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Yet Another Working Vs. Staying Home Post

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Courtneylub

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I''m on week #2 of work and what I''m calling the "probationary period". I''m more confused than ever. I''d like to just vent and post my pros and cons. I hope discussing salaries isn''t too distasteful. I think it helps to put that out there though.

Pros for staying at work:

Adult contact
Self worth in the area of working...using my brain, I suppose
Retirement
College for Alila
Keeping our lifestyle
Great benefits

Pros for staying home:

Alila (this can count as 100 items on this list, of course)
Keep up with housework
A chance to get out of this field and find something else in 6-9 months
Breastfeeding (less pumping!!)
See family more
Spend more time with husband (he doesn''t work mornings)
DH makes 6 figures - not really a pro, but just shows that we could live on his salary alone

Cons for staying at work:

Don''t love it
Miss my baby
Pumping
Company about to limit internet access

Distance from home, traffic

Cons for staying home:

Lose $50,000 salary
Switch to husband''s benefits (not as great)
Cut back on things (sell my car, not as many trips, etc.)
Having to look for something else in this economy in 6-9 months

Hmmm, can''t think of many cons for staying home.

This is SO difficult for me!!! It''s really scary to think about quitting a decent job, but I know it''d be worth it. I could see myself regretting staying at work a couple months down the road. I really doubt I''d regret staying home for 6-9 months.
 

Courtneylub

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Forgot to mention: We don''t neccesarily have to put Alila in daycare. DH has the flexibility to bring her with him to work occasionally. Right now we have one of his coaches watching her a couple days a week and my grandma a couple of days. This is a temporary thing, but we could figure something out similar long term.
 

janinegirly

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My advice is to give yourself more time, 2 weeks is nothing and still an highly emotional time. Try at least another month to see how things settle. All of us working moms go through this, and I also was about to quit (especially when I calculated the costs of childcare, benefits, commuting)! We had enough saved up to handle it, but things would be v. tight. But now that I have some hindsight, I'm glad I stuck it out. I tried to stay logical (but had some bad, emotional moments!), and realized I had a good job (with a lot of flexibility). I ended up pursuing working from home 1-2 days a week, which has now given me a nice balance. There are alot of options in between working full time and SAHM. Also, the market is quite bad, and you might be out of work for awhile, so calculate the costs there.

Lots to think about, but there are cons to SAHM. Here are some (just to give you some perspective--not bashing SAHM option at all!!):
*you will feel more one dimensional if you're used to working. For me, I think the biggest issue would be not being able to contribute financially or have some financial independence. Having had it for all my life it would be a big adjustment and I'd get nervous that DH might eventually resent all the burden on him. (might not be right, and might not happen, but it's a potential issue).
*potential to get bored if you're a SAHM
*change in lifestyle: less vacations, less splurges for yourself and baby
*less $$ to stock away for baby's future
*difficult to reverse decision. Once you quit, you might find a job in 6 months, but it's unlikely (between the market, and also you will have the same issues in 6 months regarding leaving the baby as you do now)

Just some food for thought--let us know what you decide. What does your DH say? You say he makes 6 figures, so does that mean you feel you've have been working for reasons other than $. If so that might knock off a couple items from my list above.
 

cellososweet

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If you''re only going to stay home for 6-9 months, then retirement and college for the babe wouldn''t really be affected, so those aren''t really pros for staying at work.

I feel that you want to stay at home. Your last two lines pretty much sums up how you feel. Money isn''t everything. Do what your heart tells you. Good luck!
 

Haven

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If you really don''t need the income from your job, it sounds like you''re working because you like it.
Is that correct?

If that''s the case, then I suppose it''s a choice between which you would rather do: stay home with your child, or keep your job.
 

natalina

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Courtney- DH and I have recently started to try to figure out what we should do too. Our situation is very similar to yours, except that we do not have family that could watch the baby, so she would have to go to daycare. Our baby isn''t due for 2 months and then I will have 12 weeks mat leave, so we have a while to decide but it''s already so hard! I can''t even imagine how much harder it must be for you, as Alila is already here in all of her adoarble sweetness!

So I don''t have any advice for you, just wanted to offer support. Whatever you decide will work out for you and your family either way. For what it''s worth, it does kinda sound like you are leaning towards staying home.

Good luck with your decision!
 

Courtneylub

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Cellosweet, you''re right! Anything I make in 6-9 months isn''t going to contribute much to retirement or college! Do you see how fogged my mind is right now?

