Credit: Fabian Blank
If adults were required to pass a series of standardized tests to qualify to enter parenthood, too many of us hoping to matriculate would bomb out, based on our poor math scores. And by that, I mean our understanding, in even rudimentary terms, of what we really need to know about the practical economics of raising a baby to adulthood. For the survival of our species, perhaps it is a good thing there is no such aptitude test administered.
Now almost 20 years into parenting, I wish I could say that I have upped my money management game by learning on the job, but that would be giving myself far more credit than I deserve. In fact, my husband and I seem to be living proof that you can essentially do everything wrong, financially speaking, and things still somehow turn out okay. I don’t share this shameful self-admission to encourage anyone to emulate our bumbling, lackadaisical example — quite the opposite!
Each year, ParentMap stacks its March issue with content directed to help parents think, plan and save more intentionally with respect to the trajectory of their family finances. Our feature, Navigating the Child-Care Crunch, provides a sobering assessment of the current costs of quality early education in Washington; and Planning to Pay offers practical strategies for saving for your child’s education journey at every age and stage. You can do it!
How well I know that our little bundles of bills grow up so fast! In one of my very favorite pictures of my sweet daughter Matilda, she stands proudly by our front door, the top of her head barely reaching the doorknob, waiting expectantly to leave to go to her first day of preschool. Fast-forward to a recent weekend, when after a (too) short visit home from university (!), she paused by that same door to say goodbye to us; in a flash, she was a palimpsest: a magnificent, confident young woman superimposed upon that brave, bright, dear little preschooler, both ready to make their independent way. How did we get here so fast? Hate to say it, but this will happen to you, too.
But it’s not all about money madness and mama melancholy in March! This month, we also share fun brain-building games to play with baby; a budget-friendly, adventure-packed itinerary for a family getaway to Portland; expert tips for keeping mason bees; fantastic local contests for creative kids; and celebratory treats to serve your birthday buddies that take the cake.
Take heart, dear readers — spring is just around the corner!