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Double J

Two issues about having fourth child-advice needed please.

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3babygirls

Don't do it.

 

My sister in law and brother in law had 4 under 6 and their living costs have absolutely killed them. SIL works full time and BIL could not afford to go back to work as the costs of kids in childcare would ruin them.

 

Their 3rd child was going to miss out on pre-school altogether as they couldn't afford to send her.

 

They got to a point last year where they were almost going to have to declare bankruptcy.

 

I would rather have 3 kids and be able to give them everything they need, rather than have 4 and be spread so thinly.

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Bam1

We found 3 in CC a real killer and we were "smart" - had 2 got them both off to school before having another 2.

 

The only problem was being a similar age to the OP and having a higher order pregnancy increases the chances of twins - and that's what we got, 3 under 2 and a lot of CC fees!

 

We would have been okay if it was only a 4th child but we were not in debt and could cover our living costs (even though we had to reduce them drastically). In your situation I would not go ahead with the 4th except maybe once the 3rd had gotten to school and then hope the biology gods were smiling.

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CrankyM

In you financial situation, sorry it would be a no. At the moment you can not afford another child and both work and if you husband's income doesn't cover you being home then you don't really have either option.

 

While you have child care bills now, and often people assume it gets cheaper once they start school it often doesn't. (I just received a $400 bill for one child's activities for the term.) Especially if they do out of school activities. I would look at trying to get your financial situation sorted before even thinking of another child. One idea is if you are working 25 hours, it is possible to well collapse them into 3 days and pay for after school care? just an idea as it would most likely be a cheaper option then paying for 2 x 5 days of child care to work school hours. I know that it worked better for me to work 2 full days rather then 4 half days when my oldest started school and I had one child in child care. After school care still qualifies for CCB and CCR and it was a lot less. (Max rate for mine was $40 a day before the rebates). It also means that you won't run out of CCR by the end of the year. I know at 3 days a week and paying $112 day before CCR (we didn't get CCB) we only made it to a month before July before we ran out.

Edited by mayahlb
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IkeaAddict

Question that may have been answered....why are you so desperate for baby number 4 when you are already in a lot of debt, when you are already saying how expensive childcare is? When you have no other family support?

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Double J

Question that may have been answered....why are you so desperate for baby number 4 when you are already in a lot of debt, when you are already saying how expensive childcare is? When you have no other family support?

 

That's a very good question Ikea Addict, I just love being a mum and all that it entails. I don't feel overwhelmed (other than financially) by the three I have, its just these two issues that are quite rightly preventing me having a fourth. I just wanted to have impartial views to knock the cluckiness out of me as I previously mentioned. My reason(brain) is battling me heart at the moment, I haven't been in this position before in my life.

Edited by Double J

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LUV-MY-KIDS

Double J you sound a lot like my friend. Her and her DH are very good parents and find having extras no issues, nothing to go to their place and she has her sister kids, my DD, the next door neighbours kids ect. I've had dinner at hers at times and there has been 10 kids easy, it freaks me out but they do it no stress at all.

 

I would say you have to work out what is more important your current lifestyle or having more kids. My friend is so happy and for them I think they would not have been happy had they not had number 4. But with that came pulling their oldest out of private school, selling up, and after some time both getting jobs closer to their new home. They love it, its so them. But there is no way they could have stayed doing what they were and have another.

(I'm fairly sure had they started having kids before their 30's they would have more than 4)

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Jenflea

You can love being a mum with 3 kids, just as easily as 4.

 

If you're already struggling financially a 4th would be a no from me too. Especially on top of health issues.

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Fright bat

I think the heart vs brain argument is very real, and I don't think anyone is dismissing it. But I think you should convince your heart that it is doing the best for the beautiful kids you do have, if that makes sense.

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FeralZombieMum

That's a very good question Ikea Addict, I just love being a mum and all that it entails. I don't feel overwhelmed (other than financially) by the three I have,

 

You might feel a bit differently when they become teenagers. ;)

Especially if they are moody and hormonal. :p

 

 

Plus, the more kids you have, the more you'll need to juggle when they are teens, with a social life, working part time, have sport commitments etc. I'm often having to be in multiple places at once, driving the kids around - younger kids was so much easier! (before someone suggests my kids catch public transport - we don't have any as we don't live in the city!)

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Seven of Nine

Like PPs have said it doesn't look like you can afford it.

 

If you both really really want to go again it'd be worth looking at exactly what you're willing to sacrifice to get there. Can you or your husband apply for better paying work? Can you increase your hours to 40 hours, or reduce to 10, to improve the work:childcare problem? Can you move to a cheaper area or cheaper city so that the money you currently put into your mortgage you could put into childcare? Can your 4yo move from childcare to state funded kindergarten?

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Double J

Like PPs have said it doesn't look like you can afford it.

