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Help with rejigging careers. Dh and I both fed up of all the stress......

(14 Posts)
WalrusAndTheCarpenter Sun 06-Sep-09 21:07:23

Dh and I both work full time. I am the breadwinner but not by a huge margin. I probably earn about 20% more than dh. In terms of our net income, our mortgage is approx 20% of it but our childcare is 25%.

We have got to the stage where we are desperately trying to cut down on our childcare costs as they are eating so much of our income but because dh works away all the time, I can't work full time without the most expensive form of childcare.

It also feels like a) I never see dh and b)I am a single parent and we outsource the children all the time.

So it makes sense to reconsider dh's job as he is the lower earner. He has the sort of job where he can do some work from home and be self employed. It would be hard work and it would rely on him making all sorts of deals but it's certainly possible.

He is not enjoying his job at the moment and would like to explore this option very much. We always thought this would be the future for him.

However it puts a lot of pressure on me and I loathe my job. Really loathe it and I would have to continue with it to pay the bills while he is setting up. We have agreed I need to look for something else but financially, this can't happen until he's set up and even then, I have been looking for another job for about a year and not found a thing due to the job market. Everyone keeps saying I should feel lucky I have a job but I don't feel lucky. I feel stressed and worried about the future!

Has anyone else rejigged their careers and had it work out?

choosyfloosy Sun 06-Sep-09 21:11:54

this sounds very tough. YANBU at all.

DH and I have completely rejigged our lives for his health and for my heart's desire. It is working out, but only because we have incredibly generous parents sad. Also because we have one child (sort of sad though of course lucky to have one) and he is now at school full time so our childcare costs have drastically reduced.

When will your children both be at school?

WalrusAndTheCarpenter Sun 06-Sep-09 21:18:47

well they are both at school. This is half the problem. Theoretically, our childcare costs should have gone down but we have found with both of them at full time school, that they've increased substantially. Whereas a nursery could do when they were little, we now have to have a full time live out nanny so that we have cover for the school holidays and when they are ill. Also they need ferrying about to various clubs after school (football practice, swimming etc.) and no childminder around us could offer the flexibility we needed. I also work a good hour's commute away so was concerned that if anything did go wrong, we'd have an adult near by (the nanny) as with dh away, I was the only other adult iyswim. This is because neither of us have any family at all (anywhere near) who can help out in an emergency. Though we both have friends, we felt it unfair to lean on them so much.

WalrusAndTheCarpenter Sun 06-Sep-09 21:20:35

ps I am really pleased it's worked out for you!

choosyfloosy Sun 06-Sep-09 21:30:24

Mmm. I do feel your pain - we employed a nanny last year while ds was still quite little and our finances are only just recovering - I bought a pair of shoes last week!!! Not from a charity shop!

Working from the premise that you both want a change, OK your partner knows what he wants to do. Is there an option for you to work at home too in your line of work?

WalrusAndTheCarpenter Sun 06-Sep-09 21:33:46

unfortunately not but one of my friends suggested that I take on contracts and do temping work. She did this for a couple of years and really enjoyed it. That way, if you get a shitey boss, it doesn't matter as you will be leaving in 6 months anyway.

The thing is, that's possible and more feasible when the other partner is earning reasonably. But it would worry me immensely if dh was doing home work and the responsibility for all the bill paying would land on my shoulders iyswim.

I want dh to follow his plan because it will make him a lot happier and ultimately, even if I am stuck in this shit job, we will see a lot more of each other! I just wish I could wave a magic wand and find a job that paid ok, but without the stress and responsibility! I know, I am dreaming...!

choosyfloosy Sun 06-Sep-09 21:33:54

Could your current job potentially be part-time, if you could afford it? If not, do you have a potential job-share partner, either at work or that you have met elsewhere?

Is there any way you could find a spare room at home to rent out, if your children aren't already sharing? (I know hardly anyone has this - we haven't- but am just brainstorming!)

choosyfloosy Sun 06-Sep-09 21:37:04

x posts - OK, but contracts and home work don't mean NO money, just much less reliable money? That's a stress, but a different one at least??

