Friday, February 02, 2007

Nothing like raging hormones and life changes to get that blood flowin' ...

And so it begins. Anxiety.

The myth people like to tell you, unsolicited, about two being just as easy as one ... the lie that at some point makes you realize you got it all wrong: That maybe you had actually heard "three are just as easy as two," or that "a half dozen are as easy as four." No matter, the reality we all tend to forget is that ONE isn't always that easy.

And so, along with this little nugget of psychosis, I will tell you that the 19th nervous breakdown of Ought Seven is about child care.

Innocently enough, Lori -- the woman I refer to as The Other Mommy -- asked me what my plans were now that Thing 2 has secured a spot in the pecking order. I had assumed (and we all know what happens to those who ASS U ME) that he would just squeak in under the radar.

I mean, hadn't we talked about the possibility of a second? Hadn't I planned and planned and been disappointed for fifteen months?

Hadn't I? Hadn't we?

But no. Lori has already taken on a second child - the most an unlicensed, in-home daycare is allowed to take without jumping through the flaming hoops of Big Brother. She's not interested in getting her yard fenced or having to have strangers in to inspect. She's happy with the status quo.

I can't blame her.

But this miracle that was fate more than three years ago seems to have evaporated.

Many of the same impediments returning to work that I discovered three years ago are still there. Infant placements are near impossible to come by; if you find one you have to take it and pray the people are well suited to their jobs.

While Lori's suggestion was to have Ittybit continue to be with her five days a week and the new baby come to her two days a week (when her other charge is elsewhere) I knew for my own mental health, the only scenario that would work (that still included her) was to have the baby come to her five days and find a new place entirely for Annabel.

Afterall, finding reliable toddler placements should be easier than finding an infant placement. None of the options, though, are ideal. Separating the siblings breaks my heart, and taking Lori away from Annabel tears it to pieces.

Of course the other option -- the one that REALLY scares the life out of me -- is that I quit my job, it's steady salary and insurance benefits and stay home.

That's where panic comes in.

My husband, while he makes a good income, works for himself in a potentially dangerous field. He moves and installs large-scale sculpture.

Maybe you can't imagine, but I think of nothing else besides the potential of an accident that ends his career, or worse.

But it's more than just worry about money and security. It's also the idea of identity. Jed has never considered packing up his small business to be the stay-at-home daddy. But it seems expected of me.

I have no qualms saying that I love being a mother but that I don't want my job description to be MOMMY. I don't want to stay home and sing songs and stop fights and try to entertain the kids while cleaning the house and trying to figure out dinner.

I don't want to let my IRA lie dormant and my savings dwindle. I don't want to risk our future, my future and the kids' future educations because one of us will be paying all the bills. I don't want to have to ask Jed for money to buy myself some little incidental.

In order for this one-income option to work, Jed will have to take more jobs, travel more often and just generally be away.

Jed has said he wants me to be happy, and that he will do anything he can to ensure that we are taken care of; that the insurance doesn't lapse and that I have help. But ... what happens then? What happens when, for the first time in nearly 20 years, no one is paying me to write or take photographs? What happens when I don't have money of my own? Income of my own?

It's not as if I have a killer job; but I have a comfortable one. A job I'm use to, and one that makes me feel secure even if it's not set in stone. Just the thought of pounding the pavement in a few years, trying to get a new job when the kids are back in school, when I'm in my mid to late 40s, makes me want to vomit.

It's been difficult enough to get jobs thus far. I can face the truth - I don't make stellar first impressions.

So while I was over having a heart attack for a little while, Jed bringing home information about private health insurance yesterday, smiling as if 'now everything will be alright,' made the bile rise right back up into my throat ... or was that just gestational heartburn?


BlogWhore said...

"only u can prevent forest fires."

oh, wait, wrong slogan.

ah, yes, here it is. "only u can decide what is best for u."

know that hundreds of familes all over america are having this exact same conversation at the exact same time (including mine).

what is diffent among us are our needs, our goals, our priorities.

you will find the right answer... because it is buried somewhere inside u just waiting for u to listen.

