the Y introduced her to a more diverse group of kids.   

Balance is hard, no matter what.  Most of my working life has been spent working for myself or working from home which has both advantages and disadvantages.  I have just one child and really have no idea how two working parents with more than one child do it.   Figure out the things that make it easier for you, but I have found that cooking extra meals on the weekends helps a lot and that laundry at 8 or 9pm is inevitable. 

ch12

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Re: Is This The Wrong Time to Go Back to Work?
« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2014, 04:10:36 PM »
Is anyone having luck with "having it all", i.e. your life is in order and you feel like you get enough time with your family while pursuing a fulfilling career?  I hope to achieve this balance if it can be done.
Having it all is very difficult - I'm sure you've heard of the Anne-Marie Slaughter Atlantic article about the topic.

I read part of Womenomics that made me realize what having it all meant for me.


FWIW, Sheryl Sandberg says in Lean In that the childcare costs should be considered an investment in your ongoing career, rather than something that eats up your wages and makes it not worth going to work. If you are on track to become a CPA, the work experience that you are getting now will count towards your certification experience requirements, and so you should consider the nonmonetary value, too. I'm firmly in favor of you working. You're about my age, and I know that I can't be a full-time SAHM prior to my family becoming FI entirely - I would feel guilty about not earning money.

MicroRN

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Re: Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance
« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2014, 06:18:02 PM »
Update: With a lot of help from you guys, I decided to take the job. Now my question is this:
Is anyone having luck with "having it all", i.e. your life is in order and you feel like you get enough time with your family while pursuing a fulfilling career?[/b]  I hope to achieve this balance if it can be done.
[/quote]

Sure it can be done!  I have nothing against parents staying home if it works for that family and the SAHP wants to, but I love working, and it sounds like that's what you want too.  I have a regular job where I work 24 hours a week in 12 hour shifts, so I'm on for 2, off for 5 a week.  I also have a side job, but I only work on call there, and try to pick up 3 - 8 hour night shifts each month.  I sometimes have little pangs about the time I spend away, but I've also found I get stir-crazy when I have too many days at home.  This really seems to be the perfect balance for me.   

Part time work is a great solution.  I also agree that sometimes you have to view childcare costs as an investment.  I did that initially.  I was covering the cost of our childcare, though just barely.  Once you factored in commute and various other costs, it was probably a small net loss.  However, it led to a better-paying job with better hours, and now we're firmly in the black.       

I'd look on care.com or sittercity for an in-home daycare, or see if you can network with other parents.  Maybe there's a SAHP that you trust who would like to make some extra money by babysitting your child while you work.  I've had great luck finding those kinds of care situations.  One was a very experienced care provider who decided to stay home after her 2nd child was born, and would watch 1-2 kids the same age as her older child.  She had a lovely safe set up at her house, and charged a whopping $5/hour.

Krnten

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Re: Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance
« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2014, 07:58:12 PM »
I agree with MicroRN on seeing if you can find in-home or Sahp care.  That's what we do with our daughter, also 14 months, and it's perfect.  I love that she's in a home setting with a nice mom I like and a daughter her age.  Our daughter really seems to think of this other family as her family too.  I thought I would get upset when she reached toward the other mom away from me, but in fact I just feel glad that our daughter's with someone she loves.

Re. your husband's worry.  Mine is that way too.  He's still begging me to become a SAHM, and if we have a second kid, I will, at least for a little while.  I make sure to praise our babysitter a lot.  I tell my husband all the great things they do together and forward all pictures that she sends me through the day.  It doesn't hurt that she's a much better cook than I am and sometimes sends our daughter home with some food for us.  Your husband will come around when he sees that you're comfortable and that your son is happy.

And re. having it all, I feel as though I do right now.  It's the parents with 2+ kids I know that feel overwhelmed.

spanky

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Re: Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance
« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2014, 08:23:56 PM »
I just wanted to chime in to say that if you can find the right daycare, I think it can be a massive boon to your child's social development.

