"biological children"

 The thought of not being able to have biological children has been weighing heavily on me since I made the decision that I want to have kids. What if I can’t? What if I waited too long, and now the window is closed? I know I can’t know the answer to that until I try; and I know I’m not ready to try, but I kind of want to try to know if I can. Does that make sense?

Why I may not be able to have biological children

Age

I’m worried that I’m getting too old to have healthy children. This is one of the driving forces for me wanting to start now even though I know we aren’t ready. I’m not getting any younger. At 35 (almost 36) I’m way too close to the age where any pregnancy will be a high-risk pregnancy. I’m also at the tail end of my most fertile years. According to USA today, as women reach age 35 and beyond, it gets harder and harder to conceive. And according to Baby Center, a whopping two thirds of women over forty have fertility issues! 

I know the older I get the harder it will be to conceive. I’m lucky (and thankful) that I changed my mind about it before the window was closed for good.

PCOS

But wait, there’s more!  Age isn’t my only issue. I have also been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects a women’s reproductive system. It affects the ovaries’ ability to produce and release eggs. Most women with PCOS, even young women, have trouble conceiving because our ovaries don’t produce monthly eggs the way that healthy ovaries do. It’s sporadic at best.  And because eggs aren’t being produced, many women can go months without menstruating.

Fortunately for me (I think) I’ve always had fairly regular periods.  The longest I’ve had to wait is about 2 weeks. I’m hoping this means that my ovaries do regularly produce eggs, even though they have the little cysts in them. But it’s also possible that I’m one of the unlucky few who gets periods but no eggs. If I’m not going to get eggs, I’d rather skip the period all together.

 

                                                                                     

Other Options

Fortunately, there are plenty of options available for people who struggle with fertility. Fertility treatments and in-vitro fertilization are available to help people have biological children, while adoption and fostering help people who can’t have biological children have families. I’ve given thought to all of these options. 

Fertility Treatments

Fertility treatments are going to be my number one option. My doctor said that the majority of patients with PCOS can get pregnant with basic fertility treatments. I’m hoping that if I can’t get pregnant naturally, I will be able to get pregnant with the help of fertility drugs. I’ll just have to take a pill regularly, and as a bonus my insurance should cover the bulk of the cost. It’s easy and affordable, so hopefully if I have trouble conceiving, it will be fixed with these treatments.

 

                                                                                       

In-Vitro Fertilization

If fertility treatments don’t work, I could also opt for In-Vitro Fertilization. They harvest eggs and sperm, make embryos in a petri dish, and then implant these embryos back into the uterus. The technology behind In-Vitro has really come a long way, and tons of people get positive results.

The big disadvantage to In-Vitro is that it’s still very expensive. One In-Vitro session can cost between 12 and 15 thousand dollars! And unfortunately, most insurance companies don’t cover it. Honestly, I don’t think I would pay that much money for the chance of having a biological baby. If my insurance covered most of the cost, I might give it a try, but it isn’t something that I would pay out of pocket for. Raising kids is crazy expensive as it is, I don’t want to add an extra twelve grand on top of that!

Non Biological Children

Given all of the above, I may not be able to have biological children. But there are still options for being a parent!

Adoption

The first option everyone turns to when they find that they can’t have biological children is adoption. Many want-to-be parents want a baby to take care of, and adoption is the best option for this. Unfortunately, adopting a baby is just as expensive (sometimes even more so!) as In-Vitro, and has a lot more hoops.

 

                                                                                       

 

If I were to chose adoption, I think I’d try to adopt an older child in need of a good home. Adopting an older child out of the foster system is the least expensive option.

 

Fostering

Given that, I think I would chose fostering over adoption if I couldn’t have biological children. Foster children have things rough. Their parents might be in jail, or on drugs, or abusive, or negligent. Their situations are usually very sad. But it’s these kids that need the love of a stable parent the most. These kids need guidance and support to prevent them from going down the same path that their biological parents went down.  I also think I would have the opportunity to help more children if I became a foster parent than if I adopted.

Don’t get me wrong, I know this is the more difficult path. I can only imagine how heartbreaking it will be to love and protect a child, and then have to watch them return to their abusers. However, if I can provide just a few months of stability, a few months of love, and a few months of showing a child that the world can be better, it will be worthwhile. And maybe I can end up adopting some children out of the foster system. Hey, I might even foster some kids if I can have biological children.