So it''s as simple as this: do I want to take off 6-9 months of work to be with Alila during this wonderful time that I''ll never get back? Or do I want to risk losing a pretty good job and potentially having a difficult time finding something else in 6-9 months?

Let me break that down. Even if I have a difficult time finding another job at that time, we won''t hurt much. I realize it will be hard leaving her at that age also, but when she turns 9 months old, she''ll be able to attend the schools where DH teaches.

Grrrr.

Thanks, Janine. You''re probably right about needing to give it more time, but I just feel like it''s now or never. My job doesn''t provide that flexibility. I don''t have the option of working from home.

Haven, no I''m not working because I like my job. And I''m not saying we need the money either, but it''s very helpful.

Natalina, it''s not easy! Hopefully you will have an easier time with your decision than I''m having.
 

NYCsparkle

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hey court...i went through the same feelings and thoughts as you, but in the end i decided to stay home for 1 year with my son 3 years ago and now this school year with my dd (i''m a teacher)....honestly it is hard and lonely sometimes but rewarding to be able to see your baby''s firsts...i would have been heartbroken for someone else to see my sons milestones...with my dd it was a no brainer...i knew i''d stay home for the year...looking back ....its hard to lose the salary for the year, but the time spent with your child is worth it....you can always make more $, but you can never get back your childs 1st year. my dh and i bonded even more because we had more quality family time.


*remember you don''t have to leave working forever...it could be temporary like my situation.
whatever you choose though will be the right decision for your family....
 

NewEnglandLady

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I don't have children yet, but I feel that I'm constantly analyzing whether I want to continue to work or be a SAHM. One option that I have started to explore is working part-time. Is this an option for you either in your current field or maybe in another field (maybe find a part-time position around a hobby you enjoy)? I've heard some say that it's a great option because you still have a working relationship with adults without the demands of a full-time job. Still others consider it the worst of both worlds: you take a salary cut, but still can't devote 100% of your time to the baby. In your situation, however, with your husband home in the mornings, I just feel like this might be a good option? He can take care of Alila in the mornings while you're working and then you'd be able to spend that time with her for the rest of the day.

It's such a tough decision! Good luck!
 

Sabine

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I don''t have any experience with this, but from your posts, what I''m hearing is that you don''t really want to be working and are not particularly tied to your job, but you''re worried about giving up the job security and some extras you might be able to afford now. I do have experience leaving a secure job that I didn''t particularly like, and I''m all for it. You have months to look for something new that you could possibly LOVE that would make leaving your little girl feel more worthwhile. And it sounds like you are in a good position if you can''t find something right away.
 

janinegirly

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I guess it depends on how you feel about not working. I just think taking 6-9 months off is unrealisitic since it usually takes about 6 months to find a job, and that's in a stable market. Of course i'm not sure what your field is, so might be different. Plus there is also the question of when is the best time to take a temporary leave of work (ie not permanently being a SAHM). The baby's firsts, or is it better when she's a toddler and more interactive, or when she's in school and you want to be home when she comes home, or if you have another child. Try to think of the big picture and what your ideal set up would be. For me, I'd like to keep the "quitting" option on the table for when I really really need it, ie 2 kids, or C needs me at home more. I don't feel I've missed any firsts, since I'm home more often than not.

I also think there are always options--sometimes you just have to ask. Part time, work from home are things you could ask about especially since you are willing to quit and therefore have nothing to lose.

If you get nothing out of your job but some extra pocket money and do not think having lost that piece of independence/stimuloation will affect you, and DH wants you home, then sounds like you've made your decision.
 

MustangGal

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Being a SAHM wasn''t really an option for me, but even my mom thinks I wouldn''t be cut out for it. I was starting to go bonkers after 2 months of my leave. I think even if I didn''t really have to work, I probably would.

To me it sounds like you really want to stay home. But keep in mind, it''s a REALLY tough job market out there, and you''ve mentioned that you would want a position slightly different than what you''re doing now, which will make it that little bit harder to get a new job. I''d give it at least a month of working before you decide, it''ll take that long to really get a feel for what working and being a mom is like.
 

somethingshiny

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What would you possibly regret someday?

Losing time in your profession? Losing money?


Losing time with your child?

I know women who would regret losing their seniority, salary, etc more than they would regret any time missed with their child. Personally, (I''m a SAHM), I would regret not having as much time with my child.
 

