It has been a couple of weeks since my last post and I have all kinds of thoughts I could write about, but there has been one major change that has me in a bit of a panic. This week, Erik decided to return to Dalbey, the job where he was working at this time last year.
I've been feeling really guilty the last few months about my role in Erik's decision to leave Dalbey in the first place. The money there was really good, but I hated the hours and didn't see how we would raise a family that way. This was months before I decided to throw away my birth control pills.
For several years, Erik's work hours were long and he often didn't get home till 9:00 or later at night. I got lonely and it was hard to motivate myself to eat right when I was cooking for one. Of course, I found ways to fill the time -- book club, yoga, pottery lessons, spanish, etc. And in all honestly I've missed the "me" time a bit.
So now he's going back to a position where the hours are 10:00 am - 9:00 pm. And if history is any indicator, I can also expect that he will work till 9:30 on a regular basis and some weekends as well. I fully support this decision and hope that he will be happy there and make good money.
So why is this going in the baby blog? Because I'm kind of freaking out about it. I've spent the last couple of months living with the expectation that Erik would have flexible hours and the option to work from home. I thought we would find some part time help around the house, I'd rearrange my hours at work a little, and everything would work just great.
Now I'm picturing a world where I work 8-4 or something like that, then I swing by the daycare where the baby spent the day, then I come home and figure out how to change out of my work clothes and cook dinner for myself with a baby in tow, then bath feed and entertain the baby, then go to bed...all before Erik is even home from work. Then ideally Erik would have baby morning shift while I get ready to go to work and do it all again.
I am having a really hard time with the day care idea for a 7 week old baby. First of all, it looks like an expense of about $1200 a month. Second, I'm concerned about having to work around daycare hours, diaper rules, feeding schedules, and the extra chore of drop off and pick up. Third, I hate the idea of sending my little baby off to a playpen for the day, when he's so little he should be getting cuddles and love all day. I really wanted to keep the baby at home for the first year or so, until he is old enough to actually PLAY and interact at day care.
I've been looking into home care options. Nanny's are expensive -- I've read to expect $2,000-$3,000 per month, plus having to pay taxes for their social security and medicare. This week I also looked into AuPaire programs. These seem like a good option--you pay an annual program fee of about $8,000 and a $200 per week "stipend" for a live in. The aupair attends the local community college and is here as part of a cultural exchange program. The idea of having a young foreign student live with us for the first year of baby's life seems a little scary too--and I've read that the total cost for this program tends to average $25,000 for a year after you factor in the extra cost of food, helping the student get to school, etc.
Of course, one of us could always quit our jobs and we could be a single income household with a stay at home parent. But we both like our jobs, and we like to have the money.
Reading back through this, it doesn't look too bad, just expensive. If Erik can make the kind of money he made the last three years at Dalbey, I guess the cost would be manageable. But being as I am considering these costs from where I stand right now (where I haven't even had the cash to buy a single baby item), it seems totally undoable.
I'll write more later about the other baby news: ultrasound, midwife, belly touches, weight gain, etc...