This week has been one of harsh realities. Yes, we’re super-excited about welcoming our bundle of joy (Carolyn? Caitlin? Charlotte?–seriously the name keeps changing everyday!), but each day that passes gives us new things to think about. Things that we probably should have anticipated before, but just kind of thought it would all work out. I sound like I’m on 16 and Pregnant instead of 33 and Employed! This week’s worry: Infant Daycare.
After meeting with the Human Resources lady at the school district office, I came to the firm conclusion that I really cannot take more than 12 weeks off (with the last four weeks being completely unpaid). This means I may have to go back to work on a Thursday (fun!) and will have to deal with the concept of having a 3-month-old baby and a full-time job.
As much as I would love to have a luxurious life where I could work from home, or take a full year off, neither are an option. Boo. Granted, I know that women who get the opportunity to stay home for a year with their children or who work from home are not necessarily loving life or even being luxurious, but they do not have to deal with the dreaded prospect of infant day care (cue the scary horror screams). Sadly, both my husband and I will have to work full time after the baby’s born, and do not have jobs that allow us to work from home. Both of us are already having anxiety about leaving our newborn with strangers. Not to mention the cost that infant day care is going to reek on our sad little salaries.
Yesterday, because I was granted the excitement of taking a full hour for lunch (we teachers usually get 30 minutes), I had a pleasant lunch with a group of women who all had children a few years back and were educating me about day care options. There are corporate-run organizations, in-house private options, and free relatives (which we don’t have–d’oh!), all of which offer their pros and cons, but the bottom line being that for someone to watch our bundle of joy would cost us anywhere between $800-$1000 a month. Ouch! What started as a nice lunch literally started making me sick to my stomach as I realized just how unprepared we were to deal with this level of financial burden, not to mention the emotional burden of finding the right organization/person to watch our little girl.
In an ideal situation, we’d like to do something with a Jewish influence, and in Orange County, CA (where we live) the options are few and far between. In fact, as far as infant care is concerned, the only Jewish infant care I’ve been able to find is located deep in Irvine–over a half-an-hour drive from our house/job. As much as I love Judaism, I’m not willing to add an hour-long commute into my life when I live less than a mile from the school that I work at. Color me selfish, but I just can’t do it. Our local synagogue, that we belong to and I have grown up in myself, has a wonderful preschool that I am VERY interested in sending my child to, but not an infant daycare (sadly, kids there don’t start until 24 months). My mom keeps telling me to call them and ask why they don’t take babies… Um, No. I’m not about to call a pre-existing organization and ask why they don’t revamp their system for me and my child–seems a bit self-involved, no?
Maybe I’ll win the lottery? Then I could afford to have a wonderfully proficient nanny come to my home on a daily basis for one-to-one care. Fat chance though! But until then, we’re already stressing out about what to do and the baby’s not even born yet! At least we still have a few months to figure it out, but knowing me, I’ll just be stressed out until we make a decision.
I’ll just add this to the list of “Things We Probably Should Have Thought About BEFORE We Got Pregnant”–a list which seems to get longer and longer with every passing day.