So, as I mentioned, I was just hired on as a full-time employee at my current job. And, as I've also discussed a few times, I'm pregnant. Therefore, recently my mind has been in overdrive trying to figure out whether I should quit working full-time and stay with the baby, or if I should continue working and put Little L in daycare.
I've crunched the numbers 6 ways to Sunday, and IF finances were the only factor, then I should absolutely continue working full-time. Even with the continued costs of commuting to work and the additional cost of daycare, I would still be contributing a substantial amount to the household income.
But of course, nothing is ever that simple. I mean, if finances were our only consideration, then we definitely shouldn't be having kids! A few weeks ago, I decided that the essential question wasn't what was best financially, but IF we could afford for me to stay home. Based on all of our past conversations, it felt like Keith and I both would prefer that I stay home instead of putting our child in daycare. So if that's what we want, the only question is whether we can afford to do that. If we can, then I should quit. Tentatively, I think we can afford that in the short term. (Assuming that I resume full-time work sometime in the next few years.)
And yet, I'm still wavering. Because the question isn't all financial or completely family-oriented. It's a bit of both. What if I continued working for one more year, and then quit? It's possible that, by that point, we could have paid off our second mortgage and our car loan, leaving us with only our first mortgage and two student loans with very low interest rates. I feel like we would be in a much more secure financial position.
Would that security be worth putting our child in daycare for a year, even if we both would prefer that he/she be raised at home? I'm not villainizing daycare; I'm just saying that, for us personally, we would rather not be forced by circumstances to have others caring for our child much of the time. Daycare provides a valuable, necessary service, but I resent the fact that much of America has no choice but to continue working AND pay for daycare because they need two incomes just to get by. Climbing off my soapbox ...
But I'm not really trying to solve the country's problems. I'm just trying to get a handle on my own. What is going to make the most sense in the long run? I'm sure that, in hindsight, it will be obviously what the right choice at this juncture was. But it's really hard to see, looking forward.