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The NEVERENDING Raising Children Thread

gtpeach

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I'm a little late to this discussion, but will add a bit of info about Tracfone in specific. I've had one for years. I'm no longer a big phone person.

You can get a "dumb" phone for as little as $10 or $20 and then you need to add days and minutes once a quarter. If you don't use the phone a lot, a $20 card with another 3 months service time is the sweet spot for good value. With taxes, you can keep the phone alive for around $7/ month.

However, some of the dumb phone are capable of doing things like checking email. They deduct minutes for being online instead of having a separate Data amount. So you would need to check that angle before committing.

The Tracphone is called that because tracks how many minutes you have left and how many days you have left and conveniently displays it. I use it because it's the lowest maintenance, best value kind of thing for my needs that's readily available at many stores (I have done some research and there are some other options out there that would theoretically be cheaper, but you can't walk into your nearest Walmart, Target, or grocery store and re-up).

I looked at other prepay phones and they often have a really short 30 day leash where you need to pay more every thirty days and if you are late, you can lose your phone service and phone number entirely. Paying once a quarter works vastly better for managing cash flow when money is tight.
This is really helpful! I think I’m going to try the MagicJack since that will probably go over better than the cell phone with the social worker. But I’ll keep this in mind if that doesn’t work. The only issue with the MagicJack is that it depends on the internet being up, and when it goes out, it sometimes stays down for days.
 

Michele Zone

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posted on FB by Strong Towns

Motherhood in the Age of Fear
Women are being harassed and even arrested for making perfectly rational parenting decisions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/27/opinion/sunday/motherhood-in-the-age-of-fear.html?utm_content=bufferf46ca&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
From the article:
One such mother I spoke with was charged with felony child endangerment when she left her napping 4-year-old daughter in the car for a few minutes with the windows open while she ran into a store. During her arrest, she remembers the officer saying, “Stay-at-home mom’s too busy shopping to take care of her kid? Does your husband know how you take care of your child while he’s out earning the big bucks?”
Not waking a 4 year old for a brief trip into a store seems perfectly reasonable. It can make the whole rest of the day better compared to waking them up and having them be cranky on you for the entire day -- and possibly into the next day. Some kids have a hard time getting enough sleep.

When I was seven, I had chicken pox. I laid in the backseat of the car under a blanket while my mom got groceries. It would have been irresponsible to take me into the store with her. It would have been a hardship on me and it would have been a public health risk.


That’s when Ms. Koehler laughed. “It’s not against the law in Illinois to leave your children unattended. You have to prove that I’m willfully endangering their life by going into Starbucks and getting a cup of coffee where I can see them the whole time. Good luck getting that case approved by a state’s attorney.”

The officer didn’t end up pressing charges, but instead put in a call to the Department of Children and Family Services. As a result Ms. Koehler had to provide references attesting to her parenting, her children had to get physicals from a doctor, and the family was interviewed in their home, all before the case could be dismissed.
Oh, jeez. Seriously? "How dare she stand up for herself when she's done nothing wrong!"

I raised two special needs kids. For the first several years my oldest was in school, I would go at the start of the school year and tell the teacher that my oldest son was not normal and please do not hesitate to talk to me about any issue that comes up.

Most teachers really appreciated that I did that. It made them comfortable talking with me when they needed to about the latest odd thing my kid had done that they didn't quite know how to deal with.

When third grade started, he had his first male teacher and he was no longer obviously, glaringly different from the other kids. This guy called the school social worker to report me as some kind of abusive psycho mom hanging my crazy idea on my kid. Surely, my negative and unfounded attitude towards my child was going to warp him. :r:

So the school social worker calls me and lets me know and she starts with "I know both your kids and they are both great kids. There must be some misunderstanding because bad parents don't produce such great kids." We talked for 45 minutes and she ultimately said "You don't need to make an appointment to come see me." :)

I was the "room mother" or whatever for that class and I hosted all the parties. There was supposed to be two of us, but the other mom never showed for anything and I handled it completely by myself. After several months, the teacher didn't exactly apologize, but we had a conversation where he talked about, yeah, my kid has some strange metrics for social stuff and doesn't think or behave the same as other kids his age and sometimes that goes weird places.

But this absolutely could have become an incident that derailed my life, got me reported to CPS, etc. Had the social worker been not great or had I been newer at that school where she didn't know both my kids or if I was less of a smooth talker or any number of other things, this could have blown up -- all because I was a proactive and devoted parent doing the same thing I had always done to make sure my kid had a good school experience and his teachers felt comfortable coming to me when they didn't quite know how to deal with my kid.
 

DVD

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You have to look at these things in a case by case basis. How hot is it? Are you running into Starbucks for a drink or are you spending and hour wondering through the grocery store? Is the kid old enough to figure out how to roll down a window if they get hot? As a kid I would spend half an hour in the car, in Phoenix, in the summer while mom went into the fabric store to shop. It was my choice, I was old enough to say I didn't want to go into the store. If I got hot I just got out of the car and went into the store and annoyed my mom because I was so bored. It all comes down to the timing though. If I saw a kid in the car at the local fast food place or Starbucks I wouldn't think twice, mom (or dad) is coming out in a minute. If I saw a kid at the grocery store I might stick around to see where mom is.
 

kjel

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You have to look at these things in a case by case basis. How hot is it? Are you running into Starbucks for a drink or are you spending and hour wondering through the grocery store? Is the kid old enough to figure out how to roll down a window if they get hot? As a kid I would spend half an hour in the car, in Phoenix, in the summer while mom went into the fabric store to shop. It was my choice, I was old enough to say I didn't want to go into the store. If I got hot I just got out of the car and went into the store and annoyed my mom because I was so bored. It all comes down to the timing though. If I saw a kid in the car at the local fast food place or Starbucks I wouldn't think twice, mom (or dad) is coming out in a minute. If I saw a kid at the grocery store I might stick around to see where mom is.
Exactly. I don't leave my kiddo in the car when it's hot. I have run into the convenience store while she was knocked out asleep and I could see her for all of two minutes. As a little kid I remember staying in the car like you did (in Phoenix) when my mom went places and I didn't want to go.
 

gtpeach

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So I am now 6 days into being a foster parent. This is my first day at work since taking the girls. I am 100% overwhelmed and stressed out. I think I'm experiencing the equivalent of post-partum depression, honestly. I've been crying a lot, sick to my stomach from anxiety in the mornings, and just generally wondering if I'm up to the task pretty much all day every day. I hear this is all completely normal, so yay?

