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Housewives Having to Go Back To Work - Relationship Advice

Updated on August 15, 2010

Dear Veronica

I have a problem that I'm hoping you can help me with. I read your articles think you give great advice. Sorry if this is long but I am trying to include all the information you usually ask for. I'm 32, my husband is 33, we are married for 8 years. We have a daughter 3 and a son 2.

My husband works for an insurance company and his sales are and his income are down with the economy. Really this is through no fault of his own. He works very hard and has even picked up a second job one night a week working at his old job at Sears. We are financially struggling. We agreed on many things when we got married. We agreed that we wanted to have a house and have children, possibly 3 or 4. We have 2 beautiful children now and because of finances we have indefinitely put off having more. We agreed that I would stay home with the kids when we got married. My husband is very old fashioned and I've enjoyed being the home maker. I have loved being at home with my children and caring for my man, my family, and my home. I would keep going just like we are and be happy. But the issue of money has become a problem.

I did not have a career when we got married I just had a job in retail and before that I worked at a restaurant. I feel like I should be bringing money into the household right now. I don't mean this in a way to undermine my husband. I just think we have to do what we have to do in this economy. I tried to talk to my husband about this and he is dead set against it. He wants to be able to provide for his family. He works so hard. I don't want know what to do. Do you think there's anything wrong with me wanting to get a job?


Dear Stephanie,

Aren't you cute.

Stephanie there is nothing at all wrong with your wanting a job. And it's very nice that you want to get one in order to help out your family. But lets go over all of the factors here.

It's great that you and your husband discussed a lot of life issues together before marriage. Agreeing on things like having kids, how many, and how they'll be raised, makes what you have a real partnership. While you agreed on a very traditional old fashioned life together, the economy changed on you. The issue needs to be revisited together. Just as you agreed before on how you'd handle things, you have to agree again. If that means you'll have to get a job, so be it. But it really is something you two should try to agree upon.

Your husband's work ethic is admirable. Working long hard hours and even picking up a second job is alot more than many men do. Good for him. Many people have to do things they'd rather not do during a bad economy.

There's a lot to consider though regarding your getting a job. You have two little kids right now that would require daycare. Daycare can be expensive. You have to make sure whatever job you can find will pay enough to cover the cost of daycare, and actually earn you some money on top.

And that's another thing. Jobs aren't that easy to find right now. I am only saying this because you've been out of the job market for quite some time. I wouldn't want you to get down on yourself if you discover it difficult to find a job right away.

If you can't afford the cost of daycare so you can work outside the home, do you have any other options? Are any of the children's grandparents local and willing to babysit during your work hours? Or is it possible that you have friends or family that are hiring in some capacity where you can bring your kids with you? Some small home offices for example are set up so that it's not a big deal. I just watched the season premier of Flipping Out on Bravo TV, and one of the men in the office brings his daughter to work with him. He manages to be able to do his office work and keep an eye on his daughter at the same time, with the help of the others in the small group.

Maybe a compromise would be a suitable choice, for both you and your husband. Staying at home with your kids would eliminate the need for daycare. Is there a job you can do from home? Taking care of someone else's kids with yours in your home might be an option. (Please check what the regulations for this are in your state, you may need to be licensed if there are a certain number of children in your care.) Dog sitting and dog walking are more ideas, with more options.

An option such as this kind of work where you have an in home babysitting service might be something your husband doesn't mind. There may be other such ideas that you two could explore together. I have a friend who bakes all natural dog treats and sells them at local pet supply stores, gift shops and boutiques. I have another friend who used to be a professional baker and now just bakes wedding cakes and special occasion desserts in her home for certain clientele. Some students I know sell greeting cards and framed photos at local flea markets and gift shops, using photos they've taken of local landmarks and landscapes.

Many things like this you could do from your own home. If you had deliveries to make, you could probably just bring your kids with you. My friend that bakes the dog treats does that. Once a week she replenishes the stores that carry her pet goodies. She puts her kids in the car and off they go.

Many people have successful Ebay businesses. Have you sold things on Ebay? Could you sell things for others on Ebay?

