Tag Archives: baby

There’s SO MUCH Baby — STUFF.

Baby stuff is inherently awwwwww-inducing cute because it’s small and therefore it’s adorable. Old me would be spending my entire paycheck already buying random baby things I see along the journey of pregnancy that capture my heart. Slightly less bad-with-money me knows that not only do I not need to buy a bunch of crap for my embryo/soon-to-be-fetus today, I don’t need that crap – ever. 

My preliminary research into “baby shit” (not the literal shit, I’ll deal with that soon enough) — is that there are, not surprisingly, a zillion options for every item you may want to buy. Stroller? How about a foldable one so it fits in your tiny apartment? Or one you can jog with because – while you don’t jog much today, the visual of you jogging with your baby at the local park in the Tesla of Strollers is such a glorious thought? Maybe you should get an expandable stroller (possibly a good idea) so when you have a second kid, you can add a seat easily and not have to buy an entire new stroller in 2-3 years. But, of course, you’re then betting on having a second kid while the other one still wants to be in a stroller (that is the game plan, but with infertility and then maternal age issues, who knows if it will happen.) Get the expandable stroller and it’s heavier than necessary for one kid… why bother? Those jogging strollers sure look nice…

And how about where the baby sleeps? I want my baby to be comfortable — but is it just me or is it ridiculous to spend $200+ on a sleep situation that will last approximately 3 months of your babies life? Even $50 on a bassinet that lasts 3 months may be a poor financial choice if you can invest in a $200 crib that will last at least 2 years.

The good and bad news is that having baby in a one bedroom apartment means that we don’t have a lot of space for baby things. It surely limits us on how much money we’ll waste on nursery stuff… there won’t be much of a nursery to speak of. Luckily our 1 bedroom is quite large and the bedroom itself is huge. We selected the apartment a few years back because it was the only one we found with sizable rooms and a crap-ton of storage space (still no where to put my bike other than the living room, but plenty of shelving and closets.) The bedroom itself is large enough to fit our California King-sized bed, the clunkiest, ugliest in-room air conditioner you’ve ever seen (necessary in the summer, used by my husband year round, brrrr), a random exercise bike, and my husband’s office (desk, printer stand, etc.) It’s a big room.

My thought as of now is that we’ll move the bed out a bit more into the center of the room (against one wall) and turn the corner the bed is against now into the “nursery nook.” We’ll get some kind of side-sleeper arrangement or a crib (I’d prefer something that will scale with age and not last just 6 months or a year.) Some options I’m considering are The Baby Bay Bedside Sleeper ($365) and the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper (~$200).

The other issue / positive thing is that all of these items will make their way to our baby registry, and some family members may contribute to our needs for baby. I hate to say it this way – but in the case of showers, you want to make sure you’re asking for things you really want and need. I kind of failed at this at our wedding (hello five sets of fancy Kate Spade China still sitting in their pretty hot pink boxes on our living room floor.) But, and this is going to sound horrible, you want to get the most out of the registry as well. For instance, your parents may decide to splurge on one really nice item for you — vs thinking about it as a total dollar amount. So they decide to buy your crib. Well, you can ask for a $50 bassinet that will last 3 months, or a $300 crib that will last much longer.

What I don’t want to do is ask for or get a lot of crap. I’m strongly leaning towards not finding out baby’s gender until birth (husband wants to know like, yesterday so he may find out early and taunt me until baby pops out)… but not knowing baby’s gender, besides making it a fun surprise at birth in that magical moment, also makes it much harder for people to buy you stupid gender-specific crap that you don’t need, like one too many light pink onesies.

In any case, my objective is to purchase (or request) as many items that will scale with age, and ideally last for baby #2. I say all this just 5w7d into my gestation and… miscarriage chances are still quite high, so I’m trying to not get too baby-crazed yet. But, y’all can tell, I’m a bit baby-crazed. My husband is too – in a different way. I’ve always teased him that he was “born a dad trying to be cool” and I have to hand it to him, he’s going to be an incredible father. Between just having a natural parental instinct and loving kids in all of their crazy, he’ll be a wonderful dad. And he’s been giddy like a school girl ever since finding out we’re pregnant. It’s totes cute.

Anyway, I guess this blog is transitioning into a mommy blog of sorts by default. I’ll still write about other stuff but right now I have to figure out family / baby finances. Given this blog is anonymous (I hope) I might start another public blog on raising a baby (those mommy bloggers can make some serious bank… this blog isn’t designed for making money, it’s designed for saving money — less visits to therapist, more ranting on HECC!)

