Updated on 02.20.10

Thinking About Another (Temporary) Life Change

Trent Hamm

As most of you know, my wife and I have two preschool-aged children and a third one on the way. From April/May of this year to September of 2011, we will have three preschool-aged children in our home, which will be an interesting experience with a lot of unique challenges.

Currently, my wife works outside the home as a teacher. She commutes almost an hour each way to work, which means that she often leaves before seven in the morning and doesn’t return home until five in the evening. While I’m (luckily) flexible enough in my scheduling to take care of some family matters, she often feels as though she doesn’t get to spend enough time at home in the evenings with the children (and with me, too).

Thus, we’re strongly considering utilizing the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to have her take a one year sabbatical from her job once her normal sick leave from the birth of the upcoming baby runs out. This would allow her to be a stay-at-home mom until our oldest child is in school – a fifteen or sixteen month stretch.

This is a major shift with several financial consequences.

First, her salary would go away. Our income for that period would come solely from my writing. Our numbers on paper show us that this is in fact doable, but it’s still a drastic change from where we’re at.

Second, we would be responsible for health insurance coverage (out of our own pocket) for that year. We would be able to continue using her school’s insurance package if we so chose, but we would have to pay the portion they typically cover out of our own pocket. Again, we’ve already figured this up and we can afford it, but it’s another radical shift.

On the plus side, our child care costs would basically vanish. We would (tentatively) send our oldest child to a private preschool in the area for a portion of the day, but the other two children would remain at home full time.

Our food and recreation costs would go down as well. Such a change would give us more time for meal and recreation planning – and I’m not just talking about Sarah, either. I would have more time as well for these activities because tag-teaming child care with my wife is much easier than bundling kids up for day care when I need to focus on work activities.

We’ve done our best to estimate these costs and savings and our conclusion is that we’ll be able to financially pull it off with some significant breathing room. A big help in easing our minds through all of this is the fact that we have a very healthy cash emergency fund and that the FMLA guarantees her a job if she returns after the year.

I really only have two concerns with this.

First, will I be challenged to have uninterrupted work stretches with three kids at home? I do most of my work in big uninterrupted blocks. In years past, I’ve tried to get significantly ahead on posts for the summer break so that interruptions wouldn’t be as bothersome, but I can’t get a year and a half ahead. Will I be able to find the right balance here?

Second, will Sarah be burnt out and miss her teaching work? I know that she loves her job and she’s a highly regarded teacher (back in the day of RateMyTeacher.com, I saw evidence of that). Will she be happy with this transition, or will she find herself going stir crazy this November because she misses the teaching?

The most important thing to notice is this: because we’ve been making little financial choices all along – minimizing our spending and saving for the future – this decision isn’t being made by the almighty dollar. Money isn’t forcing us to do this or to not do this. Our little choices all along are enabling us to make this decision on the merits of what’s best for our lives and, more importantly, what’s best for our children’s lives.

That’s the real power of frugal, financially sensible living.

I’ll keep you up to date on what we decide.

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  1. Lisa says:

    Just a couple of thoughts. One, check out alternative health care for you and the kids as it is sometimes cheaper. Surprising but true, a friend in florida uses her health coverage as a teacher but covers her husband and kids(2) for far less on a separate policy she found/researched on the internet. Two, she is only going to be away for 1 year, she might or might not miss work but if she does she will know she is going back in 12, 11, 10, 9 … months. Three, if you use fmla in our school system they will guarantee your job but not your location or what grade you will teach. Check it out in your school system. Her next commute could be 2hrs each way if that is the only job available. Best wishes, I loved being home with my son.

  2. Pop says:

    Have you thought about moving closer to her work? Then again, maybe you like the school district you’re in or something like that.

    Also, I’ve never had to use the FMLA myself, but I was under the impression that it gives you up to 12 weeks (3 months) off without pay while preserving your job. I’d be curious to hear how you’re able to push that up to more than a year or if I’m misreading the Act.

  3. Courtney says:

    Federal FMLA is 12 weeks – are you talking about a state law?

  4. kim says:

    Will she always say “what if” if she doesn’t stay home? You are talking about a small window of time, if you don’t do it, it vanishes. Could she start a small tutoring business in the evenings? That could help her feel fulfilled professionally and keep her skills sharp. If I were you, I would go for it.

  5. Wendy says:

    I agree with others- check out the details of her school district’s leave policy and how it affects FMLA. Federal FMLA is 12 weeks, and any time your employer offers in maternity leave fulfills the federal 12 week requirement. If she gets 6 weeks off of work for a normal birth anyway, there would only be 6 weeks of FMLA left.

  6. Alexandra says:

    If she approaches full time parenting as a job, she’ll be fine. She could keep her schedule, but teach at home – homeschool the preschool. You don’t get burnt out doing this because you are always researching, planning, and thinking about what you’ll teach next. Scheduled outings and “field trips” break up the week. Check out MOPS in your area.

  7. Missi says:

    I would love for you to clear this up too. Everything I read says 12 weeks not 12 months. Does your wife have that much time saved up for sick leave?

    And I think you should go for it. You may not get this opportunity again. I can’t imagine the decision to spend more time with your kids would ever be something your wife would regret. They’ll grow up fast.

  8. triLcat says:

    I found it really hard to be home with 2 kids for any period of time without going out tons to lots of activities with other parents and kids. The lack of adult conversation drove me insane otherwise. Those activities often cost money.

    As an aside, you and Sarah don’t seem to get sick much, but if you both get sick at the same time, having three kids under 6 home all day… well, it isn’t going to be restful and peaceful.

    In any case, I wish you good luck.

  9. Mol says:

    That sounds so great for Sarah and the kids! Does Sarah have any projects in mind supposing she gets some kind of time between taking care of the children?

  10. Jeannette says:

    We’ve had friends who’ve done this. The major fly in the ointment? No job for the spouse when the leave time was up. (And she didn’t even take the full amount.)

    There’s the “law” and then there’s the way things work in business. Perhaps it’s different with something like a school versus the corporate marketplace.

    IMHO, while I support your and your wife’s choices, even if you have a good financial cushion, it’s a lot of additional stress.

    Being an independent contractor, as you are now, there are things that could happen that could wipe you out (illness, other issues) and there is a huge amount of stress that comes from being the single income earner, if only for a short time.

    Also, I’d be thinking hard about where else you could work from (physical space) other than home. THere is no way to work in the same place as two young children AND a baby and not have some serious interruptions. This we know from first-hand experience.

