Episode 96 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
Listen as we discuss the following:
- Working vs. the cost of day care for twins
- How your job factors in a decision to stay home with the twins
- How you want your twins raised
Get your free audio book of my Dad’s Guide to Twins book, click here.
Hi there and welcome to the 96th episode of The Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. As always you can find me on the web at twindadpodcast.com or you’ll find much more information on having and raising twins, along with the show notes for this episode. In fact, you can go back and listen to all previous podcast episodes and read transcripts at twindadpodcast.com. If you haven’t already taken advantage of the deal that I’ve made with Audible, I invite you to get a free audio book version of my first book, “The Dad’s Guide to Twins” at freetwinbook.com.
Today I’m going to talk about a topic that I receive a lot of questions about. As you are preparing for your twins arrival, welcoming the newborns into your family, trying to figure out your job situation between you and your spouse, all of these things can get kind of complicated.
So a big question that I often get is should my wife work part-time, full-time or stay at home full-time with the twins. Because you and your wife are working to provide for your family, there are consequences to this decision.
It’s a huge concern and because, if you are not working you can take care of the kids, but if you are working you need to provide care for them in the form of daycare, some form of daycare. It’s going to be a big expense, and this is a big decision.
Today I want to talk about three things that you need to consider when you’re trying to answer that question. Should mom stay home with the kids or go back to work? Now these big three areas are 1) the cost of daycare for your twins, 2) your wife’s career goals and ambitions or even the type of career that she has, and 3) how do you want your twins raised? So let’s go through these one by one.
Now the biggest concern with going back to work and putting your twins into some kind of daycare is the sheer cost of that daycare. Now when I talk about daycare, there are several different options, of course, that you can have with your twins. You can go for a traditional daycare center, where you’re on your way to work, you drop your kids off at the daycare and you pick them up on your way home, at the end of the day.
Another option is to hire a nanny who may come into your home to care for the kids during the day, or even reaching out to agencies that provide au pairs which are usually foreign individuals who come into the country with the sole purpose of living with you and taking care of your babies. Now, all of these have different prices. The most traditional route, daycare centers, are going to be charging you by the child. Even nanny arrangements or au pairs may end up charging you by the child. So if you have twins these expenses, can add up very quickly.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Now first of all, consider your family situation. Do you have any other children? Because if you have other costs for these children’s daycare and your twins it may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back financially. Where it doesn’t make sense to pay for daycare when mom could stay home with the children.
So the equation that you need to remember is that when mom’s salary starts to approach the cost of childcare you have to ask the question is it worth it to do childcare? Now this can apply to mom or to dad, depending on your financial situation, who is going to stay home with the kids.
If the salary starts to mostly pay for daycare and that’s all it does, you have to wonder if it’s even worth it. It’s not necessarily a pure financial decision, which we’ll talk about in a little bit, based on the type of job you have. Even before your salary equals daycare costs exactly, you need to consider what percentage of your income do you want to go towards daycare for your children.
If it starts to be a very high percentage of your income, you need to consider what you’re options are going to be. Because one thing that you could do is maybe cut back some of your expenses that you have with your lifestyle, with your home, with your family, that will then enable you to not to have to make as much money on the income front, to afford one of the parents to stay home with the twins. So before you think that you have to maintain a dual income family, consider what is really necessary financially, and perhaps you could cut back some of those things to make it easier for you to have one parent at home with the twins. So the number one concern is the cost of daycare. So keep a close eye on what your income is, compared to the cost of daycare and draw that line where you’re going to say, “Hey, what percentage of our income is going to daycare,” whatever that percentage that you decide is good for your family, “You know what? We’re just going to keep one of the parents home with the twins to take care of them.”
Okay, the number two thing that you need to think about is your career ambitions. Now if this is mom’s career ambitions or you, dad, either one, you need to consider, is the job something that you can put on hold? That you can pause? Now, if you’re going to stay home with your twins for an extended period of time, particularly in the United States where paternity leave and maternity leave run out after a few months, you need to consider, can you take a longer break from work and still return to what you wanted to do? Is the job something that, if you work full time, it’s okay to take that longer break. Are you going to have a harder time returning to that later?
