Friday, January 06, 2006

Bring out the Number Crunchers

The Prince is rallying hard for Baby Due. And I can't deny that I have had some thoughts about another baby.

But, and here is where I am risking calls of "selfish...." I am having these overwhelming feelings of sadness about going through another baby stage again after feeling like I am trying to (still) get back on my feet.

As a writer, and one who works for myself, my time to create has only just widened up since the Rabbit started nursery school this year. (She turned 3 just a few weeks ago! Amazing.....)Not that I sit here like a dilettante all day....believe me, we don't pay our bills if I don't work. And that's fine with me. I love working, love having something of my own, love earning money.

But lately I have come to realize that my expectations are too high -- I still provide about 6-7 hours of Rabbit care a day until The Prince comes home, plus earn about 73 percent of what he earns (nothing like fitting into that "women earn 73 cents for every dollar a man earns" statistic perfectly....)--- all in about a 24-hour "money earning" work week. Frankly, I am really exhausted. It feels like my day never ends until she's tucked into bed. If I'm not caring for her, I'm working. Even if that's at 10 pm writing up a story.

We ALL know what happens there if Baby Due comes along. Still, I hear nothing from The Prince on how we make this work financially. 73 cents on the dollar is going to decrease, no question. I know going back to an office gig might bring in more money -- certainly more "work space/concentration time" --- but that's not the career I dreamed of when I think of what I want in my life. (Cue the Greek chorus: "Selfish!")

Let's throw in to the mix that my baby making days, while not over, are not exactly in the early days. Baby Due would be leaving college, and I'd be aiming at the phrase "Fabulous and in her 50s." (And we're not talking 51 here.)

I have suggested a move to the Left Coast (where my family is). Not exactly a dream, but a realistic option for free help (a sister with two kids, a mom who loves being a grandmother).

So here's the rub: Which will I regret more? And how do I make the decision without regret?

Anyone out there know how to crunch THESE numbers?


Suburban Turmoil said...

I'm in the exact same boat. My husband's starting to talk about another baby and all I can think of is the toll another baby would take on my body/finances/writing time/sanity.

I have a toddler and two stepdaugthers. I don't necessarily feel the need for another child. But I worry I will regret not having another later- or unfairly put a burden on my daughter to care for me alone some day.

I think if you have another baby, it would work itself out. You would find a way to make it happen. There would be ups and downs. Pros and cons. There's really no perfect solution, ultimately.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

Been there, have the t-shirt...
the t-shirt, by the way, reads "Oops, tried for two and wound up with three!"
The t-shirt could, if there was room, say a lot of other stuff about the overwhelming nightmare of going back to baby-hell again when my Pea Princess was already 4 (and perfect). The t-shirt could also, however, speak volumes about the absolute bliss of now having three children OVER three instead of three children UNDER five, and how beautifully they play together and how so far we've only had one-on-one warfare and no ganging up (on us, that is) and... Well, even a t-shirt has its limits and I've not yet touched on your possible transcontinental shift. I feel a blog entry of my own coming on rather than hogging your space! I think Lucinda sums it up nicely: there's no perfect answer, especially when you've already got one (perfect) child and you've overcome that initial huge urge to Have A Baby. The clincher for me was to give my (perfect) first child another person who knew just how insane her parents were: I didn't want to create friends for her as a child, because I had younger brothers and there's no way we were friends as kids; but I did want her to have the unique cameraderie that 20 or 30 years of shared memories brings you as an adult. Does that help?

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

PS - they're still exhausting and I still do the great majority of the after hours childcare as well as working full-time and earning just as much as the Prof and why? Because as active as the Prof is as a father, the kids still miss me most and want me best. If only I was the kind of (s)mother who got off on that...

Sugarmama said...

Ever the optimist, my first thought is that babies always seem to make things work financially. Glib, I know, but there really is never the perfect time to have another one. If you think you might want another I'd do it now. Does it help at all to take the longer view and remember that all this work stress is temporary? That down the road you're likely to be just fine financially, plus you'll have 2 human beings who adore their mama?

Juggling Mother said...

It depends on how much you want another baby. If you really do want one, have one. The finances will work out somehow - probably by getting in debt for a few years, but you can get out again (I hope, It's what I'm planning to do!) At least you do have the option of continuing with your work as much as possible (I'm not going to say it's easy, cos I work from home & it's a bitch, often still working at midnight), and no extra childcare costs, or liklihood of being sacked!

On the moving house thing, again, it depends on how attached you are to your current home. I'm busy trying to persuade all my family to move out to me, as I have no intention of bringing my Kids up in East London (where my family live) but would really appreciate the advice & assistance of my mum & sister(s).

I know, that was totally useless advice! But really, only you know what your priorities are.

BTW - I was desperate to get back to work when no.2 was in pre-school, then no.3 turned up unexpectedly & all hopes of having a career for a few years went out the window, along with my bank balance ever being in the black. I'm still happy that we had her, even though everyone told me to abort!

Manhattan Mama said...

Thank you all for your comments and support. Somewhere I know this is one of those leap of faith decisions. I just don't know if I can make the leap of faith right now...But I think you're so right lucinda and sugarmama, I think babies -- or we -- just rise to the occassion and make things work out. And Bec, I know what you mean. I wish I could be a (s)mother sometimes too (but I am much too selfish for that!--I couldn't live without some ME time.) And Mrs. Aginoth -- I am so glad there's someone like me at home trying to juggle laundry, lunchboxes, pull-ups AND deadlines all from our livingrooms!

Kris said...

That's the hardest part for me, knowing that if I had another baby, once we had him/her, I wouldn't want it any other way. Whereas, if I don't have another, I'll always wonder.

Tough decision.

Kim said...

There isn't an answer, she says in the early days of surprise! number 3. We were so financially skint during 1 and 2 (I was working as a freelance writer) that we reached a point (ie, I reached a point) where I couldn't live that financial hell anymore. Back to a 'job' for me. I felt I was selling out on my dream. So no-one was more surprised that me at just how much I love it. I'm not saying it's your answer, just my experience.
Now number three is here. there's still no money, but just seeing the three of them having each other. Divine.
And I still want a fourth.
Go figure.