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How much more $ then child care costs would be 'worth' the SAHP going back to work? - Page 2

post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post

This, plus in our family we don't weigh the costs against one person's salary. We place the costs into our joint budget, because we don't have the assumption that the lower earner has to give up his or her career just because of being the lower earner.

That makes sense when you both want to keep your careers. I think that for the OP - and many other posters - putting the cost of childcare on one person's salary makes more sense because that person wants to know whether her working contributes significantly to the family's financial picture.

 

I personally feel that the intangible benefits - current resume, etc. - outweigh most of the cost considerations, but I also chose my profession based on what I want to do (even if I am transitioning away from it...). If I'd just "fallen into" a career field that didn't suit me or I had a job and not a career track, then I'm sure those things would matter less to me.
 

 

post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post



That makes sense when you both want to keep your careers. I think that for the OP - and many other posters - putting the cost of childcare on one person's salary makes more sense because that person wants to know whether her working contributes significantly to the family's financial picture.

 

I personally feel that the intangible benefits - current resume, etc. - outweigh most of the cost considerations, but I also chose my profession based on what I want to do (even if I am transitioning away from it...). If I'd just "fallen into" a career field that didn't suit me or I had a job and not a career track, then I'm sure those things would matter less to me.
 

 


I know that's how the calculation usually goes, and I get it. We may be making that choice in the future now that we have two kids too.

 

But that said, it's so often the woman who gives up her earning power, for being the lower earner (that's a whole rant, although I am an obvious case of it, having followed my bliss and all that), and it's so often because it 'makes sense' - and then later in life it's often the woman who suffers for it, especially if the big ds -- death, divorce, disability -- hit. Even on a family level when you unplug one person from their career it can be a really long-term economic hit far beyond the monthly balance sheet.

 

I think of it kind of like high interest rates on a credit card. Every year you're not on a salary grid, gaining raises and seniority, you're losing future income as well as present income. Now granted, there are ways to add to the family budget by being home. But I don't think those savings increase at the same rate as salary increase. (And admittedly for me personally, I often waste money when I'm home and bored; when I'm working I have no time to shop recreationally, go for lunches/coffee just to get out of the house, come up with project schemes, or desperately 'need' to redecorate, so.)

 

I'm not really arguing that it can't make sense, or isn't right for a particular family, or whatever.   But I think often women are kind of pressured to run the back-of-the-envelope calculation and then take over parenting and housework and other unpaid economic work because on the surface, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to work for X dollars.

 

For me economic health is a bit deeper than just what comes home weekly. So I'd probably work for about $10 over my costs, if I were convinced it was a good career move. But I do like my work.

 

post #23 of 40

For me, it was we had planned on me staying home with our kids for 5-10 years before we got married. Its 9 years this month and I am ready to go back to work in the next 6-12 mos. My youngest is also entering school full time in the fall so it makes sense to jack up the consulting I have been doing for more hours, clients etc. Maybe I would feel different if I had student loans to get my career or didnt plan on staying home all those years before. Several couples have student loans which changes the want and need to stay home.

 

We were lucky, we managed on DH's salary and his job has always incld benefits for the whole family. If this was an extra cost, I would have been back at work years ago. Now, the kids are getting older and our needs are changing. I personally want to go back to doing something for me plus it would bring extras such as beefing up the 529s, and paying off our mortgage.

 

We have lived a simplier and frugal lifestyle for years so this was easier for us to pull off all these years on 1 income. Personally, I dont think a lot of families would be happy doing this though. I dont see a not driving new car and missing exotic vacations as a sacrifice. My sacrifice would have been not being home for my children. But that is MY belief, not everyone elses and I do not judge them for feeling different than I do. Some families have a parent who works part time of less than 30 hours a week and it allows them a vacation, eating out, a better home environment whatever. IT makes them happy or its a priority or a need in various parts of this country.

