Showing posts with label Single Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Single Parenting. Show all posts

Financial Must Do's for New Parents Having a Baby


That bundle of love is going to cost you plenty over a lifetime, so start planning now.


Preparing for parenthood isn’t just tiny clothes and heartwarming ultrasound photos; it involves a lot of financial preparation. This guide will lay out the most important financial tasks on your plate from pregnancy to baby’s first years, including:

Estimating your medical costs
Planning leave from your job
Budgeting for the new arrival

Some parenting preparations are best learned on the fly — how to effortlessly and painlessly change the messiest diapers, for instance. But the list of things to do before baby arrives and within his or her first several weeks is lengthy, so tackling certain tasks now is a smart idea.

Pre-Delivery Planning

1. Understand your health insurance and anticipate costs. Having a baby is expensive, even when you have health insurance. You should forecast your expected costs fairly early in the pregnancy. NerdWallet’s guide to making sense of your medical bills can help as you navigate prenatal care, labor and delivery, and the bills that will ultimately follow.

2. Plan for maternity/paternity leave. How much time you and your partner (if you have one) get off work and whether you’re paid during that period can significantly impact your household finances in the coming year. Understand your company’s policies and your state’s laws to get an accurate picture of how your maternity leave will affect your bottom line.

3. Draft your pre-baby budget. Once you know what you’ll be spending on out-of-pocket medical costs, understand how your income will be impacted in the coming months and have prepared a shopping list for your new addition, adjust your budget accordingly. Babies come with plenty of expenses, so set a limit on both necessary and optional buys (like that designer diaper bag or high-end stroller with the LCD control panel), and consider buying used to keep spending under control.


4. Plan your post-delivery budget. Recurring costs such as diapers, child care and extra food will change your household expenses for years to come. Plan for them now so you aren’t caught off guard.

5. Choose a pediatrician within your insurance network. Your baby’s first doctor appointment will come within her first week of life, so you’ll want to have a physician picked out. Talk to friends and family to get recommendations, call around to local clinics and ask to interview a pediatrician before you make your choice. In searching for the right doctor, don’t forget to double-check that he or she is within your insurance network. Ask the clinic, but verify by calling your insurance company so you’re not hit with unexpected out-of-network charges.

6. Start or check your emergency fund. If you don’t already have a “rainy day fund,” now’s the time to anticipate some emergencies. Kids are accident prone, and with the cost of raising a child there’s no telling if you’ll have the disposable income to pay for any unexpected expenses. Having at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses covered is a great place to start.

While in the Hospital

The main focus while you’re in the hospital is having a healthy baby. But there are a few loose ends that will need to be taken care of.

7. Order a birth certificate and Social Security card. Hospital staffers should provide you with the necessary paperwork to get your new child’s Social Security number and birth certificate. If they don’t or if you are having a home birth, contact your state’s office of vital records for the birth certificate and your local Social Security office to get a Social Security card.


Within Baby’s First 30 Days

8. Add your child to your health insurance. In most cases, you have 30 days from your child’s birth date to add him to an existing health insurance policy. In some employer-based plans, you have 60 days. Regardless, do it sooner rather than later, as you don’t want to be caught with a sick baby and no coverage.

9. Consider a life insurance policy on your child. No one expects the tragedy of losing a child, so many parents don’t plan for it. The rates are generally low because a child’s life insurance policy is used to cover funeral costs and little else. When it comes to covering children, a “term” policy that lasts until they are self-sufficient is the most popular choice.

10. Begin planning for child care. Finding the right day care or nanny can take weeks. Get started long before your maternity leave is over. You’ll need time to visit day care centers or interview nannies, as well as complete an application and approval process if required.

Beyond the First Month

You’ll be in this parenting role for years to come, so planning for the future is crucial. Estate planning is a big part of providing for your children, but it isn’t the only important forward-focused task to check off your list.

11. Adjust your beneficiaries. Assuming you already have life insurance for yourself or the main breadwinner in your household — and if you don’t, you should — you may want to add your child as a beneficiary. The same goes for your 401(k) and IRAs. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to make adjustments elsewhere to ensure when and how your child will have access to the money. A will and/or trust can accomplish this.

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12. Disability insurance. You’re far more likely to need disability insurance than life insurance. Make sure you have the right amount of coverage — enough to meet your expenses if you’re out of work for several months. Remember, your monthly living expenses have gone up since the new addition.

13. Write or adjust your will. Tragic things happen and you want to ensure your child is taken care of in the event that one or both parents die. Designate a guardian so the courts don’t have to. Your will is only one part of estate planning, but it’s a good place to begin.

