Financial Affordability & Children

Had a great weekend, and loved spending Halloween taking my God Children trick or treating(I wish I could put up pictures).  On Halloween(before I took my God Children trick or treating) I had deep discussion with a friend of mine who is engaged to be married and who is really anxious about having children.  The conversation centered around how much she believes she needs to make in order to have children ASAP.  She believes that all you need is love, a steady paycheck(even if it’s slightly above minimum wage), shelter, and supportive family and friends. I agreed but also stated that she should at least make enough to afford the basics, and to also provide a good solid foundation for the child. This was a hard pill to swallow for her because admittingly she isn’t at all financially prepared for a child–like most young twenty somethings she has student loans, debt, and a below-median salary which doesn’t really afford her many luxuries and also barely keeps her afloat. Her fiance is in a similar position. Needless to say when she found out I was taking my God Children trick or treating I could sense in her voice that the topic was a very sensitive point for her–knowing that she wants to have children, hearing about me spending time with children, but also being aware that she isn’t in the position(realistically) to have children. She claims that at 24 her biological clock is ticking and that it depresses her that she isn’t able to have a child(sooner rather than later).

Later on that night, after I was done trick or treating I talked to my best friend(the mother of my God children) about the conversation I had with my other friend(the one who is engaged). She was on the side of my “engaged” friend. This is probably because she had her children with the idealist approach that all you need is: love, a steady paycheck, and support. Yet she is very much struggling right now and isn’t at all where she thought she would be financially. So listening to these two give their opinions about why you don’t need to be completely “stable” before having children was really intriguing to me. These were some of the reasons that they believed that having a kid even when one isn’t completely financially prepared is okay:

1. Babies don’t need very much(they only need love)

2. Hand-me-downs, used baby furniture, and baby showers are good enough for covering the basics (in other words, she won’t have as much out-of-pocket expenses by relying on these things).

3. She can build wealth later on(she already has her degree and is in the beginning of her career).

4. She can cut corners the first 4 years of the baby’s life(i.e. breast feeding instead of buying formula, using clothe diapers, living in an apartment, relying on family members to watch the child to avoid daycare costs, and so on).

5.  You can never be financially prepared for a child.

 

All of this sounds nice and I’m now on the fence. A part of me thinks that is possible for a financially unstable person to “wing” it by doing the things listed above though another part of me(the more cynical side) feels as though this sort of thinking is far too idealistic and does the parent and the child a disservice.

What is your opinion?

 

Having a Baby Can Break Bank

I found a really helpful article for first time parents on how to budget when planning to have a baby. Found the article from the Herald Sun.  Article is below:

“An explosion of high-end baby gear is putting pressure on mums to spend big.

The cost of raising a baby, including childcare, prams, cots, clothing and doctors’ bills, is now $9840 a year on average, research by Practical Parenting magazine shows.

But Carmel McCartin, who runs budgeting website Budget Bitch, estimates parents could save thousands by taking shortcuts.

New top of the range prams can cost $1400, while a mid-range stroller is $500-$600. But eBay sells them near-new for hundreds of dollars less. Other tips include joining a babysitter club with other mothers to avoid up to $100 a day in childcare costs.

Free baby gear can be found at freecycle.org, and hiring a baby capsule from the local council will cost between $70 and $100 with a refundable bond.

For those who have the time, cloth nappies are an economical alternative. Estimates suggest a child will have an average of 6500 nappy changes from birth to toilet training, costing more than $3000.

But terry towelling nappies cost about $3 each, while more effective modern cloth nappies can cost about $25 each new – an overall outlay of about $700.

Real Mums founder Amanda Cox said parents were bombarded by shops selling items they did not need.

“Most of it is manipulation … to get you to buy things you don’t actually need but they want you to have,” she said.

Ms Cox said change tables were handy, but a simple change mat on a bed or floor, or even a folded up towel could suffice.”


Teen Mom Review Episode 5.

I gave a review last week on Teen Mom episode 4, and I’ve decided that I’ll keep doing the reviews until the season is over. My friend asked me why I’m even writing about Teen mom on a blog that is targeted mainly toward: women, moms, parents, families, fundraisers/non-profits, and people who love to write, and collect stationery. My response is that Teen Mom is a show about parenting(even at it’s worse), and it’s a show about teen mothers–a demographic group that can’t be overlooked. I also feel that the show itself should be a bit concerning to parents with young teens because the show does tend to create the “I want a baby” syndrome among our teens. It’s important to talk about the types of shows that are influencing our children, and it’s just as important to remember that teen moms are parents too and that this show does in many ways signify a group of women(teen moms) that are ostracized for being young parents.

So here is the review:

Maci- I love this girl. Again I don’t think that Maci represents the average teen mom, but I do think that she represents a GOOD mother–regardless of age–and that is why I find her character refreshing. Unlike the other girls on the show, she puts Bentley “first”. Every decision she makes is somehow related to Bentley’s best interest. On episode 5 Maci opted out of going to a college party to stay with Bentley, she also made sure that her new boyfriend got along with Bentley before calling him her “boyfriend”. Those types of decisions are what make Maci the type of “teen” mother that young women should look up to–if they are in a similar position. It seems as though this season her “drama” has mellowed out. Especially if we consider that last season her and Ryan were always having issues. For that reason her story line in season 2 is a little boring. Thus I don’t have too much more to stay about her in this particular episode other than: I’m still not sure what she sees in Kyle. On one hand Kyle proves that looks aren’t important–inner qualities, and the ability to treat a partner right and be supportive and understanding is much more important for a boyfriend and a potential father to Bentley. Ryan proved opposite. On the other hand their relationship on camera makes it difficult to measure how right the two are for each other. I will say that if he treats Maci as good as she lets on, then we have little to worry about in regards to Bentley. Her date looked fun, and Kyle did seem to do well with Bentley.

