I don’t have kids. Heck.. I don’t even have one kid. But since I recently passed out of my 20s it seems like so many people in my social circle are taking the plunge into parenthood.
When you’re an outsider looking through the window in at parenthood it’s hard to get a read on what’s really happening. One day it seems like complete perfection, but then after a morning of sleeping until 10:30 because I’ve had a late show the night before… I can’t help but wonder… how I could possibly handle being responsible for a whole other life!
It’s another one of those impossible questions to answer: what is my life going to be like when I add the ‘kid’ factor? But like so many of the impossible questions out there, I feel like if you put enough stories together… you usually start to see a pattern.
So I’ve hit the streets to talk to artists.. artists who have started families in the last few years.. to talk about some of the early costs and incredible rewards of kids.
Today, it’s Mel’s turn.. she’s part of a two artist parenting team. They’ve got two beautiful kids, and she was kind enough to take a few moments of her precious time to answer a few of my questions.
1. What was the biggest unexpected cost in the first year? (Other than sleep)
I can’t say that there were huge unexpected costs for us.
Diapers can add up quickly, and you use a lot in the beginning, but that wasn’t really unexpected. From talking to other moms though, breast feeding can be really hard in the beginning and some people are not able to do it for that long or at all. So the cost of formula or a breast pump can be quite ridiculous. The really good Medela pumps can be anywhere from 230-450 dollars a piece.
2. What’s been the best thing about starting a family as an artist?
I think the best thing about starting a family as an artist is having this little person who loves you unconditionally and is learning all the time (especially once they hit the year mark).
As an artist you often have work that isn’t finished, and with these tiny humans you can see the results of your hard work and teaching!
3. What’s the one tip you would give another artist couple that’s having a kid?
The one tip I would give artists is don’t wait for the right time.
We often hear people say that it isn’t the right time and they don’t have enough money saved up yet. It will never be “the right time” and they aren’t that expensive in the beginning. If you are breast feeding, it is really quite inexpensive, and you can also cloth diaper. So just do it, and you will figure it out as you go along. (We use a cloth diaper service and they pick up the dirty diapers and drop off clean ones once a week. You can buy your own and wash them every couple of days, though. Also with first babies you generally have a baby shower and people will buy you many of the things that you want/need for the baby. You can go on a registry and pick out the things you would like. You will get many new clothes and many hand-me-downs, too, if you know other parents with babies who have outgrown their clothes. There are also sites on Facebook like Frugal Mommy Toronto where you can give away items and search for them as well. It’s a free site so no selling, only giving allowed.)
4. There’s sooo much advice out there when you’re having a baby. What’s one thing you heard before you had a baby that turned out to be completely untrue?
This one is tricky, and I can’t say that I really have an answer for it off the top of my head.
But I can say that people leave a lot of things out. I am trying my hand at writing a book about what to really expect. I think experienced moms don’t want to scare first time pregnant ladies with the details of sleep deprivation, possible colicky babies, lack of ‘you’ time, etc… But I would rather have known all the details!
5. What’s been the hardest thing to adjust to? And have you figured out anything that helped you with that adjustment?
The hardest thing to adjust to is now being 3 instead of just 2. It’s much easier to add in the next kid(s). With the first you have to get used to the sleep deprivation, adjusting your schedule to fit theirs, and not going out or seeing other people as much.
I think it’s important to find other people with kids the same age so that you can talk to someone about it who really understands the schedule.