A millennial mom will ‘basically do whatever it takes’ to avoid a full-time job so she can be with her kids. Here’s how she’s scraping together part-time work and 2 side hustles.
Megan, a 28-year-old millennial living in Missouri, is doing whatever she can to avoid returning to work full-time.
She told Insider that her solution involves a part-time job and two side hustles, but said she is glad to have more ownership over her time.
Prior to 2020, Megan worked a remote full-time job as a homeowners insurance claims adjuster while also caring for her son. When her daughter was born last June, she knew she wouldn’t be able to balance full-time work and caretaking, she said. Megan asked that her last name be withheld for privacy reasons.
While she says she “loved” her job — which paid roughly $3,000 per month — she decided to quit. Megan says it would cost a combined roughly $1,600 per month to put both her children in daycare. The cost and the time she would lose with them while working wasn’t worth it.
Just three months later, however, she and her husband took stock of their finances and “quickly realized” she needed to get a job for them to get by. She said that their mortgage payment of roughly $1,880 per month was particularly straining their finances. Insider viewed Megan’s documents to verify her income and mortgage payments.
In October, she started working 15 to 20 hours per week remotely in an insurance role for a different employer that pays roughly $1,600 per month — and continued caring for her now two-year-old and eight-month-old kids. She’s also trying to earn extra income by posting what she calls “mom/lifestyle” social media content and reselling items on Facebook Marketplace.
Megan is one of the over 22 million Americans working part-time voluntarily, according to Labor Department data. That’s more than five times the number — 4.1 million — who were part-time but wanted a full-time gig, the highest ratio of voluntary to involuntary part-time employment in two decades. In part, this data speaks to the strong US labor market, but there are also many Americans not pursuing full-time gigs due to health issues, childcare responsibilities, and burnout. And some, like Megan, are being pulled into the workforce to help their families make ends meet due to high inflation and cost of living.
“If I’m being honest, we are barely making ends meet,” she said. “We are doing some reselling on the side and my social media strictly to survive. I will basically do whatever it takes to not return to work full time.”
Trying to balance everything can be “so stressful”
Megan told Insider that she’s trying to supplement the family’s income even more and is making $150 per month on average from her social media content — all from Facebook and Instagram reels bonuses or brand deals. This takes up about 10 hours per week, she said.
She and her husband have also tried buying tools, electronics, and baby items from an online auction house and reselling them on Facebook Marketplace — Megan said that they’ve made up to $600 per month doing this but that it “varies greatly” month-to-month.
“I can’t afford to put both kids in daycare, so this is the best option for us now,” she said.
Megan is one of many US parents struggling to find and afford childcare. In 2018, The Center for American Progress found that more than half of Americans lived in an area where childcare was sparse and that the pandemic only made the shortage grow worse. When families do find childcare, it’s often expensive. National childcare costs average from $9,000 and $9,600 annually, per Child Care Aware, and the cost could shoot even higher as federal pandemic funds dry up.
While Megan is fortunate enough to receive some childcare support from her husband — who works from home two days per week — and a $135-per-month preschool program her son attends for 2 ½ hours twice a week, she said that managing all her responsibilities can still be very difficult.
“Trying to balance two little ones, preschool drop off, naps, cooking meals, good quality time, and working, can be so stressful,” she said.
Megan said the challenge of balancing everything is “definitely not for everyone,” and that, in an ideal world, she wouldn’t work — other than as a mom — at all. That said, she told Insider that the time she’s able to spend with her children makes it all worth it.
“I know I’ll never get this valuable time back with my kids,” she said. “I can spend the rest of my life working if I want, but my kids are only kids for so long.”