One of the biggest questions new parents face is – who will stay home with baby and how long? Even without advance planning I notice that many parents find creative ways to be the primary influence in their child’s life. Many parents figure out how to live on one income or to work part time. Some work from home part time. There are many ways to figure out how to do this.
Finding work life balance can be a challenge. It is also a life long process. As a young mother I decided to spend as much time as possible with my baby. I was a single mom so I had to work. I decided that I would work part-time as long as possible. I was a public school teacher at the time and I was able to job share. This meant that I taught my fifth grade class in the morning and was with my son the remainder of the day. I did this for two years and I loved it.
I lived in New Mexico so the pay scale was very low. This meant that I had to find other ways to generate income. I wanted to take my baby with me. A friend of a friend hired me to clean their house and I could take my son! That worked out well when he was small. I had a two bedroom apartment so I took in a pregnant teen through a social service agency. They paid me to house her and she also provided some extra child care. He went to a home based day care, when I was teaching, for just a few hours a day.
Looking back I remember those years with great fondness. Being able to be with my child and integrate my career needs, with his parenting needs, was always a balancing act. Through the years I was able to find creative ways to meet my financial needs and have time to be a parent. Not only did I enjoy parenting but I was also able to grow and develop my entrepreneurial skills. I have owned and operated five small businesses.
With creativity, and deciding how involved I wanted to be in my child’s life, I was able to balance my needs with his. I loved being a parent. Was it challenging? Of course, but the positives far outweighed the negatives. I hope that parents today consider all their options when it comes to solving the work life balance. The early years are so important.