to work or not to work..outside the home that is

A mom on my facebook posted a link to this article and mentioned that she pays 700 a month in preschool tuition. My first thought was damn if I could get just 3 kids willing to pay that a month for me to teach them I could retire from my current job and make money. My second thought was, WOW!! I could never afford that. My third thought was, there has to be options.

When my oldest was not even born yet, I had visions of going right back to work after she was born. I was working in a very upscale church based child care center. My plans were to take her right to work with me and leave her just a few doors down in the infant room. When she was born and I was informed I only got a 10% discount and literally did not even make enough working to pay tuition to bring her to work with me. I had to rethink my plan. Little did I know that my choice would impact the rest of my life. But it is a decision I haven't really regretted.

Whats a recent college graduate with a husband still in school and a newborn baby gonna do.  I took as many months off as I could. My husband (ex now) finally looked at me and asked me, "Do you like to eat?" I responded "yeah", he then said some very truthful words, "well, unless you want to break that habit you need to get a job" OUCH!!! So, I did what any mom would do. I started looking for a job that allowed me to spend as much time with my child as possible.

I had some things going against me. I opted for a degree I found fun and engaging not one that pays well. I have a BS in Early Childhood Development. At the time it did not come with a teaching certificate. If I had continued working post baby, I could have taken a few classes and obtained the certification. However, I didn't know this until YEARS too late. I stupidly thought marriage is forever and any problems could be fixed and that I would have the financial security to do what I enjoyed (teaching preschool) and not worry about chasing a paycheck. Reality check came years later on that too.....

Another thing against me was that we were POOR. As I mentioned before my husband was still in school, but was also working on the weekends. We made too much money for government help. How we managed that I will never know, because honestly some months paying our 250 a month, all inclusive rent, felt like too much. I also wanted to spend as much time with my baby as I could, babies are only little once.

With this in mind I read the newspaper religiously looking for anything. Finally I found it. The nursing home was looking for someone they could send to school to get their CNA (certified nursing assistant) certification. I got hired and worked nights, he went to school during the day and neither one of us slept that entire year (at least it felt like we didn't). But, Abbey didn't have to go to daycare (mommy didn't have to pay for day care). Its a small price to pay. After the sleepless year we moved. He made more money and we decided it would still be best if I stayed home.

When I did go back to work I worked weekends while he was home so we didn't have to pay for daily child care.  Child number 2 came along and we kept up this arrangement until moving again. I begin teaching preschool again and realized in a hurry that I hit a wall with my career. I needed something extra that I didn't know I needed and didn't know was at my finger tips.

My point is, that it isn't black and white stay at home or work. And just because you stay at home doesn't mean you aren't doing anything. I did just as much as a stay at home mom as I do now. We had "home preschool" we learned, we had fun, we grew. There are options if you are able to work a creative schedule. It may take sacrificing your career, it may take sleepless nights. It may take not having a new car, or the house of your dreams. I wish I was in a position where my income was more, especially now that they are older and want to do extra activities. But, I wouldn't trade those sleepless years, those days of dancing and singing and playing, because that was important to me. I need to just remind myself of that when I look at my rental that isn't exactly where I thought I'd be today.

Anyway, to make a long post short. Don't just assume that you have to either work or stay at home, there are options like part time, flex hours, and seriously creative hours, that make seeing your spouse nearly impossible. 


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