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

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#31 of 40 Old 04-04-2011, 09:59 AM
 
GuildJenn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 4,776
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


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.


~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
GuildJenn is offline  
#32 of 40 Old 04-04-2011, 10:46 AM
 
pampered_mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Somewhere short of crazy
Posts: 4,535
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

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).

 

pampered_mom is offline  
#33 of 40 Old 04-07-2011, 10:33 PM
 
SayOm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

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

SayOm is offline  
#34 of 40 Old 04-07-2011, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
MCsMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: WA
Posts: 1,195
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


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.


Go Green I don't vax either, why mess with perfect?
MCsMom is offline  
#35 of 40 Old 04-09-2011, 07:28 AM
 
OkiMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,407
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

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.


~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
OkiMom is offline  
#36 of 40 Old 04-09-2011, 08:48 AM
 
GuildJenn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 4,776
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


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,

 


~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
GuildJenn is offline  
#37 of 40 Old 04-09-2011, 10:06 AM
 
EmsMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 1,389
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)


 

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...

EmsMom is online now  
#38 of 40 Old 04-09-2011, 11:29 AM
 
pampered_mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Somewhere short of crazy
Posts: 4,535
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

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.

pampered_mom is offline  
#39 of 40 Old 04-11-2011, 09:13 AM
 
Ellien C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: in the middle ages
Posts: 5,582
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


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.
 

 


Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
Ellien C is offline  
#40 of 40 Old 04-12-2011, 03:42 PM
 
wombatclay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: running the red queen's race
Posts: 14,143
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

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).


Be pretty! Be practical! Be Pagan! Visit Pagan Hearth & Home!
 mama to lady.gif(4/05), hearts.gif(6/07vbac), diaper.gif(8/09vbac), and babygirl.gif (9/11vbac)

wombatclay is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off