14. Keep funding your retirement. When a child arrives, it’s easy to forget your personal goals and long-term plans in light of this huge responsibility. Stay on top of your retirement plans so your child doesn’t have to support you in old age.

15. Save for his or her education. College is costly, but you can make it more manageable by starting to save early.

Adding a new member to your family comes with a lengthy list of responsibilities, so don’t try to do them all at once. Prioritize and tackle the most important items on your financial to-do list first. Because medical bills and insurance claims will be some of the first financial obligations you’ll encounter while expecting, start there. Move on to budgeting for pregnancy and the first several months of your baby’s life.

With 18 or more years until your little one leaves home, time would seem to be on your side. But — as the saying goes — blink and he’s grown. Now is the time to start taking the steps that will set your family up for financial success.


NerdWallet  June 23, 2015                                                      Time Money


How to Be a Better Spouse

Being nice, paying attention and praising a partner’s strengths all pay off in a long-term relationship


Before you get married, everyone tells you that marriage takes work. I never really believed it until my husband and I landed in therapy after four years, two kids and one seismically stressful cross-country move.





Turns out you really can't just flip the switch to autopilot and trust love to take care of itself; you have to devote actual time and effort to understanding and appreciating your spouse. Anyone who is married knows that's not always a simple feat. Here's what relationship research (and a touch of game theory) tells us about how to become a better spouse.


#1 Be nice as often as you can.


A lot of modern relationship therapy is based on the research of John Gottman, a prolific psychologist famous for videotaping thousands of couples and dissecting their interactions into quantifiable data. One of his most concrete findings was that happier couples had a ratio of five positive interactions to every negative interaction. “That just leapt off the pages of the data analysis,” he says. It was true in very different types of relationships, including those in which the people were very independent and even distant or argumentative. These positive interactions don't have to be grand gestures: “A smile, a head nod, even just grunting to show you're listening to your partner—those are all positive,” Gottman says.


#2 Think about what your partner needs, even when fighting.


To resolve conflicts, Gottman says we can learn from game theory—the study of conflict and decision making used in political science, sociology and economics. It used to be widely accepted that negotiations were mostly zero-sum situations, meaning one party's gain was the other party's loss. In 1950 mathematician John Nash proved there was another, better outcome: a solution in which the parties may have to compromise, but in the end all of them come out satisfied. (This now famous “Nash equilibrium” won him a Nobel Prize in 1994.) I'm reminded of a recent situation in my own marriage—my husband hated the house we bought a couple of years ago and wanted to move to a different neighborhood; I liked the house just fine and didn't want to go anywhere. After much discussion, we realized that what we both really want is to settle in somewhere for the long haul. If the current house is not a place my husband feels he can settle in, then I can't truly settle in either. So we're moving next month, for both our sakes! Find the Nash equilibrium in your conflict, and you'll both get your needs met.


#3 Just notice them.


“People are always making attempts to get their partners' attention and interest,” Gottman says. In his research, he has found that couples who stay happy (at least during the first seven years) pick up on these cues for attention and give it 86 percent of the time.




Pairs who ended up divorced did so 33 percent of the time. “It's the moment we choose to listen to our partner vent about a bad day instead of returning to our television show,” explains Dana R. Baerger, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “In any interaction, we have the opportunity to connect with our partner or to turn away. If we consistently turn away, then over time the foundation of the marriage can slowly erode, even in the absence of overt conflict.”


#4 Ignore the bad, praise the good.


Observations of couples at home reveal that people who focus on the negative miss many of the positive things that their partners are doing. Happy spouses, however, ignore the annoyances and focus on the good. “If your wife is irritable one morning, it's not a big deal. It's not going to become a confrontation,” Gottman says. “Then when she does something nice, you notice and comment on that.” Guess what that breeds? More of the good stuff.


It's this lesson that I'm going to try to implement right away. The guy I'm married to leaves dirty shirts balled up on the floor, never loads the dishwasher correctly and can be prickly when he hasn't had enough sleep—but he is an amazing husband. He's honest, shares his feelings, hugs and kisses me, and basically acts like I matter. I want to show him how much he matters, too, and that all the other stupid little stuff doesn't.


This article was originally published with the title "How to Be a Better Spouse."


Feb 12, 2015 |By Sunny Sea Gold                                        Scientific American





5 Bad Habits That Can Ruin Your Relationship

Trending Gists !!!: 5 Bad Habits That Can Ruin Your Relationship:




There are a few habits that we sub-consciously indulge in that could badly harm our relationships. Here's a rundown...












