My friend and fellow homeschooling blogger Susan recently linked to a website that calculates whether it is worth having a second income in the family after taking into account all of the expenses generated by that second income. After reviewing the list of costs typically incurred by the second wage-earner, I have concluded that I have one of the best part-time jobs in the world. I am a self-employed musician who teaches piano lessons in the home. Not only do I enjoy it, but there are almost no associated costs.
Transportation? The piano students come to me. Professional wardrobe & make-up? Try jeans & the "natural" look. Child care? It's called "Big Brother & Sister Free Babysitting Extraordinaire." Stress relievers? Frankly, there is very little stress associated with having nice young people who appreciate music show up at my house to play the piano. Okay, maybe it's a bit stressful when the house is a disaster and the three-year-old is running around without any pants on! But my preferred stress relievers--specialty coffee, dark chocolate and an occasional glass of wine--are things I would indulge in anyway, and the second income helps pay for them.
The website identifies several job-related costs that are perhaps less obvious, such as "guilt" expenses (things you buy for your children or spouse to compensate for not spending time with them), and lack of economizing (the inability to comparison shop due to lack of time). I think my family would attest to the fact that working part-time has not had the least effect on my tightwad sensibilities--I am as cheap as ever. Finally, the website raises the question of whether second-income families find themselves paying more for home costs (cleaning, maintenance & repair) than they otherwise would, again due to lack of time. Homeschool family that we are, I have a built-in cleaning service. As for the home repairs and maintenance, my husband and I find ourselves hiring out a lot of that stuff anyway because of our woeful lack of talent in such things, so again, the second income only helps.
In addition to teaching piano, I also work as the staff accompanist at our church. So I get paid to attend several choir practices per week--adults and children--and play for them when they sing for worship. This is a job? Gathering with people I like, listening to their beautiful voices as they sing God's word, and attending church--which I would do anyway--to facilitate their music?
Like I said, the best job in the world.