WAHM's--How do you plan to do it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 02-12-2010, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I grade students' papers from home, and I have a 3yo DS. As the new LO approaches, I'm getting more nervous about how we are going to take care of everyone and pay our bills. DH does not have any vacation time. My mom lives in another state, and she plans to fly out as soon as I'm in labor, but she can't stay indefinitely.

I have to play the game, as LO's due date approaches, of figuring out the last possible class I can accept, as I'm contracted on a per class basis. I don't want to stop taking classes too soon that I'm sitting around with no paying work and no new baby, but I don't want to accept a class too close to my due date, have the baby, and not be able to finish the class.

DH thought I might be taking up to two weeks off after the baby is born, but after quite a conversation, he realized that isn't very realistic. I said I'd try to get back to work after a month, so we've been trying to save up money. This has been difficult, though, as we don't really make a lot of extra money.

At some point, we are thinking it will be time for DS to start preschool. He seems ready, but we need to do some research. I think, even if he went 2-3 days a week for 1/2 days, that it would be fun for him and give me a little time to get some work done.

So, what are your plans for managing your WAH status when the new baby arrives?

Joanna, 6 years married to DH, Mom to 3-1/2 yo DS Owen and DD Taylor, born 6/14/10 by unmedicated
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#2 of 14 Old 02-12-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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Are you an adjunct somewhere? How frequently do the classes run? I am an adjunct at a local college and opted not to teach during the summer session this year. I'll pick up again in the fall, but this means I won't have a paycheck between the end of May and the end of September. We're also freaking out about how we'll manage for those few months. No advice, just letting you know you're not alone .

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#3 of 14 Old 02-12-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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With the arrival of #3 coming, I'm not sure how I will manage. Come September, DS1 will be starting grade one full-time, so that will help. But during the summer will be extremely challening with all three around all the time.

When DS2 was born, I was in a similar situation as you. A couple of months before he was born, we started DS1 in preschool two mornings a week. It was still very tricky, once the new baby arrived, to get work done during that time. The chance that baby would be sleeping and quiet while his older brother was out of the house for 3.5 hours was slim. Often I'd be in the middle of a phonecall and baby would wake, and it was a real juggling act. Thankfully I have my very helpful MIL close by, so that helped sometimes.

Not sure how or when it got better or easier, but it did eventually. Probably when baby starts having a more regular schedule of naps and early-ish bedtime. Then you'll find yourself doing a lot of your work in the evenings after kids are in bed (which I imagine you already do with a toddler in the house!). Good luck. It's tricky for sure, but doable.

Mom to Andrew (March 1, 2004), Cameron (July 19, 2007) and #3 due in early June.
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#4 of 14 Old 02-13-2010, 01:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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laneysprout, I am and adjunct teaching assistant for an online university. The classes are five weeks long, so I hope to be able to start back about a month after the baby comes. We'll see if that works...

Jen, I appreciate your insight into making it work with more than one kiddo. One saving grace is that I don't take phone calls; all of my communication with students is by email. (I don't know how you did it!) Plus, the way my work is designed, I can start and stop as needed, and other than being somewhat annoying, it won't affect the work. I just have certain deadlines by which everything needs to be done.

I appreciate your input and support! :-)

Joanna, 6 years married to DH, Mom to 3-1/2 yo DS Owen and DD Taylor, born 6/14/10 by unmedicated
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#5 of 14 Old 02-13-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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Glad you spun this off into a separate thread!

I'm a freelance writer who WAM. When DD was 1 I started worked during naps and at night. I do make calls, which is really rough. (I remember interviewing this really important scientist one day while DD was barking and pretending to be a dog, chasing the cat around the kitchen.

Once DD was about 2, my saving grace was finding friends and doing child care swaps - I take the kids for a few hours Monday, she takes them for a few hours Tuesday.

I think the main thing is just getting used to the fact that nothing will ever feel like it's done _ the "work" or the "home." I was always leaving a story half-written to get her from nap, or trying to get her to play solo for 10 minutes so I could make a call. Once I got used to that level of chaos being the norm - it was a little easier.

I'm a little freaked b/c I've lost a lot of clients due to the economy. I had about 9 assignments last month and I've got 1 this month. Yikes. So we're already taking a financial hit. We'll see.

Me (40) DH (49) daring DD (9) and darling DS - almost THREE! (born June 25, 2010 in an amazing, unplanned homebirth.jpg

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#6 of 14 Old 02-13-2010, 08:16 PM
 
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Glad you spun this off into a separate thread!

I'm a freelance writer who WAM. When DD was 1 I started worked during naps and at night. I do make calls, which is really rough. (I remember interviewing this really important scientist one day while DD was barking and pretending to be a dog, chasing the cat around the kitchen.

Once DD was about 2, my saving grace was finding friends and doing child care swaps - I take the kids for a few hours Monday, she takes them for a few hours Tuesday.

