From time to time, Sarah and I hear from Best of Both Worlds listeners about the other programs they’re listening to. A number of people mentioned The Double Shift, a new podcast from Katherine Goldstein that focuses on modern motherhood, the choices people make, and the policies that affect them. She’s gotten a lot of attention for such creative content as visiting a 24-hour daycare that serves working families in Las Vegas. A lot of women do shift work, and if you work overnight, and you’re a single mom, you need someone to watch your kids. And there are high-quality places that do just that. She explored what it means to develop childcare that meets real parents’ needs.
When we first talked to Goldstein about coming on the program — and she was on this week — I mentioned that we always loved to share strategies that worked for our guests. She responded, somewhat cryptically, that she had a different take on this. I have to admit, I wondered what she was going to say!
But when I followed up, I learned that she had overhauled her entire life in order to make her chosen career and family situation work. More precisely: she moved her family from New York City (which is very expensive) to North Carolina (which is less so). She moved from somewhere where she had a limited support system to a place where she had extended family (from one side) and where the other side then moved to be with her.
Needless to say, this changed matters. She was able to self-fund The Double Shift until revenue started coming in. Because of the presence of extended family, she and her husband could put their son in preschool as their primary childcare, and then have ready back up should he get sick, or if they needed to travel, or if they needed to work longer hours.
Goldstein and her husband have made a fairly equitable split of childcare. She works best in the morning, so she is not the morning parent. He gets their son ready in the morning; she does the later shift.
I recognize that moving your family to somewhere with a low cost of living is not a strategy that works for everyone (though as a fellow former NYC resident, I get it!). On the other hand, there is something to be said for having a clear eye on your goals and changing your life to achieve them. Goldstein wanted to reach audiences with her ideas on modern motherhood, and policy, and she wasn’t going to be able to take a big risk to do that if her expense structure demanded a certain income.
Also, there are some major upsides to having helpful family close by. Goldstein and her husband actually ship their son off to stay with his mom every Friday night. They can go out on a date and then sleep in the next morning. Not a bad thing for a marriage at all!
Please give the episode a listen, and let us know what you think. Have you ever made a major change to give your family a more sustainable lifestyle?
The question section features a listener who needs to make a major lifestyle change. She introduces herself as a stay-at-home mom, then goes on to describe her multiple part-time gigs (in addition to a lot of volunteer commitments). She’s trying to care for her youngest child and do these gigs simultaneously, and she’s becoming increasingly resentful as she works nights and weekends while the rest of her family has fun.
Sarah and I both noted that we find it strange that this listener identifies herself as a stay-at-home mom. She’s not; she’s a working mom with inadequate childcare support. She can’t be philosophically opposed to paid care (or she wouldn’t listen to us!) so the question is how she can figure out a situation that allows her to do her work and have time to relax. We suggested a few ideas for getting at least some guaranteed work hours. Just because you theoretically can do some work from home without childcare doesn’t mean it’s sustainable long-term.
12 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Interview with Double Shift’s Katherine Goldstein”
Hi Laura – I really enjoyed this episode. My family also left NYC for an easier life.
We’d been living in the city for many years when we decided to make the move to Knoxville, TN. My husband left his job as an attorney at a large NYC firm, we ended our lease, and with the money we saved on rent/childcare, we took our kids to Europe for several months. I’m a software engineer and work remote, so I was able to work the entire time (and he explored with our 1 and 3 year old daughters).
One year later, we are settled here in Knoxville. My husband is an attorney at a local firm, our kids are in a great preschool, and we have family just around the corner (who also take my kids for sleepovers on Friday nights). It’s definitely been an adjustment from city life – but it’s cool to hear about other people who’ve done this.
Ha–just about to do the reverse. Could you do an episode with someone with opposite situation? I’d love to hear tips from someone who left a reasonably priced place to live with nearby family support to move to one of the most expensive places in the country for a really great career opportunity she couldn’t get elsewhere (and not just the advice of, “You’ll regret it.”). 🙂
@EB – I’m sure there are plenty of folks who do this too! And yes, good career opportunities are definitely worth pursuing some times. There are amazing things in big cities.
