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Going from Stay-at-home-Mom to Working-Mom??

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I've been a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) for what feels like FOREVER.  I've done  a ton of volunteer work, and owned my own business, but I had a LOT of flexibility with that, and no boss to really report to on my whereabouts. 

 

We're in a bad financial situation, and really the only way to get out of it is for me to get a job.  I have wanted to work, and was planning to around now, if we were able to find childcare options for our kids.  It looks like I may have those options now. 

 

My oldest has severe special needs so we can't just leave her with anyone, and it is hard to find people who have the availability we need.  I think I have the providers I need now though, and between that and public school, I think I have enough care to be able to find a job finally, and not have to worry about where she is and who she is with. 

 

I have a 6yo too, that is a neuro-typical, happy, loving girl - very low-maintenance as far as childcare goes, should that be a need.

 

I'm pregnant with my third now (only 7 weeks), and that was a very unexpected, but happy surprise.  It definitely messes with my original plans of going to work now, but I think I can work it out.  I should be able to work throughout the pregnancy, take a reasonable (not super long) maternity leave, and then go back to work, hopefully being able to afford childcare for the baby from the funds of the new job.


I found a job I am really REALLY interested in, helping families dealing with special needs in the community.  I am qualified for everything they require, and a bit more (certifications, trainings, experience, etc).  It doesn't pay a ton, but pays well for our area ($12/hour), and has crazy amazing benefits, including a cell phone stipend and mileage.  There are 4 openings for the job, which means I have much better odds of getting it than if there were just one opening.  I think I have a really good shot at this job!

 

The bonus to that is that I schedule my own appointments anytime I am able to meet parents that also fits their schedule... could be evenings and weekends, and very often is.  That would be great, because it works with the converse of hubby's schedule so I know I could count on him to be there if I needed him to be with the kiddos while I go out on a meeting.

 

I'm very excited about this opportunity, but the idea of going from being a stay at home mom to a working mom is overwhelming to me, especially with the new baby coming.  Still, we really NEED for me to get this job.

 

Anyone gone from SAHM to working mom, and have a story to tell about it? :)  I'd love to hear! 

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

Anyone who went from SAHM to working mom?  I'd love to hear stories. :)

post #3 of 10

Well, I've recently begun working, but my situation is not as compliated as yours, by any stretch. My dd is in school and my ds is home for his last year before kindy next September. I work from home on contract, and although it's turned out to be more hours than I'd anticipated, it's still pretty manageable. What I hadn't expected was the backlash from my dd, who was used to having me around all the time. This was especially compounded by the fact that our two week spring break was preceeded by a teachers strike, and the fact that I'm not great at time management yet. There were also times when my dh and I had meetings at the same time and had to scramble for childcare when one of the kids was sick. I sometimes wonder whether it's worth it right now. I'm actually looking forward to next year when both kids are in school.

post #4 of 10

I was completely stay at home for the first two years then I started working again. Kind of a similar situation as yours where I worked on cases I could take on evenings and weekends. I only took cases opposite my dh's schedule so we wouldn't need childcare.

Do you have the option of only taking cases that you want or are you assigned and have no choice? That would make a big difference to me. 

 

To be honest, it sounds like you have a situation with children that will be three very different ages and needs. If you don't have the flexibility to choose your cases I can see it being very problematic and expensive to have childcare for them that works. Will the person caring for your oldest be able to care for your 6 year old and an infant as well? How much will you really be making after taxes and childcare and is that amount worth it to you? 

 

Also, I don't want to discourage you but you asked for similar experiences and this is mine....

In the end it didn't work out for us and now I work from home. It was REALLY bad for my marriage that we never saw each other and it was hard on our child that she never saw us together. I never ever in a million years anticipated that would be the colossal issue it became but sometimes you just can't foresee certain things. I know opposite shifts work for a lot of families and sometimes it just has to because you need the money and have no other choice but we struggled to find another way because it just wasn't sustainable for us. 

 

On a brighter note, I hope it works out for you because it sounds like you are really excited about this job. Do you have friends/family nearby that can help you out maybe? That could make a huge difference. 

post #5 of 10

I was a sahm for 8 years or so.  During that time I did have a WAHM online business, but it was fairly easy to work the hours I wanted to.

 

I now work outside the home part-time. The transition was actually pretty smooth.  I had volunteered at my future workplace on a regular basis, and knew the people I'd be working with.  My kids were all in school full-time, so it was easy to work around their schedule. My income is negligable in comparison to my DH's, so I don't worry too much about my salary.  But it's lovely to have a life outside my family and feel like others find worth in what I do.  And it's nice to know that my family is able to afford a few luxuries because of my efforts.  I've been working for almost 3 years, and it's been a good thing for my family.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the feedback! :)  To answer some questions, if I got the job I wouldn't only be working on weekends and evenings. so it wouldn't be true "opposite shifts" for me and hubby.  On top of that, he gets 3 days off a week instead of two, which would open up more time for us to find together.  We also have respite (that does care for all of my kids) a couple times a week so we can either go out as a family with some help since my oldest is so tough, or hubby and I can have some time just us.  It really helps a lot.  

 

There are a good 6 hours during the day I can schedule meetings or do my work while the kids are at school, and hubby is at work. :)  I don't think I get to pick my cases, but if it is apparent I am not a good fit for the family, I am sure I could request a change.  I know they could.  I haven't been through the interview process with the company yet (they closed the job listing yesterday to stop taking new applications), but I know a little bit from what I've seen on the parent side of things, and know a few people who do similar jobs. 

 

As with anything, I'm sure there would be growing pains, but it is something we'll have to work out as we go, and see how it fits.  

 

I won't be needing to pay for childcare for my two oldest, and I think I have a friend that would be willing to babysit my baby once he/she is born for a reasonable fee (hopefully about $15-20/day for 4 days/week).  Yes, it would come out of my pay, but right now, even with that, we would REALLY benefit from a pay boost, and I think I would enjoy working (which would make it worth it also).  Right now our budget is so tight we have bills we can't pay, so ANYTHING is a help.  Plus, I want us to move into a house that would fit our family better, which means we need to make more money, asap. 

 

 

post #7 of 10

It sounds like you have a good amount of help with hubby off an extra day and the respite care and very inexpensive day care for your youngest. All that makes a huge difference. I'm sure it will work out for you. Good luck!

post #8 of 10

I have friends that both WOH and do the opposite shift thing.  They say it's rough, but manageable.  She works midnights and he works days, but I think they both only work 4 days a week.  With your husband having 3 days off it sounds doable, at least long enough to see if it's working for your family.

post #9 of 10

As long as the inexpensive child care works ok, and you either can pump or manage to breastfeed your baby while you work, it might be worthwhile. Have you included other increased costs, including increased tax bracket, work wardrobe, convenience foods, etc. in your budgeting? Have you cross-posed in the WOHM forum?

post #10 of 10

I can't really speak to the money or childcare issues (which really were the questions!). I just want to throw in that I work in just the kind of job you describe, called Family Partner in this area, and it is the BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!!! For me, the transition to working mom was easy, because the agency I work for fully understands that I need to attend my son's IEP meeting as well as my clients'. I schedule my appointments around my kids' activities (and my elderly mom's needs, in my case). I have been with my agency a year and a half or so, and I still love my job. While I don't love every family I work with, there has never been one I couldn't work with. I am appreciated and almost always feel that I am actually doing some good in the world. The pay isn't great, but there are some great perks, like you said.
 

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