It seems to take about a year after having baby number 1 that people around you start asking about when you’re planning on having baby number 2 (which in my opinion is almost as rude as asking when you’re planning on having baby number 1).
The other day I learned that a post-doc from across the hall who just had her second baby is not coming back to work, because sending two kids to daycare (or any other form of paid childcare) will cost (much) more than what she makes as a post-doc. Will she be able to come back into academia if she would want to after her kids start going to school? I don’t know. For me, the realization that two kids are too expensive for us is the kind of sad reality too. In the old days, when a post-doc was supposed to last about 2 years, this would work out well. You could have one baby before tenure and in case you want more than one baby, you could have the next one when you had secured a better paying job. But now that it is not uncommon (at least in my field) that a post-doc is more like 5 years, what are you supposed to do when you want a family of more than one baby? I guess you could see the money paid to the daycare as a good investment in everyone’s future, but do you then need to take out a loan in order to pay for daycare? Or one of us would have to quit academic science and find a ‘real’ well-paying job somewhere else. Or: in my opinion the best solution: universities should provide subsidized daycare!!
Seriously, if there were no worries about finding a daycare place and paying for it, my life would be much better. If only BlueEyes would stop crying when we drop him off there in the morning (because the new classroom and the start of separation anxiety seem to converge for him), everything would be icecream and unicorns here.