Sunday, June 20, 2010

Muddling Through

There is a lot of stuff on my mind tonight.

We found out that one of Jacob's grandmas might not be able to watch him anymore. During the work week Jacob spends half the time with my mom and half the time with my husband's mom. We've been so blessed that he is being watched by people who love him almost as much as we do. And we've been so fortunate that we haven't had to pay a small fortune in child care. With our mortgage and my student loans, it would be rough.

So, right now we're re-thinking our child care options. We only need to find child care for twice a week but it's still stressing me out. The thought of leaving Jacob with someone who is not family for 11 hours a day (7am to 6pm) is totally weighing on my mind and filling me with guilt. Then there's the cost. Then there's the ever present but usually dormant thought that maybe I'm making the wrong decision by going to work. And then there's the fact that we want to add to our family soon, so the guilt and the cost will likely double. It all makes my stomach churn.

I keep reassuring myself that anytime I feel that I need to, I can quit my job. Quit my career. We could survive off my husband's salary if I took a mindless part time job to cover my monthly student loans. But I love my career. I could never find another job I enjoy this much. And I've worked SO hard to get this far. I worked my BUTT off to get where I am now. Can I just throw it all away- is that even responsible considering my $120K in student loans- in order to satisfy the little nibbles of guilt that come and go?

I think I have to accept the fact that I will never be 100% at ease with my decisions no matter which path I take. But it just plain sucks. I just want to know what's "right." But in life, just as in the practice of law, there is never a simple "right" answer. Life and law are all about muddling through.

Sidenote: We had a great Father's Day weekend. We went on a seaplane tour of Seattle and then had a three course meal on Lake Union!


Butterflyfish said...

I totally completely sympathize. Right there with you -- and my 'new addition' ain't so hypothetical, and my family doesn't live close enough to help.

Greenergirl said...

That's rough. I haven't even started working yet and we're already worrying about this. I don't know if either of these things is an option for you, but we're thinking of both trying to go down to 3/4 time so we can each have one day at home with our son. Depending on the job I get, that might also mean I take tuesdays or something off but work saturdays. It would be harder on the family as a whole, but you'd both get more time with Jacob.

The other thing we're considering is having him stay with one of my mom friends who has a daughter about the same age. It's much cheaper since she'd watch him at her house and can still do all her errands and whatever. It isn't as good as family, but it sure beats the hell out of some 19 year old college student who just pops him in a play pen and watches E all day.

LEO said...

I think almost every working mom can relate. You're right, you muddle through. You'll figure out what works best for your family. I wish it were more feasible to work part-time while I have kids under 5 and then work longer but more flexible hours when they're in school.
For what it's worth though, I really think it's much harder on you than Jacob to spend the day with non-family. Think of it as an opportunity for him to play with new kids and teachers if that's what you end up doing.

Shantelle said...

Yes, exactly. School is still two months away and I am fuh-reaking out. I want to know who will be watching her, but it's still too soon to hire someone. I like her old babysitter, but she's a vegetarian and isn't "comfortable" feeding Abigail meat. That won't fly with me, plus I don't want her doing something she's uncomfortable with. I am terrified of daycare centers. UGH! I know you'll figure it out though, and don't worry, he knows you love him!

EH said...

The best I can say is the best everyone else is saying - you'll manage. He'll be OK. I realize you have a killer commute, but it might be nice if you could find something near your office, so that you can visit at lunch (that's the situation my husband had with P - he could pop by anytime) and you'll get the ferry rides together. And it'll guarantee you'll leave at 5:30 every day, because most daycares start charging by the minute after closing time! :)

Proto Attorney said...

Is it possible to eventually work reduced hours? The pay cut would probably equal out the daycare expenses (with two kids).

I know childcare is super expensive, but we've always felt that being in daycare was preferable to Cora hanging around the house with my mom all day. We could have pulled her out of daycare when my mom lost her job last year and just paid her to watch Cora instead, but geez, I remember how mind-numbing it was hanging out with my mom all day when I was a kid, yikes! Our daycare teachers all have degrees in early childhood development, and they have a curriculum and planned activities, whereas my mom lets her watch TV all day. Oh, and they work on potty training at daycare. That alone is definitely worth the money! :)

But, yeah, if you could share that crazy long ferry ride with your munchkin, you'd get even more quality time together. Then it wouldn't feel like you're spending your entire day away from him. Silver lining!

Michael said...

isn't there a creche at work you can stick him in? :p

Downsized Attorney said...

Unfortunately there is never going to be a "right" answer (I think you know that), but it's all a matter of what feels right to you. I haven't had to struggle with these decisions yet, but they are in the not to distant future for us. Whatever decision you make, you should be proud knowing that you worked hard to earn a J.D. and nobody can take that away from you (sounds kinda cheesy, but it's true).