This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 14, 13, 10, 7, and 3.
We spent our first 7 years of marriage just floating around having fun. Well, it really wasn’t fun, because being poor is never fun. Once you start to make money, it seems you look back at the time of being poor and think “Those were good times”. I wish I didn’t distort my memories like that.
You cannot make money and be happy all the time.
Some time around year seven Andy managed to float into a job he semi liked, but it made money. This is when I discovered that being able to buy silly things, like socks, really changed my life philosophy. It use to be “Do what makes you happy.” Then it changed to, “Make money and try to be happy.”
To work fewer hours, you have to pay a price.
Four years ago we had the misfortune of moving to a new city due to a relocating job, and, four months later the job laid Andy off.
We decided he would look for a job that would pay huge amounts of money so we could pay off debts and be financially free in 10 years. What we found is the more you make (salary or hourly) the more hours you work. We found a job, and created a plan. Andy worked 100 hours a week for 2 years. My philosophy changed again, “Making money is ok, but being a single mom sucks.”
Understanding yourself trumps money.
At this point, I was homeschooling and I felt lucky to be home, even if I was a single mom. I felt guilty that Andy was so unhappy, so now what I wanted from life was for Andy to like his job, make lots of money so I can keep up with TV families, and work a 4 day work week so I could stop being a single mom. Over the two years Andy discovered he did love his job. I wish I had understood his personality, ESFP, before now. Andy excels in a changing, people pleasing, challenging job. This knowledge could of saved us the wandering, poor first 7 years of our lives. Sigh.
The 4-day work week demands a high offering.
There are a handful of guys who made it 30 years in this line of work. They work a 4 days, and spend weekends at their lake cabins. Awesome! Andy and I spent the 3rd year fighting about his hours and how he should be working a 4 days a week! Look at these other guys! They are doing it! He cut his hours back to 70 a week. I still complained.
The other day, we were at one of the houses of a 4-day-work-week guy. I smugly asked him when Andy could start working 4 days a week like he does.
His reply was, “Oh, probably some where around year 10!”
Then he asked me if I knew what time he gets up. He said he leaves the house at 4 am and comes home at 7pm all 4 days. That’s when I realized the 4-day work week is all a sham. You can’t work four days a week with less hours and more pay.
Oh sure, some people say you can, but how many hours did they put into their work before cutting back? How cheaply did they live to off set the pay in the future? Unfortunately, we all have to work hard to get some where. There are no short cuts, unless you are born to someone wealthy.
Now my philosophy is, “Be happy your husband can make money and wants to come home.”