I remember getting married. I don’t remember the separation. It happened gradually.
Being in a two-physician marriage has its awesome sides and downer sides. When one physician earns substantially more than the other—and you’re striving for financial freedom—it’s painfully obvious who works full time and who is a part-timer. Someone needs to run the household, so our family doesn’t implode (I respect women working full time who manage to be more patient than I am with the various childcare/personal assistant options out there).
So DH (Dear Husband) is the one who works full time. It’s mostly nights, evenings, and weekends—that’s the norm for his field.
But as a partner in a business, working two weekends a month gradually turned into three. I now find myself weary of life as a quasi-single mom (hats off to the real ones).
I’m the one around to hear our boys ask daily—in their-still-small-boys-voices—“Will Dad be awake or asleep today? Will Dad be home today?” It breaks my heart each time. (As I write this, “Cats in the Cradle” lyrics are running through my head).
Our family is tired of living life in a holding pattern called survival. It feels like we’re existing, not living. I’m fed up with trying to jam life into the crevices of my husband’s work schedule. We need a sustainable lifestyle—what we’ve had hasn’t been sustainable in the long run.
Don’t get me wrong; we’ve tried to get away as a family for vacations. But my husband still has to work the same number of shifts a month, regardless of if he takes a vacation or not—that’s life in his field. We’ve tried to be creative, going on vacation at the end of one month and the start of another. Problem is, he’s always in the red. Vacations aren’t much fun when one parent is beyond exhausted. When his circadian rhythm has been flipped twice the previous week, he sleeps a lot on vacation.
We don’t want to mess up this life stage with our kids. During these next precious 12-14 years we have left with them, if we screw up* as parents, we’ll pretty much pay for it until we die. I don’t want to spend my future controlled by my past. And at this age, I finally know what it feels like to have the proverbial sands of time slipping through my fingers.
Last summer we questioned if we should proceed with what is happening today, May 4th. But we stopped wondering after we took a life-changing course from Montana Money Adventures. It opened our eyes to new possibilities, new ways of seeing things—this is what happens when you listen to Diverse Voices over the years. We also got the courage we needed for what we’re doing in 2018.
Early in January, DH gave his 120 days notice to quit his partnership. Today he changed to working part-time. Now we’ll look at our family schedule and pick convenient days for him to work. I am super excited about an improved work-life balance for DH.
We’re blessed to have an option like this. We have enough and don’t want to keep up with the Joneses. We’ve reached the period in life where we are mentally okay with pulling back and letting our assets grow while working part-time to cover day-to-day expenses.
At 40 and 42 years old, DH and I are already tired and fried. But we’re not ready to call it quits in medicine. Besides, I’m addicted to my VA job’s
crack cheap health insurance.
If you’re wondering about the finances behind DH going part-time, you’ll need to return next week. Right now I have to explore some ancient British pub my sister’s been raving about (she’s properly embarrassed that I hate beer. I lived in Germany for a year, and I still.hate.beer. She’s going to disown me, I just know it.)
You see, this post is going out to you while I’m fulfilling a lifelong wish to go to England. Now that DH’s work schedule has lightened, I arrived yesterday to visit my sister who moved here over a year ago.
I leave you with one last thought (besides bad-tasting British beer): take the next step. Whatever it is you need to do this week to help get your finances in better order so you can have options in life…just do that one next step. You got this.
Cheers from England!
For discussion: How are you taking control of your finances? Are you reading a good book? Taking an excellent course? Please share your wisdom in the comments.
(*Go ahead and poke fun at me for putting my oldest in a fluorescent vest while walking around alone on the streets of Mexico for the first time ever with a child. But it took me three years to have said child—I needed a bright yellow vest for him on our first trip.)