Saturday, December 1, 2012

You Can't Always Get What You Want

I'm struggling with a really big case of "Want It All".

I never imagined it possible that I would want to be a stay at home mother, but here we are. I would give up so much to be at home with Baby Bird past a year, but it would mean selling our current house and giving up our second car (at the very least).

So I thought, that's okay, I can find part-time work and bring in enough for us to maintain our lifestyle. That would keep Bird out of daycare full-time, and it would also give me a bit more adult time outside of the home. Ideally, I'd love to start my business but I'm just not ready.

I told my husband, and he agreed. I pranced around feeling free like the wind and I wanted to tell the whole world. I wanted to shout from the rooftops.

Then it all came crashing down. We started talking about when we should try to have a second baby, and I realized that a second baby means a second maternity leave. And if we are just barely comfortable with me only bringing in a part-time income, then we wouldn't make it at 55% of that during a second maternity leave.

I came to grips with going back to work full-time for roughly a year until a second baby arrives (if we are so blessed). I thought that then I could take my second maternity leave and then do the part-time work thing after that.

Yet another problem popped up and my heart crashed again. With two in daycare, could we afford for me to work only part-time? God knows I don't want to work to pay for daycare.

So at this point, I guess I'll be a working mom. I'm told this is not the end of the world; that children survive and even thrive in daycare.

But, I have this niggling feeling. I didn't realize it until a few months ago, but I did not have children to let someone else raise them for 40 hours a week.  I do not wish to be separated from my heart for 40 hours a week. I want to continue to watch him grow, to participate with him in life. I want to show him the world around him and see the wonder in his eyes. I want to be there when he skins a knee, to kiss him and tell him Mama loves him before each nap. I want to be there through the terrible twos to teach him about his emotions and how they can be safely & appropriately expressed.

I wish I could go back in time and tell Childless Kim that she would feel this way, so we could have avoided lifestyle inflation.  We could have made sure we could live comfortably off one salary.

Now I just feel stuck in a situation there is no way out of, and it's not a good option for me or for Baby Bird. I feel like I am failing him by not figuring this out.

Mamas who work: talk me off the ledge.


Jacqui said...

i hear you. We're facing similar dilemmas in a different part of the world. Sadly there doesn't seem to be an easy answer.

Here's a post I wrote recently about some of our decisions to be made

Amy said...

I went through this entire thought process (minus the starting a business thing). I will say that going back to work full-time has been easier for us than I expected and surprisingly I feel like it's a pretty nice balance. I'm able to leave at 4:00 to pick Eli up at a reasonable hour and the day actually flies by, and generally I'm able to work from home with him the occasional day here and there. He has fun playing with the other kids and he's learning new things from them too - he is the youngest kid there, so he sees the others walking, talking, etc. and tries to keep up with them.

The biggest adjustment has been the fatigue, since it's a long day for Eli and we're on the go early in the morning, but after the first week or so we settled into the new routine pretty easily. Yes, it's hard knowing that someone else gets to spend so much time with Eli, but seeing his huge grin and big hug at the end of the work day is the best part of my day. And the adult interaction is also a nice change for me.

The thought of having a second baby is freaking me out as well. If you're paying $70 or 80/day for someone else to look after two children, plus gas, parking, etc. you have to ask yourself, when is it no longer worth working.

Decisions, decisions. I don't think it's ever easy. Could we please just win the lottery!

Krista said...


I hear you loud and clear. I feel exactly the same way and never in a million years thought it was possible that I'd want to be a stay at home mom. Who knew it would be this hard? I don't think you EVER know what it will feel like until you're holding your precious baby in your arms.

For us, we've decided to live with less to accommodate me going back to work part time. It still feels wrong for my baby to be in daycare three days a week, but this is the compromise we have to make to allow us to have mat leave for another baby.

I have no answers. All I can say is I know exactly how it feels!