Our daughter went to day care from 3 months old until about 2 years old. She grew up to be extremely friendly, articulate and outgoing. When I compare that to some of her shy, stay at home cousins, the difference is striking.

Point being, don't feel guilty about daycare- it can be very beneficial.

Trudie

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Re: Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance
« Reply #32 on: June 05, 2014, 11:15:36 AM »
I think you are wise to consider the long-term potential of this position, and not just the immediate benefits.  I am also considering a job change and have been at these decision points before.  I always factor in how I can invest my time in enhancing my human capital.  It's another long-term investment in your portfolio.

I am a CPA who worked in business before going back to get my license.   Here's my mustachian story: When I took my additional accounting courses I did it in a non-traditional way.  My husband worked at a college and I got tuition benefits.  I calculated once that I spent $1500 for all my coursework and my books.  Then I bought a $50 set of study guides, kept to a study schedule over the summer/fall (when I had time), sat for the exam in November, and aced it on my first try.  In the ten years since I have worked three different places, but 7 years at my current job.  I don't always feel that what I am doing is complicated given the training and difficulty of the exam, but on the other hand -- in strict financial terms -- I have been able to make an above-average salary for several crucial savings years and it seems like there will always be a demand for what I do.

So, my advice is -- take the job.  Get your foot in the door.  One simple step leads to another.  Maybe they will pay for you to sit for your exam.  Maybe they will promote you.  The job will also provide you the experience you need to satisfy the accounting board.  Think long term.

Best of luck!

S.S.

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Re: Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance
« Reply #33 on: June 05, 2014, 02:05:21 PM »
Thank you all for sharing your stories and for providing some much-needed words of encouragement,  MicroRN and ch12 in particular.  I love that there are parents on this forum who have found balance and happiness amidst the chaos of day-to-day life.  There's hope for us yet.

Krten: Funny to hear I'm not the only mom out there with an overprotective husband who eschews extra money for a better home situation.

Update
: Through a Mommy and Me Meetup group I infrequently participate in, I got a tip about an in-home daycare in my town that seems like it will work for us.  I can tell this won't be a place where my son will be particularly mentally challenged, but the lady is very nice, keeps a clean home and has been watching kids for almost 2 decades, with 3 of her own who are grown.  Plus, at $150/week for 3 days, she is a bargain.

I know there are better day cares in the area that are more involved with the kids and really push learning and development, but at $250-350/week I can't justify spending so much at my current salary.

Trudie: I hope to apply for a scholarship or grant to cover the cost of the exam, because OUCH- becoming a CPA sure doesn't come cheap.  Since you are in the profession, what can you tell me about it?  Do you like what you do?

MicroRN

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Re: Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance
« Reply #34 on: June 05, 2014, 04:32:27 PM »
The in home daycare sounds great.  And honestly, he's 14 months, don't worry about him not learning enough at daycare.  I know we have a sense in the US that we have to push our children so they develop properly, but we don't.  Playing alone and with other kids, learning social structure, how to eat at a table with other kids, how to share toys and take turns, learning to not hit or bite when frustrated, those are important skills.  There's a decent amount of research showing that while small children can memorize, they don't really have the brain development for formal education until about 6 years old.  There's some variation, and occasional far outliers, but there's a reason that coincides with the start of kindergarten.   

One thing that will be important though (not sure what your family dynamic is), is that your husband steps up to be part of the household work and childwatching.  We had some family friction when I went back to work, because he felt that I was still entirely responsible for kids and house, even though I was working 24 hours a week and taking 7 college credits.  He'd gotten used to not having to be a part of that while I was a SAHM.  We did work it out, but a lot of working moms end up still handling everything at home.  Just keep in mind that even if your spouse makes most of the money, your job is still important.  Don't treat it as play money or extra money - it's your career!  If you don't insist on an equitable relationship at home, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed.

ch12

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Re: Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance
« Reply #35 on: June 05, 2014, 05:23:44 PM »

Update
: Through a Mommy and Me Meetup group I infrequently participate in, I got a tip about an in-home daycare in my town that seems like it will work for us.  I can tell this won't be a place where my son will be particularly mentally challenged, but the lady is very nice, keeps a clean home and has been watching kids for almost 2 decades, with 3 of her own who are grown.  Plus, at $150/week for 3 days, she is a bargain.

