Money. It's something we're told never to talk about. At parties and social functions, we know to stir-clear of questions about one's annual salary or how much debt they have on credit cards. Money talk is taboo, unless structured into advise about saving for retirement or best options to finance X,Y or Z.
Yet money is the great divider. The difference between opportunities and closed doors. And where this subject gets particularly sensitive is when money impacts our families. Our ability to expand them and even make sure they thrive.
At some point, I need to write a post about financing fertility treatments when you don't have insurance coverage. Though there are many benefits to living in the Pacific Northwest, one major downfall is that there is no mandate for insurance coverage for fertility treatments. Hence Grey and I entered into parenthood with thousands of dollars of debt under our belts, all of it deemed as "cosmetic" or "unnecessary." Now before anyone jumps down my throat, I recognize that the decision to do this was ours. That said, anyone who assumes that fertility treatments are on par with cosmetic surgery seriously needs to have their head examined.
Regardless, we naively believe that once the Beats arrived, we'd somehow have the opportunity to make some headway on that debt. After all, our family was complete and though we knew about the expenses from baby-related items, we assumed that would be only for a limited time.
And then we started daycare.
The soaring cost of childcare is not a new topic. Like many new parents who don't have family close by, Grey and I have had to rely on paid help for childcare. And though we were aware that it would be expensive to have childcare when I returned to work, what I wasn't prepared for was that many of the childcare centers in our area cost more than what I bring in annual through my job as a lecturer. And I'm not alone. Many others are going so far to weigh whether or not to work as the cost of childcare is enough to justify leaving the workforce. To resolve some of this, there's been push for subsidies, but as of now most families are left with trying to figure out what they can afford and how best to manage this situation.
Grey and I have struggled with childcare for awhile. Within our Multiples group, there's a push to hire au pairs, as they are far less expensive then nannies and allow for exposure to different cultures. But the au pair route isn't without it's horror stories and it also requires housing another individual, which we are not currently able to do. Then there's the nanny route; a route that I always associated with the elite. Back in December, we almost signed up for this option having vet an experienced nanny who fit our price range. But then we learned her husband was a second-degree sex offender, meaning he was likely to reoffend, and has an extensive criminal history (none of which was made public and took some investigating to uncover). Needless to say, we're now gun-shy regarding nannies.
This leaves the finally option, which are daycare centers. The one that the Beats are currently attending is one that we lucked into and over the last year we've developed a close relationship with all of the teachers. I could go on and on about the benefits of them going to school, interacting with kids their age and the structured environment. We see the benefits and I know that both Grey and I have learned so much from the teachers and have formed close friendships with the other parents through this center. The problem is it's insanely expensive, eating up most of our monthly earnings.
And it's become a major source of stress in our family.
The additional factor in all of this is my career path is highly undervalued. Each quarter my schedule changes, all due to need for instructors and offering classes. Hence there's very little stability and I find myself scrambling a lot of the time. The problem is, I know that this scramble process is part of the equation, with institutions using this process to find instructors they want to have on long-term. And exiting this track for any reason before you've found security is seen as grounds for not being good enough or not being passionate about teaching.
This weekend, Grey and I need to restructure our debt. We need to look over where we're at and figure out how we'll get through the next few months. In the meantime, we're both making some hard decisions and facing some hard realities. On Grey's end, it may mean exiting his field to find positions that pay more. For me, it's either somehow finding an entirely new career path or exiting the workforce for awhile. Both things neither of us want for the other.
At the end of the day, though, we can't continue to scrap by. As others talk about vacations and new purchases, we need to find a way to balance the budget so that we don't have to make the decision about whether we can even afford basic necessities.
All while we're still trying to pay off the debt from IVF.
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