    And very few people are able to work solid blocks when there are these types of “interruptions.” (Plus when you are there physically, your wife will act as if you are and that means interruptions. If you are not there, you are not there.)

    And you are very wise to also consider whether your wife may miss work. We’ve had friends where women had jobs they swore they would never give up (for any time) to stay home. Yet, when the baby arrived, they did not want to go back to work. And we’ve had friends who planned to stay home and then were miserable (and it affected their parenting).

    Maybe what you need to do is have a Plan B for stuff in place.

    Also, and I hate to say this, don’t think that all this “together” time will necessarily improve the quality of your relationship and interactions with each other. Both you and your wife will be very busy and sometimes the physical “presence” of others will only make things more challenging and you’ll find yourself more conflicted.

    Working parents will never have it easy. They will always be torn and wanting to have more time with the kids. What we need is affordable childcare near work that allows parents to not be forced into either/or situations. Cause most folks, even those in debt, do not have the options you do.

    And it is going to be a very tough time financially. Make no mistake on that. BUT…you know your priorities and seem willing to make the sacrifices.

    Good luck.

  11. Jeannette says:

    Meant to say that “even those NOT in debt” don’t have this option.

    Currently, we don’t know anyone who would literally take time off for a job for fear of not having one to come back to. Again, there is the “law” and the way things work.

  12. It is fabulous that you are in a position to do this. For us, having my wife quit to stay at home with the kids was an expensive choice but worth every penny.

    As for your work consider shifting your work hours. As a full time employee, father of two and a blogger I take most of my quiet time in the later evenings and early mornings.

  13. Kate says:

    I hear your concerns about the uninterrupted work time with three children at home while you’re trying to work because my children are 4 years apart and even when one was at kindergarten (it was a half-time program)and I had a person come in for a few hours to take care of my toddler it was VERY distracting. Most people love the concept of working at home with children present—until they have to do it. I would suggest that you find a way to do your writing at a local library (quiet study rooms with wi-fi)or at a community college because you will need the break from the chaos—good chaos (I LOVE children!)but very distracting when you’re doing as much as you do.
    Another idea: Would your wife want to work part-time in the evenings at a tutoring agency? It might give her that extra emotional boost after being with the wee ones all day and it would bring in a little spending money.

  14. Kevin says:

    FMLA is certainly 12 weeks, not 12 months.

    That said, if you go this route, check out TemporaryInsurance.com (No, I don’t work for them! When one of my sons was between jobs, we took out a policy for him. It’s much less expensive than COBRA.

    I wonder if food costs would actually decrease with another adult home full time, but I suppose it’s possible.

    Off topic: your wife drives a Prius two hours a day in Iowa winters?? How has that worked out? An honest test report/review after a year with the car would be a great post.

  15. Kevin says:

    FMLA is certainly 12 weeks, not 12 months.

    That said, if you go this route, check out TemporaryInsurance.com (No, I don’t work for them! When one of my sons was between jobs, we took out a policy for him.) It’s much less expensive than COBRA.

    I wonder if food costs would actually decrease with another adult home full time, but I suppose it’s possible.

    Off topic: your wife drives a Prius two hours a day in Iowa winters?? How has that worked out? An honest test report/review after a year with the car would be a great post.

  16. Kevin says:

    arrgghh. Sorry for the double post. An edit tool would be REALLY useful, Trent.

  17. David says:

    Here’s the other dilemma – when you leave your job for a long time, business conditions can change and they can figure out how to do her job without her. That makes her a target for a layoff in the future. I’ve watched it happen. It’s the way things work.

  18. marta says:

    That’s a pretty big change, albeit temporary.

    I’d look into finding a workspace outside the house — either a desk on a shared office, or your own office, something not too far and where you’d be available. If I recall correctly, J.D. from GRS rents an office he can walk to from his house. Wouldn’t you be able to do something like that?

    It’ll be very difficult to produce consistent work with your wife and 3 kids at home. Add to that the pressure of being the sole breadwinner — and with an irregular income to boot — and I don’t know… Might be too much stress and, in my experience, that can have negative consequences on your relationship with your family. Especially if your wife and kids are there 24/7.

  19. Ruby Leigh says:

    Hi – my thoughts:

    Could a teaching related (such as tutoring) evening job help your wife? The income would of course be less…but A woman I work with ( I teach for a Community College) took of approx 9 years (I know this is not your plan) to be with your kids during the day while working a very part-time job teaching ESL. She said it was a great outlet, and helped her family have additional financial comfort.

  20. cathleen says:

    My gut instinct as a long time HR person and a small business owner is: Don’t do it!
    But it’s your personal choice.
    That’s just too much financial insecurity IMHO.
    There is no guarantee of a job after a leave. None.
    In fact, the odds of getting a job after that long a leave, in this work environment, are very low. I know. I’ve crunched the numbers.
    My 2¢

  21. Leah says:

    I’d definitely consider moving to be closer to your wife’s school. Are there more local schools? Something else to consider is having her substitute teach during this year off. She can chose not to work certain days, and she can pick the schools. Thus, if you have schools nearby, the commute can be shorter.

    I don’t know about Iowa, but I’m in a small-town district and get paid $20 per hour up to $115 a day (or something close to that) for subbing. I definitely don’t get jobs every single day, so it’s not as good as a full-time job, but it’s bringing in enough to keep my head above water. Plus, your wife could then get acquainted with people in the local schools and perhaps get a job closer to home, thus minimizing commute and allowing her to spend more time with the kids.

    Taking a year off can be scary, but it can also be exciting. If I were you, I’d bundle up the kids and do some cross-country traveling. I’m sure Joe will remember it, and perhaps the middle one will too. One of my big goals in life is to take a year off when my (future, hypothetical) kids are older and do a lot of traveling.

  22. My wife is also a teacher and we considered this after our second son was born…she took an extended maternity leave (several extra weeks)…she (we) was MORE THAN READY to get back to school.

    She, to,o has a long commute–that is the crappy part. But, in the end, we find that it is the quality of time, not the quantity we have with our kids.
    I am thankful she has secure, well paying job in which she RARELY seems to work full weeks, and has Christmas break, spring break and summers off. It’s a pretty great gig for a mother.

  23. You’ve built financial security so you can make choices like this-go for it.
    Our town is desperate for good teachers- taking a year off would not a risk. If anything the school would be calling every few weeks to see if you wanted to come back!

