The cost of living is steadily increasing, making it harder and harder for most families to survive on a single income. And while many parents will agree that their children’s well being is their top priority, healthy children and a happy home cost money no matter how frugal you are.
More money means longer hours away from those we love most, but we’ve been told there is no other way. I mean, is there?
Because for many families, two incomes means mom works one shift, and dad works another. No one sees much of the other because we’re either both working long, thankless hours at jobs simultaneously while the kids are in school and daycare, or we’re working varied shifts. I’ve come to believe- nay, I KNOW, there’s a better option out there. So what’s a busy mom to do?
I know what it’s like to feel stuck. To want to be there for my babies, but also wanting to contribute to our family financially. But with daycare being outrageously expensive when you have more than one child care needing care, what’s a family to do?
In 2016, my childcare costs were upwards of $31,000 for the year with five kids. That’s insane! And while I consider myself a frugal budgeter, I know when it comes to childcare, you often get what you pay for. A smaller price tag often means cheaper quality. When it came to my kids, my legacy, I wanted to feel good about where I was leaving them. I needed to feel good about the quality of the caregivers they were spending their days with.
Andy Stanley, by the way, gives a really great take on cheating your job (not your family) in his book, When Work and Family Collide. In it, he talks about this very conundrum. Wanting to contribute to our family’s finances, but also wanting to be there to see our kids grow up. They won’t be little forever.
So after the birth of my youngest in early 2017, I had to face the hard truth. I couldn’t be two places at once, working outside the home and being the present parent I desired to be. It was becoming ever clearer that I had to make a choice between working outside the home or coming home. And honestly, it had long proven implausible that I would be able to continue working outside the home anyway. I could no longer afford to pay childcare while working at my current jobs. So, I decided to stay home and resume that most honored profession of caregiver.
Trust me, it was a difficult transition and my desire to contribute financially didn’t just go away. I desired to bring in an income, and so I prayed on it. I prayed and waited. And it was then that I stumbled upon the very thing I’d been praying for. A work from home job opportunity.
I’d happened across a blog called LivingWellSpendingLess while browsing the internet for a quick fix for dinner. But not only did I find an array of tasty, budget friendly meals, I also found my calling. See, Ruth Soukup, the creator/owner of LWSL is also an author. And one of her books is accurately named “How to Blog for Profit- Without Selling Your Soul.” Thus, my blogging career was born, and I found an opportunity that would allow me to both raise a family while writing and earning an income from home. But that brings up a really good point. In essentially working two jobs, blogging and raising a family, how do I find time?
A more accurate question would be, how do I make time? Because that’s really the key. Making time.
It took me the longest time to realize that’s what I’d have to do. Make time. Because we’re all given the same number of hours in a day- 24. What we do with that time, those precious hours, is what separates the successful from those who simply dream of “one day.” And there are a couple of really good books that speak on that very subject, including The Miracle Morning and Rachel Hollis’s book Girl, Wash Your Face.
While The Miracle Morning gives a very clear directive to make the most of your mornings, namely the hours before 8am, Girl, Wash Your Face reitereated that if you want to work from home, lose weight, write a book, or namely do anything in this life, you’re just going to have to pull yourself up from your shoestrings and do it. No arguing, no whining. Just do it.
For those that are unfamiliar, Hollis herself is an entrepreneur, blogger, writer, mother and inspiration. From very difficult beginnings, she was met with obstacle after obstacle and overcame them. So even if a Miracle Morning isn’t in the cards for you, hey, you’re not alone! You can read about my less than fabulous morning here. But we can all stand to take a page from Hollis’s book and just decide to buckle down and go for your dreams.
If you’re dreaming of “one day”, why not think of today as that day? Day one instead of one day. Because the best time to start? It was yesterday. No joke.
I do want to take an opportunity though to say, if you’re wanting a more flexible job, you want to spend more time with your kids, but you’re still struggling to find time, I understand. Parenting is a full time job in and of itself. So I do want to toss this option up for those feeling guilty for wanting it all- both a career and a family. I actually touched on that very subject here because I’ve been there, feeling guilty because achieving balance is hard. And yes, I’ve at times felt I was failing, so I understand that there is no one size fits all. Working from home, it can be done while raising a family, it really can.
But sometimes, we all need a little help. And that’s more than okay. It’s understandable.