 

                                                                                    

 

What are your thoughts on being unable to have biological children? If you’ve had experience with this issue, I’d love to hear your story!

Love this post? Share it!
having children will affect my fire goals

One of the things that I needed to consider when deciding whether or not I really wanted to have children is how having them would affect my path to financial independence. Kids are crazy expensive, and take a lot of time. How could I reconcile that with what I wanted to do in life? Obviously, having children will affect my fire goals, but to what extent?

FIRE Timeline

My original plan was to quit my job in 2021. I was going to retire at 38! And by retire, I mean quit my high stress high paying job and go barista fire. In three more years, I will be fully vested in my pension and I will have earned enough to collect $1000 a month at full retirement age via pension payments. Three more working years will also ensure that I have a healthy very well-funded 401k. In fact, I’m already at coast fire for a lean fire in my 401K! Meaning that if I stop contributing now, by the time I’m 65 I’ll have enough money to withdraw about 40K per year throughout retirement. Not too shabby!

 

 

Three more years would also give me time to shore up my non-retirement savings. This would help me fill any gaps between my living expenses and my new, variable income for the next 30 years. I knew my barista fire lifestyle would come with financial concerns, and that I’d have to work to fill the gaps. But I was ok with that. I’d love to do work camping, or work part time at a nature center, stuff like that. Sounds like fun!

New Timeline

I know I will have to work at my current job longer if I choose to have kids. There’s absolutely no way around it. I have amazing health insurance, which they will need, and a solid income which will definitely cover some of the outrageous costs. However, I will not stop working towards independence. My new plan is to work until they are about school aged. This will ensure that they have amazing health insurance during the most terrifying stages when they are basically helpless, and it will also ensure that we can afford all the expensive baby stuff. I’ll also start college savings plans when they are born, and continue to fully invest in those until I retire.

My new early retirement age is about 45. I can live with that if it means I get to experience the joy of parenthood. It will also benefit me financially in numerous ways. Eight more years of pension contributions and eight more years of 401K contributions are going to add up in a big way. I won’t have to be lean FI in my old age!

Things I wanted to Do

There are some things that I wanted to do with my life after achieving financial independence that probably aren’t going to be feasible with children. The biggest one that comes to mind is my goal of traveling from Chicago to Santa Monica on historic route 66 via bicycle. That was a rather ambitious goal, and let’s be honest it probably wasn’t going to happen anyway. It’s definitely not going to happen when I’m in my 60s and the kids are finally in college!

There are tons of other things I want to do. I have a lots of reasons for pursing financial independence, and I always thought that having children would hinder these goals. I want to slow travel through Southeast Asia, spend a summer reading tarot cards at a Renaissance Faire, spend months work camping at national parks, live in a cabin while writing the Next Great American Novel. My boyfriend and I have so many hobbies, side interests, and life goals. Working a day job really interferes with a lot of them. I thought that having children would interfere with those things as well, but now I’m not so sure.

Who says we can’t bring our children with us to Asia?  Is there a rule that kids can’t live in an RV for a few months?  Can’t I home-school the kids for a few years while we, as a family, engage in these adventures?  And what an amazing childhood that could be! We would be providing our kids with a lifetime of experiences at a young age, teaching them about the world, and teaching them that life is for living. I’m sure they will teach us valuable life lessons as well.

 

Viator 

Partner’s Goals

Being married and having children also means that I have to take my partners goals into consideration. He’s totally on board with most of mine (though the bike thing and the Renaissance Faire thing both kind of freak him out) and is more than happy to do them with me. But he has goals too, and we will need to work together to balance our life goals with the main goal of raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted children.

Fortunately for us, neither of shy away from having adult conversations about our plans for the future and where things are heading. We talk at least once a week about our future goals, and we are both super supportive of the other. That’s one of the reasons why I feel comfortable having kids with him in the first place!

Having Children will affect my Fire Goals

There’s no doubt about it. Having kids will change the plan. Even considering having kids changes the plan. But I’m ok with that. Being financially independent is about living my life on my terms. My terms have changed, and that’s ok.

Love this post? Share it!

Ok, so I missed one very important reason for being childfree in my last post, and that’s the insane cost of having children. It’s alright though, I did it on purpose! The exorbitant cost of having children deserves it’s own post.

Kids are expensive!

I mean like, really, really super expensive!  According to the latest data, the cost of raising a kid is approximately $233,610. And that doesn’t even include college! That breaks down to a little less than $14000 per year. That’s a lot of money, especially when you have other financial obligations.

