For people with personal children

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by bethechange, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Feb 17, 2014

    I know we all refer to our classroom children as "our kids" - but my question is for people with children at home of their own.

    My husband and I are expecting on 9/10. We are overjoyed, this is a long-awaited and much anticipated child for us. We are older for first time parents and based on what we went through to conceive this child, realize that this may be the only shot we get at parenthood. We are trying to make the decision of what to do when the baby is born in terms of work. In my dream life, I would be a stay at home parent and homeschool my child(ren?) but in reality, it is not financially possible for us to live on my husband's income, even though we live modestly and have no debt but a very modest mortgage and student loans (about 5 years left at current rate of pay).

    We could afford to do it for one year though, with my accrued sick days covering about half of the lost income and careful budgeting covering the rest. I am seriously debating taking an entire year off on childcare leave. We live in Minnesota, and I have a much harder time with the thought of taking a 3-month old to daycare in the dea of -10 December than I do a 1-year-old in September. Also, the type-A part of me thinks it would be really hard to come back to a classroom that someone else has not only been running, but started. Finally, the deepest part of my heart wants all the time with my child I can possibly have.

    The drawbacks of this plan are obvious. I would completely wipe out my sick days. My tenure and salary are guaranteed, but my exact job and location are not upon return. And finally, I am really scared that if I do this, I will never want to come back.

    What would you do? What have you done?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 17, 2014

    I had my kids before becoming a teacher, but I'd never regret time home with my kids.
    Congrats on your impending bundle of love...this is the BEST job you'll ever have!:love:
     
  4. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Feb 17, 2014

    Congratulations on the big news!! Have a smooth and wonderful pregnancy.

    Can you leave the baby with your in-laws/your mother/your siblings? That way you won't feel so bad. In the school that I work in, many teachers have gone on maternity leave and seem to leave their babies with their moms/in-laws. They also show the students LOTS and LOTs of baby pics and I guess that seems to take off the edge of the anxiety that new parents feel on leaving their babies with someone else. Just my two cents.

    thesub
     
  5. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Feb 17, 2014

    If you can find quality care for your infant, I would suggest you not stay home a full year. If I were in your situation, I would probably try to figure out a job-share or some other way to reduce hours as a permanent career move. There are a lot of years of parenting ahead for you, and using so much of your accrued time in the first year might be something you end up regretting.
     
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Feb 17, 2014

    This was the norm when I was growing up, but would not work for many of my friends now. As people put off retirement until later and later in life, many people now work well into their 60's. My parents still work. My dad is retired, but he and his girlfriend volunteer, take classes, and travel, and would not be available to babysit on a regular basis. My mom and stepdad both still work, and plan to work into their 70's. Since they are now both teachers, they would not be able to keep the baby.

    Another issue is that as people wait until later in life to have children, grandparents are older and older, and perhaps less able to keep up with the demands of an infant.

    OP, I understand your dilemma. Though I am unable to have biological children, we have not looked into adoption because after the expense of an adoption we would not have the money left to stay home to raise our children until school age, and don't have anyone nearby we trust to keep them. It's one of many factors causing us to remain childless for the foreseeable future.
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Feb 17, 2014

    I would stay home for the full year. Your tenure and job is guaranteed (even if the exact job or location isn't, it's just something you have to give up for the baby). I agree with you, it's harder to come back in the middle of the year, to a classroom that feels like not your own, because someone else started it.
    Yes, you will use up your sick days, but you will start accruing them again. This is why you have them, for situations like this.

    Enjoy the time with your baby, take the whole year, and then come back the next year.

    Of course you have to go with what you feel is right, but you have plenty of time to think, weigh your options, get advice and sleep on it.
     
  8. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Feb 17, 2014

    Are you sure you can use your sick leave if you take the whole year off? My district offers a one year leave for child care, but the entire year is unpaid, and you can't use your sick days.
     
  9. Owly

    Owly New Member

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    Feb 17, 2014

    I am sure you will work out what is best for your personal situation and finances. My wife and I were in a similar situation. Most of our friends had families to provide safe, worry-free daycare. We didn't. Our solution was shift work. My wife worked 3rd shift and cared for the kids in the day. I taught in the day and cared for the kids during the evenings/nights. It meant many sacrifices and some lost sleep for my wife, but it was a decision we will never regret. To this day we are both seen as the "nurturers" to our children. In contrast, I grew up hardly knowing my father because he worked two jobs to support the family. However you work it out, good luck. Your newborn is lucky to have a mom who is thinking ahead.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 17, 2014

    I was going to ask this, too. It's definitely worth some further investigating, OP.
     
  11. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2014

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. It is good to hear different people's thoughts and experiences while trying to make this difficult decision.

    To answer some questions about issues that have been raised, we do not have ANY family nearby (nearest is 5 hours driving) so unfortunately, leaving the baby with family members is not an option for us at this point. We thought about investigating through our church if there is someone who might want to provide in-home care for our child as opposed to taking it to day care, so that might still be an angle to pursue. Otherwise, I do have a line on a good in-home daycare (she only does teachers' kids) that is 3 blocks from my school, but she has no openings until the following school year (September 2015).

    In my district, we were previously allowed to take as many sick days as we had stocked up (of which I currently have 116) to cover childcare leaves. Before I posted this, I had made an appointment to talk to HR, because I wanted to be absolutely sure about this before I made it my plan, as it seemed too good to be true. In October, I was told by the then-HR director that you could take "as many days as you had," and have since talked to a number of people that have, in fact, taken advantage of this. Then that director quit in December. Today I was told that they would "check and see" if I could use my sick days, but the new HR director wanted to "erase old precedents," so it was unlikely. It was quite frustrating, because the insurance specialist was in the room also, shaking her head and saying that she had done it this way (allowed to take sick leave to cover childcare leave) for other people this year and it was a very widely accepted practice. Regardless of how this turns out, I will get to take 12 weeks paid through FMLA, which I suppose I should be thankful enough for.

    If I start my leave on September 2nd, that will get me through December 1st. This leaves me with the choice of either coming back after Christmas break and taking 1 month unpaid or taking a full 9 months unpaid. I know we could make this work for one year, its just scary thinking about taking such a huge plunge financially. We have been working on our budget and being pretty frugal, but I know we could do more in this department too if we really really had to. We have a healthy savings account that we haven't have to touch, so we could live off of that if we had to too, I'd just rather not use that if I didn't have to.

    I am well-liked at my school and teach a class that is difficult to fill, so I am fairly confident that I could get my same job back in a year. If not, I know I would have lots of options.....there are always TONS of special ed jobs open here every year.

    At this point, I am very strongly leaning towards a year, even if it is unpaid. It is time I will never get back with my child and in my heart I know that is what I want more than anything in the world.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to reply/share your thoughts and experiences. I am grateful and it is truly helpful. Please share if you have more thoughts/different experiences/things I haven't thought of.
     

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