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Suze Orman Should Stick to Financial Planning, Not Family Planning

Having kids is very personal business. If you want kids you had better be ready to sacrifice an awful lot, unless you have money coming out your ears, having kids (especially your first) is going to change just about everything. When I saw a link to this post about Suze Orman telling a young couple that their second baby would end up costing them $700-$1000 a month with “diapers and this and that” I was curious as to how Suze Orman counsels couples on family planning.

Turns out she’s not very good at it.

Forget the fact that she said babies cost an extra $700-$1000 a month, the original post that led me to this covered that just fine (although I will say that a second baby in cloth diapers, eating homemade baby food AND on formula costs us maybe $150 a month. If my boobs worked? I’d really only have to pay for laundry soap and well baby visits.)

What bothers me is that Suze convinced this mother that her first child (17 months) is just fine without her around, which I’m sure he is, but she didn’t validate the desire of this working mom to become a stay-at-home mom. While being a working mom is hard, being a stay-at-home mom isn’t for sissies, either. Hell, motherhood isn’t for sissies. If a mom wants to be with her kid, a mom wants to be with her kid.

The couple works opposite shifts. Cody and I have done that with and without a child and it wreaks havoc on a marriage — and when a marriage is off? Parenting is off as well. Suze convinced the couple that the wife needed to continue working full time and the father continue working full time on an opposite shift as well. “You’re young! Why do you feel like you need to have a child right now?” was one of her comments.

Some people like their kids close together. Some people don’t get pregnant very easily. Some people don’t stay pregnant very well. Some people can’t get pregnant again at all. Being young doesn’t qualify you to easy fertility (says the girl who took 6 years to get pregnant the second time).

I can’t even begin to wrap my head around the couple’s expenses, how they outlive their salary each month. Seems like that is what Suze needed to be counseling them on, not their family planning.

Suze and her parenting advice aside, I wanted nothing more than to stay home with Addie after she was born. We made dramatic sacrifices to make this a possibility. We moved from a large two-bedroom apartment to a tiny one-bedroom when I was seven months pregnant. We lived with in-laws as we prepared to move across the country for law school. We lived in a sketchy apartment through graduate school. We don’t take trips. We have a very modest home. We don’t eat out much. We don’t have amazing cars or amazing furniture.

We have amazing kids and a good marriage; those are what’s most important to us.

I realize every situation is different, but sacrifices can be made if a family is what you really want, and I can speak from experience that a family is one of the greatest things to sacrifice for. A majority of mothers who work outside the home, including the one in the video cannot simply quit their jobs to become a stay-at-home mom, but if that is the ultimate goal? It is worth working towards that goal. It may take several years, a dramatic change in lifestyle, finding a job that can be done from home,  moving to Indiana or even some luck. It’s not easy, but it is attainable.

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