After a doctor’s visit that had me seeing red, I’m back at my not-so-good-place and wondering what the hell I’m doing in this damn country. For the past couple of nights, I’ve been weighing the option of staying here vs. the option of moving back to the States, and that’s throwing me for a major loop. My major problem right now is Lack of responsible childcare (in the Philippines) vs. Lack of money (in the States).

To start things, let me say: I’m not even comfortable letting family members take care of Riley, and I know for a fact that they have his best interests at heart. So letting complete strangers whose motives are unknown take care of my baby? It’s hard. (To say the very least.) There are just so many variables involved in selecting a childcare provider.

There’s the cultural barrier that I worry about, for example. I don’t want some religious zealot spouting off Jesus-talk to my kid while I’m gone. I mean, for one thing, I’m raising my kids to be atheist. For another, the Jesus-talk would probably not be in English, and I’m having a hard enough time as it is getting my kid to talk.

Then there’s the issue about competence. Do you know how to deal with a hyperactive toddler? Are you able to be loving, and yet also instill discipline? Can I, basically, trust you to be a de facto parent in my absence? And in so doing, will you follow the instructions that I’ve left to the T?

Are you physically able to meet the demands of this rigorous job? Will you be able to curb all habits I deem inappropriate, such as smoking, for only the hours you’re not here? Are you clean? Well-mannered? Trustworthy?

There aren’t daycares here, and even if there were daycares available, there is no way to find out which ones are reputable. There is no Better Business Bureau. There are no background-checks on employees. There are no websites or forums dedicated to monitoring, screening, or evaluating childcare practices – or any practices, for that matter – in the Philippines. There is, however, a lot of lying and corruption, and that doesn’t exactly put me at ease.

Without reliable childcare, I can’t go to school. And if I can’t earn my nursing degree, I might as well not be here. Or so my thinking automatically tells me.

When I consider the alternative of moving back to New York, however, I’m at a loss. Sure, I have friends and family there, but should I really expect them to make me and my family a priority? I mean, I know they do to a major extent; but I also know that it’s really up to me and Rob to make things work for us, and I wonder if going back to New York would only be a distraction. After all, going back to New York would mean working our asses off all the time just to squeak out a living. We wouldn’t be able to spend a lot of quality time with the kids, and in exchange for all our effort we probably still won’t be living the comfortable life that we want. So what’s the use of going back? Should I do it just to feel like I’m actively doing something?

There are other issues to consider, and they’re issues that are non-existent if I stay here.

Jobs are scarce in New York – especially for people who don’t yet have college degrees. How will Rob be able to support us? Will our kids always live under the weight of poverty? And while we’re in this great, big rat race, will I have to set aside my friends and family, aka the people I love the most, to make time and energy for making money and raising my kids?

Things look bleak. I’m finding it hard not to assume that we’re not going to find childcare before Rob leaves. Even so, I still don’t want to go back to New York. Now yet, anyway. I  have to find a way to make things work here in the Philippines. I need to figure out a way to make sure my kids are taken care of while I’m at school. At the same time, however, I need to think of what to do in the event that I’m unable to do so.

I’m trying to look at the bright side of things: Sure, my degree will be set back, and I won’t be in the lovely grind of learning. But at least I can concentrate on my pregnancy and raising Riley. At least I’ll know that my kids are being taken care of. I’ll know that I’m eating right and exercising correctly and keeping my stress levels down by managing the hell out of the budget and the household; at the same time, I have the time and freedom to shape and mold Riley into the man I want him to become. And in the meantime, I can look for childcare. Hopefully, we’ll find a nanny and I won’t be set back too much.

Right now, I’m focusing on the things that are within my control, like calling my ob-gyn to ease my mind about her anticipated performance as my health care provider.

I’m also putting in the time to find a nanny, and hoping that things go my way.

What else can I do?


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