So if you have a job that is requiring you to constantly be taking continuing education, and constantly refining your craft and your skills, and you take a several year break from that, it may be more difficult to get back into the workforce. Not impossible, but more difficult. So there are a few things that you may consider there. Can you go back to work part time, with your previous full time employer? That would help you maintain the relationship with your company, with your business, help you maintain your role, and it would be easier to ramp that back up to full time when the kids are older.
A couple of examples that we’ve had from friends . . . we had a friend who had a mom who is a pharmacist, and so she’s made a work arrangement with a local pharmacy that she will work one day a month at that pharmacy. Now that may not seem like a lot, but she does that to help her maintain her craft, her skill, her certification and it helps keep the door open for future opportunities where she can practice pharmacy full-time. Another friend that we know is a nurse and she went to working full-time before the kids arrived, to working just weekends. So at that time dad would be home with the kids, and mom can go do her shifts at the hospital on the weekend. So consider creative arrangements you can have with your employer that may enable one of the parents to stay home with the twins, at least part-time if not full-time.
Okay, number three is really a decision about the type of parenting style that you’re going to have with your children. The question is, how do you want your twins raised? Do you want your twins to be raised by somebody else? Mostly by somebody else? Exclusively by somebody else or what percentage of their raising time do you want to be in there, hands on, helping to raise your children? Now from our personal family experience, our goal, my wife and I . . . we had the goal that when we started to have children, we wanted my wife to stay home with them. To nurture, to care, teach, and raise them, while I would be off at work during the day. And that worked out very well, so before we had kids, she had different jobs, and then when we started to have kids she quit those and stayed home to help raise our kids. And that, we feel, has been a huge blessing to our family because she’s been able to be involved with them every day and seeing to their needs and helping to teach them and nurture them in the home.
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If your kids are going off to a daycare or if a nanny’s taking care of them, that is the trade-off that you’re going to have to make. You’re going to have someone else who may or may not have your particular ideals or principles or beliefs having a major impact, an influence, on your children.
So those are the big three things that you need to consider when you need to decide, should mom or should dad stay at home full time with the twins or go back to work full time or part time? Number one, of course, is the cost of daycare. Keep an eye on the percentage of your income that’s going to daycare, and draw a line that says, “Hey, if it’s going to be more than so much percent,” you know, 25%, 50%, whatever you’re comfortable with, then it makes more financial sense… not just financial sense, it makes sense for your family, to just leave that parent at home caring for the children, so you have that amazing time with bonding with them individually.
The number two thing is your career, the type of career that you have, your career ambitions and the type of environment that your current job offers for you to be able to come back later and pick up where you left off.
And number three, think about how you want your twins raised. Do you want to be the major, the majority caregiver and presence in your children’s life? Are you okay with having other people influencing your children throughout the day?
Now these are not easy questions to figure out, and will require lots of discussion between you and your spouse to figure out what’s going to be best for you and your family. And you may start down one road trying something, then realize that’s not working exactly as you wanted it to, and then you can change, and that’s okay.
Now I do talk more about the balancing of the work responsibilities and life responsibilities in the home in Chapter Three of my book, the Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins. So I invite you to pick up that book at RaisingTwinsBook.com. Once again, that’s RaisingTwinsBook.com
If you’ve enjoyed the show today, will you please do me a favor and leave a review over on iTunes? It will help other parents like you find the podcast, and I would greatly appreciate it.
Don’t forget that you can get a free audiobook version of my first book, “Dad’s Guide to Twins” by visiting FreeTwinBook.com.
(RELATED: Still looking for the right twin gear? See my Twin Baby Gear Essentials.)
Thank you so much for listening, and I’ll see you next time.
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Original photo by Seattle Municipal Archives