Thursday, October 11, 2012

How Do People Afford A Baby?

I was totally fine with the financials of having a baby. I'd come to terms with the fact that everything we've saved for the last five years has gone towards making the baby, and therefore we didn't have any savings for the baby. It's just part of IF and there wasn't anything I could do about it. But then, I read the contract that our useless union is trying to get us to settle for. Panic set it.

Let me break it down with a touch of background. As a county nurse, you expect to bring home less money than other nurses. We work hard, sometimes I think maybe harder than in other hospitals because we have less to work with and more patients. So why work for county? Because you know that while today you're taking home less, your retirement benefits are supposed to make up for it. Yes, I'm talking about a pension. The county pays a 7% contribution to my retirement. Now, they are proposing to take that away. We voted to strike, we moved forward with paperwork, and then the county gave us another proposal. Now, the union is encouraging us not to strike. Why strike over 7%? I looked at my paycheck and loosing that 7% is essentially a 7% pay cut. I will now be responsible for paying the $420 per month instead of the county. To make this up, They will give me $350 bonus in 6 months, and another $350 bonus 6 months from then. I will get $0.25 raise in 6 months, and another $0.25 raise in one year. Over 6 months I will loose $2,520 from my take home pay. They give me $350 in 6 months and that reduces it to $2,170. At that point I get my raise, which adds up to $20 more per pay period. In 6 months that raise only nets me $240. These raises and bonuses are designed to make up for our losses. Now, I'm not very good with math, but it seems to me that I'll still be loosing out on a lot of my take home pay.

This comes at a time when a new baby is going to be added to my family. This amazing miracle will add cost to our living expenses. I don't yet know how much since he's not here yet. There will be the diaper service ($20 per month more than disposable CostCo brand), his health insurance, childcare (an in home nanny for 25 hours per week), clothing, toiletries, and a million other things I don't yet know that I'll need.

So what about the Brain? Why can't she work? Well, because she's in school studying very diligently, and following her dream to become a veterinarian. It is 100% unfair to ask her to work knowing how much time she spends studying or in class. She barely has time for me. If she works, she won't see me or the baby, and then will be freaking out about how she needs to study but doesn't have time. If she works during the summer, it won't really be cost effective. It would make more sense for her to stay home with the baby over the summer, eliminating the need for a nanny for a few months, and getting to have some quality time with our little mister.

So what about me? Well, I could get another job where I made more money, but wouldn't necessarily be happier. I know many many many people who have left to other hospitals for more money just to return to my hospital. Some leave and stay gone, but aren't happy there. They admittedly stay for the money. And, it's not that easy to get another job. There are a lot of nurses looking for jobs. It's not like you just say I want to work at hospital x in the y department and it's yours. I could work registry, and never be home to see the baby or the Brain.

All this leaves me with one question. How the heck am I supposed to afford to be a mom?

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