WalrusAndTheCarpenter Sun 06-Sep-09 21:37:20

thanks choosy, I appreciate you helping! No, we live in a teeny tiny house unfortunately !

I think I could do part time work if dh earned enough to cover some of the bills. He should do but at the moment it's an unknown. I couldn't do the job I do currently part time so I would have to find another. I don't think I'd mind working full time if the job was less full on iyswim.

WalrusAndTheCarpenter Sun 06-Sep-09 21:38:18

yes, a different stress. Tbh, we can't continue how we are so I'd rather we swapped the stress we have now for that.

choosyfloosy Sun 06-Sep-09 21:44:50

right, how about this?

Dh moves into home work asap. You give the nanny notice simultaneously. Once you have cleared that last painful nanny tax bill, fix a date 6 months hence for you to give notice to your work and move into contracting. Then cut costs as savagely as you can in all areas and save every single penny (you probably already are, but maybe there's a little tiny bit more to find?) Do your children really need to go to all those afterschool clubs? Could anyone give you a lift to work so you could save a bit of transport money? Tell your family that you will only give birthday and Christmas presents to people under 18 from now on? All the stuff that you can think of.

Then with any luck you can move into contracting with at least a small cushion. As you say, it would be awful to carry on like this. At least you would have a date for release.

neversaydie Sun 06-Sep-09 21:45:20

We went through this process. Fairly similar scenario - I was significantlyly the higher earner, child care was a nightmare and DH hated his job with a passion. So he gave up the job, to combine child care (out of school hours) and setting up on his own.

It was pretty tough for a couple of years. It is not easy to chase business when you also have to do the school run, and my salary was not quite enough to cover our outgoings. I found it bloody hard work, and very stressful. But, it got slowly better, and last year we hit a point where I was able to negotiate a change in terms so that I could work 80% of full-time, basically allowing me to work in term-time only.

Now, DH works shortish days 4 days a week, year round, which allows him to drop off and pick ds up off the school bus, and a day to relax in. I work 'full time' during the term times (which includes a fair bit of international travel) and am off for school holidays plus some odd days for me. We earn roughly the same, and money if not ample is certainly more than adequate.It is fantastic for all three of us.

So, do your sums and check out that what you want to do has a reasonable chance of being viable. But go for it if you can - it has made a huge difference to our lives.

WalrusAndTheCarpenter Sun 06-Sep-09 21:50:03

thanks both of you. Yes choosy, I think setting a date is a good idea and trying to save as much as we can up to that date. I have already started putting money aside so that we have a cushion for covering all the bills (incl mortgage). It's not much but it's a start...I think having a plan will make me feel more in control too (one the contributory factors to the stress is feeling like I'm not!)..

neversaydie, that sounds like a v similar scenario to me. I am putting my foot down about travel, even though I'm the higher earner, because I just cannot bear the children having both of us out of the country at the same time (I know a lot of people do this but I just can't and don't want this to happen regularly). The term time working sounds fabulous! I would really like to move jobs but think the economy is going to have to improve because there is so little out there at the moment and when I speak to recruitment consultants, they think I am mad for leaving the job I have so I may have to hold on for 6-12 months and see what happens.

neversaydie Mon 07-Sep-09 21:17:01

I couldn't really do much about my travel commitments because it was part of the job before I ever had ds. I am a technical specialist in a very specialised job, so limited other options. (Sorry, too many specials but am brain dead tired atm). However, our saving grace is that dh hates being away from home and is hardly ever away. I honestly don't think we could cope with two regular travellers unless we had a nanny - which I suspect a 10-year-old boy would find deeply insulting!

WRT the term-time only work, it helped a lot that my boss at the time was pushing me very hard to take a job that I didn't really want, so I had some negotiating room. (The job has turned out OK, by the way, and has been well worth it for the extra flexibility it has given me.)

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