I feel like I know an awful lot about celebrity news lately. Maybe that’s because I am filing three—yes, THREE—articles per day on celebrity news right now. Which is really sort of a fun and, believe it or not, valuable writing exercise. I can be as silly as I want, but I also need to do legitimate research, include relevant links and photos, and stay on top of what’s current. It’s a fast-paced gig that’s teaching me a lot about making my time as efficient as possible.

It’s challenging and fun. I’m enjoying myself quite a bit over there.

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity, because it’s this particular column for The Stir that allowed me to fully move into freelance. For me to leave Workplace, I had to create a predictable salary situation for myself. It wasn’t enough to hope I could get by on feast-or-famine corporate writing gigs, I needed the stability of a certain amount of monthly work.

I tell you that because I’ve had so many wonderful, supportive comments on this life change, and I keep hearing what a brave choice it was. It wasn’t brave, you guys.

I’ve been wanting to leave Workplace for years. Years. That’s how long I’ve been complaining about needing a change, but I couldn’t find my way out of it. It took this long to find a job that was a good fit for me, where the people are awesome to work with, where I can get it done without having to pay for daycare.

That’s the thing that made it so hard, up until now. If I wanted to find another job outside the home, it had to pay exactly what Workplace paid, or more. I couldn’t earn a penny less without our daycare costs overwhelming us. I couldn’t NOT work, even if I wanted to, because we can’t afford to live on one salary.

It’s a bullshit deal for a lot of people in this country. I don’t have anything intelligent to say about it, really, except that the system is truly fucked. Most of us need two salaries to get by. If you need two salaries and you have young children, you need to pay for daycare, because most companies still won’t let us work from home. And daycare costs are astronomical.

It’s a trap. It’s a goddamned trap that keeps people in shitty soul-draining jobs. Just like healthcare. Just like mortgages, when you live somewhere like Seattle.

If I have one overarching goal for my family for the future, it’s that we don’t get bogged down by the machine of our economy, because you know what, the machine is broken. Life isn’t like it used to be, and I don’t think we’re ever going back. Houses won’t be the investments they once were. Jobs won’t provide the same security. 401(k)s won’t save us. It’s a lie to believe that the more you have, the happier you’ll be. All you’ll be is held in place, unable to make a move.

I want my children to have the freedom to do whatever they want for a living. I want them to dig ditches if that makes them happy. I want them to be able to choose a new path if the one they’re on isn’t working. I want them to live by something other than money. I want their definition of success to be entirely their own.

So I guess if that’s what I want, that’s how I need to live. I hope I’m finally heading in the right direction.

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
145 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
telegirl
telegirl
11 years ago

Call it what you want, I still think it’s brave. We’re in the same situation here… two little ones, we have expenses (extremely pared down now, but there are still enough), and so we both have to work. I’d love to stay home with them and we’ll try to work towards that but I just don’t see it happening. I’m glad it has worked out for you. Go, you! :o)

Scott
Scott
11 years ago

Amen!

Annie
Annie
11 years ago

Loved this post… my mama always said she’d be a whole lot happier without cars and money.

Angelique
Angelique
11 years ago

We are a one-income family with two small children. We’ve found an unconventional path that works for us, and that is living in a house we purchased with my parents. My grandparents also live with is. It sounds crazy, but it works. It’s how things used to be not to long ago. My husband and I can afford a home in MA and we can help each other with child/elderly care. Here’s to thinking outside of the box.

H
H
11 years ago

Amen! We have been slaves to group health insurance due to my husband’s preexisting condition, which is also hereditary. My kids are now both in college and one will graduate in May. What I despise is that the financial strain has always kept me wishing for the next phase – when we wouldn’t need daycare, when they could get a summer job, when they graduate with a college degree. I hate that I’ve wished my life away, and theirs as well. Yes, we’ve done what we can to enjoy life too but how I wish we had had the opportunity to live without the worry of a health situation that could have been financially catastrophic as well.

Kathy
Kathy
11 years ago

So why aren’t you telling us that we can get your columns on facebook? I just “liked” your page and now I can read your thrice daily columns – yay! Would have to be good for brownie points with your employers right?

Leanne
Leanne
11 years ago

It sounds cliched, but I find you so inspirational, I really do. It is so easy to get caught up in the rat race and lose sight of what kind of life you really want to live and the important things in life.

My husband and I don’t have kids yet but we are trying to structure our lives so that we can live on one salary in case we ever want to, or we both want to work less. It is hard. You’re right, society seems to be premised on the assumption of two salaries.One of the first steps we’re taking is moving to a more rural area.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that reading about your own personal journey and your family makes me stop and reflect a lot on what I want for my life and my family. And that is a great thing.

