Saturday, April 5, 2008

The $$$ Diet and the Big Decision

Back in January, I talked about my financial diet. The main components were getting rid of the bottled water and starting to take my lunch to work at least one day a week. I've made a conscious effort to cook more at home and to be a little more thrifty. My 7-year-old daughter called me "cheap" today and just the other day when I said "to save money" when asked why I was doing something, she sighed and said "I'm tired of saving money."

Well, the worst is yet to come.

We're going to let the nanny go. Now, this nanny is not just a nanny, but also our housekeeper and emergency babysitter. She has been with our family for 7 years. She has never called in sick and is the most reliable, steady, and calm person I know. She has been amazing for our kids and family.

But . . .

Last year, we had a lot of frustration over what to do about childcare in the summer. We were in a Catch 22 situation where my husband had to work to pay for the summer school. Yes, he made more than school cost, but the kids spent summer in school. This year, we are creating a situation where my husband can take the summer off and just be with the kids. Perhaps he'll hop in the minivan and travel to family. Or perhaps, it will be filled with lazy days catching rolly pollies in the garden and begging to have lemonade stands. Either way, they'll be with a parent who loves them and given the luxury stolen so often from children these days, boredom. From boredom comes creativity and imagination and perhaps even self awareness.

We can't have this and pay for our nanny to come on Wednesdays to clean our house and watch the kids. It just isn't possible financially. As it is, we'll be reaching into some retirement savings for what we're looking at as a temporary early retirement for my husband. A few years off work while the family needs him.

But I love our nanny and I hate the thought of letting her go during what is looking like a recession. It is only one day a week, but it is likely about 25% of her income. We'll give her two months notice and a bonus, but still.

I wish I had deeper pockets.

The other side is that I'm scared for how messy and dirty the house is going to get. My husband's standards are lower than our nanny's and mine. So, even though he's willing to take on the housework, I'm nervous about what that means. We agreed to discuss the chores and even make a list with frequency. I offered take some of the time on weekend, or perhaps my day off every other Friday, to do the things he doesn't like. We'll see. The next step is the chore outline with timeframes and responsibility.

Wish us luck!


Sierra said...

We are at the start of a financial diet too. Not just because of the recession, but to get a head start on our plans for remodeling and savings... we've never done either till now.
It's tough, but I know you can do it. I also think it is good for kids to have chores. I didn't have them when growing up and really wish that I did. It took me a long painful and dirty time to figure out that the miracle mom didn't come in and clean up after me when I was on my own.
Your kids will do great and I'm sure your hubby will step up. Good luck and I hope that you find new peace and balance in your endeavors.

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