Or how about helping your husband with his job. I honestly don't know if this is an option, but maybe it is. Pulling information from listings for cold calling, helping him with his paperwork in some way or another. Doing some faxing, checking on his emails. Basically, being an assistant or an admin, or an old fashioned secretary. Does he already have one? If he doesn't, ask him what he'd like for one to do for him. EVen if it takes him a couple weeks to train you to do something for him, in the long run that's time every month he doesn't have to invest in that task. If he has less on his plate at the office, maybe that means he can get out of work relatively quicker. If he's having easier days maybe he will not feel overworked or stressed having to pick up a night or two at Sears. Anything you can do to lighten his load, is valid work.

Maybe another approach you could take would be to lower your monthly expenses. If you can't bring in extra money maybe you can make up the difference in the budget. I'm sure you aren't over spending or being foolish, but maybe there's some things you could do that would be extra helpful. Clipping coupons, designing meals with less expensive ingredients, packing your husband's lunches. Instead of dry cleaning his shirts and dress pants, wash them at home and have them pressed only at the dry cleaners. Plan and organize your errands so you can save on gas. Make it a point to turn out lights, turn down the air conditioning, wash in cold water. Make homemade iced tea and stop buying soda. Sell some stuff you haven't used or jewelry you can part with, have a yard sale or put some things on Ebay. Do your own nails for a while, mow your own lawn if you can. If there's any service like that where you're paying someone else, try to do it yourself.

Use swaps with other moms for kids clothes. You know what I'm saying here. Write out your budget and set some goals to knock off $10 here and $20 there, and see what you can do.

Good luck with your finances, Stephanie. Keep us posted!


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  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY


    I'm so glad things are going well and that my Hub will be useful to you!

    I did stress to agree on the going back to work thing with your husband. Ah, so we see, it's not actually about your working, it's about daycare. Well that is a very sensitive issue for him and it's wonderful that you will respect his needs on that.

    The fact that you sew is just terrific. Yes, making and selling items like aprons and pillows on ebay or shops near you would be very nice, offering customization always put you out front compared to your competitors. And I just love your idea about running errands for others. Of course be cautious and careful, but it sounds like a wonderful idea. Maybe this career gal could recommend you to one or two people in her office who also need a Girl Friday to do some errands for them.

    Puppies are fun. If you can make a little extra cash and enjoy some puppy time with your kids, that's a win-win.

    I'm excited for you Stephanie. Best to you and your family.

  • profile image

    Stephanie 7 years ago

    Thank you for emailing me with this. I wrote you over 3 weeks ago. Changes are being made! Your advice fits right in! That is so cool!

    I did look around and couldn't find any jobs. You are right about that. Also my husband is very set on not having our kids in day care. He had a trauma happen to him when he was little in day care so it is a very sensitive issue.

    I did start posting some flyers around our neighborhood offering to do errands for people when I do mine. I have my first customer! It's a working lady that just doesn't have time. I have also offered to clean a bit for her if I can bring my kids and she was fine with that so we will see where that goes. My parents and my husband's parents are not around anymore but I have a brother that lives close and his wife loves to babysit for us so I have that.

    I think your idea of puppy sitting is a great one! I know so many people with dogs! And you gave me another idea. I can sew! I sew very well. I am going to start putting it out there that Ic an do in home tailoring and make custom pillows and aprons. Maybe I can take your advice and try to sell them on eBay!

    I am not very good with the computer. I don't think I can help my husband with his work but that's ok you gave me tons of great tips and suggestions. I'm going to trim the budget and look into doing more stuff I can do from home. These are very inspiring suggestions. Thank you so much Veronica!

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY

    dallas93444, that's a powerful comment. I certainly try to be considerate, but I also try to speak with words that can be heard. Some people need to be hit over the head with the answer. Others don't. It's definitely part of the listening, to figure out now only what advice you'd offer but also how to offer it.

  • dallas93444 profile image

    Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

    Great advice. It must be difficult to "know" the answers to people's despair and give them encouragement when they are overwhelmed...

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY

    Thanks Sa'ge!

  • Sa`ge profile image

    Sa`ge 7 years ago from Barefoot Island

    very good advise! ~aloha~