It takes a village to raise a child. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t have a village helping us raise our kids. We don’t even have government support like in France or Canada. Some people are lucky to have family nearby, but many don’t and either have to move closer to family or rely on professional help if they can afford it.
My husband and I don’t have family within 1700 miles of us (which is how we prefer it). If we had a kid, we would most likely hire a nanny and additional babysitters for date nights. But we would have to be careful how much time our kid spends with the nanny or daycare, because too much time away from the mother, especially in the first year, can have detrimental effects on a child’s cognitive and behavioral development. Also, the quality of the childcare better be excellent, or else our child will suffer worse outcomes later, as demonstrated by the lower test scores of children receiving informal child care.
Once my kid is a year old and off the breast, I’d want to get back to writing full-time. This would not only be best for my career but also my mental and physical health. But that would mean that I would have to live by a strict schedule and give up any hobbies, such as voice lessons, art, and sleeping in. Here is a sample of what my daily schedule might look like if my child was a toddler, and I had a part-time nanny working 20 hours a week:
My Schedule with a Toddler
7:00am- morning routine with child/walk dog
8:00am- play with child
9:30am- make child snack
10:00am- child naps while I write (1 hour to work)
11:00am- play with child
12:00pm- make child lunch
12:30pm- play with child
2:00pm- child naps while I write (1 hour to work)
3:00pm- child plays with nanny while I write (1 hour to work)
3:30pm- nanny makes snack for child while I write (1 hour to work)
4:00pm- nanny plays with child while I write (1 hour for “to-do” list)
5:30pm- make dinner while nanny cleans up
6:30pm- put child to bed
7:00pm- free-time (1 hour to exercise)
8:00pm- make dinner/clean up
9:00pm- free-time (1 hour to work)
10:00pm- free-time (30 minutes to relax and hang with husband)
10:30pm- get ready for bed/take relaxing bath
This schedule may seem reasonable to you, but to me, it looks exhausting. And it doesn’t get much easier on the weekends. Weekends with kids are about family time, with zoos, playgrounds, and playdates, and less of the things I like to do, such as as sleep in, snuggle with my husband, leisurely get brunch, lie out in the sun, shop, drive out to wine country in a convertible, meet up with friends, eat at a nice restaurant, go to a concert, catch a movie, check out a new wine bar, snuggle some more, dance around in cute lingerie, and go to bed naked at 2 a.m. Of course, if I had a kid, I’m sure the overwhelming love I’d feel for my child would alter my priorities and make it easier to let go of my old life, right?
Baby On Board
Then comes the logistical problem of traveling. How do you take a trip without the kid? I guess if you have willing and able family nearby, you leave the kid with them. But my husband and I don’t have that. Can we leave the kid with a nanny? Is that even a thing? It sounds pretty risky to me.
So if my husband and I want to getaway without the kid, we would first have to fly the baby to the east coast to leave the kid with my parents, then fly to the destination, then fly back to the east coast to pick up the baby, and then fly back home. And that is if my parents are even available. So a vacation sans child ends up costing us at least $4000 extra, 4 more days, plus the added headache of being those stressed out people on the plane with a crying baby. So the question is, am I willing to trade romantic getaways with my partner for family vacations, perhaps with a nanny in tow?
Continue reading “What To Consider Before Having A Kid, Part 4.”