I think the main thing is just getting used to the fact that nothing will ever feel like it's done _ the "work" or the "home." I was always leaving a story half-written to get her from nap, or trying to get her to play solo for 10 minutes so I could make a call. Once I got used to that level of chaos being the norm - it was a little easier.

I'm a little freaked b/c I've lost a lot of clients due to the economy. I had about 9 assignments last month and I've got 1 this month. Yikes. So we're already taking a financial hit. We'll see.

I could've written this post, only sub "conference call w/ad agency & pharmaceutical co" for "important scientist."

dd #1 11/15/07 and dd #2 unplanned and so glad the midwife was on her way!
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#7 of 14 Old 02-14-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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I am also adjunct faculty at a large university and teach 3 online courses per semester. I am expecting #3 in July (DDCC).

We have always worked it like this and it has been great for us.... During the day I check email when I can, but I am pretty much there for the kiddos. My DH gets home around 6PM, and I have dinner ready and on the table. We eat together as a family, and then I "go to work" in the bedroom. He cleans the dishes, plays with the kids, baths them, and gets them in their jammies. Our kids go to bed around 8PM so I go up and nurse/put them in bed with him. Then I go back down and wrap up for the night. DH and I sstill get some time for us before we pass out around 10PM.

I find that having 1.5 hours of uninterrupted work time each night makes it so that the weekends don't have to be so bogged down with working. DH generally gets up with them on Sat morning, and I get caught up on anything prudent (maybe an hour or two where I work in my jammies in my bed). Then, I get caught up on Sat or Sun afternoons when my youngest one naps with DH playing with DS.

Some weeks are easier than others, and I always schedule any online time (wimba courses, etc) for the evening hours of 6:30-8:00PM. This is also the time when I tell students they can call me at home if they would like. Kind of like office hours.

There are times when it is tricky because DH travels 4-5 nights a month for his job, but it takes just a little extra planning on my part.

Anyway, I hope you make it work for you! Teaching online is a great way to stay involved in your field, make a fairly good income, and never have to leave your kiddos if you don't want to. My kids have yet to be left with a sitter due to my job.

Good luck!!
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#8 of 14 Old 02-14-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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I'm also adjunct faculty at a Big 10 university. Right now I'm only teaching one class (traditional classroom, not online), which doesn't pay all that great. So I have DS in preschool the bare minimum to reduce costs. In fact, he's only in preschool while I'm teaching. All my grading and lecture prep has to be done while DS is home with me throughout the week. I tend to work during naps, when he takes them, and also late at night. It's hard to get things done already, so I can't imagine how tough it will be with a newborn. I am grateful that I will not be teaching over the summer and that DS2 will be about three months old when I have to go back (if I get a renewed contract that is - I am semester to semester).

For me, the biggest challenge is finding time to continue working on my own research and writing. I have an edited volume that HAS to be in to the publisher by May 1st. Plus I also have about 5 other articles that are either in-process or in-review that I have to continue working on, even over the summer. Then, if I ever want a better job, I also have to find time to keep applying to the very limited supply of tenure track positions in my field. I'm so tired just thinking about it all...

While money will likely be extremely tight, I expect that I will has DS1 in daycare/preschool more hours next fall, in order to stay on top of things. And I will try to work around the babies schedule as much as possible. Sometimes I think that WHAM/part time work is far more stressful than working full time. But I do enjoy spending more time with my kiddo.
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#9 of 14 Old 02-14-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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For me, the biggest challenge is finding time to continue working on my own research and writing. I have an edited volume that HAS to be in to the publisher by May 1st. Plus I also have about 5 other articles that are either in-process or in-review that I have to continue working on, even over the summer. Then, if I ever want a better job, I also have to find time to keep applying to the very limited supply of tenure track positions in my field. I'm so tired just thinking about it all...
Oh.... I remember those days! I was finishing my doc program when I was pregnant and my DS was six months old when I graduated (think three months old when I did my final defense).

I then became an assistant prof at a large research I institution and found that it was just too much for me. I wasn't doing anything well, and things suffered. I ended up doing distance instruction/adjunct instead (kind of a tough pill to swallow when you have prepared for years to be a prof at a major institution). It has made all of the difference though.

I feel for you sweetie!!!
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#10 of 14 Old 02-15-2010, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometimes I think that WHAM/part time work is far more stressful than working full time. But I do enjoy spending more time with my kiddo.
Ah, yes! I think some people imagine I have it so easy staying at home with my child, and doing my work from home, too. Yet, I think it would be fun to watch them try to do their jobs while being constantly interrupted by a toddler--need breakfast, need a snack, need to play, need to try and run out the door, need lunch, need another snack, need to play, need to try and let the dogs in the house, need you to read me a book, need to potty, already pottied and you need to clean it up--and see just how much they get done in a day while also trying to stay sane and take care of the house at the same time.

