My Messed Up Maternity Leave Plan That Makes No Sense

The good news, is I get some paid maternity leave. That’s more than most women in this country can bank on. I’m extremely fortunate that my company has to follow the laws of the land (in this case, California) to provide 4 weeks of “before due date” and 6 weeks of “after delivery” protected leave with some pay (via state disability, and the case of my company, a few weeks fully paid.)

Now, the good news is that I get ANOTHER 6 weeks of semi-paid leave after the first 6 weeks of disability. The bad news is, I’m not allowed to take it until I hit my one year mark on the job — which means I’ll have anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months (1, if I give birth on my due date) in between leave #1 and leave #2. I thought maybe they’d allow me to take a week or two unpaid, so I could be home 8 weeks with newborn, but no dice. Basically, they are strict about these policies. Since we have an “unlimited time off” policy I’m, ironically, not allowed to take any time off (vacation OR unpaid) after I get back from my 6 weeks. That seems kind of f’d, esp the whole not being allowed to take UNPAID time, but that’s the law – and my company is not going to go out of their way to provide anything beyond the law, esp to someone who is so new. I can’t blame them, but it still sucks. Continue reading

A Happy Post, For a Change: Hello Second Trimester

I sat on the floor early this morning and did something I haven’t done — felt something I haven’t felt — for a long time. I sat and cried. The crying part isn’t the usual part. It’s that those tears streaming down my face were happy tears.

I triple checked out of disbelief — was I also thinking of the best way to remove myself rom this universe? Did I have negative, self-defeating thoughts causing the tears that I somehow wasn’t detecting? No, I was crying because – baby. Because tomorrow, depending on who you ask, I’m either entering the last week of my first trimester or the first week of my second trimester (I’ll be 13 weeks pregnant.) And, my prenatal defect ultrasound was yesterday and everything went great — baby is healthy, so far as they can tell in the things they tested for, and spending its time upside down sleeping until you wake it up and then, in true related-to-me fashion, bouncing all over the place the second you wake it up. Continue reading

Nothing Lasts Forever

My last boss (the one who fired me) — who joined the company after I was there for about a year and a few months — has apparently left after an even shorter tenure than the one I managed to maintain prior to getting the axe. I have no idea why she left — I can only guess, and I have plenty of guesses–but why she left doesn’t matter. The fact that she left less than a year after firing me means that clearly I wasn’t the problem. Or the only problem.

Now that I’m in my 30s, I’m trying very hard to view my job as just a job. I mean, it is. My job is to help my company make more money. And, if I do this, even indirectly, I likely can keep my job. We’re not curing cancer. So I try–incredibly, ridiculously hard–to care, but not care like that. Continue reading

How to Save Money on Maternity Clothes

Really? A $200 pair of jeans that will fit for about 3 months of your life? $100, on sale, for a basic dress designed to fit your growing “bump” — that will be unusable as soon as you give birth?

Forgive me, but even this shop-a-holic is cringing at how much maternity clothes cost these days. Yes, you can buy maternity clothes at Old Navy and Target, and they certainly aren’t $200 a pop. But given you need a reasonable wardrobe to wear to work, ideally without doing laundry every night while you get more tired further into your pregnancy, even $30 here and there adds up. Continue reading

How To: Career Change in Mid 30s

It has become increasingly clear that I cannot successfully remain in this career for the next 25+ years of my life. My immediate goal is to stay in my position for four years and hit my next major net worth objective of $1,000,000. I know the number is an arbitrary amount to define as some level of financial stability, but I feel like something will click when I have that amount in my investments, and I’ll no longer be afraid to try something new.

My husband is going back to school to change careers, why can’t I? I do feel rather old, and, you know, pregnant. I can’t go back to school immediately – at least, not when he’s doing it and I’m home with a newborn. But I’m interested in pursuing this longer term… maybe, in four years, when I can save up enough to quit my job or continue part time while studying for a new life. Continue reading

Wedding Regrets Two Years Later

Weddings are strange capitalistic creatures, especially in America. There are frugal weddings – which can be very personal and lovely – and then there’s the big “wedding venue” wedding, where it’s easy to suddenly spend an extra $10,000 and not be sure how it happened.

