Just Getting By

I stopped working when my daughter was born. Actually, since I was a teacher, I finished teaching that school year three months before she was born.

And having a relaxing third trimester was nice.

But being home with her that first year felt like a must.

She nursed all the time, day and night. I spent hours upon hours with her propped on a breast while I binged t.v. shows or read books.

This sounds serene and relaxing. But I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t getting out. I wasn’t getting visitors. I was a mess. A chubby, sleep-deprived, desperate mess.

But, as many would say, I was living the dream. I was a stay-at-home-mom.

Yesterday, I heard someone talking about her decision not to be a stay-at-home-mom, and what she said struck me hard.

She and her husband both make six figures. After going to school for as long as she did, there was no way she’d leave that behind. As a former teacher (who did NOT make six figures), I can understand that. In the time I’ve been home (2 years now) I did take an online class to get the rest of my re-certification points. I will file paperwork next year to renew my teaching license. I want to get back into my career eventually. I can understand now wanting to jeopardize a career you worked so hard for.

But I worry, will this hiatus break my career? Will I be able to just jump right back into it? Have I done myself a disservice because I took time off, took out my pension (because we needed the money), and left a tenured position?

She further stated that her and her husband thought it best to have both their incomes in order to give their child the best financial life possible, instead of a just-getting-by-financial life. Oh boy did this hit hard!

When my husband and I started trying, he was bringing in about $7,000 a month. Now, after hours have been cut, he makes about half that. And we still have bills to pay. I still have student loans. Did we make a mistake having me stay home with our daughter?

Before getting married and before having a baby, I was financially pretty limited, but I was always able to pay my bills. They were on auto-draft; I didn’t know when they’d be taken out. I just always had enough not to worry about what day they’d be pulled out.

Now, my situation is different. It’s a balancing act. One emergency wrecks us. With our daughter’s UTI costing us about $500 out of pocket and our dog’s arthritis injury costing $1000 and all the other times we found ourselves in a deficit this year, our credit cards are about maxed. This has never happened before. I used to pay it off every month just to get points. Now, I pay about the minimum every month to not go over the limit.

As you can see, what she said hit me hard.

Choosing to stay home or choosing to work is a hard choice. There are pros and cons to each. It’s a little too late for me to go back next school year, but it may have to be something I do the following year. At that point, I will have been out of the school system for three years.

I just hope that doesn’t hold me back too much!

60 Replies to “Just Getting By”

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