I’m Quitting My Job


80 Comments
Getting a New Boss

That’s right. Last week, I put in my two weeks’ at a job I’ve held for 4.5 years. Gulp. Johnny and I did not come to this decision lightly. We’ve been weighing the pros and cons for months, and the pros finally won out. Working from home full time has been the perfect job for me over the last few years. It’s allowed Johnny and me to live like nomads (filed taxes in 4 different states in the past 4 years) while keeping my job and benefits everywhere we went.

While my job didn’t pay a lot, it was full time, so our monthly income will take a significant hit. However, over the past several months, my job has become increasingly more demanding, and Sally’s been shuffled this way and that in the process… from relative’s homes to that one babysitter called TV (major mom guilt). We finally realized that we’d need to hire full-time help with Sally if I were to keep working, but full-time help would eat up most of my income. So basically I’d pay someone almost all of my hard-earned money and not see Sal all day.

Now, back to those pros and cons. Like I mentioned earlier, my quitting was a really tough decision, so we talked through these over and over and over again.

Cons

  • Saving significantly less each month
  • Having less financial stability (two streams of household revenue = more stable than one)
  • Giving up my better-than-Johnny’s health insurance
  • No longer getting free money from my employer’s 403b plan :(
  • Not meeting our financial goals for the year

Pros

  • Spending more quality time with Sally (!!)
  • Juggling parenting, housework, and meal planning better (or at all — truth)
  • Having more time for other writing projects
  • No longer being stressed out all the time (the tip of the pros iceberg)
  • Having more time for Our Freaking Budget :)

Initially, I was really excited about quitting. Like doing handstands and cartwheels and generally unacceptable things for an extremely mature adult like myself. But then I got super stressed about losing my steady income, and a bit panicky, too. But now I’m excited again. I think I’m most excited about not being tethered to a laptop all day, not having multiple conference calls to jump onto throughout the day, and not having to respond to urgent emails while trying to juggle Sal — and then editing, editing, and more editing once she’s in bed. I’m most excited about any one of those things, really :).

I do still plan to pick up freelance work and continue writing for other sites. But I can do that on my own time, not when a certain toddler is tantrum-ing for my attention. While I do hope to keep the door to full-time work slightly ajar for some future date, I don’t think I’ll be returning to the workforce for a while. And if for no other reason than to sympathize and be in total awe of women who juggle both mothering and working outside the home, I’m grateful for the time I’ve had being a mom while being employed. I’m putting the weight of our financial well-being mostly on Johnny for the time being, but I hope to still be able to help out where I can. And fix something other than scrambled eggs or frozen chimichangas for dinner.

So that’s our big news! I guess I was always technically a stay-at-home mom. But now I’m gonna be a legit stay-at-home mom. Any thoughts, similar experiences, or high fives? Please, I need high fives.

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80 Comments

  • Reply Paula Hauss April 28, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Big high fives and hugs!!!! I think what you are doing is a great thing for Sally and for both you and Johnny. We are a stay at home “dad” family right now. I would love to do a flip but for right now this is what works for us. I am sure Sally will love having mommy 100% to herself. The stress reducer and quality time will outweigh all the other cons with the peace of mind it brings you.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 12:26 am

      Thanks, Paula! And glad to hear your system is working for your family right now, too!

  • Reply Zoë April 28, 2014 at 7:58 am

    (Long time lurker, first time commenter)

    High five! Good for you for making a decision that feels right.

    I have been an accidental SAHM for almost a year now. I say accidental because I quit my job when my husband took a new job in a new state, and unexpectedly found myself struggling to find a job. I have to admit, it’s been tough. To go from being homeowners to renters in an apartment with no prospect of buying a house any time soon can feel depressing at times, especially as we are in our late thirties. We didn’t mean to start over again at our age. Not to mention our van requiring $3000+ in repairs in just 7 months, and having to take out an auto loan to replace said crappy van while only having one income was not part of our plan either. But this is Atlanta where we need a reliable car to get around (public transportation is a joke here). And finally, the anxiety of not being able to add much to savings each month sometimes keeps me awake at night.

    But there have also been positives to this unexpected turn of events. I am here for my kids when they get home from school, so I could help with the transition to a new school (C is in 4th grade, R started kindergarten). I get to hang out with my three year old all day which is always fun. We are learning how to live on one income, and now know what is really important to us. When I do get a job, all of that money (after daycare expenses) can go straight into savings. I had a couple of interviews recently, so I hope something comes of that. I miss being a working librarian. Being unemployed has made me truly value my profession.

