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Reader Testimonial: How I Transitioned from Working Full-Time to Part-Time

Here’s an encouraging story that Carolyn emailed in:

My husband, Otis and I greeted our new son, Gabriel, in March 2008, when we were 43 and 41, respectively. I was working full-time in a career that I loved, and was happy and content to continue until retirement.

When it came time to go back to work after a 10-week maternity leave, my heart ached with regret and I felt the nudging from God that I needed to be home full-time with Gabriel. I blamed it on hormones and thought, “I am a professional and will be able to deal with leaving my baby at a sitters. I can’t quit my job, I love it!”

The first few weeks were hard, and to my surprise the following months did not get any easier. I began praying fervently for answers, and for the grieving to stop every time I left him to go to work.

In March 2009, when Gabriel was a year old, I knew the Lord was leading me to quit my current job and work part-time. But, before anything else, we had to pay off a couple of loans in order to pay our household bills each month with Otis’ salary.

I had already started using coupons, and regularly read MoneySavingMom.com, plus we have utilized a budget for years. It was time to shave it down, and strictly follow it.

We sat down, made a plan of action to pay off a vehicle and home equity loan, as these were our only loans other than our mortgage. We figured up what we thought I would make part-time and used that for our household expenses, then we applied the rest of my full-time salary to the two bills which totaled $12,000.

In November 2009, we were on track with our payments, but again, God was telling me to set a date to leave my job. After much praying, March 31, 2010 was decided upon.

In early February 2010, both loans were paid off, so I began applying for part-time jobs. By the middle of February nothing was happening, and I was beginning to panic. I finally realized I needed to give it to the Lord because He was the One telling me to take this leap, and by the end of February a part-time job came open (100 hours a month)! It offered health insurance benefits, and mostly night shifts (so my husband could be home with Gabe).

I applied, interviewed, and was hired before my March 31, 2010 deadline. God had provided the job He wanted me to have with reduced hours, nightly shifts, and gave me a paycheck along with health insurance. Boy, He blessed us! God is so wonderful and mighty! Plus, more time with my child is more valuable than any material thing I could ever want want to buy.

Carolyn and Otis have been married for 11 years (this week) and live on 18 acres in Western Kentucky. Carolyn has Weston (20), Otis has James (24) and together they have Gabriel (2 1/2). Otis is a Deputy Sheriff, and since April 1, 2010, Carolyn has worked part-time for the Administrative Office of the Courts as a Pretrial Officer.

Do you have a story to share about your financial journey which would encourage other readers and give them hope? Email it to me and I’ll consider posting it.

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32 Comments

  • jennifer says:

    Thanks for this post. We are prayerfully considering WHEN I can make the same transition. So tough to leave my little one for so long every day.

  • Cheri says:

    CONGRATS Carolyn and Otis–this is a God ordained decision that you will NEVER regret!
    God’s best to you!

  • katie says:

    Thank you for this post. The exact moment this posted, I was close to tears sitting at my desk at work, stressed over trying to maintain some type of life balance. I just returned to work full-time in January from maternity leave for our second child. The possibility of a job-share (meaning cutting my hours in half) is very real, but the whole transition is a scary one. At the same time this is all going on, we’re growing out of our tiny starter home and hoping to move within the year. So much to think about. Been doing lots of praying about it, and thank you for this encouraging message.

  • Wonderful testimony! Thanks for sharing… and for giving up the easy life for one that is better – with your precious son! 🙂
    Shannon in Indiana <

  • Autumn says:

    Congrats Carolyn!! What a nice story. It’s so nice to hear that with patience and the power of prayer a lot is possible. 🙂

  • Deanna says:

    What an awesome story! I really enjoyed reading this. How amazing to have 18 acres to grow up with as a kid as well.

  • Jill says:

    This is encouraging but not very specific. Can you provide details about what type of careers provide decent part-time pay? It especially seems unusual to find part-time work with health insurance. I would love to do such a thing, but I’m finding it really hard to find something that pays enough when you factor in child care. I see you decided to work at night.

    • Reese says:

      There are several part-time jobs that offer health benefits, have decent pay, and somewhat flexible hours. The first two companies that come to mind are Starbucks and US Bank. I have researched employment with both of these companies and they also let you put pre-tax money into a childcare account.

