So as the stock market plummets and my personal investments and private retirement looses 5, 10, 15, 20 percent (yikes!), I can't help but worry for the future with a baby. How are we going to take good financial care of our new family?
I have to calm myself down sometimes as I get more anxious: so my nest egg is not quite as large as it once was and retirement is many years away. We are still ok and our finacial planning has cushioned this economic blow. I think about what a baby really needs. What if we don't buy the $400 stroller or the solid cherry crib? Our child will not know the difference between new and used clothes... so why should I care? One lesson we should all take away from this economic downturn is an awareness of excess. Do you really need name brand clothes? Or furniture? So what if I shop at consignment stores?! The baby will not care.
What our baby will be aware of is who cares for them. Enter the issue of child care. I love my job... in theory. But I already love this baby more. So what if my child wears the same 10 outfits in rotation? But my child will know if I am not around. I can't bear to think about the time that our child needs us and we are not there. I want to comfort my child. I want to feed them, I want to be there the first time they sit up and crawl and walk. I don't want someone else raising them. Here comes my point in a very round about way... even in these hard economic times, I already know I will be home raising our baby. Why? because my husband can provide for our entire family. No, we are not independently wealthy. We do not live above our means. We live in a very modest house and work hard for the benefits we enjoy. We do not spend money that we don't have. Our credit cards are paid off each month. We limit our buying to what we need. If we want something, we save up for it until we can buy it. We have been living like this for many years... maybe because my accountant mother installed an innate sense of finance.
Although being pregnant in these economic times is difficult. It is not impossible. Our economic choices and family planning has given us one very rare and precious gift that even Wall Street cannot strip from us: the ability to have one of us stay home and raise our child. So although our financial future is uncertain, I am certain of who will care for our baby and I would give up my retirement and investments any day for that privilege.