    Good luck and enjoy those extra Sally snuggles.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 12:31 am

      Thanks for commenting, Zoe! It’s great that you see the good in what otherwise sounds like a bunch of lousy circumstances. And fingers crossed on your interviews! Here’s hoping that everything sorts itself out for you and your fam!

  • Reply [email protected] April 28, 2014 at 8:01 am

    spending time with your child is def the best decision one parent can take.
    congrats!!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 12:32 am

      Thanks, Carlotta!!

  • Reply Jenni April 28, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Big high fives! I started my own graphic design firm prior to having kids because I knew that working at an advertising agency wasn’t terribly conducive to family life. Now, 6 years and almost 3 kids later (I’m 8 months pregnant), I know it was an awesome decision to take control of my own destiny. Whether you’re truly a SAHM or whether you’re working for yourself, it’s wonderful to be able to control your schedule, go to the playground or library during the day, and just be there to spend time with your kiddos. My work situation isn’t always easy, because yes, sometimes there are deadlines and my guys watch lots of TV, but I think we make it work, and you will, too! (All that being said, the financial part is HARD, and I practically have heart palpitations if I really stop to think about it, but I’m able to pull in about half of my former income and pay for health and dental insurance for me and the kiddos, so we just try to scrimp and be frugal as best we can!)

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 12:35 am

      If there’s one thing we know and despise in our household, it’s ad agency life. You had excellent foresight. :) Way to be on making it all work — super inspiring. And congrats on your soon-to-be babe!

  • Reply Halsy April 28, 2014 at 8:35 am

    That is great news for your family. I think you will find your decision is worth it. Plus, as you said you will still be doing some freelance etc. As a sahm, I think the biggest con is it can be easy to loose your own identity(not a struggle for all). We made the same decision while I was on maternity leave. I just couldn’t keep working a job I liked but didn’t love to only be keeping 10% or so of my income. Best decison ever!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 12:39 am

      Motherhood has already thrown me some “who am I?” identity crises, so I appreciate the word of warning. Glad to hear I’m in good SAHM company.

  • Reply Taylor April 28, 2014 at 9:21 am

    High five! I am so happy for you. I think you’ll be surprised how needs (and some wants) “magically” get provided for; I’ve seen it in situations where the parents couldn’t quite figure out how ends would meet but they felt that what they were doing was best for their family. Good luck!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 12:40 am

      Thanks, Taylor!! Here’s to hoping we get our fair share of “magic.” :)

  • Reply i don't hoard April 28, 2014 at 9:23 am

    I think you’re an incredibly courageous lady and that Sally will thank you for this decision down the road!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 12:41 am

      Thanks so much! I appreciate it.

  • Reply Elvin @ Journey To Millions April 28, 2014 at 9:36 am

    High five Joanna! I know that it was a very hard decision but family is important. If I were in your shoes, I’d do the same. I’ll always remember that the reason why I’m working is for my family. I think that is one decision that you’ll never regret. Sally will only be child once. I’m glad that you’ll gonna savor it.

    Good luck!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 12:41 am

      Thanks for your comment, Elvin!

  • Reply coolfam April 28, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Big high fives all the way! You’re still freelancing, etc, just have a much more flexible schedule. You can work on and off outside the home throughout the years if you want to. Enjoy this time!! I have been in and out of the work force, mainly out, for around 14 years but I have always had small part time gigs throughout that time. My husband is the major breadwinner, travels for work and works long hours so by the time I hired a nanny or daycare, I wasn’t really keeping much of my pay when I had one kid never mind three and life would be a lot more stressful! Now that they’re older and in school full time I’m looking to work a little more.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 12:53 am

      Thanks so much for your comment and sharing your own experiences! It’s great to hear that you’ve managed to hold side gigs throughout your SAHMoming days.

  • Reply Little House April 28, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Big high five! I think it’s awesome that you were able to work it all out and stay at home. I’m not a mom, but I am a teacher and I can tell you that it makes a huge difference in a child’s life when one parent can stay at home for a while. I also wouldn’t be surprised if you see Sally’s tantrums begin to wane. :)

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:00 am

      Haha. I hope you’re right. :) Thanks for the comment!

