How to manage kids when you both work?

Box hauler

Well-Known Member
The wife and I are now thinking pretty hard about trying to have a kid and I’m trying to wrap my brain around how this works when both of you work full time. We find ourselves in a pretty good position financially because I’m a CA at banana bus and she is a doctor but obviously money doesn’t fix everything. It also probably doesn’t help that I’m a commuter so at this point I can’t just bid reserve or take an instructor job to be home everyday. So how have you with this type of situation figured it out? Thanks for the advise
 

Soul Brotha'

Well-Known Member
Let me ask 1st, do you guys have any family near you guys? Because that helps out tremendously. My wife and I raised both our boys with no family around. While it is tough at times we manage. Our kids are 13&8 so they pretty much self sufficient. All they’ve known is Dad goes away for work sometimes but is home a lot. Biggest thing is communicating any issues or concerns as it happens. You are going to miss major life events but will be around way more than you think. Your wife will carry more of the weight of raising the kid(s) and you have to respect that. She’ll have her ways of doing things and you’ll mess them up but you’ll adjust too. I don’t regret having kids with this job. It just makes me appreciate them more when I return home and spend time with my family.

PM if you have any questions.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
I think it comes down to having an honest discussion about priorities. When my wife and I decided to become parents, we also decided it was very important to us to raise the kid or kids mostly ourselves, in other words, minimal to no use of daycare. The way we see it, years 0-5 are the most formative years for developing emotionally, ethically, bonding with parents, and so on. We really want to be present for those years in particular and agreed to do whatever it took to make that happen. We also decided my job as a pilot is harder to modify than her work as a nurse.

The solution we arrived at was my wife cut back to only working 3-5 days/month at the hospital during my guaranteed days off. We don't make as much money as we used to, but it fits our priorities perfectly and we have zero stress related to childcare.

We also see these changes as temporary, in the medium term of 5-8 years (depends if we have additional children or not). Once the kid is school age, it will be easier to ramp up my wife's work again.

What all this means for a doctor and airline captain, I don't know. Is scaling back your wife's practice possible? Is moving closer to family or into base at your work possible? Could either of you take an extended leave for a year or two or three and still have a job to come back to?

Or you might be ok with finding a trusted nanny to pretty much raise the kid. That's an option. It costs more money and I question how good it is for a child's development, but it leaves both of your careers virtually unmodified and maybe that's the conclusion you'll come to.

As I said at the start, figure out what your priorities are and go from there.
 

BigZ

Well-Known Member
The wife and I are now thinking pretty hard about trying to have a kid and I’m trying to wrap my brain around how this works when both of you work full time. We find ourselves in a pretty good position financially because I’m a CA at banana bus and she is a doctor but obviously money doesn’t fix everything. It also probably doesn’t help that I’m a commuter so at this point I can’t just bid reserve or take an instructor job to be home everyday. So how have you with this type of situation figured it out? Thanks for the advise
I can only chime in on what not to do - don't move one side's parents in unless you are absolutely, 300% positive that you'll get along with zero issues.
Otherwise it eventually turns into a war zone with no win scenario.
 

SrFnFly227

Well-Known Member
I took a job 2 years ago working 8on/6off. My daughter was 3 and half and my son was 3 months old. This was after 5 years of always on call (sort of), but only actually working 8-10 days a month. We both thought the more structured schedule would be good for us, especially with the raise that came with the position. Unfortunately, we only made it 3 or 4 months before my wife went part time.

The honest answer is that your spouse will be a single parent for half the month. Is she ok working full time while being alone with a child? That is a lot to ask of a person and I'm not sure it can be answered until you both find yourself in the situation. Is an Au Pair an option? Or a nanny? At the very least a baby sitter for a night or 2 very trip? A housekeeper? You want to discuss all the options that can make her life as easy as possible when you're away.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
The honest answer is that your spouse will be a single parent for half the month. Is she ok working full time while being alone with a child? That is a lot to ask of a person and I'm not sure it can be answered until you both find yourself in the situation.
True story. My wife and I were just talking about this the other night. We both agreed it feels almost like being two single parents at times.