 

FWIW, we figured out before I had dd1, in the end, it would bring home about 1K net a month after taxes, daycare etc. We didnt see the worth but again, we didnt have a large mortgage, loans etc.

post #24 of 40

When DD1 was a bit less than 1, I went back to work at a retail job and quit a couple months later when it was apparent that I was paying to work---I didn't have time or a place to pump, so I was buying formula (didn't want to give up my WIC breastfeeding coupons because we were still nursing and at that place and time it was one or the other, here and now, I could have gotten 2 cans of formula and kept the nursing package--so I quit.   Also, they were unable or unwilling to give me a regular schedule so I couldn't get DD into a regular babysitting arrangement.  In fact, the schedule came out Sunday evening for the following week (started Monday, so not even a week ahead).  Cobbling together anything was impossible and I had to pay the hourly care rate.  A couple months later, I was hired on with the school district.  They gave us money to offset our medical insurance expenses.  Since I was on DH's insurance, I could take the money in a Cafeteria Plan and use it for daycare.  It paid the daycare.  When I had DS, I had to dip into pocket for daycare and it almost made me run the numbers and quit my job; but when DH got out of the Army and we moved home, having kept the job allowed me to draw unemployment from it for a few months.  And since DH was deployed, it gave me something to do with my time.


 

 

 

post #25 of 40
While my previous response covered my feelings on that matter, there was one thing it didnt address, as sort of pointed out by a pp.

Yes, if i were to go back to work FT for someone else, thats an accurate picture of what i would need. But just this week, another situation has arisen - the chance to follow my dreams. It'll be PT, but it'll give me the experience i need for the next step (self-employment). It'll mean finding daycare, and i'll be lucky if it even covers the cost of that. But its a chance I cannot pass up.
post #26 of 40

I am the primary breadwinner in our family and likely always will be so me staying home (no matter how much I would love to) is not an option. We seriously considered DH becoming a SAHD and we had the budget (it was bare bones but we were comfortable with that) but decided against because he is more recently in his career and taking years off at this point wouldn't make sense for our long-term financial picture. He also carries our health insurance (extended health - we're in Canada - it's free through his work whereas I would pay a premium through mine) and his work matches a portion of his RRSP contributions. Plus he works at a food security NGO and we often get free organic veggies on a friday when they won't last until the next week.

 

So, for us it's about more than just the dollar wage. Although I think if he wasn't making any more than what we pay in childcare we might re-think things.

 

Having said that, I have chosen to stay in a job that I don't really enjoy because it gives me a lot of flexibility in terms of hours. If we didn't have a child (and planning more), I would be in a M-F job. I am an RN and arrange my schedule so that we only need childcare 2 days a week for work and another 1/2 day some of the time for when I'm in school (I'm upgrading to my MN). The rest are nights or weekends when DH is home. Also, our childcare, while pricier than some arrangement we could find, is done by a very close friend of ours who rents a room from us. So our DD is being cared for by her "auntie" who lives with us. So, I think the extra cost of that is worth it (someone who genuinely adores her and there's no struggling to get out of the house in the morning and do the drop off/pick up). Plus I have piece of mind that, even though most days I wish I could just SAH, at least her caregiver is "family".

 

Also, just a little rant about Canada's mat leave policies, I would drop to part-time in a heartbeat but for the fact that we want to have another baby soon and in order to qualify for the max EI and top-up that my work would give me - I need to be working full-time.

 

ETA: A lot of people have commented also on the "extra" costs of working - commute, clothing, increased food costs, housekeeper, etc. Part of why our situation works for us is because we have 3 adults in our house, all contributing fairly equally to household chores. I use public transit to commute and I wear hospital-provided scrubs at work so if anything my clothing bill is cheaper.

