1) Always try to get them to throw out a number first. They'll usually give you a range, of which the higher number is where you start your negotiations.
2) Have a number you want in your head - then add 20% or if you are a woman 30%.
3) If your forced to say the number first, always say a number HIGHER than what would make you happy. It's their job to offer you less, so go big and you'll settle at a figure that you'll be pleased with.
The exchange with my friend took place via Instant Message and as most all things reguarding money, we tried to tiptoe around the actual amount in question. At one point, sensing maybe I was off in my suggested salary price and trying to cover up what might have been a misstep I said:
Me: What do I know? I just freelance and mom.
He: What does momming pay?
Me: It pays in eyerolls and the occasional hugs.
The girls are out of town, so later today I'm going to try to gather up all those eyerolls and hugs and take them to the bank for a big deposit.
I remember when the girls were tiny babies and they moved from 3 naps a day to 2. And then 2 naps a day to 1. I would say to anyone who would listen, and even those who didn't --
Me: They've increased my hours but not my pay.
I felt so cheated.
I really think juggling kids and work is impossibly hard. I see how it could be easier for those that salaries permit them to have a fulltime Nanny - even and especially after children grow beyond babies and become kids with busy schedules and commitments of their own. Or those with family that can step in to pick up children when something unexpected happens like say, an 18 Wheeler Overturns or a cable snaps and closes The Bay Bridge. I often think that the hardest part of my day is when I leave work and rush like a madwoman to catch what ever public transportation gets me to the girls before the pick up deadline of 6pm. I feel envious eyes watching me leave work - usually a full 15 minutes after the time I've allowed myself to make the mile+ walk to the bus or boat. These eyes are replaced with dubious glares at the wall clock from the staff that run our amazing after school program. It's so difficult to know that your doing the best you can and trying to get it all done and the still yet, everywhere there are doubters.