Need Advice with tough decisions


#1

My husband is a teacher and coach and recently changed jobs this school year. It was supposed to be a better fit for our family since it was closer to home and in the same school district as our children. However, it has been a struggle ever since due to his coaching responsibilities.

His mother recently retired from her job and said she did it to help him out with the kiddos. She picked the kids up from school and kept them at her house until I got off work every day. It never failed when I would pick them up, she would always have some reason why I would have to be there immediately. She would start calling or texting me around 4:00, knowing I do not get off work until 5:30, wanting to know when was I going to be there to pick up the kiddos because she had to be somewhere. But when it was her son picking up the kiddos, he could take all the time in the world. Well, we found out her new husband was spanking our children. We told her this was unacceptable. We are the parents and we would do the disciplining. She did not agree, so we did not allow her to pick the kids up any longer. This put us in quite a bind, but my husband figured out a way to leave his school, pick up our kids and bring them back to his school for the rest of the day while he would hold his practices.

Since the spanking incident, my husband has been picking the kiddos up from school every day. This past Sunday, they had a football meeting and he was told he can’t pick them up from school any more because they started an off season football program on Monday. I do not have any family. We do not have anybody that can help with the kiddos, or anybody that will help I guess I should say. My mother-in-law said she retired to help with the kids, but her husband spanked our children. We told her this was unacceptable and she said oh well. My husband’s step mother said she takes care of kids all day long and the last thing she wants to do is take care of more kids when she gets off work.

Our children have after school activities. Our daughter has dance. Our son has practices (basketball, baseball, etc. all depending on the season). They both have CCD. I haven’t ever been able to bring our kiddos to any of their activities because of my work schedule. Sometimes I miss their practices or games completely.

We just do not know what to do. There are some daycares that could pick them up and bring them to my husband’s school, but I feel so bad for them having to go back to Daddy’s school and sit there while my husband is conducting practice for 2 hours. Especially my daughter.

I am supposed to start back to school on January 11 so I can finish my Bachelor degree. I work full time and sometimes do not get home until after 6:00. I barely get to see my children. I guess I see them a couple of hours a day by the time I get home, get supper cooked, bathe them and get them off to bed. We have talked about me quitting and working part time, but we are not at that point yet. We wanted to sale our house first and buy a cheaper house so I could quit and work part time. We do have some money in our savings that could get us by for the next year until we could sale our house, but we did not want to touch that money.

I would appreciate any thoughts you all have. Thank you and God bless.


#2

I wish I could help. I do understand what you are going through, last year my wife and I were both teachers, and we both would get home between 5-6. This left just enough time to make dinner, eat, bath the kids, read books and get them to bed by 8. Not to mention our baby had asthma and ear infections, so we had all the fun of midnight emergency rooms and frequent doctor visit. It was the worst year of our lives. In the end, my principal was not very understanding of my situation, and I quit before this school year started as I could tell she was out to get me. So right now I am staying home with my 3 kids, I am looking at going back to school, and my wife is working. Life is easier, but we feel the money strain. We can basically survive for about 1 year, at which time we will literally have no more money.
But I have put my trust in the Lord, and I know things will work out.

Again, I wish I could help you with advice, but I will say a prayer for you and your family as well as a decade of the rosary.


#3

It looks like the decision is between the savings and the children being disciplined.
Have you been able to speak with your new father-in-law about your preferences? Perhaps you can negociate with him another way of handling the children if they misbehave?


#4

Does sound tough. Maybe it’s time to take a break from the BA studies for awhile. Wouldn’t that save both time and money? Or is this not an option?


#5

What about finding a HS student who could help out? A responsible young man or young lady who could pick up the kids after school and either take them home or to their activities. Most HS kids would be thrilled with $10 an hour plus maybe some for gas. If you live in a college town, call and ask for a student in the education department who likes to work with kids.
Or, ask the school office for a list of moms who might like to earn a little extra money to watch your kids after school. There are lots of alternatives.

And NO, don’t let grandpa spank you kids.


#6

Thank you for your responses.

