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Juggling Career and Family

It is a day-to-day challenge when you are juggling career and family. Priorities need to be set in both areas for you to be successful in parenting your child. You need to come up with a strategy that involves serious personal choices.

Questions to Ask

Some questions you should be asking yourself about how your family will be organized include:

  • Should both parents work full-time jobs?
  • Should one parent work and one stay home?
  • Who should work and who should stay home?
  • Can you afford to live on one income?
  • Should one parent work full-time and one part-time?
  • Should one parent stop working while the children are young?
  • Can one parent work from home? Get flextime?
  • Who is getting the best medical benefits from their job?

All families face these questions and come up with their own unique answers. This is a serious personal choice. Don't allow others to impose guilt on you if you feel the need to grow as a person in your chosen profession. And don't feel that you have to answer to anyone if you choose to stay at home. When you are making your choices, consider the facts about your situation and choose what is right for you.

The Cost of Two Incomes

Many parents feel they need to work when they have small children because of economic reasons. But does it really pay if both parents work? Here is an example of the financial costs of an average American family with one small child in which the parent who would stay at home brings in $2,000 gross monthly income. You will need to plug in your own numbers, as averages differ across the nation.

Income
Gross Monthly Income

$2,000
Expenses
Taxes (federal, SSSS, state, and local)
Average Child Care for an Infant/Toddler
Average Cost to Commute
Other Expenses (clothes, lunches, etc.)
$550
$720
$125
$200
Total Second Income per Month $405

If you add in the hours it takes to get ready and commute back and forth to work, because they are spent away from your child, you're talking ten-hour workdays. That's fifty hours a week, two hundred hours a month. That works out to $2.03 an hour. If you have more than one young child, you may actually be paying to go to work.

There are, of course, other reasons to work: Medical benefits and loss of professional standing are the top two reasons parents continue working. Whatever your decision is, it needs to be your decision. Remember to take all variables into consideration when making this important decision, and you'll be able to make it work for your family.

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From The Everything Parent's Guide to Raising a Successful Child Copyright © 2004, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

To order this book go to Amazon.


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