Tag Archives: parenting

Fumbling with Finances

It’s Friday night. There’s a husband and daughter I adore sleeping upstairs and a baby kicking away in my belly, but all I can think about is money. When I was young I always thought when you were an adult you made enough money to do what you wanted and needed and that was that.

But of course it’s not really like that, especially in this economy. I’ve created many detailed spreadsheets and built out various scenarios, trying to anticipate any cost that we may incur. I spend so much time (almost every day) updating and worrying over each pay cheque, it’s started to take over my life.

Now with baby number 2 on the way and a recent need to replace my husband’s car on the horizon, I just don’t know how I can make it all work. How do people make it work? I guess some people make more money, and certainly I wish that I were in a position to strive for a new and exciting career status (ideally one that came with a salary increase) but as I type this reaching over my 8 month pregnant belly, it’s not an option.

Should we ride this car into the ground, even if I think it’s potentially not the safest to be carting around 2 kids? Our work schedules are too different to accommodate downsizing to only one car. Should we have not had a second child and bought a new car instead? Is it either or, not both? I know people who make less than we do get by and likely don’t even stress as much as I do. But between commuting and daycare, I’ve run out of ways to stretch the dollars. I worry if I make big decisions without exploring all the potential pitfalls that we’ll become swallowed up by both the debt and stress and that’s not good for us or our kids. When does being an adult become easier? How can you avoid getting swallowed up by the stress while still being fiscally responsible? Is that even possible anymore?

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

Deciding on a Second Baby

I am currently pregnant with my second child, and to some that news has been surprising. When my husband and I had our first child 4 years ago, we had the standard reactions: hugs and tears and excitement. But when pressed about our second often times we would both say no way, no more. Heck, I even wrote a blog a year ago discussing how I wasn’t ready for more.

Because let’s face it, parenting is really hard. A quick google will find you a barrage of blogs and online groups confirming how hard it can be. Issues with breast feeding, sleep training, teething and all the while trying to lose the 40lbs of baby weight and feel good about yourself physically and emotionally while your hormones are still wreaking havoc on you.

As much as you prepare yourself for what’s to come, it’s different than the reality. I was one of the first of my friends to have a child and I hadn’t had been around babies before my own. We also had moved to a new neighbourhood where I didn’t have many friends close by. Plus, let’s be real – sleep deprivation does ugly things to a person. I can’t pretend I was the best version of myself when my baby had been up all night.

So when we excitedly told our parents and family that we were expecting our second, we had a lot of stunned reactions. They were happy, but visibly stunned. I could see it all over their faces, and to be honest it hurt a little. Did they think that I wasn’t a good enough Mother to handle another one? Or was I projecting my own fears back on them? Either way, you expect a jumping up and down, over the top happiness from family, but when your sister in law asks you if it was planned, it stings.

Yes we had discussed how financially it would be difficult to have a second child (and believe me, it will be). But as we went around and around the topic, we realized that although it would be difficult it wasn’t the reason not to expand our family if that’s what we wanted. Yes, when my daughter was a non-sleeping, teething monster thought of another one seemed insane, but we’ve all learned and grown a lot since then. She now has all teeth, is potty trained and sleeps (for the most part) in her own bed. These were the things I felt I needed to happen in her life before I could entertain the possibility of a second. But really it came down to one simple question my husband asked one day: don’t you want to hear someone else’s laughter in this house one day? And I knew then that I did.

I have hope that since it’s the second time I’ll be better prepared. I like to think I’ve grown more patient and a little less selfish, which were hard for me to learn with our first. I know now that if I’m struggling I should ask for help. I had some untreated post-partum issues with our daughter, but didn’t realize it at the time. I’ve spoken at length with my husband and my health care provider and if it happens this time, we’ll be ready. Do I worry about money? Of course I do, it actually consumes the majority of my thoughts these days, but we’ll find a responsible way and cut back where we need to.

