Part time work or full time mom? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 04-06-2011, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm hoping for some input from those of you who have done both part time work outside the home and staying at home full time.

I am at a point where I need to make a choice for my own sanity. My DS is going to be 1 on thursday and I have had the luxury of being a full time SAHM, except for a job that I go to once a month. I definitely enjoy it, and my DH gets home in the afternoon so it's wonderful to have so much time together as a family. I love knowing that I haven't missed anything in my DS's life, and I love being his full time teacher as well.


I didn't think I would be able to afford staying home this long, but it has worked out so far. However, it seems like circumstances may be changing since my MIL is going to have to move in with us eventually. She is out of work and has been for some time, and DH and my SIL have been pitching in to cover her bills. SIL is getting a little strange about this arrangement, so we have decided to cover all of MIL's expenses by building on to our house and moving her in. This is not a problem for me at all, as we have a close relationship anyway and she is extremely helpful with DS.


So my dilemma is, I could go back to work part time to help cover the cost of renovating our home, and my MIL and DH will be around to care for DS. I had a career that I really enjoyed before DS was born, and I would like to go back to work, but there is a big part of me that knows I will be missing out. I really love being a mom, more than anything else I have ever done, I feel like I was meant for the role. I don't really want to go back to work right now, but it would benefit my MIL and obviously extra money does not hurt. I could also push it off for as long as I want, DH is fine with whatever I choose to do and there is no pressure to step in and "save" MIL since technically she can still find a job for herself if things get tough for her. It's easier for me to get a job, since I have a Master's and jobs in my field are plentiful.


For those of you that have worked part time, is it worth it? I don't need to do it to survive, it would just make things better for my entire family if I did, but I don't know if I would be truly happy with missing out on everything DS does. Is there ever an age in our DC's life where you feel like you should go back to work?

Mom to Kevin,bfinfant.gif : born naturally 4-7-10 nocirc.gif

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#2 of 4 Old 04-06-2011, 03:55 PM
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My situation is slightly different than yours.  I've been staying home with my girls for some time now, but have always kept a little part-time work going.  For my family, we'd like to both be working full-time (or something close to it... probably more like 2/3-time for me) once our girls are both in school all day.  So I wanted to keep my career contacts, and I have a freelance-type job that allows me to do as many or few hours as I need.  So I work around 5 hours a week for most of the year, but do more like 20-hour weeks during peak seasons.


As for whether it's worth it, I guess it depends on how you feel about working.  For me, I've been able to make most of my work hours happen when my wife is home from work, so the girls still get almost all their time with parents.  Definitely I'd recommend that if it's possible for you; it does mean a little less time with my lovely wife, but it's wonderful for the girls.


For me, working feeds my soul in a way that parenting can't quite fulfill.  I feel very happy about being a SAHP, but I really enjoy the moments where I put on dress clothes and feel like a serious professional and do my job with a vengeance.  So I find it a good tradeoff.  I stay home with the girls 90% of the time, and the other 10% is mostly spent with their mom, while I keep my future career options open and get some professional fulfillment and "street cred" in my business.


So, I don't know how much my situation resembles yours, but there's my feeling on it.  I'd also mention (because it's one of my standard pieces of advice) that if you choose to go back to work part-time, and you hate what it does to your life, you can always just stop and go back.  It's not a permanent decision.  Good luck to you, and best wishes!

I'm Scott, acd.gif  fuzmalesling.gif  treehugger.gif  part-time classical musician and stay-at-home dad, with two beautiful girls, born March 2008 and May 2010.
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#3 of 4 Old 04-06-2011, 08:53 PM
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I was a SAHM for several years and then went back to part time work over a year ago. It is a toss up as to what I prefer. This job literally fell into my lap, and was too good to pass up, I would not of sought something out at this time. I work minimal hours, usually 20 or so a month and then another 5+ volunteering in my speciality which I've done the majority of time since I had children. My DH works a lot of hours so everything child or house related falls to me. The job is just on top of everything else, if DH had a less demanding career then I could see things being different, but because how things are, I feel one of us needs to be be around the majority of the time. And I love being with the kids, not every second of course, but in general!


