Post # 1
I badly need advice…My husband and I just got married and he would like a baby in about two years. I am absolutely panicked that we can’t provide a good life for a baby with our current careers. My Mom was a stay-at-home mom during my entire childhood and she told me last night she is terrified any future child of ours will have a poor quality of life. Here’s why:
Problem 1: I currently work 10-hour days in a government affairs shop. My commute is an hour each way. If I had a baby, that child would be in daycare at least 12 hours a day. The baby would see me maybe three hours before the household goes to bed. (We have to get up at 5:30 a.m. for work). I see myself as being run ragged – doing both the job and Mom thing poorly.
Problem 2: My husband travels heavily for work and is often gone 3-4 days a week with a completely unpredictable schedule/hours. I would be solely in charge of childcare the majority of the week except the two days he has off. He can’t change careers.
Problem 3: Working part-time or being a stay at home mom is not an affordable option. We live in DC and the cost of living is very high. We just bought a house and have two car payments, etc. We save a little each month, but the budget is very tight already.
Problem 4: The current career path I’m on would turn me into a lobbyist – better money, but more hours, in addition to night and weekend work, with before and after work events to attend. I don’t see this as a good option for a family. Not to mention I don’t really want that career.
Is my Mom right? I’m so sad and frustrated by our situation. I’ve looked into other career options, like becoming a teacher, which would mean a significant salary cut but at least I’d have summers off and could be home more with my child before and after school. I have my bachelors degree, so I could probably find work as an executive assistant (more regular hours) but I see that as a job with no advancement.
What I’m asking is: do I need to change my career in order to be a good mother? Is it ever acceptable to have a child in daycare 12 hours a day? How can I make this work?
Post # 3
@soontobemrsemr: i think it really depends on what your priority is: family life or career? If you are really serious about having a baby and being a good mom, I think you need to consider changing careers. But if becoming a lobbyist is goal number one for you, then maybe the idea of a baby needs to take the back seat for awhile. For me, I’ve never had any huge career aspirations because family is priority number one. As long as I have a job that pays the bills and puts food on the table, I don’t care what I do if it means I get to be happy as an awesome wife and mom. But everyone is different and I think you need to evaluate what you truly want.
Post # 4
I think that while the children are young, you need to make a choice.
1) Take a job with fewer hours, put your career on hold, and raise your children. Once they are in school and are a little older, you can resume your crazy job.
2) Let someone else (daycare) raise your children, and advance your career.
For me, the choice here is obvious… you can have time with your children now, and resume your career later. That way you get both! BUT the decision is up to you 🙂
Post # 5
I would start thinking about a career change. Something has to give here. As far as I know, most daycares are not even open 12 hours a day. I have worked at a few and they opened around 7 and all the kids had to be picked up by 6. I don’t think you need to change your career to be a good mom, I think you need to think of a change because you do not like the path you are on.
Post # 6
Your life is proof that the idea that “you can have it all dream” in a post-civil rights world isn’t exactly true. There are only so many hours in a day – and given your current circumstances, I’m inclined to agree with your mother.
My brother chose to have a baby – he and his wife are working full-time, irregular hours, and have a budget already pushed to its limit. Only AFTER she was pregnant did they approach me – someone who works from home – and basically ask if I’d raise their child at least Monday-through-Thursday, but often Fridays as well.
I’m also reminded of a woman for whom my mom baby-sat. Her kid was with us until 10 or 11 at night 5 days a week before her mom came in to pick her up.
I understand circumstances change – it might be perfect to have a child, and then you find yourself in a position where you can’t devote yourself to your kids as much as you had hoped. But that isn’t the case here.
I’d say postponing kids indefinitely in your situation would be a good idea. I’ve been to DC, and I know what you mean about a very high cost of living (I live in the Midwest, and in general, the cost of living in your area is about 50% higher than it is here).