    • Chris says:

      She works for the county, evidently, but then so does her husband, so I’m unsure how it helps with her having her own health insurance.

      • jennifer says:

        health care is an option. I am a RN now nurse practitioner and have the chance to work PT just a huge salary decrease. like I said, we are praying for the right time and I am thankful that nursing is so flexible

  • Jamie says:

    What a wonderful testimonial. Thank you for sharing! God is good to His children!! I am not married, and I do not have children, but this is an encouragement to hear such wisdom and be able to apply it and provide for a future family, to be a wife, mother and believer and not have anything conflict with one another. I love it! Thank you again!!

  • anonymous says:

    I am curious too as to how someone could work night shift and then take care of a child during the day. Before I had children I worked nights (FT) and cannot even imagine being able to function well enough during the day to care for a child.

    • mildred lane says:

      I am a retired RN w/ 3 grown birth kids but when they were I worked full time nights and slept in shifts-when they napped and when their dad got home from work. It was not easy. When they got older ,going to school,I was able to take off for their summer vacation and still carry the family insurance.
      I retired at age 56,very unhappy,became a foster parent,and at age 59
      I adopted a son who was 6 days old. He is now 13 yr old and I am 72 going to his wrestling matches, guitar and piano practices and recitals,track meets, PTO, Boy’s Club etc.

    • Katie says:

      Are you referring to 2nd or 3rd shift? Maybe when she says “nights” she really means evenings. I work 2nd shift and don’t have any problem at all going to bed around 1am and sleeping until around 8 am or so. I’m lucky my son sleeps in a little more than most kids his age do.

  • anonymous says:

    The comment I left was not meant as a criticism for the writer’s decision. I am very glad things worked out for her. I just remember working nights—and feeling like a zombie the rest of the time from being so tired!!

  • Jen says:

    I totally agree. I’m on nights now full-time and have so little energy I’m all but worthless except for my days off. I feel awful for not spending enough time with my children, I’m irritable, and I can’t bring myself to exercise. Congrats to all who can pull of this shift.

  • Dixie says:

    wow how crazy that you posted this as I am sitting here wishing I was a SAHM/WAHM! all the stories on the page are so encouraging and I love reading the comments as well. I am so glad I found this site, I hope to make my dream become a reality this fall as we will have to paid for cars at that time and most of our credit cards paid off!! Every day its getting hard and harder for me to leave my babies

  • My wife and I both worked until we had our 2nd child. About a month before our 2nd child was born she quit her job so she could stay home with our children. We had to sell one car to cut down on monthly expenses and had to get on the WIC program to help out with food. It was hard for awhile, but our situation has improved since then and my wife has been able to stay home for 3 years now. Anything is possible if you are willing to do what it takes!

  • Julie says:

    I agree, wonderful testimony and it is so great as moms when we can find a balance that works for us! However, as a person who has been a stay at home mom, a working part-time mom, and a full-time working mom, I can say NONE of them are easy. As one of the previous commenters noted, “Giving up the ‘easy’ life for one that is better”… one’s own definition of “easy” may vary, but a full time working mother definitely does not fit that bill. I think as women and moms it’s important that we support and encourage each other’s decisions and recognize that our differences all have their own strengths and weaknesses!

    • Emily says:

      I agree completelty. As a current full-time working mom, there is nothing “easy” about it…..nor would staying at home necessarily be a life that is “better”.

  • kartingmom says:

    AWESOME story! God is faithful!

  • I too have tears in my eyes! I have been praying for the same thing for my own family. We’re debt free and had our second child last summer. After he was born, I suffered from severe postpartum depression which changed my life. It took months for me to feel like ‘me’ and bond with my amazing son. I have prayed for a promotion and satisfaction in his career for my husband, and those prayers have been answered (got the official answer today). I have 8 years at my job in state government and a masters in my field and requested part-time in December but was denied. Lo and behold, our budget is tight and now it might go through, but not exactly what I was praying for. My heart is at home, not at work… so I keep praying.

