Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Debt or Dirt

To work or not to work. That's an on-going question in my life. I originally started budgeting so that I could determine whether or not I needed to work. Truthfully, I know we can do it without me working, but I also enjoy the ability to put the majority of that money to debt and things around the house. We have our budget set so that we can take care of all our necessities off of Tim's base income. We'd have to be more frugal than we are right now, but we could do it if we tried.

When I found out I was pregnant, I decided that I wasn't going to work after Addison was born. Then, less than 3 weeks after we brought her home I got a call from one of my clients. My former business partner was 'blowing things' and they were going to drop him. That was really hard. I had spent the last year building things up and developing a strong business, and in less than 3 weeks he drove it in to the ground. They were really pleading for me to come back and after a lot of debate I started thinking about the ability to do it part time.

Right now I'm trying to limit myself to 2 days a week - when Troy is in daycare. I am also trying to be selective in what I choose and not feel 'guilted' in to taking on more. It's hard. I'm a hard worker and want to do all that I can. That's the challenge, though, determining how much I can realistically do. On my busy weeks, when I have deadlines, I put in a lot of time and effort. Some times it carries over to the evenings or weekends (or even Troy's nap time), but it doesn't seem to be stressing me out like it used to. It's hard becaused the deadlines are out of my control so I can't schedule it around life events - like hail damage or doctor's appointments. So, if I stick with it than I'm going to have to get better at scheduling life around work. Yeah, right!

I am VERY fortunate in that I can work from home. That comes with its own set of challenges, though, too. Right now, the only time I can realistically work is when Troy is in daycare. A 2 year old just has no interest in playing second fiddle to the computer. I'm really not interested in asking him to either. He had a lot of independent play time already. Addison, luckily, still sleeps a lot. I know that will change soon, and I also know that once she is mobile I probably won't be able to enjoy this luxury.

The other night over dinner I was talking about the whole situation with Tim. It's been an off week without any deadlines, so I've been able to get a lot of work done for the garage sale and even some cleaning. It's been great. I mentioned to Tim how much cleaner our house would be if I didn't work. His response was classic Dave, "I hate Debt more than I hate Dirt!" He wasn't saying that I had to work. He's always supported what ever I wanted to do (even when it was quitting my "real" job to take graduate courses). I think he was actually trying to reassure me that he doesn't expect a clean house. He understands that when I work I am basically taking on a second job (mom being the first) and the house just has to suffer. A wise woman once told me that you can either take care of your house or take care of your kids. I choose my kids. Any working, cleaning, or otherwise is just as I can fit it in. As long as I keep my priorities right, it should be fine.

So, for now, I'm going to continue to work - provided it doesn't get too stressful - and attack the debt the best we can. I just know it will mean a lot less stress down the line if I do decide to quit working. If I can swing it, I'll probably try to stay at least a little bit involved indefinitely so that I have some thing to fall back on when the kids start school. If it doesn't work, I'm giving myself permission to admit it and bail. The great thing is that without budgeting and being mindful of our finances, I may not have that option. It's definitely worth the time to give us that freedom.

So tell me... what sacrifices do you choose between when deciding Debt or Dirt?

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