School starts on Wednesday, and my mom and sister-in-law are watching the girls tomorrow. I have a friend staying with them today. I think getting out of the house and away from each other is a big deal and was much needed. I just have to get through this week and then they're staying with their previous foster family for the weekend, so I have a little break coming up. I'm just trying to survive until then.

I've been relying a lot on Netflix and letting the older girl care for her sister. I'll try not to make that the norm forever, but for right now, it's all about the adjustment period. I'm keeping them alive and we're all in survival mode just trying to figure it out. I'm trying to give myself space when I need it and letting them know when I need time to myself.

I have so much great support from friends and family, but this is the hardest and scariest thing I've ever done and I am already questioning whether I am up to the task. I'm determined not to give up on the girls, but man, I never expected the adjustment to take this level of a physical toll on me this soon.
 

Michele Zone

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I have so much great support from friends and family, but this is the hardest and scariest thing I've ever done and I am already questioning whether I am up to the task. I'm determined not to give up on the girls, but man, I never expected the adjustment to take this level of a physical toll on me this soon.
Yeah, parenting is a responsibility 24/7. You don't ever really get to completely put it down. And a lot of people aren't really prepared for that.

It's exhausting. I spent the first 7 years of my oldest child's life chronically short of sleep -- and I didn't have a paid job. I was just a wife and mom.

Pro tip from when my special needs kids were little and I was often on the verge of losing it:

When you can't take it anymore, have a tall glass of water, a bite to eat and/or take a break of some kind for ten minutes.

(I used to try to sleep, but just a break to play a video game or read a magazine to get some me time can help if you aren't chronically short of sleep.)
 

kjel

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So I am now 6 days into being a foster parent. This is my first day at work since taking the girls. I am 100% overwhelmed and stressed out. I think I'm experiencing the equivalent of post-partum depression, honestly. I've been crying a lot, sick to my stomach from anxiety in the mornings, and just generally wondering if I'm up to the task pretty much all day every day. I hear this is all completely normal, so yay?

School starts on Wednesday, and my mom and sister-in-law are watching the girls tomorrow. I have a friend staying with them today. I think getting out of the house and away from each other is a big deal and was much needed. I just have to get through this week and then they're staying with their previous foster family for the weekend, so I have a little break coming up. I'm just trying to survive until then.

I've been relying a lot on Netflix and letting the older girl care for her sister. I'll try not to make that the norm forever, but for right now, it's all about the adjustment period. I'm keeping them alive and we're all in survival mode just trying to figure it out. I'm trying to give myself space when I need it and letting them know when I need time to myself.

I have so much great support from friends and family, but this is the hardest and scariest thing I've ever done and I am already questioning whether I am up to the task. I'm determined not to give up on the girls, but man, I never expected the adjustment to take this level of a physical toll on me this soon.
Every parent is overwhelmed and stressed out. You just learn to manage it over time. Routine is key.

Kids don't have to be entertained 24/7. Books, toys, videos, playing outside are good distractions. Get them to help with chores like picking up, laundry, dishes, etc. Once school is back in session homework will take up both their time and yours. September will be busy with back to school night, school paperwork, etc.

Plan your meals for the week, go grocery shopping once. Make sure to pick up snacks and something that you can throw together in a hurry for a meal because there is guaranteed to be one of those days. Order takeout or pizza once a week, be realistic about how many days you are willing to cook-make a double batch of something and have leftovers later in the week. Do a little cleaning each day so you don't have to burn half a weekend day. Do baths/showers at night, pick out the school outfit the night before-locate shoes for outfit and outerwear if needed, get the backpack and lunch ready before bedtime.

Parenting is tiring. We're all tired. Trust me. Me Time? Not so much. "Time to myself" is when I am at the office or someone else is looking after the kids but outside of school and work that's 99% me.
 

kms

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So I am now 6 days into being a foster parent. This is my first day at work since taking the girls. I am 100% overwhelmed and stressed out. I think I'm experiencing the equivalent of post-partum depression, honestly. I've been crying a lot, sick to my stomach from anxiety in the mornings, and just generally wondering if I'm up to the task pretty much all day every day. I hear this is all completely normal, so yay?

School starts on Wednesday, and my mom and sister-in-law are watching the girls tomorrow. I have a friend staying with them today. I think getting out of the house and away from each other is a big deal and was much needed. I just have to get through this week and then they're staying with their previous foster family for the weekend, so I have a little break coming up. I'm just trying to survive until then.

I've been relying a lot on Netflix and letting the older girl care for her sister. I'll try not to make that the norm forever, but for right now, it's all about the adjustment period. I'm keeping them alive and we're all in survival mode just trying to figure it out. I'm trying to give myself space when I need it and letting them know when I need time to myself.

I have so much great support from friends and family, but this is the hardest and scariest thing I've ever done and I am already questioning whether I am up to the task. I'm determined not to give up on the girls, but man, I never expected the adjustment to take this level of a physical toll on me this soon.
This is a HUGE change for you, and you're bound to feel stressed. It sounds like you have a good support system.

You and the girls are getting to know each other, and you'll come up with a pretty good routine. There will be bumps in the routine, so try not to get too stressed about it.

And I agree; kids don't have to be entertained 24 hours a day. Let them learn how to occupy their down time, and you can add some scheduled activities. I hope you're resting and sleeping well, and it's OK to cry sometimes. Crying doesn't make you a wimp.
 

terraplnr

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So I am now 6 days into being a foster parent. This is my first day at work since taking the girls. I am 100% overwhelmed and stressed out. I think I'm experiencing the equivalent of post-partum depression, honestly. I've been crying a lot, sick to my stomach from anxiety in the mornings, and just generally wondering if I'm up to the task pretty much all day every day. I hear this is all completely normal, so yay?

School starts on Wednesday, and my mom and sister-in-law are watching the girls tomorrow. I have a friend staying with them today. I think getting out of the house and away from each other is a big deal and was much needed. I just have to get through this week and then they're staying with their previous foster family for the weekend, so I have a little break coming up. I'm just trying to survive until then.