MichelleCarmen

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If you don't think you'd regret staying home for 6-9 months, then do so.

One thing I would like to point out re: your con of "adult contact," is basically SAHMs *DO NOT* miss out on socialization unless the mom sits around at home with her child and doesn't make any effort in finding new friends for her and friends for her child. I've been a SAHM for 8+ years and have met friends in all kinds of venues. Yes, it's not the same sort of "adult contact" as you would get when working with colleagues because you're in a less structured environment and generally you're "hanging out" vs. working on projects (or whatever your work requires - I'm not sure what you do/did for employment), however, you many find that the conversations with co-workers may lack vitality while your thinking of the time you're missing out on with your child.

Also, why would you have to sell your car if your DH makes 6 figures? I take it you would trade it in for a more affordable vehicle?
 

Courtneylub

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Date: 7/28/2009 12:09:06 PM
Author: somethingshiny
What would you possibly regret someday?

Losing time in your profession? Nope! Losing money? Nope!


Losing time with your child? YES!

I know women who would regret losing their seniority, salary, etc more than they would regret any time missed with their child. Personally, (I''m a SAHM), I would regret not having as much time with my child.
All great questions. By only taking off 6-9 months, I wouldn''t lose much time in my profession, wouldn''t lose much money. But I sure as heck would be losing time with my child. Even if I decided to take more time off than that, I could always find something else and keep up my skillset. I''m pretty sure I''ve made my decision. I need to stop talking myself out of it...when I know deep down what I really want to do. The next step is talking with my boss and seeing if there is an opportunity for part time. I doubt it, but doesn''t hurt to ask.
 

janinegirly

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Date: 7/28/2009 12:09:06 PM
Author: somethingshiny
What would you possibly regret someday?

Losing time in your profession? Losing money?


Losing time with your child?

I know women who would regret losing their seniority, salary, etc more than they would regret any time missed with their child. Personally, (I'm a SAHM), I would regret not having as much time with my child.
just want to say working moms are not prioritizing seniority and salary over child, at least not ones I know. For me seniority means zero. Couldn't care less. Salary, well it does mean something since the family, including baby, benefits. The biggest benefit of working is the balance it offers the mom and sense of self (which in turn makes her a happier person/mom). Not for everyone, but this is the single thing I hear most working moms saying they realized they needed more than they thought. And like I said there are LOTS of options for finding that balance and some happy medium without stopping work 100% (part-time, or work from home options). However if you feel you don't need that balance and are sure of that after only 2 wks back (and money is not an issue at all), then that is the decision there. I chimed in about being realistic about 6-9 month range, b/c reality may be different after that time passes (and it will go by quick!), so just be aware of that, since you will need to be prepared for the possibility of being out work for a lot longer.
 

swingirl

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I vote hands down for staying home with your child for as long as you possibly can. A child''s life goes by pretty quickly, breast feeding is very important, and blah blah blah about all the pros of caring for your infant while they are infants. Your personal contribution to your family is way more important that your professional contribution for the profit of a corporation.

So if you are even considering staying home, don''t really need the income, don''t like your job anyway, and are BF, then get over the "no adult conversation" and " I need to bring home the bacon" and just be a great SAH mom. Enjoy your baby, breast feed, clean house and keep your stress level down. It''s really okay and in my opinion is good for the whole family.
 

Lilac

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Date: 7/28/2009 12:17:57 PM
Author: Courtneylub
Date: 7/28/2009 12:09:06 PM

Author: somethingshiny

What would you possibly regret someday?

Losing time in your profession? Nope! Losing money? Nope!

Losing time with your child? YES!



I know women who would regret losing their seniority, salary, etc more than they would regret any time missed with their child. Personally, (I''m a SAHM), I would regret not having as much time with my child.
All great questions. By only taking off 6-9 months, I wouldn''t lose much time in my profession, wouldn''t lose much money. But I sure as heck would be losing time with my child. Even if I decided to take more time off than that, I could always find something else and keep up my skillset. I''m pretty sure I''ve made my decision. I need to stop talking myself out of it...when I know deep down what I really want to do. The next step is talking with my boss and seeing if there is an opportunity for part time. I doubt it, but doesn''t hurt to ask.
It really sounds like you know what you want from this post. You want to stay home with your child. Normally I would say to give it another few weeks if you''re not sure, but it sounds like you ARE sure now. If losing that money won''t hurt you, then I say stay home with your child because it seems like that''s what will make you happiest.
 

cara

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It sounds like you really want to stay home with Alila. To me, and this is just how I read your situation and it emphasizes the things that I worry about, it seems doable to stay home for 6-9 mo and get that non-replaceable time with Alila. But what would worry me are the uncertainties - what job would you get in 6-9 mo, would it really only take 6-9 mo to find one, how would your finances fare during a more extended unemployment, and is there any risk of your husband losing his job? The knowables are doable, but the unknowables are what worry me for your situation.