Childcare

The bulk of this outrageous cost of having kids is childcare. This cost can vary wildly by state and by metropolitan area, but the variation tends to follow variations in minimum wage and income, so families everywhere are feeling the crunch. Childcare costs around $500 per month in Alabama, and almost $1000 in California, on average. In a lot of places, childcare is more expensive than rent!

No wonder so many families opt to have one parent stay home with the children while the other works. A second income would barely cover the cost of childcare in many cases. Some families are lucky in that they have a grandparent other family member that can help with the childcare while both parents work, but I always knew I would never be able to depend on my family for that. If I had a kid, I’d have to figure out how to balance working with caring for her. This is something that my boyfriend and I will need to discuss when the time comes.

Hospital Bills

Birthing children is expensive too, and apparently hospitals even charge you to hold your own baby! All jokes aside though, the physical act of having a baby can cost anywhere from $6000 to $70,000!!  That doesn’t even include caring for the infant after birth! I have decent insurance through my work, so this shouldn’t be too much of a burden for me, but not everyone is as fortunate as I am. And they wonder why so many people are turning to mid wives and home births.

But hospital expenses don’t end with the birth. Kids get sick. A lot. They run into stuff and bang their heads open. The eat things they shouldn’t be eating. They fall down. And most parents would rather be safe than sorry, so they bite the bullet and take their kids to the hospital when these things happen. Hello hospital bills. 

"cost of having children"

Stuff and Things

Kids need stuff too. Lots of stuff. First, they are going to need the basics: food, clothing, diapers etc. But they are also going to need furniture and cribs and bottles and bibs and toys and educational stuff and probably a million other things that I haven’t even thought of. And they grow so quickly!  I haven’t bought myself new clothes in years, but I’d have to buy a baby new clothes every few months!  That can really add up.

Then they need to go to school, so you have to buy them all their school supplies. And you don’t want your kid to be an outcast, so you have to buy them decent clothing by the time they are school-aged. They will probably also join a few after school clubs and activities, so they will need all the appropriate equipment and gear for that.  I’m hoping my kids join the chess club; a chess board is way cheaper than sports equipment or musical instruments.

Travel/Vacations

As you all know, I love to travel, especially to exotic locations. Airfare for one is bad enough, could you imagine having to pay for three seats on an international flight?  My travel budget wouldn’t be able to handle it! I know a lot of people don’t take this into consideration when thinking about the cost of having children, but honestly it was one of my reasons for remaining child free. But I decided to really look into the feasibility of traveling with children and read a bunch of blogs from family travel bloggers who are doing just that. If they can find a way I’m sure I can too!

Related: The Exorbitant Cost of Having Adventures

College

I know I don’t technically have to help my kids out with college expenses; student loans and grants exist for a reason. But do I really want to saddle my kid with outrageous debt when they are just starting out in life?  College is crazy expensive, and the cost seems to increase exponentially year after year. By the time my non-existent kids go to college it may be upwards of 100K on average!  I’d definitely encourage my children to explore non-4-year-university options, but if they are hard working with an aptitude for academics, I’d want them to be able to study wherever they chose. Therefore, I’d feel obligated to start a college savings plan for them when they are born, to ensure that they have those options. It’s going to be expensive though.

The exorbitant cost of having children

I know I didn’t cover everything. Random expenses crop up everywhere. Kids need a lot of stuff, and some kids need special attention – tutoring, therapy, private schools, medication, whatever the case may be. But there is no doubt in my mind that having children is insanely expensive. The advantage I have is knowing that and having a stable job to pay for some of it prior to having them. And hopefully, it will be 100% worth the cost.

What did I miss about the cost of having children?  I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Love this post? Share it!
"childfree"

One of the first things I had to consider when I was changing my mind about having kids is why I was childfree in the first place. It took a lot of soul searching and introspection, but I think I know at least part of the answer.

My Father

I grew up in a lower middle-class household. I had a decent childhood. However, one thing that I will never forget is my father drilling into me (and my siblings!) the idea that having kids would ruin our lives. He had his first kid, my sister, when he was a teenager and had two more kids before he turned thirty. Having us at such a young age did limit him. He wanted to move to California and pursue acting. But he couldn’t do that because he had kids. He wanted to take time from work to write a book. Yet another thing he couldn’t focus on because he had kids.