  • Reply Noelle April 28, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Definitely a big high five! When all is said and done you will be grateful that you worked less and spent more time with your children.

    All the best!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:00 am

      Thanks, Noelle!!

  • Reply Becky @ RunFunDone April 28, 2014 at 10:02 am

    LUCKY! Right now we’ve stalled-out on having kids, mostly because I wouldn’t be able to quit my job, and I”m not sure that I want kids if I can’t stay home for the first few years. I’m incredibly jealous of all moms who get to stay home with their kids.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:07 am

      I hear ya, Becky. It ain’t easy. Best of luck with whatever you two decide.

  • Reply Melissa April 28, 2014 at 10:15 am

    *High Fives*High Fives*High Fives*!!

    Joanna, you will look back on this as the best decision you ever made. I know because when my son was born I tried to keep freelancing and traveling (shipped breast milk to hubby via fed ex-true story) and one day he walked into my home office and I just started crying and saying I miss my baby. So he said, then you have to quit and we will figure it out.

    There were hard times and there were sacrifices, but it was worth every bit of it. That baby just turned 11 (!!) and it seems like I just quit yesterday. It goes so, so fast and I cannot tell you how grateful I am that we made that decision. You cannot get those precious few years of childhood back once they are gone.

    As a fellow mom, I’m proud of you! You will do great! And that baby girl will thank you someday. :)

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:09 am

      Thanks so much, Melissa! It means a lot to me to hear from a fellow mom. I really appreciate it.

  • Reply Amanda April 28, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Yay! It really is such a tough decision, but it is a good decision for your family, I believe. The best thing for a child is to have a parent as main caregiver, I think, even if you can afford quality day care. That’s just me, though, and I try not to judge others who decide differently for their own situations. It also really is far less stressful, despite still being hard, to stay home. I do not regret my decision, and I think you won’t either. It helps that your employer is easy not to miss. 😉

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:12 am

      You speak my language, Amanda. 😉

  • Reply Michelle April 28, 2014 at 10:29 am

    High Fives from me! :)

    You have to do what is right for you and your family. I think you made a good decision.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:12 am

      Thanks, Michelle!!

  • Reply jenlarson April 28, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Yay!! Congratulations! I’m a part-time SAHM, and I love it! ( I work 3 days a week in an office, and sometimes that still feels like too much) Any extra time with the little kiddos is worth it! And, like others said, they’re only little for a short time.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:13 am

      Thanks so much, Jen! I can’t believe how “big” Sally is already, so I’m hoping this will allow me to slow down time just a little, even if it’s brief.

  • Reply Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog April 28, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Congrats to you! What’s most important is that you made what you feel is the best decision for your family. I think it will be a great time for you to explore what really interests you and to be able to pick up writing projects. Looking forward to see your work on the blog and elsewhere! A side note – have you posted at all about freelance writing? I’d love to build a freelance career, but don’t really know where to get started. Ideally, I’d like to be able to write from home some day.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:39 am

      Thanks, Dana! And we haven’t really covered freelance writing. We’ll definitely add it to our topic list.

  • Reply Tarynkay April 28, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Congratulations! This is such a fun age with Sally, I think you are going to have a wonderful time. And if you end up missing work, you can always get full time childcare help and go back. But really, I think you are going to love it.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:42 am

      Thanks for your comment, Tarynkay!

  • Reply Hollie April 28, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I can relate to this.. Last year I made the executive decision to quit my job and move in with long term boyfriend in a brand new location. It was nerve wrecking but honestly life is full of change and surprises. If we stayed and settled with things we would never truly be happy.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:46 am

      Amen, Hollie. Here’s to more surprises (that don’t involve diapers)! :)

  • Reply kelsey April 28, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Congrats to you and your family on this decision! After Rooney was born, the hardest decision I have ever made in my life (so far) was whether or not to go back to work. I ended up going back to work full-time, but when she was 7 months old I was able to find a job I enjoy more and cut back to 4 days a week, which has been an awesome balance for our family. I pray that you enjoy your days with Sally! :-)

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:47 am

      Thanks so much, Kelsey!!

  • Reply Miranda April 28, 2014 at 11:33 am

    HIGH FIVE! I’m not real great with change so big kuddos to you! Congrats on getting to spend more time with Sally, and who knows what opportunities will come your way in the future… Exciting stuff! =)

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:52 am

      Thanks a ton, Miranda!!

