When I sought out to begin Mo Money, Mo FIRE, I knew I wanted to present an honest and transparent journey to financial independence. When I discussed this post with Justin, he stressed the importance of writing about our reality which included real life struggles and successes. As young professionals with an infant son, it can be daunting to seek financial independence and retiring early. However, it is critical to remain steady and try not to allow others or outside factors deter you from your goals.
It has been an emotionally arduous past few days. After five months of maternity leave, I am back to working full time and Baby K has started full-day daycare. Friends and family have said it gets easier. Although I am confident that they are correct, I am still sad I will be away from my son for most the day.
I have begun to reevaluate why it is important for me to keep working right now. In an earlier post, I discussed the decision making process Justin and I went through when we chose to enroll Baby K in daycare. It wasn’t in haste that we made this decision and it was definitely not an easy one to make. Now that Baby K has started daycare, I keep wondering whether it was the right decision. Should we have sought a nanny? An au pair? Became a stay-at-home parent? Could we have afforded any of the above? Looking at only the numbers and finances, Justin and I could have chosen any of the options above. We are grateful to have well-paying jobs that can give us those opportunities, but me returning back to work is more aligned with what we want for Baby K and our FIRE goals.
Before anyone offers their opinion, let me explain. Although it can appear as though I am choosing work over my child, that is not the whole case. It’s more complicated than that. I work to help provide my family with a source of income so that we can reach financial independence faster. With financial independence, Justin and I envision quality time, happiness, and the freedom to enjoy the fruits of our labor rather than the chronic stress of having to return to work after a short-lived vacation. We want to eventually be able to enjoy our family life any day of the week rather than be constricted to only the weekends. Additionally, there are boundless benefits to children attending daycares and getting social interaction with their peers regardless of their age.
It is definitely a sacrifice to be away from Baby K for most of the day, but it’s one I am willing to take. In order to build our son a foundation of assets many of his peers will not have the luxury of inheriting, Justin and I are working diligently to save and curate a portfolio of wealth. We strive to provide Baby K with things both of us did not have but like everything else it comes with an opportunity cost. I feel guilt and sadness but I hope Baby K is able to appreciate what his parents chose to do in order to afford him rich experiences and comfort.
I am now a working mom. I realize that I will not be a perfect mom, but I can try to be the best mom for Baby K now and in his future. I truly believe FIRE will enrich our lives not only monetarily but with memories and priceless experiences.