I do worry about how another will affect my relationship with my daughter. I still want us to be as close as we are now which can be difficult with another little person who needs a lot of care, I hope that we don’t lose that. But I also know that I have a very supportive husband, who will be there every step of the way (seriously, my friends tell me all the time how awesome he is, he’s like Jack on This is Us caliber). And I know without a doubt, that I can’t wait to hear 2 kinds of laughter in our house. In fact, I can’t wait for it.

Tagged , , , ,

Striving for Unscheduled Time

Before I had kids, I was definitely  more spontaneous. My husband and I used to book last minute trips to Las Vegas, stay up all night at the drive in, have more drinks then we should. Those were the sweet, early years of marriage before the stress of financial woes and a child who never sleeps came into our lives. But I miss being spontaneous.

As a couple and as a family. We’re so set in our dinner, bath and work routines that I often wish we leaned into impulsiveness more. If my husband ever suggested we play hooky at work the next day to have time as a couple I think I would fall off my chair. But it would also make me so  happy. Even if he suggested we skip work to keep our daughter home from daycare to go to Lego-land or something – I’d love it too.

It’s not just skipping work that has the appeal, it’s the freedom of unscheduled time together where we don’t have to worry about bedtime regimes or alarm clocks and could enjoy the time together. As my daughter gets older, I hope to be the kind of fun parent who occasionally pulls her out of school for us to go to the movies or get mani pedis and just enjoy a day outside of the usual grind. I can’t really remember my parents ever dong that with me, but when we got out of school early for the dentist or the doctor and were rewarded with trips to McDonald’s or somewhere out of the ordinary, I remember just loving it and I still feel that way.

When I’m on vacation, I bask in the lack of schedule, getting up on my own time (or my daughter’s), having a nap, my happiness is instantly magnified. Maybe it’s my daily transit or daily picking up toys and doing dishes, etc. But I just think that as we get older and definitely as we become parents that impulse to do things out of the ordinary or off schedule gets muted. I love a plan and a good list or two (or more, if you ask my husband) to keep my organized and my life in check, but sometimes it’s nice to just throw it all out the window and give in to fun. I hope as my daughter gets older (and I do too) that I remember to take a few last minute adventures.

Tagged , , , ,

The Struggle for the Bright Side

Lately I’ve been wondering if I’m a happy enough person. Do I appreciate what I have? Try to see the positive side? Probably not enough. You work all week, and commute, by the time you eat and bathe your kid it’s shower time and bedtime for you as well. You yearn for the weekend but when it finally arrives, so do a new set of obligations: swimming lessons, groceries, and oh yeah, your house needs cleaning too.

I feel like I should always be spending more time with my daughter while simultaneously thinking I should be cleaning the house or doing 50 other things on my to do list that I’ve been ignoring for weeks. Maybe it’s a delicate balance, where sometimes you shirk your house responsibilities for a trip to the zoo or the park, and maybe sometimes you let Daddy/Daughter time reign and pull out the vacuum cleaner? It just feel like no matter what, one side of the equation is left neglected. Obviously the clear answer would be to hire a cleaning lady and absolve myself from all cleaning related stress and guilt, but alas, it’s just not financially feasible for us.

I try to remind myself that I have a house to clean, a child to spend time with and a partner who is a loving and supportive parent. Not everyone has those things. Then I feel guilty that I don’t appreciate what I have enough, and so the cycle goes.

But truth be told, when you’re child is screaming and crying so hard she can barely breathe because I asked her to put her toy bunny back in her toy bin, it’s hard to focus on the positive. The terrible two’s are real. Make no mistake. We’ve entered into a frustrating and tiring phase of whining and full out tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. I try to treat each situation with patience, but it can be wearing. I guess that’s parenting all over.

But when I check on her at night and see her little face, I’m reminded of all the good things. She is learning her days of the week, she’s potty trained, when she tells me I look pretty as I’m getting dressed in the morning.

It’s hard sometimes not to get caught up in the complaints – go train delays, financial woes, toddler tantrums and a constant yearning for a vacation. I’m sure I’ll lose the battle to see the bright side sometimes, but I’m going to try.

Tagged , , ,