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I'm feeling a little lost...

Hi ladies,

I'm looking for some advice and outside perspectives. 

DH and I decided that it was good for me to quit my job in December of this year and start going to school full time in 2013. I plan to get my Bachelor's in Accounting and potentially sit for the CPA exam. I figure this will take approximately 5-6 year to accomplish. That would make me about 32 and DH about 36. 

We want to buy a house, but are content to wait until I'm making the big CPA bucks so that we can buy in a neighborhood/town that we really like. 

The problem is that we are undecided on children. We have been talking about it a lot lately, we think we want children, we think that we would be great parents, but in my mind, if we were to have any kids, we would have to do it now rather then later... Right now I'm collecting GE credits and lower division units at the community college level. When I transfer to SFSU, I will be collecting my upper division units, trying to get internship opportunities at one of the Big 4 accounting firms and studying for the CPA exam. 

If we had a baby now, by the time I was going through all of the really important parts of my education, it would ideally be between 3 and 5 years old. I think that would be better then having one while trying to start at a new, demanding job or while studying for the CPA exam. 

As far as child care during the time that DH is at work and I have classes, my sister is willing to watch my hypothetical baby, she is currently a stay at home mom with no plans of working in the near future. I also have a friend that is currently pregnant and may not be going back to work after she has her son in June. 

DH's work schedule would allow him to work the 7 - 4 shift, which means that he would be home by 4:30. 

I think that this would really be the best way to do it, but it feels overwhelming. For the last two years I have been telling myself that we aren't going to have kids and mentally listing all the bad things about kids, but I totally and irrationally want to have a baby with my DH. *sigh* 

That of course is another problem I'm having. I enjoy my nice quiet house, I enjoy sleeping in and having buckets of time for playing video games and messing around on the internet. I don't know if I am up to the full time demands of taking care of a helpless person. But I feel like I will be missing out on something if I don't have kids. I won't ever be able to relate to all the parents who talk about how wonderful it is to be a parent or about how proud they are of their kid for XYZ reason.

Sorry that this is so long and probably seems confusing... I'm trying to type all this out in between answering phone calls and handling visitors. 

I appreciate any help and advice that anyone can give. 

Re: I'm feeling a little lost...

  • I worked at a Big 4 for almost 6 years. It is a valuable experience and it will take to places later on -- finding a job is not as difficult if you have Big 4 experience (generally speaking) and you get higher pay. 

    However, public accounting/external audit is very very tedious. You work long hours during busy season (sometimes 80 hours/week) and it is very demanding.  Especially during your first year or so, you don't have a lot of flexibility and tend to do the time-consuming tasks for the team (the structure is hierarchical). 

    Not to mention, studying for the CPA can also be stressful. I suggest taking time off after school to study and take the CPA exams...BEFORE you start working at Big 4 (or you'll really be challenged in finding time to study).

    I don't mean to discourage you. Big 4 is a great place for you to start and build your career. You sacrifice a little, but the experience will take you far and will be worth it in the end.

    Please consider this when planning for a baby. Either you have one before you start or when you're a little further along the Big 4 staff levels. For sanity's sake, it's very hard to do everything at the same time.

    I'm not sure if it helps, but I just want to offer my experience with Big 4. People need to be prepared and know what they're getting themselves into :) I think it's great that you're planning for it and aiming high for the future. Good luck!

     

     

  • reading your post, it looks like now's a good time.  You just have to decide if you want kids.  Good luck with that soul searching decision.  There are a few on the baby board who are also in school (PKW, Zoe) you may want to ask their experiences with that.

    I never saw myself with kids.  Now I can't imagine life without.

  • image periwinkleblue:

    I worked at a Big 4 for almost 6 years. It is a valuable experience and it will take to places later on -- finding a job is not as difficult if you have Big 4 experience (generally speaking) and you get higher pay. 

    However, public accounting/external audit is very very tedious. You work long hours during busy season (sometimes 80 hours/week) and it is very demanding.  Especially during your first year or so, you don't have a lot of flexibility and tend to do the time-consuming tasks for the team (the structure is hierarchical). 