I know my dad doesn’t regret us. I know he loves us, and didn’t want us to make the same mistakes he did. He wanted better for us. Our dad wanted us to go to college, pursue careers, and enjoy our lives before settling down. He never meant for my sister and I to internalize the idea that having children is the most terrible thing we could ever do. What he actually meant was that having children at a young age could ruin our lives. Unfortunately, that message wasn’t entirely clear, as we both are well into our thirties and terrified that having kids will ruin our lives.

Other Family and Friends

It wasn’t just my parents who had their lives disrupted by having children. Some of my family members and high school friends had kids at fairly young ages as well. It seemed as though everyone who had kids struggled, while everyone who did not have kids did pretty well for themselves. Even as I grew older this seemed to be the case.

 I look at my brother as the best example. We are about the same age, we are both pretty intelligent, both college educated. But he had kids immediately upon graduating college and I did not. He continues to struggle, and I do not. I know that he loves his children dearly, and wouldn’t trade them for anything, but is it really worth the struggle? 

He’s definitely not the only one! I’ve seen other high school friends and family members struggle through life after having kids. To a younger me, it seemed as though my dad was right. Having kids would ruin my life.

The weird thing here is that I also have family and friends who have kids and are doing perfectly fine. They don’t seem to be struggling and they are super happy with their lives and their families. I guess I was always looking for the negative due to my father’s message.

Things I want to do

Outside of the internalized message I heard growing up, I had my own reasons for being childfree. There are so many things that I want to do with my life, so many personal goals that I have, and I think having children could really hinder that. I want to travel, I want to do some crazy adventurous stuff, and I want to live my life to the fullest. Hell, that’s why I’ve been pursuing Financial Independence! There’s so much that I want to do, and I know having children will prevent me from accomplishing all of it. But I’m not going to go into that right now, as my next post will be dedicated to how having children will change my FIRE goals. I will say that having kids may prevent me from doing some of those things, but they also may provide me with experiences that I never even considered.

Viator

On disliking Children

My final reason for being childfree is something that I really had to give a lot of thought too.  I really didn’t like most kids. But as I thought about the reasons why, it turns out that it’s not the children I don’t like, it’s the parents. I’ve seen too many examples of parents letting their kids do whatever they want. I see kids running around tables knocking things over at restaurants and being little jerks to whomever they please. My siblings and I would have never gotten away with acting like that when we were a kids!

 I think some parents view their kids as a friend or an accessory; and therefore, they refuse to discipline or actually parent their child. I’ve seen other parents that are just so worn out from all the struggling that they’ve just given up. Those are usually the parents that had a bunch of kids at a young age. But the more I thought of it, the more I realized that it really is the parents (or parenting style) that I don’t like. In fact, one of my best friends has two young kids, and they are incredibly respectful and well behaved. I like those kinds of kids, and I hope that if I have kids, that’s how I will raise them.

Understanding my Childfree stance

Being introspective really helped me understand where my hesitation to have kids came from. Now I know that I internalized the message that having kids would ruin my life, even though that wasn’t really what my dad was trying to say. I looked for examples that supported my cause rather than looking at the entire picture. I realize that now, and I realize that having kids when you are ready, both financially and emotionally, can make a positive impact on your life.

Love this post? Share it!
"having children"

Child free

As most of you know, I do not have any children. What you might not know is that I’ve never really been inclined to have kids. For most of my adult life, it just wasn’t something that I gave any thought to. However, as I’ve gotten older, I became more and more against the idea of having children. By the time I reached my early thirties, I was adamantly in the child free camp. I even told people how much I disliked kids!

Changing My Mind

But then one day, something peculiar happened. I met my boyfriend’s daughter, and I fell in love. She’s an awesome little girl with a lot of personality and a lot of heart. I also saw how amazing he was with her, and got a taste of what it would be like to be a mother. She even called me mommy! And I’m not going to lie, I liked it. I liked it a lot. I started imagining what it would be like to have my own family, and to raise kids with this awesome dad. It’s something that I couldn’t stop thinking about.

Examining My Feelings

I’m not foolish though, having a kid isn’t something I’d just rush into!  Especially after having been adamant about not wanting kids for so long. I definitely wanted to take some time to examine these new feelings before broaching the subject with my boyfriend. Do I really want my own child or could I be happy having his daughter part time? What about being around her made me want to have kids of my own? Why have I been so opposed to the idea of children?