Kristen
Kristen
11 years ago

My husband and I have been talking about All of This lately. We’re trapped in our Seattle mortgage – $60K underwater in a tiny crackerbox of a house. Our daughter’s daycare is almost as expensive as what I paid for (in-state) tuition for LAW SCHOOL. No joke. And it’s a home daycare – not some fancy pants place.

I would LOVE to find a freelance writing gig, but I think I’m probably at the beginning – where you started. I’m being gradually ground down, a cog in the Machine, and I can only hope that I come out the other side in as positive and inspiring of a position as you have. You’re giving me hope – and believe me – today I needed it.

Joanne
11 years ago

The system is certainly effed, right? I was out with someone the other night who asked me if we were having any more kids (we have three) and I said I wasn’t sure and she said “it’s so expeeeeeeensive”. I told her I didn’t really find it *that* expensive, but I stay home with them so we don’t have the day care costs. But what she was talking about was, like, activity fees for soccer and what have you and I just thought, well, bullshit. Bullshit to that. I am not going to decide whether or not another human being enters our family and the world because soccer is expensive! It’s insane. It’s a crazy world and I’m impressed by you for finding your way out.

Pete
Pete
11 years ago

At one time your house was your home, not an investment. At one time we didn’t have a 401k, we had savings, and if you were luck, retirement. At one time most families had one car and one TV (Color if you were luck), we didn’t have cell phone, computer, answering machines, IPods, XBoxes, Microwaves, IM, Blogs, 24hour television, 300 channels, cable, satellites, phone plans, etc. At one time we would plan and save for a year to send a week on vacation. At one time most people lived and dies within 40 miles of where they were born. At one time this country use to manufacture stuff, today we service stuff. At one time if you worked hard you could do better than your parents.
Was it better back then? I don’t know. When I grew up in the 60s my dad was a doctor in a smaller town so we were better off than most. I look at what we have now and wonder if we really need two car, a truck and a motorcycle? Can we get by without 4 TVs, 6 Computer, an RV, granite counters, build in fridge, etc.
My youngest will graduate in six years and at that point I plan to liquidate everything we can and start over. Your kids are still young enough so they are not a restriction.

PS I tell my kids to find out what they love and then get a job doing that but usually you work to support your hobbies!

amy
amy
11 years ago

Seriously! I wish I could go back in time to raise my boys, but I can’t. Just switched from private school to an awesome public charter school, but the savings was only a little because we both work and have to have daycare. It is sucky, but you’re right….not likely to go back to the Rockwell days!

Gnometree
11 years ago

Hooray for you!!

Dawna
11 years ago

Heartfelt cheers to you. It’s going to take people getting fed up and changing their lives (even if it seems impossible) to make the difference, and you sure are :)

Deb
Deb
11 years ago

We are a family of 4 trying to survive on one income, and it is extremely hard. My husband and I are in the middle of negotiations because I want to sell our house, buy a fifth wheel and travel with the kids.

The other day I said to him – lookit, we are already working our asses off just to be broke, we’re barely surviving. If we’re going to be broke, let’s at least be LIVING while we’re doing it.

It’s still brave, even if you took a while getting there. The time it takes doesn’t negate what you are doing.

scantee
scantee
11 years ago

There are no one income families, not that I know of at least. In the families that I know of where only one person is working, that person is usually working the job of two people by putting 60 or 70 hours per week, traveling frequently, holding down two jobs, or doing lots of overtime. It’s a trap either way. Either you’re both working and putting your kids in daycare but then hopefully not working jobs with insane hours or you have one person staying home without the added cost of daycare but the breadwinner is working an demanding job and foregoing part of a relationship with the kids to do it.

My partner and I have it pretty good. We both work but we work for the same university that provides us with a good deal of flexibility and I only have to work 30 hours a week. The downside is we don’t get paid very well so we live a very pared down life and if one of us really ever wanted to stay home it wouldn’t be an option.

Good for you for going for it. I’m excited to see the new spin you bring to the(kinda stale at this point) stay at home narrative.

P.S.You are brave!

Deb
Deb
11 years ago

And as long as you’re on the subject of pop culture, WTF was Heidi Klum wearing last week on Project Runway – Hammer pants?

Ok, now I feel better.

NancyJ
NancyJ
11 years ago

A-fucking-MEN!
If there’s a will to get out of the working for the man daily grind, there’s a way – and you found it and I’m so happy for you.
I was on my way to a nervous breakdown 12 or so years ago – working for an insurance agency no less! – and I thought “there’s gotta be a way out”. I sold PartyLite candles at home parties just to find my way out, see if I could do it. Quit my job, sold candles for 6 or 8 months and then lucked into a parttime job at the local elem. school that my son was at. I never looked back!