Childcare AND Working from Home
For parents that are able to work at least part-time from the comfort of their own home office/spare bedroom, the question posed to them is then, why would they pay to put their kids in daycare?
Would you, should you, can you? I mean, it would seem that if you’re working “from home” then one of the perks would be that you keep your kids home with you and get to save on the ever increasingly expensive daycare bill for those under the age of 5. Yes, that really is a huge perk.
But while both keeping your kids home and working from home is an option, more and more parents are opting to at least do drop in hours or part time care through a mother’s morning out program.
Why? I’ll tell you why.
As a working mom myself, one that has worked both outside the home as well as been stay at home, I can answer that question in one statement.
Parenting is a full time job! Boom!
Pros of Childcare
When a child is at daycare like The Goddard School, Primrose, or The Sunshine House, or any of the other franchised child development centers, bear in mind. The one job of that caregiver watching your precious bundle is your precious bundle.
Hiring someone else to watch my babies for a few hours a week while I work can be a plus because these caregivers do not have to fix meals themselves. At least not in a daycare environment, no. They have one or several cooks on staff. And another difference between caregivers at a daycare and parents? Daycare staff don’t have to juggle running errands with childcare. They’re at work. They save those for before, or after, their shift begins.
There is little to no laundry to do at a daycare and again, these staff have help. No dishes to wash. They have kitchen help.
And probably the biggest help to the staff? They have set schedules. Set schedules. Meaning they know exactly when their shift begins. And they know exactly when their shift ends. After that? They get to go home. Their job is over.
As parents, we don’t have that. A set start time? It’s whenever my child wakes up. And I’m not even talking about the bajillionth night time wake up, I’m talking about the 5am or earlier wake up we have going on in my house.
And when does my shift end, as a parent? Never. I’m always on call, all through the night, every night. And I get to bed after the kids get to bed. Set schedules my tail.
Oh yes. Daycare workers have something a stay at home parent or work at home parent lacks. Daycare staff have help. While a parent at home? Not usually, not unless both PARENTS are home, but rarely do I hear about two parent households where both are blessed by work from home opportunities.
It happens, I know it does. I actually have A friend, that she and her husband BOTH work from home. ONE.
But in general? One parent works outside the home. So one parent is home alone with the kids, watching the kids. Zero extra help. Unless it’s paid for. Point made.
And also, just to reiterate. The caregiver/teacher job at a child care facility? It’s a job. Those that stay home to PARENT in addition to working from home, we are doing two jobs. Two.
And I can speak from experience, that if you’re a stay at home parent, that is your job. Your primary job is to parent.
If you work from home, you’re doing that as a second job, and it’s the lesser important of the two. And that second job? It’s normally around your child’s schedule. Sleep schedule, nap schedule, play date schedule.
Working From Home with Baby
I get the vast majority of my work from home done, when my kids are either a) not here or b) asleep. Since daycare right now is too morbidly expensive (think, I-could-send-to-college expensive) option a) isn’t an option, so I work mostly while my kids are asleep. Napping (as they are currently) or after their bedtime, which usually falls somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30 every night.
Am I complaining? NO! Far from it. I want to emphasize that in working from home, I get the best of both worlds.
I get to spend waking hours with my kids, hours that are normally reserved only for teachers- (I’m pro home school by the way- but that’s a soapbox for another time). Which is why I’m forever grateful that Ruth Soukup introduced me to blogging! Being able to stay home with my babies while making money? It remains one of the very best reasons everyone should launch a blog! You get to put your priorities first- your family- without feeling like you’re sacrificing a career. Best of both worlds.
And I get to generate an income from the comfort of my living room, kitchen, Starbucks, you name it. Depending on the day and our schedule, I could be blogging from my couch while my kids watch Paw Patrol, or I could be writing from Chick Fil A while they have fun in the play area.
The balance is a blessing, but it isn’t easy. It’s worth it, but it does take a lot of hard work. Balance.
There are definitely times I wish I could afford to put my kids in care for just a couple of hours during the day, while we’re all awake and firing on all pistons, instead of having to sacrifice time away from my kids for my writing, or vice versa. Because parenting is my primary job. As it should be. But it’s hard. Parenting takes a village. And an income.
But for the time being, I’m blessed to be able to stay home and work, while also raising my family.
And no, we’re not paying for daycare. Though some days, I’d gladly pay for some help in doing one of my two jobs.
Do you think blogging would be an ideal job for you? Are you considering working from home while raising a family?
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