You have two car payments – were these purchased new? Is it possible to try and sell them, covering some of the cost you still owe, and go buy something used and a little more affordable? It sounds as though that may not be an option (It’s not obvious if this is very important in your fields). A house is, of course, a bigger obstacle – unless it’s a hot house market in your area, in which case it may be a little easier to put it right back on the market. I understand that’s not ideal, though.
One way or another, something has to give. I’d even suggest moving a little outside of D.C. if that would mean cheaper housing and cost of living, but it sounds like that would extend your daily commute even more.
Post # 7
If it’s really important to you, I’d look at other careers. Especially if you’re not in love with your current career path goals. There are a lot of careers out there, you don’t have to be restricted to teaching or being an assistant. Stick project manager into a search page and you’ll find tons of jobs that you’re probably qualified for.
Post # 8
It does sound like unless something changes, having a baby in your current situation isn’t a great idea.
If you really want to be a mom, of course you can make it work, but it will likely mean taking a job where you aren’t away from the house for 12+ hours a day, unless something changes with your husband’s job. I can’t see it being healthy for a child to be in daycare for that long, day in and day out, and it definitely wouldn’t be easy on you either.
Like you said, you are still a couple of years away from having a child, so you have time to figure out what you really want to do and set a plan in motion. You can definitely make it work if having a baby is something that you really want to do!
Post # 9
What career do you really want? If you were passionate about being a lobbyist, my advice would be different, because I do think you could make it work and I don’t think you need to change careers. But based on your post, I think it would be good to do some soul-searching and experimentation and see if you can transition to a different career that you love. The hours/flexibility issue can then be part of your overall career decision.
In all honesty though, if your husband wants a baby in two years then he needs to get serious about solutions to some of these problems. This is a team effort and in no way something that you can or should solve without major changes for him. For example, moving might help in your situation, which would involve both of you.
Post # 10
Can you get a live-in Nanny? You’d never believe how my life/career path used to be very similar to yours up until about last year and a nanny was definitely my plan. I’ve since changed careers to something a lot slower paced, and which I like a lot more so we can manage. But…to me you CAN still have it all. It’s just a matter of what you’re willing to sacrifice.
Post # 11
@soontobemrsemr: My mother was a single mom who worked crazy 12-16 hour shifts and was NEVER home. If she was home, she was sleeping and I was not allowed to bother her. This only worked because we lived with my grandparents, and they eliminated the need for a stranger to care for me.
So in your current situation, it’d be best if family could care for your kids. If the kids don’t have to leave your home at all, and family or a trusted friend could care for them there, even better.
And from a child’s point of view, I never resented that I had almost no interaction with my own mother. My grandparents instilled in me very young that I had to respect that my mom worked so hard to put food on the table, and that I couldn’t bother her while she was sleeping.
If you’re able to make it work the way my mom did, your kids will be just fine!
Post # 12
Do you love your job or having children more? You don’t have to feel guilty for saying your job either you know. If your job is more important, then keep on it, but if you think having a child would fulfill your life more than your job, then I think it would be in your best interest to do a career change for the sake of your children. I don’t know if being at day care for 12+ hours a day would allow you enough time to bond with your child, especially when it needs to the most.
Post # 13
Many nurses work 12 hr shifts and have happy, healthy children. When my kids were little, I had a live-in sitter. They didn’t have to get up early so I could drop them at day care before I left for work. They were fed dinner and were ready for the evening bed and bath ritual when I got home from work.
I suggest you not sweat your decision yet. Things can change a lot in a couple of years.
Post # 14
Your work schedule sounds exhausting! I couldn’t imagine coming home to take care of a baby after those long days!
Post # 15
I agree with PP you need to make a choice on what you want to do, either continue on the path you have and don’t have children or scale down or change careers and have children.
Post # 16
in my personal opinion, i think your mom is right.
either you or your husband needs to find a less aggressive job so you can be around when it is time to have a baby. 12 hours is too long of a day for the little one to be in day care.
its a tough choice… sorry you’re in that position