The Mental Gymnastics of Family Planning
Laura Marie

I’m a single mom by choice, so I did a TON of planning to feel comfortable getting pregnant and having a child on my own. I saved up as much as I could and my family has given some generous financial gifts that helped with the unexpected costs. My two biggest unanticipated expenses were:

  1. Formula (low milk supply, so baby’s been exclusively on formula for about two months now). That’s ~$110 every four weeks with a subscription discount.
  2. Needing to hire a nanny due to insanely long wait lists for daycare (more than a year at the two places in my town that actually take infants). I got super lucky and found a wonderful nanny who charges less than the going rate, but I’m still paying ~$2500 a month including taxes. It doesn’t help that, as a single parent, I need child care for the full duration of my work day and commute — I can’t stagger start times with a co-parent to reduce child care hours.

It’s mentally tough spending more than I make every month, even though I prepared for it by saving and am getting help from my family.

On the other hand, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how generous people are with hand me down baby stuff (so much of it gets used for just a few weeks or months that I think they are happy to see it get a new life). I was given more baby clothes than I could ever use, various swings and bouncy seats, bottles, four breast pumps, a spare car seat, a snap’n’go, toys galore, an activity mat, a Moses basket… and that’s just the used stuff! If I’d been really aggressive about hunting stuff down I probably could have gotten everything as a free hand me down.

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