Parenting is stressful.
It’s challenging, it’s tiring, and worst of all, it’s important. I don’t care if you have one kid, two kids, five kids, or are the Duggars. Being a parent is like living inside a pressure cooker. And, it gets hotter every day.
Especially when you turn up the heat by having multiple children. You know what they say: Mo kids mo problems!
When you have kids, your normal everyday fears (the generic stuff everyone worries about) – health, finances, the future, if the new Star Wars trilogy will actually deliver – are immediately multiplied, because now, on top of your own stuff, you’re also worrying about someone else’s health and finances and future and level of appreciation for Star Wars.
I’m going gray(er) just thinking about it.
It’s easy, in this strange life, to forget you’re an adult, or at least that you are expected to be one. Because “being an adult” is mostly just a combination of numbers and the corresponding expectations other people have for your behavior. No one thinks of themselves as an adult; I’m pretty sure every single one of us still feels almost exactly like we felt in high school, only we have more bills and more responsibilities and also some of us are no longer in the marching band (thank god).
It’s semi-OK to be in denial about being a grown-up, but you can’t be in denial about being a parent. Not with everything that comes with it, especially the stress. Parenting stress is the worst stress because it increases all stress. There’s not a single aspect of your life that isn’t made more stressful by having kids. Every kid you have adds myriad new bills and responsibilities to the pile.
And after five years of being a parent to one kid, I’ve just added a second one.
You might have gathered that I’ve been a little stressed lately. I’m about to turn 40, my son just finished Kindergarten, and my ninth wedding anniversary is around the corner, and has additional significance, as it will be the first anniversary my wife and I celebrate with two kids in the mix.
Also, I’ve begun prepping for two fantasy football leagues. The stress is unbearable!
So yeah, I’ve been reflecting on mortality and family and when to draft a quarterback a little bit more than usual. But mostly I’ve been stressing about money.
There’s no denying the cost – financial and otherwise – of having kids. Considered broadly, and focusing purely on actual financial costs – they basically break down into two categories: the day-to-day costs and the future costs. Neither category offers much to sneeze at, but assuming you aren’t fifteen and you made at least a halfway-informed decision when you (or your wife) became pregnant, you probably already have some short-term arrangements in mind for surviving the day-to-day costs.
For Mom and Buried and me, “halfway informed” about sums it up. We know what it will take to survive the diaper buying, and the tiny clothes that never seem to last more than two days, and the formula SHOULD WE CHOOSE TO USE FORMULA, IT’S A PERSONAL CHOICE GET OFF ME, and we even had a plan for managing the financial hit we took when we moved into a bigger place before The Hammer landed. Although by “plan” I meant “compulsively buying scratch-off tickets.”
Barely more than a year ago, we were home free. We’d already made it past daycare and preschool with our first child and thanks to public school, once he entered Kindergarten we suddenly weren’t going to have to pay for a thing for the next thirteen years! Unless you count clothes and food and books and toys and video games and juice boxes and backpacks and bedroom sets and bullshit vacation souvenirs and probably a pet at some point and maybe even the occasional lawyer and/or bail-bondsman fee. (Like I said, we were home free!)
Except with a new kid suddenly in the mix, daycare is back on the table. Everything on that list gets doubled, and so does the parenting stress.
I’ve had a baby before. I can handle a baby. The stuff that keeps me up at night is less about the next few years and is more about ten years from now and beyond. Because that’s what being an adult is. Thinking ahead, considering consequences, weighing options, and PLANNING.
It’s so lame. But it’s necessary, especially if you want your kids to go to college. I’m good with them skipping school and just learning how to code, but Mom and Buried won’t have it. So, on top of the new clothes and new toys and diapers, we’re also starting college funds and increasing our life insurance, since we’ve increased the number of lives that need insuring. And I finally put together a will! (Who knew bringing lives into the world would be so morbid?)
We’re also buying extra coffee. Like, all the coffee. Please send me coffee?
A slightly altered version of this post originally appeared on Haven Life‘s website.