It seems kind of crazy to think that I haven’t driven to an office in over a year and a half. In November of 2011 I held my newborn son and simultaneously waited for my severance check to arrive. My unexpected layoff and associated severance package was a blessing, but I still wasn’t prepared for life without work.
I interviewed and accepted a new job just weeks after learning about the elimination of my position. I’ve received steady paychecks since the age of 15 and couldn’t imagine a life without them. I worked out a deal to begin the new position six months after the birth of my son, but from the moment I accepted the offer I struggled with my desire to stay home full time. A month or so before the new job was set to begin I reversed my decision.
I know I made the right choice. The past year and a half has been a magical journey and I feel both fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to stay home with my son.
But now that I’ve been home for so long I wonder if I shouldn’t make a plan to return to work. Initially I planned to stay home for six months, which quickly turned into a year and a half. It’s been nearly eighteen months since my son arrived and I am still home with him. Now I wonder how much longer I’ll be here.
My son was born in October and in our state he can’t start kindergarten until after he turns five. If I wait until he’s school age I’ll be out of the workforce for almost six years.
I started thinking about this while I was walking around the neighborhood. Pushing the stroller on a beautiful spring day I thought, “six years seems like an unbelievably long time to be out of work,” so I asked my husband for his opinion and was quite surprised by his response. He said, “I assumed you would never go back to work.”
I can tell you that I never considered a future in which I would not return to work. So after I stopped laughing at his response I asked him if he was serious. When he said he most definitely was I asked him for more details.
Here are his thoughts:
- My son won’t start kindergarten for another four and a half years.
- If I got pregnant with another child, (the jury is still out on that decision), and I decide to stay home until he or she starts school you can easily add on another couple of years.
- In a little over nine years we will own both of our homes outright.
- If we include additional principal payments we could pay off our primary home within seven and a half years.
- Once our primary home is paid off we could apply the money we previously spent on our mortgage to pay off principal on our beach home. That would decrease the life of that mortgage by at least one year.
- By the time both of our houses are paid off our monthly expenses, (due to the lack of mortgage payments), will drop dramatically.
- Without a mortgage our rental home would finally return a profit or at least break even.
- If all goes well, the market remains high, my husband’s business flourishes and our investments continue to do well we will have a healthy sum of money in our bank accounts.
I certainly never considered a future in which I didn’t need to work, but now that my husband mentioned it my mind is swimming with possibilities. Rather than searching for a high paying job in a very lonely cubicle I could find a position that I really enjoy. If things move according to plan I could do just about anything.
I’m not sure how we will proceed as the years pass by. I always question prepaying mortgages during a time with low interest rates and you never know how the market will perform as time progresses, but I must say it’s nice to think about a life in which I don’t need to work anymore.