  • Reply Tracie H April 28, 2014 at 11:48 am

    High Five!! Congratulations. You’ll never regret it!!
    P.S. I love your blog!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:53 am

      Thanks, Tracie!!

  • Reply Quinn @ Wealth Out West April 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Congratulations, I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:53 am

      Thanks, Quinn!!

  • Reply J @BoyfriendIsABanker April 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Congratulations!! So exciting and I think you made the right decision :)

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:54 am

      Thanks!! Here’s hoping! :)

  • Reply Emily April 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Congratulations! That is a huge decision to make, but one that doesn’t have to be permanent! You can find another job if you decide to. I think you will love the reduced stress and notice the significant impact it will have on your family. You guys are so good with your finances you won’t have anything to worry about! Enjoy this time!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 1:56 am

      Thanks, Emily!! And you’re right — I can always go back to working if needs be, which is a great contingency plan.

  • Reply Diane April 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    High Fives! Definitely! That is a wonderful decision for your family~ Saving ‘less’ money is not the end of the world. Spending time with your growing toddler is much more important.

    I did something similar when my older son was a toddler. I managed to work (some) for my husband’s business until Chase was about 15 months old, but then the chase was on! And it cost about the same to hire someone to do the accounting & paperwork as I would have paid for a babysitter or daycare. The obvious choice was to be there for my son!

    Keep in mind, you can save time & money and reduce the stress on Johnny by having more time to prepare home-cooked meals and taking care of some errands & chores during the day so you can all spend some quality time together when he’s home. I think it will be a win-win for both of you~ and definitely for Sally! Congrats~

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:04 am

      You hit the nail on the head. Family > money. And I love your points about helping to reduce the overall stress in the home. That’s the hope! Thanks so much for your comment, Diane!!

  • Reply Wade April 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Congrats on the big decision. Take 3 months and just see how you feel. Last fall I left my job of 19 years. My wife and I were both working more and more. As you move up the ladder they want more time of your time..50 hours, 60 hours, extra meetings, “homework”.

    My wife didn’t want to quit, so I did. I didn’t work from Oct 1 through the end of the year. I called it a “sabbatical”. I organized and painted and did everything I’d put off for years.

    We can live off my wife’s paycheck, but we weren’t saving nearly as much. So I started looking for something in my field. Found a job working from home doing support/consulting for the same product I worked on before. Flexible work, no commute, home with the kids get off the bus. Nice pay cut, but 100% more than $0.

    Our kids are 14, 11 and 6, so no under 2 situation. But I am home and just around them more. Daycare is done. We cut several other bills. If you factor in the no daycare we are not that far behind. Come stock award/bonus time I will feel it. But it isn’t all about money.

    Take time and look for ways to increase your income from home without going back to the 8 to 5 grind and daycare days.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:12 am

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Wade. It’s super helpful to hear others’ perspectives on the process and pros/cons. Great tips!

  • Reply Eric Williams April 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    High fives and virtual hugs for your family. A scary, but noble move! I’m sure things will work out just as they should.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:12 am

      Thanks, Eric!!

  • Reply Rob April 28, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    High Fives fer sure, Joanna! When our kids were born (daughter 2 years older than son), my wife elected to stay at home – all according to our previous planning. We figured that, after getting married, we’d try to live on one of our incomes while banking the other – all in preparation for when the kiddos came along. It was the sane way to go in our opinion. If you think that Sal’s needing your attention now just wait until the “terrible two’s” start and the teething is in full force! :-) Been there, done that. That said, when the kids hit the early teen years then my wife rejoined the full time work force. You guys are doing the right thing, despite your possible “what if” concerns – no worries, go for it!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:15 am

      I don’t even want to imagine what Sal’s terrible two’s will look like. I need the next six months just preparing for that. :) Thanks for your comment, Rob.

