Babies + House = SCARY!

January 23, 2011 · 33 comments

There are three things in this world that scare the living day lights out of me. Babies, houses, and Pee Wee Herman. Fortunately, I’ll probably never have to face my Pee Wee Herman fear, but I’m 99.5% sure I wont be as lucky in the other two categories.

When we first got married, GN and I talked about becoming parents after two years of wedded bliss. Ask us when we’ll be having kids now, and you’ll likely get two different answers. Girl Ninja would say she’d be ready to have kids about one year from now. A little bit earlier than we originally planned. Ask me, and I’ll tell ya I’ll be ready in about two years. Haha, I’m no more eager to have kids today, than when I was six months ago. It will be a cold day in you know where, before I wake up one day and decide “diaper changing” and “stroller pushing” are two skills I want to add to my resumé.

Just the same, I don’t know if I will ever be ready to pull the trigger and buy a home. We have a relatively lofty goal of saving $100,000 before we can start thinking about home ownership. I set the $100K amount for two reasons. 1) It’s financially prudent to have liquidity. 2) It lengthens the amount of time I have before home ownership becomes a reality (yes, it’s a stalling tactic). Buying a house scares the snot out of me. What if we buy in a neighborhood that evolves in to a ghetto? What if our house has horrible maintenance issues? What if we hate it after a year, but can’t get out of it?

Basically, I have commitment issues. Life becomes exponentially more complicated with the addition of children and a mortgage, but ya know what I’m coming to realize? Complicated isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Marriage is definitely difficult, but it’s also the BEST THING that’s ever happened to me!

So while I may never be fully prepared to change a poopy diaper or fix a leaky water heater, I am becoming more comfortable with those things becoming a part of my life. Not today, not tomorrow, but eventually.

How do you know when you’re ready to have kids? How did you know when you’ve found the “right” house at the “right” price? How do you tell that little voice of doubt to shut the heck up!?

{ 32 comments }

1 Mo D.

I decided in my teens that parenthood was not for me (coming up on 30 years that decision was made). I had a very happy childhood, 2 parents that loved me (still do, as far as I know), but my instincts told me early on that I wasn’t Mommy Material. Luckily, I met someone who felt the same way about not procreating; in fact, it was one of the first questions we asked each other while we were dating (Hubby: “Do you want kids?” Me: “No, why, do you?” Hubby: “Nope, not at all”). Took a few years for the in-laws to realize they weren’t getting any more GrandBaby D’s, but it’s our decision, we’ve stuck by it, and we’re very happy.

We were renting when we first got married; since we knew we weren’t having kids, we didn’t need a lot of space, or a backyard. We bought a condo in a mature area of town, for a wicked price (we could sell today and make a $35K profit without having to make any more upgrades). Hubby was raised to believe you’ve got to have a house with a garden… that’s fine…. if you’re into gardening… which we are not… nor do we want to spend our down-time dealing with home repairs/maintenance. Maybe one day, we’ll upgrade to a townhouse, but we’re really happy where we are.

2 Money Beagle

We knew going into our marriage that we wanted kids, and we had even ballparked a time on when we wanted that to happen, so it wasn’t a big leap or surprise to either of us when that conversation started happening.

I think you’ll be great. You have a great sense of humor, a sense of responsibility, and great methods of teaching that will benefit your future children someday. I think a lot of what keeps us away is the fear of the unknown. I’m here to tell you that it’s not that bad and you’ll be great at kids, and also with owning a house.

Nothing wrong with taking your time on either one though.

3 John

Right now I’m playing single dad to a 10 month old while the wifey is deployed far far away. I’m lovin’ every minute of it. I wanted to have kids early on, but we waited to finish school and what-not. Now that I’m 33 I think I’ve found a lot of patience and understanding that I probably didn’t have when i was 25. There is just something very rewarding deep down inside..something better than reaching financial goals..in taking care of a child.

As far as buying a house. It is pretty scary. We were so worried about the whole process…finding a great house…losing that great house to someone else (this happened)…finding another great house…hoping you make a good deal…neighborhoods..schools…taxes….arghh!! That was almost 3 years ago and it’s turned out to be a great decision. We may not have much value in it yet that is truly ours yet, but its nice to be a home owner.

4 sara

I actually understand you on the kids-I never thought I wanted any of those. But a year after we got married I woke up one morning with horrible baby ‘fever’ and informed my hubby we were going to have a baby lol! 6 weeks later we were pregnant with #1 :)

My husband bought our house when we were engaged-I actually was pretty excited because it sure beat sleeping on an air mattress at my parents house lol! We bought a dump that needed major remodeling (think orange shag carpet and dark paneling EVERYWHERE). But we got a good deal on it, and after a few major renovation projects through the years, that we did ourselves, we now have a nice chunk of positive equity even in a crappy housing market.