  24. Kathy says:

    I will echo what some of the others have said about people taking FMLA and extended leave and that making a person target for a layoff/termination. A co-worker of mine who was terminated because of all the medical leave that she had to take when she had cancer and then contracted H1N1 and double pneumonia on top of that. Somehow, they found a way around the law to do it. She was planning to come back anyway, but sadly, two days before New Year’s she passed away from complications of H1N1 and the pneumonia.

    I know this is an extreme example of this, but it does happen and that is something that should be taken into consideration, especially if Sarah decides she does want to go back to work.

    I am jealous, though. I wish I could stay home full time. :-) Good luck to you in whatever you decide to do.

  25. Kacie says:

    I agree with #6. Since your wife is a teacher, don’t you think she’d do a fantastic job homeschooling your eldest child for preschool?

    Who better to teach your child than someone with a teacher’s heart AND someone who knows your child the best?

    She could keep her structure and hopefully she’ll receive satisfaction out of this important work.

    I don’t think she’ll regret being a SAHM, even for a short time.

  26. Nicole says:

    Good lord… that one hour commute isn’t going to go away after a year’s leave is up. I would put moving closer to work (or working closer to home if demand for teachers is high enough… but I imagine a tenured job is not something a person wants to give up these days) higher on the priority list than a year’s leave.

    That said, we are enjoying our leave this year, and I’m glad we were able to take it, but the only way I am able to get any work done is because DS is in preschool.

  27. almost there says:

    It may look doable while she is younger but if (Big if) she is lucky to walk back into a job after a year off that will put her one more year away from retirement, right? My father was a federal government high school teacher and he couldn’t wait until he turned 60 to collect his 1700 bucks a month retirement. Teachers get burned out the longer they are at it. Of course, he had students ODing on heroin in his classrooms in the 70s so the thrill went away. Perhaps she and her school district can sign a contract with a guarantee that she will be hired back on in a year.

  28. Maureen says:

    Foe what it’s worth I would suggest:

    If your wife is going to be off for that long, put off replacing your truck till AFTER she returns to work. Because she isn’t commuting you won’t need 2 vehicles, and the cash would be an extra security cushion.

    I somehow doubt that you wife will have enough energy left at the end of a full day of caring for 3 little ones, especially a newborn to take on a tutoring job as well. Let her sleep!

    I would absolutely cut out the private preschool and accompanying expenses. Why would you pay for that when your wife is an experienced and excellent teacher?

    Once your wife returns to her teaching job, move a lot closer to it to reduce her commute. Alternatively, she could find a teaching job closer to your current home.

    Your wife should not presume that there will not be repercussions at work as a result of her taking leave regardless of written policies. My sister took a compassionate leave of under 3 months to tend to our dying mother. Her supervisors were very hard on her for it.
    In my husband’s workplace, they have granted one man paternity leave. But I also know that from management’s attitude he will not be up for promotion for a long time since they have found ways to work without him.

    How have other teachers fared taking similar leave? Is there a shortage of teachers in your area, or will they be able to replace her easily? In our schools the hiring, firing and placements is done by the board, not individual principals. Even if her principal values her highly he may not have much say in getting her back. She could be assigned a different school even further away.

    Just things to keep in mind.

  29. momof4 says:

    My husband is a teacher and in our district a one year unpaid sabbatical for personal/ childcare, etc, while holding your position is a union negotiated benefit. It is not uncommon in other districts around us and may be what Trent’s wife is looking at rather than FLMA, which is 12 weeks where we live.

    I have worked part time from home for several years with the children at home. If the other parent or a child care provider is present you’ll be able to work as long as you have some firmly placed rules about working hours and spaces. Without those working from home with the family present is a bear. A stop sign on the door to the room you are working in is a great visual reminder to the preschoolers who want your attention. It’s most effective if you take it actually take it down when you aren’t working. My husband is gone during the day so I structure my working hours around our family plans.

  30. Tricia says:

    My friend took a FMLA and got fired while she was out. The union is backing her up, but now she has lost her mother, her job and her income.
    Be careful………..

  31. Laurie says:

    Trent: look into other options for insurance. My husband (a prof) was on sabbatical and we went with a high deductible plan – it worked out great as we all went for physicals and prescription refills the month before our insurance changed and then went 13 months without our checkups. We ended up paying for “sick” visits to the doctor (2 per kid and me once). And we also paid for our prescriptions which was the most expensive part for us.

    My husband frequently works from home and it is very challenging for me to keep the kids away from him. Sometimes I feel like I’m playing keep away all day! You need to set rules and STICK to them. (i.e. when they interrupt you, you need NOT to give them positive reinforcement, but to enforce the rules. My husband would take a couple of minutes out for snuggles – it just makes the problem worse!)

    While I can see that the corporate world would make this kind of move difficult, I’m thinking that your wife, who IIRC is a high school science teacher, should be able to breeze back into a job. (At least around here she could!) Any mother with 3 kids under 5 should be at home if at all possible in the short term especially if breastfeeding!

    What I don’t understand is why on earth a high school science teacher is commuting for an hour. How many schools is she passing that she could teach at????

  32. Ginger says:

    Trent- Can you clarify the FMLA issue?

  33. Shevy says:

    Yet another reason why I’m glad I live in Canada, where all parents have the ability to spend the first year at home with their children and where your work is required to give you your job back. There’s no question (as other commenters have stated about the US) that there’s the “law” and then there’s what companies actually do! It’s the law.

    Plus, the parent that stays home (after the 17 week maternity portion, this can be *either* parent) receives 57% of their salary. And, of course, Medical Services Plan is only $108/mo for a family of any size from 3 members on up.

    All that makes a decision to stay home far easier.

    I still think that, if you have realistically crunched the numbers (i.e. not while wearing your rose-colored glasses) then you should go for it. I think Sarah will enjoy her time off and go back refreshed and rejuvenated.

    For those commenters who think Sarah should teach Joe, rather than him going to preschool, I would point out that teaching teens a specialized subject is considerably different than teaching a full curriculum to a 4 year old!

  34. kristine says:

    Teaching is different, and teaching unions often negotiate more generous family leaves and being able to return to work. As most teachers use them at some point, it does not really up your head on the chopping block, especially if you have tenure.

    That said, I think it is wonderful to have the choice. A real accomplishment.

