Okay, I've been avoiding my blog. There has been something on my mind and I have been afraid to write about it.
First, with open enrollment at work for healthcare choices and tax savings accounts, it has gotten me thinking about how to afford a child while paying for daycare. Staying home is not a very likely option. Family is far way, so we cannot ask my parents to help out a few days a week. The cost of daycare scares me, let alone getting a child into one after hearing horror stories of wait lists and non-refundable wait list costs, some that you still have to pay even if the daycare center does not eventually have an opening. Let alone the rules. We would only need part-time daycare as Tal and I work different shifts and my schedule rotates. During the week, we would need about three days for four or five hours each. But some places require that you pay for all five days. Would we be lucky enough to find a daycare or private daycare provider who would be okay with a rotating schedule? I know I'm putting the cart way before the horse. But, you have to have some kind of plan before you try to have a child. Or at least me.
Those worries led to worries about quantity and quality of time with a possible future child. Working second shift makes it tricky. But, there are other people who work second shift and have families. It is doable. Right? I really like my job and I feel like it is a good fit. That is also important. Right? Then, I'd feel guilty if I would not be spending enough time with a possible future child. Would I be being selfish having a child and working the hours I'm working? I think it could work and be okay for the first few years before they would go to school. By then maybe there could be an opening for a position with more nine to five? A lot can change.
Also, I guess part of me is somewhat grieving the loss of not being able to stay home to raise my child. I always wanted that, more so than anything else. As a little girl, the first thing I wanted to be was a mom. People laughed at me or would tell me that was not what I really wanted to be. I loved my mom and felt so loved by her that I wanted to be a mommy and take care of a child so they could feel as loved as I felt as a little girl. As I realized that "mom" wasn't the answer people were looking for, I expanded my list to include teacher, ballerina and artist. Don't get me wrong, I liked the idea of those, too. But, after I would say those things, I'd secretly tell myself..."and a mom."
So with lots of hard thinking about how to puzzle it all out with the logistics of having a child and making time to spend with a child, it got me thinking some more. This is where the darkest question and fear loomed. What if after all of this, if we had a child, what if we regretted it?? What if parenting was harder than we thought, like really harder than we thought?
Ugh. I don't even want to admit that question crossed my mind. It makes me feel like a horrible person. Does it make me less deserving to be a parent?
I just don't want to screw it up. I am afraid of being so stressed out that I will be a terrible mom, wife or person. I do not want to lose me. I do not want to be totally consumed by parenthood. Life would change, no doubt. Priorities would rightfully shift. How do people do it?
With all of these thoughts running in my mind, I came across a blog from Mel's Friday Round-up. Actually, it was part of the second helpings.
My response to "Women Who Wish They'd Never Had Kids" and "Why Parents Hate Parenting," by The Unexpected Trip
That blog and links within it led down a wormhole of some very raw, very hard realizations and insights shared by those who do regret having a child. It is so sad, and my heart feels for those who have disclosed some very dark thoughts. I don't want to be one of those people...one of those that is completely overwhelmed by parenthood or bitter or resentful. No, so sad. I do not want to judge people and I guess it is good for them to have an outlet to express themselves, but still sad. As the author of the post that reflects on all of these links about parenting, maybe it is healthy for parents to have space to process feelings, all feelings, as a way to heal and carry forward.
How do people do it? Maybe I am thinking too much. I just don't want to be holding the experience of parenthood up to wildly, impossible standards then have it all come crashing down.
Then this post popped up on my Facebook feed.
10 Dark Parenting Truths We Never Talk About, by Kristen Oganowski
And while the author tackled some of the dark sides of parenting, she somehow made it less scary. There are truths in her words. And it is what it is, but real and with love. Life with or without children, is different...not better or worse, but different.