chores I used to perform as the rest of the family slept are now done during normal working hours. I schedule my duties to fit my family's timetable. I like being able to focus on doing this one full-time job well. The hours are great, it pays terrific personal dividends, and my co-workers love me.
It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your mother is?
If she's a working mom, she's probably transferring the last load of freshly washed clothes to the dryer. Or cleaning up crusty dishes in the kitchen. Or balancing the checkbook in the den. If it's been an especially tough week, she might even be at the grocery store, shushing an irritable toddler as she trudges down Aisle 4 in search of tomorrow's sack lunch for the kids.
It's tough having two full-time jobs, one inside, and the other outside, the home. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day, especially when you want to give the best to both your family and your employer. But that's life in the 90s. You need two incomes just to get by. At least, that's what I used to think.
Then came the day when both my daughter and my boss needed me. Now. Stuck between the proverbial rock and hard spot, I went with my maternal instincts. My boss hit the roof, I wore out a box of tissues, and my husband swore he'd find a way to let me stay home with the kids, even if it took two years to get us out of debt.
It took this crisis to motivate me to sort out our haphazard accounting system, which basically consisted of all those bills, pay stubs and little slips of paper stashed throughout the house. The dream of being able to become a stay-at-home mom someday spurred me on as I took stock of our finances.
As I carefully examined each piece of the puzzle, an unexpected image took shape before my eyes. “This can't be right.” But it was true. After childcare, car payments, taxes and lunches out, I was clearing $39 a week. No way! I checked it again. The result was the same. I had been unknowingly trading my dream of staying home for less than a dollar an hour.
We sold our cars and picked up two older models we could buy for cash. When I quit my job, we dropped into a lower tax bracket and got to keep more of my husband's paycheck. The occasional lunch out was now a treat, planned for and savored – but not missed when compared with daily lunch dates with my girls. And, of course, the weight of daycare expenses disappeared completely.
I stepped into a simpler, freer lifestyle made possible by 40 extra hours a week – actually, 50 extra hours when you consider prep and travel time to and from work. You've heard of quality time? The chances of latching onto those elusive slivers with my children increased dramatically, once I was more available to them.
Chores I used to perform as the rest of the family slept are now done during normal working hours. I schedule my duties to fit my family's timetable.
I like being able to focus on doing this one full-time job well. The hours are great, it pays terrific personal dividends, and my co-workers love me.