Friday, December 17, 2010

The Price of Two Incomes

My house is eerily quiet. Tons of things are getting done: groceries put away, bills paid, and backpack emptied of a semester's worth of crumpled paper, highlighters, flattened granola bars, and my long-lost ruler.

And the source of this quiet and productivity? I dropped Harry off for his first full day of daycare. He spent a few hours there last week, but today we're going all-in and I'm not going to pick him up until 4. I cried last week, when Kevin and I left Harry at daycare for the first time, but today it was Harry doing the crying. I tried to psych him up this morning, reminding him of the kitchen he could play in, outside time, and showing Miss Judy his stuffed animal. I guess I should have known it was too good to be true when Harry walked right over to the back door and started putting his shoes on, ready to get in the car. By the time we arrived at daycare, he was asking me to pick him up, hold him, not put him down, and he made the wrinkly crying face that I can't handle when I put him down and told him I'd be back later.

Part of me is really excited that I'm starting an internship. I know that it will be good for me to be out, being productive and working with other adults, and the income that comes when I get a job is going to make a lot of things more available to us. I want Harry to have swimming lessons, and I want to put more than a few dollars in his college fund, and I want for us to be able to take a vacation, to go somewhere that isn't a family obligation but an actual destination.

But the other part of me is heartbroken that I can't be with Harry, as crazy as he makes me and as frustrated as I get being home with him sometimes. I think that it's a cryin' shame that one income isn't enough, even if we were to give up some of our comforts and go to one car and move into an apartment. I love that I have the opportunity for a career, but sometimes I wish I didn't have to have one.

If I was at work right now, daycare might seem like the greatest thing ever, because the alternative would be leaving Harry home with a 1-pound box of Cheez-Its and half a dozen sippy cups strategically placed around the living room. (Joking. Please don't call CPS). Maybe I wouldn't feel so guilty about Harry spending the day somewhere else if I was actually at work. But I doubt it.

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