Nagging: Nobody likes a nagger. In fact it could potentially be toxic for a lot of your relationships. It's important to let your partner be and not interfere as much. There's a thin line between being cute and being annoying, know when to draw that line or it can be destructive for your relationship.

Comparing: Learn to appreciate your partner and love him or her for what they are instead of constantly comparing them to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Even if you're doing it subconsciously in your head- stop. And mentioning it to them is an absolute no-no. Your partner deserves better than that.

Talking about your ex: Nobody would like to feel like they're constantly being held up for comparison with your previous lovers. A sure way of ruining your own relationship is by continually bringing up your past liaisons. Till your both reach a stage of security, steer clear of this topic.

Bad communication: Only half-listening to your partner and nodding your head for everything without really paying much attention can be detrimental for your relationship in the long run. Work on your communication and try to really listen and grasp what your partner is talking about to you.

Bringing up the past: Avoid discussing the past. Its important to realize that no matter how much you discuss it or bring it up, it cannot be erased. If you truly want to be with your partner, then make a concerted effort to forget his/her past and move on to newer beginnings. Remember that you are his/her present.



Does a Womans Independence Intimidate Men

One of the most interesting pieces of advice my mother ever gave me was, “Don’t come off too strong when in the presence of a guy you like.”


History has shown it isn’t just my mom who thinks this way; pop culture tells women to bat their eyelashes and wear passive lip gloss instead of bold lipstick to attract a man.
Bill Clinton cheated on the highly successful Hillary with the less-established Monica. Mr. Big married Natasha over Carrie.





Johnny Depp left triple threat Vanessa Paradis for a 20-something up-and-comer. These instances have left me wondering, do independent women intimidate men? And, if so, why?
In order to correctly examine this claim, it’s crucial to define what exactly deems a woman as “independent.”


Several modern feminists refer to themselves as “independent” if they feel they don’t really need men — they just want them. Some feminists will even go so far as to say they don’t even want men.
It should come as no surprise that many of us don’t feel we need men, thanks to better career opportunities than ever before, good friends and great vibrators.


Still, this relatively new, not-needing-a-man reality has proven to be bittersweet: It has propelled the women’s movement forward, but has taken women backward when it comes to romantic relationships.


Joshua Pompey, an expert on dating, has incredible insight on this topic.
In this Huff Post piece, Pompey speaks for successful and highly-driven women:


They pursue the perfect man in the same manner that they have spent their entire lives pursuing the perfect job and education.

The problem is, romance isn’t a trophy. Not enough ‘regular guys’ are given opportunities because women have so many options these days. Especially with the emergence of online dating.

This creates a cultural resentment towards women who are only interested in, say, the top ten percent of the dating population. And because women ‘don’t need’ men, they can afford to search endlessly for a man that may or may not exist.

If smart women do, in fact, intimidate men, it’s safe to say it’s not women’s fault, but the fault of time. Women, just like men, are products of their environment.


It just so happens our contemporary environment is the result of a feminist revolution that’s taken place in both the workplace and the social scene. In other words, we’ve gradually been conditioned to not need men.


Another possible explanation for why successful women scare off men is the old and reliable, “He left her for a bimbo.” First and foremost, some men consider women as sexual objects because men are initially driven by the visual.






The reason so many independent women are alone, then, is because we’re smart enough to have picked up on the fact that men tend to choose hot, less accomplished women over us, and in turn, we use independence as a self-defense mechanism to avoid getting hurt or betrayed.


This Monica-Hillary formula alludes to society’s placement of the label “emotionally unavailable” on single and successful women. If bimbo-loving is the reason why so many successful women are alone, men and their insecurities are to blame.


I wrote this article to follow up my piece, “The Difference Between Loving Someone and Being In Love,” which seemed to garner a lot of attention, most of which was backlash.


I want to elucidate my feelings on the theory; more often than not, women who believe themselves to be intelligent, capable and worthy, end up alone or searching for men with all the same qualities.
It’s possible our expectations for potential partners are too high, but it isn’t probable; moreover, it’s justifiable. Doesn’t a woman who has it all deserve a man who has it all, too? Why should she settle for anything less?


To tie it all together, if what she has, or is capable of doing, scares a man off, how does it seem fair for him to blame her unfaltering drive as a culprit, instead of as a celebration?






Now, I understand why Big married Natasha over Carrie: He wanted to feel like more of a man.
Ladies, don’t ever apologize for your successes. More importantly, don’t ever settle for less than what you think you deserve. It’s better to be alone than to be in a sub-par relationship.


