“Daddy, will you be here in the morning?”
“YES!!!!” a little boy screams—grinning widely—as he runs up the stairs for bedtime.
Conversations like this are happening a lot in our household lately since DH (dear husband) quit his partnership. And each time I hear something like this, I smile, and my steps are a bit lighter.
DH is now working between zero to three shifts a week, depending on what’s going on in our family schedule. He’s become part-time in two hospitals and we’re still figuring out this whole scheduling thing. Now when our calendar is messed up, it’s my fault because I’m the scheduler in the family.
And yes, I’ve already screwed up—I had to cancel a weekend camping trip after I realized DH was working late on a Friday night (because hey, who wants to do all that work for just one Saturday night of camping?).
Let me tell you though—scheduling blunders aside—this new life stage is incredible! Having DH not be exhausted has made an enormous improvement in our quality of life. It is unbelievable the change we’ve noticed in him.
For example, we went to Legoland for a overnight at the hotel with the boys (yes, we actually have time to travel now!! Though a good question to ask myself is this one.). Compared to when we made the same trip to Legoland a few years ago, the time was a night and day difference for DH and I! It was the first time DH and I enjoyed Legoland (typically we just endure it—first world problems!).
“Dad’s gonna join us instead of sleep?”
This was the constant, surprised question when we went on a cruise the other week. It was the same ship/trip we did a year ago at the end of school, but this time we got off the ship! Like, with kids even! And we did stuff! And DH was more present—actually physically present—instead of back in the cabin, sleeping off circadian rhythm flips. This time I didn’t haul the kids around the ship alone.
In this new life stage, DH and I have days off with the family and together (like we’re sometimes alone—as in, just the two of us!). We no longer feel as if we have to cram a whole weekend into half a day when all four of us are together. Not feeling that constant time pressure/rushing around sensation is amazing.
I feel a little like we’re floating through life now, but honestly, we’re in recovery mode.
This mental space to not always be stretched to the max is pervading our whole lives. Now one parent isn’t shouldering either the majority of childcare or work outside the home. DH is no longer working full time while helping with the family when he’s home. And though I’m still trying to retain a toe-hold on a career while balancing the consuming needs of young boys—one of whom is not a traditional visual/auditory learner—I now have a tremendous amount of help.
This ability of two parents to be fully present and helpful allows relief when the other one is fatigued. Now we can easily supplement the others’ weaknesses. By the end of the day, I’m exhausted because I get up too dang early. So DH takes over putting the kids to bed. I’m the morning crew, which means I get to snuggle with them when they wake up groggy and wander downstairs at the crack of dawn.
We wouldn’t trade getting a 3/4 pay raise back for this irreplaceable time with our boys.
There’s only so much longer they will come to cuddle with me every morning. And there’s not much time left where DH can wrestle with them without getting hurt picking them up.
Overall, we have this prevailing feeling of relief—like, Thank God we survived that period in our lives!
We’re still figuring this new life out. We often say to each other, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” So we’ve decided to give ourselves a year “off” to decompress and adjust before we make any major life change decisions.
And as you can see, we’re traveling a lot to make up for lost time. Our older son is winding down Space day camp today and DH is packing up the camper to come home from the Space Coast. Don’t worry—we’ll settle down more next year.
I hope you’ll follow our journey along and sign up to receive our weekly blog—maybe I can provide advice and inspiration so you can take hold of your finances to lead your desired life?
13 thoughts on “What it feels like when both spouses work part-time”
Congratulations! Enjoy this stage in your life! Spending time together and having new experiences is far more valuable than anything you could buy.
Totally agree! Loved your latest blog! Great job!
BC, it sounds like you are loving the changes you made. Most doctors are afraid to try such a change. It is so far out of our consideration and we are not sure if we can survive financially if we do it. Early on in my career I wanted to cut some things out of my practice that I didn’t like doing. I was afraid to do it for fear of the income loss. I only got the courage to make the move after I became debt free and didn’t worry about losing my house if my income fell. Funny thing was, my income didn’t fall. I kept doing those procedures I didn’t like all those years for nothing. I wished I had made the move sooner. I just didn’t have the nerve sooner. I became bolder when I was out of debt.
It is nice to see from you that it can be done. The world will not come crashing down on you if you work less and spend less. In fact, the world just might become a better place. My kids loved our trip to Lego land when they were young, it scored higher than Disneyland.
Dr. Cory S. Fawcett
Prescription for Financial Success
Dr. Fawcett, thanks for stopping by. Yes, it is hard to get out of our comfort zone to do something unorthodox like this, but it’s been wonderful! So many people are telling us we’re not going to regret spending this time with the kids and focusing on them. And WHY is it that legoland scores higher than Disney for kids? Same with mine! (at least, for now). And thanks to your book, we’re now completely debt free. But I’m waiting for that blog about it to be published before I change our site heading—yes, I write blogs about two months before they’re published 😉 So I mention you in that blog where I discuss us finally being totally debt free! THANKS AGAIN!
I’m glad I was a part of your successful transition to the good life. Debt free is the way to be!
Dr. Cory S. Fawcett
Prescription for Financial Success
I just found your blog through Crispy Doc. I can promise you that you will never regret taking the time to spend with your young family. Money can always be made back later if need be. But the time is irrecoverable. You can never turn the clock back and wish your kids’ young again.
You might even end up financially better off since you are both on the same page money wise. Best of luck!
Dr. MB, thanks for stopping by and also much gratitude for your words of affirmation: it was a nerve-wracking decision to make to walk away with a 3/4 pay cut to our family. But the kids are growing so very fast…so that part of the decision wasn’t difficult. And yes, we are FINALLY on the same page financially, so that’s helping out loads!
My children are now 17 and 19 years old. I have NEVER regretted a single day that I spent home with them while they were younger. You have already read “Your money or your life”. You are frugal. Plus you both have great career options if you ever plan to turn the work up again.
Living like that, people can retire who earn 50K a year. You guys are two doctors. Seriously it will be zero issue with those habits intact.
Now I need to go read more posts of your blog!!
17 and 19 seem so far away but I know I will blink and they will be those ages! Thanks for that retrospective look! And thanks for the reads.
I love reading the comments above, feels like I’m watching two friends meet and hit it off, even if they are invisible internet friends.
I’m thrilled to see how wonderful the experience of cutting back has been for you, truly the difference between black and white transitioning to color by the sounds of it. Just want to let you hear me cheering for you from the stands, BC!
Dr CD, You’re a huge inspiration to us! This whole financial blogging community has helped us tremendously to be doing this crazy give-up-partnership experiment. I am hoping I’ll be able to meet some of y’all at FINCON. Thanks for your cheers! Hugs, BCK