It took getting prompts from the Women’s Money Week list to get me back to blogging. Sorry for my absence, I thought I had run out of things to say (it turns out I still have plenty to talk about).
Women’s Money Week is an annual week leading up to International Women’s Day. The goal of Women’s Money Week is to discuss personal finance related topics that may especially be of interest to women. But don’t worry if you don’t identify as a woman! This week has some pretty good topics. Check the list of topics here.
Monday’s topic was Kids and Work. (and yes, I know it’s Thursday…you know I’m not the speediest blogger around) Let’s dive in.
I feel like this is something that has been on my mind recently. I’m getting married soon, and I’m pretty sure that within, oh, an hour of us officially tying the knot, nosy folks will be asking, “so, when are you having children?” (and probably also, “when are you buying a house?”). Part of it is just people seeing you go through one big life change and assuming that the other big life changes will follow soon after. I get it.
The part I don’t get is why it actually matters to them. Granted, I can be as nosy as them sometimes and hope for my friends to start having kids. Babies are pretty darn cute, and visiting with friends’ children can be fun in small doses.
My fiance and I both want kids eventually. But we have no real idea when we should start having kids. We’re both 29, so we’re probably at the age where we should start seriously considering the whole “having kids” thing. But one thing we also need to consider is the whole “kids and work” issue. Will one of us stay home while the other works full-time? Will we both work and then send the children to daycare? If one of us stays home, who should it be? How will taking these breaks impact our career? We’ll have to crunch some numbers for how much childcare costs vs. salary, and consider the tax brackets we’re in with one vs. two incomes, and childcare tax credits vs. dependent care FSAs. And this is only considering the direct work/money questions. You’d think as a person obsessed with personal finance and planning ahead, I’d have a better idea about all this. But…not so much.
I know there are plenty of other expenses to consider, including everything the baby needs (food, clothing, shelter, DIAPERS) and then there are the future costs of college and everything else beyond the initial baby stage. I know Save Spend Splurge has a listing of all her baby-related expenses so far, as does J.Money.
At any rate, I suppose this post is not fully focused on the Kids and Work issue…. so can I be a little more introspective here for a moment? I see so many friends posting facebook updates about their children. Some friends are stay at home parents, others are juggling full-time work and children. It all seems so overwhelming, like my friends all have magical doing-it-all-and-doing-it-perfectly powers. I suppose that’s the power of facebook, I’ll only see the good moments in their likely hectic lives. But it does make me worry. Will I be a good mother? I hope so. Will I be enough of a mature adult by the time kids come around? Do I have to be?
I’ve heard two different sides of the “when to have kids” idea. Either “you’ll know when you know” you’re ready, or “you’re never ready, but you have kids anyway”. I’m not sure which camp we’ll end up in.
What about you? Have you figured out the Kids and Work thing? What did you end up doing? If you don’t have kids (but you want to have them), do you have a plan? Or are you as clueless as I am?