You have kids, and it’s a real joy, but some days you still feel like a kid yourself.
Being an adult is hard — being a parent is a whole other level! We get it, so we have put together a quick guide to help you rock your mom jeans and dad jokes 24/7/365.
Your Money Isn’t Just For Slime
Everybody knows kids are expensive, but money is too tight these days for it to get spent on slime and new shoes every six months.
Here are some tips to keep more money in your pocket and the kids still happy:
- Consider hand-me-downs or second-hand options on clothing. Kids grow out of clothing quickly, so most used stuff is still practically new.
- Give them an allowance and encourage them to spend their own money on things they want. They may think twice about using their own cash on that pack of Pokemon cards.
- Fun doesn’t have to cost a thing. Take a walk, check Facebook for events, play a board game, or bake something together.
- Make a trade. If they want the latest “L.O.L. Surprise!,” they will need to read 10 new books first or help you with the laundry.
- Coupons and clearance sales are your best friends. Try to buy items you will need in the future when they are cheap. This can include holiday/birthday gifts, seasonal attire for next year or school supplies.
Have a Go-to Babysitter…and a Back-up
If you are on-call for your job, or if you just need to run to the store without the kids, you’ll want to be sure you have a go-to babysitter you can always reach. It’s also a good idea to have a back-up babysitter in case your first choice can’t cover for you.
When you are figuring out who this babysitter will be, be sure to think about price. Baby sitters make good money (as they should for dealing with our crazy kids), but you have bills to pay. Maybe consider family or close friends as your babysitters who can watch the kids for free or greatly discounted. Maybe they will take your famous cookies as payment. If so, take the deal!
Communicate with Work
We all know there are a lot of last-minute things that come up with kids (they get sick, calls from school, etc.), but there are also many things you know about ahead of time. When you get notes from school telling you the date of the school play or when a classroom party will be, be sure to put these dates on your calendar and let your boss know. By giving plenty of heads-up at work, it’s more likely that they can be flexible on you attending different events with your kids.
Boo-boos Sometimes Need More than Just a Band-aid…
Kids get sick…a lot. Be prepared to visit the doctor’s office often and the ER a few times before they leave the nest. Medical insurance is a must-have when you have kids. Check to see what insurance your employer offers or if your child could be covered at a reduced cost by the state.
Also, consider doctor’s office alternatives like teledoctors. They are often cheaper and faster (for Ōnin Teammates, this benefit is totally free). This means more money in your pocket and a healthy kiddo.
Don’t Forget Self-care
Taking care of kids is a full-time job. That’s on top of your many other jobs like work, relationships and maintaining a house. Make sure that you find some time to take care of yourself after a long day of taking care of everyone else. This could mean your favorite TV show after the kids have gone to bed. It could be adding some extra sugar and creamer to your coffee and then taking a moment to enjoy it. These moments can be small but are a good way to make sure you don’t get burned out. If you do get burned out or just need some extra help with this whole parenting gig, consider reaching out for support. There are tons of parenting groups on the web or your company may even offer free counseling (Ōnin does).
Daycare is just one of those things you have to do if you have kids and a job. Make sure you are smart about this big decision.
- See if you qualify for free or reduced daycare options.
- Check if family or friends are willing to watch your child. You may still have to pay, but it could be cheaper than daycare.
- See if you can work part-time or shift your schedule so you only send them to daycare a few days a week.
- Have parent co-workers? See if they would be willing to watch your kids on their off days and you watch theirs during your off days. These are called Daycare Co-ops, and you may have one already set up in your city. Just do a quick Google search.
- Remember to think about the other costs: lunches, commute, diapers, wipes, formula, supply fees, days they are out and so on.
Just a General Parenting Tip
Always. Have. Snacks. You’ll need them for your kids and yourself.
Having kids is like a literal roller coaster — certain parts are fun and others are terrifying, but at the end of the ride, you are ready for more. You got this, Ōdult, so don’t worry. If you need some extra help check out our other guides on getting the family organized (calendar) and getting a hold of that work-life balancing act (main blog).