Children, and babies in particular, are a major reason why people get started working at home. It saves a ton on child care and you can still earn some money. There’s often a question, however, of how long you should keep working at home. Just when the kids are small, or do you keep going when they’re all school age?
Honestly, there’s no one answer to that. It really depends on how well working at home is going for you and if it still meets your family’s needs.
Consider the Financial Aspects of Continuing to Work at Home
Money will be a huge factor for many families. Once the kids are all in school, child care costs go way down, making working outside the home more affordable. If your work at home income is minimal, that can make a big difference in your desire to remain at home.
On the other hand, you may be earning more from home than you’re likely to earn outside the home. In that case, finances aren’t really a consideration. Odds are good that you’ll choose to keep working at home unless you’re really just done with it all.
What About Retirement?
Of course, your finances now aren’t the only consideration. Are you able to save appropriately for retirement while working at home? You won’t feel the pinch now, but what about later on?
Certainly you can keep on working at home even past retirement age, so long as you keep your skills up, but not everyone will want to. If the work you do at home isn’t earning enough for you to save for retirement, you need to think about how you’re going to handle it.
Are You Still Enjoying It?
Working at home is wonderful in many ways, and terrible and others. Many people find it isolating. It can be hard to put your work aside enough to have time for yourself. You may be finding it more difficult to be productive simply because you aren’t enjoying being at home so much any more.
This may or may not be a reason to find outside the home work when the kids get bigger. We all have times in any job where we’re just tired of it. Location doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with it. On the other hand, you might just be done enough with the whole work at home thing that outside the home work will be better for you.
What Kind of Work Can You Get Outside the Home?
Getting back into the workforce is hard for many people. Working at home means you at least have something to put on your resume, but how will it relate to the work you’d like to do? Are you going back to a field you used to work in, continuing in more or less what you’ve been doing at home or trying something new? Are your skills up for what you’d like to do?
Finding an outside the home job is hardest, of course, if you haven’t been working at all for a few years, and are trying to get into a demanding field. It’s much better if you’ve kept up on your skills, and better yet if you’ve been actively using them. Things can change quite a bit over a few years. If your skills and experience are somewhat out of date, you may have to start lower than you anticipated.
What Does Your Family Think?
While the final decision must be yours, take your family’s feelings into consideration. Kids who are used to having you at home may not be all that comfortable with you heading out to work. Be prepared to deal with the adjustment if you decide that you aren’t remaining at home. The kids will adjust – they’re flexible like that – but it may take a little time.
As for me, I expect that I will continue working at home when all the kids are in school. That’s next year for us, which is why it’s on my mind. Frankly, I’m looking forward to having more work time with fewer interruptions. I like what I do and expect to keep going at it. Still, I believe it’s worth reviewing these things as the kids get older to be sure that it’s still the right decision.