But, as the battle of the sexes continues, I find myself asking a question with the same meaning: Can independent women truly have it all?


Sheena Sharma

Sheena Sharma                           Elite Daily

Contributor - Sheena is a born-and-bred New Yorker. She's a singer, a writer, and a hopeless romantic. Follow her journey here: soundcloud.com/sheena90 -- Twitter: @sheen2990 -- Instagram: sheenybeanz





Moving Homes with Children

Moving city or country is not easy for anyone, but moving with children brings a whole host of considerations into play. Like your fragile glassware, children too need to be handled with care.



 
Tips to make a move smoother
 
 
     
Struggling socially in the beginning after a move is very common, but few children will have lasting effects. Children from families who have relocated revealed feelings of being conspicuous, feeling like the odd-one-out, literally or figuratively not speaking the language, having no idea of how to go about being accepted, and not being able to catch references or understand in-jokes. As a parent, knowing that these are common emotions that your child will experience can allow you to be more empathetic to his moods.


Talking the good and bad emotions through really assists with the settling process. Don’t be surprised by changes in your child’s behaviour while he is settling in. You can expect some regression, some acting out and some grieving. Children who become very withdrawn or aggressive for more than a few weeks should sound alarm bells. Try to talk through his feelings with him, but seek expert advice if you do not see his mood lifting.


The passage of time usually smoothes down the rough patches in a move, but what can you do to lessen the impact of a move on a child’s emotions and behaviour?


Here are some tips for making the move smoother :


Before the move:


1. Tell your child about the move as soon as possible. It gives him time to get used to the idea.
2. Sell him the benefits of the move in a way that he can relate to.
3. Reassure him by telling him what won’t change about the family life.
4. Make the move more concrete by showing pictures of where you are moving to. Older kids can go online and do the research themselves.
5. Say a positive goodbye to all the people and places your child loves. This will assist in achieving closure. It might also help to create a book for each child with photos and contact details of all the important people in their lives.

During the move:



1. Don’t treat the move as a time to discard all your child’s old toys as it will compound the feelings of loss. Take everything he wants even if it stays in the box once you arrive.
2. Let younger children get used to the process by packing their own belongings.
3. Pack a “must have” suitcase for each member of the family containing favourite possessions.

After the move:



1. Re-establish your family routines as quickly as possible.
2. Create a symbolic settling-in ritual like hanging up your wind chimes, or planting a familiar plant from home.
3. Make a game of getting to know the new neighbourhood (and establishing the boundaries of where children can and can’t go).
4. Put a huge effort into helping your kids form friendships by inviting other kids over to play.
5. Allow your child to experience the benefits of the new environment by doing things that he couldn’t do in the old one. Arrange outings and treats.
6. Help your child keep contact with the friends and family left behind by emailing lots of photos.
7. Focus on your relationship with your partner. A strong family nucleus is the source from which your children can draw strength.
Before, during and after the move, you will find yourself wanting to cover your child in bubble wrap to prevent him from experiencing the hard knocks of relocation. But what you might discover is the inner resilience that a move’s juxtaposition of gains and losses unearths in your child and yourself. “Here is the surprise,” admits Debi Hawkins of her move with her two children, “Without Jasmine and Monty I would have dissolved into a self-pity party very often. But having to think about the day-to-day things for them swung my attention from me to them, and they saved me from myself.”





Essential Pregnancy Apps

These apps help you to connect with baby in the womb and stay on top of its development with great health tips too.

SHARE

 
 
 
 
  

What to Expect: Pregnancy Tracker

The popular American pregnancy book's mobile app features a due-date calculator, weekly updates on your baby's development and your changing body, daily tips, photo album, due-date countdown and size estimates.
Read more about it here.
Cost: free. Get it on Android and iTunes.
  

BabyCenter: My Pregnancy Today

Track your baby's development with daily updates and health tips, illustrations and videos.
Read more about it here.
Cost: free. Get it on Google Play and iTunes.

Mediclinic baby: Pregnancy App

This app takes you through your pregnancy week by week, features a weight gain tracker, contraction timer, calendar for you to mark special dates, photo album for your bump pics and list of what to pack for hospital. It also offers more information about the Mediclinic baby programme.
Read more about it here.
Cost: free. Get it on iTunes
Moving city or country is not easy for anyone, but moving with children brings a whole host of considerations into play. Like your fragile glassware, children too need to be handled with care.



 
Tips to make a move smoother
 
 
     
Struggling socially in the beginning after a move is very common, but few children will have lasting effects. Children from families who have relocated revealed feelings of being conspicuous, feeling like the odd-one-out, literally or figuratively not speaking the language, having no idea of how to go about being accepted, and not being able to catch references or understand in-jokes. As a parent, knowing that these are common emotions that your child will experience can allow you to be more empathetic to his moods.


