Today my guest author deals with a topic which most families, especially double income families grapple with when they have kids. Does the mother continue to work, does she take a break, does she quit her job, what will she do, how will it impact the family. While there are no easy answers, this post does highlight some relevant points to be considered in such a situation.
One thing that never ceases to puzzle me is what do married couples both working at the same company do at home? Do they read the CEO’s blogs together? Do they swap balances in their Food Cards? Do they help fill each other’s Performance Appraisal forms?
If there is any reason why I have survived marriage, it is that my wife makes sure that I don’t get in her way and we pursue separate interests. While the differences are blurring with time, but still, there is some free space for us to do what we want to do.
My cousin is a well established doctor and she along with her husband run a flourishing medical practice here in Chennai. Their daughter is about the same age as our elder one and this girl came over to spend the day with us. The kids had great fun. But, this girl was freely sharing her withering feedback about her parents with all of us. While it was funny listening to her, back of my mind, I fret that my daughters too will be judging me on what I did or did not do for them.
Should both parents work to bring in that extra money or should one parent choose to stay at home to raise kids? My wife figured out quite early that she will get only thought leadership from me and that she will have to raise our kids practically by herself. She chose to be a stay at home mother. It has been a good decision for my kids, I think.
When my elder one joyfully talked about our Christmas holiday trip to Yercaud, there were other children at school gleefully talking about their excursions to Dubai & Hong Kong. These are the moments when I think just perhaps, what if both of us worked…
When I started my career, I thought I will take an early retirement when I had Rs.15 Lacs savings. I laugh at my innocence. Financial goal-posts keep shifting away & further away with time. The biggest fear which folks at my age face is ‘Insecurity’. It is – Do we have enough for our children’s education? For their wedding? Do we have enough for a medical emergency? Do we live in a safe neighborhood? I now marvel at my parents for somehow managing to raise their sons & giving them a decent education with just my father’s middle class salary.
How much money is enough for us? This question looks deceptively simple. But, many of our decisions in life are driven by this. Couples who can focus on all aspects -their income, expenditure, savings, investments and insurance will probably get more ‘mileage’ out of their financial choices. Couples choosing to pursue dual careers because they are passionate about work is a good thing. But, I suspect financial compulsions have more to do with this decision than anything else.
The wealthy have lots of money. The truly wealthy have lots of time & money. Our children will appreciate the gift of our undivided time & attention than anything that money can buy.
My relatives blame me for having wasted my wife’s M.Phil education. I explain to them that taking care of me is a full time job. While it may not be monetarily lucrative, the benefit of my company is truly priceless.