Whenever I would think about being a mom “someday”, I always fell into this same mental model of what parenthood would look like for me. My husband and I would be in a great place financially and stability-wise, and I’d be able to be a stay-at-home mom for my child’s first 5 years or so. It was an experience I didn’t get as a child, since my parents had to work full-time jobs to support me. I don’t know when I made this fairy-tail decision that I’d be so well-off that I could stay home and be a mommy full time. I’m not sure when it started either, but it become ingrained in my mind.
From the very beginning, when Luke and I started to talk about having kids in the hypothetical future, we always talked about how I’d stay home with the baby. We never really thought through the “hows” though. We never even started any kind of strategy or financial plan to make it happen. I wouldn’t say we’ve been awful with money — we do own a home in San Diego and we’re both living comfortable lives — but I had some lucky breaks that helped us out on that front. We’re lucky to live in San Diego, and we love it here. My husband has a good job and I have a fairly stable contract role at a dream company, so we’re putting down roots and selling/rebuying a home here in what I hope will be at least a 5 year location for us.
But after getting pregnant and sitting down to budget and work out numbers, it became blatantly clear that there was no possible way I could stay home with baby without working full time. Even if we paid off our student loans and cars, if we rented a cheap house (“cheap” being relative in SoCal), if I sold my horse and my car. We have good salaries and both make about 50% of the income, and taking a 50% drop isn’t possible at all. Even with daycare at $1500-1900/month. Even if we could possibly make it work by some miracle, our quality of living would change so much that I’d be unable to buy our son anything or pay to take him anywhere. Is it worth it? Who can say?
So now I’m facing a new reality – I’m going to have to be a working mom. I currently work from home, but I don’t know how long this particular arrangement will last. I don’t have a great grasp on the potential flexibility of my job either – I know I have to be available for meetings throughout the day and be prompt with emails and chat responses, but I’m not sure if I could get away with part time nanny care rather than full-time nanny/daycare. I don’t really know how to make these plans or ask these questions without seeming like I’m trying to get something for nothing. But importantly, I’m dealing with this intense sadness about how I’m going to have to pay someone else to care for my child 4-8 hours a day. Something that I very much WANT to do. I’ll pay someone to clean my house, mow my lawn….but care for my baby boy? I want that job.
It’s not that I think any less of anyone else who has to work full time while raising a child. I respect working parents so much, and I know it’s probably hard for each of them. I know I often struggle with wanting everything in my life to go exactly as planned, and I know that parenting is one of the biggest times in your life when you have to learn to let go of expectations and go with the flow. It’s just this mismatched expectation of what I wanted parenting to look like for me, and dealing with the idea of having to say goodbye to him every day while I work just makes me so disappointed.
Has anyone else dealt with this kind of emotion? How did you push through it?
If you're enjoying my blog, would you consider following me on Bloglovin?