06 November 2008

How Much is Time With Chuck Worth?

Chuck is currently working on obtaining his administrator's certificate. When he finishes at the end of this school year, he'll be certified to be a vice-principal. In addition to the course work he's taking through the university, he has to take some classes through his school district. At the end of the first of these school district classes, there was a panel of recently-hired administrators, and a Q & A session was held. The thing that Chuck took away from this was that he (and I) should expect him to work 12-hour days, 12 months a year if/when he is an administrator.

Right now, Chuck leaves the house around 6:30 a.m. and comes home around 3:30 p.m. (nine-hour days). If I could have my way, I'd have him home eight minutes after the end of seventh period, but he has to do something he calls "prep." (Sounds made up to me but whatever.) The fact that I am home alone with Rhett until 3:30 is hard enough. But 6:30? Could I do it? Do I want to do it? And what about the effect on Rhett? We start his nighttime routine at 6:30. Chuck would walk through the door minutes before Rhett was put down for the night. They'd see each other only on weekends.

Becoming an administrator would bring to pass only one thing: more money. This difference in pay would give me the option to stay home completely if I ever desired. Or if I continued to work, it would give us bigger inputs for retirement, Rhett's college, home improvements, etc. I know having money doesn't bring happiness; but I strongly believe that not having enough money does bring unhappiness. The money becomes a big factor.

On the other hand, Chuck coming home at 6:30 would leave us almost no time to spend together as a family. He'd get home from work, Chuck would eat dinner (no way I can wait until 6:30), and Rhett would go to bed. That's it. Sure we'd have Saturdays, but is that enough? When I think about what I want for my child, I want him to know his Dad. I want them to spend time together, play in the back yard together, walk the dog together. And as a non-administrator, he has summers off. Sure he gets a job for six weeks, but it leaves us three weeks to do whatever we want. (Of course, we'd have no money to do anything...)

But how do you make this decision? Even now, I feel like our finances are very tight. The extra money would be wonderful. But at what cost?


Sandra said...

That is a tough choice. Interesting how we're faced with the same thing here in our home. Allan came home yesterday and told me that he was promoted at work. Great! But it also means longer hours at work. Right now, he leaves home at 6:30 or 7 and he's home by 4:30 or 5PM (long commute). Just this weekend I was talking to some family members and realized that I was very lucky to have Allan home by 5. It seems like most dad's don't get home until after 6 or 7pm. How sad is that? I guess we have to make sacrifices in order to support dad through his career advancement.

Ruth said...

Ryan is also getting his administrator's certificate and we will definitely be making the choice to have him become an administrator.

This isn't something I would have picked earlier in our marriage though for the same reasons you have stated.

Now that we have more kids, more bills and more stuff we also have more responsibilities. Simply put we need the extra money and it will make our life less hectic as well as simpler. Right now Ryan does the extra tutoring at school, he teaches piano lessons, is in a master's program and is the director of a boy scout camp. I also work nights at a sleep lab.

I still feel like we get a lot of family time and more so than those who work other business jobs.

Your kids will stop going to bed so early after the first year. Right now my kids are in bed around 7:30 or 8 but I have many friends whose kids are up until 9. It follows the family dynamic. Also, many other districts do not work their administration so hard. My principal in Howard County was always gone by 4pm.

That being said it is definitely a personal family decision.

Natalie said...

One question...How in the world do you get Rhett down at 6:30? Our girls go to bed at 9:00 and then Carter...whenever I can get him down after that. I guess I need some tips from you.

emily said...

argh, since when did we grow up and have to start making actual real-life decisions. they're so hard.

of course you are the only one who can decide what you really want.

that being said, though. . .it doesn't seem, to me, that having chuck be late all the time would be worth it to you. at least not right now. but that might just change down the road.

Amanda said...

Hard choices...I can't say they get any easier. We feel very fortunate that Al has his own business and is able to set his schedule to include LOTS of family time. We've also ironed out our family government so the time Al has with the kids is quality time, not disciplining. He hated coming home at night when they were on the way to bed and wrestling with them because they're exhausted.

One reason we homeschool is for the flexibility to adjust with Al's schedule, too. If he has a long-term project he likes to start work by 7:00am so we can adjust the kids' schedule to still have morning devotional and a more relaxed evening when daddy gets home.

Sorry this ended up being longer than I thought :) I will say, we've accepted we are not going to have much in material items during this time of having a young and growing family, but we spend SOOO much time together and I feel very blessed, even while we're poor :)

Living in Tally said...

6:30 in reality isn't horrible. I know many a mom's that are on their own until 8:00 at night. Jessen gets home at 6 every day, and I feel like it is early compared to some. Of course compared to what you have now, it would be a huge adjustment--especially because the cranky hour for kids usually hits somewhere between 3 and 4 and doesn't end until after dinner and a bath. Then they all rev up and are happy and ready to play again. okay, I am rambling, but I am with you. Not enough money does bring unhappiness. I lived through 6 years of Ph.D. school life. It was not so happy a lot of the time.

Niederfam said...

There are ALWAYS sacrifices to be made, by the entire family. Time, $$$, etc.etc. I don't know what to tell you....... I'm sorry, it's no fun to be a grown up!!! But at least you are opening up possibilities, and I believe that is always a GOOD thing.