Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Thoughts about the whole work/childcare/finances situation continue to swirl around in my head, exacerbated by D's revelation this morning that he might not be able to go to a four-day work week when he goes back to work fulltime in January after all. This was a crucial piece of our strategy to minimize the amount of daycare we used. So if he's working Mon-Fri, then Ess will only not go to daycare on the days I don't work. And that makes this decision-making process that much harder.

The thing is, based purely on financial considerations, I should be the one working full-time and D should go part-time. Temperamentally, this would be plausible, too; I have always gotten a lot more fulfillment and enjoyment from my work than D does (although time with Ess is getting more rewarding, and I can see how it's going to get exponentially more so as she grows). And he is wonderful with Ess, and adores the time he spends with her. Somehow, he manages to get the house clean on those days, too... which is more than I can say for myself. But his position does not lend itself to permanent part-time work, especially since a key member of the team he works on is going out on maternity leave just as he goes back full-time.

And in our ideal world Ess wouldn't go to daycare more than three days a week; that way she'd still have the majority of her time with us, but she'd also get the socialization of daycare.

The hard part is that unless we make major, major cutbacks (ie, eliminating cable -- including NESN and ESPN, which are largely responsible for my husband's continued sanity -- and at least one cellphone, which I'm loathe to do given that we're both ferrying Ess around in the car at different points in the week), we simply need to make more money than we do with D working fulltime and me working part-time.

These are my choices, as I see them:
  • Continue freelancing on Mondays and Tuesdays, meaning we stick with 3 days of daycare at most, but work bleeds into the rest of my time at home. I report my freelance stories when I can, and write them at night and on the weekend.
  • Add another day at the magazine, meaning we go up to 4 days of daycare... and at many of the places I've checked out the cost is the same for 4 days or 5. So maybe I work five days a week, and we make a lot more money (and finally have the equivalent of three months' expenses in the bank like all the financial gurus recommend), but we spend a lot less time with Ess. Or I just work four and we eat the extra daycare costs.
So in some ways I'm backpedaling on my insistence that adding another day to my schedule at the magazine is the right way to go. Of course, this was helped by the fact that Ess took a couple good naps today -- including one right now -- and so I was able to get a bunch of work done on my freelance story. But, as we all discussed the other day, that's not something I can count on.


I don't know how we answer this question. D is discussing his schedule with his peers and his boss either today or next Tuesday, and I'm going to find out this week how much the magazine would pay me for that extra day. And we're going to have to have a long talk about what we think is best for Ess, and for us as a family, in order to make a decision.

As a sidenote, all of this stuff we're wrestling with is related to Jody and Moxie's posts about feminism, motherhood and work, but I am so mired in the details of our particular situation that I can't articulate the big-picture implications at all right now... other than to say that our society certainly does not make it easy to find a solution that works well for all involved.