I’m constantly all over the place with my plans, at least it feels that way. I was going to do travel nursing, and ended up letting my anxiety over unstable working conditions and unreliable child care overwhelm my desire to travel. It’s still an option when she’s older (or when solomamalife agrees to come on the road with me!). I put myself on the co-op waiting list with plans to live near my sister and send my daughter to a democratic charter school down the road. In the meantime I thought of living separately from my mom in a rental house close to M’s current school, and scrapped that idea in the end because financially it doesn’t make as much sense and M is so happy at home, where she is, even if we do drive a lot. She spends her days catching frogs and wading in the lake and we are going to do our garden and she loves visiting with Gigi and playing with the caregivers kids when they come up. So why move now?
Then I’ve also been looking into 9-5 jobs that would allow me to pick M up from school and be with her each evening. I found a hospice job that sounded ok… but 8-5pm, 5 days a week? OMG. That sounds like a lot of work! I’m used to 3 days per week and the freedom to trade my days and give days away and not work holidays (because other people always want to work them). Plus, five whole days where I only have from 6pm until bedtime free? Ugh. I’m too used to working 3 days I guess. I’m going to wait until we get into the co-op and M gets into free school and then I’ll only consider a resident coordinator position in an assisted living. OR I’ll switch to a 40 hour work week (instead of 36) and get out at 3pm twice a week, so I’ll only be gone two evenings per week, and living so close to work means I’ll be able to get M from school almost every day.
Then, the whole house cleaner and babysitter adventure. Not sustainable! Paying $12/hour for six hours three times a week equals a whopping $1000 per month, and that’s not including the preschool fees. Definitely couldn’t have anyone clean my house with that going on, so I’m back to feeling stressed about cleaning all day on my days off. Forget cleaning or massages, I can’t even afford to live on the money left over. So I had to cut back on M going to her buddy’s house after school to once a week. Do I think it’s a better option than staying home with grandma every day? Yes. She had lots of fun and my mom was less stressed and she ate very healthy there. But I just can’t afford forking over so much of my income and still pay the bills. I’m going to once a week after school at her buddy’s and 5 hours with my cousin on weekends, which will be $576/month instead.
I’m waiting to hear from the director of her school as to whether or not the summer program runs (depends on enrollment). They are supposed to let me know by May 30, a measly two weeks before school ends. If it runs, she will be there three days per week one week, two days per week the next week for $300 per month , which if you’re counting works out to $2/hour (7.5 hours per day) plus $4.50 per hour after care which will tack on another $90 per month. Still, $390 beats $576! And on the days she has school that I don’t work (that third day) I can do overtime to pay for our trip.
In the fall I plan to put her in full day again, but pick her up early (after lunch) on my days off like I do now. I’ll pay the full time fee but she’ll really only be there until 3pm on the days I work, with the after care available. So the only days she’ll be home all day with my mom will be Saturdays. It should be more affordable and my mom shouldn’t feel too stressed, especially in the summer with the ability to catch frogs/turtles, take walks, swim and boat on the lake, etc. M will be happy doing that all day and my mom should be able to chill.
If I can just get through to summer program… right now I feel like we should be living off ramen noodles and using leaves for toilet paper.