 

If you both really really want to go again it'd be worth looking at exactly what you're willing to sacrifice to get there. Can you or your husband apply for better paying work? Can you increase your hours to 40 hours, or reduce to 10, to improve the work:childcare problem? Can you move to a cheaper area or cheaper city so that the money you currently put into your mortgage you could put into childcare? Can your 4yo move from childcare to state funded kindergarten?

Hi Seven of Nine,

 

I can increase to 40 hours (its just that I would then pay for before and after school care for my eldest). However my second eldest starts state funded kindy next year (thank goodness) but there is no before or after kindy care option so would have to have a nanny/au pair if I am working 40 hours. You don't get any CCR with a nanny at the moment but will definately look into au pair option.

 

I like the suggestion made earlier that I see where we are at financially when our youngest is at least at state funded kindy, so will be about 41.

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Chief Pancake Make

You might die.

 

Do you need another reason. You have 3 healthy children.

 

Have you considered fostering if you love kids that much.

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AKAmum

I had placenta accreta with my third and final baby. I had to finish work at 22 weeks and move closer to the tertiary hospital where I was to give birth. We were lucky in that I had good leave provisions with work and my DPs work were understanding with him having to take carers leave for the other 2 when it was required. I could not imagine how we would have coped if we had the financial stress on top of everything else because we were living on a knife edge for 4 months until the baby was safely born, I was still alive (although missing a uterus) and we could all be living under one roof again. When I ended up in hospital the first time DP was so relieved to see I was ok and said to me my health and being alive for our first two children was more important than our yet unborn baby, I got really upset with him saying that, but deep down I knew what he meant was true. That said our surprise third is now almost 2 and a complete terror but I couldn't imagine my life without him and thank god my body held on long enough to bring him to 37 weeks and deliver him safely (I also thank all the health professionals involved in my pregnancy and birth!) just another perspective to consider.

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Double J

Hi Chief Pancake,

 

Yes fostering is something I have discussed with my husband before number 3 was born and as a result of the complications from birth 3, is something I should definitely revisit.

 

We have the car, we have a house that could accommodate a foster child, if the younger two share a bedroom and we have plenty of love to give.

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CallMeFeral

I can increase to 40 hours (its just that I would then pay for before and after school care for my eldest). However my second eldest starts state funded kindy next year (thank goodness) but there is no before or after kindy care option so would have to have a nanny/au pair if I am working 40 hours.

 

I guess that's a thing to consider then. You love being a mum - will having four children, who you spend LESS time with because you are working more hours, really satisfy that? Or will it instead frustrate that, because you are spread thinner and get less kid time altogether?

 

It's interesting because other people's interpretation of 'love being a mum' might actually entail LESS children and trying to get into a financial position to spend more time at home with them.

 

I think it might be useful to dig deeper into your feelings about a new baby - understanding them might help you work through any disappointment.

 

What is it you find yourself craving? Baby cuddles? More noise and activity and the busyness of small children? Watching siblings interact?

 

You might be able to find those some other way. Baby cuddles is a hard one to replicate and might have to wait for now - but it's one that is not fair to cause stress to a family over.

Busyness and extra children - I wonder if you could make some extra money by having other kids over at times their parents can't pick them up or something? You could start a family daycare!

 

If you can figure out what it is, maybe we can help with advice on how to get it without financial ruin. Because in the end, it's more complex than 'love being a mum' - you can love being a mum to one child or ten - there's something else behind that statement. Usually part of being a mum is wanting the best for your children, which a dire financial situation may not be able to provide. And it may be school age when that really becomes evident, when they want to do activities that you have to say no to because you can't afford them or don't have time to ferry them around.

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Double J

Call me Feral, wow food for thought, your post has definitely got me thinking. I really appreciate your perspective.

 

Its definitely not a need for a newborn or baby cuddles, its just the joy of being able to raise children into adults and all that entails.

 

I think fostering is something that I need to look more closely at as there is a huge need and we would be able to help.

Edited by Double J
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tiggy2

We have three. I agree with others that in your situation you should look into fostering and reconsider a 4th in a few years.

The expenses don't stop when Childcare stops. Our oldest will cost us $6k in orthodontics over the next 18 months - on top of private health insurance, activities are expensive, clothes especially shoes get more expensive, 3 or 4 kids means at least one party every weekend where you need to cough up for a present, going anywhere is expensive etc etc.

with your health issues you need to think through how you would manage if things go wrong.

I feel for you but I wouldn't put the family under that much stress and risk.

You sound like you would be an awesome foster mum!

 

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Jenflea

My DD started school this year.

Public primary.

I've spent over $500 on her uniform already, not counting her book pack! 2 lots of leather shoes already, kids feet grow!

 

Public school costs more than I expected, and you'll be doing that for 3 or 4 kids...then highschool, then Uni...

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nup

Can I encourage you too to look into fostering? So many kids would love to share in what you have to offer and it sounds like you would get a lot from it. Some of the costs will be offset (not all), but if you get a good support network and have a knowledgeable case worker there can be more benefits made available a larger family. Not to get you ahead in any way, more just to make life easier.