    Not to mention, studying for the CPA can also be stressful. I suggest taking time off after school to study and take the CPA exams...BEFORE you start working at Big 4 (or you'll really be challenged in finding time to study).

    I don't mean to discourage you. Big 4 is a great place for you to start and build your career. You sacrifice a little, but the experience will take you far and will be worth it in the end.

    Please consider this when planning for a baby. Either you have one before you start or when you're a little further along the Big 4 staff levels. For sanity's sake, it's very hard to do everything at the same time.

    I'm not sure if it helps, but I just want to offer my experience with Big 4. People need to be prepared and know what they're getting themselves into :) I think it's great that you're planning for it and aiming high for the future. Good luck!

     

     

    Yeah, I know the work is tedious and I imagine being the low man on the totem pole means that I get all the crap work, but I don't mind the crap work because at least it will be almost 100% accounting related and I love accounting work. 

    I have heard that some of the Big 4 offer completion bonuses for completing the CPA exam while you are employed by them... Is that true? 

    I'd love to pick your brain about the Big 4 companies and stuff, if you don't mind. 

    Are you a CPA and if you are, what do you do now? 

    I wouldn't want to try having a baby after I got a job with one of the Big 4 firms, because I would be mid thirties and I just don't like the risk factors associated with being pregnant after thirty.... Add in the odds that I'll be carrying twins (twins on both my paternal and DH's maternal side, our grandfathers each have twin brothers), it just makes me nervous...

    You experience helps immensely and I would love if you have any other information you could share about getting into a Big 4 or other tips for surviving. 

    Thanks! 

  • image Mrs.BoomBoom:

    reading your post, it looks like now's a good time.  You just have to decide if you want kids.  Good luck with that soul searching decision.  There are a few on the baby board who are also in school (PKW, Zoe) you may want to ask their experiences with that.

    I never saw myself with kids.  Now I can't imagine life without.

    thanks for your input C. 

    I've also never seen myself having kids... it freaked me out when DH's niece and nephew started calling me Auntie Sam, the idea of a little kid calling me "mommy" makes me sweaty... lol. 

    DH and I figure that we should decide by September and go from there. It is mostly up to me though, DH tends to feel that whatever I think it the right thing to do... or something like that.. 

  • Zoe and I go to the same school, she is in a masters program right now and I am finishing my BA and hopefully starting a MA in the fall.

    I can tell you my experience and Zoe's will be different so I would totally ask her to chime in so you can get multiple perspectives.

    Being a full-time mom and full-time student is really hard.  Like...REALLY hard.  This is not true of all jobs, but in many jobs you get to go home at the end of the day and sit back and enjoy your family.  With school this is not the case.  You come home and still have homework, often time epic amounts (they tend to come in clusters, assignments that is).  It is EXTREMELY difficult balancing homework, time away when you are at school, and the day to day of being a mom and wife.  I constantly wrestle with guilt over having to lock myself in a room and pound out a 8 page paper in one sitting instead of playing with my kid or enjoying a family outing.  I also struggle with occasionally settling for a lower grade.  I have taken a B on a few papers simply because I didn't have the time or the commitment to go over it one or two more times to check it before turning it in because I felt spending more time with my son was a priority.

    When it came down to studying for the GRE...I know my studies were GREATLY influenced by being a parent and I did not do as well on it as I had hoped I would, I didn't do bad, just not the percentile I felt I could be had I been able to devote more time to it.  DH is encountering this too as he studies to take the GMAT.

    This is not to say it cannot be done or isn't worth it.  It can be done, I am proof, and it is worth it...I promise.  But I do feel regret over not doing this before having my son because I mommy guilt is killer.

    Oh and child care is $$$$ so factor that in when it comes down to it.  Seriously.  We are looking at this awesome place for the fall to cover us for 2 days (granted it is a preschool) but it costs a lot and yes student loans can be used towards childcare...it is just one more thing to consider.