I have been trying to complete my Bachelor degree for 14 years now. For one reason or another, things happened, life happened, and caused me to have to drop out of school. I graduated in 1995 with my Associates degree and went on to complete my Bachelor degree. I married my husband in 1999. My mother became illl 6 months after my husband and I married so I had to drop out of school to care for my mother. My husband and I both quit school to take care of my mother. I became pregnant and had twins in 2002. My husband started back to school and completed his Bachelor degree. My mother passed away 3 years ago. We just got to the point where I could go back to school. I only have 2 long semesters left to finish my Bachelor degree. I am wanting to go for education so I can teach and be on the same schedule as my children. We feel this would be a better fit for us since I do not have any family and my husband’s family is so selfish.

We tried to talk to my mother-in-law about her new husband spanking our children. The incident that was brought up was this. Our children were peeking around the corner while her husband was on the computer. When he would turn around, they would hide. He would go back to the computer and they would peek at him around the corner again. He would turn around and they would hide. He got mad and spanked them. They weren’t misbehaving. They were simply being 6 year olds and playing with him. It certainly did not warrant him spanking them. There were other situations like this that he spanked them for no reason. We told them we were the parents and we would do the disciplining. We were told as long as they were in their house, if they felt the kids needed to be spanked then they would spank them. We tried to explain to them grandparents do not spank their grandkids. It came down to our children were scared and crying everyday because they did not want to go to maw-maw’s house. They were not going to change, so we do not allow them to be around our children.

We had talked about me quitting working full time and substitute teaching. Of course, this was going to be when we sold our house and bought a less expensive house. Some things happened and we can’t sell our house for another year. We do have enough in our savings to last us for about a year, but we don’t want to have to use that. We just don’t know what to do.


#7

chessmane4e5:

I am sorry to hear about your child being so ill. It is hard enough having to deal with that than to add the added stress of having an employer that doesn’t understand or support you.

You said you have been home with your children, but it has been a strain financially. Is it worth it? I mean, I know it is worth it. I was a stay-at-home mom for the first year. My appendix ruptured in 1997 and it left me with severe fertility problems. We did not think I would ever be able to have children. I suffered from infertility for 5 years until I found a wonderful team of doctors. We did everything we could for me to stay at home. I was fortunate enough to stay at home for their first year. My husband wanted to go back to school to finish his Bachelor degree, so I went back to work and he stayed home with them their second year. When the twins turned three, they started Catholic school and we were both working.


#8

homerunbetty,

life happened? yes. life does that. your first responsibility is to your children. not to your degree or to your savings account.

your kids are six (perhaps now 7) years old. be home with them as much as you can. and continue to make the*** ultra-right ***choice-- don’t leave them alone with adults who will hit them.


#9

How old are your kids? They are in school so I am guessing at least 7? Is the school close enough for them to just walk home? Can they take the bus home?


#10

How about contacting all the Catholic parishes in your area and putting a notice in the newsletter looking for a caregiver? Or call each parish’s Right to Life Committee, those are all the moms/dads and older women who are crazy about kids and will work hard to find a solution for you.
Are there any Catholic schools close by? They usually have after school care and you might be able to negotiate something with them if you spoke to the Principal.
My best hunting ground for fantastic sitters was a local (non-Catholic) small Christian college. I found some wonderful young women there. Very wholesome and responsible. After school care fit in perfectly with their schedules.

I understand what it is like when you have no family to help, it is very challenging. I will pray for your situation. :gopray:


#11

Monicatholic:

Yes, life happened. My father died when I was 17 years old. I was supposed to go off to Baylor University but ended up attended a local college to be home with my mother. While I was attending college, I worked two part time jobs to help my mother make ends meet. I did not cope very well with my father dying, but I still tried to complete my Bachelor degree. That did not work, so I completed my Associates degree.

I know my first responsibility is to my children. Believe me. Especially since we did not think we were ever going to be blessed with them. I am certainly not saying my responsibility is to our savings account nor my education. But we do have to be able to survive and pay our bills. We live in a very nice, brand new home. We have enough in our savings account to pay for our mortgage for the next year. After that, we will be dead broke. Then what? What are we supposed to do after that? How are we supposed to pay our bills after the year is up? How is that fair to our children?

I want to complete my college education FOR my children. Education is very important. How can I preach to my children how important it is for them to obtain a college education when I do not even have one? I understand it can wait. Believe me, I do. I have waited this long and it can wait longer. That is not a problem for me.