Pinkie Bling
Pinkie Bling
11 years ago

So very happy for you! Beautiful post, and definitely not the first time I’ve found you inspirational.

I’m single, no kids, with a good, cushy job, and I still think about this same stuff all the time. The system really is jacked, and choices like yours are the way we begin to change it.

Now if I can just figure out what I really want to be when I grow up… I turn 33 next Thursday, and I’m still not sure what direction that fork in the road should take.

Anyway, can’t wait to see what comes next for you and your family. It’s going to be amazing, and funny as hell, I know for sure.

Also, if you couldn’t tell yet, I love you over at The Stir!!

Rachael
Rachael
11 years ago

I have a desperate dream to leave my 6 figure job and venture into an entirely new career that at best will probably never bring me the same income. It’s a scary dream in some ways and I oscillate between not being able to wait to get there and thinking I might well be certifiable for even considering it. I am the main breadwinner in our family and unfortunately when I quit, it’ll make a big difference.

Hubby is super supportive and when I ask him how we will cope and should we sell the house and get something smaller he tells me no and that he’ll work two jobs so I can have my dream. Bless him but so impractical!

Every day I want something different from my working day but I have to make my plans, bide my time and prepare for a huge life change.

Good on your for already being there. I’m just a little (a lot) green.

Donna
Donna
11 years ago

I retired from my soul sucking, ego killing, brain dead job of 25 years TODAY.
I can’t wait to live on less. I feel like today? The world is my oyster….a check every month, health care for the rest of my life, and my time in hell has been served.

HalynB
HalynB
11 years ago

Congrats on leaping from the hamster wheel, Linda.

I had to comment, even though I have nothing to offer that hasn’t been said already, because I just had to tell Donna that I loved her comment…”my time in hell has been served.” Awesome.

Well played, ladies.

Shawna
Shawna
11 years ago

It’s still brave to take that step.

And on a completely unrelated note, and taking into account that I haven’t checked which celebrities you’re covering: please for the love of all that is holy let the Lindsey Lohan thing die! I keep seeing bits on her with her identified as the star of Mean Girls. Mean Girls was a long time ago; if that’s the most relevant identifier of who Lindsey Lohan is then why do newpapers, celebrity blogs, etc. think we care what’s she’s doing? For the good of all, just stop perpetuating this story arc!

… unless of course you’ve written something on her lately, in which case, har har, kidding! Totally riveting, that LiLo. *ahem*

very bloggy beth
11 years ago

OH MY GOD I KNOW! I got laid off just shy of one year ago, and we are stuck in this stupid place of not being able to afford to live on one income, but I can’t take a job that pays less than X because we’d just hand it all back to a child care provider. SUCKS. So, I am just freelancing here and there to contribute. Can’t wait for this economy to pick up again. And shut up media and politicians, we are most definitely NOT out of the recession yet.

heather
heather
11 years ago

i left my $130k-a-year job last year because it was, in every way, shape and form, sucking me dry. i had no time for friends, no time for hobbies, my relationship with my partner was strained and i stressed myself to the point of physical illness at least once a month. i quit, pared down my life, and learned that i don’t need nearly as much as i thought. i have time now to cook and bake a ton, read a few books a week, sew, make art, take walks, go camping, and i’m fucking poor as a church mouse. i’m lucky to have a partner who can pay the rent, and i’m forgoing things like health insurance, dental check-ups and anything that i don’t 100% need. it’s just….better.

and you ARE brave!

agirlandaboy
11 years ago

Two things:

1. Even if your company allows you to work from home, you will still need daycare if your kids aren’t in school and you expect to get anything meaningful accomplished.

2. I adore the idea of “Do what you love [and the money will follow],” but here I am doing what I love for the ninth year at the same company, and I’m still making less per hour than most babysitters. I’m happy doing my job–very happy–and yet as daycare has entered the picture and a second child looms on the horizon, I’m actually considering leaving the job I love to take a job that can offer me more money. Why does this step up the ladder feel like I’m moving backward?

The system is indeed very, very broken.

LauraC
11 years ago

Another vote for very brave! It’s easy to not change, hard to go for the big dream.

On the topic of celebrity news, what is up with Coco’s butt implants?! Why are butt implants cool? She walked the runway in some dress today and the butt shot was incredible. My husband said, “It looks like they took Dolly Parton’s breasts and jammed them in her butt.”