I'll just echo janine and say give it two more weeks at least. Also, during that time, why don't you 'try on' a decision and see how that feels. Like, decide to stay home with Alila and plan out what that will involve and see how you feel about it. If you still feel uneasy after considering it a done decision for a week or two, then maybe its not the right one and you should try out the other decision and see if you feel better about that. Good luck!

ETA: It sounds like you are almost there! And you have considered my uncertainties enough. OK, just sit on it for a week or so and get some confidence in your decision before talking to your boss. No regrets!
 

E B

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My mother stayed at home with me for my first year, and to this day, she talks about what a great decision it was. She wouldn't trade those first milestones with me for the world. I feel the same way- and since it was financially doable, my husband and I decided I'd be a SAHM.

It sounds like you've made what you feel is the best decision for your family, so kudos! Like MC said, there are plenty of ways for SAHMs to battle cabin fever- finding other groups of SAHMs and planning weekly outings should help. At least, I hope so!
 

Courtneylub

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During the 12 weeks I stayed home on maternity leave, I never once got cabin fever! I made sure to get out of the house and I also had a good friend who is home on permanent disabillity. I had plenty of adult interaction due to that, my husband being home a lot more due to his flexible schedule, and I chatted on the phone quite a bit. I loved staying home!

Regarding finding another job: I''m not worried about it taking longer to find something. I will wait until I find the exact job I want. What is most scary about resigning from my current job is that I have it pretty good. It''s a great company and I work with nice people. I don''t love my job, but it''s totally bearable. I''ve had previous jobs with Satan for bosses and I don''t have that now. I can honestly say this is the best job I''ve ever had. But who''s to say I won''t ever find something just as good or even better. I only have my horrible previous job to compare it to.

I did some research online about presenting the part time suggestion to supervisors. I came up with this little draft:

I’d like to discuss the possibility of continuing work on a reduced schedule for a temporary period of time. I’d like to suggest a 6-month part-time status of working 50% and then increase to a 70% status for the next 3 months after. Obviously my salary would be reduced based on my revised schedule. We could do a trial period of about 30 days and if you’re not satisfied, we could re-address the issue. I know working from home isn’t an option, but keep in mind that I’d be willing to if the opportunity came up. I would always be available for emergencies and would also be available for all college recruiting and traveling. I really think the result would be great for ______ Corp. as you would pay me less but I know I could do the same amount of work as I do on my 5 day a week schedule. I’ve proven that I can not only do my job, but take on a several more duties. I covered my position as well as the payroll role at 3 separate times in the 2 years that I’ve been employed here. I feel this could be a win-win situation. I get to stay home with my child more and you get me at reduced cost. If after some time, you or I realize that I was unable to keep up with my work load, we could revise it to fit the needs.

I really doubt they will go for it, but it''s worth a shot. If not, staying home and finding something else down the road will have to do.
 

somethingshiny

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It sounds like you know what you want, so go for it!


btw- I certainly didn''t mean to sound like I was putting down working moms. But, as I said there are moms that I KNOW who decided not to stay home because in losing seniority they would be losing all that they consider "good" about their careers. Please don''t put those people down either. All anyone can do is what feels right.
 

cara

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Good script and good luck! My one tweak is to not overpromise on what you will be able to accomplish on a reduced schedule - at least not to the extent of implying that you' ve only been working a twenty hour week all along. (if so, shouldn't they have just increased your workload without a pay raise?). Maybe just say you think you'll be able to cover most of your current duties because you'll be super efficient or something.
 

Courtneylub

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I agree, Cara. My husband just pointed that out. Even though I know I could get all my work done in the half the time, I probably shouldn't point that out.
 

