Exercise for today: 3 mile run
I'm having a bit of a crisis today, and it all started with my dog. This is my happy puppy Zoe:
Except last night she wasn't this happy. At about 8 p.m., she started getting sick in typical dog style -- throwing up, then licking me and trying to eat it while I tried to clean it up. She's always had a bit of a sensitive stomach, so this isn't exactly an unusual occurrence in our household. Except it kept on going through the night. I'm not sure if she ate something, had a reaction to the medicine she's on for a rash, or if there's something more serious going on, but my baby girl is not happy.
Now, I know my dog isn't a child. But honestly, to those parents who say "It's not the same" when your childless friends compare their pets to your kids, please know that for us, it is exactly the same. This isn't to say I won't love my future child more than Zoe - maybe I will. But right now she is the most loving, most needy, most demanding thing in my life (and that includes my husband). And it hurts a lot when she hurts.
It was the hardest thing leaving for work today. Both James and I are having "can't miss" type of weeks at work, so it wasn't an option for either of us to stay home with her, but we would have if we could have.
As I said goodbye to her and prayed that she's sleep away the day and feel better at the end of it, it suddenly hit me: I really can't have it all. It was nearly impossible to leave my sick dog home alone. If Zoe were a baby or a toddler instead of a pet, it wouldn't matter that James and I couldn't get out of work -- the sick child couldn't go to daycare, so one of us would have to stay home. It made me very aware of how unprepared for a child we are.
Now to be fair, I really do believe it when I hear experienced parents say that "you're never really ready to have a child". I think James and I are in a better position than many Americans in that respect. But largely as a consequence of our choice to live in an area with a very high cost of living, I'm feeling very unsure of how we'll do this. Neither of us makes enough on our own to support having one of us stay home full time. Taken together, we're at a comfortable salary level, but daycare in this area would eat up one of those salaries very quickly. So as James and I drove to work today, we discussed options.
1. Stay where we are and try to find ways to live more frugally / make more money. James has been applying for more jobs like crazy, and I'm thinking it's time for me to do the same thing. We currently live on the Virginia side of the DC metro area, and it could be cheaper if we moved to the Maryland side instead. This is doable, but it would require me finding a new job and I think it would put our long term financial security in flux as our ability to save diminishes.
2. Find new job(s) elsewhere where we can afford to either pay for daycare or live on one salary. While I'm not opposed to this option, we just finished a cross country move and the thought of doing another one when our lease is up, with three animals and a three month old baby, is just terribly daunting. Not to mention we'd actually have to, you know, find new jobs elsewhere from hundreds or thousands of miles away.
3. Say "sod it" and move back to my hometown. Pros: free grandma baby-sitter, best friend just a few miles away, all around lower cost of living and more support. Cons: small town with very few job prospects, James is generally happier on the east coast than out west.
It's not the end of the world, and I know that James and I can figure it out. I also know that a healthy puppy and a full night of sleep will go a long way toward assuaging some of these feelings. Still, it's not easy to face the reality that I might not be able to provide my child with everything that I want to, and I only have about 20 weeks to figure out our next steps.