 

So, I think a lot more goes into answering the OP's question than just the money you're bringing in.

post #27 of 40

I have not really found there to be much in the way of increased costs other than daycare for me working.  I spend  a little more on clothes, but I'm a careful shopper.  I don't spend more on food.  I brown bag, and eat pretty much the same thing I would if I were home.  I spend a tad more on gas, but I'd probably take the kid around because I'd go nuts at home all the time, so I think that's close to a draw.

post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post

I would have to have enough over and above the cost of childcare to cover taxes, health insurance, retirement, housekeeper twice/month, a gardener once/month, commute/clothes/lunches out, gym membership, and still have enough to save for vacations.  And I'd have to be getting at least 3 wks/yr in vacation time. 


This, sort of. I could be flexible on saving money for vacations, and could let go of the gardener since we don't have a yard. But everything else would be essential.

 

Plus the hours of the job must allow enough flexibility that getting the children to their various medically necessary appointments is still feasible.

 

And the daycare must be good enough that it adds to the quality of their lives rather than detracts. I don't need a private nanny for my kids, but I do need someone/someplace who can accommodate my son's medical needs and provide quality play time and some academic instruction time for my DD who loves learning and has emotional/behavioral breakdowns after too much time in front of a screen. So far I haven't been able to find that kind of day care for a price that is less than my take home salary would be, let alone provide all of what is quoted above.

 

post #29 of 40

But that said, it's so often the woman who gives up her earning power, for being the lower earner (that's a whole rant, although I am an obvious case of it, having followed my bliss and all that), and it's so often because it 'makes sense' - and then later in life it's often the woman who suffers for it, especially if the big ds -- death, divorce, disability -- hit. Even on a family level when you unplug one person from their career it can be a really long-term economic hit far beyond the monthly balance sheet.



That's my concern. We can tighten our belts and make it on DH's salary, but where does that leave me? I'd be out of work for 5ish years. I'd lose all my connections, I'd be rusty and out of touch. Getting back into my career would be really hard, and I'd take a salary hit. You don't just press pause and reenter the market where you left - you actually end up coming up behind. And some women never get caught up.

I'd love to SAH, and we talk about it. But I worry about the long-term consequences.

I make more money than DH but not by much. If I was working only to pay for childcare it would be different I guess.
post #30 of 40
Thread Starter 

But, if the SAHP (mom or dad) has already been out of the work force for 3,4,5+ years already does the general analysis change? 

 

Because then it is not a matter if the person 'should' stay home with the kids, they already did.  Now it is a question of going back in (or maybe entering for the first time even) and it seems like putting the cost of the care for the kids into the one person salary makes more sense if that is an expense that is being added simply because they are now going to find employment out side of the home instead of continue to stay home.  As well as the additional costs of maintaining the standard of living that the SAHP was able to provide (gardening, cleaning, cooking, etc.) by virtue of the fact that they were home and able to do it.

post #31 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCsMom View Post

But, if the SAHP (mom or dad) has already been out of the work force for 3,4,5+ years already does the general analysis change? 

 

Because then it is not a matter if the person 'should' stay home with the kids, they already did.  Now it is a question of going back in (or maybe entering for the first time even) and it seems like putting the cost of the care for the kids into the one person salary makes more sense if that is an expense that is being added simply because they are now going to find employment out side of the home instead of continue to stay home.  As well as the additional costs of maintaining the standard of living that the SAHP was able to provide (gardening, cleaning, cooking, etc.) by virtue of the fact that they were home and able to do it.


I think at that point it depends on the job and her long-term goals, as well as the economic needs of the family.

 

If the SAHP wants to go back to work over the long term, sometimes it's a good or even critical move to take an opportunity where you're just covering your costs to get there. From a sheer career perspective, the sooner you get back in the better. There's also the idea that some people take a job, even any job, because they need the break, and that's how they fund preschool or a sitter or whatever. I think that's fine too.

 

I have to say that some of the "standard of living" argument gets lost for me. And yes, I read Your Money or Your Life years ago and really thought that staying home would result in these big savings. But - not really. Commuting costs, definitely. Clothing, a bit. Childcare, no question.

