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Why Do You Work?

post #1 of 109
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking a lot about different reasons why I work. DH and I have discussed it and I could be a SAHM if I wanted to. But I don't really want to. Yes, I would love to be with my kids more. But, here are some specific reasons why I choose to continue in my job:

1. Financial: I don't want to be financially dependent on anyone. And I don't want to have to live paycheck to paycheck (not that we aren't kind of doing that right now - LOL). and I'd like to be able to save for our kid's college educations.

2. Insurance: Both DHs and I have insurance coverage for the whole family. That really helps becaue DS is SN and his therapy sessions run $800/month. (all paid for because we are double covered).

3. Being Around Adults Keeps Me Sane: This is just me, but I've got to have some interaction with adults during the day or I become cranky and morose.

What are other reasons you work - assuming that you don't "have to?"
post #2 of 109
I'm not working-- but I'm a fulltime college student, and considered staying at home before this summer. But I'm going back to school, and really looking forward to it.

To me, the most important reason to go back to school is the interaction with grown folks. I love my son, but it's so isolating and frustrating when DH goes off to work, and I'm home for the next 10 hours with a nonverbal baby and no car. I feel like I'm stranded, but I try hard not to let it show.

My mom was a SAHM for 25 years... and I wish she had worked at least a little bit. She just got so burned out on kid stuff and being trapped at home that honestly, she wasn't always real pleasant to be around. People think that stay-at-home moms are all cookies and milk and heart-to- heart chats, but the emotional lives of women are a little more complicated than that!

She is and was a great mom... but... I think we all would have been happier if she had her own thing going on, too. Sometimes she took things wayyyy too personally-- like if someone forgot Mother's Day, since it was the only day of the year she got some workplace recognition, as it were, kwim?
post #3 of 109
i am one of those - because i have to.
post #4 of 109
I need the adult interaction and intellectual stimulation. I was a SAHM when my oldest was little - I've never been so bored, lonely and depressed in my life. I won't say I enjoy every minute of my job, but I'd say about 90% of the time I do.

Financially, I like having my own income and knowing that I don't have to depend on my husband. If I didn't work, he would likely have to take a second job, which would put on unfair burden on him and deprive him of time with the kids.
post #5 of 109
i ask myself this question a lot now. most of my paycheck now pays for the fabulous daycare that my kids are in. they are there about 5 hours a day while i work pt. i like the socialization that they get and the neat, neat projects that they do at school which help them learn (i often now spend time at daycare with them when they want to stay and play). for me, the retirement savings is important as is keeping my foot in the door. in five years, both of my little ones will be in kindergarten and i'll be expected to have a life outside of them. i already worry that i am too wrapped up in them. i don't want them to be the only thing in my life. i don't think it's healthy for them or me. finally, i really like the people i work with and for (i help elderly people in nursing homes with their benefits -- medicare and medicaid -- and their rights -- can they have a beer or a honey bun, can they go visiting with their friends, etc).
post #6 of 109
bc the grant i work on pays my tuition.
and bc i honestly feel that the difference i can make in other families' lives is greater than any detriment my children experience by my not being around 20 hours out of the week.
post #7 of 109
Two reasons:
1. Because my working allows us to get by with DH working less. We both work part time, and he is around. With his (lack of) earning potential, he'd have to work crazy hours for us to get by. My father was around a lot when I was young, and I felt very lucky. I want my children to have the same experience.

2. At work, I get positive reinforcement, and get to get things done. When I was at home, I was getting depressed because the vast majority of my tasks were repetitive. Everything (cleaning, cooking) had to be done and then done again.
post #8 of 109
I work for the:

1. intellectual stimulation and adult interaction; I stayed home with dd for a year and although many aspects of it were fulfilling, I felt that my edges dulled; that's just me and is in no way an indictment of SAHMing

2. contribution my work makes to society overall; I work with juveniles charged with crimes; these kids are in desperate need of an advocate, a confidant, and someone who will be honest with them; I also feel that the work I do models "giving back" for dd which is very important to me since she and I have been so richly blessed

3. $$$; I'm a single mama and therefore need to generate an income; even before I was a mama, I enjoyed getting a paycheck and the freedom and independence it represents; again, I try to model good financial stewardship for dd so she'll get into the "save some/spend some/give some away" mindset as she grows up

I'm proud of the work I do outside the home and I'm proud that I singlehandedly support my family. The "WOHMing is evil" undercurrent I occasionally sense at MDC really bugs me, but to each her own. This is what satisfies me and works for my family.
post #9 of 109

I have to...

Because I have to pay back my $50,000+ student loans.

I'd love to not have to work. So would DH. We need to win the lottery so we can both sit at home. I'm fine with no intellectual stimulation. I'm tired of work. (read: we're lazy)

This would be us -

Laura
post #10 of 109
I work simply because if I do not then I cannot pay my mortgage. And we have to live somewhere

But oh what I wouldn't give to spend more time at home with dd...

stashalou
post #11 of 109
I work because I have to and only because I have to. The second we can afford for me not to work, I will be a SAHM.
post #12 of 109
I will be going back to teaching in about two months. I am nervous about it, but have made my decision and will be doing it because:

--We are living on savings that is drying up quickly.