I would like to obtain my Bachelor degree so I can teach and be on the same schedule as my children. Then I would be off when they are off. I could pick them up from school. Take them to all of their activities. Be there for them. Spend more time with them. That is so very important to me. I want to be a better mom. I feel like I am a horrible mom because of my work schedule.

We do NOT leave my children alone with anyone that hits them. When we found out my mother-in-law’s new husband spanked our children, we told them they are not allowed to see our children any longer.

Flyingfish:

Our twins just turned 7. We do not live close enough for them to walk home. Even if we did, I would not let them. There are too many things that could happen to them on a walk home from school. There is a bus that could bring them home, but there is not anybody at home for them. I work about 30 minutes away from home.

Kindness:

Our children no longer attend Catholic school. They kept raising the tuition and they would not give us a two-child discount. We were charged so many fees it was ridiculous, so we elected to put them in public school. We did not want to, but we did not have a choice. We were paying $500 a piece for PreK 3 and PreK 4 and they did not have any books. We also paid $250 each for school supplies, but yet we supplied their school supplies. It did not make any sense. We had not decided if we were going to enroll the twins their Kindergarten year because tuition had increased and the school would not give us a multi-child discount. The Principal had contacted us and said, “I wanted to know if you made your decision because I have children that are not asking for a discount and are more than willing to pay full price and you are asking for a discount.” I knew it was all about the money and not the children. That is when we made our decision to put them in public school. The school district they attend has an Exemplary rating, so that was the only reason we considered putting them in public school to begin with.

But back to your question. The closest Catholic school is about 30 minutes away. That is the school they attended.

I haven’t thought about contacting our Parish. I worry about putting notices out looking for a caregiver. That just worries me about bringing out the weirdoes. There are so many child molesters, murderers, abusers, etc. out there. It just scares me to think about doing something like that and bringing attention to our situation. It is a shame you have to worry about something like that these days. Not to mention, they are my children and my responsibility.

Our initial plans were this. We were going to put our house up for sale last month, buy a cheaper house so I could go back to school, work part time and be home with the kiddos. We found out we need to wait another year before we can sale our home because our credit needs some work. Then all of this happened. I don’t know if God is trying to tell us something or what.

What if I quit my job and we can’t make it? What if I don’t find a part time job? If we can’t pay our bills then we will loose our house. I’m scared. I just don’t know what to do.

I really appreciate everyone’s responses, thoughts and prayers. I keep praying for a solution.


#12

I am a mother and grandmother so I understand your concerns about who is watching your children. I also understand how difficult it is to leave their care and well being in the hands of strangers. Sometimes though you have to have some faith in your fellow man or teenager as the case may be.

I would think if you contacted a local parish, church or college for recommendations they’d not refer you to people of questionable character. I would think part of the interview process would be not only a face to face meeting where you can use your own judgment to guide you but would also provide you with references to contact for information on their experience with the person. Yes, there are undesirables out there…but there are also many, many responsible, loving, caring young ladies out there who would love to help you out in exchange for a bit of pocket money.

You mentioned that you have two long semesters worth of classes left to obtain your Bachelors. Why not put your energy into those two semesters and finish your degree so that you can move on to your goal of teaching and being on the same schedule as your children. Work part time during this time so you don’t have to drain your savings. I’d think that would be a better alternative to quitting work completely and depending entirely on your savings.

Either way you cut this situation there are going to be adjustments and sacrifices all around. The children may need to forgo their extra curricular activities until you you are teaching and money isn’t tight. Your husband may have to give up coaching until you’re teaching and easily available to the kids after school.

If you all pitch in, giving up a little in order to get to a better life for all…you’d be doing this as a family and all of you will benefit in the end.


#13

LemonPoppy:

Thanks for your response. My concern about quitting and working part time is me not being able to find a part time job. If I could work part time, we would just have to use a portion of our savings and that would not be so bad. Then I would be able to be there for our children.

I understand your idea of my husband quitting coaching for a bit until we can get things straight. Unfortunately, that issue has not even been brought up by him. They did try and push another coaching job on him and he did decline, but that was the only sacrifice he has been willing to make.

What brought on the fact of me starting school was my husband wanted to start school so he could complete his Masters. I told him hold up a minute buddy! You have two degrees and you want to complete your third! I sure would like to finish my Bachelor degree first before you think about that! He agreed.

