So the other day, I was thinking about the astounding amount of money Hubs and I pay for two measly days of daycare and a half day of babysitting for Grace. Since I am a freelance writer my income goes up and down, and some months it feels like it’s not worth it to work – financially, at least.
I threw together this little card and posted it on Facebook as I was contemplating the tiny amount of money I brought home last month:
And I asked the Honest Mom Facebook fans: Truth? Or sarcasm?
I was shocked at the response. It was one of the most commented on and shared Facebook posts I’ve ever done. 786 likes, 774 shares, 85 comments. Pretty big stuff for my page.
Obviously my ecard touched a nerve. And I can totally understand why – because I can empathize with both camps (working moms and SAHMs).
I used to work full-time. But when I was pregnant with Grace, I quit my job. I had had a complicated third trimester with Annie and I was heading down the same road with Grace (early contractions due to stress because of – you guessed it – work). I did not want my baby or me to go through that stress again.
But even if I was having a smooth pregnancy, I likely still would have left. Because though I loved my job and my colleagues, I felt like my priorities were out of whack. I felt unbalanced.
I felt like I never saw Annie.
Monday through Friday, I dropped my two-year-old off at daycare at 8:00am and picked her up at 6pm. This meant I saw her for a total of two hours each day.
And they weren’t quality hours, either. They were consumed with eating and getting ready for school/bed. That was pretty much it.
It was killing me.
I knew Annie was in good hands. She loved daycare. I loved work. But I loved her more. And I missed her desperately.
Hubs and I went over the financial implications of me not working as much. I am fortunate that I am a copywriter and it’s something I can do from home as a freelancer. We knew we’d have to make some pretty decent adjustments, but we also knew I could ratchet up the freelancing gigs if needed.
Plus, Hubs was also missing Annie, and if I was home with her he figured he’d start working a day from home to maximize his time with her. And he’d also get extra time with her each day, since his short commute meant he usually got home by 5:30.
So I did it. I left my well-paying, ladder-climbing, fun yet stressful job. And I am now a part-time worker, part-time SAHM.
And I don’t regret it.
But honestly? I think I would if I wasn’t working at all.
When I left the corporate world, I was in a great place, career-wise. I had worked my BUTT OFF to get where I was. And I loved what I did. I couldn’t imagine leaving my career behind completely.
It’s not all about the money. The money is GREAT, of course. Earning a paycheck is very satisfying for me.
But for me, work isn’t just about money. It’s about professional and creative collaboration with adults I respect and enjoy working with. It’s about having a sense of pride and accomplishment in creating a successful email campaign, advertisement, or research paper.
And it’s also about … well … not being with my kids 24/7.
I’m not cut out to be a SAHM. If I was, I’d jump in and embrace the role whole-heartedly. But I’m not. I found that out in the years after Grace was born, when I basically was a SAHM.
I know that I’m a better mom because I have some separation from my kids a couple days a week.
I’m more patient and present with them when I’ve had my own time without them, doing something that has nothing to do with them.
This may sound unbelievable to SAHMs who love what they do. And the fact that I love working part-time yet enjoy my days home with Grace may sound crazy to full-time working moms who love what they do.
But there it is.
So, are those months where I bring home $56 after accounting for daycare/babysitting expenses worth it?
And that’s my final answer.
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