I've been relying a lot on Netflix and letting the older girl care for her sister. I'll try not to make that the norm forever, but for right now, it's all about the adjustment period. I'm keeping them alive and we're all in survival mode just trying to figure it out. I'm trying to give myself space when I need it and letting them know when I need time to myself.

I have so much great support from friends and family, but this is the hardest and scariest thing I've ever done and I am already questioning whether I am up to the task. I'm determined not to give up on the girls, but man, I never expected the adjustment to take this level of a physical toll on me this soon.
You are doing the best you can, don't be hard on yourself!! It's hard to spend 6 consecutive days with family members without needing a break and time to yourself, let alone with someone (or two someones) that you aren't familiar with and don't have a history with.

Take it one day at a time. And focus on the essentials for you and the girls... eating, sleeping, and setting up a routine for getting ready in the mornings, getting dinner on the table, getting ready for bed. Don't feel bad at all about Netflix or asking the older sister to help. It's a lot of change for all of you. Sending all my good thoughts to you!!!
 

Veloise

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So I am now 6 days into being a foster parent. This is my first day at work since taking the girls. I am 100% overwhelmed and stressed out. I think I'm experiencing the equivalent of post-partum depression, honestly. I've been crying a lot, sick to my stomach from anxiety in the mornings, and just generally wondering if I'm up to the task pretty much all day every day. I hear this is all completely normal, so yay?
...
I have so much great support from friends and family, but this is the hardest and scariest thing I've ever done and I am already questioning whether I am up to the task. I'm determined not to give up on the girls, but man, I never expected the adjustment to take this level of a physical toll on me this soon.
Keep in mind that most parents have several months lead time of anticipation and prep...then they get a baby who (I've heard) sleeps a lot and smiles cutely. You're jumping into the deep end!
 

gtpeach

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Thank you all for the encouragement. My anxiety is still off the charts, but I appreciate the support. I'm having a hard time settling down even after being back at work. Just really hard to focus. The breaks are good, but I want to be able to relax in my time away from the girls, and that's not really super possible right now.

I'm kind of regretting this whole experience at the moment. Not that I'm planning on giving up. It's just that this is so much more overwhelming than I expected it to be. And these are GOOD girls! (At least, so far they are!)
 

terraplnr

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My kids keep saying they "hate" this and "hate" that and it's getting frustrating, especially with my younger one. So yesterday evening I said that every time they say the word "hate" they have to do 10 pushups, to become more aware of how often they say that word and give them incentive to find other verbage. I said I'll do it too, although I only use that word when it's contextually appropriate. :p On the brief ride into school this morning I had to give my older son 10 pushups and my younger one 30 :lmao: but by the time we got to preschool I could tell he was trying to find another word to describe his dissatisfaction with life. :p
 

Michele Zone

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My kids keep saying they "hate" this and "hate" that and it's getting frustrating, especially with my younger one. So yesterday evening I said that every time they say the word "hate" they have to do 10 pushups, to become more aware of how often they say that word and give them incentive to find other verbage. I said I'll do it too, although I only use that word when it's contextually appropriate. :p On the brief ride into school this morning I had to give my older son 10 pushups and my younger one 30 :lmao: but by the time we got to preschool I could tell he was trying to find another word to describe his dissatisfaction with life. :p
That sort of thing is surprisingly effective.

When my oldest was 2 and repeating everything I said and some some four letter word came out of his mouth, I told him something like "That's a bad word and I shouldn't say it either. I will let you know what the bad words are and remind you not to say them and you can remind me."

So they weren't Verboten and now he had POWER because he could boss mom around. It was incredibly effective and my sons eventually began issuing me imaginary certificates of appreciation or something for finding substitutes for swear words. :-$:-x This helped make me publicly presentable. :)

Yeah, I used to be worse!
 

WSU MUP Student

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My kids keep saying they "hate" this and "hate" that and it's getting frustrating, especially with my younger one. So yesterday evening I said that every time they say the word "hate" they have to do 10 pushups, to become more aware of how often they say that word and give them incentive to find other verbage. I said I'll do it too, although I only use that word when it's contextually appropriate. :p On the brief ride into school this morning I had to give my older son 10 pushups and my younger one 30 :lmao: but by the time we got to preschool I could tell he was trying to find another word to describe his dissatisfaction with life. :p
I like that! That's some Parris Island Drill Instructor remediation right there!

When my daughter has a particularly rotten attitude I send her away and keep calling her back to do the same task over and over again until she does it the way I like: without the snotty response or any sort of backtalk. This is usually over something trivial like putting her dirty socks in the hamper or putting away her books or something. I've only had to do this a few times over the past 6 months or so and it seems to do the trick.
 

Whose Yur Planner

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That sort of thing is surprisingly effective.

When my oldest was 2 and repeating everything I said and some some four letter word came out of his mouth, I told him something like "That's a bad word and I shouldn't say it either. I will let you know what the bad words are and remind you not to say them and you can remind me."

![/SIZE]
When mini WYP was little, I had to learn to be careful what I said and listened to.:r: !@#$%^&^%$#$@!#$% coming out of a 3 yo girl is only cute for so long. That and is wasn't worth a lecture from the ex.
 

DVD

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My friend has a little girl who has trouble saying the tr sound. It always came out as an f. She had a toy truck that she loved and often commented about the truck or asked where her truck was. :lmao:
 

Michele Zone

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My friend has a little girl who has trouble saying the tr sound. It always came out as an f. She had a toy truck that she loved and often commented about the truck or asked where her truck was. :lmao:

Oh. My. Goodness.

Folks like you are probably why I had such a terrible time socially for so much of my life. I'm convinced that I was the most adorable -- and most obnoxious -- three year old little girl and I was well into my 40s when I decided "Maybe it's me" instead of continuing to wonder what the fuck was wrong with OTHER PEOPLE who just didn't appreciate my OBVIOUSLY ADORABLE sense of humor. :r:

Being an adorable three year old ruined me for the longest time. Sigh.:r:
 

terraplnr

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I like that! That's some Parris Island Drill Instructor remediation right there!

