Monday, January 4, 2010

How did I get here? Part 2

A third child meant some hard decisions had to be made. Could my husband and I afford day care for three kids? No. Did my husband or I want to give up one of our jobs? No, but one of us would probably have to. Could we afford to? We had absolutely no idea. It took the entire nine months of my pregnancy to figure out what we were going to do.

We spent hours at the computer trying to rearrange our budget. We spent more hours comparing each of our company's health insurance plans. We had to read deep in the fine print to see if a change in coverage would affect our oldest son's care for his gestational scoliosis. Since his birth, we have made bi-annual trips to see a specialized surgeon at a hospital two hours away. At that point, my job was providing our coverage. If I walked away from my job, we had to know we could still get the same care at a price we could afford.

After hours, days and months of number crunching, we decided I would quit my job a few days before the baby was due. My husband's insurance was comparable, his salary was higher and his earning potential was greater. All of our planning and rearranging came down to a leap of faith. On paper, our plan looked feasible. Realty is sometimes different. We gave ourselves a year to financially and emotionally adjust to the change.

That first year was tough. We tightened our money belts, and I made a bumpy emotional adjustment from having a professional life to having none. What we gave up was worth the return, though. The investment we were making in our family outweighed the financial risks we were taking.

Reality didn't set in until the second year.

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