We’ve never regretted buying our house, but I strongly recommend looking for one that you can see yourself staying in for 10 or 20 years. So many of our friends bought houses at the same time we did, thinking it was going to be their ‘starter’ house. Then the market crashed and they couldn’t give them away. Unfortunately now several of them are having to deal with hard decisions, because the houses they bought are in neighborhoods with bad schools-which they didn’t think they’d be there long enough for it to matter. Their kids are now of school age and it’s a big problem for them.

5 Kate

Can’t help on the kids front- the idea still scares the crap out of me.

In the house department- we figured it out by screwing up. If at first you don’t succeed… Hubby bought a house he couldn’t afford (figured his income would always go up- oops). We sold that one (absorbing the mortgage penalty along the way), and rented for a while in a neighbourhood we thought we’d like to live in. We were wrong, but thank goodness we rented. Eventually, we bought a house in a neighbourhood near my work that I lived in as a kid (VERY familiar with the pros and cons there), and we had been watching watching the market like hawks for about 18 months, more casually for another 6. We knew a good price when we saw it, and we jumped.

Most people say you have two parameters when choosing a house- location or price. I would argue that there is a third- time. If you’re willing to wait it out (and it’s definitely hard!) for long enough, you can usually find something that satisfies both location and price. But you have to be patient, and you have to have built enough resources (downpayment, emergency fund, human capital like a good relationship with a realtor, etc.) to be able to move fast.

6 Tiffany

We just bought our first house 6 months ago. We’re both 29. I was scared to death. I actually considered not showing up to the closing. Just calling and saying “sorry…I can’t do it. I don’t know if I’ll still want to be in this town in 30 years…it’s not you, it’s me.” I have a LOT of commitment issues myself :)

BUT…it turned out to be the best thing. Having a home of your own is amazing. We are starting to put our “roots” down, and I wouldn’t change it. When you’re ready, research the market, the area, the schools, the town demographics, and make sure you’re financially smart about your decision and it will all be good.

As for kids….I always said by 28…that has come and gone…and the older I get the more it gets pushed back. Now I’m thinking 32 :)

7 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com

I’m scared of those things too. Every year when my apartment lease is about to be up, I start looking at houses to see if I find one that I just have to buy. Every year I’m not even close to buying (even with the $8k of free money last year). I’m not sure when that will ever change.

And kids, well that hasn’t even registers as a possibility yet.

8 Red

I’m in the same spot, Ninja! Of course, neither my husband nor I plan to have children. But I am scared to death of home ownership. For me, it’s more a fear of, “Do we really want to live here for the rest of our lives?” I know a lot of people own multiple homes throughout their adult life, but I would prefer not buying a house until I’m ready to settle down with one for life. But I also worry about neighbors… If you’re in an apartment with noisy neighbors, you can always move. A house is a little more complicated. Nervous!

9 Jason@LiveRealNow

You’ll know you’re ready when the test turns up positive and you don’t go running for the hills in a panic. :)

I had my first when I was 20 and my third(last) when I was 29. Babies are physically much easier to keep up with at 20 than at 30. I was dead tired for the last one. Financially, #3 was the easiest, but she came about the time that we decided we were through with debt. She was, actually, one of the driving forces for that decision.

10 First Gen American

Wow..we both mentioned pee wee herman on our posts the same day. What are the odds of that happening?

Because I grew up in a rental property, I’ve always dreamed of having a home that I didn’t have to tiptoe around because “I’ll disturb the neighbors”. So that one was a no brainer.

Kids OTOH, I never felt ready. At some point, my husband and I were getting older and we realized if we were to have them, we’d better start. I didn’t feel ready even when I was pregnant but I figured I’d figure it out when the time came and sure enough everything fell into place as it should. I think the question should be “do you want children” not “am I ready to have children”. No one ever feels ready.

11 Makky's Mom

LOL, the house isn’t nearly as scary as the KIDS!!!!!
And I’ve had both for 11 years so I think I have a clue. ;)

Buying a house isn’t that big a deal, really. If you screw up, you’ve only lost money (ahhh, did I just say that like it’s no big deal?)… but seriously, if you hate the house, you cut your losses and move on… not so easy with a kid!!! If you find you’re not so much into being “big daddy”, there’s no bailing… once you’re a parent, you’re a parent for the rest of your life! Think about that…. the rest of your life! Am I scaring you? Good!

