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Only Child Vs. Siblings - Need Help Deciding whether or not to Expand your Family?
As a mother of 4 I can tell you that whether you have one (which I did many moons ago) or 2 the chances are you will at some point in time face financial struggles. I imagine most parents out there can tell you that when those times arise you manage to find a way to make things work. If you are a parent of an only child and struggling with whether or not you should have more here is some things to consider from a mom to many.
Only Child or Siblings
From a kids point of view there are obviously benefits to both scenarios: only child vs. sibling(s).
Only Child Vs. Siblings Pro's and Cons: As an only child you never have to vie for your parents and grandparents attention, fight over toys, wrestle over who gets the bathroom first , who got the better gifts at Christmas or who was friends with who first.
However, being an only child you can also lose out on having that super close confidant and best friend that can often only be had with siblings. That fierce protector who's love is only matched by your parents. Someone to grow up with that can teach or whom you can teach and help mold. A playmate when the neighbors have moved or gone on vacation.
Finances/Obligations/Considerations when Considering Adding to the Family.
First off obviously if you are not making ends meet now then holding off or finding a way to really get ahead may be the thing to do. If you guys are doing ok financially or have some tucked away for a rainy day, have the love, room and desire to have a new little one I think that it is a wonderful idea that you are considering having more.
Here are some things to keep in mind before deciding to expand the family.
- Can you afford added expenses that come with a new baby: formula, breast pumps, diapers, baby clothes, health care, time off work, car seats and anything else that comes with a little baby. (check below for suggestions of offsetting financial aspects of a new baby)
- Does your child you currently have require a lot of time or attention due to health, behavioral, emotional or other disorders? Depending on the actual situation a new baby in the home can take away from the attention craved or required for a child with special needs. This is not to say that is the case with all disorders or that it is necessarily a bad idea - just means you have to really look at your situation and decide if splitting attention between two children is healthy for your first child.
- Do you have room in your home for a new baby? Will your children have to share rooms or will you have to move- in order to accommodate a new family edition? - Sharing rooms can be the root of a lot of childhood fights and arguments as well as reduce privacy that is often desired as a child gets older and moving can be a large financial and stressful burden - so be sure to consider these points.
- Why is the idea of having another or a new baby coming up? Age, loss, long time dream or desire? Establish the reason that you are considering having another baby to best decide if this is merely a phase or truly something you want.
Offsetting Costs or Financial Work Arounds
Obviously there can be extreme costs involved with a new bundle of joy or with having more than one child. That is not to say that there are not ways to offset some of those obligations. Here are some suggestions on how to alleviate the costs that come with an expanded family.
- Baby showers are a great way to stock up on those much needed baby supplies such as diapers, cute outfits, toys, walkers etc. So if you plan on having a new baby make sure to have a baby shower - invite everyone and provide them with a detailed list of what you want and need. You'd be surprised how much nicer it is for those who attend to have a list of things they know you want and need - and don't forget to add diapers for beyond the newborn stage.
- Coupons can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars if you can be vigilant on collecting and using them. Signing up with popular brand sites often offer extra incentives on products such as formula and diapers as well on top of the savings you can find in the coupon books.
- Second-hand and pass me downs: getting good condition clothing that is still in style and just not "brand new" can be a real money saver. Whether you purchase the clothing from a thrift store, pass it down from one sibling to another or receive from friends who are also parents - this is a great way to offset some of the childhood incurred costs. Just be sure that they have a few "new" things in the closet too.
- Budgeting a little tighter: It is important to you to give your current only child a brother or sister so to offset the extra financial obligations tighten up your budget. Cut out or cut down on expenses that are not necessary. Here are some thing that can be limited or cut out; eating out, reduce length of vacations, espresso stand coffees, those extra phone and cable features that go unused, name brand purchases (often generic brands can be as good but much cheaper), less trips to the salon. You can find out what best fits with your current lifestyle by creating a simple 3 column budget plan that shows what's coming in and what has to go out (mandatory bills; rent, utilities, grocery, insurance) vs. what is actually going out (cable, eating out, coffees etc).