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Double J

Two issues about having fourth child-advice needed please.

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Double J

Hi all,

 

I am long time lurker and have plucked up the courage to post to seek your advice.

 

I am a professional working mum to three children under six. My eldest has started school this year and the other two aged 4 and 1 are in full-time child care. I work 25 hours a week during school hours. My husband works full time.

 

The problem is my husband and I are desperate for a fourth child. I adore being a mum but enjoy my work too so happy to continue.My husband works full-time. I need to work as we have a large mortgage and we can't survive on my husband's income.

 

I am 37, my husband is 39. Here is the problem:

  • we have no family support, so not an option. childcare costs are crippling for two children in full time care. We have been funding this over the years with credit cards which we manage to avoid interest on by using balance transfer options but we are in huge debt. In short our salaries don't cover cost of living plus child care expenses in full so this debt has been creeping up since first child was born. We plan to address the debt once kids are in public primary school;
  • I had complications with the birth of my third child by c-section (all 3 births were c-sections) and OB has warned of risk of placenta accreta if we go again;

These are the only two issues stopping us, would you go for it?

Edited by Double J

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Mummaduke

Hello,

I am by far an expert but I can tell you my opinion. I have 4 kids (8, 5, 20mth twins). We were trying for a third and had surprise twins.

Four kids is a lot, mine are pretty easy going especially the twins luckily and we have no health concerns so we definitely have it easier than some. I still find it a lot. They need me a lot, I feel quite stretched and just the logistics and costs are very high.

Going away is not easy, even going camping which is our main family hobby is more expensive as they charge for extra kids (site fees are for 2 adults, 2 children).

I personally feel the cost to me has been quite high, it will be hard for me to go back to work at this stage and I feel that really the family would best function if I didn't work. Luckily we can afford this for now but I'm not sure my mental health can!

Like you I also have zero family help as all my family are overseas and my husbands family are either estranged or over an hour away.

Given one of your main concerns is money I would really question how another 4 or 5 years of daycare fees would work for you. I am nearly 40 and find that I am thinking a lot of more how retirement will work for us and I struggle with the fact we will be financial stagnant for the next 3 or more years. Going further into debt would be a real concern.

Sorry to sound so negative!! I absolutely love my family and we all enjoy the twins so much but if I could go back in time I would give our decision to try again a lot more thought.

Good luck!

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Double J

Thank you kindly Mummaduke, I really appreciate your advice and insight.

Edited by Double J

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Wonderstruck

The big concern is the debt/fact you are unable to afford childcare for your children at present but need to work.

 

While your 4 year old will likely be at school by the time you have no.4, you'll still have no. 3 in care and the debt plus several years of care for no.3 and 4 ahead.

 

Moving debt from credit card to credit card on zero balance transfers isn't sustainable. Is there a way you could clear it with re-draw on your mortgage or a re-finance? Maybe sharing a nanny or au-pair with a neighbour (or just having one on your own) would be a cheaper option.

 

I'd get some financial advice first before planning no.4 as it appears at present this might cause you significantly more financial stress.

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sophiasmum

I only have 3 children but I can add as they grow older they are expensive too. My girls dance fees are in excess of $4000 per year, they do other activities too. My 13 year old is constantly out with her friends now, so I give her $10 for lunch each time. Yes she earns pocket money, but it doesn't cover it. She's outgrown kids clothes so is now in women's clothing. These are just a few examples. I could go on. But we did do a woop woop dance when they were all out of day care :)

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Karlee99

You ask, considering those two issues, would we go again?

 

No I would not.

 

If I had been warned of a high risk of some pretty serious complications by my OB if I went again and I already had three happy, healthy kids - then no, I personally would not risk it.

 

The financial issues - also no from me. If I was that stretched already I don't see how adding would help unless I was willing to move/downsize or stay at home for a while.

 

I have 4 kids, zero family help and know what it is like to juggle it all. You know whats right for you, of course we are all different, but I would be scared of resenting the changes/struggles that extra baby might bring

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CallMeFeral

To be blunt, it doesn't sound like you can afford it.

