Kristy's Story: The Logistics of A Baby
“Have you decided what you are going to do with the baby when you go back to work?” Ugh. Anything but this question. Let’s talk about breast feeding vs. formula feeding, co-sleeping, swaddling, heck let’s talk about religion, politics, anything but this question.
When asked, on the outside, I stayed cool, calm and collected, and answered simply, “Of course! We picked this great day care down the street!” On the inside, sheer panic rushes over. That was a complete lie to avoid the brutally honest, “I have no idea” answer would get me. The response which basically elicits a stunned, condescending look, with the lecture: “What do you mean you have no idea? You are running out of time! You need a plan!” that is certain to follow.
We hadn’t even looked at daycares. I was seven months pregnant with our first child. We were avoiding the situation and focusing on the fun stuff, putting the nursery together, imagining what he’ll look like, taking hospital tours, washing and folding lots and lots of teeny tiny clothes, etc. As the months past, we talked about it, but no serious plan had been formulated. Honestly, I was petrified of that particular topic.
I’m a VP of a demanding company that has had my complete attention and dedication for the past five years. You stay until your boss leaves. That is how I was brought up, and this mentality and dedication is what I believe helped me advance my career to where I am today. I was always willing to go the extra mile... travel, stay long hours, do whatever was needed. I had no other responsibilities that required my time Monday through Friday until after 10:00pm at night when my husband got home from work. Now, a big responsibility was about to enter into our lives.
How do you make this transition? I’m not talking about transitioning from a career woman to a mom/career woman. Because I did work so hard to get where I am, I was not about to let my success go. I’m not even talking about balancing work and home life. I am simply talking logistics! The decision as to how you are going to formulate your routine so that you are able to successfully do your job as a mom, wife and employee. Sheer logistics. Who is watching him every day? Who is dropping him off? Who is picking him up? Some major changes are going to have to happen, that is inevitable.
So, the choices begin...
Option one, daycare. Daycare runs anywhere from $155-$260 per week in our area. $620-$1040 per month. That is another small mortgage. Can we afford that? If we can afford it, which day care do you choose? Day care’s in our area close at 6:00PM and will charge you $1 for every minute you are late past. We live a half hour away from where I work, which is more in the city. When looking into day care’s, we were much more comfortable sending our baby to the day care near our house, which is more rural, versus the ones near work. In order to get to the day care on time to pick him up, I would have to leave no later than 5:15pm and pray that there is no traffic. Leaving work at 5:15pm. I’m literally sweating and my heart is racing just thinking about it. My boss doesn’t leave until 6 or 7pm. You are expected to stay late and be flexible. My husband works four days during the week until 10:00PM. He’ll be able to pick him up one day a week. That leaves me with having to leave work by 5:15pm 4 out of 5 days a week. This can’t work, and I’ll need to start breathing into a paper bag if I think about it anymore so quick to option two...
The second option, my husband leave his job to work at another place that allows overnight shifts. I work from 9a-7p while my husband watches the baby, I come home, let him sleep until it’s time for his shift at midnight. He comes home at 8am, and I then go back into work at 9am all over again. When do we see each other? We don’t, just in passing as we're switching shifts. In this option, there is no cost of day care, no anxiety about having to anger my boss for leaving early to pick up Luke from daycare, however, we have no family time, and my husband is being run into the ground getting virtually no sleep.
Option three, become a stay at home mom or a stay at home dad. In our situation, like many others, this was not a viable option. So as quickly as we threw it out there as an option, we threw it out the window, because it just isn’t going to happen. Our parents are not going to be retiring anytime soon, so family members are out of the question as well.
With these being our choices, we pushed the decision out of our minds month after month. I didn’t want to think about it, it was stressful even thinking about what the changes to our day to day was going to look like. What is the routine going to look like? How will my boss respond to my new availability? Can I be a great mom and be a great career woman?
I have this a day planner (an awesome one that my sister got me for a birthday/push present). In the day planner, it has a spot where every month you write down what your goals are for yourself for that month. I remember for the month of March 2016 (the month I returned back to work from maternity leave) I wrote, “to have a normal routine for my family and transition smoothly into being a working mom”. A tall order goal to achieve on month 1 back.
All I wanted was a routine at this point. A normal routine for our family where my family was happy, and my boss was happy too. I wasn’t sure that routine existed.
We didn’t make a decision as to what we were going to do once I went back to work until days before March 2016 was here.
We tried option 2 at first. My husband working nights and spending the day with Luke while I was at work, however, we were all unhappy and it didn’t last more than three weeks after maternity leave ended. Kudos to the families that have chosen this option. It is absolutely not for the faint of heart. It can work, this option, however, just wasn’t for us.
With a heavy heart, Luke started day care March 23, 2016. I will remember this day forever, I hated leaving him, but I knew it was a chance at our routine I so desperately was searching for. My husband just got news that he was chosen for a new job the next week, working most hours 2nd shift rather than overnights. My husband now has 2 days off during the week where he is able to pick up Luke from daycare, I pick him up 2 days, and my mother in law picks him up one day a week. Are things perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination. We take it week by week. Every Sunday we sit down as a family and figure out who gets to pick up Luke each day. There is no perfect routine, it is week by week, sometimes even day by day. There are still days I feel that stress because it’s my day to pick him up, and there was an impromptu meeting I should be attending that I’m not able to make. Some weeks are harder than others, and there are days that we scramble. The bottom line, we figured out the logistics. Well, we are figuring out the logistics. We are making it work one small day at a time.
No matter how much you stress, there is no option but for things to work out...even if it isn’t months in advance like all the books tell you it should be. Luke is not going to be stranded, or left home alone. You eventually figure it out. You make hard decisions, but you figure it out. Chances are, when you think you have everything planned out nicely, once the baby actually arrives, curveballs are thrown at you and your nice neat plan is blown up in flames anyway.
They say God laughs when you try to make a plan...
Logistics, check. Now onto the next battle.