So, in terms of what we actually need, there are lots of little items (bottles and such) but I think the primary things are:

  • somewhere to sleep (ideally that scales with age)
  • somewhere to eat (high chair)
  • super safe seat for the car (car seat)
  • stoller (ideally a small one that is portable)
  • changing pads (in lieu of a changing table)
  • baby carry thing (for doing baby yoga. haha. not.) 
  • pack & play w/ basinet (for bringing baby to places other than the living room)
  • swing or jumping thing (I liked to jump as a kid – apparently I was given the name Mexican Jumping Bean. Is that racist? Eh, it was the 80s. Anyway, I want to see if my kid likes to jump too.)
  • Baby bath tub – not sure this is necessary, but super scared of baby drowning so having a smaller tub in the larger tub would be helpful.

I think that’s it? Other than the smaller items like the bottles and bibs and baby spoons and diapers and thermometer and such. Moms/Dads out there, what am I forgetting? Any advice on “must have” baby stuff? And what seems like a must-have but should be avoided?

 

So how does this whole working mother thing work again?

I have no idea what I’m in for this summer, but I do know it’s going to be the hardest year of my life. With the reality of maternity leave (and lack there of) settling in, I’m starting to play for 4-6 weeks off from work (4 weeks are fully paid, 2 would be at ~25% of my salary.)

Today I ran the numbers of taking 4 weeks off prior to my due date and 3 months off after (12 weeks.) Even with some paid leave, I’ll be losing $20,000 worth of salary…. enough to put the baby IN DAYCARE for the entire year. As much as I’d love to stay home with baby, it just doesn’t make sense.

I’m in a bit of a dream world right now… I have absolutely no idea how this all works in a logical, survivable fashion. My husband will be going to school full time this summer and throughout next year in order to get his teaching degree, and I’m due Aug 6. We think his dad will help out with the baby if asked, but I hate to put that on him (he’s not a young guy) – though I think if we pay him a fair rate he’ll at least appreciate the extra income.

Still, I don’t have a clear picture of this working. I really can’t lose my job… and I’m hoping my boss still likes me enough this summer to be flexible with remote working and I can be productive without any sleep. Hah. That’s not possible right? I guess I’ll make it possible. Or I just front load a lot of work by working weekends leading up to birth and try to make it look like I did it all remote?

In all seriousness, though, I’m terrified. I’m 34, I can’t exactly wait any longer to have a baby… but how am I going to make this work? Yes, I have $500k in savings as a cushion, but if we have any hope of affording a house around here (I’m looking at 2br, 2ba houses for $1.3M or $4000 a month in rent) then I cannot give up the salary beyond what’s absolutely necessary. We may not go broke immediately, but all of the work saving and trying to prepare for a not-so-horrible retirement will be ruined – not to mention we have to start saving for baby’s college fund, future wedding, et al.

Is it so absolutely ridiculous to plan to work up until a week or so before my due date, and then go back to work (2-3 days a week working from home) about 6 months after labor (assuming a non surgical birth?)  Some people out there do it because they have no choice – though while it might suck, it’s clearly doable. I’m pretty sure my coworkers and boss would appreciate my commitment to work, especially since I’ll be nine months into the new job when I have to take maternity leave.

Part of me wants to take a lot more leave. I read all these posts about women who wish they took more. I’d really love to take six months off to bond with baby and get used to not sleeping and all of that. I’d be bored, sure, but I think six months is how long a mother should be able to take off when they have a child. It seems to be this much in other countries as par for course.

Six months is definitely not possible with our $2500 1 bedroom rent, insurance costs and baby costs. Is three months something I should just do and hope it all works out in the end? I feel like even if I’m home on maternity leave I’m going to end up working anyway… my job is just so easy to do away from the office… easier to do vs not do. It’s the going to the office bit that’s going to be rough…

I wish we lived closer to my office. It’s only 30 minutes away in no traffic but the times I travel for work hours it’s 45-50 minutes. Not horrible… but I don’t want to spend an extra hour-and-a-half a day traveling when I could be with my baby. I also wish we were closer so I could go home and nurse on lunch breaks. We talked a little bit about moving today, but it just doesn’t make a ton of sense. Our 1 bedroom apartment — while a one bedroom – is quite large… and we have rent control which keeps our rates down a bit. The in-apartment washer and dryer is amazing now and a must-have for baby IMO. The commute is not great, but it could be worse. It will be doable if I only have to go in three days a week…

Even with all of that, I’m just paranoid now because I know I have to go above and beyond at work to secure my position. I’d be doing this now anyway because I want my boss to be happy with my work and I want to help him succeed… but beyond that it’s so important that I connect with other senior leaders in the organization and become not just a disposable employee but someone known for doing great things for the org. I’m taking baby steps towards that… but it’s something I have to fully invest in over the next… seven months. I mean, I really only have seven months before I take leave, if I go on leave four weeks before my due date. That’s so crazy – that’s just over two quarters of work.