When my daughter has a particularly rotten attitude I send her away and keep calling her back to do the same task over and over again until she does it the way I like: without the snotty response or any sort of backtalk. This is usually over something trivial like putting her dirty socks in the hamper or putting away her books or something. I've only had to do this a few times over the past 6 months or so and it seems to do the trick.
Hahaha having a martial art instructor fiance and kids that are now into martial arts has enhanced my repertoire of behavior modification tools. :lmao: I don't make them do stuff like that often but it's effective at times and watching a 4-year old do pushups is adorable.
 

JNA

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Article - Can Parks Make Kids Better at Math?
https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/can-parks-make-kids-better-at-math?utm_source=Next+City+Newsletter&utm_campaign=54dd31930d-Daily_781_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fcee5bf7a0-54dd31930d-43829493

As Next City has covered, there tends to be a consensus among urban planners that parks make cities, and their residents, healthier and more resilient.
They also help urban areas mitigate and adapt to climate change.
But the humble tree (or playground, or bike path) is often left out of large-scale budget discussions, even as cities incentivize the creation of pseudo-private open spaces in their stead.
Linking the benefits of open space to education, as well as health, could continue to help urban planners make a case for the creation and maintenance of places for play.
 

MacheteJames

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Any of you guys ever relocate to be closer to family after having kids?

My partner and I have an adorable 18 month old. We live in NYC, which is where I've made my planning career for the last 11 years. Both sets of grandparents live far away; one set in NC, and the other in NH. One sister in law lives in NJ, an hour away by car, but isn't really able to help babysit due a demanding work schedule and the reality that it is so arduous to get from NJ into NYC and back most of the time due to the sheer congestion. We are using a combination of a sitter and daycare to the tune of about $1,000 a month in childcare expenses currently.

The lack of any kind of familial support is taking its toll on us. We haven't had a date as a couple since spring, when the MIL came up from NC for a few days to visit. It is hard on the relationship and hard on us as individual people; neither of us have any real hobbies or outside interests anymore due to lack of free time. During the workweek, I'm typically out of the apartment from 8:30am to 7:15pm (1 hr commute each way plus 8 hour workday) and my partner is now working 3 days a week with a similar work schedule. We are thinking about having a second baby before the age gap between them gets to big, and since we both getting close to 40, time is sort of running out. If life here is tough with one kid, two could break us. Just getting a stroller down the subway stairs with a single kid is a giant PITA.

We are thinking of relocating in order to be closer to family and to have an easier lifestyle - either NC or New England. Both grandmas are very eager to be involved and help watch him. Have any of you guys had success with this? I do have friends who warn that being too close to a MIL can be a double edged sword, and I'm cognizant of the need to set boundaries. Anything to give us a little relief, though.
 

Veloise

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Any of you guys ever relocate to be closer to family after having kids?

My partner and I have an adorable 18 month old. We live in NYC, ...grandparents live far away; one set in NC, and the other in NH....sitter and daycare to the tune of about $1,000 a month in childcare expenses currently.
...1 hr commute each way plus 8 hour workday) and my partner is now working 3 days a week with a similar work schedule. We are thinking about having a second baby before the age gap between them gets to big, and since we both getting close to 40, time is sort of running out. If life here is tough with one kid, two could break us....
We are thinking of relocating in order to be closer to family and to have an easier lifestyle - either NC or New England. Both grandmas are very eager to be involved and help watch him. Have any of you guys had success with this? I do have friends who warn that being too close to a MIL can be a double edged sword, and I'm cognizant of the need to set boundaries. Anything to give us a little relief, though.
Moving closer to one set of grandparents moves you further away from the other set. Also, there are no guarantees that the GPs' health and mobility will continue.
Can you move closer to your workplace? Or upstate, or to Allentown PA?
 

WSU MUP Student

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Moving closer to one set of grandparents moves you further away from the other set. Also, there are no guarantees that the GPs' health and mobility will continue.
Can you move closer to your workplace? Or upstate, or to Allentown PA?
That bolded part was my initial thought as well.

While it would be nice to have some family nearby, moving (and the job search that it would entail) is a major anxiety inducer and stressor and there's no promise that the grandparent will be able to assist as much as you expect them to. If you do decide to move to NC or NH do your planning as if having a grandparent there is just a happy coincidence and not really a major driving factor.

And yes, life is tough with a kid. My wife and I haven't had a "date night" in nearly a year - granted, we don't put much effort into finding sitters, but still...
 

terraplnr

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My parents moved closer to me (I'm in CA, they were in OK but are now in AZ) and I haven't seen them nearly as much as we were all expecting because my mom hasn't retired yet.

I'd seriously think about how much help you could expect them to do... it would be a LOT to expect them to watch both kids full-time (or even one kid full time), so you'd still need some child care.

If other things would be less expensive/easier (housing, commuting, etc.) and you can find jobs you like, and you like the area, then it's worth it.
 

Michele Zone

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I was a military wife for a lot of years. We moved around a lot and mostly were pretty far from family.

Date nights are overrated. Make sure you are spending at least 15 hours a week together doing stuff. It doesn't matter how that time is distributed and it mostly doesn't matter what the hell you are doing. You should try to have conversation during those hours.

Most of my marital conversations occurred in the car while driving around to do other things. When we had two cars, that hurt our marriage more than his 60+ hours per week military career.

My oldest son spent years baffled at the memes concerning terrible, interfering in-laws. This was just not part of his life experience. My marriage was vastly better for not having that element in it.

There has to be some things that would make life easier without the major pain of moving.

Strap the kid to your chest instead of using a stroller. Buy more convenience items for the short term. Rearrange your home to make it more user-friendly in some way.

Sit down and list your pain points and try to find smaller life adjustments that would ease the pain. The first couple of years are typically the hardest and having a second one may not be as bad as you think. When you have two, they play with each other instead of demanding parental attention incessantly and the younger one can get hand-me-downs from the older one, etc.

I mean, it's your life. I'm not trying to talk you out of anything. This is just my 2 cents.

I'm really close to my now adult kids. I was chronically short of sleep the first 7 years of my firstborn's life. I wouldn't do anything different.

Best.
 

MacheteJames

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Moving closer to one set of grandparents moves you further away from the other set. Also, there are no guarantees that the GPs' health and mobility will continue.
Can you move closer to your workplace? Or upstate, or to Allentown PA?
1) The NH grandparents have discussed retiring down south. NC is a possibility
2) No, we are in a rent controlled 2 bedroom apartment in Manhattan, which is extremely rare and fortunate. Any comparable market-rate housing in the metro area would be at least an additional $1,000 a month. Leaving for any other borough or location in the Tri-State Area is off the table.

