Having children changes everything. This is just a fact we all think we know. I just think it is a fact that doesn’t totally sink in until you are really living it.
Before having kids you tell yourself that you will still hang out with your friends just like always. You tell yourself that your relationship with your husband will stay the same. You may even tell yourself that you will still shower everyday after having a baby. Then you have a child, or two, or three and realize that everything is different and I mean EVERYTHING.
One thing I honestly did not have a clue about was to just how much having children would impact every life decision I would make. I’m talking every single decision. What kind of car do I want to buy? Well I guess it depends on how many car seats fit in it and what the safety ratings are and even how much crap can I shove in the trunk.
Do you want to go out dancing with your friends on a Friday night? I don’t know! It depends on whether or not baby No. 2 sleeps through the night or sleeps past 6 a.m. Or if I can tolerate Saturday morning swimming lessons tired and possibly hung over from the two glasses of wine I will drink (because the thought never occurred to me that I could be hung over from drinking only two glasses of wine until it happened the last time I went out approximately five months ago). Don’t forget the all important factor of whether or not you can actually get a sitter.
Little decisions are effected all the time, but big decisions like whether or not to change jobs just sometimes seem so overwhelming that I would rather just avoid it all together. Changing jobs is known to be one of the most stressful life events.
I have three kids. This means when I contemplate a new job I have to take into consideration the proximity to my kids’ school and current sitter. I have to consider the take home pay after childcare costs. I have to consider the amount of sick time available and how often I can use it. (You know they won’t all get a stomach bug at the same time. They will take turns to drag it out and make sure I have forgotten what life is normally like before it is over.) I have to consider the cost of insurance for a family, not just me. I have to consider whether or not the schedule for a normal working day meshes with the school and childcare schedule.
It is enough to make me think the status quo is just fine. There are just too many moving parts to figure out and wrap my brain around so let’s quit thinking while we are ahead. But then I start thinking about all the possible pros to changing jobs and suddenly I’m back in the game.
In my experience nothing has ever worked out exactly like I had planned, so I try to stop trying to plan every detail out. I still run numbers and run through in my mind what a normal day would look like during the school year, during winter break and during the summer. But I have learned that I need to be ready for a plan B, C, and sometimes even D because there are three very different and very human variables that have changed everything…for the better.