If you’re anything like me, you weren’t 100 percent ready to get pregnant. While I’m not sure anyone is ever fully prepared or ready for everything we face, becoming a parent is a surreal ordeal. I don’t think you can fully understand what becoming a parent might entail until your beautiful baby is safely in your arms. It’s one thing to feel your baby move, it’s one thing to be aware you’re a future mother or father, and it’s an entirely different world once your baby is here.
While I don’t know if anyone can really be fully prepared for the arrival of their baby, I think there are a bunch of things you can do to be a little more prepared. Before our baby arrived, my husband and I sat down to talk about what our world would look like once our baby was here. Would he work immediately? What about my return to work - when would that be? Would we hire a nanny, or would we choose daycare? There were so many things to consider, to plan, and to prepare for.
The biggest thing I underestimated was the cost of having a child, especially because I went back to work quickly after having my baby. It was a difficult choice but with the industry I work in too much time off would have negatively impacted my job. I didn’t quite recognize I might need child care assistance while at home, either. I also didn’t quite recognize what the cost of caring for said baby might be while I was at work, hoping to make a paycheck to feed and clothe her.
Raising a child is expensive, that’s something most people know. But recent estimates show the total cost of raising a child from birth through adulthood is very high. On average, raising a child from birth to adulthood costs almost a quarter of a million dollars. In my area, one year of childcare averages out around $17,000. That’s one singular year. Childcare costs nearly as much as rent in some places. In Alabama in particular, infant care costs 69.1% of the average monthly rent price.
Needless to say we had to do some digging, and then some more digging, followed by more childcare research when we realized how much daycare and center-based care might cost us early.
The saying goes “it takes a village to rear a child”. I’m starting to understand this phrase on a personal level, needing my family members to help pitch in to watch our daughter from time to time. Sometimes, my mother will come over on weeknights to help me with her while I finish up work projects or simply get five minutes to myself after work.
Center-based care is much more expensive than home-based care, like I mentioned before. This is fortunate for me because with in-home care, I can have some help at home while I’m working to entertain our daughter. My husband can finish up a meeting or a work call while the nanny helps us get the small things done.
My husband and I had planned to split our time in the office and at home but this arrangement didn’t work out for too long. Our jobs are demanding but so is our baby, and it’s clear which would be the priority in a situation where one needed to come before the other.
Our solution has helped us both keep working, saved us money, and enabled us to be more involved with our daughter’s life.
What have you done to make your work and home-life situations easier on you and your family?