My wedding was the later. One of the days I’ll get around to writing a post tallying up all the costs — but I estimate that after my and my family’s generous contributions, the wedding cost $70k-$80k (my budget was a very reasonable $50k – but clearly I failed at staying in budget.) Do I regret going over budget? Not exactly. I’m the all or nothing type, and even though our wedding wasn’t huge by east coast standards (we had about 130 guests, minus a few last-min no shows.) I regret things that I didn’t know then — I regret pouring money into things that I thought would solve for potential issues, when I missed many cost-free opportunities to prevent the magical and glorious nightmare that was my wedding day. Continue reading

Things I’m Looking Forward To… Almost 11 Weeks Pregnant

This isn’t the life I imagined, but let’s be real, I didn’t have the ability to imagine much of a life at all. At 34, I’m constantly perplexed but how I got here, and so fast. I’m suddenly an old mom, especially an old first-time mom. Not quite a 40-year-old mom, but old enough that I’m bewildered by the majority of women in my Facebook group who are in their teens and twenties who are having a child, often their second or third. I ask myself briefly, did I wait too long for this?

But then, I’m grateful for having the time in my life to get somewhat settled. I haven’t made as much progress in my mental health as I would have liked — I still have panic attacks, still suffer with depression, still am too sensitive to every stimuli and fail to think rationally in any situation requiring at outcome for myself. If this doesn’t make me sound like someone who is set to be nominated for future mom of the year, I know I’m not going to be a perfect mom. Maybe in my 20s I would have wanted to be. Today, I know better. Continue reading

A Loose 5 Year Plan

The whole “being pregnant” and going into “nesting” mode is real. I’ve been spending way too many hours scouring Redfin and Zillow despite knowing that I can’t afford a home here, other than maybe a 1 bed, 1 bath in a really bad part of the bad part of town.

So. I’m trying to focus my energy on longer-term, more realistic goals, while also ensuring that I keep my job in order to hit them.

2018

  • Age: I turn 35(!)
  • Networth: Close out the year at $645k-$650k
  • Housing: Live in 1 bedroom / 1 bath apartment (50% = $14.1k yr)
  • 401k: invest $22.5k
  • Stocks: invest $30k 
  • Baby #1: born, 0 – 5 mo
  • Baby #2: not born yet

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Will I ever feel or be stable enough to buy a house?

I’m not sold that the American Dream of a white picket fence is the wisest financial move in the grande scheme of things. But, at 34 and pregnant with my first child, I long for the stability of a home with at least a small backyard and just – space.

Even though my networth is $540k, I’ve never felt stable enough in my career to purchase property. I thought by now I would – but I don’t and I don’t think I ever will. Given my husband is going back to school and will be starting over with a job making $50k, if we’re ever going to own it’s pretty much all on me. We can certainly rent a house – but when my child gets older, I’m afraid of having to downsize due to losing a job. I almost feel better about staying in a one bedroom apartment with the kid, and saving for as long as possible. Plenty of people do it, why can’t I? Continue reading

Cost of Giving Labor and Prenatal Care at Kaiser

I’m a PPO girl — and as of Jan 1, I’ve dived headfirst into the wonderful(?) world of HMOs. Kaiser HMO to be exact. Why? Because, although with health insurance one cannot be 100% clear what anything will cost, it appears had I stayed on Anthem PPO my pregnancy would cost somewhere between $6000 and $1M (exaggeration at the high end, slightly), whereas Kaiser, outside of premiums, would be free – or almost free?

It really is ridiculous how much childbirth costs in the US vs the rest of the world. Kaiser offers refuge to those of us who would prefer not to spend what’s equal to one year of daycare to help our child escape our uterus and enter the world.

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