Joanna, 6 years married to DH, Mom to 3-1/2 yo DS Owen and DD Taylor, born 6/14/10 by unmedicated
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#11 of 14 Old 02-20-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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Ah, yes! I think some people imagine I have it so easy staying at home with my child, and doing my work from home, too. Yet, I think it would be fun to watch them try to do their jobs while being constantly interrupted by a toddler--need breakfast, need a snack, need to play, need to try and run out the door, need lunch, need another snack, need to play, need to try and let the dogs in the house, need you to read me a book, need to potty, already pottied and you need to clean it up--and see just how much they get done in a day while also trying to stay sane and take care of the house at the same time.
This to totally my life! Only kick it up a notch because my 3yo has SPD and is SUPER busy and demanding! And my DH wonders why I'm out of patience by the time he comes home at 6pm .
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#12 of 14 Old 02-20-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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This to totally my life! Only kick it up a notch because my 3yo has SPD and is SUPER busy and demanding! And my DH wonders why I'm out of patience by the time he comes home at 6pm .
slsurface we're in a very similar position I have a position at a top university here and I still need less than two years to get a permanent post (tenure track you call it?). So far I've been staying home with my DS (now 2.5 years old) and I'd go to the university to teach a few times a week and that only in the afternoons when my DH was at home to stay with him. It was a good thing that I wasn't given any new courses as I'd have struggled with lecture preparation too. But the main thing is that my research progress has suffered a great deal; I cannot seem to get anything decent done lately, as I'm constantly interrupted by my DS who is very spirited and active (he almost never plays with his toys, he's always around me nagging me ). So when I got pregnant things have gone from bad to worse as it seems that my tolerance levels have gone way down And since I have a pretty serious problem with varicose vains on my left leg my OB wrote me a sick leave for two months (and I'm also allowed a two-month leave before the EDD). So I'm now at home but I cannot even manage to prepare dinner, things are just so bad with him around

Honestly I do not have a clue how I'm going to manage to work on my research and keep my post once the new baby arrives. My DH leaves very early in the morning for work so taking him to the nursery myself with a newborn doesn't seem to be an option.
Sometimes I get really depressed and think that I'd have to quit otherwise I'd be both a terrible academic and a lousy mother. But then I remember how hard I worked to get my doctoral degree (I studied in the UK) and then how nice it was to get this position as faculty positions are really very limited at the top public universities here and I get all sad

Wish I had an answer for you but I don't
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#13 of 14 Old 02-22-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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LOL..LOVE IT! I have been a WAHM since ds #3 was born, and yes its hectic and you wear alot of hats at once. Scheduling can be tricky..Luckily my DH have a system with babies, I get the kids during the day, see DD (#1) on the bus and off to school, DS #2 is only part time K this year but goes to full time next year. I work during the day while DS $3 is running circles around me, DH takes over at bedtime, at stays up with baby (sick kids etc) at night, he works nights from home..#4 is due once school lets out, so we will have some family time before the 2 older ones go back to school..

"I'd rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not."- Kurt Cobain
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#14 of 14 Old 02-23-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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Another soon to be WAHM, just enjoying reading the responses!

I WAH until DD was 4, but went back to WOH part-time as a legal secretary when she started preschool. I will be WAH again once this little guy comes along. I do medical transcription at home (and hope to get another contract or two).

With DD I went back to "work" after two weeks. I have to admit it was too much. I will have a way lighter workload this time, so I'm hoping that two to three weeks will be enough.

I only ever had one little one when I WAH before, but I was also a single mom throughout the experience. My last contract was a nighttime one. I worked from the time DD went to bed until like 1 or 2 a.m. It was pretty exhausting, but I had all day long to spend with her! When I had a contract that could be worked on during the day, I tried to work when she napped. But there were times when the TV was the babysitter way more than I liked. I really, really, really want to avoid that with Caleb.

This time around I hope to work mostly when baby naps and DD is keeping herself busy (since baby will come when she's on summer vacation from school) or when DH is home and can help. I don't know how everything will fall in place... but I'm freely aware of the chaos that can ensue when you WAH!

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I think the main thing is just getting used to the fact that nothing will ever feel like it's done, the "work" or the "home."
Well said, whozeyermamma! On my longer work days I remember looking around and thinking, look at the mess we made today - its 5:00 p.m., I haven't showered and I'm still in my pajamas!

For me it is 100% worth the chaos. I just could not leave my 6 week old at a daycare, and I don't really have family that is able to watch him the 10 hour stretch that is required when you work 8 hours out of the house. Yet, we can't live on DH's salary alone. My mom and sister will be available if I'm really in a crunch - so that will help!

ETA: A friend of mine that has WAH continously for longer than I have, has one night a week scheduled where DH is in charge. She does prepare dinner and eat with the family, but then she's off to work in the home office. He does baths, bedtime, and all that (I think she pops up briefly to say goodnight). I really think once our little ones get past the very needy stage it is a great option! She does work quite late then, but she's getting a good 5-6 hours of uninterrupted work time - which really helps with the sanity!

Lis ~ Married to my favorite boy partners.gif and raising "our" three ~
DS 14 (hisjammin.gif ~ DD 9 (mineloveeyes.gif ~ toddlerDS 2! (ours) bouncy.gif

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