Were You Realistic About the Cost of Parenting?
I am a planner. If I have something coming up, I want to plan it down to the closest detail. I’ve been known to drive friends and family crazy by asking what will happen and when it will happen, even if the event is weeks – or months! – away. I like plans. They keep things organized.
So when we had a baby it is no surprise I spent quite a lot of the nine months of pregnancy in planning mode. (Yes, you can laugh. I realize now what a massive waste of time that was, since nothing ever goes according to plan when it comes to children and parenting!) One thing I planned through thoroughly, or so I thought, was the cost of childcare. I did this because I’m a planner, yes, but also because I decided to take a leave from work to raise my little one, and I knew we would be losing a pretty decent income during that time.
So how did it work out for me?
About the same way planning for childbirth (hoped for natural, didn’t happen), planning for nursery arrangements (thought she’d be in her nursery from day one, didn’t happen), and planning for naps when she got older (planned two naps a day at certain times, didn’t happen).
I had a budget outlined that I based on research of various childcare necessities, like medical expenses, diapers, and food, but each month my estimate was off. Way off. Like, by a hundred or more dollars off. And in the negative, not the positive. We spent more than we expected on childcare those first six months (at least).
Of course it was all worth it, and what we overspent on that we cut back on in other expenses, like dinner out. I think it is difficult to gauge the reality of childcare expenses before you become a parent. You can plan, but sometimes planning doesn’t cut it. (Trust me!)
Of course, I have learned a lot about needing to plan for things since this time. I am a little less strict about what I do in advance of events, since I know, especially when you have children, things can happen quickly to change the plans you so delicately laid. I still plan, but not as much.
What about you? Has the cost of parenting been about what you planned for, or did you under or over guess the expenses involved?
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