After weeks of focusing on little more than this, I’ve finally taken the opportunity to sit down at the computer to make plans for the silly boy’s First Grade year. I’ve gone back and forth a bit – not on curriculum, but on the broader question of whether or not homeschooling is still a possibility. I worry about how successful we’ll be at weathering the coming storm in our state. I worry about just how much of a cut in pay my husband will take and how I’ll absorb that into our family’s budget. There isn’t a lot of opportunity for cuts in our budget. We have a few debts that take a portion of our income followed by necessities like food and the attendant clothing for the children in our home who grow like weeds.
From there I have a few small-ish expenses in the grand scheme of things – a cell phone with the cheapest plan we could find, internet access, land line, and cable television with DVR for recording oodles of things on TV for my inquisitive children. Add to that insurance and savings (both for our children and for ourselves) and aside from our education expenditures (classes for the silly boy and my brown-eyed girl) you’ve pretty much summed it all up.
I can’t cancel the cell phone as it’s under contract until the end of summer and even then at that point some members of our family consider it a necessity for when I head to Madison or other locations for silly boy’s classes. What if I get stranded somewhere?
The tv/internet/phone puzzle perplexes me to no end. Internet for our generation is no longer consider a “luxury.” Between homeschooling and banking, it would be tough to find a way around it. But there’s always those package deals. How much will I save by dropping the TV portion? I’d like to keep the telephone portion as on the days I don’t travel it would be nice for my husband to take the phone with him and then if he did I’d be without a home phone line.
As for food? Between diapers and other household expenses, it’s tough to feed our family on less than $300 a month. So, then what? Cut where?
The other possibility is for me to go back to work – admit defeat and find some job I don’t hate enough to be willing to go there every day. See…I like being home with my children. Anything before that in my life was just a job to pay the bills. I have zero career aspirations because, let’s face it, I’ve found my place in life – the thing that makes my heart sing. I cycled through majors in college and never found one that really seemed like a good fit. The one I graduated as? Yeah…that was part of the I can’t figure out what else to do and at this point I just need to stick with a major and graduate.
Going back to work is not without its costs. I will most likely need to travel 45 minutes away from here which means more wear and tear on our high-mileage vehicles. My husband’s car is limping along as it is and I’m not sure that faced with as many miles as I would be driving in a week that our van would fare much better. And no, there is no mass transit in our area, as appealing as that may be. Then I’d need clothes. Clothes to interview in. Clothes to wear to work every day and a pair of shoes too. Add to that childcare for my two youngest and for my oldest between when he’d be done with school and when I’d get back to town. True, I might save a bit since my husband works second shift. Maybe it would only be a few hours a day…unless he has to work overtime and go in early. Then what? Will a daycare provider be able to handle that kind of variability? Will I have to put them in from 10am until 6pm on a regular basis just to address that possibility? And how much will that cost?
Oh, and don’t forget that all three of my children would need to get in to see the doctor before any of the above can take place. Our health insurance doesn’t cover well-child visits for my oldest so we’ll have to cover the full cost of that one out-of-pocket plus another $230 at least for the youngest two.
And then I find myself back at the beginning. Why did I want to go back to work again?