It’s no secret that having children changes everything. The way you sleep, the way you eat, even your general health is affected when you have kids. One of the things that usually changes is you and your partner’s attitudes and thoughts about work. Now that there is another mouth to feed and clothe and eventually put through college, your income that used to be more than enough will now be stretched, and if it still is not sufficient, then maybe both of you will have to start going back to work.
It’s not uncommon today for both parents to be working. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 46% percent of two-parent households in the US have both Mom and Dad bringing in full-time paychecks. With a number that high, it makes us really rethink if it really is possible to work and raise kids at the same time. Below are some issues to consider for those still on the fence.
Why more and more parents consider persuing dual incomes.
When it was just you providing for yourself, you learned very quickly that this was the most money you had ever seen. You had a real job that earned a real full time salary, and very little overhead that you needed to cover (unless you had a heap of student loans of course). Then you met your partner who would eventually be the other parent to your future child, and everything changed. You got married, which was a world changer, and now have to provide for two people with your paycheck, and probably learned that it wasn’t enough, so you switched jobs and are now being paid more. All that being said, is that still enough to prepare for the cost of kids? Nope.
Kids are expensive, very much so. According to the USDA, the national average cost per year is about $14,000, give or take $500 depending age of the child. Although we don’t think of babies as complete persons just yet due to how tiny they are and how pudgy they first look, they require all the necessities that you do, with the exception that everything is baby-sized.
They get sick, need special food, need special clothes that will continue to become useless due to how fast they grow, and then on top of those issues, they have futures that need to be prepped for – the same way your parents prepped for yours. With financial tags like that, a second income doesn’t sound so horrible an idea.
Ideal situation versus reality.
It’s a hard call to make: taking up a full time spot for financial security instead of spending all day with your child. Although we would much rather spend the entire day playing with them, teaching them things and making sure that they are being taken care of under our own supervision, it may just be more fiscally responsible to have both parents work full time. It’s not ideal, but if the income is not enough, your options are limited. Living close to family or close friends is a way to keep your special bundle o’ joy in safe hands, but best case scenario, you take up work part-time.
Working part time is a huge help to the income stream. Although it is not as much as a full time paycheck, it still is a sizable paycheck none the less. The boost that it provides will not only bolster the full time paycheck and give the second worker a feeling of wellbeing and self-worth, but will also provide more time to spend with the precious little one. If it still provides enough, a part time gig is a great way to go.
Consider working when the kids get older.
Although a dual income is something that can be a great boon to your financial situation, it’s not always necessary for both of you to work right away. Your situation can be dictated on several factors based on how many kids you have and what different ages they all are at, and even the kind of job you have or want to pursue.
If your current single income financial status is substantial enough to raise one child for the time being before you have another, then don’t put too much pressure on yourself for not seeking out another line of income. It just isn’t necessary. You only have one kid and the money coming in from the sole provider is enough for now.
Fast forward and now your first child is old enough to take on responsibilities at home and can even help take care of any other younger kids. Great! With this scenario you can now explore pursuing a fulltime job or even just a part time gig. Nobody loves the idea of sending the kids to daycare, and as a new parent, that is probably the very last thing you would ever want to do, even for the sake of furthering your career.
When the kids get older, and can handle a few degrees of separation from you, then having them be at home or away at school while you work doesn’t seem like such a harmful option.
Take care of business from home.
Another option that is moving more and more into popularity is the option of working from home. With hundreds of platforms out there that cater to individuals who work remotely, it’s easier than ever to convert your home into your workplace.
This option used to only be reserved for individuals with writing jobs, but now it doesn’t really matter what your occupation is. More than likely, you can do a bulk of your work from home and split the difference between going to work onsite only a few days a week and from home the rest.
This can be an option for either mom or dad to pursue. Whether it be the full time worker switching gears and working full time but now from home, or the non-full time worker picking up a side gig, this is an option worth exploring.
Balancing work and family.
Balancing work and family is no easy feat, and there is always a feeling of “I’m missing out!” that comes from moving in either direction. The secret to balancing work and family is that you need to eliminate the feeling of guilt attached with investing yourself in more than one are.
Just because you decide to work instead of spend all day taking care of the family doesn’t make you in anyway a bad parent—it just means you have other life goals, and your family will understand and support that (if they’re old enough). If you decide to tend to the family full time and forgo working entirely, then that’s more than okay too. Just talk it out with your significant other to see which option is the best for the two of you and your growing family
Keep those lines of communication open and honest, and in the end it really won’t matter how many lines of income you have coming in. When the time comes that you need more money coming in, then you can work it out. Two full time workers, one full time and one non-working, or one full time and one part time…every situation is different. Keep things open with your spouse about what you both need and want, and you will find that it is very possible to work and raise kids at the same time.