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Children, advice sought.

Discussion in 'Personal' started by slippeddisc, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. dogcat

    dogcat New commenter

    Just to clarify the £1300 is a month not a year. I would not expect his mother to look after the child 5 days a week, but any help she offered would be a blessing. I have looked into childcare costs and they are around £700 a month minimum for 5 days a week term time only. This is doable between us. We have also talked about us both working 4 day weeks, which is also doable financially.
  2. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    (((Mr Dogcat)))
  3. To the OP: You appear to have made up your mind. I'm not sure what advice you are really looking for here.
  4. There is never a right time and you can wait and wait but will never have enough money. It will happen !
  5. lardylady

    lardylady Star commenter

    Well you shouldn't be thinking about having children then.
  6. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Yeah, thanks. You?
  7. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    I have 2 children - my eldest will be 3 in June and my youngest will be 1 in May. My husband and I have been together for just over 9 years and married for nearly 4.
    When i got pregnant with our first I was on M4, and my husband was earning slightly less than an M4 salary. We still had a couple of debts then, but I was able to sell my convertible car and buy a much cheaper (and more baby friendly) one and use what i'd made to get me through maternity leave, plus I had some savings. If you plan on waiting a year then start saving now!
    Maternity pay is ok, but not great. You get 2 weeks full pay, 4 weeks of 90%, then 12 weeks of 50% plus SMP (which is about £510 a month), then you get just SMP up to 39 weeks and then nothing. At the moment you get child benefit, which is £20 per week for your first child, but that'll probaby be means tested soon. You can also apply for tax credits, but it's unlikely you'd get much, if anything.
    We were really lucky as my parents helped us buy lots of things like the pram, car seat and nursery furniture. You can buy things like that on ebay though, or just don't go for the most expensive one!
    I took 9 months off with my first child, and managed ok. I didn't use my car much, just walked everywhere, so hardly had to buy petrol. I sold some old clothes and things on ebay. I got a cheaper mobile phone contract, switched elec and gas providers to a cheaper one etc
    I went back to work 0.5 after my first, and was only back at work 14 months before i went on maternity leave again! I'm going back next week after a year off.
    My parents live nearly 300 miles away, and although my husband's mum is local she works and hardly ever helps out with childcare. We live in a 2 bedroom 2nd floor flat. And we cope, so there's no reason why you couldn't. My husband does shift work too.
    With young children you don't need to spend a lot of money, they're happy with trips to the park, beach, toddler groups etc
    We don't have that much spare money, but we don't go without.
    I know others have mentioned your relationship, but I guess you'll have to see how that is in a year's time. The lack of sleep, post baby blues etc really does test your relationship so if it's not strong then you'll find that hard.
    Hope it works out for you.
  8. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    Hard to argue.
    How can you plan children if you're getting prickly over questions about your relationship?
    Sounds to me like you're a very organised person, who always has a plan. You probably make lists and are 'driven' - you have all the finances worked out and scrutinised.
    While you have to be able to afford a child, you don't decide you want from a spreadsheet, it comes from your heart, from deep hormonal feelings. It's not to be simply added in and fitted around your career plan.
  9. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    My perspective - a couple in a committed relationship - great basis for having kids. A single committed parent - same. Rocky relationship - potential disaster.
  10. clear_air

