thoughts after one year of parenting – part i
Seeing as Baby TFS (pictured above, in case you hadn’t already guessed) turned one year old the other week I thought it would be time to finally publish some of the incoherent ramblings I’ve written down over the year on my thoughts of fatherhood, but haven’t quite managed to get squeeze them into a coherent post thus far…
“Hashtag where the f**k does all your time go once you’ve had a baby!?!”
I’m hoping this will be entertaining for those who already have kids or are dead set against it (for completely different reasons of course!) and informational for those that are thinking about it.
I’ll try to do it in some sort of chronological order from before the birth date to current time so it hopefully makes some sort of sense. Here we go then!
Kids and FI – There is a common theme (or meme?) that tends to run through the FI world that having kids will totally f**k up any plans for FI. That may be the case when they grow up but so far it hasn’t materialised for us. In fact our spending crept up by a whole £1000 in 2016 compared to 2015, and realistically that was not because we popped out a sprog. Looking at the charts in the post just linked to it is likely that we spent less in 2016 than we did in 2014 so again it just goes to show you that as with most things in life, you can generally choose what you spend.
Buying stuff pre-birth – I would hold fire on as much as you possibly can get away with as you will likely receive many gifts shortly before 1 and after, as well as hand me downs from friends and family who may have recently had babies. Many of these gifts are lovely and useful! What you will need is the basics: Nappies, cotton wool, and a few other consumables, a few baby grows and vests, and a car seat to bring your progeny home from the hospital in. That’s it!
Buying stuff post-birth – As a testament to the fact that the western world is indeed an exploding volcano of waste, there are so many “nearly new” baby sales around nowadays, along with facebook selling groups, that you really don’t need to buy anything new nowadays. Babies tend to grow out of clothes and toys so quickly that the whole “urgh it’s been worn/used by someone else” factor is extremely low here. We obviously did buy quite a few things new – bottles, high chair, cot, pram/travel system, stair-gate, and some clothes spring to mind – but I wouldn’t rule out getting all those things from a nearly new sale if you want to go uber frugal. And all of the little things that you find yourself “needing” as things progress can and should be picked up very cheaply second hand. This confirms pretty much everything Mrs Money Mustache said in her article about what do newborn babies really need
Gift advice – If you know some parents to be and are wondering what to get them I would seriously just ask. I don’t think it’s rude at all and there is nothing worse than getting the 10th set of cute baby grows that you will barely remember to put them in as you have so many. So if you are not sure, just ask! Most of the best gifts we received unsurprisingly came from other recent parents and in fact one of the best was just some home cooked food delivered to our door, much needed when time and sleep is short! So just remember you don’t have to buy something to make it a gift. I would try to avoid flowers or chocolate “for mum” because the last thing you want to be doing is faffing around with a vase etc and some flowers are a bit strong for a little baby as well. And with the chocolates you can be sure that about twenty other people have already thought of that one before you (there is too much of a good thing!). If you are really stuck why not just offer to help out around the house for an hour or so, I know that would go down very well with most new parents with frazzled brains 🙂
Baby entertainment – Apparently there are places where you voluntarily pay to have your little one entertained for an hour or so, but there are so many free or nearly free things around why on Earth would anyone do that? Leave that to the Ivy School pre-schoolers I reckon! Seriously some of the figures I’ve heard of floating about from friends are just silly, like £100 per term for a 1 hour a week session. Yes I know you want only the best for your little genius but I have to be frank and tell you that at this stage of their life they don’t really know what the fuck is going on at best and are at worst of lower intelligence than your average Pug:
Yes I’m afraid to tell you but this guy likely has more common sense and better bowel control than your special little bundle of joy
Baby TFS getting some good honest free entertainment
Spending priorities change, they don’t necessarily go up – Your priorities and therefore budget will also massively change. You are not going to be going out for any fancy dining or getting smashed for at least 6 months after the baby is born and then after that it’s once a month if you’re lucky and have very obliging parents close to hand! So any slight increase in food and baby stuff you need should easily be offset by this fact. I hypothesised that this was the case before she was born and now the results are starting to come in to match the assumption! I won’t make a full conclusion on it just yet as I know we’re only early days. Expenses will no doubt start to edge back to normal in time, but I know deep down already that it will never be normal again in that and many other senses, and this is a good thing! 🙂
I’m saying this presuming that you actually wanted a child to, you know, spend as much quality time with them as possible and see them grow up, not as an living doll to dress up in cute designer clothing or status symbol to boast about in the office, only to dumped on the hired help the minute the next cocktail party invite drops into your inbox. If you are reading this last sentence thinking what is wrong with any of that then maybe you stumbled across the wrong blog by accident! 🙂
random fatherly thoughts
- I for one was fairly skeptical on all the reports from other Dad’s that I know, but I can actually confirm that it is indeed the best feeling in the world when they are finally here and you hold them in your arms.
- As you can see, it turns out that I am a big softie (I knew that all along anyway, hah!) 🙂
- I’m far more chilled out than I thought I would be. Crying and screaming was a big worry, but to be honest it’s no way near as bad when it’s your own kid. Also I thought I would be worried about lot’s of things such as dropping her or silly things like that. Obviously I am extra careful when carrying her compared to, say, a bag of onions, 2 so it is something on my mind to a certain degree, but it’s not keeping me awake at night.
- In general I am taking things as they come and really enjoying that mindset so far. I think it is important not to stress too much over every little detail or thing that crops up. The subject is entirely different but the thinking is very much along the lines of MMM’s classic Tiny Details Exaggeration Syndrome.
The bottom line is… if you were a spendy person or couple pre-baby, you will most likely be one after. Get your spending in check before you decide to procreate and you will find that kids and FI are not mutually exclusive concepts.
stay tuned for part ii – This post is already over 1000 words, and with another nearly 2000 in the bank (yep, seriously!) I don’t want to make it too much of a slog for you. So stay tuned for part ii later in the week!
I would just like to end this with saying I’ve talked a lot about getting support, gifts and hand me downs from our social network. I guess this highlights the benefits of having a strong social network and family ties, or winning friends and influencing people 3 as some might say. But I am also aware that many first time parents through no fault of their own may not have this! This was just my own personal view of how we fared through the first year or so of parenthood, and I know not as many people will have it anywhere this easy – something that keeps me stoically grounded when she’s crying at 3am.
We count our blessing every day for the friends and family, and lovey little daughter we have.
Did I miss anything? Mums and Dads either current or budding, share with me your thoughts!?