Decisions, decisions. I finally realize how adaptive it is that it takes a whole 9 months to birth a baby. You NEED that time. Preparing for an actual baby is so different from preparing for a theoretical baby. My wife and I have been preparing for a theoretical baby since around the time we decided to get married. Talking and thinking and imagining what our family life would be like. Now that our little Bean is almost here, the range of decisions and planning feels overwhelming. We are currently struggling with decisions about daycare. Here is some relevant background information:
- We will be moving to a new city this summer. My wife will be finishing her Fellowship in June and will begin her first academic medical job in August. Yup, you heard that right. She will arrive for work in August and she's due on the 2nd of September. How's that for timing?
- I will be leaving my 2nd tenure-track job in May. I'm a total academic flight risk.
- As a new faculty member, she gets only 6 weeks of paid maternity leave. She can take an additional 10 weeks without pay. This is not a particularly attractive option as we plan to rent for the first 6-12 months in order to save $$ for a downpayment. No pay doesn't sound so good.
- We are working on getting an additional 2 weeks (to get a full 2 months) tacked on of vacation days. IF this works out, my wife would be able to stay home until November.
- I have been accepted into a Masters program that I am excited about in our new city. It runs on an evening and occasional weekend schedule.
- It is likely that we will have to shell out some portion of tuition. From what I understand, the best situation I could get with assistantships would cover 2/3 of the cost.
- Classes start in late August. Actually the first day is the week prior to our due date.
- We will need to use full-time daycare in order for me to be in this program bc classes run four days a week. Due to the evening schedule of classes, my wife will need to pick up the baby after work and be Lead Babywatch until bedtime.
- I will get home in the neighborhood of 8 o'clock each evening after my wife has worked a full day (in a new job) and been single parent for 3-4 hours.
- I already have a Ph.D. in psychology.
Does anyone see where I'm going with this? I'm wondering, I'm thinking, I'm trying to figure out what is best for all three of us. Here are some of the fears that top the list:
- Am I grasping at another graduate degree only bc I'm afraid of losing my identity? My identity is certainly important, but does it make sense for my family to pay (literally and figuratively) for what might be nothing more than a hobby?
- Am I being dramatic by thinking of how everyone will pay for this decision? Well, there will be actual cost (tuition, books and daycare) and emotional/life cost (increased time pressure for all three of us), so that is something.
- Will I become boring to myself and my wife if I become a stay at home Mom?
Ahhhh!!! It's a lot to think about, I know that for sure. The good news is that we've got time to consider all of this. I don't have to reply to the University until April 15th. For now though, the pros and cons just tumble through my mind 24/7.
How are all of you wrestling with the babycare decisions? I would love to hear how you are making/have made your own decisions.