Friday, July 11, 2008

How can you be so unprepared for something you pushed so hard for?

DH and I handle our finances by, well.... ignoring them. We have the average kind of debt: mortgage, student loans and a smidgen of credit card. But I would not say we are the kind of people who indulge in things we can not afford. We are pretty non-consumptive, mostly because of our political and environmental views. We keep the heat as low as we can tolerate and only run AC if the heat is intolerable. We have never had a new car, and the cars we do drive are always compact with low gas milage. I am not much for shopping. DH likes the occasional gadget (computers, i.Phone, stereo), but these purchases only happen every few years. I would say our one indulgence is eating out. I used to work in the restaurant business, so I have long been willing to pay for a nice meal and good service. We also live in a restaurant town...

In the face of some much needed and never ending home renovations, we sat down this week and looked seriously at our finances, trying to work out a budget for the next year. DH took a pay cut about a year ago to take a MUCH more desirable position. He also cut back on freelancing. I make a pittance as an adjunct professor. The plan was always that I would adjunct a few years then start applying for full time jobs. A kid would happen sometime in between. Looking at our income to spending ratio was frightening. Frankly, we are not sure how we have been living so carefree for so long. Story is: we are broke. And I am knocked up.

I think DH had a fantasy that I would be able to stay home for a semester after the roomie came. On one hand this looks great - a real luxury. But the truth is that it would be the spring semester that I would miss, leading into the likelihood that I would not have summer work. So the reality is that I would be out of work from December through August. That is just too long - both financially and mentally. On closer inspection our finances, we came to a sobering realization. I won't be able to take any time really. I will (hopefully) give birth near my due date and then have till the beginning of the spring semester to recuperate. This could be anywhere from 5-7 weeks. I am thinking that school would be willing to find a sub for me for an additional two weeks - getting from 7-9 weeks, which I think is more realistic. But what the hell do I know about childbirth and being a new mom? Nada!

The last part of the puzzle is avoiding the need for child care. DH and I are both in academia. We are aiming to stagger our schedules so that they are opposite - that way we can both do baby-duty while the other teaches. As logical as it is, it just sounds dreadful to me. But in the end, I am no princess. Plenty of people are forced to go back to work quickly after giving birth. And plenty of partners share childcare responsibilities to the detriment of their time together as a family. In the end, I suspect we are pretty fortunate to be able to work out such a deal. So I'll just live with it.

It is just so crazy that you get so wrapped up in trying to get and stay pregnant that you rarely think about the fact that the end game is a little baby that eats time and money. How did we miss that? Being oblivious is bliss! I wish we could stay that way forever!!!

If you have a sec, pop in and drop some well wishes on my pal Jen. She is triggering this weekend to round out her IUI. Girlfriend needs some love!!

Last, Sticking to the mantra of "Pictures make my blog better," I have posted below an old, old picture of me holding my darling niece just after her birth. It was when I was young enough to think.... dag, this baby is cute, but there is no way I ever want one of these things...


jenn said...

You are such a sweetheart! Thanks for the shout out!

I myself am terrified to do that long hard look- I know we spend frivolously on some things we really don't need now, but actually coming to that 'we have to budget-NOW' point is frightening. I'm sorry you have to work out such a plan, but hopefully you two will make it work. I know the first few weeks of something new are always the hardest- but as long as you don't kill each other- you'll get through it & before you know it you'll be looking back fondly. Or gratefully that it's all behind you!

scarredbellybutton said...

That's not much time to take off at all, moreso if you have a c/s. I wish circumstances were different for you.

loribeth said...

If it makes you feel any better, I don't think anyone is EVER "prepared" for the impact a baby has on their family. I am really sorry, though, that you don't think you're going to be able to take more than a few weeks off after the baby is born. You will probably need at least 6-8 weeks just to recover physically, not to mention sleep deprivation, etc....! In Canada, we can take up to a year off, most of it paid (although the "pay" is such that many women can't afford to take the whole year).

I'm sure it will all work out in the end...!

sara said...

I hope something works out for you and your hubby that you get to spend a little time off with the new baby. It's hard with both people working - and I don't think it's weird that all of the sudden you realize you have to think about these things. It took you so long to get to this point, how in the world can you think of some things that may be years away - or were years away when you started this process. At least that's how I feel. We haven't even started thinking about who's going to watch Spot when I go back next year. Crazy I know.

I meant to ask before, but what do you teach? I hope you are having a kick butt weekend, and I'm so excited for your big ultrasound this week! I can't wait to hear all about it!