Friday, March 15, 2013

We'll get through this...

...said by my husband to me regarding my sabbatical.

Aren't you supposed to look forward to a sabbatical? We finished the exploration of trying to find day care in my expensive sabbatical city. We tried kindergarten and shopped around for institutional day cares and in-home day cares. There doesn't seem to be any way around paying my ENTIRE (gross!) salary in child care costs, unless you have ideas we haven't thought of. We can't seem to find a way to pay much less than half of Hub's (net) salary for rent. This promises to be a year of  challenge. Well, we wanted a cross-cultural experience!

I'm beating myself up for not writing a grant, but trying honestly to know when I would have been able to do that. There was one I was seriously considering, and it was for disease A, but I will be working on disease B. I very seriously searched for connections between the two, but found none. I asked colleagues about it and was advised not to spend my time "playing the lottery" but to get my manuscripts out.  There's a part of me that is blaming myself for putting my family through this, if I were only more capable...

We have called in a financial planner to talk about whether we can make this work. I can also hold out hope that the grant that I've been included on will be funded. I could also ask for a reconsideration of the year-long sabbatical, and come back six months early. If I did that, it would be harder to rent our house out, and I wouldn't get much accomplished in the lab.

3/21 Update: Financial planner shows on a best-case scenario we will run a $1300/ month deficit- biggest cost to attack: daycare

Your thoughts?



  1. Have you checked out the AAUW postdoctoral research fellowships? The title doesn't accurately describe what is a stipend for a sabbatical year.

    1. Thanks!! If what I found is what you meant, I missed the deadline for the year. Next time!

  2. Is there any freelance work you or your DH could pick up?

    Is there a local mommy forum like citymommy you could ask advice on?

    Could you delay your sabbatical one year at this point?

    We dipped pretty heavily into savings when on sabbatical. I thought the full year vs. 6 months was worth it, even though we were paying 1200/mo for daycare for one kid.

    Good luck!

  3. Is your DH friendly with any of the other parents at his place of employment that he could ask what they do for day care? If he isn't already, could DH take some time on a regular basis, like daily during lunch, to check into options in that area?

    Or is there a nearby county where they allow early K where you could live instead? If the commute time to the city from outside are horrible, maybe you could team up with some other parents and alternate who does drop off and pick up at a daycare? Or is there a headstart program in that area? (disclaimer I went to a headstart program, which was actually at a nearby church, but we were poor at that time so it was free) Do any of the area day cares or private schools offer a discount for working at/being an alum of the uni you're going to or coming from? Or does any other group you're a part of (this may mean a day care run by a religious group for example) offer discounts or scholarships? Could you do something like part/full-time in home care by offering a place for a college student to live?

    Or if you want to go the extreme route, call up all of the school board or local government and ask them about the policy? You might get some traction to get the policy changed, or at least bent. Or call up your local governmental rep (county/city council, state rep or senator) and ask them to intercede on your behalf?

  4. Have you looked into parents' day out programs at local churches? Matching two might work.

    Does the uni where hubs is have a message board for folks? You might be able to do a nanny share?

    I think you are at a religious school - are there churches of your faith in the new place that have day cares? As a visiting person, maybe you could ask for some kind of scholarship (that might be mediatable through a faith community leader where you are)?

    Could you and your husband alter your work hours so that you could use part-time care (seems possible with lab science, but I'm not sure?)

    Are you near relatives that could assist?

  5. You may have already considered these, or may not consider them options.

    Can you just find the spouse of a grad student and pay her under the table for childcare? Most university communities have spouses who don't have papers to work. It might be much cheaper.

    Also, what about a child care exchange? Swap care with another family or nanny share?

    You might not be able to do it for full-time care, but if you could swing it, it might save you some time at the expensive daycare.

  6. The reason why you'll get through this is because this is the LAST year of daycare. Things will be so different next year, I promise! Daycare was SO TOUGH on our family, as we both worked full time and required the additional child care time. It was crazy that childcare cost more than our rent!!!

    DH and I celebrated the day we stopped paying for daycare.

    Keep looking at the bright side. You aren't taking the sabbatical to save money. It was so you could be more relaxed because your family will all be in one place. It really will all work out.

    One more possible suggestion: daycare at the university?