What is Keeping Me Up at Night, Part I

   As exhausted as I feel during the day, I find myself tossing and turning at night trying to fall asleep while one million anxious thoughts race through my brain.  Assuming all continues to go well with this pregnancy, I am starting to realize how much of my life is going to change and the parts of that change that I am not entirely prepared for.  Part of the reason for that anxiety is because I still haven’t completely wrapped my head around the fact that we are having two kids at the same time.  The financial, emotional, and physical ramifications for all of that are now hitting me hard, mostly when I am trying to fall asleep.

When you spend over $30,000 out of pocket trying to have kids, you think that is the financial tricky part.  But no, two kids at once means the cost of all those things I mentally calculated in my mind now just doubled.  Look, David and I should not complain when it comes to our financial situation. We both have good jobs and a decent income.  Does it just seem this daunting for everyone?  I mean, I don’t understand how people do this.  I was just ball-parking childcare the other day, using a highly rated facility close by to get an idea of the numbers. With two kids, it will cost us over $600 per week for day care.  We don’t live in a big city anymore, and I have no idea how people there pay for it because $600 in Durham probably means its like $1,200 a week in DC. At that amount, it is probably easier for us to just pay for a nanny, but how exactly does one go about finding a nanny?  I have 0 friends in the local area that happen to employ one. No one in my church congregation is helpful to me in this regard, because no woman works full time and has young kids. All of my professional women with kids friends live far away.

Look, I realize my hat and British high street clothing budget is about to reduced drastically to approximately $0 per month.  I realize that I am no longer going to be able to blow $500 at Nordstrom on skincare products just because someone nice is helping me and I possess an inability to say no to nice salespeople. I am okay with that. I am not going to lie, part of me is sad to realize that I am going to have to give up those things, but it is worth it for those kids (or at least it better be). I am not one of those people that thinks my kids will need every new thing, and I am fine with them wearing second hand clothes from other family members.  But it is still daunting to realize these two enormous expenses are coming at the same time. It isn’t even just the daycare. It is the fact that we probably now need a newer, bigger car. It’s the fact that our huge Bradford pear trees in the front yard now are diseased with fire blight and we will have to pay thousands of dollars to cut them down. It’s the fact that for some ridiculous reason this dumb country called ‘Merica still doesn’t have paid family leave, like every other industrialized country in the world, so I have to figure out how I can take as little time as possible off of work, which means the whole child care crisis thing comes back to the front of the concerns. I have to figure out how to preserve as much of my sick and vacation leave as possible to use that so I can get paid on my maternity leave.

I realize that this post might spark the kind of rage in people that this lady’s column did yesterday in the Daily Mail.  Again, David and I are not poor. We are incredibly privileged.  We don’t know what it is like to have to worry about food on the table, etc. Whatever problems I am complaining about in regard to having to worry about financially sustaining two new kids at one time is only a minor inconvenience compared to what most people have to face. Every day, I read about income inequality in the US, and it really makes me upset and I don’t want to equate my problems with the problems of people who have to do a lot more with a whole lot less.

Yet, it is still hard trying to fathom how all of these things work out.  It frightens me not to feel fully prepared for something, because I am an insane planner.  However, this isn’t like prepping for the perfect week in London. This is so much harder than that, because there are so many unknowns, and I don’t do well with dealing with uncertainty.  I feel like the whole infertility thing helped me be more welcoming to whatever life presented itself, but at the same time, that was just worrying about what David and I, two capable adults with decent full-time jobs, would do to be happy without kids.  And now, I have to plan for two little beings that are entirely dependent upon us. That stresses me out. 

8 thoughts on “What is Keeping Me Up at Night, Part I

  1. I feel your pain when it comes to saving up sick time and vacation time to pay for the three months of maternity leave. Last time around, I ran out about a month in and we lived on a single income for the remaining two. It was awful. Don’t get me started on what maternity benefits our faculty get…it’s completely biased against meager “staff” like me.

  2. I am with you, Mari. The annoying thing here is that we all have “secondary faculty appointments”, which means we get to do the “fun” things like, participating on faculty committees, etc. but we don’t get the semester of family leave that they get because our “primary” appointment is non-faculty. In some ways it is the best of both worlds, but in some ways it is the worst of both worlds too.

  3. You will get tax breaks, so that is something to look forward to. Well, I don’t really know if you will. We always get a lot back for having kids but we are also really poor.

    1. Yeah, I know I am just being a jerk and complaining, as things will work out. I just have to remind myself of that instead of being so stupid and ungrateful. Seriously.

  4. I can help on the nanny front if you want to talk. It’s not as simple as the $100 per week…you really are supposed to pay minimum wage at least per hour with overtime, etc. And, then there’s taxes. But, there are companies that help with that… It’s easier to talk about it than to do a blog comment about it. But, I’m happy to do that. My email is jenfrowe at gmail dot com if you are interested in connecting.

    1. Thanks, Jen. We are now dealing with some other complications and I cannot even get to the nanny issue now. If we figure these out and things go well, then I will get back to the child care issue.

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