 

But for us when we're both working full time, there is no "trade off" on cleaning, cooking and yardwork in an economic sense.  Those things still get done, by us, when we're working. They may not be quite as well done (some weeds in the garden, some long grass, grass between the stones longer -- not forever, but not quite as spic and span, as an example), but we definitely do not start paying someone to do it. So when I'm home I'm not saving the cost of a gardener.

 

Also, when I'm at home I start to see a lot of projects I want to do and that takes some money. Not as much as hiring someone to do it but more than just leaving the paint colour the same or not redecorating in the first place! When I'm home all the time every day my environment becomes something I focus on differently and inevitably, even if it's second-hand finds, I end up spending some money on it that while I'm working I just honestly don't have time to do at all. And yes, it's nice to have an upgraded look, but it's not critical.

 

I think there is a different pace and I can see how people value the pace when one parent is at home.

 

But for us, all pitching in on the yardwork on Saturday morning for an hour or two is quality family time so it's not a huge huge deal that it wasn't done during the week. The playdough mess might've happened at daycare so I didn't have to clean it up at home...that kind of thing.

 

I know lots of families spend more on food when both parents are working but for us it works out the same or better. That's partly just because of how we roll (I prioritize cooking, cook on weekends some and use the crockpot a lot; I eat at my desk 95% of the time unless it's a work function in which case i usually am not paying), but also because when I'm at home I really do need to get out now and then and that's where we spend the money we might spend on "eeek two deadlines; order pizza" time when we're both working. I don't often buy lattes at work at all (we have free coffee there and I'm cheap) but as a SAHM I get invited to lattes out -- and I love it and I go and buy them cheerfully. :)

 

This is my second mat leave and I've tracked our spending both times and it seems to be falling right in line.

 

What I do have more time for when I'm at home, and I really value it, is to reach out a bit more to community.  That is something that as a two-FT-job couple we have not integrated as well while our kids are small. And there is value to that, it's just not so much hitting our bottom line financially.

 

All that said, every family is different. I just find it one of those things people say -- "if I stay home we'll save so much money!" -- that doesn't actually work out that way for everyone. 

 

I am not arguing for or against working. I'm just sharing how things have worked out "on the ground" for us and how I've decided things - so far. As my kids get older, there may be totally different tradeoffs, both personal and economic.

post #32 of 40

Quote:

Originally Posted by MCsMom View Post

But, if the SAHP (mom or dad) has already been out of the work force for 3,4,5+ years already does the general analysis change? 

 

Because then it is not a matter if the person 'should' stay home with the kids, they already did.  Now it is a question of going back in (or maybe entering for the first time even) and it seems like putting the cost of the care for the kids into the one person salary makes more sense if that is an expense that is being added simply because they are now going to find employment out side of the home instead of continue to stay home.  As well as the additional costs of maintaining the standard of living that the SAHP was able to provide (gardening, cleaning, cooking, etc.) by virtue of the fact that they were home and able to do it.


See, for me this is the calculation I'm currently working through.  I've never had a career - it was always a job and it was always a default choice.  I'm naturally inclined towards organization/numbers so some sort of administrative position was always an easy sell...but that doesn't mean that I considered it a career nor that I enjoyed it.  It was a job that paid the bills and provided health care.  After five years in college and a Bachelor's degree later I never found a career that seemed to fit for me.  Back when I had the time and luxury to pick anything in the world I never found "it."  I neither have the time nor the luxury at this point to start that process all over again.

 

Now, with three children and only one who is school age I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to start seriously looking for a job - more so because my husband is a public employee and it's in vogue to trash him in public.  I worry about the costs associated with that for my family and my nerves are getting the best of me.  For me, since I'd apply for the same jobs I had before, I'm not buying that somehow my administrative skills are lacking because I've been out of the workforce for six years nor that I would have received significant enough raises to make up for the cuts in benefits that would have likely taken place (I'm thinking especially related to health insurance here).