    If you want more info or detail feel free to email me

    kendallandpatrick at gmail 

    Happy Takes Work A family blog.
    Money Matters The other half's blog.
    EJ is growing up too fast!
    image Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • Oh and can I say...I was 27 when I had EJ and DH was 30.5, we are now working on 33 and 30 and I honestly don't feel there would be any difference in our bodies or ages had we done it not instead of 2 years ago (taking my bum body out of it, I mean in general).  I have many friends who are in their mid to late 30's with kids in the same age range and they are ROCKSTARS at parenting.  Sometimes I feel they put me to shame with their mad skillz.  So don't let age be what pushes you to do something sooner than you feel comfortable.

    I am sure many mommies on the baby board (and who are on this board) can speak to this.  Perhaps they can share their experiences of being 30+ mom.   

    Happy Takes Work A family blog.
    Money Matters The other half's blog.
    EJ is growing up too fast!
    image Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • image Mrs. Samantha Scott:
    image periwinkleblue:

    I worked at a Big 4 for almost 6 years. It is a valuable experience and it will take to places later on -- finding a job is not as difficult if you have Big 4 experience (generally speaking) and you get higher pay. 

    However, public accounting/external audit is very very tedious. You work long hours during busy season (sometimes 80 hours/week) and it is very demanding.  Especially during your first year or so, you don't have a lot of flexibility and tend to do the time-consuming tasks for the team (the structure is hierarchical). 

    Not to mention, studying for the CPA can also be stressful. I suggest taking time off after school to study and take the CPA exams...BEFORE you start working at Big 4 (or you'll really be challenged in finding time to study).

    I don't mean to discourage you. Big 4 is a great place for you to start and build your career. You sacrifice a little, but the experience will take you far and will be worth it in the end.

    Please consider this when planning for a baby. Either you have one before you start or when you're a little further along the Big 4 staff levels. For sanity's sake, it's very hard to do everything at the same time.

    I'm not sure if it helps, but I just want to offer my experience with Big 4. People need to be prepared and know what they're getting themselves into :) I think it's great that you're planning for it and aiming high for the future. Good luck!

     

     

    Yeah, I know the work is tedious and I imagine being the low man on the totem pole means that I get all the crap work, but I don't mind the crap work because at least it will be almost 100% accounting related and I love accounting work. 

    I have heard that some of the Big 4 offer completion bonuses for completing the CPA exam while you are employed by them... Is that true? 

    I'd love to pick your brain about the Big 4 companies and stuff, if you don't mind. 

    Are you a CPA and if you are, what do you do now? 

    I wouldn't want to try having a baby after I got a job with one of the Big 4 firms, because I would be mid thirties and I just don't like the risk factors associated with being pregnant after thirty.... Add in the odds that I'll be carrying twins (twins on both my paternal and DH's maternal side, our grandfathers each have twin brothers), it just makes me nervous...

    You experience helps immensely and I would love if you have any other information you could share about getting into a Big 4 or other tips for surviving. 

    Thanks! 

    Sent you a PM! 

  • I can't speak for myself, but I can tell you what I see J doing. He's currently going to SFSU for his BA in Psych while working tax season and having an almost-one-year-old.

    Seeing J doing what he does with school, work and the baby amazes me to no end. He gets up at 4:30am twice a week to ride BART for 2 hours to get from Richmond to SFSU campus. Then he comes straight to work after school and works until 7pm. Now that it's tax season, he also works Saturdays. He studies until 1-2 am for tests and papers, only to get up at 4:30 to go to class. He won't complain, but I can see how it wears on him. He's ALWAYS exhausted, understandably. He's a rock star in my opinion, but I'm baised so...

    Being a person who's always wanted kids, I don't really know what it feels like to not want them like you do, but it's easy to feel lost when life hits you while you're making plans. I also know that J often says he wishes he had finished his education earlier in life, not only because it's worn him out, but because tuition costs have skyrocketed in recent years. It's super hard and I wish I could relieve him of some of his work and stress, but I can't.

  • Hi Samantha,

    You are certainly weighing a lot of life's big decisions right now.

    When I was a lot younger, I wasn't sure if I wanted kids or not. I certainly wasn't one of the girls who couldn't wait to be a mom. I didn't have any reason for not wanting kids, I just didn't have that 'pull'. Then, life marches on. I started to ask myself: when I am old and at the end of my life, what would I regret more: having kids or not having kids? That made the decision for me. It provide me some much needed perspective.