    clear_air New commenter

    Not got much to add, except these things:
    1. You never know how you will feel about the baby until they come along. You might find that you WANT to stay at home with them - could you if you wanted to? Would you have a choice?
    2. What kind of 'qualifications' do you feel are necessary for the father of your child(ren)? Here are mine: a man I can respect, someone who won't let me down when I am at my most vulnerable, someone who is able to provide for me and the family when we are unable to provide for ourselves, soemone who is kind and loving to the children, especially as they grow away from me. Someone upon whom I can depend - a partner. Someone who loves me as I love him. Have a good, long, practical think about what you need in a life partner - I really couldn't respect a man who let me down in the 'manly' department.
    3. How does your partner see his role in parenting? What does he want from the mother of his children? Is he really happy with a woman who is more successful in her job than him?? He's a rare beast if he is.
    4. How committed are you in your relationship? Now, this is a personal view, and I speak as the product of an eventual broken marriage (my parents split after I was married myllef, after a long and unhappy marriage), but I think that unless you are bound together seriously, ie., you have set out your intent to stick together, COME WHAT MAY, in order to provide a stable and happy home for the children you hope to raise, then you really shouldn't. If you have doubts, then it's not OK to bring children into that. It's not fair on them. The repurcussions go way beyond co-parenting when the kids are small - which you already know.
    4. Finances work themselves out because they have to.
    5. Babies have a tendency to have their own agenda. For all the careful planning in the world, they don't turn up when you want them to, they do when you don't, they are completely different to how you expect, and they are more than unsympathetic to any relationship difficulties you may have.
    So, I suppose what I'm saying is this: get the relationship right. Marry your man (if you think you can make the decision that he is a good bet, and you think between the two of you you can make a go of it - this is my practical head talking). After that, then see. By all means get a nice home and make some financial plans. But don't expect motherhood to be anything like you think it will be. Make sure you have a backup plan in a man you can rely on to take care of you and the little one(s). Motherhood is debilitating and animalistic. It is weakening and it makes you vulnerable. You need that man in that moment, so you had better make sure he's a good 'un.
    Sorry, that was only supposed to be a couple of sentences!!
  11. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    I think that's a great post, clear_air. Considering that only six weeks ago dogcat was stating that the relationship had no future because her partner wasn't prepared to be more ambitious/driven and make changes, I think you have it spot on.
    Of couse relationships fail but if you're not convinced you love and respect someone enough to attempt to form a lifelong relationship, considering children seems selfish and foolhardy to me.
  12. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Lil, I've sent you a pm.
    OP, £1300 a month sounds OK, I thought you meant a year! There are plenty of people earning that kind of money who still have families. Yes, if that's all one partner earns then the other will have to work as well.
  13. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    Unexpected things can happen with pregnancies.
    I always insisted that I would not stay at home when I had my children, but I soon realised that these things were not entirely in my control.
    I had 2 miscarriages, and after the second one, I became quite depressed.
    I was off work for 2 weeks before my 2nd miscarriage as they needed time to be sure there was definitely no heartbeat. I was then off work for 6 weeks after that. I went back to work, becoming pregnant again after several months, and within 2 weeks of finding out I was pregnant, found myself hospitalised for what was to be 8 weeks, with severe hyperemesis gravidarum. During this time, I also had a large bleed.
    I worked for a private company, who covered my pay at their own discretion, at full pay for weeks and half pay thereafter - I was lucky, as they didn't have to.
    I managed to return later in my pregnancy for several weeks only, to make sure I could get my maternity pay.
    I had by this stage developed really bad ante-natal depression, and had to do some serious thinking,
    It became obvious to me, that my priorities were changing. I had already lost 2 babies, been very ill in the pregnancy and had then thought I was going to lose it with the big bleed.
    I knew I wasn't going to be able to commit to both my job and the baby after all this, and I resigned (I had a very senior position).
    I did return to work part-time, in a less repsonsible position when she was 4 months old, even though I now realise I had severe post-natal depression.
    I had another miscarriage, when she was 1 year old, after having been hospitalised (and missing her 1st brithday party) for several weeks, with hyperemesis gravidarum.
    Again I returned to work, but 1 year later I was pregnant again, and hospitalised for 12 weeks with hyperemesis gravidarum. I also had bleeding during this pregnancy too.
    I could not go back to work, as I continued to be sick until the end of the pregnancy.
    Again I developed severe post-natal depression, and shortly after that my eldest child was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
    I continue to suffer from depression/anxiety/OCD.
    I haven't worked since before I became sick with my last pregnancy.
    Why am I telling you all this? I am telling you all this because, having babies isn't as simple as we think sometimes, and things can go wrong. My husband and I both had reasonably good salaries, but we were reduced to half our income, and were lucky to be able to manage.
    These years put untold emotional stress on us both. I had been a very strong, very organised person, and I became the complete opposite.
    We were lucky to have a really strong, committed relationship, and it had to be.
    When I was in hospital for 12 weeks, while expecting my second child, my husband was responsible for everything. He had to look after my daughter alone but he had to work as well. His parents were unable to offer any support, and my mother only able to offer minimal help, as she is not very well.
    Then when all that was over, we had the realisation that something was not as it should be with our daughter, and she was diagnosed with AS. We had all the fights etc that came with that. Then it became apparent that our 2nd daughter had the condition as well, and we have been fighting for her diagnosis for years.
    Is your relationship in a state that you will survive as a family, if things go wrong? Because you will definitely need each other. Our situation was bad enough, but some families have to face much worse - a terminally ill, or life-limited child.
    You should not be entering into these decisions, saying that you don't know if you will be together forever. Your child needs you to at least plan to be together forever. Some relationships don't last forever, and that will always happen - but starting on the footing where you are not sure that you want to be together forever, is not ideal.
  14. clear_air

    clear_air New commenter

    Thanks ils. I had a lot of time to think when I was at home with my babies. My son was born with an unexpected case of Down Syndrome. As Doglover points out so well, having babies is not as uncomplicated as it seems. Life has a way of chewing you up, and, if you want to get through it you need to select your partner carefully, or your very special children (all children are special to their parents - or they should be) don't stand a chance.
    Having children is more than giving in to the urge to having a fluffy baby to cuddle. It is blood, sweat, tears; the long haul.
  15. dogcat

