Well, it’s Tuesday, aka the most boring day of the week (unless you’re, like, really into cheap movies), which means it’s the day I am most inclined to abandon work and watch YouTube videos of raccoons being like people or, even crazier, research local daycare options. We haven’t really figured out whether we’ll need daycare, or when, or how much we can spend on it, but hubby is insistent that we should at least put our name on a bunch of waiting lists just in case. Having written a fairly comprehensive article once on the state of daycare in Toronto (long story short: it’s insanely expensive and takes years to get your kid in anywhere), I felt I was starting from a knowledgeable place. But it’s still an overwhelming learning process — the city rates every one of its daycares on a MILLION different aspects, from toys available to how the room is decorated to how strictly the Canada Food Guide is adhered to, etc. Do you choose the daycare that rates high on learning or the one with a community garden and care providers who speak Croatian and Sinhalese? What about the one that gets really awesome ratings in nearly every category but is technically housed in the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health? What about that private Scandinavian daycare that believes in “spacious simplicity”? Is that a euphemism for “room with nothing but a single rocking horse, which is actually a statement piece and not for playing with because children need to learn restraint”?
Really, I suppose I should just sign up for all of them and then make a call on a case by case basis when spots come up. But something keeps holding me back… I guess it’s the whole still-feeling-like-a-fraud thing, like I can’t believe we’ll actually have a baby that will actually need care. And there’s another thing, too — the fact that I have no idea what I’ll be doing once my “mat leave” (read: minor allowance from the government that essentially amounts to a couple of bucks, one Tim Hortons coffee and one complimentary renewal of my driver’s license) ends. On the one hand, freelance writing is a great career to have when you’re raising children — you can work from home, the schedule is flexible, etc. — but on the other hand, it barely covers the bills and you can’t really give yourself a promotion. I admire moms who stay home to raise kids, but our household income just doesn’t allow for that. I am quickly realizing that momma needs a steady paycheck.
So my plan has been: 1. Have baby; 2. Become a breast-feeding, diaper-changing zombie for at least six months; 3. Find a way to transition into a new career, like one that involves water coolers and dental plans.
Is this really dumb, though?? Should I have figured out a new career trajectory and established myself BEFORE getting knocked up? Will it be impossible to go on a proper job hunt and do interviews and impress people when I have so-called mommy brain (hate that expression, by the way) and spit-up on my clothes? I’m suddenly paranoid that I’ve screwed this up… so if any of you out there have managed to change careers after having a kid, please chime in and let me know it’s possible!
Oh, and here’s your Weirdest Google Image Result of the day:
How about becoming a real-estate agent? Depending on your local area, that would keep you nearby and allow for visits to the office to enjoy the watercooler. I know some agents that take their infants and toddlers along on short visits to properties.
Not that I would expect anyone not living here to know this, but Toronto needs another realtor like Rob Ford needs more crack cocaine. I think you should at least try and stick with what you know, which is writing. You’re obviously damn good at it, and depending on what you find you could probably work from home. I used to date a guy who went from contract to contract doing technical writing (he wasn’t a techie person AT ALL) for various government agencies and assorted companies…is that an option? He worked from home a lot. He didn’t get benefits or whatever, but he was hired on for at least 6 to 8 months at a time with a lot of contract extensions and he seemed to make good money.
Yeah, I’ve thought about technical writing but I think I’d claw my eyes out after about five minutes of that. Same goes for communications/PR. Someone actually suggested I get into speech writing, which kind of piqued my interest, so I might look into that… and while I am kind of obsessed with MLS, I don’t think I could actually deal with the hours of real estate — all the agents I know are constantly losing their weekends to open houses and their evenings are taken up with making offers, touring homes, etc. Doesn’t sound like it would be the right fit for raising a babe!
Become a professional mommy blogger? (I’m just kidding. Please don’t hit me.)
I have no advice on this, but I’d be interested in reading the responses of others who have tried this. I’ve also been thinking of making a career change after mat leave, but don’t know if that would be incredibly stupid or even possible.
I’m in a similar spot. Ironically, I *thought* I had a plan in place, but turns out it was quite of house of cards. Instead I’m back to square one.
Honestly, I think the plan you have in place is a good one to start with. Yes, people freak out about daycare. And yes it can take some time. But I refuse to believe that one absolutely needs to have all details in place prior to conceiving, as infertility has punished me time and again for doing this. So I’m just takin it one day at a time, researching what I can and refusing to succombe to the daycare madness.
Oh, and my new favorite career choice as a new mom = freelance editor. May not pay enough, but figured it’s something worth checking out.