Amber-She never ceases to amaze me. She has some qualities that would make her a really good mother, but the way she reacts to things, her temper, and the way she communicates with people is far from desirable. To start, I thought it was so cute that Gary was dressed in an Easter bunny outfit. I was hopeful-at that point-that their relationship had gotten stronger and the two were learning to come together to be good parents for Leah. I was wrong. Amber gets snappy with Gary for not continuously jumping up and down in his Easter costume–when it’s clear that Gary is very overweight and isn’t used to strenuous exercise. That was the first strike. Then she and Gary head over to Gary’s mother’s home for Easter Dinner. Gary’s step dad(who I can’t comment on without chuckling, just based primarily on his physical appearance) made it clear during Amber’s engagement announcement, that he did not want anything to do with Amber’s dad. This sent Amber into hysterics. She became extremely disrespectful, went off on Gary’s Step dad and jumped up from the table. This was strike two. She then marched off, did not want to talk with Gary, did not finish her meal or thank Gary’s mom for the meal, and then went off on Gary AGAIN on the phone for a variety of other reasons. This was strike three. All of these actions mimic those of someone who is still immature, short-tempered, and is desperate need of some sort of counseling so that she can learn how to communicate normally with people. I was surprised that Gary apologized to her. I honestly did not feel like he was wrong in this episode. Yes Gary’s step dad was offensive. Amber was right to defend her dad. But the line was drawn when she became disrespectful. Yes Gary attacked her mothering skills–but from how Amber is portrayed on camera, I’m sure Gary was accurate in describing how she raises Leah. If anyone should have been apologizing, it should be Amber–for being immature, disrespectful and not communicating. Once again the fact that this up and down relationship has not yet come to an end amazes me. I feel bad for Leah, because this type of household is very dysfunctional, which makes it an extremely unhealthy environment for the toddler. I also suspect that shortly after these two get married, that they’ll be filing for divorce.

Farrah— Farrah reminds me of a really good friend of mine who is also a young mother. Farrah is constantly making impulsive irresponsible decisions without any thought about the outcome or if she’s even ready for the possible outcome. The car situation is just one example of Farrah’s poor decisions. Though there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I think that having this situation happen to her MAY cause her to make better decisions in the future. Though on the other hand, my friend seems to continue to make impulsive decisions and can’t seem to learn from any of her faulty choices and she is VERY similar to Farrah. I hate to say it, but a part of me thinks that Farrah will continue making decisions that are NOT necessarily in Sophia’s best interest. For instance leaving a 1-year-old baby on a bed without monitoring her(when she was talking on the phone to her banker) was a terrible decision. It was no surprise when Sophia fell. This is an example of how Farrah makes decisions that are really in HER best interest–not Sophia’s–and Sophia is simply used as a way to “mask” why she is doing some of the things that she is doing. In other words Farrah is still very selfish, which is normal for a teenager, but in a parent–someone that is supposed to be selfless–it’s far from desirable. And though I’m glad that she isn’t relying on her parents for financial support, I’m saddened that Farrah and her friend believe that Farrah needs to do everything on her own. Yes a part of being an adult is being responsible and taking care of yourself. But every now-and-then we need advice from family and our support systems and since Farrah is so young and immature I almost think that getting advice from a parental figure would be better than this “on my own” approach. One of the highlights of this story line was seeing Farrah’s mom clean up vandalism. :-0

Catelynn- I don’t have much to say about her story line. I feel bad for Catelynn because I’m starting to notice a ton of co-dependency with her and Tyler’s relationship. I’m not sure if it’s a result of the adoption(which I believe that both Catelynn and Tyler seriously regret) or if it’s just a result of her traumatic childhood. But it seems that she’s really latched on Tyler–far more than she should be at her age. I also wish that she had a role model to look up to, because her mother doesn’t seem to be that “together” (of course she wouldn’t considering she’s a recovering alcoholic). Whenever her and Tyler get into it, rather than getting that “needed” advice from her mother, her mom typically retorts, “He’s just like Butch”. Which isn’t in any way helpful or supportive. Tyler, at least, has his mother to come to for advice, Catelynn has no one BUT Tyler and I suspect that he–as well as Carly–is what is holding her together. I’m glad that this silly conflict about this EX boyfriend is over. It was obviously scripted so that Catelynn and Tyler could have a “little” drama and so that MTV could find a way to make these two characters relevant on the show. One thing I will say is that I do think that this show MAY be doing a disservice to this couple in helping the two get over their decision to give Carly away for adoption. I also feel that this couple MAY cause more teens to NOT want to give their children up for adoption–even when it’s necessary–for fear of having the emotional setback and regret that these two have had throughout these last two seasons. Only time will tell. But overall as the season goes on it appears more and more that the two wish that they did NOT give up their child for adoption, and though they often justify their decision and seek validation, it’s clear that they wish they hadn’t made the decision. I can’t help but feel that the decision that was made, was simply a symptom of lack of parental support and guidance.

Find it a bit amusing when I was browsing around Walmart and saw Amber and Maci’s pictures on a US Weekly Magazine cover.