el.mc.568: My mom was a geophysicist for Chevron for almost 10 years before she left to stay home when I was born. She actually made more money than my dad did at that time, but his career improved quickly so she never went back to work. I’m not sure if that was always the plan, but obviously that field changes rapidly due to technological sdvancement so after a while she probably could not have gone back regardless.
It was fine until my brother and I were both out of the house, then she seemed (and still does, somewhat) kind of lost and frustrated. Projects will come up here and there but I think it’s been hard for her not to have a specific “purpose” to focus on every day. I have always known I would absolutely not want to work full time while raising kids, but after watching my mom go through this, I decided to start transitioning towards work that can be done remotely and within hours I set myself to pave the way for me to have the best of both worlds – a rewarding professional life and career but enough freedom and control so I am not stuck under some companies rules, hours, and office location when I want to be able to balance raising kids.
I started in law and then transitioned into marketing, so it was not a super easy switch. But thanks to my amazing husband, i was able to take the plunge and give it a shot. I am now completely self employed and freelance as I want to, during the hours and from the locations that I want to. It’s great! Even without kids, I love this lifestyle so much more. We can even travel for weeks or even months at a time because we can now both work remotely. Next year I am actually poised to make more money than I did at my last salaried job because I’ve been able to adjust my prices myself and increase them as my reputation and portfolio grows, as opposed to sitting around hoping for a promotion based on other people’s whims even when my work deserved it.
I will say, it’s definitely lest prestigious sounding than my past jobs, and especially when I was just starting out I sometimes felt silly having worked for a degree from a top undergrad and a JD from a top law school, yet i was making basically no money. But, that changed with (a LOT of) hard work and now I feel absolutely fabulous about leaving and hope I never have to go back to a salaried corporate office job again, kids or no! I’ve become so spoiled with being able to control how my time is spent throughout the day, not have to deal with annoying coworkers, no commute, etc. I’m able to fit workouts in better, get errands done, take care of my puppy, etc with so much less stress. Judging by how much better I have been able to manage the household as a result, I have no doubt in another year or so I’ll be ready to add a kid into the mix.
As for your other questions, we did have to be frugal for a while when I first quit, as it was definitely a bit of a shock losing a big chunk of annual income. Fortunately, my husband’s businesses have been doing well which has given me the luxury of having lots of time to figure my situation out. If we’d had to dip into savings or live paycheck to paycheck, I’m not sure I would have done it.
Regarding contingency plans, my husband has a massive life insurance policy and a few other policies that cover disability type situations that would keep me/us able to live the same way or even better actually should something happen to him. Great policies are not that expensive for young healthy people, so I definitely tell encourage you to look into that. We also have a prenuptial agreement that protects us both and in my case, would ensure good support for me should anything happen to the marriage (incredibly unlikely, but I think all marriages should have one – it’s the lawyer in me). We also save a significant portion of our income each month and have a very healthy savings.
I am not sure what your field is, but maybe there are options for where you could transition to a part time or full time hours/freelance situation that would allow the best of both worlds? Even without having kids, I’d highly recommend it. I wanted to start well before we had kids so I could be established and have a steady client flow and solid reputation, as well as so I could get used to the different lifestyle BEFORE introducing a kid. It’s worked well.