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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A money-losing venture

Now that I'm plugging away on this latest story, Toddler in Chief is spending more time with the sitter. That is directly correlated to money leaving the checking account at faster rates than normal.

Three days last week, two days this week. And that equals cha-ching. No one ever said child care was cheap. I'm done reporting, which feels great. Now I just have six pages of notes to transform into something worth reading, and more importantly, worth printing, so that I get paid. As I've said before, this is not all about the money. (It's really about the fame and the glory ;-) Seriously, it's about bulking up my portfolio with recent clips and for mental stimulation so that I can continue to form cohesive thoughts and perform tasks that have nothing to do with assembling the wooden train tracks so that TIC can play with Thomas.

I don't want to go broke accomplishing this.

Okay, It's true. Father in Chief and I will be just fine if I pay for 10 or 15 hours of child care per week. I just don't want to lose money on this venture. I'd be okay with breaking even. I just hate the idea of paying more for child care to pursue my writing career than I actually bring home. And that is the reality of this story. It's not a huge story and at 25 cents a word, it doesn't amount to much compared to the amount of time I do researching and playing phone tag and interviewing and writing and then all the follow-up work with my editor. I know I'll become more efficient and disciplined with my time the more I write. But for now, it's a losing venture.

I know it's good for TIC to get used to being with other care providers, so that is worth something too. Mostly, why do I feel like my career isn't worth spending money on? I'm worth it. Note to self: stop being so hard of myself. Repeat: I'm worth it. Confession: TIC is with the sitter and I'm blogging. So maybe if I hunkered down and focused while TIC was with the sitter, I'd get more done and would need to pay for fewer hours of child care and would not be in a money-losing venture. Hhmm...

6 comments:

  1. If you are enjoying the writing, and he is enjoying the other kids and the sitter, and you can afford the childcare - I say it sounds like a great situation!

    I think it is self defeating to measure "worth" by "paycheck." Some of the most important jobs in the world are low paying. (or no-paying...for the SAHM). Nurses, Teachers and Daycare Providers often are on the low end of the paycheck spectrum. And I'd say those are the three most important professions in my life right now...

    I work part time and I've finally gotten over the guilt. I figure the most important thing I can give to my children (long term) is a happy, well-adjusted mother who is still happily married to their father 'til death do us part.

    For me, that involves having some sort of part time career outlet. (Just for me...other families have different situations and needs.)

    It sounds like you've identified something which makes you happy (writing) and you are doing a great job at integrating it into your main job as "mom."

    So, stop the guilt!

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  2. It's an investment.
    My first year, doing a little half-assed freelancing, I made a couple hundred dollars. The next year, doing it much more seriously, I made about $80. This year, there's a reasonable chance I'm going to break five figures (and I'm not counting the two that come after the decimal point.)
    You're talented. You feel good--you know you can get there. So invest away! (Plus, anxious, snappy, mothers who would rather be somewhere else--me if I'm not writing--not good for children. Really.)

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  3. Andrea7:46 AM

    I work free lance, too; lawyering. I will confess that I am often comparing my billables for the month to the daycare bill-- did I cover it, or not? Which is silly because I would need some childcare for sanity purposes even if I didn't work at all, and I don't even know how much I'm going to net working this year after expenses and taxes so the numbers are just conjecture, and I'm working for mental stimulation and a foot in the door for later, too.

    But congratulations on all the free lance work. I think getting started is the hardest part.

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  4. We cheat.

    Instead of using a sitter, we use the grandparents. Helps keep the overhead down (always important), and it allows the grandparents to spend some time bonding with our two older terrors (max & zak).

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  5. Anonymous5:03 PM

    I'm a working mom (I'm a university prof), and although it was psychologically important to me that my paycheck (and I was stricter, my take-home pay) was greater than I paid for childcare, I realized at some point that that was silly. I have a 35 year career ahead of me. If I come out behind financially for a couple of years while my kids are small no big deal. And, a male faculty member put the question in prespective, when he said that they'd spent half their income on childcare when their kids were first born. He just didn't think of it as being his wife's salary they spent on child care. Why should we? Your decision about whether you _want_ childcare is personal, but if it's the money (that you can afford), we just need to think out of the box. Especially with a free-lance career, keeping a weekly talley just won't cut it for you.

    bj

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  6. Anonymous5:04 PM

    I'm a working mom (I'm a university prof), and although it was psychologically important to me that my paycheck (and I was stricter, my take-home pay) was greater than I paid for childcare, I realized at some point that that was silly. I have a 35 year career ahead of me. If I come out behind financially for a couple of years while my kids are small no big deal. And, a male faculty member put the question in prespective, when he said that they'd spent half their income on childcare when their kids were first born. He just didn't think of it as being his wife's salary they spent on child care. Why should we? Your decision about whether you _want_ childcare is personal, but if it's the money (that you can afford), we just need to think out of the box. Especially with a free-lance career, keeping a weekly talley just won't cut it for you.

    bj

    ReplyDelete