I’m jealous of other parents. Green with envy. I’m appreciative of what I have, but lately I can’t help but wish things in our life were different.
Our Nanny has given notice. After 2 weeks on the job, she has decided that, at 24, she doesn’t want to be a caregiver. So here we go again. The search for the 4th Nanny in less than 18 months begins.
It sucks, and that’s where my jealousy comes in.
As I do an inventory of our friends with kids I quickly realized that Jen and I are the only family we know where both parents work. Every one of our other friends have a parent (mother) staying at home.
Tears of guilt were shed at home and so we crunched the numbers. Could we do it? Could we lose one income, and one expense (the Nanny) and survive just on my income?
The budget items started to be deleted: no more private school for the boys, we’d have to sell a car, and most likely get a smaller house to shrink the mortgage. We could do it, but how happy would life be? My 20 minute commute to work would balloon to an hour or more. We’d have to move to a neighborhood where access to schools would be worse (at least a 45 minute bus ride each way). And there would be no extras. No vacation. No money for extra curricular activities. I could afford to pay the mortgage, the bills, a car, and some clothes – that’s about it.
So, this week, I am very jealous of my friends who can afford to have a stay at home parent. I am jealous of my friends who don’t have to write $21 000 in cheques to someone to look after their kids for 5-6 hours a day. I am jealous of my friends who can have a parent stay home, and still make ends meet.
When I look at spring break coming up this week, I see all the camps and activities that kids are being registered for. We can’t do it. There’s no way to get the kids to and from because we work. Even with a Nanny, there is no way to get the kids to and from activities across the West Side of the city. If Jen stayed home, she’d have the car to take them to bug detective camp, bike riding class, Lego camp, swimming, and more, but we still wouldn’t be able to afford the $180/wk registration for each kid for a half day, week long camp.
With both of us working, we can afford the activity, but have no way to get the kids around. Even then, Spring Break happens in the heart of a major ratings’ period for radio. So while the hallways at school have everyone whispering about ski trips to Whistler, beach escapes to Florida, or a week at the cabin, we are facing a week where our children will be at home with a Nanny that doesn’t want to be a caregiver anymore.
It sucks, so I’m jealous.
I don’t know how our friends afford to have one parent staying home. Some of them work in oil and gas, others are executives, others are self-employed. Some have been here for years, lucky enough to not only have a high salary, but to have bought houses in Calgary when they were $250k less than they are now.
We moved here in December 09. Just at the tail end of a boom, and when I was looking for houses, it was slim pickings. I had to take what I could find, and I had to pay full price for it. We had to settle with a less than an ideal home, in our ideal area. Our house does not make us happy, it’s not a comfortable place to live, the layout is terrible and despite being nearly 2200 sq ft, it feels like a 600 sq ft apartment with 5 people in it.
I’m rambling because I’m frustrated. We have friends wanting to get a bigger house with a 3 car garage so they can have room for their Porsche. We have friends who are renovating their entire home, for the 2nd time. We have friends with getaway lakefront cottages.
We’re just trying to find a Nanny that wants to stay. We’re just trying to find someone who will love our kids as much as we do.
There are times when I wish I could hit ctl-alt-del and do a refresh and start things over. There are times when I wish life was a video game and you could just hit that reset button, get a new man and try that level again. This parenting level has been a mess and I’m feeling incredible guilt that I’m screwing things up for my kids.
So I’m looking for a way to make an extra $40 000, and looking for a new Nanny. Again.
How do you do it? How do you make one income work to balance your books and family?