DH (Dear Husband) and I have invested so much into the whole infertility process and trying to get pregnant, that we hadn’t approached getting pregnant in the way I’d prefer: having the major financial matters solved or at least tentatively agreed on prior to having a child.
Daycares around here cost about $1900-$2000 a month for infants. This seems fair — after all, if someone has the skills to take care of a child, that person should be compensated fairly for their time and the upkeep of their facility. These daycares appear to be open from 7 or 8am to about 5 or 5:30pm. Given DH is going back to school next year, I’m starting to have mild panic attacks over what that means for managing maintaining my job and keeping baby alive.
It’s not impossible at all. Husband will be in school from 7am until 8pm (classes are 4:30-7:30), including student teaching during the day. That means that I just have to learn how to be a different person, waking up in the morning to get baby ready (perhaps husband can help before he leaves for the day) and then, what I’m more concerned about, picking up baby by the time daycare closes at 5 or 5:30 (while I do some days leave work at 5, I also some days get pulled into important meetings at 5.) My boss would understand if I need to leave to get my kid (as long as I’m doing a good job in all other aspects of my role) – but, I’m worried I’ll miss out on important opportunities having to leave at a set time everyday.
I’m accepting that for the next few years, we’ll be paying $24k a year for childcare. Maybe we can find a slightly lower cost option, but I think we’re going to have to focus on finding the most flexible program in the best location* to for daytime drop offs.
Location wise, I’m not sure if we should opt for close to home or close to work. In the mornings, close to home would be the easiest. But at the end of the day if pick up is at 5pm/5:30pm, it’s probably unrealistic to have my kid close to my house, 45 minutes from work. The closer to work my child is being watched, the better. Of course, husband’s school is an hour in the other direction, so – while he could come help get the kid in an emergency, I would be on drop off and pick up duty every day.
The biggest issue w/ daycare location is that we have to pick one daycare for the entire week. I likely will be working from home two days a week, so, theoretically we can find a daycare that provides 3 days a week care by my work, and I can keep baby at home on other 2 days. But, this is assuming I will be able to work while watching over baby during the day (I hear this is not a good idea) and also, that we’ll find a daycare that allows a 3 day a week schedule (most cost the same or almost the same for 3 vs 5 days, and it’s easier to find a spot in full time programs.)
Now, this only will last a year, as once husband finishes his credential he can get a full time teaching job, and his hours will be much better in terms of picking up kid from daycare. It’s just that the one year is the first year of my first child’s life – and I’m a little concerned about how this all plays out. Wake up in the morning, nurse baby, put baby in car seat (oops, forgot to dress baby already), put baby in car (oops, forgot to dress self too), drive to daycare, drop off baby, have meetings all day at work, lose track of time, get to pick up late, pay extra $$$$ in late pick up fees, come home exhausted at 6-7pm, nurse baby, wait for husband to come home, who is likely also exhausted from his busy day of teaching and school, pass out (*if kid sleeps through the night) and repeat.
If my husband worked a traditional full-time job today, this would all look similar. But, husband could possible trade off pick up days with me, which means neither of us would have to leave work early five days a week. In our actual life, husband has been working remote for a company for the last 10 years. He goes into the office occasionally but he basically works from home. Not only does he work from home, but his schedule tends to be quite flexible — he works a lot, but all hours of the night and day. It’s actually a really good set up for taking care of a baby while I’m at work. Yet husband decided that finally, after all these years of talking about it, now is the time he’s going back to school to become a teacher.
I really want to be supportive of this — I know he’s wanted this for a long time and I also know he’d be an incredible teacher. Long term, logistically, the reduction in pay will be hard BUT the teaching hours will be good for helping out with childcare. Getting home early, summers off — there’s a reason why a lot of women teachers have children while their husbands work stressful/never home full time jobs. The gender roles are just reversed in my relationship, and I’m ok with that.
It’s just the next year is scaring me a bit. He seems to still think his father will help out a few days a week, so we don’t have to put our kid in full time daycare. We tell his parents we are pregnant today, so we haven’t been able to have that conversation yet. But I’m still thinking going full time daycare is the best, most sustainable route for the next year. It’s certainly expensive, and the 5pm pickup is going to be a challenge, but I’m sure we’ll figure out how to make it work.
The hardest part of all, really, is finding a daycare with openings. I’ve expressed this concern to my husband, but he doesn’t seem worried about it, yet. I’m, meanwhile, contacting a bunch of daycares in the area to find out what the odds are we might be able to secure a spot. There are plenty of preschools around here for age 2+, but not a lot of reputable places that serve infants. And, I’m still completely torn on the idea of dropping my 3-month-old baby off with strangers when they’re too young to tell me if something is wrong. It all makes me want to quit my job and become a SAHM, but I wouldn’t enjoy that either – I’m sure I’d be bored out of my mind, and, we can’t survive in the Bay Area on a teacher’s salary. So that’s out of the question. I just wish my husband was willing to have this conversation with me vs pushing it off — I know we’re still early in the pregnancy, we have that first trimester risk of miscarriage, and he wants to wait until he tells his parents and can ask if his retired father has any interest in helping out. But I’m getting ahead of that because we are going to run out of options.