Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
Why do people want to devalue a part time employee? Part time jobs are of value to both the employer and the employee. I work several part time jobs, mostly at home. I do home childcare, I tutor from home, I teach CPR and first aid classes often from home (if for a company I go to their site), and do writing and copy editing for several online publications. I am also a landlord. Yet, I am considered by many to be unemployed.
I was asked if I was ever going to get a "real job" instead of being a stay at home mom. I replied, "I do work and have several jobs. In fact, many weeks what I do totals above and beyond your typical 40 hour a week job." This person told me that what I did was not "real work", because most of it I do from home or, if not at home, because it is only part time.
Some weeks, such as last week, I worked over 100 hours, simply because I have two families whose children I have for 24 or 48 hours straight as their parents work 24 hour shifts. That gives me more than a normal week of 40 hours just in 2 days. Then, during racing season I may still go and work another 2 or 3 days at the speedway, which is usually 12-16 hour shifts.
The IRS considers me to have real jobs, because I sure pay taxes on it. If everyone felt that the jobs I do are "not real", we would have no landlords or property management people, no daycare, preschools, or babysitters, no CPR or first aid instructors. In fact, a lot of jobs could be lumped into that field, because probably somewhere is somebody who does something from home to the extent that almost all occupations could fall under this. I even know of a dentist whose office is at his home in a converted garage.
Evidently, to some people, a "real job" means you must leave your home to work for someone else.
This same person then told me they thought that Pizza Hut was hiring (minimum wage) and perhaps I could quit my part time at home jobs to work there. In doing the math, I would not only incur the cost of fuel to and from work and uniforms, but would actually earn only half of what I earn now in the average week.
Working at home has huge advantages, as you can still keep an eye on your kids and their activities, not have to worry how to get to work on days with bad weather, not having to purchase work clothes, or call in sick, and one can get some small household chores done in during breaks.
It also sometimes has its disadvantages, as having to stay on task to meet an editing or writing deadline when you know the laundry needs to be hung up on the line, or keeping people out of the office and quiet when you are trying to work. And the biggie, people who think they can just drop in whenever and then get mad because you are on the phone or computer and can't just leave to answer the door or to leave with them and do whatever, whenever said person wants you to.
This person said if my job was real, then why do I usually state I am a stay at home mom? Well, because I am "at home". Being at home doesn't mean that you are not contributing to your family's income. There are lots of stay at home moms who add to their income, through Avon, Mary Kay, having a beauty shop in the basement, child care, sewing, tutoring, or giving music lessons. And, to me, being a mom is the #1 most important job there is, next to being a dad.
In fact, being a stay at home mom also saves the family money. I am here to do what a lot of dual working families hire to have done. We have no babysitter, no lawn service, no weekly housekeeper, I pay no one to transport my kids to and from events because I am at work. I have the time to cook and bake from scratch, instead of having to stop and get fast food on the way home from work. I do our laundry instead of taking it to a dry cleaner. I have time to save on our grocery bill by planting a garden. From that garden I freeze, dehydrate, and can over half of our food for the year. I have time to coupon and shop sales and feed our family (5 remaining at home) on $200 a month (month, not week as the average family does). That alone takes me around 4 hours a week to plan my shopping/sales trips. I have time to do my own mending and some sewing (when my girls were younger, I made all their clothing, except for their Christian School uniforms). I also have time to shop garage sales and thrift stores. (Often finding items I can resell at a profit). I also have time to refinish furniture, including a few that began as $5 thrift store finds and resold for a profit.
When I worked full time, I had to pay for a sitter, pay to have my lawn mowed, pay for dry cleaning and we ate out at least 3-4 times a week, because by the time I got home from work at 6 p.m., I was tired. I thought I would get all my chores done on a day off, only to be given mandatory overtime, which is very painful when you are a single mom. Nothing more lovely (sarcasm intended) than paying income taxes on money you earn then having to pay again to have someone do your work for you, while you do someone elses work.
Why pay taxes on a full salary, only to have to pay half that out to other people you had to hire to do your at home work for you? You come out ahead by only working part time and only paying taxes on your part time work. Many part time jobs also give an employee discount which is even a further savings if it is a place where you often shop.
Having said all the above, the person then argued my children were old enough that I could leave them. Yes, I could. After all, the youngest 2 are now in high school. But, often that is when they need you most. This is the age where they can have a friend come pick them up and be gone to who knows where with who knows who. I am here, I know where they are and I know who they are with, and I know the other parents. This is the age of teen pregnancies, teens drinking, smoking, and experimenting with drugs.
Years ago I worked at a crisis center, and for a few months was a volunteer interim director. One thing we asked women "in trouble", (trouble could be anything from drinking to pregnancy, or they had been kicked out of the house or abused), was how did they get into this situation. Over and over the answer from many women, especially the younger ones, was that the behavior that got them in this situation started or usually occurred at their own home, while their parents were at work. "Well, I got into the liquor cabinet while dad wasn't home, or my boyfriend would come over every day for an hour before school as soon as my parents left for work, or I took the drugs out of my mom's medicine cabinet." Basically, because your child is a teen, does "not" mean you are not responsible for them, or need to stop watching them. Often, you need to watch them more, but for different things and different reasons. Teens are easily persuaded by their peers, fashions, and other adults, and often not in the best way.
Work at home moms (and sometimes dads), are not to be looked down at, thought of as lazy bums, or to be criticized. They are both a parent and often more than a full time employee. They are also usually the first to be asked to help with various volunteer activities that parents who work full time "for the man" can't do. Many don't realize that a lot of well known solid companies now hire work at home employees, such as Centurylink, Enterprise Rental, and many many IT jobs.
Next time you visit with a stay at home parent, pay attention to what all they do. Often there is a lot to be learned from them-such as organizational skills, budgeting skills, and other lessons.
Hi there - where did you find work for the online publications? I am 78 years old and would love to do that same thing - any info? and thank so much! Loved your article by the way - very enterprising!
We all make choices. Yours is to stay at home, making the wisest use of your time at all sorts of work, for compensation (in dollars, love, or other). You have imagination and gumption. May I also add that there is a tax savings in working from home (if you live in the USA). One can "write off" a portion of the mortgage, car expenses (costs of insurance, car maintenance, etc), home maintenance, cable/phone/internet, and the like. I could not afford to give up my now part-time home-based work since it saves me so much on my taxes.
What others think of your type of employment is more a reflection of small mindedness and lack of the ability to see the larger picture. If these 'friends' have the free time to "drop by" then they have a relative luxury. They can't berate you for your choices. Please take heed that you don't denegrate other people's choices who must go out to take a part-time job outside the home at a fast-food place or other. We are all trying to make the best use of our time and talents.
I say bravo to you! Thumbs up! I have worked at my job for 42 years the last 12 being retired but still working there. Down to only 16 hours a week now so I can get my SS but now I can enjoy my animals and life better.
Never, ever, feel as if what you're doing at your stay-at-home "job" isn't just as important or relevant as those who leave their home to work at another location. A good way to answer those who wonder about your activities or tasks is to print your "resume" (list responsibilities, accolades, and achievements - just as if you were applying for a company job), and either have it handy in hard form to give in person or available to send via e-mail.
Many people offer extremely rude comments about the stay-at-home jobs moms perform because they are ignorant - letting them read through your resume should help enlighten them! Hold your head up high - you are providing an invaluable service for which most of us are grateful!