Peter said...

This is where I get in trouble at home, after Heidi has expressed herself I, like a dummy, can not help myself but offer solutions. It has almost gotten me killed on a number of occasions.
There are lots of ways to supplement your families income from home. If being home is what you want to do.
Heidi operates two businesses while being home, it gives her the power you are afraid to relinquish.
Excuse me if I have overstepped.

toyfoto said...

You haven't overstepped Peter, and I understand how men like to 'fix,' my husband is a fixer, too.

It's just that I feel as if I'm not the one who's broken. I have the job with the stable income and the health benefits. The situation in our lives that I think needs fixing is affordable and attainable childcare.

I feel I would be broken if I were to give up my job with the hopes of finding some sideline business (which would likely make me more stressed since I am not interested in doing the 'business' aspects of enterprise) so I can have pocket change and the illusion of independence.

Bridget said...

amen to what blogwhore says. The answer is inside you and I can only wish for you to have the space and the peace to hear it.

oh, and by the way, two is more than twice as hard as one.


wordgirl said...

Two is only hard at first. Later on it keeps each kid from always having to be entertained by you or a friend you import for the day.

I hear you, sister. You're in a tough place and there are no easy answers. I wish we lived in a world where more men thought about staying home with the kids, but they have to be raised that way first.

I hope you find the answer you're looking for, because being in your 40s and looking for your life's work (and not just a crap job to pay the bills) is a tough gig. Trust me.

Melissa R. Garrett said...

Ah, affordable and attainable childcare. Is that even a reality? The answers are never easy, but trust that you will find them. We're all pulling for you . . .

Andrea said...

Have you guys talked at all about Jed staying home? I would ass-u-me so since you mentioned that his job is the one less structured than yours.

I hope fate intervenes again, and somehow Yaya can still watch them both in some way.

Firestarter5 said...

Won't Annabel almost be ready for Kindergarten by the time Thing 2 is ready to be outsourced to a babysitter?

I've never heard the name "Jed" before. Is that short for something?

toyfoto said...

Annabel, because of her birthday, won't be eligible for kindergarten until she's almost six, so she's got another two years.

In Jed's case, his name is not short for anything. Often, Jed is short for Jedediah.

Anonymous said...

cant annabel go to nursery school 3 days a week? cant you whisper bad things abou tlori to the other kids mom?

toyfoto said...

Nope and no. Lori's not the problem, and school is not the solution (it's only two hours a day).

stefanierj said...

What about a nanny/au pair? (Since everyone else is on the assvice wagon too). I remember looking into it and thinking it wasn't do-able for one kid, but for two? Totally. Might be worth considering.

toyfoto said...

We are looking into the possibility of a nanny who would come to our home and take care of both kids.

Of course this was one person's ad ...

UM... Who poses with a beer for a nanny job?


Gail said...

This is a tough one, something that I talked over with David when he was healthy. He didn't hesitate at all when I suggested he stay home with the kids. He said it would be a privilege. I wish I could've taken him up on that offer.

But that's not helpful.

Um, how about moving to Canada? You'd be poorer, but at least you'd have healthcare.

supa said...

*would* jed stay home? *might* lori change her mind, ever?

i really hope you're able to work this situation out to a conclusion you're happy and comfortable with. we're coming upon a similar dilemma with the impending second child; our current daycare is too expensive if you multiply it by 2 (for two kids, not just Owen). we couldn't keep the mortgage. so I don't know what we'll do. and i don't know that i want to (or that we can afford to) stay home.


toyfoto said...

Jed will not stay home, but he assures me that if if he cannot keep his business afloat he will take a shit job with the local plumbing contractor or another crappy job that includes benefits.

Lori isn't going to change her mind either, but it is possible that I will find another placement for Annabel elsewhere.