  • Stephanie says:

    I became a SAHM to my 3-year old in January 2010 after working as a finance professional for 18 years. We had just paid off my car and the only debt we have now is our mortgage. We had to make serious cuts to our expenses, and certainly couponing was a big part of that. We also negotiated my cell phone charges down, switched auto/homeowner insurance policies, and cancelled cable.

    We expected not to be able to contribute to retirement while I’m not working, but due to the expense reductions we made, we are now contributing 10% of my husband’s salary. In 2010, my husband received both a raise and a bonus, and salaries had been frozen for 2 years prior to that. We just found out yesterday that his company will now be offering dental!

    If you’re thinking about becoming a SAHM, I would recommend a large emergency fund (ours would last us about a year). And also eliminate as much debt as you can.

    God has blessed us so much and I so enjoy the time I get to spend with my little girl.

  • kerrie says:

    Way to do it! These little guys need their mommies. No one will care and love them like mommy does. God provides away!

  • melissa says:

    We also decided that it would be better for me to work only part time at night so he can take care of her during the night. I will never regret raising my child instead of a child daycare.

  • keesha says:

    Thank you for this post. I’m an avid follower of MSM and happened to stop by to see the latest posts. I’ve been praying for this as well and just started a budget to hopefully be at the point where I can totally leave my job and be a SAHM/WAHM. God has blessed your family and I pray that he will do the same for us!

  • Sehra says:

    This is an inspiring story, I just wish she didn’t have to put all the credit in God. I’ve always gone by the quote “God helps those who help themselves.” Maybe instead of praying for answers, you should sit down and write a list of pros and cons, of solutions and brainstorming.

    Everyone has their own religion and I don’t mean to disrespect but people need to be given credit when they work hard, not that “God” gave them the opportunities. They put in the extra time and the extra effort to make things happen in their lives, and they deserve to be praised for their own actions, not something “God” supposedly did for them. Sorry if this comes off kinda harsh, just want hard work to be recognized and people not to think it’s just fate that things happen.

    • Crystal says:

      From the story, it sounds like she did both.

      As a Christian, I believe that God is all-powerful and amazing and He loves to answer prayer and bless His children. At the same time, though, I believe we should put “feet to our faith” and work hard, take personal responsibility, etc. Just because Christians trust in the Lord doesn’t mean we should sit in our rockers and wait for lightning to strike and bless us. 🙂

  • Carolyn says:

    The part time job that I am now currently working, I didn’t even know existed when I first started looking to go part time. It is with state government, but posted only on the “courts” employment (which I didn’t even know about either). I found out about how to apply with the courts, and the very day I went to the website the job was posted!! It is only 25 hours a week, and I work mostly 6:30p.m. to approximately 10:00 to 10:30p.m. I work 3 to 4 hours at a time, sometimes 5, and only about 4 to 5 days a week! So, I am very well rested for the next day, and when I have to work the mornings my husband works, Gabe has his Dad’s parents (mine are deceased) to stay with, and a 5 year old cousin he absolutely adores!! The arrangement is one only God could have provided!! Thank you for all the positive comments, I hope I gave someone else hope that God Will answer your yearnings to be at home with your children!!

  • Laurie Villotta says:

    My mom is still working as an rn after 40 plus yrs. For most of her career she worked the night shift while raising us 3 kids. She dozed off when she could. We were never in child care and in the midst of raising us I was dx with pediatric cancer at the age of 6 and required 2 yrs of intense chemo and radiation and she continued to work and was pregnant with my brother. She has always said throughout her life the most important part of the day to be home in her opinion was when we walked in the door for shcool everyday. And she did just that after we were all in school FT. My parents were married at the time,but my dad helped very little. I think whatever the career path Ft/Pt or staying home with children is specific for each family. For me as a single parent by choice to 2 adopted babies from China I have to work FT. Now my mom is taking care of them FT so I can have a successful career as a hospice rn now for 17yrs. No matter what we all decide to do for our children being home or not God knows the right path and I choose to follow Him.
    Laurie

  • Sarah says:

    I just had a baby about 2 months ago and I was going to work full time,but I just don’t have peace about it. Your kids are only little for such a short time and you can never get that time back. There will be time to work and make money later. We will have less money but staying at home is more important to me. I have faith God will provide our needs, even if we never get the fancy house or expensive vacations.

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