I truly dislike missing out on things my children are doing, even with the older ones. I have an 8, 4, almost 2, and am due this summer. No matter how routine the daily school pick up and activities are, I still want to be the one to do it. I like hearing how their day was in the car right then and not later over the dinner table. I still enjoy chasing the toddler around open gym every week, and while he is perfectly fine and adore our sitter, I just don't like missing seeing him run around. He gets speech therapy which I miss about half the sessions, and more right now because of my schedule, I have the therapist call me after she leaves to fill me in, but it just isn't the same. greensad.gif


I rarely ever work more then 4 hours in a day. I head in the morning on the days I work, am back in time to watch the ones at home eat lunch, and then have our regular afternoons together. For me, at this point in our lives, this amount of work is all I could or want to do. It is minimal enough that I feel like I don't miss too much, allows me to still have somewhat of a career, but yes things were a lot simpler when I was only SAHMing. I still mostly am, but there is always the thoughts of trying to find child care for this date, or cramming in a few phone calls during nap time, how am I going to make x work in my limited time or sick children....


I am not unhappy or else I would quit my job, I don't need to work either. I do enjoy having a "professional" life again in the few hours I do work. I think I would be even more at peace with it if all my children were school aged and I was able to drop them off, go to work, and then be there to pick them up again, with a flexible job that allowed for sick kids, the field trip here and there. Then I would truly feel like I wasn't missing out on anything. 

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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#4 of 4 Old 04-06-2011, 09:28 PM
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Well, I think it's going to be different for each individual person, and the individual situation.


In my situation...


I was a single mom for 6 years before DH and I got married, so I had to work.  And I never imagined I would even want to stay home.


DH and I dealt with IF for 6 years after we got married.  And I continued working.  Some of those 12 years I was a working parent were spent working part time and going to college full time.  Some was spent working full time at a job I liked.  Some was spent working full time at a job I didn't like.  None was spent working in a career-nothing that any sort of life long dream or soul filling purpose for my life.  I have always only worked for a paycheck.


When I finally got pg with dd2, I worked for about 6 more months, and in that time, something changed.  I wanted to stay home.  Part was that my oldest was getting tired of having to shuffle among all of my family to get her to her activities.  Part was that the job I was doing that I had previously enjoyed quickly became something I didn't, due to the people I was working for.  Part was that I was just exhausted from the pg.  And part was that we had tried so hard to get pg and I didn't want to waste time at work.


I quite about 3 months before she was born.  And, it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.  I ended up dealing with some ppd, our finances contributed to that because ultimately we couldn't afford for me to not be brining in an income, and dd2 turned out to be much more needy that dd1 was. 


About 2 months after her first birthday, I went and got a job.  Again, a paycheck, I work at CVS.  Part time, just enough hours to cover the financial aspect.  And then, a week after starting we found out I was pg, on our own.  Now, dd3 is 6, almost 7months old.  And I am back at work again.  I work 10 to 15 hours a week.  Those are in the evening, after DH is home from work or class (he works full time and is in school full time as well.)  I am usually only doing 3 shifts a week, 5 hours at a time.  I leave around 5:30, am home at 11:30, so I am not actually missing that many hours of awake time with the girls.  And it's good for DH to have that time with just him and the kids.


But, Man, I feel like I spend the rest of my time at home just recovering from those 15 hours I am gone.  DD2 has DH wrapped around her little finger so tight it isn't even funny and she gets away with SO SO SO much more with him than she does with me.  And, DH is a typical dad.  If you have ever seen "Bill Cosby-Himself" that's pretty much my DH.  He has been the dad to feed a kid chocolate cake for breakfast, because it requires no work on his part...and after all has eggs, milk, etc! lol. 


So, is it worth it?  It IS nice to spend some time among adults, and away from the 2 yr old screaming for more ice cream while I am trying to rock a 6 month old to sleep who is fighting it.  And, it's worth it in the paycheck sense, it accomplishes that goal.  But, I am literally counting down the DAYS until DH graduates in December.  While I am fully aware that the degree doesn't guarentee a huge jump in paycheck, the reality is that it won't take a big jump to make up my income.  And, he's made himself nearly invaluable at his job, they have already got him training for the position his degree will qualify him for (but he can't actually move to the position till he actually has the degree.)  And he's being head hunted.  So it's not unreasonable to expect that shortly after he graduates he will be making at least enough for me to stay home.  And that will be SUCH a relief.  My house simply functions better with me home. 


If I thought our financial situation would require me to work long term, we would change our situation by doing drastic things like selling the house, selling off most of it's content, etc.  But, it's temporary, while we are working to make it a better financial situation.  We can deal with a house that functions less than at optimum, on a temporary basis, to get to that long term optimum.

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