Anything can happen in seven months. I could lose my job. I could get sick and need to take more time off. Morning sickness can kick in… as early as next week… and I could be vomiting all day, unable to focus on work at all. So many what ifs…. and this is before the kid is born.

This all makes me long for the olden days when women stayed home and took care of baby and the guy went to work. Scratch that. I don’t really want that. I think I’ll appreciate my job even more when it’s an excuse to get away from a screaming baby and an exhausted cranky husband. 🙂 BUT… the body wants to be near baby. Pumping seems so damn unnatural (because it is.) Yes, there is a mother’s room at work and I’m sure I’ll figure it all out… but pumping takes a lot of time too… I’ll leak and stuff like women do and be embarrassed and it’s all so horrible. My company is like 80%? male like most tech companies so it’s just not a place where there are tons of young mothers. Maybe that’s a good thing because I won’t have to compete for the mom room?

Anyway, I’m probably hallucinating when I think I’ll be able to go back to work at 4-6 weeks, but that’s currently the plan. Without any protected leave I worry for my job. With my stock grant I really need to stay employed and do an amazing job for the full four years… if I do that, and the economy doesn’t totally collapse, I can hit my $1M networth goal and perhaps then start thinking about taking some real time off to spend with my kids. That’s the dream. And I’ll only get there if I succeed in this job and become as irreplaceable as one can in a corporate environment.

Till next time,

HECC

 

The Cost of Childcare: Year 1

As our “being pregnant-ness” sinks in, hubs and I are starting to discuss childcare – you know, keeping our child alive when we’re at work. My husband plans to be going back to school during our kid’s first year of life, being in class from early morning and not getting home until after 7:30pm. I’ll be working 8-7. We definitely need a plan for baby watching.

At the moment, I plan to take 12 weeks off from work. I believe 4 weeks of that will be fully paid, and another 8 weeks will be covered in some part by short term disability. I’m still not sure how that works. But then once those 12 weeks are up, I’m back to work.

My hope is that I can work from home for two days a week, which some people do currently anyway. It will certainly be challenging to work home alone for those two days while also managing a newborn (not quite sure how possible it is) but hoping my boss will be understanding should a baby scream in the background when I forget to put myself on mute in an important meeting.

That, then, leaves 3 days a week for childcare (and possibly a solution to not be alone at home for the other 2 days while I’m working.) I’m having trouble finding out how much non FT (5 days a week) daycare is, but it looks like for the 5 days a week options that’s about $2000 a month here.

I knew it was going to be expensive, but still, yikes.

My husband is considering asking his dad to help. I feel bad about that as I’d like to be self sufficient, but at this rate I’d rather we pay his dad $2,000 a month vs a random daycare facility. Then again, the daycare facility would theoretically know about child psychology and safety, whereas his dad would be grandpa watching the kid while mom and dad are at work.

Either way, I feel ill thinking about how hard we’ve tried to have a kid, and now that we’re pregnant, I have to after 4-12 weeks put my baby in a daycare with strangers for most of the day. It just doesn’t sit right with me… although I know a lot of parents do it. Maybe when the kid is 2, when they can socialize and being around other kids and playing is part of their standard day…. but at 12 weeks they don’t know what’s going on, and I want to be close to them for that first year. Maybe the first six months at least. It’s just not financially possible for us, so unless my boss gives me the green light to work from home full time (and come in for select meetings/projects as needed), we’re going to have to figure this out.

T-15 hours to our first ultrasound: one baby? Two babies? Or more?

It’s a little crazy to think that in 15 hours I’ll be looking at a picture of my uterus and a yolk sack that holds my future child. It’s even more crazy to think that there’s a chance, albeit a small one, that I’ll be looking at two — or more — yolk sacks, and my future “children.”

As much as I dreamt of having twins when I was a little girl, I think I will scream if I’m pregnant with more than one. Long term, having two at once might be ideal – but short team I have no idea how we’ll manage it. I’m already in denial about having one.

It’s probably just one — hopefully one healthy baby. But, two is also a real possibility – since there were two mature follicles when we triggered this cycle… and I just felt like, oh boy, this is a strong one and this is going to be an interesting month. Plus, I saw a double rainbow last week… so I think that might be a sign. 🙂