Having 3 of my own children plus a stepchild means we crossed that “decision bridge” many moons ago. But turning back the clock to my mid-20′s… I knew I wanted children, but I was scared to death at the idea of having children, let alone passing a baby the size of a watermelon through umm.. well, you know… good grief, talk about frightening! By the time I hit 30, I had baby fever something awful, unfortunately, I didn’t have a hubby, so I had to put my baby desires on hold a few more years. We got married when I was 32, and found out we were expecting on our 1st anniversary! Were we ready? Emotionally I was, but not being a morning person in the least, I was more terrified of the early morning wake up than stinky diapers! I’ve adjusted to waking up before 7am every single, solitary, freaking day (note a tad of resentment there) of my life for the last 11 years, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the incredible protectiveness you feel for your children – I never thought it was possible to worry THAT MUCH over EVERY little thing that impacts your child, from the sniffles they wake up with, to the bullies at school calling them a spaz, to the fear that your child might actually grow up to be an evil person with no moral code because they steal from their brother and cheat on math tests and lie to your face, to the worry about them drowning in their friend’s backyard pool one Saturday afternoon, to losing them in an amusement park, to worrying about the social impact of that dark mole on their forehead growing bigger day by day, to being hit by a car while walking to school, to… whatever you can imagine! Yes, having children opens an entirely new dimension of your being that you can’t fathom today (and I didn’t think I had an imagination!). But to have your child pour themselves onto your lap and tell you they love you because you are their favourite person in the whole wide world is an experience you just have to experience if you are at all bent towards pro-creating! There’s no better moment in life than that!

Take your time on both decisions and it will all come together at the right time. I know you trust in God to guide your lives. These decisions are no different. He will take you where you are meant to be… in His timing – that, I believe whole heartedly!

12 Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter

My husband and I are kind of similar to the two of you. We decided to wait 2-3 years after getting married to have kids. We haven’t hit that point yet but I think we are still on track to make that happen. I know it’s scary. I still have some apprehension, but I think you have to realize that as hard as you try, there is never going to be a perfect time to have kids. You will make it work and things will be great. Life always has curve balls so you just adapt as you need to. Work on spending time together getting some trips in at places where you would be less likely to take kids. Work on stabilizing your career and finances. Remember, kids don’t need much, just food, shelter, and love so they will be happy if you give them those three things. Best of luck with everything.
PS: Pee Wee Herman always creeped me out too.

13 Shelley

We waited 5 years after we got married to have a baby (and he was a surprise… but the best surprise we could have ever imagined.) I’m glad we waited. It gave us time to just be married. Kids are amazing (we have 2 now) but your life is completely turned upside down. No more going out when you want, doing what you want to do, having extra spending money, etc. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with waiting. In fact, I think it’s a good idea to wait.

14 bh

One recommendation I have is to not fall in love with a house. It is hard, but keeps you logical during the process. Sellers will play tough during negotiations, and being able to walk away is important to score a good deal.

15 Tom

I just bought a house and it still scares me. There are a lot of extra expenses that you need to think of before buying. I would say add $20K to the price (Closing Costs + 1st year HOA + 1st year Taxes + 1st year Home owners insurance + ESCROW buffer + furniture, appliances, and blinds + misc…). When I run the numbers, I know that it was reasonable, but I will be much happier once the waterfall of money slows down.

16 Sara

I’m 28 and I agree about being nervous about both – but honestly that just means we’re smart enough to know they’re both big commitments! Think of all the people who just jump into either one, assuming it’ll be easy. Suckers. ;P

17 krantcents

Kids scared me much more than a house. The only important part of both decisions is it should be unanimous. You should make the decision together and discuss the timing of each. Good luck.

18 Honey

My boyfriend and I (who have been dating for almost 5 years, so I guess the big things scare us too!) have decided never to have kids or to buy a home. Neither one sounds like fun to us, so why do it?

19 MyMoneyMess

To me kids are the best thing in the world. They don’t break. Give them love and support and teach them what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s really hard to mess it up. Poopy diapers are only part of the picture for the first year or so. Then when they’re starting to go on their own, it’s a source of pride and leads to things like running out of the bathroom in a restaurant exclaiming (rather loudly) “Daddy! Daddy! I went poop! And so did mommy!” :D

There is no perfect house or perfect price. All of that is relative. What’s nearly perfect for you might not even be close for me and visa-versa. Here’s how my wife and I approached it when we bought our house. Get your finances to the point where you’ve minimized the risk in the purchase as much as you want to. Then make a list of features you want in a house. Put everything you and GN can think of on the list, no matter how seemingly outrageous or trivial they might seem at first. Then go through the list and mark each one as either “Vital”, “Wanted” or “Nice to Have”. Before you start looking for a house, find a real estate agent who can work for you as a buyer’s agent (at no out of pocket cost to you), give him/her your maximum price and a the vital list. Let them know that you’ll look at anything that’s below your max price and has all of the features on that list. We figured it would take months of looking to find a house that we actually wanted to buy. It took a few weeks. After looking at the house twice, we knew it was what we wanted.

20 The Passive Income Earner

Lots of good comments here. My contribution would probably be to see if you can avoid both at the same time as you end up juggling lots. There is going to be some hormonal changes that you’ll have to deal it :)

Our families are quite far from us in Vancouver and there was challenges at times. Family and friends go a long way in providing support for all these life changing events.

