Putting my Career on Hold

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A snapshot of my LinkedIn, where I diligently try to pretend I’m a part of the corporate workforce. I’m part of the mommy workforce, is what this should say
saParenting requires sacrifice, that’s a given. Most often, our sacrifices are merely based on how we prioritize our lives. In my own, the health, happiness, and general well-being of my son is first, followed closely by the health of my relationship with my husband. After those two priorities, my list becomes a little jumbled and perhaps it’s just one giant third category that includes friends, family, our financial state, other various responsibilities, and my career.pt

“Career” seems like a distant word for me now. Families are composed of all varieties: one partner working and the other being stay at home parent, both partners working, single moms, single dads, grandparents responsible for their grandchildren and the list goes on. In our home, my husband and I both worked full-time career-path jobs before I became pregnant. We each graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and quickly moved into the daily white-collar rat race. While I didn’t always enjoy my job, I was moving up. Receiving promotions, raises, perks, more vacation time. There was a reason to work hard, because there was opportunity for growth.

I knew pretty quickly after finding out I was pregnant that I didn’t want my son growing up his first few years with two full-time working parents, if it was at all possible to avoid. And, I also knew that we couldn’t possibly survive on one income, or even 1.5 incomes. We did some intense budgeting for me to go part-time at a new job, cutting out luxuries we had become accustomed like TV, which I actually don’t miss all that much. For me, I knew that working part time was ideal. I could raise my son, enjoy the early years teaching him, be able to take him to doctor’s appointments and play dates, and know that he wasn’t in daycare 50 hours a week.

But, the sacrifice that came with that was stifling. Thankfully, raising my child has indefinitely been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, but my lack of fulfillment in my job was unexpected. I now work part-time as an office manager at a local nonprofit. There is little extrinsic, or even intrinsic, value to my job. I bust ass and get things done, and my days usually go quickly because I’m busy. But there is no upward mobility. No ladder to the next position. No career advances.

It’s humbling. Really. I’ve found that I stress less at my current position because I’m not in competition with the person in the next office over for the next raise. It’s just me, doing my best every day, fully knowing that there is no benefit to doing my best.fallingSo am I falling behind?

Once my son heads off to school, I plan on heading back into the workforce full-time. Will I be overwhelmed? Will I be the old person that knows nothing? Will I be able to get a job? Will I remember my workplace skills?

These questions nag at me every so often. When I look at my LinkedIn profile and realize that it should really read “great at super quick diaper changes” or “professional at neutralizing toddler tantrums”… it makes me wonder if I should have a LinkedIn profile at all.regrets

But here’s the thing:

I will never, not once, regret raising my son. It will not happen.

Jobs will come and go. The corporate rat race will continue indefinitely.

My son will only be little once. I count myself fortunate to be able to swing our finances in a way that I’m able to be part-time, because I do realize that this is a blessing that many families couldn’t possibly consider doing.

ImportantSo for now, I will treasure every day with my toddler. I’ll worry less about the corporate world. I’ll keep my connections and continue networking. And when the day comes that I head back into the workforce, I’ll face it proud with the years that I’ve just spent raising a little boy. Because my husband and I both know, raising our child is the most important job there is.

And to my wonderful, amazing husband that does work full-time making it possible for me to be part-time, I love you and appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. 

As an aside, if you’re wondering what the value of a stay-at-home mom is, check out this articleKT

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Helpful Reward Apps

I’ve rated a selection of grocery reward apps that I’ve personally used. 1 Star is not worth your download, 5 Stars means you should definitely look into it for some great money back savings! When it comes to grocery reward apps, there a few features to look for that will make an app more applicable and appealing to your individual purchases.

The broader range and amount of products they offer rewards on, the more use you will get out of the app. Also, redemption minimums are important as well. An app that allows me to cash out after I’ve earned $5 is obviously more appealing than an app with a minimum of $20 worth of earnings to cash out. Another app feature to look for is a store requirement. Some apps will allow submissions from any store, even online, while others will only allow submissions from select retailers. Finally, how you submit a reward is the last app feature I look for when rating reward apps. Most apps require a pic of the receipt but others may require you to scan the item barcode in addition to the receipt in order to validate the purchase. Annoying, time consuming, ain’t no mama got time for that.

Here is my review of apps I’ve personally used and the ones I like the most. **NOTE I use Apple products. Some of these apps may be available on Android but I unfortunately cannot confirm.

 i

IBOTTA

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  • Can redeem from a variety of local grocery, big box stores, and retailers
  • Can redeem for produce items as well as occasional “any brand” deals for items like diapers (!!!) or milk
  • Cash out minimum of $10 to PayPal, Venmo or several gift cards
  • Sometimes over 100 offers for one grocery store, so high likelihood its stuff I’m going to be purchasing
  • Must scan individual barcodes of items in addition to receipt photo
  • VERY specific on some items. I’ve been duped a few times when I purchased the wrong size or flavor of an item. For example, cash back for Brawny paper towels but must purchase 9 ct.

