When my son was around eight months old, I remember glancing at our bank statement and wondering where all our money had gone. I then reviewed my receipts and credit card charges from the previous couple of months and saw a number of repeat offenders: diapers, wipes, infant vitamin supplements, and feeding supplies. When I complained to my husband about how much we were spending, he reassured me that soon enough, our son would graduate from the infant stage and become a toddler, and with that would come a world of savings.
“Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.” Those words of American economist Thomas Sowell from his book “A Conflict of Visions” sometimes offend new parents who, looking at their precious bundle of joy, can’t imagine the stubbornness and temper tantrums that await them. Infants are born demanding their parents’ full attention. They are easily frustrated and often defiant. Fortunately, as they grow, they are capable of learning empathy, cooperation, and sharing – skills that are essential as they mature and interact with others.
When our son was a baby, my husband and I kept his birthday parties simple and low-key, limiting the guest list to just family. We figured that since our son wasn’t old enough to know the difference, there was no need to spend a small fortune on a party he wouldn’t even remember. However, his third birthday posed more of a challenge because by then he’d reached the age where he was being invited to playmates’ birthday celebrations. We realized that our minimalist family gatherings might be too exclusive and couldn’t compare to some of the more elaborate birthday extravaganzas he’d attended.
As any parent knows, kids’ toys are pricey – and children outgrow them quickly. It can drive you nuts dropping a big wad of cash on this year’s hottest item during the holidays, only to see it sitting neglected in a corner of your kid’s room by the time spring rolls around.
And worse, all those abandoned toys don’t just vanish when your child loses interest – they pile up on the shelves, on the bed, under the bed, and in every corner of your child’s room, until you can hardly open the door without triggering an avalanche.
I went back to work full-time just three months after having my first child. Though I knew I’d be losing a significant chunk of my salary to daycare costs, plus a bit more to commuting expenses, the numbers painted a pretty clear picture: Going back to work was the right move financially.
However, the decision was much trickier from a logistical perspective. Since my husband and I each had a fairly long commute, we knew we’d have to tweak our schedules to allow for timely daycare pickups and drop-offs. We simply weren’t comfortable hiring a nanny, and the cost would’ve been prohibitive. Plus, from an emotional standpoint, the idea of leaving my baby behind for the day wreaked havoc on my brain, so much so that I often found myself tearing up the moment I boarded that bus to the city.
Registering for or purchasing baby supplies may be one of the most intimidating jobs for a parent-to-be. There’s a seemingly endless array of brands and styles, and a quick search on Pinterest or Etsy can leave anyone feeling overwhelmed.
When shopping online and reading reviews, you may find strong opinions among parents and caregivers who are convinced that a certain brand or product is the only acceptable one. Of course, as soon as you’ve read one review, the next one may sway you in the complete opposite direction. However, once you do decide what to buy, you’ve got to decide when to buy.
My husband and I were married for several years before we were ready to even talk about having kids. We wanted time to travel, build our careers, and simply be together without having to worry about diaper changes and pediatrician appointments.
Once we were ready to consider a family, we came up with a checklist of financial criteria we needed to meet before taking the plunge. It was a daunting task, but we wanted to make sure we were financially stable before bringing children into the mix.
Before I had kids of my own, I remember attending a baby shower where the majority of the guests already had children. As I sat and listened to them bemoaning their endless expenses and mounting bills, I couldn’t even pretend to commiserate. At the time, my husband and I were planning a week-long trip to Europe and we’d recently signed a contract to build a fabulous deck for our home.
Fast-forward a few years and three kids later, and I now know those women weren’t exaggerating. Having a baby costs serious money, and while you can take steps to minimize some of the baby expenses involved, many are simply unavoidable.
When my husband and I set out to have a second child, we never imagined we’d be blessed with a bonus baby. But sure enough, when I went for my first trimester ultrasound around the eight-week mark, there it was: the image of twins floating around in my belly.
That day, we experienced a host of emotions, ranging from unadulterated happiness to complete and utter panic. Adding not one, but two children to the mix was going to be a challenge not only logistically, but financially. We realized we’d need to be really smart – and creative – if we wanted to keep our costs manageable.
While constitutionalists and libertarians can argue about the rights of free speech on the Internet, it’s an entirely different matter when you’re the victim of sustained harassment or threats of physical violence. According to a Pew Research poll, 73% of adult Internet users have seen someone harassed online, and 40% have been victims.
Another Pew poll states that one in ten adult Internet users (10% male, 6% female) have been physically threatened or continually harassed for a sustained period. Pew also reports that teens are more likely than adults to experience hostile or cruel behavior online with real-world consequences. More than one-quarter of adult Internet users (29%) report experiences that resulted in face-to-face arguments, physical fights, or got them in trouble at work, and more than half of teenage Internet users (52%) report similar consequences.
The idea of the “push present” – a gift given to a new mom after she’s had a baby – is pretty new, but it has caught on like wildfire. Traditionally given to the new mother by the new father, push presents are also becoming more common among friends and relatives.
The difference between a push present and a traditional baby shower gift is that a push present is a gift intended for the new mom, rather than the baby. Instead of strollers and onesies, they’re more along the lines of jewelry. The push present is meant to signify gratitude to the mother for the last nine months of pregnancy, and the work and attention it took to culminate in a healthy birth.