Talking the good and bad emotions through really assists with the settling process. Don’t be surprised by changes in your child’s behaviour while he is settling in. You can expect some regression, some acting out and some grieving. Children who become very withdrawn or aggressive for more than a few weeks should sound alarm bells. Try to talk through his feelings with him, but seek expert advice if you do not see his mood lifting.


The passage of time usually smoothes down the rough patches in a move, but what can you do to lessen the impact of a move on a child’s emotions and behaviour?


Here are some tips for making the move smoother :


Before the move:


1. Tell your child about the move as soon as possible. It gives him time to get used to the idea.
2. Sell him the benefits of the move in a way that he can relate to.
3. Reassure him by telling him what won’t change about the family life.
4. Make the move more concrete by showing pictures of where you are moving to. Older kids can go online and do the research themselves.
5. Say a positive goodbye to all the people and places your child loves. This will assist in achieving closure. It might also help to create a book for each child with photos and contact details of all the important people in their lives.

During the move:



1. Don’t treat the move as a time to discard all your child’s old toys as it will compound the feelings of loss. Take everything he wants even if it stays in the box once you arrive.
2. Let younger children get used to the process by packing their own belongings.
3. Pack a “must have” suitcase for each member of the family containing favourite possessions.

After the move:



1. Re-establish your family routines as quickly as possible.
2. Create a symbolic settling-in ritual like hanging up your wind chimes, or planting a familiar plant from home.
3. Make a game of getting to know the new neighbourhood (and establishing the boundaries of where children can and can’t go).
4. Put a huge effort into helping your kids form friendships by inviting other kids over to play.
5. Allow your child to experience the benefits of the new environment by doing things that he couldn’t do in the old one. Arrange outings and treats.
6. Help your child keep contact with the friends and family left behind by emailing lots of photos.
7. Focus on your relationship with your partner. A strong family nucleus is the source from which your children can draw strength.
Before, during and after the move, you will find yourself wanting to cover your child in bubble wrap to prevent him from experiencing the hard knocks of relocation. But what you might discover is the inner resilience that a move’s juxtaposition of gains and losses unearths in your child and yourself. “Here is the surprise,” admits Debi Hawkins of her move with her two children, “Without Jasmine and Monty I would have dissolved into a self-pity party very often. But having to think about the day-to-day things for them swung my attention from me to them, and they saved me from myself.”





Single Parent Dating

Dating can be stressful for many people, add being a single parent to the equation, and it can be that much harder. After a divorce single parents need time to get used to their new routine, such as child-custody arrangements and spending quality time with their children, while juggling many other things.


Moreover, while the courts may dictate a custody arrangement, all too often one parent may choose to consistently deviate from the plan, making it challenging for the other to plan their time. Still, when enough time has passed and you are ready to embark on your dating journey, it’s important to gather your resources of family, friends and babysitters in order to carve out the time and energy for this process.


Parent_Child_0












First, there are many ways to meet new potential dates. You may want to try online dating, meet ups, single parent groups or new activities, such as dance lessons. It’s at events like these that you can meet someone with common interests. However, before you go on that first date, you need to do a few things. I suggest a makeover—from the inside out!


This means, if you need professional help to move past your divorce, your ex or any other issue that would spill into a new relationship, don’t be afraid to get it. Next, work with a dating coach who can bring you up to date on the new dating landscape while reviewing with you the dos and don’ts of dating.




An image consultant will help you assess and recommend changes to your wardrobe, hairstyle, make-up, etc. They may even recommend having your teeth whitened. This may all sound superficial, but the fact is, looking your best has a direct correlation to feeling good about yourself, which makes for great first impressions.


When it comes to your kids, if they’re of an age where they can understand, let them know what you’re doing. Tell them you’re looking for a friend to have fun with. Reassure them of your love for them and that even when you’re out, they’re always in your heart and your thoughts.
Then, be sure to make appropriate childcare arrangements for peace of mind, so that you don’t feel guilty about going out and having a good time.


Children of any age can get attached to any partner you choose, so it’s important to avoid having a revolving door of men or women around your children. Only introduce someone to your kids when you feel there is potential for a long-term relationship, and after you’ve vetted them enough to know it’s safe to have them around your kids.


Dating is about getting to know each other, keeping things light and having fun. The key to balance when dating as a single parent is to always be present. When you’re with your children, be with your children. And, when you’re on a date, be with your date.


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