We moved to NYC from a less expensive area (though still in the northeast so not exactly low cost of living). It’s very different here though lots of opportunities for jobs/activities/culture etc. Everything is a tradeoff and you have to accept that location is one of your luxuries, apartments are small and you go outside for entertainment. We have 3 kids in a 2 bedroom apt and don’t feel cramped and keep clutter to a minimum by not buying things we don’t need and frequent purging. Public pre-k and schools are excellent if you’re in a good zone and start when a kid is 3 and there are tons of free activities for kids in the city. We will probably not be here in 10 years but it’s been a fun adventure so far and no regrets. feel free to email
We ended up moving away from an expensive town with family support to a less expensive and less stressful area where we knew NO ONE, almost 2 years ago now and while I am sad not having my parents around 4-5 months a year, everything else is so much better lifestyle-wise. Both my husband and I work from home, my kids voluntarily play outside and the weather is much better. Overall I’d make this choice again because our whole lives are better here, though we’re not doing as well in the childcare help dept. Though our kids are older now, so it doesn’t seem as much of a dire situation like when they were 1 and 4 and I would kill for some uninterrupted sleep 😀
Just finished listening to the podcast and wanted to give you guys an update on my situation. While I wrote that question at the end of a couple pretty rough weeks, I’m happy to report that, through a combination of changes in life circumstances and changes I’ve made, things are much, much better.
My parents have agreed to extend their day each week, and I was able to schedule some extra babysitting, though the sitter ended up being a bit less reliable than I’d hoped. However, it was enough to really get my work and volunteering priorities in order and get my head above water. Also, some of my work obligations have decreased. On the negative side, my friend’s company has not gotten a new contract so I haven’t had any new work for her. But on the plus side, I got an extension on the book contract, which I think is going to be really valuable. With those changes, I’ve been able to prioritize my own business, and that has made strides, which makes me feel really really good, and now I’m in a good position to turn back to the book.
As far as the SAHM thing goes, I suppose I wrote that I was a SAHM because I would imagine that, compared to most of your other listeners, I have very minimal work expectations. It actually meant a lot to me to have you and Sarah say that I was doing a lot and it was meaningful, even if it wasn’t the traditional corporate 9-5.
I think the “enough childcare” debate will always be ongoing in our house. A big part of this has to do with pretty major differences in how our families of origin handled these decisions. Both for personality and financial reasons, I don’t think we’ll ever have as much as I want and or as little as my husband thinks we can get away with. However, the littlest will start preschool this fall, and I’ll have childcare for all of them while I’m physically teaching, and DH has volunteered to pick up a day this summer with the little one so I can have more time to work, so things in that department will continue to improve.
Another big part is my husband’s work schedule. The person who is physically at home is the one who will end up doing more of the cooking, cleaning up milk spills, etc. However, his schedule is much lighter in the summer, and by default he will be home more to help out. I think he will also have fewer evening obligations starting this fall, which takes a load off.
Anyway, all of that is a long way of saying, “Thanks for answering my question. Things might not be perfect, but they’ve definitely improved and are continuing to move in the right direction.” The last three Friday nights I’ve watched the first three Harry Potter movies with the crew, and I’m a much happier person for it :).
Thank you for your update! You definitely have a lot on the go – glad to hear it’s a little more manageable these days.
This is such an interesting topic. I have a family member that has done just that, settled in a rural area that, however provides some pretty good career opportunities if you are willing commute. Childcare works, rent is low. For me, living in another part of the country, this would mean significant drawbacks careerwise, as in having much less choice. I work internationally and these kind of companies are in the big cities, farther from family support and with expensive rent. I wonder how to decide what’s the best option.
@Maggie – it’s so hard to know. I guess life is always a series of trade-offs! The key thing for us is that my husband and I need to live near an international airport but there are many of these things. NYC has 2, but Philly sort of does too, in the sense that we can drive to Newark quite easily from here. It’s 90 minutes, but easy to park, the NJ Turnpike is wide enough that we don’t really hit NY traffic until the Newark part. There are a lot of flights from PHL, and if not, EWR covers almost everywhere else. And here we can live in a 5-bedroom house in a good school district, but still be only 20 minutes from downtown. Much harder to pull that off in NYC, if it’s even possible.
I loved this episode. I am a dr and my husband is in finance. He works a ton, I work normal office hours with the occasional night shift. For us, we chose to buy a small condo close to our home for my mother-in-law to live in. She does a lot of afternoon driving for us and evening babysitting. It has been fantastic. It’s also been good for her to have us close by as she has started to have some health issues. This arrangement has enabled me to go from part-time to fulltime, without feeling like the kids are “suffering”. I tell all of my friends who are newlyweds/thinking of pregnancy to try to live close to at least one set of grandparents. It helps that I love my MIL very much and I think we get along well.
@Sarah – this sounds like a wonderful solution for your family, and I’m glad it is working out so well! I agree that a good support system can make it much easier to work full time.