 

So...for me the issue is always one of economics.  We can make ends meet with my husband's job.  Given that he has one of those 24/7 positions that also typically comes with overtime that means our childcare position is complicated.  There's no guarantee that he'll always be able to pick the kids up or drop them off at a certain time and he would maybe need to be able to drop the kids off at a moment's notice.  Even if we work opposite shifts there's still an overlap in there where all three kids would need to be in childcare...even if one or more of them is in the public school because I'd have to travel about 45 minutes or so one way just to get a job.  I have to consider wear and tear on our vehicles because we own high mileage used cars and a daily commute will accelerate replacement.  I have to consider clothing costs because I don't have work clothing (and I dread that prospect just about as much as anything else).

 

Which in the end means that for me to work a job I'd need to be making at least minimum wage after childcare and other associated costs.  In my state that would be at least $7.25/hr above my costs, but I'd really rather see $10/hr.  I have yet to find something that meets my requirements and justifies the "start up" costs associated with me going back to work (physicals for the kids at $130 each for the younger two and over $200 for the oldest, clothing, etc, etc).

 

post #33 of 40

I think here if you make less than 25K a year you can get state funding for childcare. It is called working connections childcare

post #34 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SayOm View Post

I think here if you make less than 25K a year you can get state funding for childcare. It is called working connections childcare



Hmmmm, good to know, but the working connections childcare also goes off of 'family income' - so here if the 'family of 4' makes over 3217 a month, then they do not qualify.  It just makes me think that 'many' families that already have a SAHP might already have the WOHP making more then the limit already so that it is not something they could use . . . not trying to be snarky or anything.  Just that when I look at the income requirements (living in a pretty high COL place) for these kinds of things it makes me think it would be an obvious choice at that income level for the SAHP to go back to work for financial reasons alone.

post #35 of 40

Personally I don't intend on going back to work until my children are grown with the exception of a complete emergency where I had to in order to put food in their stomachs and a roof over their heads. We are comfortable on my husband's salary, are saving for retirement, have medical/dental etc and I LOVE being home with my children. We plan on homeschooling until high school (at least) so I'm going to be busy in the next few years. Could I get a job bringing home enough where it would cover expenses? Yes, Im trained and after being re-testing I could get a good job. Would it be worth it to me.. No, it would make me miserable to be away from my children and missing their growth.

 

I think you really need to look at it, balance it and come up with your own plan. Its hard to say what will/won't be worth it. There is a LOT more that goes into having a job than just a paycheck. Some women (and men) aren't cut out to be Stay at Home parents.. Some WOHPs would love to have the opportunity to stay home with their children. Its hard to put a number on that. I honestly don't think there will ever be a right answer for the general public, its a personal decision. Its a lot more than just numbers on a page, especially if it isn't a necessity.

post #36 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by OkiMom View Post

Personally I don't intend on going back to work until my children are grown with the exception of a complete emergency where I had to in order to put food in their stomachs and a roof over their heads. We are comfortable on my husband's salary, are saving for retirement, have medical/dental etc and I LOVE being home with my children. We plan on homeschooling until high school (at least) so I'm going to be busy in the next few years. Could I get a job bringing home enough where it would cover expenses? Yes, Im trained and after being re-testing I could get a good job. Would it be worth it to me.. No, it would make me miserable to be away from my children and missing their growth.

 

I think you really need to look at it, balance it and come up with your own plan. Its hard to say what will/won't be worth it. There is a LOT more that goes into having a job than just a paycheck. Some women (and men) aren't cut out to be Stay at Home parents.. Some WOHPs would love to have the opportunity to stay home with their children. Its hard to put a number on that. I honestly don't think there will ever be a right answer for the general public, its a personal decision. Its a lot more than just numbers on a page, especially if it isn't a necessity.


To the first point, I just want to assure you that working parents don't miss their kids' growth. Sure we miss some moments at school but there are a lot of things we don't miss.  I hate that myth; it nearly wrecked me in terms of feeling like I shouldn't work. And it hasn't been true for us, anyway, at all. Not in terms of hours, and not in terms of our relationships.

