{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Feeling very down about starting a family. My husband is finally excited about it, but I am terrified. Nobody in my area can find reliable childcare, and we can’t easily afford a nanny (I took a pay cut going in-house, and he has a non-profit salary). We could probably swing a nanny if we didn’t save for retirement for a few years, but I’m not sure that is the smartest move. Has anyone else felt this burden during covid with all the childcare problems? We have family help, but not full time.", "post_id": "61c0c29fee0e1f003c521e77", "reply_count": 26, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "5da60c126e5f0d001f32f497", "bowl_name": "Women in Law", "feed_type": "bowl" }

Feeling very down about starting a family. My husband is finally excited about it, but I am terrified. Nobody in my area can find reliable childcare, and we can’t easily afford a nanny (I took a pay cut going in-house, and he has a non-profit salary). We could probably swing a nanny if we didn’t save for retirement for a few years, but I’m not sure that is the smartest move. Has anyone else felt this burden during covid with all the childcare problems? We have family help, but not full time.

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Is there any way you can downsize your lifestyle to free up some cash to cover the cost of a nanny? Perhaps, if you drive a late model Mercedes, sell it and buy a Toyota Camry; if you live in a $600,000 house, scale down to a $375,000 home. It would be an adjustment, but the difference in mortgage payment, car payment, utilities, maintenance and insurance/taxes on both would more than make up for the cost of a nanny.

My two daughters are grown and have their own families now. But I can definitely tell you that having children is ALL ABOUT sacrifices. And it never stops.

Having said that, I would not trade being a mom for anything. The sacrifices, the lost sleep, runny noses, diarrhea, throw-up, and all that goes with it are so worth the hugs, laughs, stories, and memories. There's no price you can put on the value of being a parent.

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So unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it!) we already live below our means. Blue collar neighborhood, basic cars, etc. There’s certainly things we can/will cut back on, but they’re smaller things nails, nicer athletic clothes, unplanned weekend trips (they all add up). We still have loans, which we aggressively pay - there’s probably almost $13k a year extra that we could cut back on, which would help significantly. I also should add that my salary is on the low end of what in-house lawyers make, even with a bonus.

We could probably make a nanny work for a couple of years if we had to, the thought of it just really stresses me out.

This isn’t helpful but as someone who will probably be on this boat in the next year, I find it incredibly sad that we even have to have these conversations due to the lack of federal maternity leave and affordable child care in the US. We’re left at the mercy of our employers and have to basically shop around for jobs for good benefits

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Yes, maternity leave and child care are huge issues here

Personally, I'd advise against stopping planning for retirement. Keep in mind that after the baby comes you'll have more than a nanny expense to worry about. Babies are expensive and you'll (probably) want to put away money for college too. Can your husband move out of non profit and into something where he's able to make more?

I don't have kids but a friend in a similar situation does. She's the primary breadwinner and manages their finances. She makes it work but they definitely have to get creative with their expenses at times to provide for their child. She doesn't regret having their child but also gets frustrated that she can't be as involved with her child because so much of the financial burden falls on her.

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That’s very similar to the situation we are in. I left my firm in part to have more of a life. While I’m still the breadwinner by a large margin, I definitely cut off my earning potential. This wouldn’t even be a concern if I had stayed with my firm salary.

We’ve talked about my husband moving jobs, but his benefits are incredible. 9 weeks off, full healthcare (I also get mine through his job), and he works 9-5 at the most. He takes on all the household responsibilities and will definitely take on a lot of the childcare. It’s definitely a trade off, but I feel like if we can make the first few years work without him leaving, it will be better in the long run.

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Is the only reason you are feeling down about it the financial aspects? Are you otherwise excited to have a child? I only ask because it seems from your post that your husband is excited but you are not. Having a child requires endless sacrifices and they are very expensive. Financial issues are the most common cause of relationship strain. If you think you are not ready, maybe you could wait a couple of years?

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We are actually very open to fostering, so that might be what we end up doing, at least initially. Good luck to you in your decisions too!

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Have you thought about a nanny share situation? That’s how we afford it and it has worked out great.

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No, we found our nanny through a variety of Facebook posts locally and interviewing. Our share family is a friend of a friend whose parenting styles align with ours.

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Have you considered daycare? If you get on the wait list when you are in the early stages of pregnancy you should have more than enough lead time to be sure to have a spot. Or, you could consider a nanny-share instead of a solo nanny? Another option would be if your husbands salary is not enough to cover childcare, would he consider scaling back to part time or taking a year off until some of the COVID-related strain on the childcare system hopefully lets up.

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Sorry you’re having to make these tough decisions. My family has similar tough decisions to make with a young child in a very competitive childcare market. It is a stressful time but having a family was important to us so we have found ways to make it work even if it’s not what we originally planned or expected, and it’s been worth it for us.

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Following bc I feel the same way. Moving jobs to get better mat leave/fertility benefits. I live in a HCOL area and will prob need to move

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That’s great to hear! I’m willing to take the crappy maternity benefits since overall the role/company has been wonderful. But man, I wish I still had those sweet firm benefits….

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I was in a similar situation and basically decided to stop contributing to retirement so we could save for a house and baby. (I also have large student loans to pay off). I also got a new job with better benefits after my son was born because I personally grew up with very little (and there is no shame in that whatsoever), and want to provide more financial security for my son. But I will say, i had a lot of really hard conversations with my husband about what we want and how we want things to be in the future before making any decisions (about the house, the baby, where we want to be long term). We don’t have family in the state, so full time daycare is our only option (and boy is it pricey - $15k+ each year). Ultimately, we had to rearrange some things, but I don’t regret having my son for a second. I hope everything works out for you🤞 !!

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Thank you! I know we’ll be able to figure it out, but there are lots of hard decisions to make!

We are getting an au pair. I don’t feel comfortable sending my child to childcare during a pandemic and nanny services are far too expensive. We have no social support, so au pair was the best option

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Do you have a separate living area for the au pair or just a bedroom? We actually talked about this, but we’re suburbs and would only have a bedroom/bathroom (not connected but could be their own bathroom) for them. We weren’t sure how realistic that option is given no private living space.

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