Sorry but I have no clue on how you plan on what you could do.
Government jobs!! Look online see what areas look good – you get in there fast and you’re there for life. Just avoid the union crap. Start browsing now while baby is inside??
I’m working on it now- planning to go back to school part time, while still working full time (and being a mommy and a wife full time- can’t forget that), and still trying to carve out a wee bit of time for myself. And yes, I do believe in fairies and unicorns as well. Seriously, though- it’s tough, and it involves sacrifice. Decide what you want to do, and find a way to make it work. If it involves school, look for part time and online programs that you can start while on mat leave (or even now, if you’re up to it!). My probable plan of attack is a master’s degree that is done mostly online. There is a practicum at the end that will require a LOA from my job, with no money coming in. We’ll just have to plan ahead for that. I’m scared… not big on change, but I think it will be worth it in the end. Good luck!!! :)
I can really help you here! I’m doing the SAHM thing. But I think a lot of mothers are faced with this decision. Careers and babies are tough. I’m sure you’ll find something that fits you though!
Wow, Canadian daycares seem hardcore. I don’t envy you that decision, though it does seem that you have some background research, which has to help.
Work thing… blah, I’m kind of in the same boat (though not currently expanding in girth) and wondering what’s next. It’s tough! Depending on what you do, you could probably finagle some work from home days during the week so at least you’d only have to do daycare part time. Aren’t all jobs online these days anyway? I wish I had something more insightful. When you figure out what you wanna do, let me know, I’m dying for suggestions here. I was halfway convinced I should apply for law school until I saw how much it cost.
First things first, I do not, and never have, believed in Mommy Brain. This term drives me nuts. I remember things just as well as I did before conception and the birth of my child. Having children has not affected my brain at all. I may be tired here and there, but I still remember as much as I did before (ask my DH – he says I’m still the memory in this operation!).
I have no idea how to switch careers. I’m staying home now, and will for a long time, but I think ALL THE TIME about what I’ll do when I go back to work. I do not want to do what I was doing, but I’m not sure what I want to do. It’s so tricky. I don’t think you’ve made a mistake in waiting to figure out your career. If you’re like me, your views on your career may change drastically once that baby arrives. I never thought I’d not work, I never thought I’d despise the idea of going back to what I was doing, etc… but those things did happen. I’d like to go back to work at some point, but not to a stressful job like I had before.
Don’t worry. It will come to you once the baby arrives! But do get on some daycare lists. I felt MUCH relief once we got that done!
I’m very curious to see what you end up deciding to do! And that’s a good point — the act of having/raising children could very well put me into a different mindset entirely and lead to me wanting a career with a new focus.
I don’t have any advice, just some reassurance from someone who waited to try to start a family until I had my career figured out…
In response to your question, “Should I have figured out a new career trajectory and established myself BEFORE getting knocked up?”
The answer is, NO!!!
I don’t have kids but I’ve got my daycare planned (if I can get in!) I work for a non-profit in the immigrant/refugee settlement sector and we have a daycare for staff and ESL students. I see the women who work in the daycare all the time. Some of them hardly speak English but I see how they care for the children with so much love. Plus, I love the multi cultural aspect of that day care. You just have to find something in line with your values. It’s not easy that’s for sure.
Oh we ARE on the same wave length here. I just posted my “career crisis” post today. Is this a stage of pregnancy?? But no really, aside from the fact that I love my career (note: career, but not current JOB), I am jealous of you. What I mean by that is, GO FOR IT. I think it is exciting and completely do-able to start over and figure out what you want. In the long run, you will be much happier. Plus, taking this already-transition-time to do it just makes sense.
Hmm. Course, the logic-side of me says…hopefully there’s a way to make money somehow?
Haha… that’s the problem! I keep asking myself, “What’s the job where you get to cuddle puppies all day and earn $100,000?”
I haven’t looked into daycare yet, but I fear it will be the same situation here as in Toronto. I also don’t know what I want to do after the babies are born so I pretty much have the same plan as you. I don’t think we can afford for me not to work, but I can’t keep doing what I am doing. I have yet to come up with what I should do for my post-baby career. Good luck!
This post had me laughing out loud. I send my son to a Montessori school, and I find your Scandinavian daycare metaphor very relatable! (is that not a word, or did I just misspell it?)
I don’t work full-time (I have an e-decorating service I am trying to get off the ground) but if I did, I would still probably do a Montessori style programme (some start as young as 6 weeks), that has an after school care. Something about that word “daycare” that I don’t like; makes me think of an orphanage full of screaming, neglected children. Ok, I’m sorry, I have no idea where that came from.