I had always assumed that when my husband received his Ph.D., I would quit my job. He is in a joint Master’s/Ph.D program that he started in 2001, shortly after we married. I don’t know if I ever really thought about how long it would take him to graduate; I know I thought he would have graduated and we would have moved closer to family by the time my son was five. (Just for perspective, my son is going to be 6 this upcoming summer and graduation is still not a possibility.)

Beyond the typical problems with his advisor, conducting research and writing his dissertation, my husband has had to make quite a few sacrifices because of our family. When my son was born, my husband took a year off to take care of the baby while I worked full-time (I had to return to work when my son was 10 weeks old). Because I had a leave of absence when my daughter was born, my husband didn’t have to put his education on hold until I returned to work when she was 9 months old. But since August, he has had to once again enroll for zero credit hours and spend the bulk of his time taking care of the baby while I work.

There are several problems with this scenario. I want, and have wanted since I was a young girl, to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband wants to graduate and finally begin his career. Now, baby number 3 is coming in about 3.5 months. To put all the kids in childcare is not an option; my entire salary would be devoured by the cost.

We have two choices—I can keep working and he can keep taking care of the kids. He probably won’t be able to graduate for another two years. Neither of us is satisfied with this option. Or, we can take a huge leap of faith, and I can quit my job to take care of the kids while he finishes his degree and graduates no later than December, 2010.

To be continued tomorrow. . .

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