 

To the second, I completely agree that it really depends on the family and I support every family finding the balance that is right for them. But since we're in the F&F forum, I just want to reiterate that for me personally it's not just about the cash flow/savings/retirement bottom line but about being in a position myself, personally, to be able to at least muddle through supporting my family if the need arose.  It sounds like you have done some really smart education so that you would have that covered if necessary,

 

post #37 of 40


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post




To the first point, I just want to assure you that working parents don't miss their kids' growth. Sure we miss some moments at school but there are a lot of things we don't miss.  I hate that myth; it nearly wrecked me in terms of feeling like I shouldn't work. And it hasn't been true for us, anyway, at all. Not in terms of hours, and not in terms of our relationships.

 

To the second, I completely agree that it really depends on the family and I support every family finding the balance that is right for them. But since we're in the F&F forum, I just want to reiterate that for me personally it's not just about the cash flow/savings/retirement bottom line but about being in a position myself, personally, to be able to at least muddle through supporting my family if the need arose.  It sounds like you have done some really smart education so that you would have that covered if necessary,

 



I used to feel this way, about missing my kids growth and actually just missing my kids, when they (and I!) were younger.  But now they are in school after being home schooled for awhile.  Actually I am in school too, grad school, and working a couple of jobs after a divorce.  I am actually a lot happier and feeling more complete now that I have this other life. I do miss some things with my kids, especially things at night when I have a class.  And of course, all kinds of things happen when they are with their dad.  Glad I had the time when they were little, though.  Thoroughly enjoyed that life, thoroughly enjoy this life.  Just wanted to add my two bits.  Financially, I do feel that by being at home when they were little, I was able to do alot of money saving things that helped out bottom line.  It is possible that as a couple we would have been worse off if I had not stayed home; although as a single woman now, building up some assets of my OWN would have been better for me.  Or, actually, maybe not.  I learned a great deal of being frugal and managing money by being the stay at home parent, so I am much smarter now!  I love my new "career" so much that I would do it for just for the joy of it.  Life is rarely all or nothing...

post #38 of 40

Quote:

Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
To the second, I completely agree that it really depends on the family and I support every family finding the balance that is right for them. But since we're in the F&F forum, I just want to reiterate that for me personally it's not just about the cash flow/savings/retirement bottom line but about being in a position myself, personally, to be able to at least muddle through supporting my family if the need arose.  It sounds like you have done some really smart education so that you would have that covered if necessary,

 


But even those bits are part of the balance sheet.  I don't 'think most posters here are insisting that these sorts of non-monetary costs/benefits shouldn't be included in the balance sheet, but the primary focus of the thread was on a dollars and cents sort of equation which for some people, especially those of us who did not have a career before having children, is really the primary question at hand.  I'll maintain that there's a difference between a career and a job.  A job is something you work to make ends meet - it's a matter of necessity, not necessarily a defining piece of yourself.  If you've only ever worked a job before having children and becoming a stay-at-home parent then the discussion could very well become primarily about money both in the immediate and deferred sense.  And if you had a career before having children, particularly one you loved and saw as an extension of your inner being, then I can see why the focus on money would seem incomplete.

 

As equally as you hate the myth of working parents missing out on their children growing up, I similarly am disappointed that most going back to work/stay at home parenting discussions seem to assume that if you are out of the work force that somehow you've neglected to consider the what-ifs or that answers to the questions of security (what happens if I get divorced/someone gets sick/someone dies) will be the same for each family.

 

Also, and not specifically related to you, GuildJenn, but it seems to me that the undercurrent in many of these sorts of conversations (especially in Elizabeth Gilbert's book on marriage) assume that the stay at home parent (usually a mother) is somehow giving up everything of herself in order to stay home - that her dreams or ambitions are becoming the fabric with which her children are cared for.  Again, to me here the issue seems to be a difference between job and career.  For me staying at home with my children is my career and I have a hard time giving it up in order to work a job just because our primary culture sees one's value based upon how much money you earn and the way that translates into security...and with that the attendant morality judgements that are made, particularly when a family encounters financial difficulty.

