Our new series, Family Tales, is an honest peek into the daily lives of families across the country who are on this crazy ride we call parenthood! From divulging childcare costs to breaking down family finances to managing bedtime routines with multiple kids, we tap into the Red Tricycle army of parents to find out how they’re making it work. This series is a judgment-free zone.

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Anxious About Our 2nd Kid and My Husband’s Fledging Business

My occupation: social media strategist
My partner’s occupation: self-employed. A year ago he left his corporate job to start his own design firm.
Annual household income: $120,000
City: San Francisco
Our ages: 35 (me) and 38 (him)
Childcare costs: part-time $30,000/year under the table
How we found our nanny: a private local mom’s group. One of the moms in the group only needs help in the afternoons so we use her nanny during the morning shift.
Our kid(s) ages: a two-year-old boy with a baby boy due in March

 

Anyone who doesn’t live in the Bay Area will roll your eyes at me, but let’s just get this out of the way: $120,000 household income in San Francisco is small potatoes. Last year my husband left his full-time corporate job to start his own design business. We knew what we were getting into giving up his generous six figure salary, but we had planned for this. For a few years prior we lived frugally knowing the day would come when we’d basically be on one income with one, possibly two kids. Sure enough, our second kid is due in March and we’re trying to navigate how we’ll make it work if my husband’s business doesn’t gain traction. Do we give up the nanny? Do we opt out of preschool? Should we sell our condo and move out of the city (cue my tears)? While we prepared on paper for being a one income family, I still lose sleep over our meager income in probably the most expensive city in the country. But, on the other hand, what pregnant woman actually sleeps well? Kidding…sort of.

Morning

My husband’s been up working answering emails from an east coast client when our son wakes at 7 a.m. When that happens all bets are off—it’s like the road runner invades our house and it’s impossible to get any work done. My son had a rough night and was up at 1 a.m. and again at 3 a.m. with bad dreams—so we’re all extra groggy this morning. As a first time mom, I’m not sure how to quell his bad dreams so we just rock and soothe him until he falls asleep (open to tips here, seasoned mamas). I grab a banana and cup of coffee and feed my son yogurt, sliced apple and a granola bar.

Our nanny arrives at 8 a.m.. She’s with us Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. We pay her $25/hour under the table. Our nanny not only takes our active son out to an activity every day, but she also prepares all his meals and if she has time, straightens up our house. I feel like we got a great deal since she goes above and beyond typical nanny duties. In the city, I found that nannies asked for $23-$30/hour, which was a wide range to consider. We also pay for her monthly Muni (public transport) pass ($70/month), and give her a preloaded debit card for museum outings or for emergencies. We also provide for three weeks of fully paid vacation, but we all try to time it for when we’re both away like over major holidays. She’s in her 60’s with kids and grandkids of her own and has really helped me navigate new parenthood. She’s the one who told me when to transition from two to one nap and was the first to notice his sensitivity to eggs.

Mid-Day

I work remotely at a coffee shop or nearby shared office space. Getting anything done with my son home would be impossible, but I wonder how it’ll be once the baby arrives and I go back to work, but need the privacy to pump (let’s shelve this dilemma for another time because even thinking about being tied to a pump for another year makes me shudder).

Luckily, everything around us is walkable so we can save money on gas and tolls. My husband rides his bike to his business partner’s house two miles away. I spend most of the day working on a deck for a potential client and answering Slack messages, while trying to ignore all my bookmark tabs on preschool research. I never thought that the preschool app process would be harder than the college admissions process. I get home by 12:45 p.m. since our nanny leaves at 1 p.m. My son is on a one-nap schedule and will go down 1-3 p.m. so I’m able to work while he’s sleeping.

Evening

While I’m nervous about being the sole breadwinner with two kids, I have to admit that I love my husband’s flex schedule. He now makes it home by 4 p.m. whereas at his old job, he’d often walk in the door past bedtime. We’ve made it a point to do no-phone family time between 4-7 p.m. and I’ve actually been really good about setting expectations at work that I’ll be offline during that time frame. I love cooking and on the weekends we’ll make a trip to the farmer’s market and cook up meals together. But, on the weekdays it’s all about saving time and honestly, I’m just too tired to do it all on the weekdays.

photo: Gobble

We’ve found that with just the three of us, it’s more efficient to subscribe to a meal delivery kit. I’m partial to Good Eggs, but have heard great things about Gobble. Once I take into account the time spent shopping, cooking and washing dishes, meal kits are just worth it for us. While I get dinner ready, my husband will take our son and dog for a walk and by the time they get home our meal is served. My husband will clean up while I play with our son and get him ready for bed. For awhile we were doing everything together—and while sometimes we still do, the whole “divide and conquer” approach works for our family.

Bedtime

Our son is in bed by 7 p.m. We’ll do milk, a quick goodnight to all of my son’s stuffed animals, a story and then lights out by 7:30 p.m. It may be the shift in my husband’s schedule or my son senses his impending sibling, but he has not been sleeping through the night. I’ll usually try to hop online for a couple hours to answer emails and do more preschool research since I feel like I am way behind. But this baby is making me so tired so I’ve been going to bed by 9 p.m. with my husband coming in much later. Our nanny always preps my son’s breakfast so at least I don’t have to worry about that in the morning.

Nighttime

Like I expected, my son is up at midnight and again at 3 a.m. My husband and I take turns going in to soothe him. We never formally slept train him—he’s generally a great sleeper so this is really throwing me for a loop. Is sleep training a two-year old even a thing? He can’t yet communicate fully what is bothering him so we rock him until he calms down. Our nanny said he’s his normal happy self during the day so I’m hoping it’s just a phase. As they say: this too shall pass. Let’s just hope it passes by the time our baby arrives.

Our new series, Family Tales, is an honest peek into the daily lives of families across the country who are on this crazy ride we call parenthood! From divulging childcare costs to breaking down family finances to managing bedtime routines with multiple kids, we tap into the Red Tricycle army of parents to find out how they’re making it work. This series is a judgment-free zone.

Interested in telling your story? Start by filling out our questionnaire here. All stories are anonymous.

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