Responsibility and pressure in parenthood

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 7:38 PM | comments: 0

One of the things that came up the last few days, whilst feeling crappy, is the issue of responsibility. I am very much responsible for my family, particularly in the financial sense. Diana is worried that this creates a lot of pressure on me.

I don't think of it as pressure, really, because I knew what I was signing up for. It's just normal responsibility that I would associate with being a parent. It does seem like a big deal, especially living out here with the higher cost of living, and the old house, forthcoming taxes, etc., certainly don't help with the perception.

What has changed the most for me is the focus on long-term safety and risk reduction that would prevent any "serious financial events." For the last year, it meant vigorous attention to debt reduction, which ended up being a $30k effort, and minimal use of credit going forward. Now I'm shifting more to some kind of accumulation scheme, mostly to piss away saved cash on the inevitable loss for my house. I can't keep paying for two places indefinitely.

Working only 50% of the time during the three years prior to coming out here, I've gained an appreciation of how much you can get away with in terms of income (or lack thereof), but also how being more proactive can keep things from getting out of control. This is all stuff I wish I had been doing since I was a naive college graduate.

I think our biggest expense for Simon is easily the formula. That shit is crazy expensive. I'll be happy when he no longer requires it. Health care would also be a huge expense, were it not for the very awesome insurance from Microsoft.

So while I do stress a little over my responsibilities, I wouldn't describe it as pressure. Diana will likely continue the stay-at-home mom job until Simon starts school. Part of that job, by her own doing, involves a lot of bargain hunting, consigning, and other saving efforts, which help enormously. I don't have the patience for that kind of thing, so her efforts without question save us a ton. She's just as much a part of the debt elimination in the last year as my paycheck.


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