    Bottom line, there is no right decision. There is no wrong decision. Good for you for trying to look at everything and make the long term decisions but at the same time, understand that life will also take its own course :)

    Hugs to you, it's not an easy decision to make. Good luck!

     

    Life is a roller coaster, enjoy it!

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Lighthouse State Beach, Santa Cruz.

  • I don't have any idea about your work so I can't help you there but I do feel you on trying to balance a baby with work that is SO NOT like the vast majority of jobs where you don't take work home. Teaching is so, so time consuming. You really are never not working except in the summer. Days off are not really days off, they're just days where you are working at home instead of in the classroom. It's incredibly exhausting without children so I can't imagine being a parent and a teacher. Add to it, that in our situation there is no way I could take really any maternity time because I am essentially the sole earner. At this point, it doesn't look like that will change due to DH's unpredictable health. The only way we could have a child would be to have a family member (probably MIL) be our day care. I am really questioning whether we will ever be able to do it financially and in terms of my sanity. It's stressful enough to be a teacher in the current education environment with a husband who regularly has serious health issues. Adding the stress of a child just seems insane. But, I don't want to be denied the experience of being a mother or for my DH to be denied being a father. I have gone back and forth in my life between wanting to be a parent and not thinking I wanted to. I am sure I would still have a fulfilling life without being a mom but it also makes me very sad to think of never being one. Sometimes it makes me really angry actually. I am angry that it is SO hard to make it work; so hard to get job security and health insurance as a teacher, the cost of adopting an infant or to have treatments to conceive, the flawed system of disability benefits. It really shouldn't be this difficult. But it does help to know you aren't alone. Hang in there and I'll be thinking of you as you make this decision.
  • I'll speak to being an 'older' parent.

    I was 35 when Q was born and I'm SO glad I waited.  I was such a different person before I finished school and got settled in my profession.  It took me a long time and a lot of job changes before I got some job security and I'm so thankful I didn't have a child to worry about during all those lay-offs.  I'm so much more secure now and that allows me to be a much better, more relaxed, more self-assured parent than when I was younger (and I was always very mature for my age so it's not like I was a young immature kid with a lot of growing up to do.)  I'm also now at an age and level of experience where I can do some things on auto-pilot.  When I started out, I was working every night until 7-8 and working every weekend.  Taking sick days on top of that to catch up with work.  I couldn't see doing that with a kid.  I now leave work at 4 and don't bring work home.

    I also like that we own a house.  It's so much easier with a kid than living in an apartment.

    My mom was just shy of 38 when she had me and then went back to school (while working full time).  I remember a lot of time wishing I could get her attention.  Going to classes even with her.  Spending time at my aunt's and at a babysitter late at night because my mom had classes.  It was hard on both of us (even more so because she's a single parent).  She was always the 'old' mom.  She's the age of some of my friend's grandparents.  I don't feel like that's the case anymore though.  It seems like a lot of other moms are my age now.  I'll probably be 38 when #2 is born and it no longer seems ancient.  Also, even with her health problems, my mom is one of the most active vibrant moms I know.

  • image Mrs.BoomBoom:
    I'm also now at an age and level of experience where I can do some things on auto-pilot.  When I started out, I was working every night until 7-8 and working every weekend.  Taking sick days on top of that to catch up with work.  I couldn't see doing that with a kid.  I now leave work at 4 and don't bring work home.
    Wow, I wonder if I will ever be that way. I know there are teachers who are like that but my mom does as much work at home as I did and she's been teaching for 20 years. I also worked way later than 7 or 8 PM but I usually had to give myself a couple of hours of a break after school.
  • image PKW:

    Oh and can I say...I was 27 when I had EJ and DH was 30.5, we are now working on 33 and 30 and I honestly don't feel there would be any difference in our bodies or ages had we done it not instead of 2 years ago (taking my bum body out of it, I mean in general).  I have many friends who are in their mid to late 30's with kids in the same age range and they are ROCKSTARS at parenting.  Sometimes I feel they put me to shame with their mad skillz.  So don't let age be what pushes you to do something sooner than you feel comfortable.