Also, I had just started a new hormonal birth control, so I wanted to make sure that these new feelings weren’t a weird hormonal thing. I’ve had weird bad reactions to birth control pills in the past, so this definitely wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.  I thought about these questions at length (and had many girl talk sessions with my besties) to be sure that my change of heart was real and for the right reasons.

 

                                               

 

The Talk about having children

After a long examination of my feelings and waiting out changes in my hormones, I broached the topic with my boyfriend. He was shocked to say the least. I had always made it clear to him that I did not want children. However, after the initial shock wore off, he said that he was completely awed at the way I interacted with his daughter. He also thought that I would make a wonderful mother!

His only stipulation is that we get married first, to give our future child(ren) a sense of stability. He hates that his daughter lives so far away, and that he doesn’t get to see her very often. He didn’t want to have more children because he didn’t want to put another child through that separation.

 I totally understand his hesitation on that, and I agree that getting married prior to having children is definitely the way to go (I never said I wanted to have a kid right this second anyway!). I am so glad that I wasn’t afraid to have this adult conversation with him, and that we have an awesome plan for the future now.

Plan for the Future

My boyfriend and I do plan on getting married and having children in the future, but nothing is set in stone. One of us may change our minds again or it may turn out that one of us is infertile. However, right now we are both totally into the idea of having a family. So, in order to celebrate that and to think about all the variables, I am dedicating the rest of this month to blog posts about having children. It’s pretty apt too, since it’s my ninth month blogging (I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried!). This month I’ll be discussing the possibility of not being able to have kids, how kids will change my FIRE goals, why I was so child free in the first place, and any other topics on having children that comes to mind. I hope you enjoy it!

Disclaimer

One of the most common complaints I hear from the child free community is that people don’t respect their decision. People constantly belittle them by saying “oh, you will change your mind”. Yes, I was child free and yes I changed my mind. However, the vast majority of child free people do not change their minds, and I don’t want my one anecdotal experience to be used to belittle the life choices of others. So please don’t use my story to tell your child free friends that they will change their minds. They are not me, and they probably won’t. Thanks!

Love this post? Share it!
"eighth month blogging"

Partner’s in Fire is officially eight months old! Unfortunately, we were on hiatus for the majority of our eight month, and our blog statistics really show it. Man, I thought month seven was bad!  It’s very interesting to see how badly the blog performed at the start of the hiatus versus how poorly it performed towards the end though. Our readership declined every week during our time off.

I think the biggest lesson learned here is that the longer you take off, the more your blog will suffer. Need a two-week vacation? I think the blog will be just fine. But if you are just starting out blogging and take more time off, be prepared for a drastic cut in your readership.

Let’s get to how we faired during our eighth month blogging!

Posting

Since my eight month was pretty far into my hiatus, I did not post very often. As a matter of fact, I only published three blog posts from June 27th through July 27th, and they were all at the tail end of the period. That’s a pretty epic failure on my part. But, as I’ve said on numerous occasions, you need to take care of yourself first. If that means you can’t post for a month or two, so be it. Blogging will be ready when you are!

                                                                           

Readership

Not surprisingly, with our lack of posting anything for almost six weeks straight, our readership took a huge hit. The first post I published was on July 19, which only gave me 7 days to improve my readership for the month. Obviously, that is not enough time. Our readership dropped drastically during this period, in fact it was our worst month since our first month!  We only had 276 users for the period, 62 less than in month 7th. That’s really freaking bad! But, on the plus side, you can clearly see in graph that as soon as we started posting again, our readership started to improve. We only had one day with less than 10 users during the week that we started posting again. So the lesson here is if you take a break, your readers will return when you do. And that’s super comforting.

 

"eighth month stats"

 

What’s Next?

Partners in Fire is really trying to move on from this break that we took and get back some of the momentum that we lost. Honestly it isn’t easy seeing such a huge decrease in pageviews, but knowing it was mostly my own fault helps.

We have a lot of interesting (we think!) topics to blog about moving forward, so we are hopeful that we will be able to stick to a regular posting schedule for the majority of month 9th. Month 10 will be rough, because I have a week-long trip to Germany planned, so I’ll probably skip at least 4 blog posts that month. But it will be interesting to see how taking two weeks off will compare to taking six weeks off.

Moving forward, we are going to focus more on Instagram, Facebook, and monetization. Any tips that you can think of that would help us in any of those three areas would be greatly appreciated!

