Like many people, I’m facing some financial challenges these days.  The mortgage assistance application calls it “income curtailment.”  And, no, the company hasn’t come through yet with any assistance. 

I work for myself, yet only part time.  I actually made that choice about thee years after becoming a stepparent.  I admire women who have a full-time career and also parent well.  It doesn’t work for me; I get too overwhelmed, and my parenting suffers with lack of creativity, humor, and patience. 

Now, with my husband having gotten laid off a few months ago, we are on the brink of that trigger point where one of us would have to find a job that brings in more money, OR we need to get really creative about other lifestyle options.  I think we are both mentally prepared to downsize our home, but who can sell a house for decent value right now? 

We’ve gone round and round about me going to work full time so he can build a business.  My steppkids live on their own now, and have actually asked to be financially independent for tax purposes in 2009.  There’s a blessing of timing!  Full-time work could be a plan if it weren’t for Amy. 

At nine, Amy is our youngest.  I’ve been so fortunate to have almost every day after school with her, and at least half the summers to spend together.  And, even though out of the house, the older kids have a random crisis from time to time and it’s nice to be available if they need some help. 

So many factors play into a decision to work outside of my home.  Working full-time means taking time off being a high-contribution parent…which would be all right if my husband and I switch roles, but then he wouldn’t be building his business.  We could pass off after-school child-care to a nanny, if I had a high enough salary to make this option financially sound…and a bit of this could certainly be enriching for Amy. 

But let’s face it.  I love parenting – that’s why I write this blog!  At this very moment I can’t find the right set of reasons to relegate my parenting to a few tired hours in the evening.  I may have to, but I’m not ready to make this choice today. 

So I think it’s going to have to be something shy of the traditional 40-hour-work week for me.  In the meantime, we are praying for a lot of patience, a bit of opportunity, and a miracle from the mortgage company. 

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in Northern Colorado.  For more information on her book, Stepparenting the Grieving Child, go to


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