My wife and I haven't had a "date night" in nearly a year - granted, we don't put much effort into finding sitters, but still...
Do you feel that this is healthy for *any* relationship? At some point, you start to feel like the joint proprietors of a child care center instead of a couple. I think it's a dangerous path to go down.

Thanks for the input, all.

Do we have any former New Yorkers here, or former residents of a crowded, major city? Are most of you guys out in the Midwest? I feel as though the crowded city lifestyle versus less populated locales is difficult to compare. Any of you guys ever deal with a toddler while on a jam packed subway train?

I've lived here so long that the idea of your typical two car suburban lawn lifestyle is sort of culturally alien. I grew up in a town like that, but went off to college twenty years ago... that's how long it's been since I lived in that sort of environment. We do pretty much everything on foot or via transit and use the car for weekend trips only. Being able to drive to stuff and park nearby instead of using transit sounds potentially easier, but then there is the reality of chauferring the kid until the end of time. What is that like?

Parents on both sides are mid to late sixties, so being close to them would also allow us to help them out as well, especially as they get older.
 

Michele Zone

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Do we have any former New Yorkers here, or former residents of a crowded, major city? Are most of you guys out in the Midwest? I feel as though the crowded city lifestyle versus less populated locales is difficult to compare. Any of you guys ever deal with a toddler while on a jam packed subway train?
My second child was born in Germany. No subway experience, but we did take buses a fair amount, biked, ans walked. I pretty quickly abandoned the stroller for strapping baby to my chest, wearing a backpack to carry stuff and putting toddler on my shoulders. I had a baby seat on my bike and biked with the oldest until I was like 8 months pregnant.

I did a lot of traveling with kids as a military wife. I kept up a constant patter to keep them occupied. I basically narrated what we were doing.

"We are waiting for the bus. This is a bus stop. It is for waiting for the bus. This big vehicle pulling up is the bus. This thing on the side is the number of the bus. It says six. We are getting on the bus now. etc"

They learned a tremendous amount and it kept them from having meltdowns.
 

WSU MUP Student

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Do you feel that this is healthy for *any* relationship? At some point, you start to feel like the joint proprietors of a child care center instead of a couple. I think it's a dangerous path to go down.
Everybody's situation, what they want in their relationship, and how they like to spend their time together is different. We do meet for lunch on occasion during the day, so we get some time to ourselves that way and both of our children are routinely in bed and asleep by 8:30 p.m. (the 2-year-old hits the rack at 7:15 and is usually out within about 10 minutes, the 8-year-old is in bed most nights by 8:00 and asleep by 8:30) so we also have a few hours to ourselves nearly every night but even before we were married, it's not like we were out partying or hitting up the bars and restaurants with any sort of routine. Before we had kids, a typical date would be just a walk around the neighborhood or to the ice cream store together, we don't mind doing that with the kids in tow. We did (and do still) like to go to the movies but we'd rather relax with each other on the couch or the patio most nights.

FWIW - I was the youngest of 5 and never saw my parents go out for "date nights". They would take us kids out to dinner with them to all sorts of restaurants including the "fancy" ones in the area... we just did everything together. My parents celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary this year.

My wife's birthday was yesterday and on Saturday afternoon, our oldest was going to a friend's house for a movie night and she would be there until late. I asked my wife if she wanted me to try and get the girl next door to babysit in the evening since it would be just one child and we could go out to dinner together (without any kids) for her birthday. I figured that she would have jumped at the idea but she said she would rather stay in and we could use that as an opportunity to give our youngest some attention without the oldest around.
 

Veloise

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... Any of you guys ever deal with a toddler while on a jam packed subway train?

I've lived here so long that the idea of your typical two car suburban lawn lifestyle is sort of culturally alien. I grew up in a town like that, but went off to college twenty years ago... that's how long it's been since I lived in that sort of environment. We do pretty much everything on foot or via transit and use the car for weekend trips only. Being able to drive to stuff and park nearby instead of using transit sounds potentially easier, but then there is the reality of chauferring the kid until the end of time. What is that like?

Parents on both sides are mid to late sixties, so being close to them would also allow us to help them out as well, especially as they get older.
How do wheelchair users access the subways? (When I take a sousaphone to DC, I've used the Metro elevators.)

Seems like the biggest culturally alien change would be to move from the largest city in the country to one that... isn't.
Want to get started on the different attitudes between the regions?

I'm not saying this is all a bad idea, and it's good that you're considering it pre-need. There are a few folks on here who've made dramatic long-distance moves; seems like it was for grad school or a job change or to get away from relatives. They'll chime in.
 

gtpeach

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After having a string of pretty good mornings, we crashed and burned today. 14 year old had to be at school ON TIME because she had a field trip. Good thing I tried to get us leaving 10 minutes before I really wanted to leave, because we ended up leaving 5 minutes after I wanted to leave. Got the 6 year old ready, waiting on the 14 year old to finish up, and during that time while I'm letting 14 year old know that we have to go RIGHT NOW, 6 year old decided she wanted to paint her nails RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. When I told her we didn't have time this morning but could do it after school, she had a complete meltdown.

I ended up carrying her to the car, and when we got to school, we realized she didn't have her bookbag. Which also meant she didn't have her folder or her snack for the afternoon. So then she was upset about going to school. Thankfully her teacher was walking in right as we were getting out of the car and was able to tell her it was no big deal. I guess we'll be having a conversation tonight about not always being able to get our way, not being a good listener, making poor choices, and facing consequences for those choices.
 

WSU MUP Student

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After having a string of pretty good mornings, we crashed and burned today. 14 year old had to be at school ON TIME because she had a field trip. Good thing I tried to get us leaving 10 minutes before I really wanted to leave, because we ended up leaving 5 minutes after I wanted to leave. Got the 6 year old ready, waiting on the 14 year old to finish up, and during that time while I'm letting 14 year old know that we have to go RIGHT NOW, 6 year old decided she wanted to paint her nails RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. When I told her we didn't have time this morning but could do it after school, she had a complete meltdown.

