It was Friday, December 29, 2017.
I just published a post called “Musings on 2017 – Marriage, Kids & Money” in the morning.
In that article, I mentioned that Mr. FAF and I had thought about having a second baby, but that nothing had happened yet.
That night, Mr. FAF went to his friend’s place to hang out. I was at home with my MIL and Baby FAF.
Aunt Flow was late, so I thought I’d take a pregnancy test to see if we had any news.
Prior to that, in about 3 months, I had used up about 10 RiteAid pregnancy tests Mr. FAF’s aunt gave us when we were in China in December 2013.
Basically, the tests had expired a year ago. But I used all of them anyway.
On our 4th anniversary, we stopped by the Dollar Tree to pick up five $1 pregnancy tests.
Mr. FAF insisted that I should wait for longer before trying the test because it costs $1, meaning it’d be a waste of money if I weren’t pregnant.
That Friday night I tried the test alone in the bathroom.
I watched as the two lines started to faintly appear.
I turned away for a short moment to mask my anxiety.
And when I looked back at the stick, I saw two clear lines. I’m pregnant!
Part of me was happy. Our family is growing.
We will welcome a new member in a couple of months. But part of me was nervous. Taking care of Baby FAF is tiring. And now we have another baby on the way.
I know many of our friends and neighbors have multiple kids, and they are doing a great job at parenting.
That means that we can also take good care of our kids if we try hard enough.
When Mr. FAF came home, I surprised him with the news. He was speechless for five seconds. I think he was in shock.
Like me, he was happy to soon be a father of two. But I could tell that he was nervous about the financial and parenting implications of the pregnancy. He said he was both happy and scared.
Reality just hit. And it hit hard.
I waited for another two months to tell my friends and colleagues. But we just had to share the good news with our family right then and there. After much planning, we finally decided on the following plans:
(For administrative purposes, Baby FAF will be referred to as Baby F1, and our future baby will be referred to as Baby F2 from now on.)
1. My mom will come to the US to help us take care of Baby F2.
My in-laws came to America to help us with Baby F1. My MIL even stayed for another year after she brought our son back from China.
My parents feel that now it’s their turn to take care of their grandchildren. My dad can only come to visit, but my mom will stay for at least six months. We really hope that she will be able to stay for a year, but it depends how she feels about it and if her visa situation works out.
2. We will send both kids to daycare.
One of the first things that came to my mind was daycare tuition. We currently pay about $15,500/year for Baby F1’s daycare. Baby F1 will be 3.5 years old when I give birth to our second baby.
Our county doesn’t offer free Pre-K, meaning we will have to keep sending Baby F1 to daycare for another 1.5 years. We plan to send our second baby to daycare after he/she turns 6 months. It means that there will be a one-year period when we will pay $31,000/year to keep two kids in daycare.
After Baby F1 goes to kindergarten for free, we will keep paying $15,500 or more for Baby F2’s daycare. That leads me to point #3.
3. I will keep working full-time.
Although Mr. FAF and I have been planning for baby #2 for a while, we have not considered the possibility of me being a stay-at home-mom for five reasons:
1. Although daycare can amount to $31,000/year for two kids, it is still lower than my take-home pay even after we deduct all the associated costs (taxes, social security, Medicare, inurance contributions, pre-tax transit & healthcare contributions).
2. We receive great benefits from my employer. Our family stays on my health insurance plan because it’s much better than Mr. FAF’s. Given that we will need medical care (i.e. vaccinations) for one infant and one toddler, we both think the plan works well for us.
My employer also offers a fantastic match for my 403(b) contribution. It would be a big disruption to our finances if we gave up both of such benefits (among others).
3. I expect my salary to keep increasing in 2019, which will further justify my decision to work full-time after the birth. Even if I decide to switch employers, my future pay should be higher than it is now.
If I took at least a year off, I will have a gap year on my resume, which can be a disadvantage for my job application.
4. I have one month off for maternity leave (it was only 2 weeks two years ago) and have saved up two months worth of paid and sick leave. I will continue to save up my leave in 2018 so that when I give birth, I will have the option of taking four months off.
However, I will probably take only 2-3 months off in case our kids get sick after my mom goes back to Vietnam. Mr. FAF also has one month of paternal leave.
5. I love our son, but I was just so relieved to go back to work 1.5 months after giving birth to him. It was partly due to financial stress, but I believe I also suffered post-partum depression. I got upset about everyone and everything around me.
I felt like I was trapped at home and had no way out. Once I started working, I felt like myself again and soon got over the emotional mess I had been in.
I know that a lot of moms and dads cherish the task of parenting and are willing to make the sacrifice to stay at home full-time to take care of their kids. But knowing myself and my history, I know it’s better for my mental health if I continue working at least for the foreseeable future.
4. Mr. FAF will try to earn more income.
Right after I told Mr. FAF that he would soon become a father of two, he told me that he would need to make more money. That means that he would work harder to secure his current job to get promoted or move to a better-paying position elsewhere.
Mr. FAF has also brought up the possibility of being an Uber driver as a side hustle after he feels that his job is secure. It will also be a break for him from all the coding.
He now wants to devote his time to his current job and taking more courses online to make a smoother transition to something better. If you come to DC one day and meet a Chinese Uber driver in his late 30s, it could very well be Mr. FAF.
5. We will need to save more.
The big expense coming up ($31,000 in daycare) together with other unexpected expenses mean that we will need to be more conscious about our spending.
In fact, being pregnant will motivate me seek hand-me-downs instead of buying new maternity clothes. I don’t want to spend too much on clothes I can wear for only a couple of months.
Our food expenses might increase because of my pregnancy craving. But we will try not to eat out too often.
Having a second baby is both exciting and nerve-racking for us. We sure want to have a new addition to our family. But daycare and healthcare costs also stress us out quite a bit. I guess it’s part of building a family and being parents.
Compared to where we were when we had Baby F1 (both of us being students with no full-time job), we are in a much better position to welcome our second baby now.
We will stay positive and do our best to prepare for the arrival of our family member in 2018!