    I am sure many mommies on the baby board (and who are on this board) can speak to this.  Perhaps they can share their experiences of being 30+ mom.   

    I really appreciate your input on this K. I really want to be able to a part of groups during school and I want to be able to apply myself to my work and get a really great GPA to get into a good internship for the CPA program. 

  • image LoLoPanda:

    I can't speak for myself, but I can tell you what I see J doing. He's currently going to SFSU for his BA in Psych while working tax season and having an almost-one-year-old.

    Seeing J doing what he does with school, work and the baby amazes me to no end. He gets up at 4:30am twice a week to ride BART for 2 hours to get from Richmond to SFSU campus. Then he comes straight to work after school and works until 7pm. Now that it's tax season, he also works Saturdays. He studies until 1-2 am for tests and papers, only to get up at 4:30 to go to class. He won't complain, but I can see how it wears on him. He's ALWAYS exhausted, understandably. He's a rock star in my opinion, but I'm baised so...

    Being a person who's always wanted kids, I don't really know what it feels like to not want them like you do, but it's easy to feel lost when life hits you while you're making plans. I also know that J often says he wishes he had finished his education earlier in life, not only because it's worn him out, but because tuition costs have skyrocketed in recent years. It's super hard and I wish I could relieve him of some of his work and stress, but I can't.

    I feel the same way as your DH, I wish that I had decided to go back to school earlier in life. I see my friends, the ones that graduated from college at 24 and it makes me feel left behind. I know that I have more work experience then they do, but I have no where to go without a degree.  

    Thanks for sharing yours and your DH's experience. 

  • image Gannon:

    Hi Samantha,

    You are certainly weighing a lot of life's big decisions right now.

    When I was a lot younger, I wasn't sure if I wanted kids or not. I certainly wasn't one of the girls who couldn't wait to be a mom. I didn't have any reason for not wanting kids, I just didn't have that 'pull'. Then, life marches on. I started to ask myself: when I am old and at the end of my life, what would I regret more: having kids or not having kids? That made the decision for me. It provide me some much needed perspective.

    Bottom line, there is no right decision. There is no wrong decision. Good for you for trying to look at everything and make the long term decisions but at the same time, understand that life will also take its own course :)

    Hugs to you, it's not an easy decision to make. Good luck!

     

    For me, it's been the opposite, I wanted kids until I was about 23 or 24. Then all of a sudden a switch turned and I didn't really want them that much anymore. I'm still curious about being pregnant and what it would be like. I'd like to know what a child made up of my and my DH would be like and I'd like to know what parenthood would be like, but at the same time, I see a lot of my friends with kids and they are constantly talking about how they are missing out on this and missing out on that and unable to do this and that and I think to myself, "wow, what a drag". 

    I know that having kids is about making sacrifices for the betterment of your family, but I just don't want to make those sacrifices right now. I think that ends up being the bottom line for me. 

    Thanks for the support. I appreciate you chiming in with your experience. 

  • image hannikan:
    I don't have any idea about your work so I can't help you there but I do feel you on trying to balance a baby with work that is SO NOT like the vast majority of jobs where you don't take work home. Teaching is so, so time consuming. You really are never not working except in the summer. Days off are not really days off, they're just days where you are working at home instead of in the classroom. It's incredibly exhausting without children so I can't imagine being a parent and a teacher. Add to it, that in our situation there is no way I could take really any maternity time because I am essentially the sole earner. At this point, it doesn't look like that will change due to DH's unpredictable health. The only way we could have a child would be to have a family member (probably MIL) be our day care. I am really questioning whether we will ever be able to do it financially and in terms of my sanity. It's stressful enough to be a teacher in the current education environment with a husband who regularly has serious health issues. Adding the stress of a child just seems insane. But, I don't want to be denied the experience of being a mother or for my DH to be denied being a father. I have gone back and forth in my life between wanting to be a parent and not thinking I wanted to. I am sure I would still have a fulfilling life without being a mom but it also makes me very sad to think of never being one. Sometimes it makes me really angry actually. I am angry that it is SO hard to make it work; so hard to get job security and health insurance as a teacher, the cost of adopting an infant or to have treatments to conceive, the flawed system of disability benefits. It really shouldn't be this difficult. But it does help to know you aren't alone. Hang in there and I'll be thinking of you as you make this decision.

