Tag Archives: Working Mom

Working Mom to SAHM… And Back Again

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When I was a kid, the one thing I never expected about being an adult is how many different lives you can lead all within the same life.  Parenthood, it turns out, is one event that can be a life-shifter.

I worked in an educational sales field before being a mom, and never expected that I would want to stay home full time as a parent.  I wrote about our transition to a single income here.  The days spent reading nursery rhymes on the couch and playing “Dinosaur Train” in the driveway were unforgettable and such a blessing.

I wondered if I would ever go back to work, and if I did, how hard would it be to transition back?  It turned out that the hours spent reading with my daughter were the foundation to my return to work.  We read books about American Girl characters, classics like The Wind in the Willows, and many, many dinosaur books.

My husband and I are not willing to give up having me home in summers, so that has limited my work choices.  When my daughter was in 1st grade, I started back to work at her school as a substitute cafeteria worker.  This was hard, physical work, but it gave me experience interacting with all kinds of children.  I met amazing, hard working, ladies who worked at the cafeteria and then went to work at other physically demanding, low paying jobs.

Taking a very entry-level job in a school was my starting point for other school opportunities that didn’t involve lifting 25 pounds of mashed potatoes.  I got to know the principal which allowed me to step into a reading paraprofessional position.   I have found that to increase your wage in these part-time positions, you have to be willing to move around a little and try other school districts.  Each position increased my hourly rate and gave me more experience.

This fall I was looking on the teachers’ job positing website to read about a position a friend was applying for, and I happened upon the holy grail for me… a school library position.  I silently showed it to my husband and he was fully unboard.  It was 3 miles from home, paid about 20% more, and had benefits like paid holidays.

I got a call back for an interview quickly, but it was a strange interview and I didn’t think I had a chance.  At the end, I handed them a list of the 50 or so kids’ fiction books I read in 2016.  

I got the job.  I think the knowledge of kid lit was the clincher.

So, I am happily at a school library every day, home before the bus drops DD off, and making enough that I get matching retirement benefits and an opportunity to contribute to a 403b which I definitely am taking advantage of.

It felt like a long road back, but every job I took contributed to the next job.  As soon as I got the library job I emailed my cafeteria boss and thanked her for my time there…without that job I would have never have landed the other ones.

My advice to a parent choosing to stay home with small children is to do it if your finances and heart are telling you to.  You may find that being home gives you new skills and interests that take you in a career direction you would never have anticipated ūüďö!
 

 

 

 

 

Slow Down Saturday

Santa Fe Cactus

Santa Fe Cactus, 2013

Wowee, what a week. ¬†It’s such a blessing to be home all summer with my girl, but such a rude awakening when it is back to work and school. ¬†This was our first full week of school and work. By about Wednesday my daughter was longing for a vacation to Washington, DC. ¬†I find that when we have the urge to go on a vacation, what it usually means is: “I miss living life without so many obligations.”

We did decide that we could take some money from my checks and put it into a vacation fund that we can watch grow.  This might be a good introduction to our budget process for our daughter.

Today we are taking it easy as we are under orders from Laine’s teacher to “recharge our batteries.” ¬†This is advice near and dear to my heart. ¬†The next best thing to a vacation is being home without a massive to-do list and errands all over the place.

Meanwhile, we had a good week with our budget. ¬†I wasn’t enthusiastic about cooking some of the nights this week, but having a meal plan really helps. ¬†It is important that I continue to cook most meals at home or my checks will be used up in dining out costs! ¬†I continue to monitor Quicken to make sure that my working isn’t causing a rise in grocery spending due to lack of meal planning.

On a humorous note, my most interesting google search that brought someone to my blog ¬†this week was ‘getting laid at home’. ¬† Pretty sure they didn’t get to the page they were looking for, but maybe they stumbled on a good Jamie Oliver recipe as a result.

Getting Back to Work after Being an At-Home Mom

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I left my career to be a stay at home mom when my daughter was three.  My husband and I worked hard to get into a financial position to make that a reality.  Between the cost of daycare and the hefty taxes on the second income, we were surprised at how quickly we adapted to the loss of income.  Being an at-home mom also allowed us to homeschool for the first year of kindergarten, which we all relished.

Once my daughter was in full-day school, it took me about 2 weeks until I felt the urge to work again.  The dilemma was that none of us wanted to get back to a lifestyle of paying for after school care,  emergency meals out due to lack of planning, and fights about who would stay home with a sick kid.

I knew there was no way I could fit into a schedule at a national company with shifts. ¬†I was available from 8:45 until 2:00, not during Christmas break, or summer. ¬†Sounds like just what you want to hear as an employer, right? ¬†The upside is that I had a sales background and am a responsible person that likes to work. ¬†My solution – a local fancy bakery! ¬†In my cover sheet I laid out the whole situation, and offered that if they needed to slot in a college student to cover when I couldn’t work, I would be happy to give them my hours when they were home for winter break or summer. ¬†It worked!

I really enjoyed the work, the customers and the 50% off discount! ¬†The bakers were a crazy fun bunch. ¬†The money I earned helped us in our last push to pay off the mortgage. ¬†While we were getting our financial house in shape at home, the bakery was headed in the other direction. ¬†Too much debt, creditors calling… you were afraid to answer the phone! ¬†The bakery trimmed back to one location and that seemed to help. ¬†I worked there for 1 year, but no regrets… and I still usually get a discount when I get to the other location!

What I learned from the experience is that even though you may not have the most flexible schedule to offer, an amazing work ethic and people skills go a long way for employers, especially in part-time jobs. ¬†It’s better to be honest up front about your scheduling limitations. ¬†I will bring you up to date on my current employment soon.

Have you returned to work after being a SAHM (or Dad!)?  What did you do to re-enter the workforce?