All the best!

21 Evan

Just had my boy 2 months ago and it has been amazing. We waited about 2 years because we wanted to enjoy each other without having to worry about being less selfish. Once that feeling was gone we pulled the goalie….

22 Crystal @ BFS

I think you just know when you are ready for babies and houses. I knew I wanted my own home since I was like 6 years old. I wanted it and a awesome guy to spend the rest of my life with (that was actually my first priority, lol) – check and check. I don’t want babies yet. I can’t tell you how I know that, but the idea scares the living crap out of me (“Aliens” comes to mind…), so I know I don’t want babies yet.

23 Jenna

I’m house hunting right now and view it as a fun “project”, but my parents have been flipping houses for years. So getting dirty, ripping out carpet, and painting walls all seem like fun activities to me. Plus having a home or “home base” after traveling seems like a great idea to me.

24 ShoeGal

I completely agree!!! I am not huge fan of kids and am convinced they can smell fear. A house however does seem like it could be fun and I would love to have a place to really call my own. But I would guess that it would take me a very long time to commit to a place and many, many different condos and have to be scouted first so that I can be completely sure with my decision.

25 MsFlorida

Some girls dream about their weddings, I’ve been dreaming about houses since I was a kid. Don’t have one yet, but I spend way too much time browsing the internet listings. As soon as I know I’ll definitely be in a city for 5 years, I’ll buy a place.

26 StackingCash

It’s a good thing that kids are adaptable beings because I don’t think anyone is ready to have them. If they do think they are ready then they might have several rude awakenings during the first year. Also, their unpredictable powers will bend you to their will :) Scary!

When it comes to a home I still think you should try to take a real estate course and become a Realtor yourself. If anything, some classes in real estate might give you further insight on home buying. I’m actually going for my real estate license, but even if I don’t pass, I can honestly say that I learned quite a bit regarding my local market from two great teachers. Another area of knowledge you should verse yourself in is lending, it can be pretty complicated. That’s why I’m trying to stick with the 15 or 30 year fixed mortgage (if I did get the 30 I would probably try to pay it off in 15). Don’t ignore that little voice, it’s your gut and it will protect you. It helped us avoid buying in 2006!

27 Sandrac

House? Not a problem at all…didn’t think too long about it. Move to a city, buy a house. Three years later, move to another city. Buy a house. Rinse and repeat for about 20 years or so. Have I ever outright completely owned a house? Nope. And yes, as I’ve lived in so many places, maybe buying a house wasn’t the best financial decision – but I love having a house. A place of my own to tear down, renovate, decorate, and a garden to play in the dirt. Each house has been a home – my sanctuary, my refuge, my party center – and each one has been a different style and setting.

As for children, when I was ready, the ex was not, then I wasn’t and now in my 50′s it’s a non issue. There are times I regret not having kids, but hey, life doesn’t always work out like you plan.

28 Little House

When my husband and I got married, we both agreed to put off babies for at least 3 years. 10 years later, we are only now beginning to discuss it. However, there are some drawbacks to putting it off too far in the future (like, just plain old age!)

29 Jenny_Dee

If there’s such a thing as “peer pressure” to buy a house, I experienced it. I was too far away from work (over 20 miles) and rent was going up on my apartment. I didn’t mind renting – I preferred it because I didn’t have to do any maintenance work or shovel snow. But after looking at the prices of 2 BR apartments nearer my work and cringing, I looked into condos a bit further away from work. I ended up getting a 2 BR condo for $200 less than a 2 BR apartment, though I’m still about 15 miles away from work, but it’s all highway.

At first it was awesome – I got to tear out a really ugly shelving unit, painted wild colors and experimented with small electrical jobs (I replaced a light switch and two light fixtures!). Then, the Big Moment – tax time. I was told by relatives that the benefits of claiming your mortage interest were awesome! Not so for me. I got shafted. *sigh* I’ve had buyer’s remorse for two years now. I don’t see many benefits of having a place of my own. Having to figure out why the sink leaked or why the washing machine won’t fill with water S*CKS! And the supposed maintenance has left snow/ice on the parking lot for three days now, not even plowing until the second day.

Not to put a downer on your enthusiasm/fear, but I wanted to share with you the other side of dwelling-ownership. My sister LOVES her house. I’m meh.

30 retirebyforty

It’s ok to wait a bit to have kids. Do your traveling and have a lot of fun first to cement your relationship.
House-? I don’t know… We got a mortgage about 2 years after we got married and it was great. It’s a good time to buy a house…

31 Beth

You’ll know when you find your place. I said that I wouldn’t be ready for a home until after grad school was finished, but the cutest little condo fell into my lap. I made an offer after the first time I saw it. Decorating and remodeling is the best part, because then it’s going to be all mine!

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