I simply do not understand why anyone wants that big of a butt. Please help.

penny
penny
11 years ago

I like my job though, and my husband likes his. I am hoping you are just refering to YOUR soul draining economic trap, because i ‘d hate to think there’s yet another mother not working out of the home crying tears for me. I don’t need anyone’s pity.

Linda
Linda
11 years ago

Leah: I think that saying should be thrown out the window, really, in favor of coming at it from the other direction. What can we change so that we don’t need as much money, so we can try and do more of the things we love? I know that doesn’t always work, but of course neither does the other thing.

Linda
Linda
11 years ago

Penny: oh, for crying out—

Don’t worry, there are no tears for you from me. I’m talking about people who identify with my situation. Sorry if that wasn’t incredibly, ridiculously, painfully fucking clear.

agirlandaboy
11 years ago

Agreed. It’s a tough balance, and it’s especially hard to switch gears to that way of thinking when iffy past decisions are rearing their ugly heads in this new economy. (Read: No mortgage company should ever have lent us that much money for this house on our incomes, and yet they did, and now the only way we can “live on less” would be to move from the area, and that ain’t happening unless we want to lose the many tens of thousands of dollars we won’t get for our house in this m-effing market.)

I just keep telling myself that this–whatever “this” is in the moment–is not forever.

Angella
11 years ago

Linda. Penny’s just projecting and (obviously) can’t read.

You’re doing what YOU need to do for YOU and YOUR family.

As someone who has read you for many years, and been a good friend of yours for the last few of those years, I just get giddy when I read these posts from you.

I’m happy that you’re happy. End of story.

Linda
Linda
11 years ago

Leah – I hear that. Our mortgage is killing us, in part because of the smart-at-the-time choice to do major upgrades to our house which were going to increase our resale value by oh HA HA HA HAAAA arrrrrrrgh. So yeah, there’s only so many pennies you can pinch, sometimes.

Angella, thank you. You’re the best.

SKL
SKL
11 years ago

I think you are viewing the “simpler past” through rose-colored glasses. There’s never been a time when everyone loved everything they did. There never will be.

Part of it is a misunderstanding of whose responsibility it is to make you happy (hint: yours).

The machine you say is broken is actually the same machine upon which many workers are happy cogs. They are happy because all jobs are different and they’ve found one in which they can be individually satisfied. There is probably someone who would love the job you just left, and someone who would hate the job you just accepted. That’s why the system works. You probably should have sucked it up and quit your ex-job sooner. You didn’t because you weren’t willing to give some things up. Your choice. Your responsibility. Own it.

Interesting that your current job largely involves making fun of people. And this is a step up from “the machine,” in your view.

Oh well, I hope you are successful in managing things so that all your family’s needs are met and you’re all happy. I mean that sincerely, even if I don’t always agree with you.

Helen
11 years ago

I think this is awesome, and I would so much love to hear about your routines and how you get your work done with your littles at home. I have two girls the same age as your boys, and I am trying to run a business and find the pulls in different directions challenging to say the least.
I hope this works out tremendously for you!

Kate
11 years ago

Many, many congrats on this next chapter of your life – what an exciting time! And I couldn’t agree with this post more, it is such a trap.

Linda
Linda
11 years ago

SKL, I’d try and listen to what you’re saying with an open mind, but I know you too well as someone who has spent literally years of your life—I mean, day in, day out, for YEARS now, on god only knows how many websites—tearing people down. I don’t begin to know how you find the time and energy, really. It looks to me like you have a full time job just commenting on ParentDish alone: http://www.parentdish.com/profile/558139/

Say, how’s THAT machine working out for you? Making you feel pretty good about yourself, is it?

Ness at Drovers Run
11 years ago

It must be hard for folks who are accustomed to things being ‘good’ to feel the way you’ve described. For me, you’ve just described the way things have always been where I live.

Never mind just childcare, but if you want your child to actually get a good education (regular schooling) you HAVE to put them into private schooling. Govt funded schools just are NOT up to the job.

It’s just one of the reasons why we’re leaving.

Mama Ritchie
11 years ago

Wow. I’m surprised at the snark. Meow!

Anyway, Leah, I just want to throw in my 2 cents about working from home and kids. I have worked at home doing editing since before my first son was born. He’s now 5 and his brother is 1 and I never utilized day care. I am still able to meet 2 deadlines daily. It’s a challenge – some days it’s way difficult. But it is doable.