 

OP - I think both GuildJenn and I would agree that perhaps the primary place to start is not a financial one.  Perhaps the place to start is the sorts of identity questions inherent in the discussion.  I don't even think it's an issue of whether or not a stay-at-home parent ever planned on returning to the workforce as I don't think anyone can really plan for every possible outcome in life (nor really ever be "secure" enough to weather it).  All of our best laid plans can go astray in ways we never thought possible.  If you have a career that you love then it's more than likely that you would be better served by focusing less on the economics of the decision.  For you it may never be an issue of ever adding to the financial balance sheet and there's room for that to be an acceptable choice.  After all, we're not talking about a corporation whose sole purpose is to maximize the return on investment.  With all due respect to folks like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman, families and finances should very much be a different equation.

post #39 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post

This, plus in our family we don't weigh the costs against one person's salary. We place the costs into our joint budget, because we don't have the assumption that the lower earner has to give up his or her career just because of being the lower earner.
 



 


This 1000X! I view childcare as a household expense, not something to be weighed against the lower earners salary.
 

 

post #40 of 40

Hmmm... my situation is that I loved my job.  More than loved it honestly, I "am" a librarian and I'd be happy to do the work for free if I had another means of support.  I worked full time after dd1 was born since my mother was able to provide some child care and DH and I were able to work opposite shifts (he worked days, I worked evenings/weekends).  It was hard but do-able.  When dd2 was born I went back to work but with reduced hours (they were downsizing the department so everyone took a hit) and then my mom decided she couldn't provide child care any longer.  We live in a high COL area where childcare (forget "quality" childcare) is a major expense.  The cost of childcare for two children was almost to the dollar my monthly take home pay.  And since a good chunk of my take home pay was already "spoken for" in terms of monthly expenses there really wasn't a choice.  Dh or I would either have to get significant raises in both our jobs *unlikely given the budget cuts), or one of us would have to stay home.  In addition, we had to sell our home and move to a rural location (we had to buy a second car since there is no public transportation, but the car payment+new mortgage on smaller rural cabin is less than the old mortgage) since we were in a catch-22... we couldn't afford the house in town AND child care, but we also couldn't afford the house in town without both incomes.

 

In terms of the economics and lower earner issue... like I said, I loved my job.  I dream about the day when I can get back into my field and yes, I certainly realize that when that day comes I'll be starting out with a serious handicap.  But the economics of the lower income couldn't be fiddled with.  DH made more money than I did, he had better job security, and better promotional options.  His health insurance wasn't as good as mine but it was (and is) ok.  On his salary we could make ends meet (after serious pruning and cutting back).  On my salary?  Even with cutting back the ends would not have met.  Not even close.  And given that there was no room for advancement in my position (I'd been there 6 years, hours were being cut, some people had been laid off... no way in heck anyone was getting a raise or being promoted).  So while the long term job prospects for me picture is not shiny due to my time at home, the short term economics was pretty much done for us.  Sure I would have been happy to have DH stay home (he even offered, and we still revisit that idea as a future option) but it just didn't add up.

 

As for now?  With baby 4 on the way... I've looked for work but in our region there are NO jobs that pay enough to cover 4 children in child care.  And I've been looking at all the jobs (not just ones I'd actually qualify for).  LOL  So a job would have to be in my field (library, specifically reference work) and it would have to cover child care for four children and all work associated expenses (gas, wardrobe, etc) with a few thousand dollars "left over" each month (if the "left over" was around 3000/month then we could move back into town!).  If I found that I'd be there before the ink was dry on the offer.

 

(oh, childcare for four would be 3200-5000 a month depending on the type of program we found.  Gas is just a few pennies under 4 dollars/gallon and living rurally we'd use a LOT of gas commuting with two vehicles).


Edited by wombatclay - 4/12/11 at 4:04pm
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