 51

CHECKOUT 51

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  • Most redemptions can be from any retailer
  • No individual item scan, only receipt pic
  • Offer rewards for produce
  • Cash out minimum of $20 by mailed check
  • Not many items available for earning rewards

 ms

MOBISAVE

4.5

  • Redemptions can be from any retailer
  • Several items available for earning rewards (multiple baby items!!)
  • No individual item scan, only receipt pic
  • NO CASH OUT MINIMUM!
  • Money goes straight into PayPal account
  • I LOVE Mobisave but the only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because there is a waiting list to use the app!! Took me a few weeks to be approved. Download ASAP so you can get on the list and start using this great money back app!!

s

SNAP BY GROUPON

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  • No individual item scan
  • Not a large variety and somewhat random items available for reward redemption
  • $20 cash out minimum by mailed check only

ss

SAVING STAR

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  • Multiple items available for reward redemption
  • $5 cash out minimum to PayPal
  • Links straight to rewards card to individual stores so you don’t even have to take a receipt pic
  • No individual item scan, only receipt pic for stores without a rewards card
  • Some people are obsessed with this app, I find it confusing. Many rewards are “$2 back when you buy $15 of product.” I can’t remember to brush my hair some days. Too much effort for me.
  • Very specific on item quantity and flavors
  • Only allowed redemption through a limited number of stores

sh 

SHRINK

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  • Limited amount, but some “any brand” and produce options
  • $10 cash out minimum via PayPal and Venmo
  • No individual item scan
  • Redemptions can be from any retailer
  • Not a large variety of items, mostly organic
  • If you buy organic a lot, check this out. For me, I have yet to receive a payout. Just don’t purchase the items available for rewards.

shop

SHOPMIUM

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  • Redemptions can be from any retailer
  • NO CASH OUT MINIMUM
  • Money immediately into PayPal or Bank Account
  • Items must be individually scanned
  • App is extremely difficult to navigate in comparison to others
  • Not a large amount of rewards offered but more common items

The Stigmas of SAHMs: Finances

We all know the look. The look we get when we tell acquaintances, friends, even family members, that we’re choosing to become a stay at home mom. It’s a mix of confusion, surprise, pity, jealousy and “judgyness”. This segment is about overcoming the stigmas of being at SAHM. Whether placed on us by loved ones, SOs, friends, strangers, MSM, or even ourselves, stigmas are the mantras we tell ourselves over and over that slowly break us mentally, spiritually and emotionally. We can overcome these debilitating scripts. We can become the all-star parents we saw ourselves being from the minute that pink line smiled back at us.

Let’s do this together. Let’s learn everything we can and become fulfilled as women and mothers in this role we were created to thrive in.


 

“We can’t do this financially”

That very well may be a fact. Some of us simply cannot live without the income of the mother. Whether you are a SP and must be the sole provider, or you and your SO are in a place where there is no possible way to make it work, its ok. WOH presents you with different challenges than a SAHM but you dear, are superwoman. You got this. But this segment is for the women that come to the (scary) decision to leave work and take on childcare FT.

I don’t care if you’re Bill Gate’s wife, leaving you job and losing that income no matter what your financial situation, is freaking terrifying. So let’s fix it. Let’s relieve the anxiety and talk about some simple, practical options that may sound intimidating at first but will ease the shock of financial loss and help the transition into FT booger covered zombie a little less intimidating.

  1. Grocery Budget

My DH and I sat down and said “this is what we’ve got.” That number, every pay period is what I have to purchase groceries, baby supplies, gifts, clothes, household imageneeds…pretty much everything besides gas, bills and major purchases. That’s it. Trust me, if I told you, the number would make you fall out of your chair and say “Ramen is disgusting, I can’t do this.” Trust me, you can. And you don’t have to eat Ramen (hey, throw some chicken in it, a couple veggies, Ramen can work!!). But to start, sit down with you’re SO and come up with a number. Freak out for a second, then take a breath and let’s move on.

  1. Couponing

For the love of all that is Holy, do not watch Extreme Couponing and think you need to imageput on an addition to hold all your toothpaste. Just, no. But what you need to do is start small and get the Sunday paper. The Sunday paper will cost you about $2, sometimes as low as $.75 if you preorder and have it delivered. It will provide you with dozens of coupons every week that will cut your grocery bill significantly. Cut, organize a little, and then make a list.

  1. Make a List

I told you. Make a list. You don’t need binders and file folders of coupons to save money (yes I have a binder, yes I love it, no you can’t touch it). Start simple. Make a list of things you need for the week and then start looking. Look through your Sunday paper coupons and start to match up coupons with what you need. Then if you’re feeling bold, check out coupons.com. It’s not scary. Look for what you need ONLY. Don’t get wild and burn through your printer ink. After that, hit up google. I needed rice. I googled “Uncle Ben’s.” I found a coupon. Not rocket science. Just simple computer skills. Go to the store now.

  1. After the store, Grab your Tablet

After you read this, read my review on grocery reward apps. They’re free. Then, look up what you bought, take a pic of your receipt, get cash. Boom. Easy.

  1. Online Shopping = Ebates & Retail Me Not

Ebates is fool proof. Any time you shop online, find the site you’re going to on Ebates first. You’re making the purchase already, why not get 6% cash back?? Then, when you get those orthopedic pacifiers your mom is convinced will prevent braces, check out Retail Me Not for a promo code. Boom. Now you’ve gotten 6% cash back from Ebates and saved 15% off your total and got free shipping because you found a code on Retail Me Not. Online shopping nirvana.

Start here. These are the things you can do from home, don’t take hours and hours of your precious sleep time and WILL save you money. Lots actually if you start to really get into it. We can talk about meal planning, getting your cable bill down (or getting rid of cable altogether) later. Let’s start at the beginner level and wow your SO with how much you saved on groceries this week with a little extra planning and little time on the tablet. You got this.

-Chelsea

For more on our series of Sahm Stigmas, check out:

SAHM Stigmas: Careers

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/18/the-stigmas-of-sahms-careers/

SAHM Stigmas: A Day of Nothing

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/21/the-stigmas-of-sahm-a-day-of-nothing/