Grass Is Always Greener: I’m Jealous Of SAH Parents

2 boys. 1 school.

[twitter]I’m jealous of other parents. Green with envy. I’m appreciative of what I have, but lately I can’t help but wish things in our life were different.

Our Nanny has given notice. After 2 weeks on the job, she has decided that, at 24, she doesn’t want to be a caregiver. So here we go again. The search for the 4th Nanny in less than 18 months begins.

It sucks, and that’s where my jealousy comes in.

As I do an inventory of our friends with kids I quickly realized that Jen and I are the only family we know where both parents work. Every one of our other friends have a parent (mother) staying at home.

Tears of guilt were shed at home and so we crunched the numbers. Could we do it? Could we lose one income, and one expense (the Nanny) and survive just on my income?

The budget items started to be deleted: no more private school for the boys, we’d have to sell a car, and most likely get a smaller house to shrink the mortgage. We could do it, but how happy would life be? My 20 minute commute to work would balloon to an hour or more. We’d have to move to a neighborhood where access to schools would be worse (at least a 45 minute bus ride each way). And there would be no extras. No vacation. No money for extra curricular activities. I could afford to pay the mortgage, the bills, a car, and some clothes – that’s about it.

So, this week, I am very jealous of my friends who can afford to have a stay at home parent. I am jealous of my friends who don’t have to write $21 000 in cheques to someone to look after their kids for 5-6 hours a day. I am jealous of my friends who can have a parent stay home, and still make ends meet.

When I look at spring break coming up this week, I see all the camps and activities that kids are being registered for. We can’t do it. There’s no way to get the kids to and from because we work. Even with a Nanny, there is no way to get the kids to and from activities across the West Side of the city. If Jen stayed home, she’d have the car to take them to bug detective camp, bike riding class, Lego camp, swimming, and more, but we still wouldn’t be able to afford the $180/wk registration for each kid for a half day, week long camp.

With both of us working, we can afford the activity, but have no way to get the kids around. Even then, Spring Break happens in the heart of a major ratings’ period for radio. So while the hallways at school have everyone whispering about ski trips to Whistler, beach escapes to Florida, or a week at the cabin, we are facing a week where our children will be at home with a Nanny that doesn’t want to be a caregiver anymore.

It sucks, so I’m jealous.

I don’t know how our friends afford to have one parent staying home. Some of them work in oil and gas, others are executives, others are self-employed. Some have been here for years, lucky enough to not only have a high salary, but to have bought houses in Calgary when they were $250k less than they are now.

We moved here in December 09. Just at the tail end of a boom, and when I was looking for houses, it was slim pickings. I had to take what I could find, and I had to pay full price for it. We had to settle with a less than an ideal home, in our ideal area. Our house does not make us happy, it’s not a comfortable place to live, the layout is terrible and despite being nearly 2200 sq ft, it feels like a 600 sq ft apartment with 5 people in it.

I’m rambling because I’m frustrated. We have friends wanting to get a bigger house with a 3 car garage so they can have room for their Porsche. We have friends who are renovating their entire home, for the 2nd time. We have friends with getaway lakefront cottages.

We’re just trying to find a Nanny that wants to stay. We’re just trying to find someone who will love our kids as much as we do.

There are times when I wish I could hit ctl-alt-del and do a refresh and start things over. There are times when I wish life was a video game and you could just hit that reset button, get a new man and try that level again. This parenting level has been a mess and I’m feeling incredible guilt that I’m screwing things up for my kids.

So I’m looking for a way to make an extra $40 000, and looking for a new Nanny. Again.

How do you do it? How do you make one income work to balance your books and family?dadcamp fire

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8 Comments

  1. Anna March 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Have you considered daycare? Both my children went to daycare, both loved it, and both (now 9 and 13) still have best friends that they met there at 3 or 4 years old. Maybe you had mentioned something about this on your blog before, sorry if you have.

