When Mike and I found out we were having twins, we were truly shocked. There’s simply no preparing for that type of news, and I don’t know how to explain how overwhelmed we felt when we received it. That overwhelmed feeling hasn’t completely gone away, but we have come to terms with the reality that our family will change overnight. The emotional preparation for these babies has been intense, but ultimately we know that they will complete our family and bring joy beyond measure into our lives. I thought I’d write a couple of posts about how we are preparing our home physically (baby gear & space) for the twinners, and how we are preparing financially for my extended leave from work.
One of our biggest fears in welcoming TWO babies is that we simply won’t be able to afford it. The costs of diapers, childcare, double gear, double clothes, double EVERYTHING felt like an insurmountable hurdle at first. We’ve had to accept that things will cost more and we will have to make do with less. It was a tough reality to face at first, but accepting it made it feel much easier to move on and start planning.
We decided pretty quickly that I would not only take a traditional 12-week maternity leave (bringing me up to the end of the school year) but also a yearlong leave of absence from work so I can stay home with the babies. Emotionally, this felt like the right thing to do for our family, and financially it will save us the cost of childcare for a year (despite cutting our household income in half). Additionally, coordinating pumping, getting 5 of us out the door every morning, and all the other logistics of daily life with TWO babies was more than we were willing to take on.
It’s impossible to fully prepare for next year without my income, but we’ve tried to take some steps to make that time feel less daunting:
- choosing cloth over disposable diapers (ask me in a few months about this one…)
- accepting all offers of help and baby gear (Yes, I’ll gladly take those baby clothes off your hands and Of course we would love to have you on deck to baby-sit)
- starting to limit how much my current paycheck is used to pay our household bills, so we get used to living on Mike’s salary alone
- using my paycheck in very specific ways: paying down debt (which we know we’ll accrue again over the next year), buying essential baby gear, and purchasing gift cards for us to use next year (during every pay period, I buy a gift card to our local grocery store, a small gift card to a place we are likely to do Christmas and other luxury shopping, and occasionally a small gift card to a family-friendly restaurant so we can look forward to a meal out)
It’s likely that Mike will take on part-time work over the summer and that I’ll do the same after the babies are 6 months old. It’s going to be tough, there’s no way around it, but it’ll be temporary. Our bank account may dwindle, but our hearts will be full.