Planning for a Baby
We do not need precise plans for having a baby, but we do need general ones. Those general plans also need to cover more than pregnancy and finances.
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Show Notes & Helpful Links
Its the term for the adults still caring for children at home when their own parents care needs rise. It can be complicated, messy and a little uncomfortable. We are here to help navigate.
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Set the table
Planning for a baby flirts with contradiction because we need to plan for children, but there is no perfect time to have them. The planning is really for an option to have them. Without planning they are more likely to come when we are least ready for them or not come at all.
Segment 1: Time line planning
Ryan: Is there a perfect time to have a baby
Leslie: No. There are bad times, but not perfect times.
Too early, too late, and unstable relationship. Teen pregnancy, past fertility window or in middle of career arc, bad relationship
Perfect times? Always something else. Babies are time consuming.
Money consuming, so money does matter (at least for the first 2, after that, until about 6 kids, the money isn’t such the multiplier unless you want to send them to private school.)
Ryan: Middle of career arc? What do you mean by that.
Leslie: Thatcher Plan
Current thinking has us establishing career first, but often means time off at critical promotion stage
Also can mean more time and expense, greater health risks
Biology means reproduction is more time consuming for women, even if dad will be primary care parent. Women often want part time/flex time options at early motherhood stage, if only for recovery.
What already has flexible time: higher ed.
Ambitious woman who wants children can’t waste time on single streaming life goals. Not enough time. In case of motherhood, having children early makes more career sense.
Segment 2: What do you really need?
Ryan: What are the things we really need?
Leslie: Less than we think. More about stability and purpose than financial flexibility or baby registry stuff.
Ryan: What about roles and chores?
Leslie: Decide who is going to do what. The 50/50 definition problem
Ryan: What about the stuff? So much stuff?
Leslie: Yes, and a bunch of it is junk, soon to be clutter and then landfill.
Ideal registry is limited; babies don't actually need a bunch of that stuff.
Think about the activity areas; you will still want some adult space in the household. Same time, you don’t want to go upstairs every time you need to change Peanut’s diaper.
Segment 3: It’s time. Now what?
Ryan: So you are pregnant or about to be. What do you do?
Leslie: Prepare and Get some kid experience.
All the boring life admin like filing and budgeting that we talked about, will start to make more sense now. Get your house and systems in order.
Offer to babysit. Volunteer at your church Sunday school. Call up parent friends to hang. Ask them about this stuff.
Remember to educate yourself on baby info much more than pregnancy info. Child rearing lasts far longer than pregnancy or childbirth.
About planning for longer than pregnancy:
Baby 411, covers the basics of baby care.
The Hurried Child is kind of an expert-with-data version of the slightly satirical Three Martini Playdate. Parenting doesn’t need to be as all consuming as the conventional wisdom would have us believe.
Often without baby experience, new parents turn to experts and data. This article is a recent example of a common lament: when in doubt hit the books and seek experts not experienced elders. But without some practical experience it is hard to be discerning about the data and expert advice.
Fertility diary from a 40 year old woman (diary starts when she was 38). IVF chat rooms have many such stories, as do friends
There are also books about IVF stories.
Incidentally, that 2014 IFV diary style book was not the first of its kind. That was probably Silvia Ann Hewlett’s Creating a Life, which sorta fell down the memory hole.
This article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” by Ann-Marie Slaughter, was The Atlantic’s most shared article ever shortly after it was published. It might still be. Certainly the discussion is still live in society. It is about work/life balance in general — and I have many quibbles or objections to some of her points – but the discussion relevant to this podcast is the subsection titled, “It’s possible if you sequence it right.”