Love this post? Share it!
"epic gardening fails"

One of my goals for 2018 was to start a nice little backyard garden and to start growing my own food. Growing your own food is a wonderful way to reduce your grocery bill and your carbon foot print. I figured it would be an all-around win!

Unfortunately, gardening is not quite as easy as I thought it would be. I failed epically with my garden this spring. Here are my five most epic gardening fails, hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and avoid them!

Epic Gardening Fails

1. Failing to weed

My first epic gardening fail was neglecting my garden. I started out on the right foot…I tilled the land three times (and by I, I mean my boyfriend) and cleared out all the weeds before I planted.  But that was the one and only time that I weeded my garden. Now, the garden is overgrown with weeds and I can hardly even open the gate. The weeds are taller than I am, and the task of weeding just seems insurmountable.  To avoid this mistake, make sure you pull the weeds when they first start growing. It’s infinitely easier to pull tiny weeds than it is to grow you-sized weeds.

2.  Not labeling

I’m not a botanist. So I don’t know why I thought I would know what each plant was once it sprouted. I did not. Is this a cucumber or a zucchini plant? Guess I have to wait until it fruits to find out. Is that jasmine or a weed?  I have no freaking clue! That’s actually one of the reasons I didn’t weed…I wasn’t sure if it was a weed or something I planted intentionally! I don’t even remember whether I planted melons or pumpkins! (As it turns out, they were pumpkins) But still, labeling the areas as I went would have made this a whole lot easier. I would have had a better idea of what was a weed and what each vegetable plant was.

3.  Forgetting about seasons

Melons and Pumpkins usually do better in the fall, so why I thought it was a good idea to plant them in the spring in Southern Georgia is beyond me. Don’t get me wrong, the pumpkin plant is doing fantastic! It’s growing some wonderful pumpkins! But what am I going to do with pumpkins at the end of July? I also planted some things that don’t grow so well in insane heat. My carrots never had a chance. But I can always try to plant them again at the end of summer! Pro tip: The back of the seed packet literally tells you when the best time to plant is. Don’t ignore it like I did.

                                                 

4.  Not considering that closely related plants might “hook up”

The one thing my garden produced en masse was zucchini. I grew the biggest, fattest zucchinis that I’ve ever seen in my life!  These suckers were huge!  Some of them were as long as my arm and as thick as a two liter of pop!  Curiously, the seeds in these behemoths were also huge. They almost looked like pumpkin seeds!  And the flesh was a little meatier than a typical zucchini. It didn’t take me long to realize that perhaps I had been growing pumpkin-zucchini hybrids. The zucchini tasted fine though, so maybe this wasn’t as much of a fail as some of my other gardening issues. I just never even though about the possibility of cross-breeding.

5.  Failing to realize how big some plants can get

I fenced off a small area of my back yard for my garden. It’s probably about ten square feet. I figured that was enough space to grow a small variety of garden herbs and vegetables. Unfortunately, I failed to consider how big some of these vegetable plants can get. I also failed to consider that many of them grow out rather than up. I’m pretty sure my two pumpkin plants have overtaken everything else in the garden. It’s actually kind of cute how they grow out their little tendrils and grasp whatever is nearby so that they can continue to expand. I definitely didn’t think they would get that big though. And they definitely plowed over my tomatoes and all of my herbs.

zucchini

Learning from my fails

I didn’t expect to have a perfect garden on my first try. Honestly, I’m just happy that something grew. And those zucchini pumpkin hybrid guys were pretty good! I also learned to prioritize. I don’t really use melons or pumpkins that much, so having them overtake my garden was quite unfortunate. On the other hand, I use herbs, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes all the time. Planting only the veggies that I use regularly would have made the garden way more beneficial.

 Unfortunately, these gardening fails did limit the amount of use I got out of my garden this year. But now that I know what not to do, I think next year’s garden will be much more valuable!

Have you had any epic gardening failures?  I’d love to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with it!

Love this post? Share it!
"adult conversations"

 

As you all read in my post, Making the Decision to Move in Together, my boyfriend and I decided to move in together! It did happen really fast; even though it was longer than either of us ever waited in our previous relationships. We both like to jump right into things!  But I think we both learned from those experiences, and we realized that regardless of how quickly (or slowly!) you move in together, it’s not going to work without having some serious adult conversations.

Adult Conversations

My boyfriend and I had numerous adult conversations before making the final decision to move in together. Although every relationship is different, if you are considering moving in with a significant other, there are some things that you need to talk about first.

