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?