How We Made Our Careers More Kid-Friendly

working on laptop with kids in background
Self, Family

Why I planned my career around a yet-to-be-conceived child.

I determined that I wanted to be a writer (and a ballerina... and an actress... and an archaeologist...) when I was 5. At about the same time, I decided that I would also be a mother. In fact—snotty brat that I was—I often told my own mother how I'd do things differently once little Anastasia Kay Brookes was in my life (don't ask).

22 years later, post-wedding and post-honeymoon, I still wanted to be a writer... and a mother. And more than anything else, I wanted to be home to raise my children. So my husband and I sat down and hashed out how we could keep me at home full-time without going bankrupt, going into foreclosure, becoming homeless and perhaps resorting to cannibalism. Is There A Perfect Time To Get Pregnant?

In the coming year, I moved onto my husband's health insurance plan, secured a freelance copy editing gig that was regular enough to allow me to leave my full-time job in book publishing, and took on a post-college internship as a means of breaking into online media and building my clips. I started contacting everyone in my personal and professional networks to let them know that I was a free agent, so that I could start building up a stable of regular clients. I worked my booty off. My husband had given me a year to make this work. Within six months, I had matched my previous book publishing salary.

Then, six months later, the recession hit, and the newspaper that was my main source of income folded.

My husband and I argued a lot about money that year. He wanted me to try harder, and to focus on short-term goals rather than long-term goals. I wanted him to see that I was trying to build a business that could support our kids a year or two down the road, and allow me to stay home and care for them. I didn't want to waste time on work that didn't move me closer to that goal.

I understood where he was coming from, though. He was stuck at a job he hated—too scared by the recession to try leaving—and handling the pressures of being the primary breadwinner. And when he wasn't at his full-time job, he was working hard to build up his own web development company on the side.

We were both stressed out. We were both anxious. We both said a lot of things that we didn't really mean.

These days, we're a lot happier. We both landed—in the midst of the recession—new jobs that we totally love (mine is part-time, and allows me to be home four days a week). Our side businesses are growing, and I've diversified even further. I earned a career coaching certification and started coaching fellow word nerds on the side.

Several months ago, we finally felt secure enough to start having babymaking sex. Babymaking Sex Doesn't Have To Be Stressful

How did we make it to this mostly-blissful point?