--I need to complete my professional teaching certificate within 3 years. If I didn't go back and let it lapse, it would be lots more school and money to get it back.

--It will be part-time, about 4 hours a day. I would not have gone back full-time.

--I feel that I am a good teacher and I will contribute positively to the lives of many teenagers that need adults they can trust and look up to.

--My son will be with my sister for two days a week and a great daycare close by my school three days a week.

This is not to say that I am not worried about leaving him, and that it won't probably be hard, but I am looking forward to it in many ways.
post #13 of 109
In the past two years, I've not worked, worked full-time and now work part-time as part of a job-sharing opportunity that my organization is nice enough to support.

Of the three, I prefer the part-time situation the best, staying home full-time the least.

I like to work because...
1) I never want to be 100% financially dependent on someone. My mom was like that and, as a result, she stayed in a very bad marriage for a very long time. My DH is a wonderful, wonderful man but I like being prepared for the what-if.

2) I like being able to contribute to my family's financial goals and responsibilities.

3) I like my job! I work for a non-profit organization that does research that helps make organ transplant policy decisions. I like knowing that my job contributes to something worthwhile and important.

4) I also like the stimulation I get at work. It's not necessarily better stimulation than I get at home with two kids under two, but it is different!

I think #4helps me be a better mom. My 22 month old is very demanding, and my 4 month old is as demanding as a normal 4 month old is. Being able to step away 20 hours a week helps me appreciate them more and helps me with my patience. If I'm having a rough day at home, I know the next day I can regroup and think of ways to make the next rough day better.
post #14 of 109
I work because my husband was a SAHD for a while. So I had to work or else we wouldn't eat
Now he has a job and I am still working.
We want to be able to save up and live comfortably. I have hopes that I will be able to go back to school one day and be home with the kids more but we need a decent nest egg to do that.

Best,
Suzanne
post #15 of 109
I work because it's the best "for the family" decision. My job has more stability and upward potential than dh's did, and he can do things around the house that I can't. So, when I was on maternity leave, we decided he would stay at home and renovate our house and I would work. He also does some software development contract work at night. In reality, we both work - he just starts when I get home. The bad part is we operate in "divide and conquer" mode with one of us getting to be with dd while the other works. So, the family together time isn't as much as I'd like, but dd gets a pretty good even divide between the time she spends with each of us.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I were at home. But it is the best for dd and the family, so I put my selfish wants aside. In the end, I think dd gets a better deal because my hunch is that if I were home all day and dh at work, he'd up spending only an hour or two a night playing with her and then he'd want his own time. As it is now, she gets 55+ hours a week of him, and I spend every minute she's awake that I'm home with her. And she's growing up learning how to renovate the house and hearing stock quotes on CNBC all day!

And I'm all for the win-the-lottery plan, too, so I know this is just short term . . .
post #16 of 109
Thread Starter 
In my fantasy I've won the lottery, and this allows me to stay home until my youngest enters kindergarten. At which time I'll start my own business - something exciting and very glamourous, of course. But one that leaves me plenty of time for my kids and DH. We'll have plenty of insurance coverage and no financial worries....

The reality is that I stay at my job because at age 40, I don't want to be out there looking for another job, and because I would rather not "get by". I want to have a decent standard of living. It's a trade-off definitely, but it is the right choice for me.
post #17 of 109
I am going back to school full-time next month, after being a SAHM for the past year. My DD will be 14 months old. My reasons for returning to school and the resulting work are similar to many of the PPs':

1. I love it! I am studying to be a midwife and have wanted to do this for years. It is my calling and my passion, and I can't wait to get started. I also miss being around adults and need stimulating conversation!

2. My DH wants to work less and have more time with DD. I've been home the past year. While I'm in school, we'll be pinching pennies and sharing the time home with DD (DH will work from home a lot). When I'm actually making money (hopefully in 3 years), DH will take some real time off and enjoy DD's preschool year.

3. $$$. Of course in my ideal world I would be a midwife to low-income people and not charge anything, and take on only cases I really wanted, and take lots of vacations with my family. In DH's ideal world, he would be SAHD full-time. But none of that is gonna happen, so we do what we can with what we have, and make the best of it!

Sarah
post #18 of 109
My DS is 7 yo and I have worked fulltime since he was 3months old. I am pregnant now (due end of August). I am hoping to convince my boss to let me work PT. We cannot realistically have me not work at all, but I am burnt out and it kills me that my son wants to be HOME after school and cannot. I also would very much like to be able to spend more time with the baby than I was able to with my son.

I do not think I could ever truly be fulltime SAHM. I need the independence, the intellectual outlet, and the creativity...plus I have never been a great housekeeper

Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can work out the part time thing.
post #19 of 109
I work because we cannot make it on dh's salary alone.
post #20 of 109
I work because I need to (and not in any particular order)
1. DH's salary alone is not enough.
2. I do not want to be financially dependent on anyone other then myself.
3. Retirement savings.
4. College savings.
5. Health Insurance (my coverage is better then DH's)
6. I like it (although I do wish some days that I worked fewer hours) and if I did not need to for bill paying I still would work.
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