  35. Hope D says:

    I think it is wonderful your wife will be able to stay home with the new baby. It is such a blessing. It may be hard to keep on task, but if you have an office with a door that can be shut it will really help. My husband found working from the library nice. If he needed somewhere to go that was quiet and had high speed internet, that was his favorite. I do agree with others about paying for private preschool. I would have that on the chopping block. If you need a little more wiggle room in the finances, that could go.

    Sara may find she likes staying home. You may find you like it too. It may become permanent. I pray the best for your family.

  36. Hey,

    At least you’re thinking about it now–and planning for it too.

    I think you’ll be fine.

  37. Cheryl says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone that regretted staying home with the kids… it’s wonderful that you are in a position to do that.
    I’d agree with the posts that suggest your wife do some preschool lessons with your oldest, rather than pay to send him/her to a private one. Hanging around all day with 2 educated adults and having quality time with them never set anyone’s education back, did it?

    Another thing to consider, maybe your wife could substitute teach a day or two a week, to keep her foot in the school system and give her some time outside the house. When my oldest was 3, I had a 2 year old, and a new baby. I know what it is to be home full time, and sometimes you just need a day off from it! Another good option is find a “mommy’s helper” a young teen in the neighborhood that could just come help with the kids after school.

    Working in all the bustle may be a challenge for you. Maybe you can slip away for a few hours. Ask at your church, if they keep office hours during the week, they may not mind if you sit in the fellowship hall and work on your computer.

    check with your state agencies about the health insurance. Ct has HUSKY healthcare, free or reduced price based on income and family size. Your state may have something similar.

    It’s a wonderful opportunity for your family, not without it’s challenges, but definitely an investment that will pay off in the teenage years… Best wishes and keep us posted!

    from a mostly SAH mom of 5 kids- no regrets!

  38. Lisa I says:

    For once, I think I may have something useful to contribute here. :)

    On the working from home aspect, I find it exceptionally difficult to run your own business from home when the kids are around. The problem is finding that block of “uninterrupted” time you are accustomed to. Yes, your wife will tag team childcare which will help but it will not stop the inevitable chaos in any house with three small children.

    Having had three small children in the house at one time, I felt that even when my husband was home, I had to learn to do things in 15-minute bursts. Not because he wasn’t taking care of them (he was) but I found that my level of focus was negatively affected by the noise of what was going on elsewhere. When the kids would carry on about whatever, I found that it was natural for me to want to tend to them and that I had a very difficult time tuning them out. Any projects that required more than 15 minutes of my attention (15 minutes was about the length of time between chaos at my house) would inevitably be pushed until after bedtime, thus reducing my time with my husband. I have a good friend who has had basically the same experience with starting her own business out of her home with three young children. She eventually had to put them in part-time childcare just to get some work done.

    I’m not trying to discourage here as more to offer that the amount of chaos increases exponentially not linearly when it comes to children. When I had my third I thought I was fully prepared having handled two just fine in similar situations. What I discovered was that I had no idea exactly how much a third child would change things until they actually changed.

    If it was me, I’d wait until number three comes along before making this decision. Your wife is entitled to maternity leave regardless and that will give you some time to figure out if things will really work as you plan before deciding when she would like to go back (if at all).

  39. Johanna says:

    First and foremost: If you’ve ruled out the option of moving to be closer to Sarah’s school, I hope you have a very good reason. As Nicole pointed out, the hour-long commute doesn’t go away just because she takes a year off. In September 2011, when your son goes off to school and Sarah goes back to work, you’ll have the same number of preschool-aged children as you have now, so is there any reason to think Sarah will be any less frustrated than she is now?

    It seems to me that moving will only get harder as the kids get older and become more attached to their friends and classmates. So if there’s a time to do it, it’s now.

    That said, do you know if Sarah has the option of scaling back to part time? My mother, a science teacher, worked part time for several years when my brother and I were little. She was able to avoid the early morning classes so that she could be home with us in the mornings. But from the hours you say she keeps, it sounds like she teaches elementary school, so that might not be as much of an option.

    I remember a post from a while back where you mentioned that Sarah was considering switching to a job much closer to home. Would you mind sharing why she decided against that?

  40. EF says:

    I’d ask for a legally binding contract stating her job will be there for her after the year is up. Otherwise, it’s extremely risky.

    The U.S. is still losing jobs at a fast pace, and many are never coming back. 5-8% unemployment isn’t forecasted again until 2015.

  41. Carmen says:

    @ Cathleen – your opinion seems to be based on addressing the situation from a purely professional standpoint, but what about a Mother’s gut instinct at spending time raising her offspring? This family is going to have three pre-school aged children; one would have thought childcare costs would make working prohibitive from a financial perspective, let alone the parenting one. The future is always uncertain, so one cannot stay in a job for fear of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ regarding employment after a one year career break. Additionally, many women would find the stress of it all too much with such a young family and somewhat pointless if they didn’t need to work for financial reasons.

    All loving mothers of sane mental health should spend as much time as possible with their children. I think this plan is an excellent one Trent, but I would also urge you to think ahead as to how your life might look as your children start school with the long days your wife spends out of the house due to work. Particularly since I think you’ve mentioned wanting four children. One has to consider the full range of factors at play in this decision, not least of which is quality of life for the children concerned.

  42. GayleRn says:

    You are seriously underestimating the chaos of 3 preschool children at home at the same time. It has to be lived to be believed, which I did. There will be NO uninterrupted time. Ever.

    I would seriously think about the real chances of Sarah having a job to return to. Someone will be hired to do her job and will want to hang on to it. They will also be cheaper. School districts are losing money rapidly right now. Lots of things will be cut and the easiest things to cut will be whatever and whoever you got along without for a year already.

  43. chris says:

    Please teach your preschooler at home. Your wife obviously has teaching skills so this can not be the issue. No one knows your child as well as both of you do. There is no need for a child to attend preschool. If you are worried about social skills-children should learn these from an adult not immature, self-centered peers-there are preschool groups at the library, MOPs and various other options. Your wife could set up her own preschool by teaching 1-2 students in your home.
    As far as blocking out work times. This may involve moving your work area to someplace that can be physically isolated from the children. They can quickly learn to not go into Daddy’s work area during certain times.I do wish you the best as you are clearly devoted to doing what is best for your family and that is a wonderful goal.

