Today I’m starting a new series. In the survey I posted last week, one of the questions was if you have “any questions for me I can answer on the blog.” There were a ton of questions (which I love, so thank you), so I thought I would address them in this series. I will try and group similar questions in the same post. Some are light-hearted while others are serious. A lot of you wanted to know about managing time as a mom/juggling everything and specific finance situations, so I will definitely address those. Thank you again for taking the survey and asking questions. Your comments were super sweet too. I truly appreciate it! Feel free to keep asking questions in the comments or on social media…I will add them and answer them as well.
I wanted to start off the series with a more personal question…it is also on my mind a lot lately.
If you’re new at all, here’s a little background. My husband and I have two boys – Beckham, who is 4.5 (November birthday) and Maddox, who is 2 (June birthday). Since the time I started to think about children, I pictured having two kids, specifically two boys. So far, everything is playing out how I envisioned.
Will we have more kids?
I have no idea! This is a very loaded question for me and something I wonder often as Maddox is getting older and older. Let’s just say nothing is permanent, but it is not something we are trying for…actually the opposite. I’m really on the fence about it, but more on the No side right now. Ryan is all for a third, so these are things I ponder. You want to know my super analytical thoughts?
Reasons for not…
-One of our boys requires some serious intentional parenting. You know, those “spirited children.” A baby would really take away from that.
-Financial – It’s said that one child costs over $200,000 from birth to 18 years old. That’s a lot of money. Then there is college. There are some people who think you can never be prepared financially for children and then there are some who think you can. I am definitely in the category of thinking you can, although we are as prepared as we can be. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to do it with an other person to care for.
-Chaos: This depends greatly on the personality type of the mother. I am a planner. An organizer. I like calm. All you parents, are you laughing right now? Clearly, more kids would be harder to manage, especially during the school year when Ryan is gone for reffing.
-I’m scared of newborns: Okay, I’m not really scared of them, but I have had a rough time with both boys the first year of their life (on my part mainly) for a number of different reasons. The newborn phase is not easy for me.
-I feel like I can provide more for 2 kids vs. 3 kids. Again, this depends on each family and their financial situation, but I think of all the future costs and I know it’s a lot. And yes, I know kids really only need LOVE, but let’s be real, kids also need food and shelter and clothes and education. I also want to provide them with opportunities that I feel with help them succeed in life. I also feel like I can be more involved with two, specifically when they are older and involved in activities.
With all that said…
Reasons for yes…
-I grew up with 3 other siblings (older sister, younger brother, and younger sister)…my mom had all 4 of us within 6 years. My older sister had a child when she was 16, so we really grew up with 5 kids in the house (I was in 8th grade). So, 2 kids seems kind of small to me.
-I want lots of family when I grow up. Ryan and I are saving to retire early and enjoy it fully. I want to spend that time with my boys, their wives, and their kids! I dream of that. So, the more the merrier.
-I do not know one person who has regretted having a third child 🙂 It might be tougher, but I know we wouldn’t regret it.
-Ryan wants a third.
-I feel like I’m much more prepared to have an additional child, emotionally and mentally, than I was when I had Maddox.
Can you tell I’m an analytical person and think with my head, not my heart? I’ve always made big decisions with my head and it has not steered me wrong yet. The heart can be deceiving, so I like to think it out. Ultimately, God will take care of it all.
If so, when?
If we did, I wouldn’t want Maddox and #3 to be too far apart (maybe 2017?). It took us a while to get pregnant with Maddox, so ultimately, timing would be in God’s hands.
Any actions to prepare for kids financially and domestically?
I can only speak from my experience, but yes, there are ways to prepare for children.
Financially, any debt, besides a house, is really going to be difficult to pay off after kids, so I’d suggest getting rid of it before kids if you can. Your expenses will increase greatly from hospital bills to diapers to sports, etc. Finding money for debt will only get harder.
Other than debt being paid off, I would make sure your “budget game” is on point. Meaning, have a system and know where every dollar is going. You’ll want to have extra money each month for those expenses once you have baby.
Don’t waste your money on expensive baby stuff. I did this with Beckham somewhat and can’t believe I did. They go through stuff SO FAST (clothes, especially 0-18 mo, a swing, bouncer, seats, etc). And, if they’re like my boys, they demolish it all. They have an incredible talent at finding the impossible way to destroy things. If you plan on having multiple kids, investing in good things like a monitor, aren’t too bad, but majority of “baby stuff” gets used so quickly. Expensive crib? They’ll chew on it. Expensive dresser? They’ll rip the drawers off the track or color on it or beat their toys on it. Expensive swing? They may hate it. I saved so much money on the boys’ clothes at consignment stores. I like getting pajamas and shoes (2yrs old and up) new.
For us financially, the best way for us to prepare would be to make more money. Otherwise, I could be a little more frugal with eating out and/or groceries, but our budget is pretty tight as it is.
Domestically, as a mom, this depends on whether or not you can (or want to) work inside or outside the home. After my maternity leave, Beckham was 4 months old and I decided to go back to work to finish the school year (went back in March and school ended in beginning of June). Since it was a short time, we decided to get a nanny for those months. This allowed me to get paid through August (teachers get paid September through August) which was nice. Aside from that, I’ve been at home with the boys.
For me, staying home with my kids was exactly where I knew I needed to be. I am a much better mom and wife if I’m not working outside the home. I do manage an Etsy shop and a blog, but I’m able to work on those when the kids are asleep or at preschool. Sometimes it makes it harder because I’m up at wee hours of the night (or morning) :), but it’s worth it. I can always work. I can never get this time back with my kids.
I didn’t find the transition from no kids to having a baby terribly frustrating domestically. It was harder to cook and clean, but I feel like I still managed to get it done. Going from 1 to 2 kids rocked my world domestically though. I feel like I have no rhyme or reason some days. Often I feel like I go about my day the best I can…making sure kids are fed and taken care of, even though I feel out of whack in other areas of my job (i.e. cleaning, cooking, taking care of myself). I’m a perfectionist and that is a frustrating thing as a mom.
Things to help domestically if you stay home? A good cleaning schedule, plan meals, cooking them at nap time and reheating is also helpful, planning our day (even if it’s at home), laundry everyday, a good morning routine, and lots of prayer. One of the best things I’ve noticed lately for me to manage my house is to SIMPLIFY. Simplify everything. It’s funny how I’m more at peace in my home when I have less stuff. Also, seek help when you can. It’s hard for me to ask for help, but I can’t do it all on my own. For me, this was preschool. I also ask my mother-in-law or mom for help when I need it and ask my husband with help around the house if I really need to work at night.
I won’t tell you to let things go, because as a perfectionist that’s just annoying to hear, but I do think knowing things are not going to go as planned all the time is freeing and less frustrating. For example, I have come to the realization that things are just going to break in my house. That’s not to say I let me kids break things or don’t teach them how to act properly in a home, but they’re kids. Accidents happen. And when they’re not accidents, I know that’s them learning…testing me. I’ve also learned that they will always have “something” wrong right before we load the car (take their shoes off, get hurt, diaper change, spilled drink all over them, etc.). I just try to plan extra time. And I have really learned that yelling doesn’t do them (or me) any good.
Thank you reader for the questions. I hope that was of some interest for you guys. I know we are all different in how we think about kids, this was just from my perspective. Do you have any tips to prepare for kids financially or domestically? I’m also always curious what number of kids was hardest in transition for people???
Hope you have a great Labor Day!