Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Self loathing

I am a self loather. Since I was 15 I have always had a paying job out side the house. A way to quantify my worth in the world. Today, I am unemployed by no choice of my own. It is a major adjustment. This is the profound post I was going to write yesterday. It is hard to be home and know how much I was once worth. I know what mothers who work outside the home say about mothers who work inside the home full time. I know how mothers who work outside the home come home and do more work.

As I am searching for a new job, these are the financial realities I have to deal with. This is how I assign worth to my role in the home.

Child care
Where I live, unlicensed care in the home of a neighbor or friend is about $7 an hour. Hours are a little tough to juggle and if you are late the penalties are very stiff (think about $50 per late pickup). These are after tax dollars. The child care I LOVED was only open from 7 to 5. Because my husband and I have office jobs and travel for work, we were going to have to really change our careers to make this situation work for us.

In home care in my home would be about $10 an hour. Again this is unlicensed care and after tax dollars. This was the most likely scenerio for us. We both used to work outside the home extended hours and could not have guaranteed a child care provider we would pick up by 5 pm. Also, we were very worried about dragging Elle out of the house 5 days a week at 6:45 am.

Outside care at a licensed facility is tuition based, usually a maximum of 11 hours a day Monday through Friday for about 320 a week. The first $10,000 of this annually can be deducted from your taxes.

Since I provide unlicensed in home care, I could charge up to $10 an hour. I will go with friend prices here and give myself $8 an hour. My husband works 10 hours a day 11 days out of every 14. That is $880 every two weeks pre tax. Or about $1,760 a month. Now factor in taxes to secure child care for those hours and my pre tax income needs to be $2,933 a month for us both to work the hours we did before we had Elle.

Not bad.

Elle currently does not eat solid foods. Because we tightened our spending when she was born, I continue to exclusively breast feed (it is working ok for both of us and is practically free). "Regular formula" at our Target, CVS or BRU runs about $23 a can. Assuming at least 5 cans (the big ones) a month in after tax dollars I save $115, or approximately $191 in pre tax dollars a month. Not bad. I am saving us some bucks.

A weekly good clean here is about $100 a week (after taxes). Given the hours we both worked, this would be a necessity if we ever wanted to hold our daughter. $400 a month post tax or $666 pre tax. Granted, these women clean the house WAY better than I do, but they don't do dishes or cook or do laundry (don't even get me started on dry cleaning expenses)...so maybe shave that down a bit!!!

Lawn Service
Yes, everyone has them where we live and they make about $75 a week for basic care. Yikes. $300 post tax or $500 pre tax. Now if Mr. Bishop would only buy me a chain saw!!! I keep asking and he keeps saying no. Something about a little incident a few years ago with a paring knife and some carnations. At least we knew an EMT who came over without charging us for Emergency Room fees!!

With all of these little things that my husband doesn't have to think about, I feel a little better about myself. I still feel like my life changed so much when Elle was born and his did not have to change at all. I am jealous when he goes out to dinner for work or talks in complex syllables all day. I am excited to find a new job and keep looking, but until then, I need to remember that I am not worthless.


  1. going to work is worthless...staying at home with your family is priceless.

  2. I'm in the same boat, but I figure the right job will come at the right time. In the meantime, I'm enjoying my time home with the kids. You should do the same and quit stressing. :) Give yourself credit. Being a stay-at-home mom is far more difficult than I could have ever imagined. And if you need some complex syllable time, trade babysitting with a friend once a week or so and get out of the house, sans Elle! :)