I ended up carrying her to the car, and when we got to school, we realized she didn't have her bookbag. Which also meant she didn't have her folder or her snack for the afternoon. So then she was upset about going to school. Thankfully her teacher was walking in right as we were getting out of the car and was able to tell her it was no big deal. I guess we'll be having a conversation tonight about not always being able to get our way, not being a good listener, making poor choices, and facing consequences for those choices.
It seems like 90% of the meltdowns our daughter had when she was about 5-7 years old basically boiled down to time management. The economist in me tried explaining the concept of opportunity cost to her and how if she decides to do Action A that's less time she'll have for Action B, C, D, etc. She didn't quite get it so I got the bright idea to use the whiteboard on her little easel: One evening before dinner I drew a big square and divided into a bunch of little boxes. I knew that usually she would take forever (with some time dedicated to whining) to eat dinner and then need a bath or shower and she'd want to play and also go outside and do a bunch of other things. Before dinner I told her each box on the whiteboard represented 5 minutes and when they were all erased it was her bedtime. During dinner I erased a few boxes while she was wasting time whining about things and then she saw a whole bunch get erased while she was supposed to be getting ready for her shower and she saw how much playtime she would have start to dwindle. We did this a couple nights in a row and she finally got the hint that her choices of what to do in the present limit her options of what she can do in the future. She's 8 now and quite a bit better with her time management but every once in a while I still have to draw a bunch of boxes on the whiteboard.
 

gtpeach

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It seems like 90% of the meltdowns our daughter had when she was about 5-7 years old basically boiled down to time management. The economist in me tried explaining the concept of opportunity cost to her and how if she decides to do Action A that's less time she'll have for Action B, C, D, etc. She didn't quite get it so I got the bright idea to use the whiteboard on her little easel: One evening before dinner I drew a big square and divided into a bunch of little boxes. I knew that usually she would take forever (with some time dedicated to whining) to eat dinner and then need a bath or shower and she'd want to play and also go outside and do a bunch of other things. Before dinner I told her each box on the whiteboard represented 5 minutes and when they were all erased it was her bedtime. During dinner I erased a few boxes while she was wasting time whining about things and then she saw a whole bunch get erased while she was supposed to be getting ready for her shower and she saw how much playtime she would have start to dwindle. We did this a couple nights in a row and she finally got the hint that her choices of what to do in the present limit her options of what she can do in the future. She's 8 now and quite a bit better with her time management but every once in a while I still have to draw a bunch of boxes on the whiteboard.
This is GENIUS!
 

terraplnr

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After having a string of pretty good mornings, we crashed and burned today. 14 year old had to be at school ON TIME because she had a field trip. Good thing I tried to get us leaving 10 minutes before I really wanted to leave, because we ended up leaving 5 minutes after I wanted to leave. Got the 6 year old ready, waiting on the 14 year old to finish up, and during that time while I'm letting 14 year old know that we have to go RIGHT NOW, 6 year old decided she wanted to paint her nails RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. When I told her we didn't have time this morning but could do it after school, she had a complete meltdown.

I ended up carrying her to the car, and when we got to school, we realized she didn't have her bookbag. Which also meant she didn't have her folder or her snack for the afternoon. So then she was upset about going to school. Thankfully her teacher was walking in right as we were getting out of the car and was able to tell her it was no big deal. I guess we'll be having a conversation tonight about not always being able to get our way, not being a good listener, making poor choices, and facing consequences for those choices.
Natural consequences like that suck as a parent but are important for the kids to experience, as a learning tool. She will likely make sure she has her bookbag from now on. I've been getting serious with my boys about "first time listening" because school day mornings and evenings are a lot harder when I have to tell/remind them five times to do things. :eek:|



It seems like 90% of the meltdowns our daughter had when she was about 5-7 years old basically boiled down to time management. The economist in me tried explaining the concept of opportunity cost to her and how if she decides to do Action A that's less time she'll have for Action B, C, D, etc. She didn't quite get it so I got the bright idea to use the whiteboard on her little easel: One evening before dinner I drew a big square and divided into a bunch of little boxes. I knew that usually she would take forever (with some time dedicated to whining) to eat dinner and then need a bath or shower and she'd want to play and also go outside and do a bunch of other things. Before dinner I told her each box on the whiteboard represented 5 minutes and when they were all erased it was her bedtime. During dinner I erased a few boxes while she was wasting time whining about things and then she saw a whole bunch get erased while she was supposed to be getting ready for her shower and she saw how much playtime she would have start to dwindle. We did this a couple nights in a row and she finally got the hint that her choices of what to do in the present limit her options of what she can do in the future. She's 8 now and quite a bit better with her time management but every once in a while I still have to draw a bunch of boxes on the whiteboard.
This is a good idea!
 

Whose Yur Planner

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It seems like 90% of the meltdowns our daughter had when she was about 5-7 years old basically boiled down to time management. The economist in me tried explaining the concept of opportunity cost to her and how if she decides to do Action A that's less time she'll have for Action B, C, D, etc. She didn't quite get it so I got the bright idea to use the whiteboard on her little easel: One evening before dinner I drew a big square and divided into a bunch of little boxes. I knew that usually she would take forever (with some time dedicated to whining) to eat dinner and then need a bath or shower and she'd want to play and also go outside and do a bunch of other things. Before dinner I told her each box on the whiteboard represented 5 minutes and when they were all erased it was her bedtime. During dinner I erased a few boxes while she was wasting time whining about things and then she saw a whole bunch get erased while she was supposed to be getting ready for her shower and she saw how much playtime she would have start to dwindle. We did this a couple nights in a row and she finally got the hint that her choices of what to do in the present limit her options of what she can do in the future. She's 8 now and quite a bit better with her time management but every once in a while I still have to draw a bunch of boxes on the whiteboard.
That is brilliant idea. I which I would have known about when mini WYP was little.
 