You are over extended and have no buffer in case one of you loses their job or falls sick.

I'm financially risk averse so I would never risk further financial strain if I were in that position. Not all people are that risk averse.

 

Will a new car be required too?

Edited by CallMeFeral
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PinkCherryBlossom

It hard enough raising kids when everything is going well, let alone when your back is against the wall and you are barely making ends meet.

 

You are already under huge financial pressure and another child may mean a bigger car, bigger house, time off from work for maternity leave, and everything will cost more - groceries, clothing, doctors visits, daycare fees, school fees, and this is all before the extras like birthdays, Christmas, family outings, holidays and extra-curricular activities. If you are already struggling financially, this might just sink you.

 

This could then have the run on effect of stress and discord in your relationship with DH, as well as the impact on your current children with what you can/can't provide for them in terms of both time and money. In your current financial situation I don't think you can afford to have a fourth child, sorry :-(

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Double J

McBubba and Sophiasmum wise words, I hear you and thanks for your replies.

 

My husband and I have never been on a holiday out of the State and furniture and clothes are from op shops, yard sales or second hand. Aside from mortgage for our average house and one car, it is childcare costs that are burying us.

We don't smoke or drink and never go out as a couple because we don't have a babysitter in terms of family....

 

I am just sad as I adore the kids and having a big family would bring us so much joy. We are prepared to make the sacrifices lifestyle wise but aside from selling the house and renting (which we won't do) we are stuck.

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Double J

To be blunt, it doesn't sound like you can afford it.

You are over extended and have no buffer in case one of you loses their job or falls sick.

I'm financially risk averse so I would never risk further financial strain if I were in that position. Not all people are that risk averse.

 

Will a new car be required too?

 

Hi, no we have a car that could accommodate four kids but all valid points you raise. Thank you for commenting.

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PhillipaCrawford

I hear you Double J.

Some people like you - and us- just want kids.

 

Despite saying we wanted dozens we'd stopped at 2 since DD was so revolting and then a bonus occurred, wewere sinilar ages to you.

 

The finances we were just getting on top of took a huge blow and we are only just getting comfortable 15 years later.

 

if we had just gone with our hearts we would have had more but it is just not sensible. i guess we will always miss the ones you didn't have but you must look after the 3 you do have - and yourselves too.

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WigglyWoo

How about an au pair? Some of my friends with 3 or more little ones find an au pair ir nanny more cost effective than childcare.

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FeralZombieMum

If you're up to your eyeballs in credit card debt to afford the basics, then a 4th child could send you bankrupt.

 

I would sit down and draw up a budget. You say you're working 25 hours a week, yet have kids in full time child care? How much would you save by reducing the hours they are in childcare? Also look into cost of getting a nanny, as it might be a cheaper option.

 

You really do need to look at eliminating the credit card bills - paying interest on them is a lot of wastage - money that could be better spent paying down your mortgage asap.

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Double J

Hi FeralZombie,

 

Thanks, I appreciate your response.Despite working school hours, childcare charges for the full day, no option for short hours at the centre or where I live for that matter for the ages of children I have. :mellow:

Edited by Double J

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Libster

Hm the amount of debt would worry me, I probably wouldn't go for another one in your situation. If you could find a part-time job where you're doing 8 hours a day but less days that would probably be better for you financially.

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Mumtotwo13

Op it might be worth looking at family day care vs long day child care. I think family day care is often by the hour. Others may know more.

 

It sounds like you both really want a 4th. Maybe try reassessing every item of expenditure you have, and ask if there is another way?

 

If the health risks are too significant, then no I wouldn't. If it's just money then yes, like you, I would try to find a way. And yes, I've been poor, so I'm not giving that advice from some ivory tower.

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FuzzyChocolateToes

Absolutely not. Sorry. That's probably not what you wanted to hear. A fourth could push your family to serious financial ruin. I have 4 and the idea of going in to debt for child care would terrfy me.

