The Choice is Clear…yet Unclear

I finally decided on one of the harder aspects of this pregnancy, paying for maternity leave. Most days it would just be easier if we had an uber-rich uncle who gave us bags of money….like those cartoon bags with the dollar sign on them.

Those are silly when you think about it. The money is all disorganized in there….not that if you got a bag of money, you couldn’t bring yourself to take the time to carefully stack and organize the contents….I am just saying. All money should come in metal suitcases. That’s the classy way.

Turns out we do have an uber-rich uncle. But he doesn’t give away bags of money. He did give us bags of toys for Jack recently though… we have more toys. Yaaayy. It was really sweet of them, but my living room floor is now filled with tiny cars and motorcycles that I am certain are out to get me.

Anyway, so in lieu of a bag of money, I had to figure out how we’d be paying for maternity leave. Last time I eeeeeked by with saved up personal leave, vacation time and the 4 weeks of 60% pay through my firm. I distinctly remember fretting over that tiny benefit and being like ‘Damn it America!’. But I think first pregnancies are the time to be up in arms about the injustices of the world.

Second pregnancies seem to be the time where you say ‘eh, it is the way it is, so let’s make it work’.

This time there is no bank of personal leave and vacation. There is no 4 weeks of 60% pay. But you know what? It’s fine. I am fortunate to say that with some budget crunching and tightening of the belt, I figured out how to put away a little stash every paycheck. And I am getting savvy in my old age. I can’t just move it into our normal savings account. The one you see every time you open up your online banking website or when you put your card in the ATM. Nope, you have to hide that shit from yourself.

If you see it you will be like ‘oooo! I could get new ___ if I just took an itsy bitsy bit of it’.

Nope. Andy and I are our own worst money enemies. Thus hide that shit away. So far the plan is working. I check that account every few weeks or so, just to be able to say ‘yay it’s working!’

It’s not one of those instant gratification things…I wish that it was. It is going to take the rest of these 28 weeks to even get to the point where we can say ‘okay I think if we’re careful we can get through this’. It’s looking like it won’t be a full 12 weeks off. I wish I knew for sure it could be, but I am hoping to be able to take 9. That’s the goal. The little boost this week was a nice surprise and made me excited.

Money is tough yo. I can safely say it has been one of those things that constantly comes up in our lives since we got married. I am not sure if it’s because we are getting older (yeah this is probably why), whether we are getting a little more wiggle room (nope – I think we had the most wiggle room at the beginning), or whether we have just dealt with this stuff for so long that makes it a bit easier.

I remember our first few “money issue” moments. I remember having trouble breathing when I thought about it. How would we make this work? Would we squeak through?…Obviously we did.

The big decision this time in getting to the goal was ‘what could wait?’. I have some pretty hefty student loans. I have diligently paid them for the last 5 years, watching excitedly at the balance reducing at a painfully slow rate.

When I looked at our budget, at what was truly left over if we stopped being so free with our finances and it wasn’t very much. At first I pondered: what would it look like if I only took off 5 weeks? Could I live with that?….no….Alright what can get chopped?

The student loan payments were the only answer. Waffling with it for about a month, I finally chatted with my ladies about it. I just couldn’t fathom the idea of taking even a few months off from payments, but then could I really miss that extra time with the baby? Finally I decided to take the plunge. I applied for a deferment on the bigger loan. I figured I could compromise and still keep going on the little one, but the bigger one would get me that much more time.

Sure I could defer them all….I could and who knows maybe in another month I will decide to, but for now I needed to take “lessening my responsibility” baby steps. Ease into it. It is a painful thought knowing that even a few months off from paying will mean our future will be tight for that much longer. It’s not like I have a date written down in my calendar for when it is all over…..the day when it all truly becomes worth it. But I know it isn’t far out on the horizon….I know eventually it will come and with it….more freedom.

So freedom is a little further away. That’s okay. I know when that little bald head is snuggled closely under my nose and I am drinking in the perfection, I will forget all about this silly teeny tiny little hurdle.


3 thoughts on “The Choice is Clear…yet Unclear

  1. Somehow I actually managed to accrue enough paid days off to (almost) cover this leave too! I think I was short about 13 days or so out of the 12 weeks I took. But…we are having the same conversations in our house about the possibility of me going part time or (gasp) maybe even quitting altogether. It gives me hives just thinking about it! I know many people make do on just one of our incomes, but right now, I can’t even imagine cutting mine in half, let alone having nothing at all. I like that you are saving a little each month now so it’s not such a big hit later down the road when you are buying more fun things, like stuff for a new baby!!

    • OMG part-time would be fun, but quitting altogether is amazing. How awesome is it to have that option?! YAY!. Definitely keep me posted on the decisions. But so cool. Buying baby things is definitely going to be a weak point for my budget :).

  2. Pingback: The Money Itch | pajamasarecomfy

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