Maister

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Junior is 13 and there are power struggles almost every morning over:
1) breakfast - he resists eating any breakfast and comes home from school famished, usually devouring a container of something like ice cream or chips....or whatever the worst food choice available happens to be.
2) morning checklist - we had him tested by a neuropsych and Junior has some significant challenges related to working memory and executive function. He might recognize this in the abstract, but when it comes time to pursue/teach strategies to help him deal with these deficiencies (such as checklists) he consistently resists them and swears "I swear I remembered everything to do and take today! I don't need a stupid checklist! Don't you trust me?" If this checklist is not reviewed with him there is about a 90% chance he will forget to pack his book bag with homework, permission slips, or anything else required at school that day. This was one situation where 'tough love' utterly failed and allowing him to accept the consequences of his inability to remember things proved academically disastrous (and his self esteem) for the semester we allowed him to 'go it on his own' with no assistance.
3) clothing - the best way to describe Junior's departure most mornings would be the word "escape." It may be 39 degrees outside, but he'll insist on wearing absurdly inadequate clothing, such as shorts, t-shirt, and sandals during such conditions. His goal most mornings is to get out the front door before his parents have had the opportunity to see what he's chosen to wear. I personally choose not to engage on this one under the parental precept of 'picking your fights' but Mrs. Maister is unable/unwilling to let this one go unchecked. Consequently there's lots and lots and lots and lots of drama going on here in the mornings.
 

Michele Zone

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Maister Junior sounds quite a lot like my oldest, except that we pulled the kids out of school when he was 11 to homeschool and he learned about clothing and weather when he was 2. That stood him in good stead the rest of his childhood.

He still is not a breakfast person and still dresses unconventionally, but he's an unemployed bum whose only accomplishment in life is nursing his mom back to health after doctors wrote her off for dead. He's clear that as long as he doesn't, say, become a serial killer as one of his hobbies, I am happy to provide for him and he only needs to figure out how to earn money because he will likely outlive me.

So it doesn't matter all that much that he's weird and can't fit in most places. It's all good.
 

kjel

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1) The NH grandparents have discussed retiring down south. NC is a possibility
2) No, we are in a rent controlled 2 bedroom apartment in Manhattan, which is extremely rare and fortunate. Any comparable market-rate housing in the metro area would be at least an additional $1,000 a month. Leaving for any other borough or location in the Tri-State Area is off the table.



Do you feel that this is healthy for *any* relationship? At some point, you start to feel like the joint proprietors of a child care center instead of a couple. I think it's a dangerous path to go down.

Thanks for the input, all.

Do we have any former New Yorkers here, or former residents of a crowded, major city? Are most of you guys out in the Midwest? I feel as though the crowded city lifestyle versus less populated locales is difficult to compare. Any of you guys ever deal with a toddler while on a jam packed subway train?

I've lived here so long that the idea of your typical two car suburban lawn lifestyle is sort of culturally alien. I grew up in a town like that, but went off to college twenty years ago... that's how long it's been since I lived in that sort of environment. We do pretty much everything on foot or via transit and use the car for weekend trips only. Being able to drive to stuff and park nearby instead of using transit sounds potentially easier, but then there is the reality of chauferring the kid until the end of time. What is that like?

Parents on both sides are mid to late sixties, so being close to them would also allow us to help them out as well, especially as they get older.
NYC metro is tough. I totally understand. It costs a crap ton to have kids here and there is no freaking way I'd do it in NYC proper for reasons you have cited. Most of my NYC friends have left the city for the suburbs or NJ once they had the 2nd kid.

I live in Newark and commuted to Grand Central all last year-hated every minute of it even though the money was very good. When an opportunity with Hudson County came up I jumped on it, even though it pays a bit less I still net the same and I've regained an hour a day back. Childcare is more reasonable on this side of the Hudson. I drive myself to work because I have a parking spot but I could take public transit if needed.

We live far from any family as well. My in-laws are in the Dominican Republic and even if they were here they would not be able to help care for my daughter in any meaningful way. My parents are deceased. We did think about moving to MA as there is extended family there but we also came to the conclusion that it would not be beneficial to move based on a number of factors. We are lucky to have an excellent babysitter and backup sitter but they only watch her M-F. We don't have help otherwise. It does get easier as they get older.

I feel like I have the best of both worlds living where I do, my neighborhood is super walkable and two blocks from the train as well as access points to many major roadways. I own a car but I can still do everything without one and parking isn't a competition sport in my neighborhood. You only chauffeur your kids as much as you are willing to (my oldest now 25 spent most of her childhood in the real 'burbs and I refused).

As other's have cautioned, you need to be honest with yourselves about how much help you're realistically going to get from either set of parents and recognize that they will age and need care themselves which can be burdensome and limiting in its own way. This is real talk as a number of us here are or have been in this situation. Think about what your job opportunities would be, how much you'd earn, what the cost of living would be in a new location and how far your earnings would go, would you be able to adapt to the lifestyle in a different location, would you rent/buy, do you need a car or two cars, etc. It's not an easy calculus.
 

kjel

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How do wheelchair users access the subways? (When I take a sousaphone to DC, I've used the Metro elevators.)

Seems like the biggest culturally alien change would be to move from the largest city in the country to one that... isn't.
Want to get started on the different attitudes between the regions?

I'm not saying this is all a bad idea, and it's good that you're considering it pre-need. There are a few folks on here who've made dramatic long-distance moves; seems like it was for grad school or a job change or to get away from relatives. They'll chime in.
With great difficulty. About 80% of the stations are not accessible AT ALL to wheelchair users and at the ones that are the elevators are frequently out of order.

https://ny.curbed.com/2017/9/21/16315042/nyc-subway-wheelchair-accessible-ada
https://transitcenter.org/publications/access-denied/#introduction
 

DVD

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For those with more than one kid how long can yours go before they start sniping at each other? This long road trip has shown me the answer is about 6-7 hours. I'm actually kind of impressed. Anyone have good tactics to get them to stop when you can't just lock them in their own rooms? I've made it so far on threats and taking important things like electronics for a while. I need something genius like the square timer thing
 

Michele Zone

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For those with more than one kid how long can yours go before they start sniping at each other? This long road trip has shown me the answer is about 6-7 hours. I'm actually kind of impressed. Anyone have good tactics to get them to stop when you can't just lock them in their own rooms? I've made it so far on threats and taking important things like electronics for a while. I need something genius like the square timer thing
Keep them fed. Keep them hydrated. Keep them entertained.

On road trips, we regularly stopped at a fast food place with a playground for one of our stops or someplace else they could run around and stretch their legs. I typically ate while they played, then got food to go for them so they got maximum play time. That helped.

