While I was working and taking care of Noah, our lives were very rushed. We felt strongly that Noah should not be in daycare, and we also could not afford any kind of moderately ok Boston daycare. We were hugely blessed to both have work we liked, where we're treated well, and where we're doing things that are quite fulfilling. With Eug working from home, we also got much more time as a family than many dual-income families. But Eug and I both got very little time when we were not either solo-parenting or working. I woke up at 5am, rushed to work, tried to focus during work, rushed home so that Eug could rush through his work, while I took care of Noah and cooked, and then we cleaned and got ready to start over the next day. Living in the U.S., the very high cost of health insurance means at least one person in a family absolutely needs to either earn a ton, or work full-time in a benefitted position. (or have a low enough income to qualify for state health insurance; obviously having an income that low is no picnic, either) The cost of healthcare seems like such a strange thing to plan families around, but it's a reality.
Despite feeling that it was unsustainable to keep going as we were, I feel decadent not to be working full time. It's been two days and already I wonder if I'm a slacker. And I've been writing a journal article! I want to redefine what work means for me, so that it isn't the arbitrary how-many-hours-did-I-spend-in-front-of-my-computer-at-the-office measure. It felt unsustainable, but so many people in the U.S. and elsewhere go as fast as we were going for thirty or forty years. I consider it the result of unfair blessing, more than extreme frugality (though we tried) or genius planning (though we tried), that we've left that incredibly fast pace of life.