I work 10 days on call (6-9 of actually flying) followed by 5 guaranteed days off. She works 12 hour shifts two or three times during my five off. She has to go a few days at a time without me, and I don't get much help from her if she's working back to back 12 hour shifts.

It's manageable, but definitely not always easy. We really look forward to the days neither of us works. In some respects I think both parents working regular 8-5 M-F jobs would be easier, but I'm sure that would have its own set of challenges too.

Of course, it's all worth it. I'm not trying to discourage anyone from having kids. Our son has added a richness to life that's hard to describe. I mainly want prospective parents to plan for what they're getting into.
 

deadstick

Well-Known Member
Have a back-up. A solid one. I tried the 121 life as a commuter, and it was a struggle. We didn’t live near family at the time. More than once I had to get same-day buddy passes for a grandma to fly out when something happened. One time, Day 1 of a 5-day reserve period, I had just commuted in the night before and got a call at 5am expecting it to be crew scheduling. It was my wife. She was sick a a dog, hadn’t slept all night, and couldn’t take care of our 2 y/o. I had to head back. Company was cool with it and even got me on the first flight out. A solid back-up plan is needed. We didn’t because we moved around for her job and was new to the area. For the last 10 years, I’ve had a rotational schedule and we settled in the town where she grew up. Having family local has made life sooo much easier.
 

MFT1Air

Well-Known Member
The wife and I are now thinking pretty hard about trying to have a kid and I’m trying to wrap my brain around how this works when both of you work full time. We find ourselves in a pretty good position financially because I’m a CA at banana bus and she is a doctor but obviously money doesn’t fix everything. It also probably doesn’t help that I’m a commuter so at this point I can’t just bid reserve or take an instructor job to be home everyday. So how have you with this type of situation figured it out? Thanks for the advise
Wow. Well. . .Interesting question. I suppose one has to analyze one's perception of success in having a dual income family. The primary issue is always childcare. Unless one parent, working or not, is a stay at home parent, you're leaving your child with someone else. Someone else is watching your child more than you are. Other than that, all is good.
 

deadstick

Well-Known Member
I’ll chime in again on the topic of “leaving your child with someone else.” When it comes to daycare, there are a few other considerations: socialization, education, and a boosted immune system.

Socialization. They get to meet new kids and learn to interact at an earlier age. My younger daughter plays soccer and still sees other kids from her pre-school class. She’s 11 and, although she doesn’t remember the early times, sees people she’s “known” for 9-10 years.

Education. There’s a difference between leaving kids at a structured pre-school and Ms. Jennifer’s Day Care and Bait Shop. Sweat equity in the form of research and interviews will payoff. When our daughters entered kindergarten, they were way ahead of others and have stayed there over the years.

Immune system. Daycares and preschools are like bio-weapon factories. They’ll pick up all kinds of bugs there, and pass them off to you. Once they got to school (15 combined school years, now), the two have had to miss only 3 school days total. Back in my 121 life, it seems that by Day 3, I’d have whatever my daughter had while I was at home.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
Our current chief pilot is married to a doctor. He took time off from being a pilot to be a stay-at-home dad while the kids were young. Worked well for them, but their priorities may be different than yours - I can’t speak for them, nor do I know your values regarding money, career, and children.
 

dustoff17

Well-Known Member
@Box hauler,
Opinions vary on this particular subject as we have seen in past posts. Here’s my two cents....

Having, and properly raising a child IS a full time job. So your original question should be something along the lines of, “Can you help me figure out how two full-time, employed, working people can handle three full-time jobs?” THIS is the question that need an answer.

The numbers don’t lie and the math doesn’t work out. Something’s got to give and someone has to sacrifice. In MOST cases, the child is the one that takes the loss or sacrifices. Day care or family, as mentioned above, are great resources but they are to augment you and your wife, NOT to replace either or both of you.