  • Reply Mrs. PoP April 28, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    What a new adventure for you guys. Best of luck dealing with your new boss… hopefully you can get some goof off time in when she’s napping!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:16 am

      IF she naps… she’s usually pretty good, except this week of course. :)

  • Reply sharon April 28, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    high fives!!! I was ‘mostly’ a stay at home Mom, but always managed to find part time work here and there. I’m still only working part time, and I have to say I just love it. Did you ever think of starting a YouTube channel and having a VLOG as well? It can be quite lucrative, (from what I hear) and I think you and Johnny (and Sally!) would be great! Just a thought…

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:18 am

      Thanks, Sharon. We haven’t really thought about that! We haven’t delved into monetization much, but we’re all ears! :)

  • Reply Anna//Gone Banannas April 28, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Wow! Congratulations, Joanna! I am still trying to get my boyfriend to get behind me being a stay-at-home girlfriend….it’s not really sticking.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:19 am

      Thanks, Anna! You should def be a SAHG, just so you can use that acronym! 😉

  • Reply Kassandra April 28, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Congratulations on doing what is best for you and your family! That is what matters. It’ll be two years since I decided on the self-employment route and it has still proven to be the right choice for me and my family.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:20 am

      That’s great to hear, Kassandra! I need all the positive reinforcement I can get :).

  • Reply EcoCatLady April 29, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Congratulations! I know that being a full-time mom doesn’t leave much time for anything else, but my experience was that when I quit my job, became my own boss, and had much more time flexibility, I was able to cut my living expenses considerably. Just being able to spend 15 extra minutes in the grocery store comparing prices rather than using the “grab and go” shopping strategy made a HUGE difference. Plus, I learned how to do things like mend clothes, and basic home maintenance. Not saying that you have to become a total frugalista, but I’m betting that you can make up for some of the loss of income by doing some things for yourself that you used to have to pay for.

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:23 am

      Totally! I’m excited to have more time to do a better job at all the homemaker stuff I’ve been doing the minimum on for months now!

  • Reply EcoCatLady April 29, 2014 at 12:03 am

    p.s. That’s a beautiful photo.

  • Reply Linda April 29, 2014 at 6:19 am

    High Five!!

    You won’t regret it – who would look back and say, “Oh I wish I had worked longer and not spent so much time with my baby”? 😛

    Really nice to have a break from work – the reset in stress levels is great.
    My husband took 6 months off from a really bad job which he hated so much he was getting depressed and anxiety problems. Even though we lost that income, it was the best thing for him, and he’s back at another job now refreshed and 100x happier.

    What we found out about that experience was…
    1) You can really tighten up the budget and save even more money – the reminder that you’re only on one income really re-enforces and motivates you to find ways to save money and not throw money around.

    I’d say you’d save money on travel/work expenses, but if you were working from home that’s not as much of a consideration.

    2) You can go back to a new job after a while, feeling motivated, and still stay on a tighter budget – win-win?

    3) I know a friend that’s back at work part-time now that her baby is 6 months old – she found it a relief to be back at work and have “something to do” other than just taking care of her baby. You might find it helpful to have a hobby on the side to put some of that “work energy” into. I know I would go stir-crazy just looking after a kid all day, but that’s why I don’t have one! 😉

    4) It is SOOO convenient to have someone at home to do the suppers, cleaning, running around errands! But don’t let her do all the home work Johnny 😉

    It’s a bit stressful having only one income, but I’m sure you guys will budget your way through it. Looking forward to hearing from you how you find work-free living!!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:33 am

      Thanks, Linda!! I’ve already been compiling a mental list of everything I’d like to do during the time I normally work, so I’m hoping that helps keep me sane! And don’t worry… I’ll make sure Johnny still has his fair share of chores around the house :).

  • Reply Marcie April 29, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Congrats and I’m so jealous!!!

    • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:33 am

      Thanks, Marcie!!

  • Reply Victoria @thefrugaltrial April 29, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Congratulations on your decision! Fingers crossed (& finances permitting) I can’t wait to be a stay at home mum.

  • Reply Joanna April 30, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Thanks, Victoria! I hope you can make it happen!

  • Reply Grayson @ Debt Roundup May 2, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Congrats on making the change. I am sure it was a stressful decision, but you will get it all figured out and will thrive. Best of luck!

    • Reply Joanna May 5, 2014 at 12:53 am

      Thanks, Grayson!!

  • Reply Melanie May 17, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Congrats! Hope it’s going well for you! It’s funny how we prepare mentally for these life changes. You’re transitioning from working from home to becoming a SAHM. In a few months, I’ll be transitioning from working in an office in PA full time to moving home to Mass and working from home full time. “Will I be happy? Will I be bored? Will I go stir crazy? How will I fill my day?” Different scenarios but probably many similar questions in times of change! :) such is life, I suppose!

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