Anon
Anon
11 years ago

People don’t have to buy the big house; we moved away from CA because we knew we couldn’t afford anything there. We have a small condo on the East Coast that we could afford. We didn’t have a kid for the first 5 years of marriage becuase we wanted to be someplace safer financially. We still have a car payment, a house payment and a student loan. But, I don’t feel like having a child now will kill us or we can’t afford daycare.

I still think it’s choices over the MACHINE. How is it that millions of people are making it out ok with their mortgages, daycare, cars and everything else and others aren’t? And I am not talking about the top 2% who own 95% of the wealth.

Don’t buy your children the latest videogame as soon as it comes out. Don’t buy them name brand clothing and shoes. I shop at Goodwill, so can they. It’s all about choices.

Sharon
Sharon
11 years ago

I think you were very brave and i’m glad it’s working out. I know all about the daycare drain. On top of leaving your children all day to earn a living, you have to pay out thousands of dollars per month. My youngest son recently started kindergarten and it really does get easier when they get a little older. I look back and can’t believe we managed 5 years of daycare for two children. It was truly overwhelming at times. My husband makes a hideous commute to NY each day and I can see how it is sucking the life out of him. I hope he’ll be brave enough to take the leap like you did at some point. Good luck!

Sarah
11 years ago

You’re right – in so many ways. It is a trap. What finally got me off the merry-go-round was when I got pregnant with my middle one. I realized that if I stayed in my FT daytime job my salary, all of it, would be going to daycare. I think we’d have $200/mo. of my salary after daycare, IF THAT. I would be working only to cover the cost of having my children watched by someone else.

Do I miss working? Some days. As my kids get older, it’s less and less. Soon I’m going to be homeschooling my middle girl because public school is not for her. One day I plan on going back to work part-time (so, as my husband puts it, we can stop depending on government money), but finding a place that will hire me with the hours I can work isn’t so easy. IHOP here I come – but you know what? I’m good with that. I love waitressing. I’d rather make money writing like you – but I don’t know that it will ever happen, and I enjoy waitressing.

In the end it’s about your being happy. If your kids see that, they’ll get it.

And it’s clear you’re happy. It’s all over your blog these days.

Stepping off of that crazy ride of ‘needing’ two jobs isn’t an easy one. No matter how long you’ve been planning it – or how much the reality of it ticked you off – it’s still brave. :)

sheilah
11 years ago

No matter what you say it is still a brave thing to leave something that is stable and familiar and move to something else. Change is hard for just about everyone & this is a giant change. Just because you aren’t stupid (leaving a job without another to replace it) doesn’t mean it isn’t also brave. Can I still say you rock?

pseudostoops
11 years ago

I think your comment that it’s about coming at things from the other direction- how can we use/need/want less so we can do more of what we love – is spot on. Like so many others have said, it’s clear this has made you so happy, and that makes ME happy. Congratulations on pulling the trigger, no matter how long it might have taken to get there.

Operation Pink Herring
11 years ago

Linda, I was going to say exactly what I see you already said to SKL. How cheap of you to make your living making fun of people, when people like SKL are out there doing it for free!

AndreAnna
11 years ago

Oh, for fuck’s sake, sorry your comments went in this direction.

I don’t even have anything of value to add except every choice we make as a parent/adult/spouse/homeowner is never the RIGHT answer, it’s the BEST WE CAN answer.

And you’re doing it, to your max, every day. And that? IS brave.

Korinna
11 years ago

I share this sentiment, “I want them to dig ditches if that makes them happy.”

Parents who project on their kids to become doctors, attorneys, business people, etc.–it doesn’t always end well.

Someone has to drive the buses. Someone has to take our garbage and recycling away. If *that* is what makes my children happy, satisfied individuals–then so be it.

Nolita Morgan
11 years ago

Amen!

MyFrogs
MyFrogs
11 years ago

This is why I got a divorce! I was miserable for a long time and I wanted to be happy! Now I’m a 1 income family (with a bit of child support for day care and health care) but I am happier! I’m still broke but I’m happy! I hope one day my kids will see that sometimes making a hard or unpopular decision can lead to personal happiness! Rock on with your bad self!

Teree
Teree
11 years ago

A-fricking-men.

Janet in Miami
Janet in Miami
11 years ago

I want to thank you for sharing your life with us. People who take issue with things like that peckerwood above don’t really understand what we’re all doing here. This is another form of forging bonds of understanding with others. Its just a way to connect.

What’s really cool is that you’re a celebrity columnist now. You can have all kinds of cool stories for people you meet on your walks and the friends you’ll make at parks or on playdates for the kids. You’ll be the chick that has all the best stories!! That is the best.

And ~ congratulations on making the jump. Whatever else you think – it really is very brave.

1 2 3