I know I should trust that God will handle everything. I guess my Faith is not as strong as it should be.


#14

Betty - when you advertise you don’t have to give any personal details, just say “local family looking for after school care” and have the contact be thru the parish. Whenever I was looking for a new sitter, and I had a few as my dh was working 7 days a week, I always met with them somewhere neutral like a coffee shop to check them out and never gave out any personal details like where we lived or our children’s names etc. until I was confident about the person.

I also agree with Lemonpoppy in that you may have to learn to trust some people - but of course there is nothing wrong with making sure that all their references check out and all the information you have on them is correct before you introduce them to your family.

I also have a policy of staying home with the sitter, cleaning or in another room until the children get to know her and I feel comfortable with how she interacts with the children. Your children are also old enough to let you know if there are any problems but if you screen your sitters well you should be fine.

Another resource is your personal network. Email all your friends and family and say you are looking for someone - can they recommend anyone? That is another good way of helping to screen people. I would try all the moms at the Catholic school, they might have a relative or know of a young college student who would be suitable. That’s how I found our last sitter and she was fantastic. She was a young college student, 20 I think, a practicing Catholic and great with the kids.


#15

Amen! With school age and younger kids, one parent or family member has to be there to care for them. You work opposite shifts as husband or one or the other of you stays home to care for them.

Savings? What did Jesus say about storing up treasure on this earth?


#16

You won't know if you can get a part time job until you look for a part time job. You can't waste time and energy worrying about something that may never happen. You don't have to give up your current job until you're sure you have an alternative that is going to work for your family.

As for your husband and his lack of understanding and offer to sacrifice...maybe he needs a reminder that a marriage is a partnership. Two people working toward the same goal...what's best for their family. He may not offer to give up coaching but I'd certainly put it out there to him as what may need to happen in order to have your children properly looked after if you cannot figure a way to do so yourself. They are not just your children, they are his as well. You aren't the one with the problem, you both have the problem of what to do with the kids while you're at work and he is coaching. Coaching is a choice for him, working is a must for you. You should be both be open to doing whatever it takes to find the solution.

Kindness offered you great ideas on how to deal with locating a care giver for your children without compromising your safety. Having the initial interview outside of your home is a good idea if you're not comfortable having someone in your home without knowing more about them.

Easing into a daycare situation is also a good idea. Having the sitter spend time with your children while you're home and then a couple of times of leaving them for short durations gives everyone a chance to adapt to one another.


#17

kage_ar
Savings? What did Jesus say about storing up treasure on this earth?

I'm afraid I'll have to disagree, prudence is a virtue and when you have responsibility for keeping a roof over your children's head it is important to at least have an emergency fund. With the state of the economy it would not be wise you leave yourselves with no financial cushion. I think God can help you find another solution here.


#18

kage_ar:

We are NOT storing up treasure on this earth. We live from paycheck to paycheck. The only reason we have money in our savings account right now is because our home was devastated by Hurricane Ike last year and we recently settled with our insurance company.

LemonPoppy:

You are right. I won’t know if I can get a part time job until I look for one. If it were just my husband and I, I would take that risk. But with having children, it it a whole different ballgame.

I am not sure if it is so much that my husband has a lack of understanding. We both want the same thing. We want for me to be able to stay at home more with the kiddos. Honestly, I’m not sure if he ever would give up coaching. I certainly will mention your ideas though. They are very good. I couldn’t have said them better myself.

Kindness did offer great ideas as well in locating a care giver for my children. But I do have a problem with having someone else care for my children because they are, after all, my children.

UGH!!! If this could have just come at a different time when we could have been able to get a cheaper mortgage! I told her loan officer how ridiculous it was! We have enough money in the bank to pay half down on a house. We have a 2,500 sq.ft. house, brand new, and just want to sale our house to get a lower house note, but can’t because we have a couple of small blemishes on our credit that are not our fault. We have the funds, but can’t get financed for a cheaper house. This just sucks!

Maybe God is trying to tell me I need to quit. Maybe this is His timing?


#19

Have you tried another loan officer? My SIL is a mortgage broker and she might have a few ideas…


#20

Kindess:

We only tried one loan officer. We are certainly opened to any suggestions.


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