Monday, June 15, 2015

Life with our newborn

Allow me to introduce the newest member of our family: baby Benjamin!

My wife gave birth a few days ago and we are just getting settled back home.  She had an uncomplicated delivery and has been recovering quickly.  Now I understand why everyone told us to “get some sleep while we still can” before the arrival of our baby.  They were right! 

While we’ve both read a lot of information about what to expect with a baby, we are still learning every day. 

At home caring for our child
I am very grateful to be able to take 4 weeks off work to help raise my child and take care of my wife.  My wife is lucky to have a job that will allow her to take 6 months leave to care for our boy (note: she is not getting 6 months worth of pay).  So far it’s just been the 3 of us (me, my wife, and our son).  Our parents have busy lives and will only be able to come visit infrequently.  Next week, my wife’s parents will fly in to visit for two nights.  In September, my father is going to visit for 3 weeks to come help.  We helped him book a free round trip flight from Taiwan using our Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  We feel lucky to have our parents interested in helping out, even if it is only for a little while.

Some of our friends have parents with no interest in getting involved with raising their grandkids.  These grandparents may feel that they’ve already done enough in raising their own child(ren), and don’t want to become a day care service.  I can respect that.  Many of our friends hire nannies.  A nanny can definitely make your life a lot easier.  Nannies can prepare food, clean your house, wash the dishes, do the laundry, change your child’s diaper, bathe your child, potty train your child, and much more.  This comes with a price; full time nanny service can cost over $4,000 per month.     

We briefly considered hiring a part time nanny.  Many of our friends have nannies. Our parents felt bad that they could not help us raise our son, and even offered to help pay for a nanny to come help us.  We talked about this for a while and decided that we did not want to depend on a stranger to come into our home to raise our child.  I don’t have a problem with hiring a nanny – a nanny raised my sister and me and I feel like we turned out just fine.  We just chose to go without.  Plus, who will love your child more you and your own family?  For the next few weeks, I’ll be the nanny.         

I’ve heard on the opposite end that some grandparents are a little bit too involved in helping to raise their children.  Mothers and mother-in-laws who mean well may bicker and argue with new parents over different methods of caring for the child.  Some people just don’t want grandma and grandpa staying over all the time.  A newborn can strain this relationship and make things more stressful.  It’s kind of nice to have just the two of us watch our child.    

We aren’t turning away all help.  Many friends and family members have stopped by to visit for a few hours, bringing nourishing food and even cooking fresh meals for us.  This is much appreciated.  If someone is offering to help, I say accept it!      

Sleep deprivation
Any parent who has experienced a lack of sleep while raising their child knows that it is no fun.  We have both been very sleep deprived the last few days (my wife especially).  There have been times where the two of us have felt delirious, feeding, burping, and changing diapers on autopilot.  Did you know that sleep deprivation has been used in brainwashing, torture, and interrogation?  When you’re not sleeping enough, it’s easy to lose track of the time and day of the week.

Human newborns are the most fragile of any kind of baby.  Your newborn is completely dependent on you for everything; they are completely helpless.  Newborns can’t sit up, walk, talk, find food, control their muscles, or their bowel movements.  Newborns can’t even burp by themselves! 

Monday, June 1, 2015

May side hustles 2015

The great thing about doing side hustles to generate extra income is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more hard work, time, and creative effort you put in, the more extra money you can make.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your extra money, and you can choose how you want to spend it.  Instead of focusing on what ideas don’t apply to you, try focusing on different side hustle ideas that you can implement to work for your situation.

Big changes happening
Welcome to June, the start of a fresh new month.  There are a lot of big changes happening soon that will really change our daily routine. 

My wife is due to give birth any day now, so she’s home resting.  We are feeling very excited and anxious.  My wife is now off work for the next 6 months.  I’ll be off work for the next month and a half.  Hopefully we can support each other as we take care of our son. 

From a financial standpoint, we definitely expect having a child to reduce our savings rate.  In order to continue to save 50% of our income, we’re going to have to bring in more income and save more of it as well.  I’m not sure if we can continue to sustain this savings rate, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to try.  I also expect the amount of free time that we have to diminish as well.  This means less time for side hustles, less time to relax, less time with our dog Abby, and less vacation time. 

I don’t think I could imagine life for us without children.  I’m sure our son will help give meaning to our lives.   

Towards the end of May, our last two housemates graduated from school and moved out.  The timing worked out perfectly since we are expecting very soon.  I don’t think anyone wants to rent a room in a home with a crying newborn!  For the first time since 2009 (when I first purchased our home), we will not have any housemates.  Opening our home to students and renters has helped to generate a steady income stream of $550 to $1,150 a month.  This side hustle money has made it much easier to cover our mortgage expenses and increase our savings rate.  

While we won’t be getting any rental income from housemates in the near future, it helps that we found good tenants for our rental property.  We have cash on hand to consider purchasing another rental property if a good opportunity comes up (rare in our area).   
Abby is our Velcro dog
We’re still working on training our puppy, Abby.  She is currently very needy and always wants to be close to us.  Dogs that behave like this are called “Velcro dogs” because they’ll never leave your side / lap.  Our big concern is that once our baby arrives, Abby will get less attention.  Many of our friends who have had dogs before having a child all report that they have pretty much neglected or given away their dogs once a baby came into the picture.  Priorities change for many people.

This doesn’t mean that we will ignore Abby completely; she is family. We will still walk her multiple times daily, which should help us stay active.  Doggy play dates with neighborhood dogs will also keep Abby busy and happy. 

We are concerned that her barking may wake up a sleeping baby / mommy.  Hopefully Abby will adapt to these new changes quickly. 

On to the side hustles
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