Megan, a 28-year-old mum, quit her job after having her second child. In addition to caregiving, she had to find a part-time job to help support her family. She is one of millions of Americans choosing to work part-time due to burnout, childcare obligations and to earn extra income. Something is loading.
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Megan, a 28-year-old millennial from Missouri, is doing everything she can to avoid returning to full-time work.
Her solution involves a part-time job and two hustles, but at least she feels a bit of an owner of her time.
Prior to 2020, Megan worked remotely, full-time, as a home insurance claims adjuster while caring for her son. When her daughter was born last June, she knew she couldn’t juggle full-time work and care, she told Insider. Megan has requested that her last name be withheld for privacy reasons.
While she says she “loved” her job – which paid around $3,000 a month – she decided to quit. Megan says it would cost around $1,600 a month to put her two kids in daycare. The cost and the time she would lose with them while working was not 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 so they could get by. Their mortgage payment of around $1,880 a month was a particular strain on their finances. Insider looked at Megan’s documents to verify her income and mortgage payments.
In October, she started working 15-20 hours a week remotely in an insurance role for another employer who pays around $1,600 a month – and continued to care for her, now two. years and eight months. She also relies on additional income by posting what she calls “mom/lifestyle” social media content and reselling items on Facebook Marketplace.
Megan is one of more than 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 position, the highest ratio of voluntary to involuntary part-time employment in two decades. In part, this data speaks to the strength of the US labor market, but there are also many Americans who are not pursuing full-time gigs due to health issues, childcare responsibilities and burnout. professional. And some, like Megan, are drawn into the workforce to help their families make ends meet due to high inflation and the cost of living.
“If I’m being honest, we’re barely making ends meet,” she said. “We do reselling on the side and my social media strictly to survive. I’ll basically do whatever it takes to not go back to full-time work.”
Megan Trying to balance it all can be ‘so stressful’
To try and supplement the family’s income even more, Megan said she’s been earning an average of $150 a month from her social media content so far – all thanks to Facebook and Instagram reel bonuses. or branded offers. It takes about 10 hours a week, she says.
She and her husband have also tried buying tools, electronics and baby items from online auction house Equip-Bid and reselling them on Facebook Marketplace. Month after month.
“I can’t afford to put both kids in daycare, so that’s the best option for us now,” she said.
Megan is one of many American parents struggling to find and afford childcare. In 2018, the left-leaning Center for American Progress found that more than half of Americans live in an area where child care is scarce, and the shortage has only worsened during the pandemic. When families find child care, it is often expensive. National child care costs average between $9,000 and $9,600 a year, according to the advocacy organization Child Care Aware, and the cost could rise further as federal pandemic funds dry up.
While Megan is blessed with childcare assistance from her husband – who works from home two days a week – and a $135-a-month preschool program, her son attends for two and a half hours twice. a week, she says managing all of her responsibilities can be very stressful.
“Trying to balance two little ones, preschool dropout, naps, meal prep, quality time, and work, can be so stressful,” she said.
Megan says the challenge of balancing it all out is “definitely not for everyone” and that in an ideal world she wouldn’t be working at all except as a mother. That said, the time she can spend with her children is worth it.
“I know I will never get that precious time back with my kids,” she said. “I can spend the rest of my life working if I want, but my kids have been just kids for so long.”