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BeStill

Could you change your work set up so you work 3 days rather than 5 but do the same amount of hours? Paying for 5 days a week of Childcare when you are only working 25hours doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

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TheFirstNoel

We have 4 (haven't ruled out more) and have made significant lifestyle choices to afford them. I'm talking selling up and retraining and moving, amongst other things. I wouldn't be comfortable with the amount of debt/financial strain that you're currently in.

I am not well versed in the complications that your ob warned about, if not for the financial issues, I'd be open to getting a second opinion and putting together a risk management plan.

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BBC

I totally understand feeling that your family is not complete. I won't comment on the health issues, but have a couple on the financial ones.

 

1. Working school hous but paying for full time care is not efficient. As a PP mentioned, it would be more efficient to compress your hours into three days, or find care that only charges for school hours. A more radical option would be to find work you can do at home or evenings and weekends. The net benefit - lower pay but less or no Childcare, might make this option worthwhile.

 

2. Teenagers are expensive. Mine have both needed braces. They need adult clothes and shoes and they still grow out of them. They go on camps and play musical instruments. They want driving licenses and lessons. They need home internet and laptops for school. Take away and eating out gets really expensive, and the grocery bills get high too.

3. Paying day to day expenses through credit card debt is not sustainable, and puts you at serious risk of losing your home if something goes wrong and your income falls.

4. If you stop working, would Centrelink family allowances make up some or all of the difference?

5. Can you cut your expenses yo make number 4 affordable if you stop working or reduce your working?

6. If you decide to wait to have no. 4 until you are better financially, and then find you are no longer fertile, how will you feel about that outcome.

 

Sorry, no answers, but some things to consider when you are deciding.

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laridae

You may be able to get more CCB if you put the eldest in after school care too OP. The cutoffs are higher the more kids you have in care.

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..-

No, I would not have more. Your level of debt and your approach to managing it makes me very nervous.

 

You need to also consider that you may have a child with additional needs. We have a child who requires extensive and ongoing therapy and 1:1 lessons for swimming and sport etc to help him develop his gross motor skills. He has numerous therapists and medical professionals on his team. This is entirely privately funded due to the pitiful state of funding for disabilities in Australia (the NDIS is not even a blip on our landscape).

 

Our child is as expensive as three or four children who have no additional needs. That is the reality of it. We were fortunate in that we had years of savings to draw on but we spent them and quickly. We both work full time now because we need two full time incomes to pay ongoing therapy costs and to get back on some sort of financial footing. We may also need to support my son into adulthood and/or buy him a house. We hope he will be able to be independent but we do not know, so we plan for both scenarios.

 

I am very good with money and we have both worked hard and made smart financial decisions. In a financial sense, everything we have worked for has been chewed up by therapy and medical costs, bar our house. One of the reasons we chose not to have another child was the relentless financial strain we have been under. We couldn't afford any more children, additional needs or otherwise. We needed to be realistic. I think you need to be too.

 

Your health issues sound serious and you need to take them seriously.

 

You would be a great foster mum. Look closely at that.

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mumto4boys

I have 4 and have had 4 c-sections, the difference is that I didn't have health concerns going into the 4th pregnancy (issues with the first child led to the other 3 c-sections being a safer option).

 

I work full time as a teacher and always have. This allows me shorter days than some people though because one my kids were at school, I could leave by four and then work at home once my own kids were in bed, reducing childcare costs. I also had some family help when the boys were young and grandma was still healthy, meaning that they weren't in full time care.

 

For us, while we loved kids, the decision to go from three to four was about the three we already had. Many of these things might not be concerns for others, but they were for me. I grew up poor, and didn't want the same for my children. Mum made it all work, but I always knew it was a struggle. I didn't want the same for my kids.

 

If we decided to go from three to four, I didn't want the three kids that I already had to miss out. So we had to consider, could we afford school, clothing, extra-curricular activities etc for four children.

 

We lived in a tiny house so the decision to have four meant taking on a bigger mortgage. We built a home big enough to house 4 teenagers. We didn't need to go that big initially, it was just easier for us to do it in one go, because we just couldn't fit 4 kids in our old home when the 4 year old was already in a top bunk.

 

We also needed a new car because we couldn't fit 6 people, with car seats in our sedan.

 

I didn't ever want to tell my kids that they couldn't go to swimming lessons or school camp because of my need for another child.

 

For us, we were able to make it work and while 4 has stretched us thin at times and we still have a mortgage, they've never missed out and that was always my biggest concern.

 

 

Childcare costs are horrendous but if you're already resorting to credit cards to juggle these costs, I would be concerned that a 4th could really break you, not just stretch you thin.

 

I know that time is ticking but can you give it a year or two, get the first two into school and pay off as much of that credit card debt as possible before reassessing. Maybe also pop into the managing money forums and look at the thread on paying off credit card debt. People in there are very supportive and will help you celebrate every small win along the way.

 

In your situation, for me, it would be a no, but really only you and your DH can make the decision. Good luck.

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