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Full Time, All the Time

with Britt Reints

Forget the 9 to 5; the demands of a working mom aren’t limited by a time clock. Full Time, All the Time is a blog about balancing the many roles of a modern woman - and maintaining your wellbeing while doing it. I am a writer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and sometimes volunteer living in Pittsburgh. Oh, and I think you look pretty today.

You can also find Britt on Twitter and at InPursuitOfHappiness.net.

Why we don’t have nice things

Categories: Uncategorized, economy, office life, relationships, the juggle

4 comments

Day 21 Occupy Wall Street October 6 2011 Shankbone 16It’s not uncommon to blame children for a couple’s inability to have nice things. My husband and I, however, have no one but ourselves to blame.

A year ago, my husband and I sold just about everything we owned - including our beautiful home and my beloved shoe collection - so that we could move into an RV and travel for a year with our kids. That year of travel has come to an end and we now have room to put stuff again, but we’re not running out to replace all of our stuff. Why? Because we don’t want to go back to real jobs.

At first, I worried we were being immature. Real grown ups have real jobs.

When my husband, Jared, quit his job so that we could travel, it was supposed to be temporary. He’d find a job when we were done traveling, even if it was in a different field (we often joked that he was going to use our time on the road to decide what he wanted to be when he grew up.) But then he got to spend all of his time with us, teaching and getting to know the kids in ways he’d never been able to before.

Real grown ups might have real jobs, but it sure was nice getting to spend time together.

I assumed traveling for a year would open up extraordinary career opportunities for me as a writer. As it turns out, spending most of my time traveling instead of marketing my business actually stunted my freelancer income (who knew!?) I was forced to re-evaluate my goals and thought about applying for sales jobs in our new city. But I hate working in sales, no matter how good I am at it, and I like having the freedom to come and go as I please and spend time with my friends and family.

Real grown ups might have real jobs, but it sure is nice to have lunch with my husband.

The solution for us, at this point in our lives, is to keep our expenses low, low, low and our savings as in tact as possible. That means we aren’t buying much and we entertain ourselves with free or very cheap options. It means we’re moving into an apartment instead of a large home. It means we still only have one car and have no plans to buy another one.

Of course, we still have bills to pay. Kids need to eat and they outgrow clothes. We have cell phones and health insurance and like to travel. Both Jared and I do need to work, but we have a lot more freedom to do work we enjoy when we don’t need to make near as much money. I have continued to write, now with more marketing, and have picked up several new writing gigs in the last few weeks. Jared has spent the last couple of months learning about daytrading (which, yes, scares the crap out of me.)

Is it immature? Maybe. But as I was writing this post, my kids were playing with their cousins in the next room and I overheard this conversation:

“I’m going to be a daddy when I grow up!”

“But if you’re the dad, you have to get a job and then you miss out on childhood!”

I think I’ll hold off on getting a real, grown up job for as long as I can, even if it means I don’t have (very many) nice things.

Do you have a “real job”? Do you ever fantasize about trading it in for something that paid less but required less of your time?



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4 comments so far...

  • Yes, and yes. As long as it also came with the true flexibility to do what I needed with my kid. I actually had a little of that with this new job - the hours are a straight 8 - they do exist! - but with much less income. On the other hand I no longer spend the money for an after hours nanny. Tradeoffs. I’d love to be able to do something even more flexible. I had the opportunity to freelance a bit in my field - and found I’m good at it - but doesn’t pay enough to deal with health care.

    Mich  |  June 6th, 2012 at 1:12 pm

  • Yes, the thought crosses my mind - a lot. I don’t think I could work too light of a schedule, though. Working hard, at least part of the week, seems to fulfill a need for me. And my kids frankly don’t need that much more of me. Between school, sleep, quality time with other cool adults, and doing their own thing, there isn’t much time left for mama anyway. So . . . I guess I could spend the extra time deep-cleaning the corners of the baseboards or stripping the wax off the floors . . . or reading about other people’s lives . . . but I might as well just spend the time doing my job.

    SKL  |  June 12th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

  • Really enjoyed reading your story. I admire your courage to make such a huge life changing decision. Not many have the nerve to do such a thing. Good for you on holding back on a real grown up job, have fun with your day trading.

    Lawn service Orlando  |  July 16th, 2012 at 8:15 pm

  • Its great to read of other families who have made big changes to get the time together they want. We sold our (nice) home to live in a little rented cottage. We also sold the second car and like you spend as little as possible so that we can have time together. I left my serious (contract negotiator) job to write and my husband took a teaching job so we can be together when the kids are on holiday. Sometimes it can be hard - but only really when we can’t find the cash to travel!

    Sam  |  August 31st, 2012 at 9:30 am

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