Poll - Should I go back to work?
A little bit of background: Before my 2nd child was born I worked as an elementary school teacher. When she was born I took a two-year leave of absence and then subsequently resigned to become a stay-at-home mom. At the same time I was working on my masters degree in education (never had the time or energy to do it while I was working). I completed that last spring. Over the summer, some of you may remember, my dh lost his job, which was a pretty good paying job at Disney, and about a month later started a new WONDERFUL job that he loves, but was a significant pay cut.
Looking at our finances, we break even minus about $400 a month, if we were to live as frugally as possible AND I up my ebay sales (I resell the kids' old clothes, esp, my daughter's, for a pretty good turnover). We have the liquid cash to make up that money until my dh moves to a better paying job or gets enough increases to cover it. We also have a good amount of savings via retirement plans and mutual funds and regular savings so we are by no means "in the hole," but we definitely aren't living within our means. Having to pull cash out of the bank for living expenses every month just doesn't seem kosher to us.
Having me at home with the kids is very important to us. Dh has a side consulting business but hasn't done much with it lately, and I just put out some ads for it. If I were to go back to work, I'd make way more than we need, and my concern is that we will adjust to that income and never be able to go back. If I were to return to my previous district with my new masters degree in tow, I'd make around 70k. We really only need about 5 or 6k more a year to put ourselves back in the black. While that may seem like a small amount, it's a huge amount when you don't have it. I really do feel that our income, and not our savings, should cover it. Particularly after what happened last summer - I'm really weird about having money stashed away now. But my kids aren't getting any younger.
If I were to go back to work, my dd will be in first grade next year and would have to go to after school care for a couple of hours, and I'd make it home right at about the same time as my son would from middle school (6th grade next year). But he'd be home alone in the am and responsible for getting himself to the bus, or we'd have to pay for childcare for him at the middle school (they do have it), but only because the child cannot get himself moving independently in the morning.
Whether I even WANT to return to the classroom is up for discussion. I don't. I dread it. While I enjoyed teaching tremendously, I didn't enjoy the 5 am alarm, the paperwork to the ceiling, the impossible to please principals, the waking my child up at the crack of dawn and be at daycare before sunlight thing, the fatigue, the colds, etc etc etc. And now with two kids I'm sure all of that will be magnified. I was a full-time working mom for one year and I HATED it. As you all know, when mom isn't happy, nobody's happy. I'm not so sure it would be good for my family. But I feel like I'm kidding myself - some level of guilt is telling me that it's the responsible thing to do.
My credential is current but come 2008 I will have had to work 90 days or let it expire. If I don't return to work I won't have those 90 days (I've already done the professional growth hours via my masters classes). CA lets you let your credential expire once and they'll let you return to work as long as you complete the requirements within 2 years. So that's always an option for the future if I do want to return later but not now.
The other consideration is that my previous district may not take me back at all - I'm no longer young and inexpensive like I was when I was a new teacher at 23. I'm now almost 37 with a lot of years and a lot of units under my belt. Not as cheap to hire. Since I resigned I'd probably have to apply just like everyone else. I may have trouble getting a job anywhere.
Subbing isn't worth my time. It's still $100 a day after all these years and after you subtract taxes, the 8% STRS deduction, and childcare - forget it.
Dh is slowly and discreetly getting the word out that he may be looking to move elsewhere. But that's hard to do without risking your current job in a small industry and we certainly don't want to walk down that road again. He loves his new job.
I'd love any thoughts, words of wisdom, and your opinion!