Childcare crunch

By Published On: February 20th, 2017

While pregnant with my daughter, childcare was a topic I […]

While pregnant with my daughter, childcare was a topic I said I would “get to eventually.” I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to return to work after maternity leave, so the bulk of weekly hours were taken care of. We are lucky enough to have lots of family around, so in all honesty, I wasn’t worried about who would have the baby.
Fast-forward six months. Like most plans, they don’t always work out the way we initially think they will. I didn’t return to work, but I started focusing on a possible career change and desired to do something outside our home. I suddenly was hit with the big question of, “If not me, who is going to care for my daughter?” Before children, it’s hard to have a real opinion of childcare because your heart isn’t connected to this tiny person you are entrusting someone else to properly watch after. All of a sudden it’s, “Do you have a drop-by policy?” (because I will be dropping by … every day) and “How much of my salary can I really put toward daycare? We need to make more money.”
I also couldn’t think to prioritize my time with a child because I had no idea how much free time I really had PRE-baby! I didn’t have to plan grocery store runs, oil changes, workouts or outings of any kind. It’s so much more of a puzzle these days to complete a weekly schedule. From sun up to sundown, she is strategically placed somewhere we trust, and I am so thankful to have a big support system to help carry the load. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays she stays with her grandma (my mom calls herself “Gabi”). On Thursdays and Fridays my husband stays home with her all day. A few evenings a week, my mother-in-law takes her for a few hours so I can go to the gym, and the rest of the week she’s mine. It really does take a village!
We are on the edge of another possible switch up in our schedules, one that may require more extensive childcare. It’s a hard decision to continue the pursuit of personal goals and dreams when it means placing your child in someone else’s arms for the day. On one hand, I want to have a full life and prevent any type of future regret I could carry because of ditching all career aspirations. On the other hand, every second with my baby is a second to be remembered and savored. It’s something I am slowly trying to become more comfortable with. I have taken the crawl to walk to possibly run method with this, and it still pains me a little when I close the door behind me each morning.
I have developed such deep respect for working moms and dads! I have just dipped my toe in the pool of a working parent, and I know it’s not only a juggling act—but also a sacrifice. It’s not always a choice, and it’s not always enjoyable. I hope we are able to find our balance in the now and in the future. With baby No. 2 on the way, it will only prove to be a bit trickier!