    Your situation sounds significantly more challenging then mine. I hope that you are able to get the security that you need to be able to take those next steps. From everything that I have read on the nest, teachers get such a raw deal. It makes me sad that the people we entrust our kids to, to be taught everything, get so screwed in the process! It makes me angry too. 

    Thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts. 

  • image Mrs.BoomBoom:

    I'll speak to being an 'older' parent.

    I was 35 when Q was born and I'm SO glad I waited.  I was such a different person before I finished school and got settled in my profession.  It took me a long time and a lot of job changes before I got some job security and I'm so thankful I didn't have a child to worry about during all those lay-offs.  I'm so much more secure now and that allows me to be a much better, more relaxed, more self-assured parent than when I was younger (and I was always very mature for my age so it's not like I was a young immature kid with a lot of growing up to do.)  I'm also now at an age and level of experience where I can do some things on auto-pilot.  When I started out, I was working every night until 7-8 and working every weekend.  Taking sick days on top of that to catch up with work.  I couldn't see doing that with a kid.  I now leave work at 4 and don't bring work home.

    I also like that we own a house.  It's so much easier with a kid than living in an apartment.

    My mom was just shy of 38 when she had me and then went back to school (while working full time).  I remember a lot of time wishing I could get her attention.  Going to classes even with her.  Spending time at my aunt's and at a babysitter late at night because my mom had classes.  It was hard on both of us (even more so because she's a single parent).  She was always the 'old' mom.  She's the age of some of my friend's grandparents.  I don't feel like that's the case anymore though.  It seems like a lot of other moms are my age now.  I'll probably be 38 when #2 is born and it no longer seems ancient.  Also, even with her health problems, my mom is one of the most active vibrant moms I know.

    Thanks for sharing the "older" parent perspective. I think being secure in a career and owning a house would be really great things to have before kids also. 

  • I want to say thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I had DH read everyone's responses too and I think that we have both agreed that we aren't going to have kids any time soon.

    I want to be able to focus on school and do well, I don't want to try and split my focus because I know which thing would take priority in my life and I have my doubts that I would actually finish school if we did have a kid now. 

    I think that while being an older pregnant lady makes me nervous, it is better to wait then to rush into having a baby because of age. 

    I really want to get my CPA and have an awesome career and sometimes I think I just put too much pressure on myself to try and keep up with what my friends are experiencing, maybe I get jealous that they are experiencing things that I'm not.. who knows, but what I do know is that bringing a baby into our family right now would be unfair to the kid because we are just too busy with work and school and other activities and we are just really comfortable in our lives right now. 

    Thanks again, you all have been a huge help with this. 

  • I think waiting is a good idea. Though I would not change my choices I got pregnant with DD at 27 years old and in my final semster of my masters program. I was 28 weeks pregnant at my grad ceremony. After she was born I really loved staying home with her and had DS at 30 years old and am still a SAHM 8 1/2 years later. I don't know if I foresee using my degree in the next 10 years either...we will see. But I do know that I know plenty of moms who are 40+ with kids my DS's age (he'll be 7 this month) and it seems that most moms around here wait until their mid-30's to have kids so you definitely would not be an anamoly to wait. Having kids should be something to look forward to IMO...if you are not ready to be tied down to children it's not time to have them.

     

  • One more thing...maybe without a kid and a job you can accelerate your education.  A full time student is 12 units but you CAN take a LOT more.  (I remember taking 23 in a semester and those were upper division science classes with labs)

    Ok, two more things...

    The statistics for pg over 30 are not really as bad as the statistics make it seem.  I think it's something like it doubles the risk of some genetic conditions meaning it goes from 3% to 6%.  So, it's still not high, just a little higher.

  • Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you have come to a decision that is right for both you and DH. I always hear the health concerns starting after 35 and like MBB said the increase in risk is not high. People our parents' age always seem shocked anyone is worried about it at all.
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