If they get car sick, do what you can to mitigate it.

When they do snipe, try to chalk it up to the stressful situation rather than blaming them for misbehaving. Insist we aren't doing this right now and try to get them to nap.

The goal should be to stop it, not to find who to blame, basically.
 

Maister

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For those with more than one kid how long can yours go before they start sniping at each other? This long road trip has shown me the answer is about 6-7 hours. I'm actually kind of impressed. Anyone have good tactics to get them to stop when you can't just lock them in their own rooms? I've made it so far on threats and taking important things like electronics for a while. I need something genius like the square timer thing
I recommend earbuds, some Iggy & the Stooges, and a highly engaged spouse seated next to you to deal with 'em.
 

Whose Yur Planner

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Know where all the Cracker Barrels are along the way. Great place to stop with kids though the food is +o:)v:
Travel at night when they are asleep
Separate iPads/Tablets for games, movies, books, etc.
Frequent stops
 

Big Owl

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For those with more than one kid how long can yours go before they start sniping at each other? This long road trip has shown me the answer is about 6-7 hours. I'm actually kind of impressed. Anyone have good tactics to get them to stop when you can't just lock them in their own rooms? I've made it so far on threats and taking important things like electronics for a while. I need something genius like the square timer thing
Nyquil or Benadryl shots for everyone except the driver.;)

I was hoping to offer up something good and typing the above would give me time to think of it. We would separate them to one in the front and one in the back if I was driving. That helped so did separate electronic devices and headphones. Incentives helped... my kids know the value of a dollar.
 

terraplnr

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My 5th grader rode his bike to school today (they had a bike, walk, roll to school event) and it hit me in all the feels... the eternal parenting struggle of wanting to bubble-wrap them to keep them safe but wanting to let them grow their independence... After I made sure he got to school safely I was cursing the evil triad of incomplete streets - consolidated schools that are surrounded by parking lots - negligent sleepy morning drivers. #plannermom
 

mendelman

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My 5th grader rode his bike to school today (they had a bike, walk, roll to school event) and it hit me in all the feels... the eternal parenting struggle of wanting to bubble-wrap them to keep them safe but wanting to let them grow their independence... After I made sure he got to school safely I was cursing the evil triad of incomplete streets - consolidated schools that are surrounded by parking lots - negligent sleepy morning drivers. #plannermom
I, on the other hand, think my boys should have been doing this for years (I have 3rd, 4th and 5th grade boys). Especially since our house is .9 miles from the school building, using neighborhood sidewalks and only crossing a narrow arterial with full lighted crossings.

My wife....is a bit more hesitant then me. :p
 

MacheteJames

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NYC metro is tough. I totally understand. It costs a crap ton to have kids here and there is no freaking way I'd do it in NYC proper for reasons you have cited. Most of my NYC friends have left the city for the suburbs or NJ once they had the 2nd kid.

I live in Newark and commuted to Grand Central all last year-hated every minute of it even though the money was very good. When an opportunity with Hudson County came up I jumped on it, even though it pays a bit less I still net the same and I've regained an hour a day back. Childcare is more reasonable on this side of the Hudson. I drive myself to work because I have a parking spot but I could take public transit if needed.

We live far from any family as well. My in-laws are in the Dominican Republic and even if they were here they would not be able to help care for my daughter in any meaningful way. My parents are deceased. We did think about moving to MA as there is extended family there but we also came to the conclusion that it would not be beneficial to move based on a number of factors. We are lucky to have an excellent babysitter and backup sitter but they only watch her M-F. We don't have help otherwise. It does get easier as they get older.

I feel like I have the best of both worlds living where I do, my neighborhood is super walkable and two blocks from the train as well as access points to many major roadways. I own a car but I can still do everything without one and parking isn't a competition sport in my neighborhood. You only chauffeur your kids as much as you are willing to (my oldest now 25 spent most of her childhood in the real 'burbs and I refused).

As other's have cautioned, you need to be honest with yourselves about how much help you're realistically going to get from either set of parents and recognize that they will age and need care themselves which can be burdensome and limiting in its own way. This is real talk as a number of us here are or have been in this situation. Think about what your job opportunities would be, how much you'd earn, what the cost of living would be in a new location and how far your earnings would go, would you be able to adapt to the lifestyle in a different location, would you rent/buy, do you need a car or two cars, etc. It's not an easy calculus.
This is so helpful. I cant thank you enough.

Right now, it's money in, money out in our household. We are spending around $1,500 a month on child care wth one kid. We eek by with one full-time, mid-level government salary (mine) and one part-time freelancer salary (hers). I have NO IDEA how families who are paying market rate rents get by in this city.

I'm partial to Westchester, as parts of it are lovely, green, and really amenable to an outdoor lifestyle, but the cost of living there is just astronomical. My thinking is that if you're going to live outside of the five boroughs, you do it to get more space and an easier lifestyle. The thing is, a lot of the new multifamily new construction going up there has unit sizes not much bigger than the city, A house is totally out of our price range unless we go 50+ miles outside of the city and I refuse to join the ranks of the harried Grand Central zombie-commuter class. What we want is what you're describing - essentially, a car-lite, walkable lifestyle with reasonable commutes.

The SO is actually from Bergen County, and we have family there, but it's the same issue as Westchester - it's a beautiful, desirable area but cost-prohibitive unless you're in finance, insurance, real estate, advertising, and you have to deal with the even more nighmarish Penn Station commute unless you score a local gig like you did.

The MIL has a house in North Carolina that she will essentially give to us if we move down there, but the area that it's in (the Triad) doesn't seem to be much of a hot spot for planning work.
 

gtpeach

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Last night, I was laying in bed with the six-year-old and she heard my stomach making standard digesting noises. She asked if there was someone in there. I told her no, which led to her asking how babies got into mommy's tummies.

I thought for a second and said that a man had to put it in there (maybe no technically correct, but close enough to serve the purposes). She asked how he did that, and then thought for a second and said, "Oh, wait. I know, but I'm not allowed to talk about it. It's gross." So then I explained that it's something that's okay if it's with someone that you love a whole lot.

So basically I just had the sex talk with a 6 year old that already knew most of the details. There are a lot of scenarios I thought through with this whole foster parenting thing... having that conversation was not one of them!
 
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