After having my second child and re-entering the work place, I ended up working at a local dollar store. The call center in which I first applied and worked briefly just couldn’t meet the demands of my family. I needed a job that allowed me to work normal day time hours so that I was able to find a decent rate sitter. I am fortunate enough to live in a city that has subsidized daycare spots. So, daycare was based on our previous year’s earnings.
I worked doing stock, it was an okay job, kept me away from the cash register and dealing with people who were pissed off that they couldn’t return an item which cost them a whole dollar to buy. The pay, well it was retailed, and it sucked. I was working minimum wage, but for Canadians, minimum wage started back then at about ten dollars an hour.
My hours when I first started averaged out between 25-30 hours per week. It was decent hours and I usually had about an hour to myself to relax at the end of each shift. As the months slowly ticked by and the summer and Christmas seasons passed, I began noticing a reduction in my hours. Before long, I was only working 20 hours a week. This was non-strenuous work, and I still really enjoyed it, but eventually I knew I needed more hours.
To keep my kids in daycare, I needed a full time job which required me to be working at least 30 hours a week. Also, by this time, I had been trained on the cash register as well. They had me on the cash register about 2 hours a day, and in my own aisle about three hours a day. My manager assured me that this was coming down from the big head honcho. Apparently my aisle only required 20 hours of work a day. Maybe I should have tried reasoning that if I spend about 6 hours of work on the cash register each week, I’m not actually in my aisle for 20! But, no, I just continued with the short shifts a little longer.
It wasn’t till I was about 20 weeks pregnant with our third that it dawned on me just how little of a paycheck I was actually bringing home. Working minimum wage and only 40 hours a month, I brought home about one hundred dollars a month after paying our daycare provider. This was through a subsidized system where we only paid partial fees. The hours I was working weren’t technically enough to even keep our children in daycare, but we managed as a transitional period to do so. After much debating, I never did wait until maternity leave kicked in before leaving my job. I just didn’t see myself staying eight or more weeks in a workplace for very little in return.
After having my kids out of a daycare environment and raising them myself for the past 4 years, I can tell you, we never did miss that 100 a month!