Friday, January 21, 2011

The money suck, and what to do about it.


Picasso at work
:-) K. is right. Never do the math for having kids. One of my friends at home once told me, "there's never a good time to have a kid, you'll never think you have enough money, etc etc.", and she was right.

When we moved down here and I started working, I banked my salary at full time for 10 months. When I dropped down to part time, I kept on banking. Then N. came along, and so did unpaid maternity leave. But we made it work. The only reason I went back to work part time just to hand all my money to daycare is because we knew how to budget to live on Hubby's salary. Me breaking even has had two benefits: 1. I kept my own career going as long as possible, and 2. N. has gotten the chance to socialize and grow more than he could've in our neighborhood.

Both of these points have changed in the last few years. We have more kids on the street, including next door neighbors with a daughter close to N.'s age. I also am on a different career path than I was when I graduated with my PhD in '07. I do NOT want to run my own lab, and I never have; it just took me three years to admit that to myself. Having a break to stay at home won't make as much difference on my CV as it would if I were applying for faculty positions. And, like I said before, financially it would be exactly the same as it's been for the past two years.

I still like working, though, and that's the kicker. The working mother's guilt is multi-faceted; I feel guilty for leaving him, and I feel guilty for not feeling guilty about enjoying my job. My brain has been wired to thinkthinkthink for the past 15 years, and I'm not sure how I would do being home 24-7 without a car to break up the monotony ;-)

(we're not going to talk about what would happen if I found something full-time, and the state that my house will inevitably fall into)

If I can't find something in that 3 or 4 months, the decision to pull him out is going to be very difficult. I love love LOVE the daycare, and while I know we'd be pulling him anyway to move home in a year or so, I'm not sure if I'm ready. I'm thinking the only way to transition it seamlessly would be to keep him home a couple of days a week, and then take our annual trip up to see the family. That way he'd have two weeks to adjust to being outside daycare, and it should make it easier.

I can't believe I have to think about this stuff. The last time I was unemployed was May of '07, and it lasted for four long weeks. I was bored by the end of it and itching to get back into the lab, but I also didn't have a 3 year old to run after back then. Way back when I only had to worry about myself ;-)

I guess this means I'm a grown-up after all. How the hell did that happen?

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