  44. Hope D says:

    I was a school teacher, then a mother. I can tell everyone here who has mentioned substitute teaching as a way to earn money and keep skills sharp doesn’t know what it is like. They call you about 5:30 to 6:00 in the morning to teach in a usually unfamiliar place. You then have to find immediate child care. It is always like the first day of work, where you know nothing about the job. Each teachers class is different and you usually don’t have time to figure it all out. The pay is a lot less than a regular teaching job. Some schools and teachers are great. They give you a packet of info, maps, rules, seating plans, schedules, and teaching plans. Other times you don’t get anything. I don’t believe it is worth it, especially trying to get child care on short notice.

    I also understand people saying move closer to her work. BUT, I live close to a metropolitan area. I don’t want to live there. I would rather live in my small town than in a big city. I don’t know if that is Trent’s situation.

  45. Shevy says:


    I would seriously think about the real chances of Sarah having a job to return to. Someone will be hired to do her job and will want to hang on to it.

    I seriously don’t understand this point. The person who will be hired will be hired on a maternity leave replacement contract. It has a start time and an end time. There would never be a question about this in Canada. The only time the person on contract would be hired is if the one on mat leave decided *not* to come back at the end of the leave. Then the person who had had the contract would be in the best position to remain on the job (union seniority rules possibly being the only thing that might interfere with that). But it would be because the mother chose not to return, the company doesn’t get to choose between them. Does the US not have laws to prevent this sort of thing?

  46. gail says:

    If your wife misses working, perhaps she could pick up a few evenings of waitressing or another part-time job? The money would help you get through the rough spots, and help to pay for the health benefits. Just a thought…

  47. Eh, just get the insurance figures from HR and this post will be a pipe dream. It will blow your mind. Besides, FMLA is 12 weeks, not a year.

    Why not just teach closer to home? Why on earth would any teacher commute an hour, especially when their partner works from home???

    Besides, her job is only waiting for her in theory, not in reality. You should know better than that.

  48. Adrienne says:

    I think that Joe should go to preschool as long as you can afford it. My children continue to learn at home but having them experience the school environment and have a group of peers has been invaluable. (not to mention with 3 young children it will be a bit of a much needed break for both of you)

  49. jgonzales says:

    I’m a bit torn here. I’m a SAHM who would encourage anybody to do it if they can, but I do worry about Sarah’s future. I have many friends who have teaching degrees and can’t find a job in the local school districts (except subbing). I had one friend who has bounced around several different school districts over the last few years because at the end of the year, the one she’s currently at can’t afford to keep her. I even had one friend who ended up going to teach English in China because she couldn’t find a job in our area!

    As for preschool, I really don’t think it’s necessary and I say this as someone who has children around Joe’s age (mine are 4 & 2). If Sarah does stay home, have her do preschool lessons with Joe, you can easily pick up a curriculum (I did) and for the social interaction, make sure you actually get out. I know you’ve said the library isn’t close to your home but if Joe is currently in a daycare with other children, see if they can come visit. I worked the first 1.5 years of my older’s life and was friends with the daycare lady (she did it from her home). We often go visit a couple times a month. There are kids from varying ranges, so they get quite a bit of child interaction.

    I’m also for local parent/child groups (like MOPS) or if you don’t have one, talk to your friends who have Stay At Home Parents about forming one and/or having playdates. Preschool really isn’t as important as they make it out to be.

  50. SoCalGal says:

    Why not have Sarah share a contract with another teacher? I work with many teachers that do this. They both have the same class to teach, but some split the week & others split the year. This way Sarah would be in the loop workwise, but have more time at home with the ninos.

  51. Alice says:

    Has the idea of Trent being the stay-at-home parent already been discussed and discarded, or just not discussed at all? Is his income so much more than hers? If Sarah stayed at her job, then the family could continue to use her insurance, and there wouldn’t be the worry of not having a job to come back to, since Trent is not someone’s employee. Obviously his writing career would be put on hold, but would it be harder to pick that up again than for Sarah to rejoin the working world? With all the suggestions for Sarah to find some sort of part time work anyway, Trent could take that time in which she would have been tutoring or waitressing or whatever, to write a few blog posts and keep TSD up on a reduced basis.

    Ever since Trent brought this up a few weeks ago I’ve been curious as to why this option hasn’t even been discussed. I know this option wouldn’t allow Sarah more time with the children, which it sounds like she wants, but that aside, it sounds like a more practical choice in all the other particulars.

  52. Maureen says:

    I think you make an excellent point Alice! It makes much more sense than risking her income.

    Perhaps Sarah could write the occasional guest post for the blog. I know I would be interested in hearing her perspective.

  53. I think you should consider that maybe once your wife is home with the kids, she won’t want to go back! My wife is a stay-at-home mom and loves it.

    Still that’s a lot of money to give up if the both of you decide to go this route!

    I estimated that we should have been almost millionaires by now if my wife would have continued to work.

  54. SLCCOM says:

    #41 Carmen wrote:
    All loving mothers of sane mental health should spend as much time as possible with their children.

    Sorry, Carmen. I know a number of very sane, loving mothers who would have killed their darling children if they had had to spend all day every day at home with them. They probably would have killed themselves afterwords, but being a full-time SAHM would have been a disaster for the whole family.

    By going out and working all day, they were able to be better, more loving mothers because they were exercising all their skills. They also had far more financial security that way.

    Nobody is entitled to judge how another person chooses to spend their time and skills. Just because something works for you doesn’t mean it works for everyone else.

  55. Lou says:

    My concerns are different from most of what has already been noted. Your current life situation includes an externally mandated schedule. You’ve probably not thought about it, but Sarah leaves in time to get to work; Trent takes the kids to daycare; supper is scheduled based on what time Sarah and the kids get home from school. Chores are also assigned in part based on who is home when, rather than on personal preferences (altho I know Trent likes to cook)

    My suggestion is that you first each make a list of a) the household tasks you enjoy and like to do, and b) the jobs you despise. Compare lists and figure out who will do what.

    Then, set a new schedule, one that provides childcare by the parent not doing a job (that job includes Trent’s writing, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, taking the kids to preschool & picking up, etc, etc). Include who cooks on which days.

    Finally, identify one day during the M-F workweek, for each of you to have a “day off.” No tasks, no childcare, free to do whatever.

    What I’m thinking is that it will be too easy for Trent to assume that his writing is the only work that deserves sequestered time and that Sarah, having not been able to be at home previously and with a new baby in her arms, will slip into a total mommy-mode, and three month out neither will be happy.

    Budgeting time and tasks is, in my view, as important as budgeting money.

