We have just made huge change in our life style: my kids started daycare and I have just gone back to work after being home for 3 years and a bit with our kids.
Here a few reflections on the theme of money and fun:
- Me working = two incomes in our family = easier two save up to future travels (and other fun you need money for) = harder to find the time for the fun that takes more time.
Shifts in costs:
- Day care costs (but only a fraction of what it costs in most other countries). We pay about 400e/ month for two kids/ 4 days/weeks.
- As our kids eat breakfast, lunch and snack at day care, and I get a cheap lunch at my work place, we spend about 300 e/ month less on groceries (not to mentioned the time I do NOT have to cook. The best part of this deal!!!).
- My husband is using his legal right to work 30 hrs/ week (therefore kids only 4 days a week at daycare). Since my husband takes time of, the state pays him a bit more than 90 e/ month until our younger child turns 3.
- At the moment we don’t get any costs of work trips as we are lucky to work close-by, so we use bikes. At least until the snow falls. I enjoy getting the bit of fresh air and exercise as well, as I do not feel like going away from our kids to do sports in the evenings.
The way I see this, we don’t really end up paying anything for the daycare, do we? Kids seem to have fun too, even though the start was tough especially on our younger one. So there is a bigger shift in the time we have on our hands.
Shifts in fun:
- Less time for fun little outings, crafts and other activities as I spend days at work and kids are too tired to focus on anything special after their day at daycare. The older one often needs to be in bed by 7pm, which leaves very little time to go anywhere after the daycare. The current “fun” seems to be to have a sauna, enjoy a bath, play something simple together or just read, sing, dance and cuddle together before bedtime. Simple but pretty enjoyable really. But I will not mind if there will be a bit more flexibility in the evening when kids get more used to the new routine.
- I get to enjoy professional challenges and colleagues, but there is less time and energy for my own crafts projects. I am happy with this balance though.
- Our kids get their share of stimuli at daycare, and they learn other things than I could offer them.
- Husband and kids get one day a week for themselves, so they all get more “dad fun”. I think it is his turn to have more time with the kids, and he just said he finds his 3 day weekends pretty enjoyable. This arrangement makes it also easier when it comes to laundry, shopping and other home chores (when he is home on Mondays, he cooks for a couple of days and I do a big shopping on the way home to avoid doing it with tired kids).
- We still stick to our deal of one night each per parent (we both get one night “off” to do what ever we want every week). At the moment I mostly want to rush home from work to see my kids though, I did not expect myself to miss them so much. However, pilates does make me feel good, so does an occasional cuppa with a friend, and I believe a relaxed mum may be good for the whole family too, so I stick to the deal too.
- Weekends have been pretty dedicated to the family so far. Swimming, little outings, playgrounds, crafts, garden work, nursery rhyme groups – and laundry.
How has the transition been for others? Has the decision when to go back to work been difficult/ easy?
You may also want to check out a post by The Blackberry Boys who recently published an interesting post reflecting her thoughts on being a stay at home mum in Hungary