I know there are better day cares in the area that are more involved with the kids and really push learning and development, but at $250-350/week I can't justify spending so much at my current salary.
Children are curious and learn naturally. The best thing that you can do for your kid is sit down with the baby and read for an hour. It's worth more than the extra $200+ per week you'd be shelling out for your 14-month old to go to a more rigorous daycare, yet it's free.

Krnten

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Re: Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance
« Reply #36 on: June 05, 2014, 06:35:46 PM »
The in home daycare sounds great.  And honestly, he's 14 months, don't worry about him not learning enough at daycare.  I know we have a sense in the US that we have to push our children so they develop properly, but we don't.  Playing alone and with other kids, learning social structure, how to eat at a table with other kids, how to share toys and take turns, learning to not hit or bite when frustrated, those are important skills.  There's a decent amount of research showing that while small children can memorize, they don't really have the brain development for formal education until about 6 years old.  There's some variation, and occasional far outliers, but there's a reason that coincides with the start of kindergarten.   

One thing that will be important though (not sure what your family dynamic is), is that your husband steps up to be part of the household work and childwatching.  We had some family friction when I went back to work, because he felt that I was still entirely responsible for kids and house, even though I was working 24 hours a week and taking 7 college credits.  He'd gotten used to not having to be a part of that while I was a SAHM.  We did work it out, but a lot of working moms end up still handling everything at home.  Just keep in mind that even if your spouse makes most of the money, your job is still important.  Don't treat it as play money or extra money - it's your career!  If you don't insist on an equitable relationship at home, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed.

Yes all of this.  Little kids like that don't need to learn in the book sense at all, except their parents should read to them so they get a feel for language and associate reading with nice feelings.

We also had the same issue when I went back to work.  And it's not totally equitable around here to be honest.  I think part of the reason my husband wants me to be a SAHM is because he would like all the home/kid stuff taken care of by me, just as his mom did.  It's definitely a work in progress in our home.  At the end of the day we may just throw money at the issue and hire a cleaning lady weekly.  But I agree, this is something to be mindful of.   

S.S.

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Re: Wrong Time to Go Back to Work/Work-home Balance
« Reply #37 on: June 05, 2014, 11:15:00 PM »
Since becoming a parent, there always seems to be SOMETHING to feel guilty about, some way I am falling short.  The inadequacy du jour is this child care business.  Thank you, ladies (I'm assuming you're ladies?), for cutting me some slack for not purchasing the most top-tier child care available.  He's my boy, and I love him so much it hurts, but paying for what is basically babysitting at this age into the TENS of THOUSANDS of dollars is insanity at our current income level.

The in home daycare sounds great.  And honestly, he's 14 months, don't worry about him not learning enough at daycare.  I know we have a sense in the US that we have to push our children so they develop properly, but we don't.  Playing alone and with other kids, learning social structure, how to eat at a table with other kids, how to share toys and take turns, learning to not hit or bite when frustrated, those are important skills.  There's a decent amount of research showing that while small children can memorize, they don't really have the brain development for formal education until about 6 years old.  There's some variation, and occasional far outliers, but there's a reason that coincides with the start of kindergarten.
+1!!!  Yes, THIS.

ch12: Well said.  I read to him, but he totally ignores me, except to come over and attempt to rip the pages out of the book.  Hope it's doing some good.

Krnten and MicroRN: Regarding the husband stuff- my guy is pretty good about helping me out.  The bulk of the house and child responsibilities do fall to me, but this was the unspoken arrangement we made since I'm the one who stayed home.  Plus he's a super hard worker at his job, is active duty and going to school.  He gets lazy at home sometimes, and that pisses me off, but what can I say?  Nothing, that's what.