  2. admin March 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Dayhomes in Alberta are a disaster. They are either soaked up by oil and gas companies who have them on retainer, or they are SAHM who are unlicensed caregivers who take in kids like they run a puppy mill.

    Our next door neighbor runs one, can’t get more convenient than that and there’s no way we’re dropping our kids there. We have yet to see a good dayhome experience in our city.

    We had daycare in NVancouver and it was awesome. BUT .. when you have 2 kids, it’s twice as expensive and twice as unavailable.

  3. caia March 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    welcome to the real world, me i raised my daughter with day care and 2 incomes because we still could not afford all those things you want … i still can’t . I say if you want kids there are sacrifices… many have less than you I pay 1200 mth to rent becuase we can’t qualify for a home ..

  4. Maria March 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Our family relies on the modest single income my husband makes as a scientist at the university (30 min commute). We have enough to pay for the basics (mortgage, utilities, food, etc.). No fancy vacations, just camping. Our lone car is paid off. We live in the NE and my child goes to a great public school with wonderful teachers (20 min bus). I SAH with our 3yr old. Just swimming lessons twice a yr and soccer in the spring. We can’t afford any of those camps either but we have plenty of fun in the summer with playgrounds, puddles and mud pies in the backyard. We’ve had to forgo a lot, but our simple life makes us very happy. Good luck to you & your family!

  5. Lee-Anne Thornton March 24, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I have made huge sacrifices to stay at home with my kids. I usually worked part time when my husband was home to take care of the kids. I also took in kids for before and after school care when they were little. My two older kids are now married but I am remarried and have a 13 year old now. I have stayed at home with him for 13 years but not without huge sacrifices as my husband works 8 hours from home, has to rent a place to stay and pay for his car and gas to get to and from our home. We also have a mortgage. He works overtime a lot and is sometimes gone for a month at a time and when he does come home he drives a very dangerous highway. We live comfortably, but never save any money. We didn’t want to put our children in daycare and sacrificed a lot of time together, but one parent was always home with the children. It isn’t easy, but it works for us.

  6. Amanda March 25, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    We only met 6 years ago, bought a house 5 years ago (not our ideal house but in our ideal neighbourhood), renovated and saved our pennies. We didn’t buy brand new, in fact the house was a dump (and the stories out neighbours tell us about the previous owner are unreal) , but our house is now worth double what we paid. Smart investing.

    Many of our friends married for 10+ years asked why did I taught swimming lessons part-time when I was an engineer? Because it paid me 22$/hr on hours after my full-time job. It was a commitment to make just that little bit more before children.
    We were going to go the Nanny route. But have found an amazing day home that made us realized we don’t need the to spend more on a nanny

    A couple of my friends while being SAHM’s took jobs driving kids from their dayhome to an activity and back (or to their home at the end of the day). An option worth considering if you find the right person and want your kids to do during the week extra circulars.

  7. sherrie March 25, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    As a mom who will give it a’ll away to be with my kids. ps i also was a working mom answering calls 3 hoursafter giving birth! Life is short and living with a fancy car and white picket fence it all not worthy if it u do not have time with your kids. No porches in my driveway 😉 if u can do it great;) if not scale back! You will be happy!!! Travel enjoy llife!!!

  8. Jenn March 26, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I’m lucky to just work part time and have the best of both worlds. But working in healthcare doesn’t really give you the option of quitting, because you are required to stay current.

    We were also lucky to have a fantastic dayhome and there are a lot of them out there if you are lucky enough to find one. You can’t paint them all with the same “horrible” brush.

    But we all make choices about what is important. We have had good luck with public schools so I don’t feel a need to put them into private school and although we live in the burbs and my children will have to take the bus to their french immersion school, I do feel like that’s important for them. But it is choices.

    The other thing to think of is there is such a short time that they are young. We have made sacrifices now but knowing that once they get older we will be able to do vacations, have nicer cars etc.

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