  56. Kate says:

    And one added note about preschool: Yes, Trent’s wife is a teacher and she could teach the basics to her child but preschool is much more than just learning colors,etc.—it’s about learning positive social interaction, learning to share with strangers, making friends, following directions given by a non-family member…very important lessons for our children to learn before they enter all-day kindergarten programs.

  57. Einstein Never Used Flashcards is an excellent book. I suggest reading it and then you might not feel the need to cough up money for preschool.

    I stayed at home with my kids and now I homeschool them.

    The first year, staying at home, was tough. Well, the first few months were tough. I quickly got bored. So, I started freelancing. I am quite adept at working with kids playing in the background. My brain has filters set up and it hears things that need to be heard while ignoring things that don’t need to be heard. In fact, I keep my office right smack in the living room. This works great for me and my clients love my work. (My husband tried working at home. He can’t unless he locks himself in a room.)

    Like I said, I homeschool my kids. I know lots of people who homeschool their kids, and I know lots of certified teachers who quit and homeschool their kids. Why? Simply, they get a better education without wasting a bunch of time on attendance and waiting for the other kids. Ask you wife how much time in her classroom is really “on task?”

    We went to the zoo a few days ago. My son had saved up enough money to buy a seal and walrus collection he’d wanted for a while. (We do our allowance system very similar to the way you do yours.) The lady at the counter said “Do you homeschool them?” I told her yes. She said, “I could tell. They’re so well behaved and smart and social and nice.” This was just a few days ago, but something along these lines happens about once a month.

    My kids have plenty of friends. We are in a homeschool coop. (About half the group is religious and the other half of us aren’t, and we politely respect each other’s beliefs and stick to the curriculum.) They have swim classes. They have music classes. They do pottery at the rec center.

    There’s a difference between kids being socialized and kids learning social skills. Socialization is a bad word in my book.

    My daughter, 8, asked me last December if she could volunteer at the shelter. I informed her that volunteering at a shelter meant picking up poop, not necessarily cuddling animals. She said okay. She asked me again a month later. We went for our first day of volunteer work and she didn’t complain about picking up poop once. She actually helped and made the process go faster. We couldn’t do that if she was in school, and I doubt she would have asked. And, I suspect the time we’ll spend at the shelter cleaning up poop and medicating animals will be much more educational than learning how to change focus when a bell rings.

    Some people can’t honmeschool their own kids. I generally don’t buy the money arguments. The arguments I do understand are “I don’t have the patience and I think I might strangle the kid.” You wife’s a teacher though. If she can handle 30 of the same-age kids whom she has no biological relation to, she’d probably be awesome with her own kids.

    That co-op I belong to… We have toddlers to high schoolers in it. Once a week I get to teach a group of 21 third graders science, and I teach a group of sixth graders science too. I can vary from the curriculum bunches. I change the labs and crafts at will just because I like something else better. I love it. The kids love it, and it definitely keeps my brain engaged.

  58. Sharon says:

    Congrads on the upcoming blessed event!!
    I too chose to quit teaching and homeschool my children. Tough at first but very rewarding! I enjoyed them so much. My oldest son is now graduating college this year and our daughter and her husband have their own business. We still have a first grader at home and I now feel like a pro. I’m sure you both have been giving your new situation much prayer. Every situation and family is different. I do know investing in your children is the best life investment you will ever make. May the Lord give you wisdom and joy in your new endeavor. :o)

  59. AJ says:

    Hope D. I definitely agree that substitute teaching is not all that it is cracked up to be. It’s actually scary thinking how little preparation substitute teachers are given (no class list, no school map, etc.) sometimes.

    In New York State, the union contract guarantees the school district must hold your job for TWO YEARS for maternity leave. You health insurance is no longer paid for – Boo Hoo and you may or may not get the job back in your classroom. Most of the state is not regionalized so you’re not going to be shuttled that far away anyway and you still have to stay in your certification area.

    I know one women who kept a job on hold for SIX years while she had her three children.

    One last thought, as an administrator I’d be a little irked if a teacher took a year off to be w/her family and started substituting someplace else. Actually a permanent position is a day in the park compared to subbing.

  60. Sharon says:

    Wow, I don’t think people can read here. I don’t often feel so strongly about defending Trent but here goes…
    Sarah is a TEACHER. This is (or should be) a highly respected job. I am guessing she either has her MA or on her way to earning one. To imply that she should waitress in the evenings if she wants to work is a little insulting somehow. If she wants to keep her hand in the professional field, she might look at working on that MA’s or her PhD (which some teachers get as well). Or she might look at just doing some mentoring of some of the new teachers esp. if they are going though the alternate route to certification.
    Yes, Trent mis-spoke when he called maternity leave FMLA leave. Every company has unique rules about parenting leave. If their is a union involved, leave can be extensive. I knew a social worker who had THREE years. It is in the contract that she must get her job back… maybe the wording is “a simalar postion” in her contract. Depending on the school district, even a similar position will be the same due to her certification and the fact that there is only one high school, although usually HS certs permit teaching in junior high.
    I believe Sarah has tenure. Trent has mentioned this before. In order to “let her go”, the school district would have to prove gross negligence or abuse. And let us not forget. Sarah is a SCIENCE teacher. The only way she would be in more demand is if she had her special education certification (which she might have…I don’t know) or if she taught mathmatics (which she might also have a certification for as well). For any on those three certs, special ed, science, or math, schools will offer all kinds of premiums and perks to get these teachers. She has no danger in losing her job. Even less being jobless.
    Homeschooling? I have seen it done well, and I have seen it done horribly. Let them make their own choice. I am sure Sarah has heard the word homeschooling at least once before….

  61. Kevin says:

    I still surprises me how cavalier some people are about “homeschooling” their children. How can someone with no early childhood education training seriously believe they are capable of teaching a child just as effectively as someone with an actual teaching education and credentials? Do they really think that a teacher’s job is so easy that anyone can simply decide to be a teacher, and then – POOF! – they magically are? Do they have any idea what kind of an intellectual handicap they’re instilling on their own children? Are they really so arrogant as to believe that they are the best person to educate children, with no training or experience whatsoever? It’s mind-boggling.

    These are the kids that will be in the “special” classes when they finally do enter the mainstream educational system. I pity the teachers whose jobs it will be to teach these kids all the things their well-meaning (yet under-equipped) parents neglected to teach them. Not to mention the verbal abuse they’ll suffer at the hands of the parents at the mere suggestion that their child not only isn’t the one-of-a-kind super-genius the parent just KNOWS he is, but is in fact completely ignorant of major segments of a basic education.

