Done with Estrace! KinderCare? (LONG POST)

Last night I took my final oral Estradiol (Estrace) pill and received my final shipment of Endometrin suppies. The end of the first trimester is in sight – 14 more days, to be exact.

Still feeling like my daily to-do lists are impossible, due to first trimester over-tiredness and recent insomnia. A great combo, eh!

After looking at housekeeping or preschool prices to take some of the load off, at my partners insistence, I was happy to learn that my work here is extremely valuable. Eighty dollars for half a day of KinderCare, plus a contract – no thank you! Even though the place was immaculate and he was enthralled looking at the other children…and they work with cloth diapering…and I wouldn’t have to feed him one meal a day…

…we decided that we just can’t do it. Amy says she doesn’t want anyone else to raise our children, and after smelling the sterile environment (bleach for days, anyone??) and reading too many nanny horror stories, we just can’t. Though the place was nice and the staff were friendly and the kids were happy, we didn’t like the ‘care center’ feel. Outside of that, we haven’t met anyone we liked – though friends have offered to help, what would I really go do for that odd hour or so a week? I don’t really feel like it would be much of a break, I would be even more neurotic knowing people were coming over, making sure the fridge was perfectly stocked… Sigh. The trouble with being a Type A.

I also don’t prefer the idea of having family sit, even if that was an option, because there are so many disagreements to be had, and I want family fun time to be family fun time, no rules and no schedules and no issues. We are firm believers that kids should be at home with their parents for the first couple years, at least, if possible. We do so many fun things outside our house, it’s not as if he is a prisoner in here! Swimming, tumbling, story times, zoo trips, park, grocery shopping (he actually loves it)… the list goes on!

I don’t like the idea of someone shuttling my kid around in crazy Seattle traffic, either. One Saturday, my wife and I called each other when we reached our respective destinations of Winco and the mall. We both had babies to care about – her with Canyon in tow, me with a baby on board – and we both saw road rage and near accidents on the highway and interstate. We were calling to tell each other to be safe.

I am that one crazy person who does not text and drive, unless I am at a complete stop. I’m not even kidding, I have been on the mountain pass before and let texts sit for an hour or so. Not worth it. Going to so many social events in the last few years, it’s astonishing to see the condition people are in, getting behind the wheel after a few drinks, and thinking they are fine. Have I mentioned I am a Type A person before? I literally have no friends because I’m not ‘fun’ anymore. (I kid. Kind of.)

Besides, I love my job. I have done some crazy things in my life, for hobbies and for pay. This tops the cake on being the most difficult. In the long run, it will be incredibly rewarding. Day to day, the monotony, feeling like I want to do my makeup for a reason, to talk to other adults other than on play dates or inside a library or in passing at Target or the park…That is where things get tough.

It’s feeling like in society, you have no value. What do you “do”? But the truth is, after seeing the value and hard work, and knowing what kind of a person I am (graduated with honors while working a full time I.T. job and TTC, for example), I can’t imagine handing over the reigns to someone who might just sit on their phones all day and provide only his basic needs. Or pay extravagant fees for the assurance he will be changed every two point five hours and go outside every day? I’m sure it would be fine, but for what? So we can make more money to spend? At eighty bucks for half a day, and me going back for part time work and commuting to Seattle and back, it doesn’t make sense.

More than anything, though, I realized how much value I really do have. How much I really am contributing, though Amy tells me all of the time. I am my own worst critic, and it’s hard not having my own milestones to hit. Quotas. Reports to write. Goals. Instead, I feel like I am keeping a giant sack of poopy potatoes safe for another day, until it’s time to do it again. The little moments I live for, reading to him and doing preschool activities, going to the park whenever we feel like it…they are so huge but hard to appreciate when your day to day consists of scrubbing bodily fluids from absolutely everything and not having an out-loud conversation that doesn’t involve colors, numbers and shapes. Maybe I am sadistic, or maybe I really do know the value, deep down, underneath all of the “it’s so hard right now”. Because I wouldn’t change it for the world, especially as he is taking his first diving steps toward me, letting go of his secure grasp on whatever happens to be next closest to me. I can’t imagine missing all of this!

For now, we are working hard to pay off our “baby debts”, and almost own our Subaru, and so many more financial milestones coming up this year. We have learned to live – and live well – off one income. We are still able to save for our children’s future educations, and we feel nervous as hell for baby number two, but we are still able for me to stay at home after s/he arrives.

I would be sitting at work all day feeling like I was missing out, if it wasn’t for my wife. She loves me at home, and on my darkest weeks when I swear it’s “no wonder people don’t do this crap anymore and hire it out”, she reminds me that it’s just a wonder week, it’s just a tooth, it’s going to get better. Otherwise, I would be at a desk, no doubt, right now! She keeps reminding me of the greater good, and whenever we think about getting care for just one or two days a week, or talk about me going back to work part time, we come back around to deciding it’s not an option. I’m an all or nothing person, when I was working, it was 60 hours plus. I devote my not-at-work time in studying crap for work. Especially in technology, where the field is changing so quickly. We both worked so hard to have these babies, the thought of hiring overtime care for them is too much.

I have some Microsoft certs that are still valuable, but I don’t see myself finding something in I.T. for a couple days a week. It’s just not worth the stress associated with the tiny extra it would make us. It would make sense for me to go back full time, when we are ready, which may be awhile. And just when I think I am comfortable with that plan, a week goes by or a rough day happens or my partner leaves town for days, and I feel like running for the nearest “hiring” sign.

Unless you’ve actually been a full time stay at home parent, especially without assistance, you might not fully understand. If you’ve done it, even for a short while, I’ll bet you feel me!

Hormones play a huge part in my first trimester life crisis. I am so thankful to start today without taking my oral estrace, for the first time in 60 days! Next stop: Thyroid check later this month.

Stay tuned!

Also: I look crazy in this thumbnail, but I left it, because the baby is up and I’m out of time…!


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