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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Role Reversal

My DH and I have been wrestling with 'a big life changing event', yep another one :) Our farm/homestead/home business goals will/are require time and considerable effort. For this to have a chance we feel one of us needs to be working at home. Home to be the primary child caregiver, chauffeur, etc. Home to be the household manager, bookkeeper, etc. Home to be the chicken/turkey/(beef/goat?) wrangler. We have tried DH working full time and me working 50% with only partial success. Being a small business owner/partner-I find work encroaching on those days off-filling in for emergencies, fielding questions from staff/clients; my days off are never a sure thing. We are both professionals and good at our work; DH is finding his job frustrating and unfufilling, while I have days of intense pleasure (they PAY me to do this?!) alternating with the dread (I can't fix this pet, too many people want too many things from me)of high responsibility and caretakers fatigue.
We are both finding ourselves stressed out because we cannot do a satisfactory job at either our home or office jobs, and feel that the solution is for one of us to be the income earner and the other to be the home and farm manager. The original assumption was for me to stay home and Tom to work. We are each inclined to fulfill our 'gender roles'; he as income producer and I as caregiver. This would mean me selling my portion of the business to my partner and thereby having a nice but not earth-shattering amount of cash. We could pay off my student loan, buy a tractor and put the rest into a college fund. Nice, right? I have been sitting with this idea for a while and it makes me selfishly very happy but hearing voices. Voices that wonder about selling a business which is profitable even in this economy, that wonder about the stability and longevity of DH's employers. The projects we have at home now require a skill set that are not my strong points -carpentry, post holes, fencing-and oh yeah-organization!
So, as much as it makes me want to kick my feet and have a tantrum :) I need to explore what happens if I work full time and DH stays home. It means no cash to buy a tractor or finish the workshop. We will need to come up with 2/3 of the workshop's price tag by next June to fulfill our construction loan (could work with tough budgeting -or a SOLD house!) I have a lot of untapped earning potential and money wise it might cash flow for us. We need to find health insurance since DH's employer carries that. What else...is Tom willing to do dr and dentist and orthodontist and lessons. Is he willing to pay bills, to return library books and go grocery shopping? Is he okay with being Mr Mom? Am I okay with the responsibility of being the sole bread winner-scary!
As I think things through I am excited by having energy to put into the clinic. I am pulled in too many directions now and have been a jack of all trades, master of none lately. We have so many great things about our clinic-if I can take control of our/my direction instead of being the passive receiver of what comes my way...
I am so thankful to have this outlet for my internal dialogue. I am at peace with this option if some of the details can be worked out. It is not what the selfish child in me desires, but the thoughtful adult looking out for the needs of her entire family (herself not the least of all).

3 comments:

Ruralrose said...

Sounds like you have it figured out! It would be a mistake to buy a tractor anyway. We can only make the most of now, bravo. Considered making your house a rental? Peace

Hickchick said...

Thanks--'figuring stuff out' is such a fluid endeavor! Hitting a moving target and all that..
Why do you consider a tractor mistaken? A 32 hp with bucket would come in mighty handy for snow, home butchering of beefers, moving hay rounds etc.
And yes we are discussing home rental right now, I think we have to to become a single income family.
Kris

Karen Sue said...

I have been laid off for the summer and now started part time in a vet's office doing...office stuff. There's a lot to learn for me about answering the phone and who needs how much help and if they tell you their dog needs shots, and then when they come in they say there is a problem with toenails, make sure that you wrote down BOTH things because mentioning it on the phone counts the same as saying it when asked "what are we doing for you today?" when they walk up to the counter....hmmm
and the office people are really nice, but somehow, I get the temporary feeling from this setup...
Sometimes these life changes need a time limit...if you can try him being home for a year or 2 and then re-evaluate the situation. You need to work out a bit of a game plan for happiness..Will he do the laundry?? Will you let go of control and accept/be happy with the way he does your things?? Will he feel like he is contributing as much as you are and how is the money/power division....
Good luck and enjoy life...