    If I had kids, I’d leave the teaching to the professional teachers.

  62. I think this is a wonderful idea. Where getting her job back may be risky it seems that again, since the dollar isn’t ruling this decision getting it back right away wouldn’t be as important. She loves teaching and is good at it, even if her job isn’t there for her who knows what the economy will be like when then? It may be better!

    Either way, staying home is going to be amazing for you both. I am currently pregnant and though we’ll be very tight financially we decided that I would stay home when I have the baby. I’ve never felt better about a situation than I do about this.

  63. Adrienne says:

    Wow, Kevin (#61), I sure hope you’re a troll, but that there’s some crazy talk.

    Most parents are absolutely capable of homeschooling their children. Temperament and desire are different issues, but ability? No question. Teaching your own child is much different than teaching 30 kids in a classroom. And if you can’t teach reading and basic math, maybe you should look at your own education.

    You’re right, my kids will be in the “special” classes when they go back to regular school. They’ll be in the gifted and talented classes because they’ve been able to learn at their own pace with totally personalized instruction.

    That said, I agree with Kate (#56). Sarah could homeschool Joe for preschool, and they could save some money, but preschool is so much more than learning shapes and colors.

  64. jgonzales says:

    Really hoping Kevin (61) is a troll.

    I’ve known lots of homeschooling children and not a single one has ever been in a “special” class as you point out. Most have been in the advance classes. The only person I know of to get a perfect 36 on their ACTs was homeschooled.

    While there are a few parents who may not be able to homeschool their children properly for whatever reason (usually it’s a self-discipline issue for the parent to actually teach) there are many, many more who do an above average job at teaching their children.

    If you look at the national contests for children like spelling bees or sports like the Olympics, you will find many of them are homeschooled. Homeschooling, with it’s focus on a single child or just a few, can be much more individualized than the average classroom and results in a much better education for the child.

  65. chacha1 says:

    I *wish* I had been homeschooled; I could have graduated at twelve, based on the system I was in. But it never would have worked with my mom! She was a teacher with an M.Ed., but just because someone has the qualification doesn’t mean she has the personality. Tolerance, patience, and flexibility are key. My mom had all three, but with an expiration date. :-)

    This is an interesting discussion and I think it would be enlightening for Trent to follow up with some clarification on options they’ve discarded.

  66. Tammy says:

    LOL, I’m going to get hated on…

    My sister homeschools her four kids, ages 5-15. She has her elementary education college degree, but never taught in mainstream school. While I don’t doubt that the children are bright, and probably way ahead in “book learnin'”, these kids are so backwards socially it is sad. I don’t think they are part of a homeschool co-op, so the only interaction they have with other children is Sunday at their ultra-conservative church, where all the other kids are just like they are.

    If they ever do enter mainstream school they’ll be eaten alive by the other kids. They have difficulty taking even gentle constructive criticism from adults, let alone the ruthless teasing that goes on in junior high and high school.

    I’m sure homeschooling works well for some, but I don’t think it has done my nieces and nephews any favors…and their situation certainly doesn’t reflect well on the “homeschooling is awesome” camp.

    Best of luck to you, Trent and Sarah. I think sending your oldest to preschool is a great idea, even if it is extra money spent. Kids need to learn to play with other kids. I don’t think homeschooling always gets the job done.

  67. Sandy says:

    Well, someone said to me one time, and I think of this many times in my life, and now as my teens are getting into various situations….you CAN have it ALL…just not always at the same time. This will likely be the last time (unless you plan to have more kids) to be able to be at home with her babies. As a science teacher, she would likely be in demand at any school system. She could use the year off to apply to really local school systems, and then the commute after her return would be (maybe) 10 minutes, thus giving her nearly 2 extra home hours per day.
    A couple of thoughts…you may want to explore whatever HSA options that Sarah has. You could sock away a whole bunch before she takes her leave, and then pay (at least partially) insurance premiums from that.
    Also, if this is something she may want to consider in regard to preschool for the 4 yr old: I set up a cooperative preschool with 3 other moms in our homes. We rotated teacher/assistant teacher duties, and the other mothers were on baby care duties (watched any younger siblings during the preschool hours), This worked out beautifully for us all, and we had next to no expenses (just craft and snack costs, which we always worked into the curriculum). We used several sources for curriculum, including Waldorf. It’s been 8 years since we did it for a year, and I still look back on what a fun time my daughter and her little friends had (me too!)
    Good luck in the decision making!

  68. Jean says:

    Since Trent hasn’t clarified, I have to assume that his wife’s available leave is something other than FMLA, which is only twelve weeks. And I hope these other people saying it’s different for teachers are correct..I am an HR administrator and can tell you that most people in our organization that have used FMLA have caused some kind of repurcussion for themselves or others, mostly because upper management realized that if we could get along without somebody for 12 weeks, we were overstaffed. It has been especially punitive for fathers taking paternity leave–no matter what the law says, that does not fit into corporate culture. Positions have been eliminated, and now I think most employees would be very hesistant to use FMLA except in a dire emergency. My daughter is a teacher, and when she graduated last spring, her experience was that there were at least 20 applicants for every available position, so I don’t think there is any special job security in our area for teachers unless they are tenured.

  69. Melody says:

    Be careful about changing health insurance. You could get caught up in a “pre-exisiting condition” scenario and find out you’re not eligible for coverage.

  70. done that says:

    In our district a lot of teachers solve the problem by job sharing. What started out as half day sharing arrangements has now blossomed into alternate days on up to alternate semesters. This lets the arrangement work for both teachers for extended periods of time. Half days probably wouldn’t work with Sarah’s commute but what about M/W or T/Th with alternate Fridays?

    I won’t go too far into the homeschool debate because I could go on a really long time. But I will point out that we used to have children and raise them and then they would go to school sometime around age six. Then we added kindergarten which is still not mandatory in most states. Preschool fills the need of parents who have to work. Any child from a loving home who is experiencing life is not going to be “behind” by 5 or 6 for lack of formal schooling.

  71. jan says:

    My husband and I raised our six kids on limited income. They are all grown up happy, contributing adults. I don’t ever remember thinking about the things you are talking about and wonder if the money/income concerns you have are that important. After all we are only given the promise of today.