    dogcat New commenter

    Thanks for all the comments, especially to those of who you have been very honest about your own personal situations.
    For now we are just going to enjoy being back together and are looking to move in together at the end of the year.
    If things go well then in 12-18months I will come off the pill and see if it happens for us.
  16. Yup, not only that, they might be born with a whole host of problems which will turn your world on it's head....Not everyone gets the perfect baby with the perfect childhood....
    A baby changes your life forever, even when it turns into a fully grown adult. It's a lifetime tie...and I get so fed up with people who don't see further than a pink or blue bedroom and a 'bundle of love'. The novelty wears off after a very short while...and life is a slog, even though you love your infant. Not that I am suggesting you are doing that OP, but if a baby has two committed parents it makes life with a child slightly easier. Your relationship probably needs lots of work before you BOTH embark on baby-making and a lifestyle very different from the one you have now. Will he stick around when the going gets tough - as it will? (I speak from sad experience...)
    The hormones might be screaming "baby" but let the head make the decision and be sure your man wants the same thing.
  17. dogcat

    dogcat New commenter

    To be honest he is a 'sticker', I am the commitment phobe not him. He has a firm belief that when the going gets tough you hang on in there, whereas I am a 'runner'. That does not mean he won't change, but it would be very unlikely that he would leave, he would have to be pushed especially if his child was involved.
    In many ways our gender stereotypes are reversed. If it was up to him alone then I would be coming off the pill in the next few months, as he thinks we will be together forever and that we can face anything together. He maintains this view despite our recent split.
  18. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    You are being very honest. So what will you do when you have a baby and the going gets tough (which it will)? Stay or run?
    Of course, bringing up a child by yourself is not uncommon but it's not easy. The child comes first and this can have a massive effect on your work and lifestyle.

  19. dogcat

    dogcat New commenter

    I would like to think that I would stay, as this would be best for my child as my partner is a very kind and loving guy. My mum is a runner and left my dad taking me with her, I don't want history to repeat itself!
    It is another reason why we are not ready yet, I need to accept that maybe us being happy and getting on is normal and not be waiting for it to all go wrong!
  20. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Dogcat in post 8 you state "it is his life not mine and if this is where he chooses to stay that is upto him."
    It isn't just your life and his life as separate entities, it is your future children's lives and you and your OH as a partnership. Yes we shouldn't try to change our partners, but both should be flexible and ready to compromise and crucially you both need to be sure you are compatible for both your sakes and especially the children's.
    Your attitude to relationships reminds me of one of my single parent friends, single because her hubby did a runner, not through choice. She was also brought up by a very driven, strong single mum who instilled the same mantra as yours in her about being able to go it alone. To her, her OH doing a runner just confirmed her belief in what she felt was bound to happen. Her OH actually left because he felt she was a little cold/ distant and not truely given over to the relationship, which she wasnt because she expected it to end and was so busy playing the part of a strong woman, she didnt need him. I dont mean to offend but IMO both her mother and yours have done you no favours and have given you a warped view of relationships. Maybe this is something you need to work through for the sake of both this relationship or any others you may go on to have, possibly seek counselling.
    As for children, i always wanted to stay at home when my children were young and went back supply and then PT when the oldest was 3. My OH only had an average wage at the time but we managed. Crucially and this is why you are right to plan ahead, we got a mortgage that we knew we could pay on one wage, so I could give up work. We had savings built up. We went down to the bare minimum ie one car if public transport was good (possible with first child not when we moved with the second) we had PAYGo mobiles, no SKY, low cost or no holidays, relatives bought pram and cot, had lots of handme downs, set budgets for the week and stuck to it, took pack lunches instead of buying dinners etc.
    Childcare with family---think carefully. One friend had to use her MIL but it caused so much tension due to MIL having different views on bringing up children. Also think about the age of the grandparents and what you will do if they become too ill or infirm, which can happen suddenly. Childcare such as childminders and nurseries will often want you to pay during school hols as well, as your child would be taking up a FT place, so make sure you factor this in. Childminders tend to be more flexible on this and in my opinion are far better then nurseries anyway, especially when they are babies. But thats a whole other argument!
    I had a friend that was very career driven like you and was convinced she would return to work FT and she did after only 6m as she didnt want to be off too long as SMT. However she hated it and eventually resigned SMT and returned 0.5. Now her children are older she is back to FT and is now a DH. Make sure you can afford to change your mind about going FT as it will be very hard if you havent got that choice. Also remember that your career is likely to be 40 + years, so 5 years out isnt going to make much difference in the scheme of things. You dont have to be a head before 35, 45 or even 55 is just as good if that is where you see yourself.

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