Without splaying your lives out on a table, I’m making general statements here: If you both hold jobs because you NEED the money (food, rent, utilities, etc...), then reconsider. If you two are in a financial situation wherein you can’t afford to NOT both work full time, then don’t have a child. If this is the case, then this isn’t a good time for you to take on an additional financial and emotional responsibility.

If you are both working to “get ahead” (savings, retirement, vacations, etc), then save, contribute to your accounts, and take the vacations you want NOW. Enjoy your time and build on your relationship as a couple; practice getting pregnant. NEVER try to work and save until you can “afford” a child because you never will see the numbers in your accounts that you want.

After you vacation, THEN one of you step back from full time status and have a child. The rewards you gain from raising your own child pales in comparison to any financial gain. No matter how much money you make in your lifetime, your greatest legacy will not be the money you leave your child, but rather the child you leave.

As I stated before, this is my two cents. Along with this, I am reminded that I only get a penny for my thoughts. Therefore, I’m losing money every time I “speak”!
 

skypilot6

Well-Known Member
As a new parent and a CA at Banana Bus commuting to Reserve I can tell you it sucks. My wife works full time, typical M-F 8-5 office type job with some extra at home or weekend work occasionally. Our Daughter is 6.5 months old now. Thankfully my Wife's job has a generous maternity leave policy and living in NYS actually provided extra time as well and she was able to be home for the first 5 months. We live close to both my and her parents which have been a big help for completing daily tasks. But we still decided on Day Care given the unpredictability of my schedule. It's expensive, currently our largest expense. But with our Salaries it's not an issue.

We always planned on the day care thing. Because we knew it was the only way we could make it work. Family does help a lot and both my Mom and Mother in Law are retired, but we cannot just expect them to care of our child most of the time. Things do happen though, one of the "teachers" at the day care tested positive for Covid last week, so the day care is shut down this week, and I'm on a trip, my wife has to work. My mother in Law is watching her today, My wife is staying home tomorrow. and If I can make my commute home tomorrow night It will be daddy day care for the rest of the week. So even with the best laid out plans they can fall apart quickly and everyone has to be flexible.

It's been very rewarding and very stressful so far. We are making it work and taking things one at a time. If you want to have kids you'll figure out how to make it work.
 

Avalon781ML

Well-Known Member
The wife and I are now thinking pretty hard about trying to have a kid and I’m trying to wrap my brain around how this works when both of you work full time. We find ourselves in a pretty good position financially because I’m a CA at banana bus and she is a doctor but obviously money doesn’t fix everything. It also probably doesn’t help that I’m a commuter so at this point I can’t just bid reserve or take an instructor job to be home everyday. So how have you with this type of situation figured it out? Thanks for the advise
My wife and I are in a similar situation except we added two of our nieces to our permanent family not too long ago. My wife is a provider with our one of our local hospitals and I commute to work. We have semi permanent nannies that help a tremendous amount in the mornings and after school hours. My wife is able to swap shifts and work less when I am away working and then works more when I am home. I bid solely for days off and not productivity, specific overnights, etc as I once did before the girls came to live with us.
I’m not going to lie… its difficult as hell most of the time… but I’m starting to realize it wouldn’t be any different if the children were my own. It has certainly has a steep learning curve especially since societal norms have changed drastically since I was a youth… and my parents, while I’m thankful for the manner in which I was raised, may not have done the best job as things were just different back then.
My best advice is simply wake up every day with a smile (as kids are sensitive to moods), support your spouse regardless of what happens during the day, do the best that you can, forgive yourself and your spouse for failures, and try to get enough sleep when its available. Its a physically demanding, mentally straining, and ball busting existence when things aren’t going well. On the other hand its a wonderful experience seeing children develop in their own manner, learn how to read or do math, or my personal favorite when you walk in the door and they run to give you a hug and tell you about their day.
 

Jimmy_Norton

Opie killer
Being childless has made my aviation career so much easier. I'll probably die cold and alone someday, but right now it is one less thing to worry about.
 
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