  72. Kevin says:

    @Adrienne, jgonzales:

    Not a troll at all, I’m quite serious. I think it’s highly arrogant that anyone believes they are capable of doing just a good a job of teaching their child as an experienced, educated, and certified teacher. Do these people think that a teacher’s job is just really, really easy, or do they actually think they are God’s gift to children, and they are so unbelievably smart that they can just jump in and teach their kids everything that an actual teach could teach them?

    I don’t presume to be as good at plumbing as a professional plumber. I don’t presume to be as good at baseball as a professional baseball player. And I certainly am not arrogant enough to believe that I’m as good a teacher as an actual, professional teacher.

  73. Adrienne says:

    Kevin #72:

    The difference between plumbing or baseball and homeschooling is that I didn’t spend 17 years studying plumbing or baseball, but I did spend 17 years in school learning the same subjects my children are learning. I’ve taken math beyond calculus; college-level physics, chemistry, and biology; and a bunch of writing classes. The only thing separating me from a teaching career is a credential, and many classes in credential programs are meant to prepare teachers for a classroom of kids within the public school system (not knowledge needed to homeschool). I’m not arrogant. I just know I can educate my kids better than the system can.

  74. Brittany says:

    I agree, Tammy. While homeschooling can be done well (and the co-op described earlier sounds great), all the homeschool kids I knew had a tremendous amount of trouble “mainstreaming” when they finally entered high school or college.

    And the idea that “if you can’t teach reading and basic math, maybe you should look at your own education” is just plain wrong. There’s nothing wrong with my education–valedictorian at a challenging college and planning on going back for my PhD soon–and I have several years of tutoring and teaching experience. I currently teach middle school and do a lot of academic remediation. I’ve had a lot of success, but there gets a point where a student’s level is so low, I don’t know how to teach the material anymore. If a child doesn’t understand why 6 divided by 2 is 3 or why a certain combination of letters creates a word, I don’t have the training to get past the “Because it is!” stage. I would actually argue that it’s significantly HARDER to teach basic reading and math (because this requires a lot of knowledge of how children learn and how to break down and teach concepts that you just KNOW so you can make the concepts just as intrinsic to the kid) than it is to teach a child once this basis has been laid down.

  75. Nicole says:

    forgot about the dratted links again:

    #74 That is sad. But not everybody without teaching credentials has trouble with explaining why 6 divided by 2 is 3. (Hint: Take 6 legos or pennies and divide them into 2 groups– how many are in each group?) Or why a certain combination of letters creates a word (hint: phonics, with some irregularities that unfortunately need to be memorized because of quirks in the English language as it was written down before it was set as a spoken language).

    I know plenty of homeschooling kids who did just fine in college. As for mainstreaming in middle school or high school, well, some of us who had regular school also had trouble with that. And good grief, although there are a lot of excellent teachers out there, there sure are a lot of lousy ones too (ah, 4th grade, where Ms. Busby called me a snot-nosed little brat for saying that I didn’t think the pilgrims were the first white people in the US like she had said… 7th grade where Mr. Breed the science teacher pedophile finally got re-mediated to a paid desk job away from children).

    And with the plumbing example, does nobody do their own home maintenance? There’s a lot of stuff you can do around the house just with access to books and the internet. You can call in a specialist if needed. (My preschooler is reading with phonics, btw, and he loves himself some starfall– google it )

    Home schooling is a lot more efficient than teaching. There’s only a few kids who can basically teach themselves with help from books and other activities. Kids can go at their own pace, focusing on their interests, but still matching the basic curriculum, and there’s plenty of curricular help out there. Way better than sitting for 45 minutes listening to (8th grade) Mr. Morris reading aloud from the American History textbook.

    Now, I’m not homeschooling my children, but that’s because my husband and I both have fulfilling full-time jobs, and we’re pretty sure our son will thrive in most any environment (so long as he stays away from pedophiles), despite school.

  76. Brittany says:

    Believe it or not, Nicole, after close to five years of teaching and tutoring, I have discovered that you can break pennies into groups to illustrate division. I’m talking about when kids don’t get THAT. Those were simplistic examples anyway. There are plenty of “basic” skills, like analytical reading, that are just hard to teach without some knowledge of different strategies of teaching it, no matter how high your skill level is. (And “just memorize it” is a pretty shitty teaching strategy, for the record, and basically screws kids in the long run.)

    I’m not saying teaching credentials are required to teach well. In fact, our teaching credentialing is not very efficient or useful. However, some knowledge of how to teach and of how kids learn is helpful, and the idea that anyone who knows basic math and reading can teach it easily is completely nonsensical.

  77. yvonne says:

    Hey Trent way to go, get the people wound up.
    I have a friend that taught in NY state. After her first child she took the leave, she tutored the kids that had been expelled from school for a year working towards a job in early childhood intervention. Talk openly with her principle and school district. This allows her to build her own schedule 2 days a week and so on. I hope it all works out. Love your Blog.

  78. Nicole says:

    I have MASTERS students who have gone through four years of college (with straight As) in addition to K-12 who only know memorization. We had to start the first class in the first year explaining to them how in our program they would have to think critically for the first time and that would cause some cognitive dissonance. On the other hand, I had a very interesting discussion with a home-schooled (religious) 12 year old on the plane who obviously had strong analytical reading skills. She was on her way back from a bible competition.

    You do need to memorize the spelling/pronunciation of a few irregular words in English. As I said, that’s because the English language was written before it was fixed with speaking. You can look up in the Oxford English Dictionary the etiology of these words (something that a home-schooled kid is more likely to do, btw), but they still need to be memorized.

    I am reminded of a recent story I heard about a reggio inspired preschool program. It’s supposed to be student-driven, so if a student asks, “What is 2+2” the teacher is supposed to ask “how do we figure that out” and guide the kid to figuring out that 2+2 is 4. When well run, this method is great. However, when the kid asks, “What color is this?” Asking how to figure it out (as was done at this school) doesn’t make a whole ton of sense. Memorizing that 2+2 = 4 isn’t the best way of learning math, but memorizing what color red is (something that is an arbitrary construct) is pretty necessary.

  79. gail says:

    To Sharon #60…Like Trent’s wife, I, too, have a teaching degree, and CHOSE to waitress a few nights a week so I could spend more time raising my children. I needed to work around my husband’s 60-plus hour work week, earn money, and still be there for my children without putting them in daycare (which was definitely unaffordable in my area.) Don’t ASSUME that an educated person is demeaning his/herself by doing an honest days’ work. Shame on you…

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