Haven

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Sounds like you know what you want to do!
Good luck with getting a part-time position with your current employer!
 

vespergirl

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Courtneylub, congrats on your baby! I think that if you can manage that part-time work load, that would be ideal. I have been at home with my sone since he was born, but I did try to get a work-from-home schedule from my employer, for 20 hours a week, instead (I offered them half salary, and I wouldn''t take any benefits). My office told me that the best they could do was work full-time (in office) mon - thurs and then leave Fri at noon, but since I didn''t want to work more than 20 hours a week I turned them down, and am so happy as a SAHM. I was making a great salary and had a cushy job, so I wouldn''t have minded staying, but I wasn''t comfortable with using a day care center, or having to have a nanny more than part time, so I picked staying at home instead of working a 35 hour week.

One of my friends, however, was able to work out a great schedule with her boss - her son is 6 months old, and she wanted to work 20 hours but only two days a week. She works 10 hours on mon & fri, and is home the rest of the week. Her husband''s schedule is flexible, and he works from home a lot, so he watches the baby mon & fri while she''s at work. It''s great for them, because they don''t have to use daycare or a nanny.

She was able to get that deal because she works for a small company with only 5 people, but my old firm had thousands of employees, so they couldn''t offer me anything more flexible than their standard policy.

I will say that IMO, if the choice was between having to work full time and stay at home full time, if you can afford it, I would recommend staying at home. You can always get another job, and will most likely spend most of your life working, but your child will only be a baby/preschooler for a few short, precious years, and then there''s no way to get that time back, or to see the "frists" that you may miss while at work. The way that I know that I made the right decision for me is that I am so confident and happy in my decision, and don''t feel any "mommy guilt." All of my friends who are working, including the one who''s only working 2 days a week, feel guilty about leaving their babies during the day, even if it''s with family - they miss them so much! I haven''t had those feelings, because I''m always here for him. I''m sure that there are tons of women who work who love it and don''t feel the mommy guilt, but but that''s just my experience and what I''ve heard from friends as well.

Either way, I''m sure you''ll find a great solution for your family - good luck!
 

D&T

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Date: 7/28/2009 11:24:53 AM
Author: MustangGal
Being a SAHM wasn''t really an option for me, but even my mom thinks I wouldn''t be cut out for it. I was starting to go bonkers after 2 months of my leave. I think even if I didn''t really have to work, I probably would.

To me it sounds like you really want to stay home. But keep in mind, it''s a REALLY tough job market out there, and you''ve mentioned that you would want a position slightly different than what you''re doing now, which will make it that little bit harder to get a new job. I''d give it at least a month of working before you decide, it''ll take that long to really get a feel for what working and being a mom is like.
ditto here, I would still try to work part time - being SAHM isn''t for everyone.
 

Sharon101

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I`ve got 3 kids ranging from 6 to 14. I work and have worked in various capacities for as long as I can remember. There are many aspects to being a working Mum.

I never had to work 9-5 full time which I think would be incredibly hard. But I do work partly from home (part in an office) so sometimes that would take me through the night. What can I say, its really hard to get the balance right.

I believe part time work is the best for Mum and baby! I dont believe that its possible to be superwoman and do it all!

My last child got a lot more home mothering from me, I chose to cut down more and no creche etc. But the circumstances were different. She got phemonia and it took 2 years for her to recover fully. This was an extreem case. Otherwise all 3 of my kids are equally well adjusted with different upbringings. Fwiw, I was much more gung ho with the work with my first child and he was constantly brought up by nannies while I worked. I also didnt have as much patience with my first child as I did with my last so I found full time mothering to be the hardest thing I ever did. I was so happy to get a break in any way possible, even if it meant going to work.

I think its going to be a personal decision with no right or wrong. Only you can weigh up the true pros and cons for your family.

Some points that I would like to include is that I wouldnt want to trade in my car and that would influence me a lot to keep working. I also want to add that imo the early kinder/school years are slightly more important for you to be available because your kids really love when you can participate in school activities. They seem to take this very seriously and I regret the times I didnt visit to see my 2 older kids when they had special events for the parents. I make it my business to be there for all school events for my youngest and I can see that this really makes them extreemly happy. I personally think that this older more aware stage (say 3 onwards) is more important to really be around compared to the 0 - 9 month stage. However, this is just my opinion as all stages are important!

It seems to me that as my kids get older they actually need so much more of my time due to activities, rosters, doctors, dentists, haircuts, buying clothes, getting them tutors, making sure they have friends, trying to keep friendly with their friends mothers to keep everything `flowing`, cooking, food shopping, etc etc etc.

I feel that if you were to take time off, or switch to part time.....you can always do that down the track. I think you mentioned that your husband works at a school. That is a real win win situation and your kid will love that!
 
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