When it comes to planning for our babies, I feel like there are many services out there available to help us. I’ve been given the names and phone numbers of not one, but three lactation counselors by friends who have breastfed. Not sure how much it will help, but you better believe I’m totally into fitness guru Tracy Anderson’s nine-month workout, partly because she claims it can help ease the discomfort of labor (can’t testify to that yet, I m afraid, but so far, I love how she alters her workouts each month with new routines designed to keep you comfortable given the changes your body is undergoing in that particular month). We can tour our hospitals, get great information about what we should pack in our hospital bags, and even make arrangements to save our baby’s stem cells.
But how many of us can say we are whizzes when it comes to financially planning for our children? I know it is certainly stressing me out lately. My husband and I are in the process of selling our small, one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn and buying a house in the (gasp) suburbs. We have so many spreadsheets you’d think we were selling stocks out of our co-op. We have a spreadsheet that compares test scores from the various school districts we are investigating. We have spreadsheets for different house price points and mini sheets within them that tally up numbers based on various tax amounts we might have to pay. Oh, there’s a sheet for our expenses and savings provided I bring in a good deal of income from freelancing, and a sheet that shows what our situation would look like if everything went to pot. Sheets, sheets as far as the eye can see!
But we’ve been flying by the seat of our pants a bit when it comes to baby expenses and how much more to factor in on our family budget sheet. Will breastfeeding work this time around? If so, how much money would that save? At least a million dollars a month, according to those who nurse, right? What if I find breastfeeding to be too much to handle with a toddler to care for as well, and what if New Baby just so happens to have a milk allergy and our formula winds up costing 10 dollars more than every other? These things do happen.
I almost forgot that I have a toddler in diapers who is resisting the potty. Does this mean I will definitely have two in diapers? Because that’s going to be an insane expense. Also, my toddler starts preschool soon = money. And another thing – since I sent Kiera to dance class and Gymboree, won’t I have to do the same for New Baby? It’s going to cost a lot of money to ensure we’re treating them both equally.
It certainly seems to add up, doesn’t it? But another amazing thing happens just as you’re pulling your hair out about baby expenses. You find yourself spending just a little bit less on yourself. I certainly don’t go out with friends to restaurants as much – and my husband gets out, maybe, once a week for a few beers. My beauty routine has been simplified so that Cetaphil facial cleanser (at a lovely $9 a bottle) and a swipe of drugstore mascara suffice on most days. Can we bridge the gap by spending even less on our own needs? Probably. I’m betting we won’t even miss all those dinners we used to order. At least not that much.