May 26, 2008

Did you know that the library has free books?

This weekend has found at least 2 members of this household sick at one point or another. Today it is my turn and X is finishing up the last of his Snotfest. Bah. All social engagements were canceled and we have just been lounging around the house. I did get an entire book read, so all was not lost.

We had a wonderful trip to the library on Friday where we picked up a ton of new books on spiders. I am dreading the inevitable heartbreak when Arun learns about the advanced concepts of Borrowing and Returning but in the meantime, we are mightily enjoying learning about even more types of spiders.

In other animal news, we are now the proud owners of a fish. A male betta named Dory - I am guessing that particular naming scheme has never, ever occurred in the History of Naming a Pet Fish. My boy? He is unique and has too much imagination to merely copy from some lame Pixar movie. Anyway, the fish is on Day 3 of Staying Alive. Keep Dory in your thoughts and prayers, is all I'm sayin'.

The other day, D. Jain had a question about how X and I came to the decision for me to stay home full-time with our kids and how we go about doing that. She wants to stay home after having kids and her husband wants her to work. Um. I always knew that I wanted to stay home with my kids for the first few years, at least. X and I discussed it while we were still dating, so our plan was already in place before we even got officially engaged. X was fine with either my working, or staying home so I was pretty fortunate in that the decision was really up to me.

The financial side of things? In a nutshell, we bought a house that we could afford on one salary and even then, we still bought way less than we could have actually bought per the bank approval. We also have a policy of having only one car payment at a time and trying to have at least a year or two of no car payments (to save towards buying the next car). Sure, I am driving a fancy car with GPS and fun stuff like XM radio. But I love, love my car. It's a good thing, too because I will be driving that car for at least 5 more years. I better love it. One thing that has always grated my nerves is when someone says I am "so lucky" I get to stay home. I am not "lucky" that I get to stay home. I am lucky that I get to live in a nice house, drive a nice car, carry a nice purse and wear nice shoes while doing so. We would have definitely downgraded our lifestyle for me to stay home. No, I am not saying that everyone should downgrade their lifestyle, but I do recommend living on one salary before you have kids and giving yourself financial flexibility to make whatever decision is right for your family. Easier said than done, though- I'll admit that.

I guess if I were giving advice, I would just say to try and build flexibility in your lifestyle and hold back from making Set In Stone Decisions. One never knows how parenthood is going to affect them. Who knows? D Jain may actually want to work after having kids or her husband may want her to stay home after all.

1 comment:

D. Jain said...

Nice post! Yes, we talked about this stuff when we were dating...the night we met, in fact, I told him "I'm not a hotshot career woman; I'm more interested in raising a family."

For me, my job is enjoyable but the main reason I do it is to have the money to enjoy the rest of my life. For my husband (a chemical engineer) his work is his passion and it's what gives enjoyment to his life. I think it's great that we are like that, because we know too many couples where both spouses are so career-focused that they're even willing to live apart because of their jobs.

The tip about trying to live on one salary even if you're both working is a good one, and one that we're planning to try. Maybe if that works out and we get a good nest egg built up, my husband will feel better about the idea of my staying home.

Part of this whole debate between us is that I don't think he has a realistic idea of what it means to take care of children. I think he thinks it's much easier than it really is, and that it's like a vacation to stay at home with your kids, and that it's not fair for one spouse to get to have a "vacation" (ha ha!) and "not work" while the other one works. I have a feeling that when he sees that it's actually really hard work, he'll realize that raising kids and working for a salary are both equal contributions to the household.

Thanks for addressing my question!