As a father, I decided to earn less and here’s why

I’m currently working 20 hours a week in my regular job to spend more time at home with my family. For us, this was a life-changing decision in more ways than I thought.

Do it for her! — Meme from the Simpsons

We are privileged for being able to do this.

Until recently, I’ve been a full-time IT guy building websites and apps (as you might have figured if you read some of my other articles). Working freelance always comes with a certain risk of not getting enough projects to pay the bills so my regular 9-to-5 job’s income was necessary security for us. If we had taken the “usual path”, I would have used a few weeks of vacation for us to settle back in after childbirth and then gone back to work while my wife would have stayed at home with the little one. That’s the way many of my colleagues did it and judging by what I hear and read from others, it’s still the norm for many young families in Germany as well as many other parts of the world.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash

Working less to spend more time at home is one of the best things I’ve ever done.

There are a few additional things I’ve learned so far and some of which I’m still trying to master. First and foremost, taking on and embracing my role as a father includes more than just cuddling, feeding, washing and dressing her while enjoying the happy moments. It also means taking parts of the mental workload off my wife’s shoulders which includes keeping doctors’ appointments in mind, searching for a daycare, buying baby clothes and accessories, remembering giving her medicine and supplements. This also includes managing many of the other things not directly child-related that continue to demand our limited attention not only as parents but as human beings, not to mention regular intake of healthy food.

The road ahead

Sharing the workload and time at home, the additional paid parental leave covers us for the first 16 months. If things go well, we will continue working part-time and slowly introduce her to daycare. I will write articles and tutorials at home, work on open-source projects and offer my services as a coach and speaker. As of now, it’s unclear if we can keep it up but so far we are good and working less to spend more time at home is one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Dear fathers and fathers-to-be

If you can somehow afford it and maybe, like me, just didn’t really think about it until now, I recommend doing so from the bottom of my heart. Maybe sit down for a moment, talk to your partner, do some math and listen to your inner voice. It is definitely a life-changing decision, just as having a child in the first place, but there is hardly a better reason to take the leap.

Some words about me:

If you want to read more of my articles, feel free to check out my author page. I’m usually writing about my experience as an IT Senior, tutorials for react web/native and my open-source projects paired with the occasional emotional outbursts about work and work-life related subjects like this article.

I’m a Web / App Developer & father 👨‍👩‍👧 doing freelance and part-time agency work since 2003, 💻 building stuff on the side 🕹 and attending conferences 🎟

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