Work/life balance. Ah, the subject of many articles, discussions, blogs and workshops. But I've never actually read or attended anything on the subject. When I first thought about having children I assumed I would take the 12 months off that we are so lucky to have up here in Canada and then our little yearling would start full time daycare at a large center. That's what working parents do, right?
Imagine my surprise when we actually started trying to make a baby that my thoughts on the subject of work/stay at home mom/daycare would change. Drastically. It suddenly felt so completely unnatural for someone else to have such a huge role in raising OUR child. Couple this with the scarcity of quality childcare in our city and S and I found ourselves in quite a quandry. WE wanted to raise our child. WE wanted to be the most influential figures in our child's life. This wasn't coming from selfishness or arrogance...we just honestly feel like we're the best people to be caring for our child. I still feel that way.
We were fortunate enough that we did indeed care for Baby exclusively for her first 2 years. Now she also attends a wonderful, amazing small (5 kids max.) home childcare 2 days a week, S is home 2 days a week and I'm home 1 day a week. It feels like a really good set up. Our caregiver is truly an amazing woman and we're so, so grateful to have found her.
I do still have fantasies of Baby having a stay at home parent though. I don't feel guilty (anymore) that she is in someone else's care for 2 days a week but I still have niggling deep rooted feelings that I wish one of us could stay home full time.
So, why doesn't one of us stay home? Good question. We (un)fortunately live in one of the most amazing, expensive cities in North America. In fact, I think it is currently THE most expensive. Both of us were born and raised here so it's hard for us to imagine living anywhere else. The cost of us owning a home here requires us both to work. We also both enjoy our jobs and my job in particular is stable, flexible, provides great benefits and it pays well. It just doesn't seem to make sense to give it up. And as I mentioned, for the most part, I really enjoy it. However, having said all that, theoretically we could do the stay at home mom thing with a few modifications to our lifestyle. We could sell our expensive 5 minutes from downtown Vancouver townhouse and buy a bigger house out in the suburbs. This would not only give us more space but one of us (likely S) could stay home full time. I don't know. This is a tough decision for me...for our family...to make.
For now, we're content with our situation. And content feels ok for now.