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Double J

Thank you all for your replies, it feels good to get these thoughts out of my brain out to you all for your feedback. Deep down, I know myself what you have all unanimously highlighted, I just need to work on moving past this "want" and be happy with the blessings I already have, which are amazing.

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HappyTapper

In your situation I'd not be considering a 4th OP. It isn't fair on you or your other children to get into more and more debt. If you can change things up (nanny, au pair, smaller mortgage etc) then I would put it back on the table.

 

We have 2 in daycare and it is expensive. We are very high income earners but it still makes us go ouch! We would love a third but we need to wait until we have one in primary school.

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FeralZombieMum

Hi FeralZombie,

 

Thanks, I appreciate your response.Despite working school hours, childcare charges for the full day, no option for short hours at the centre or where I live for that matter for the ages of children I have. mellow.png

 

Look into using family day care - I had a job that was school hours, and used family day care and I was only charged for the hours I used. It was a pain when the carer went on holiday (normally during school holidays with her family) - or when her kids were sick.

 

Also look into in home care.

http://australianhomechildcare.com.au/in-home-care/

 

You'd qualify under:

"the child’s guardian (or guardian’s partner) is caring for three or more children who have not yet started school."

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my3cubs

I agree with the PP's there are just too many risks for you. I was in a similar situation - 3 kids & badly wanted another. We didn't have credit card debt but had a largish mortgage & having another would have stretched us. Fast forward to now & my youngest is 6 years old, we have a lovely life with reduced mortgage. I still get clucky but know we made the right decision to stop at 3.

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sparkles30

I'm expecting my (surprise) 4th and am by no means in a great financial state! I guess you need to weigh up how much it means to you and what you would be willing to sacrifice. It largely depends on hubby's job... can he get another if say you sell up and move to a cheaper area where a mortgage would be lower and you could perhaps stay at home for now to reduce childcare fees?

 

The health concerns would need some serious contemplation and further advice from doctors though. If I got seriously sick it would be a nightmare for our family.

 

Good luck with the decision. Honestly, at the end of the day, you just make it work whether that means sticking with 3 and finding a way to deal with the longing for another (which they say does go away), or having 4 and dealing with more financial stress.

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LUV-MY-KIDS

Financially your situation would be enough to put me off having another child. Keep in mind kids get more expensive the older they are. Yes childcare is expensive but you think that will disappear and your better off, but doesnt seem to work that way.

 

Your health is concering, if you go ahead and have a 4th but then cant work while pregant sounds like financially that would put your finances at risk.

 

I think its lovely to want more children but the reality is sometimes either you have to change lifestyles or dont have another child.

 

I have a friend that desperatley wanted a 4th and they actually sold up and got rid of the large mortgage, expensive child care fees (area they relocated to was substaintally cheaper) and moved away 50mins so they could have their 4th. They love it they now have an a couple of acres of land, they grow all there own veggies and have chickens.

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Bearynice

 

 

It is tough with school hours and paying for full time care. I think honestly that you are struggling in your present situation.

 

You say you need to work too.... But are you coming out better off with two in full time Childcare vs you not working? (I understand keeping foot in door etc)

 

I think you shouldn't be contemplating another. Perhaps go on a budgeting tool and look at the figures and make adjustments.

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Fright bat

Kids cost money. People say that all they need is love - which might be true at a fundamental level - but what about extracurricular activities, school uniforms, music lessons and instruments, school trips etc. A sibling doesn't makeup for being the poor kid in the school whose parents can afford any of their talents or interests. Kids might be awesome for parents and much loved - but not all kids have great relationships with siblings, and asking be kids to make more and more financial sacrifices so that you can fulfill YOUR desire for more kids isn't fair.

 

You have to think past you and your husbands wishes, and now also take into account the potential needs and wishes of the three kids you have. YOU are willing to make sacrifices, but what sacrifices would you be demanding of them? And is that fair?

 

Personally, I don't think you can afford another child. Not without significant potential downsides to the kids you already have. Concentrate on them, give them a solid foundation for their own independent lives.

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