Switching gears a bit from the usual stuff and back to personal finance….today starts my official maternity leave from work! I’m happy about it (and simultaneously still nervous about the upcoming big day a couple of weeks away). Some of the people I work with are envious, and some single guys especially think I’m going to essentially be on some sort of multi-month relaxing vacation (!!), as I’m the first in my group to have a baby. This is what you get when you work in Silicon Valley, I guess. The last few weeks have definitely been tough. Not being at 100% capacity from being tired, working weekends and long hours…I can use the break for sure. I’m also lucky in that the company I work for has a pretty amazing maternity leave policy as far as US companies go.
I haven’t written much about the pregnancy, but compared to most of what I’ve read, I’ve had smooth sailing so far (knock on wood). Still, there’s plenty to speak of, personal-finance-wise. My hubby and I took a preparation class in which we split briefly into groups of women and men and took 15 min. to talk about worries and concerns in small groups. For a lot of the men in my husband’s group, the financial aspect of having a new baby was a real concern for them, and yet two of them also highly recommended the infamous Bugaboo stroller as a must-have. Not sure what a $900 stroller does that one that costs 1/3rd or 1/4th as much doesn’t, but it seems a bit steep if you’re concerned about your finances.
The funny thing about being pregnant is that you end up looking into a world you never knew existed until then, like the fact that cribs can run $99 from Ikea all the way up to $3000+. With the number of choices available these days, stores definitely make it hard to keep the mindset that most of the things you buy are mainly for the parents’ benefit and peace of mind rather than the baby’s. Renting a tiny house of 820 sq. ft. means we’ve gone the practical route, doing our research on Consumer Reports (they even have a blog you can subscribe to) and making sure what we buy is safe, but probably on the lower-end of the spectrum for most items. Even then you can’t win them all. Our Chicco car base got recalled (luckily it’s still usable if you strap it in with car belts rather than the base’s own latch system), meaning both Consumer Reports and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) are good sites to check regularly despite your best intentions.
Anyway, my husband and I try to keep in mind that we both grew up in the Stone Age with a lot less stuff, that would probably all be on recall lists today, and still turned out fine!