I have been working hard on trying to get myself situated credit and financial wise. I have also taken lots of strides to help my husband improve on his credit as well. However the strain can really get to me, and I start to wonder what am I doing, and I begin to feel down.
My husband and I currently live off of one income, now grant it, I actually make a decent amount of money. That was the reason we decided to have my husband become a stay at home dad, because it just made more economical sense at the time. That started 9 years ago.
I have since moved up in my income and field and am set for a promotion in January with a new salary increase. My husband, has always stood aside for me. Put his career path on the back burner. The last job he had was about 3 years ago and lasted about 6 months, but when I got the bigger, better job, he sacrificed his to let me do the 9 to 5. I am currently back in school persuing my bachelors and he has once again supported my decision.
I have refinanced the house to lock in a fixed rate, and we have a plan to pay it off in 3 years. I have applied for some new credit cards in May at the same time, and have gotten bigger credit lines. I have helped him open credit lines in his name, that are used for revolving bills like phone, which are auto paid each month. I had my credit lines paid way down, with only a couple grand left from prior home improvement things, and things were starting to look up. Then, the flood gates opened of the unexpected circumstances. The sink leaked and the needed that and plumbing replaced, the central air conditioner went out during the hottest weeks of the summer and needed replaced. His grandmother died unexpectedly, and we were the only ones able to cover the funeral costs. So my cards have gone back up a bit (now sitting at about 10K). It has been very frustrating to me to have tried to come so far to get knocked back, and realizing that I was lucky just to have the credit lines I do now.
The strain has come in that I feel like I am trying hard to get us into a better home and savings situation. Our house is extremely small (965 sq feet), and we are in need of more room. We also live in a local school district that is one of the worst in the nation, and I feel like I am failing my kids to not get them somewhere better. We are looking into private schools, but juggling the cost would be difficult and would end up just making us potentially stay in the same house longer, rather than moving to a better place. So the guilt has been building about trying to encourage the husband to look for work. He has been applying for places, but our hours are really restricted as the kids are home from school before most places will let him out of work, and my job will not let me leave early. He has a medical condition that will not allow him to work night shifts. Plus, he has been out of work for so long. I am starting to feel that he is getting discouraged to the point of not even wanting to bother applying, and I feel that I have been in his way, preventing him from pursuing the things he has wanted to do, so pushing makes me feel bad.
I do realize that we are not as bad off as many others. I have worked very hard and pretty nonstop to try and do well, and I know I can be pesimistic.
So I just ask, what helps you when you start to feel discouraged? Are there things you do to help push away the doubt in yourself?
Could your husband home school your child? This would help with the school issue. My wife, an ESL student forced herself in her 40's to go to school to become a Massage Therapist in order to have a better job. My point is that sometimes a person really has to reach deep within to get the strength to change their situation.
I have a master's in education. So this is not just my opinion but is generally considered to be fact by the education community.
When every single data point on student success is measured and weighed together, the number one positive effect is reading to your children. Up to two hours a day if possible. Don't just read with your children, read to them, they get plenty of time to practice reading in school. The average child (up through the 8th grade) has a oral vocabulary 3 grade levels higher than their reading vocabulary. This means that anything they hear will be easier to absorb than when they read it themselves.
The benefits of reading to a child is not limited to just improving their language skills, social studies, science, and even math heavily rely on reading, and as such will benefit from you, or your husband, reading to them.
Most poor performing schools do not actually perform worse than the average school. These schools generally have a population of students who have:
Two working parents
Only a single parent
Parents with low education including illiterate parents
Parents whose primary language is not English
All of these factors limit parental involvement with students. They either don't have the time or knowledge to read to their children. As such, your husband staying at home will actually be more beneficial to your children than him getting a job to pay for a more expensive school.
So don't doubt yourself, you are doing well by your family.
I agree that reading to children is a big benefit, and we read to them every night. They are in elementary school, and we are reading chapter books with over 1000 pages in them. They enjoy it, and I hope it encourages them to work on large books themselves.
My eldest daughter is actually a year ahead in school. The thing is, if we compare scores of standardized tests, my daughter outscores the school average in each area by quite a bit. The concern I then have, is if the school is able to keep up with my daughter. I have addressed this with her teacher, who agrees with me, and truthfully there is not much they can do to help advance her more. In fact, she ends up getting used by the teachers as the other student's tutor so to speak.
I have looked at the home schooling potential, but my husband is not a teacher, and we do have to submit a curriculum to the state that has to be approved prior to being allowed to home school. We can do some of the online home school things, but they are not rated very well either in our state.
I appreciate the well wishes. I have been talking with my husband more about it, and he says that he truthfully feels that he is fine with me just working, but he gets into funks due to other men he knows kind of messing with him about being a stay at home dad.
I didn't read a mention of a plan to save money for an emergency fund or for house reserves. (I call it house reserves becuase it pays for the maintenence and for repairs.)
Is your husband looking for a full time job in his career field? Has he considered a part time position NOT in his career field? Has he signed up with employment agencies?
Is there someone nearby who could watch the kids once in awhile? Is there a before/after school care program?
To follow up on the questions:
"Is your husband looking for a full time job in his career field? Has he considered a part time position NOT in his career field? Has he signed up with employment agencies?
Is there someone nearby who could watch the kids once in awhile? Is there a before/after school care program?"
My husband has applied to many different places in and out of his area of expertise. We do not have support to watch the kids, and there are no after school programs offered by their current school. There are after school programs with the private schools.
"After reading your post, I question whether your husband's lack of employment is the main issue for you. Deep down inside, does that bother you? I know you said it bothers him at times, but what about you? I'm kinda confused on whether you feel like more household income is needed.
I understand that you have goals that you're trying to meet (larger home, better school district), but the question is how will you go about meeting such goals? "
The fact that my husband is a stay at home dad does not bother me. It bothers me more when he goes through cycles of doubt and feeling like he isn't being "man enough" because of something someone said to him. I truthfully want for him whatever it is he wants for himself, and I feel more down about the fact that he has given so much to allow me to do good, so what is it I can do to help? We are able to afford everything on just my income alone, so we technically do not need the income, but in reality, more income is alway more that can be put towards something or saved, so I am not against the idea of a job either.
I actually have payment amounts set up for all my debt, including the plan to pay off my 15 year mortgage in 3 years. I create excel files that plan out everything and I look at various payment plans to see what is the best route to go, and I run a bunch of different scenarios to see what I can do. It just gets to me when I have everything thought out, and something else happens that keeps me from doing what I wanted. If I can get the new debt paid off, then I can start saving all the money that is going to these bills. So I feel like I pressure myself a lot to get there, and to be better for my family.
I appreciate the comments, sometimes an outward look and suggestions can be helpful...