Friday, October 30, 2009

The Best Of....

A big BONJOUR to my most favorite blog readers in the universe!

I want to take a moment to give all of you a huge THANK YOU for reading my ramblings and musings about my 'Baby Jones' affliction. Writing is the way I stay sane (or try to, according to SuperFutureDad) and I appreciate all of the fantastic feedback I get from all of you.  No matter where you are in your life - a swingin' single, a fabulous fiance(e), a smug married, a mommy or a daddy to a little nugget yourself - you take time out of your day to read my words.  For that, and much more, I am grateful.

You may have noticed a few new things to look at on Tales of an Almost Mommy.  That's because I'm trying to spread the word about my blog and get a few more rad readers like yourselves! So, if you feel like it, please let people know where they can find a funny perspective on everything from cankles, pull ups, MILF's, breasfeeding, pregnancy weight and the omni-present 'Baby Jones.' Plus, I want to share with you the neat pregnancy and parenting Web sites and blog collections I've found since I started writing Tales - just look for the links and badges I've posted on the side of the blog.

Here's a quick list of places on the world wide web highway you may find interesting:
-A list of reader-voted blogs on every parenting topic, from both mum and dad perspectives (ps - If you'd like to vote for Tales, just click on the badge on the upper left corner of my blog)
-An all-in-one info center where you can ask advice from other mums, connect with sympathetic ears, and discover information from hundreds of categories
-The largest social network for mum bloggers with more than 6000 members
-An off-shoot of mombloggersclub, this one is filled with blogs from women in all stages of pregnancy
-Just like Tales, but with a fancier design and giveaways.  I highly recommend checking out this blog!
-A one-stop place for ideas on how to incorporate vintage items for your baby and his/her nursery
-A top blog as voted by In Style Magazine. Features hot trends in decorating, clothing, etc. Very cool!
-The blog for a local Fargo-Moorhead magazine I write for. Has information on upcoming issues and hot topics in parenting.
-A freelance writer friend who is a first-time dad and a stay-at-home pop, no less.  He is a very good writer. Gives you an inside look at parenting from a dad's perspective.
-For all of your baby-making questions. A reliable source of information.

Hope you find some of these entertaining and useful.  And, be sure to send me your favorite Web spots so I can check them out, too!

Happy Halloween to you all!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winning Numbers

Holy crap. Have you heard how much it costs to raise a kid these days?

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion released a report this year showing a middle-income family with a child born in 2008 will spend about $221,000 raising that kid through age 17. Housing is the top expense, followed by food and child care costs.

That’s just the cost for ONE kid.

NOT including college.

Oh yeah, and that figure RISES to roughly $292,000 when adjusted for inflation.

Those of you already in the throes of parenting, are probably all too familiar with this (in my eyes) alarming figure. But for folks like me who are just starting to contemplate having a nugget, a quarter of a million bucks might just be enough to say screw it, let’s play Powerball instead. It’s depressing, no?

SuperFutureDad and I fall into the abysmal category of middle-income America – barely. We certainly don’t make enough to enjoy a life where we don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. It’s an ugly gray zone where nights out at the movies are nixed, gym memberships are dropped, and having an emergency cash fund is laughable. This is not to say that our life is perk-free. We are thankful we both have jobs, cars that run, tv and internet, and food on the table every night. Heck, with the help of a credit card, we can even buy plane tickets to go see my family for Christmas. But our overall financial situation is not about to change anytime soon.

Here’s why: In terms of earning potential, I picked the wrong profession. Although I love my job (and believe me, I DO!), I will never make money doing it. To be fair, unless you are in the ranks of Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer or one of those loud-mouthed cable network news nutjobs, people like me never will. And to be clear, I am not pointing fingers at my employer. As I see it, this is an industry-wide issue and no single business is to blame for low pay.

But frankly, I’m bitter – and worried – about what my career choice means for my future family. I feel I’ve worked hard (and continue to do so) to be able to earn a certain amount of money. I busted my butt in college; earned a Master’s degree in graduate school. For most people, these achievements translate into a bigger paycheck. Not me. And for that, my family will suffer and I, already, feel guilty.

My dream, along with millions of other Americans, has always been to give my children a better life than my parents gave me. However, with what it costs to raise a kid and my financial prospects, the likelihood of this happening ranks right up there with me buying a winning ticket.

“Hey honey, what are our Powerball numbers, again?”

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Name Game

Even though my husband and I are still working on this whole pregnancy thing, my mind has already started to wander toward names. What on earth are we going to name this (these) little nugget(s) that we bring into the world? My favorite name, let's call it 'T' (the name shall remain, well... nameless to protect the identity of who used it. It can be a sensitive subject, no?), has already been taken. Yeah, yeah, we're not supposed to stake claims on names, people are allowed to choose whatever name they like, blah, blah, blah. But to me, it's like that episode of Sex And The City when Charlotte and the girls are going to the baby shower of an old friend. When someone asks the woman what name she has picked out, she says, "Shayla." Of course, that name turns out to be Charlotte's years-ago made up unique baby name and Charlotte accuses her of stealing the name. The SATC girls storm out and Charlotte is forever miffed that someone nabbed her chosen future-baby-name.

I get anxious just thinking about names for my future children. I want something original but not trendy. Confident but not stuffy. Old fashioned but not... old. SuperFutureDad wants something that won't get our kid laughed off the playground. And of course, I'm already annoying him with talk of someone who doesn't even exist yet!!! What if we have a boy? What if we have a girl? What if we have twins? What are your family names? Would someone be offended if we didn't carry their name? Would someone be offended if we did? How do you feel about unisex names? Do you think kids today know who Clifford the Big Red Dog is (family joke)? What's your great-grandmother's middle name again? ARGH!

The worst part of all of this is that at any time, if we choose to keep our FutureNuggetName under wraps, someone can swoop in and steal it! Just like what happened with 'T'. There is no way SuperFutureDad's associate could have known this is my favorite name and even if he/she had, how ridiculous would I have to be to claim it as my own? Only a total nutter would do something like that, right?

So... in no particular order I am calling dibs on these names: Penelope, CoraLynn Ann, Berkeley, Drew, Joshua, Victoria, Vivian, Douglas, Patrick or Padraig, Johan, William, Wendy, and Frank(ie).

I never said I wasn't a nutter, did I?