Finances

Since Partners in Fire is primarily a finance blog, you all knew I was going to mention discussing finances prior to living together. There is no right or wrong way to mix finances and living expenses, every situation is different and every relationship is different. You may decide on a 50/50 split of everything. Or you may decide that you will split things based on percentages of income. You may even decide to have one person stay home and care for the house/kids while the other works (though I would always caution someone who isn’t working to have a back up plan). The point is, your relationship is your own, and whatever works for you as a couple is great! But what doesn’t work is not discussing it.

Another financial topic that needs to be discussed is what will happen if one of you faces a set-back. Life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. People get sick, people lose their jobs, parents need help. Having a plan for how to weather these unexpected events will help ensure that your relationship remains strong in the face of adversity.

 

                                                                 

 

Expectations

Every relationship is different, and everyone will have different expectations, but a common complaint I hear among women is that their boyfriend/husband doesn’t help around the house unless they are specifically told to. I’ve had this problem with boyfriends in the past as well. I actually had the idea for this post because of this very situation!

Post motivation

My sister called me and told me that she and her boyfriend got into a fight because he wasn’t helping her around the house. His argument was that she should just tell him what she needed help with, and he’d do it.   But the thing is, she shouldn’t be responsible for telling him what needs to be done. He doesn’t need her to tell him that the dishwasher needs to be ran; he should just run the dishwasher! Why should she be responsible for managing all of the household chores when they share the house?

I think it’s completely unfair to make one person in charge of knowing what needs to be done at all times and making sure it gets done. We are both adults, we can both be responsible for managing our home. My sister was super impressed with this idea; she (and probably tons of other people!) had never even considered it that way before! She decided that she needed to have this very same conversation with her boyfriend, even though they were already living together. Better late than never though!

Our Conversation

 I had this talk with my boyfriend before we ever even moved in together (and before listening to my sister’s struggles!). I told him that the biggest expectation I had was that he would take care of things without needing to be told. He lives here too, so he can tell when the dishes need to be put away, or when the dogs need to be fed. I don’t need to be in charge of that, and he doesn’t either. We are both smart enough to figure out when something needs to be done.  

His Expectations

This wasn’t a one-sided conversation by any means!  My boyfriend had expectations too, and those needed to be addressed as well. Relationships can’t be one sided. It’s not just about what I want, it’s also about what he wants and what we need as a couple.

My boyfriend’s main expectation was that I tell him if I’m upset about something. I have always had a hard time vocalizing my feelings, so this is a hard thing for me. I try, but usually he has to prod me until I spill. He’s amazing at reading me and knowing if I’m mad though (so unfair!), which makes it easier to tell him (because I can’t hide it).

Although I struggle with it, I think his expectation is very fair. We can’t resolve our issues if we don’t talk about them. That’s what this entire blog post is about!  But for some reason, it’s way easier for me to talk about something before it’s a problem. I guess that’s because there are no emotions involved at that point?  Either way, I know it is something that I need to work on, and I’m trying.

 

                                                               

 

Chores

Most blogs I’ve read about moving in together suggest having a discussion about chores. However, I don’t think it’s entirely necessary. I think that the discussion we had about us both being responsible for managing the house is sufficient. We don’t need to outline who does the dishes or laundry or vacuuming. All we both need to know is that it’s a shared house that we are both responsible for.

However, some couples do need to have a structured list of who does what, and that’s perfectly fine! If that works better for your relationship, then go for it.

Lifestyle

It’s not difficult to merge differing lifestyles if you are both willing to compromise. But it’s important to talk about what your merged life will look like before you move in together. Does one of you prefer to go out all the time while the other is more of a Netflix person?  Is one of you an introvert while the other is an extrovert?  Do you have a spender verses saver situation going on? None of these differences are inherently bad or insurmountable. However, discussing these differences prior to moving in together will save a lot of angst and drama in the future.

Life Goals

The day to day lifestyle stuff is just the tip of the iceberg. You also need to discuss the future, and where you see yourselves and your relationship heading. You would think that before taking a big step and moving in together, most couples would discuss their life goals. Do both partners want to get married?  Have children? Do you both want to retire early?  Is one person a homebody while the other wants to travel the world?  Where do you want to live? These (and countless others) are huge topics that can really put a damper on a relationship. However, even if you aren’t on the same page about any of these topics, that doesn’t mean the relationship has to end. Relationships are about compromise, and there may be ways to compromise on all of these issues that works for you.  But you can’t compromise on any of these things if you don’t talk about them.

Everything!

Communication is absolutely key in a relationship. There are probably issues specific to your relationship that you need to talk about that I wouldn’t even have considered. The important thing is that you need to have these adult conversations, and you need to revisit important issues regularly. If you can’t communicate with your partner prior to moving in with them, maybe you should rethink moving in together.

 A Happy Home

I know these adult conversations can be difficult, and I know they won’t prevent every argument and disagreement. However, having these conversations will give your relationship a baseline and will prevent a lot of stress and discontentment. The point of moving in together is to have a happy, joyful, harmonious relationship. It’s to enjoy each other’s company and have a partner to make life more pleasurable for both of you. Having these conversations upfront will really help ensure that your shared home is a happy one.

Love this post? Share it!
"7th month blogging"

 

Our 7th Month

Welcome to our 7th month update!  Or, as I like to call it, that time that I took a six-week hiatus from the blog and didn’t see any growth! So, I guess instead of an update, here’s a blog post about what happens when you work super hard on your blog for six months and then stop doing anything for about six weeks!  Can I pretend that I did this for research?

Technically, I’m about a month late on this post. I was supposed to publish an update around June 27th-ish, and here we are all the way in the middle of July!  Sorry about the lateness!  

Posting

I only wrote two blog posts (three if you count my 6-month update) during my seventh month blogging. I published my last post for the period, Making the Decision to Move in Together, on June 10.  That means from June 11 through June 27th, I had no new content being posted to the website. Fail! But given that, let’s see how we did!

Readership

Spectacularly, we had 338 active users during our seventh month blogging. That’s only 139 users less than the month before, when I was actively working on it!  338 is not a good number by any means, but I don’t think it’s terrible considering my lack of effort.

"7th month blogging"

Monetization

Its super hard to make money blogging if you don’t blog.  Funny how that works out, isn’t it?  I did manage to get two clicks to my Amazon account (no sales though) and my Google Adsense account is going strong at thirteen bucks!  Go me!  I still haven’t seen any results from any of the other affiliate programs that I am a member of, but I don’t really utilize any of them much either. I think that in the fall, when all the craziness of summer dies down, I’m going to focus on affiliates and see if I can make something happen with them.

 

What’s Next?

We are now half-way into our eighth month, and this is only my second post (I’m sure my eight-month update will be amazing as well!). It’s hard to say what’s next, but my barrage of visitors has stopped for now.  I am also feeling much better, so hopefully I’ll be able to stick to a decent posting schedule for the remainder of the summer. I do have a trip planned for the beginning of September though (I’m going to Germany to watch my friend get married!), and that’s only a month away so I’m sure that will result in some missed posts. But like I said before, we can’t sacrifice our lives to blog!

Love this post? Share it!
"Six week hiatus"

 

Welcome back, Partner’s in Fire!  As you probably noticed, we took a six week hiatus from blogging. It’s unfortunate that we had to take this time off right at our 6-month mark and when we were experiencing a steady increase in readership, but alas, sometimes life happens. So what happened that made us take this long break?

Visitors

I love my friends and family. So, when I had nearly six weeks of continuous visitors, I made them a priority. I actually did try to blog for the first week or so, but between working a full-time job and prioritizing my personal relationships, it just started slipping through the cracks.

It was well worth it though, because I spent time catching up with an old friend I had not seen since college. We went out for a few nights on the town, hit up the famous cemetery, checked out some local beaches, and just all around enjoyed hanging out with each other.

I also had the opportunity to visit my favorite cousin, who I haven’t seen in about a year. She was stuck in Jacksonville on business, about two hours away from my house (she’s usually about 12 hours away, so this was quite a change!).  I had to take a weekend to go see her!  We had a great time too, catching up, gossiping about family, and visiting the Ripley’s in St. Augustine. Great times.

The majority of this time off was spent with my boyfriend’s daughter, who lives out of state. I spent a lot of time getting to know her and building a solid relationship with her. We even took her down to Disney World, an experience that I’m sure she will never forget. We had a great time and she even took to calling my mommy! *swoon*. I hope to be her step-mom one day so I consider this time incredibly well spent.

Exhaustion

I’m not going to lie though, the visitors weren’t the only reason for my hiatus. The second reason is that I’ve just been feeling so tired lately. On the few days I had to myself these past few weeks, I haven’t had the energy to do anything; I just wanted to veg out in front of the tv. Yes, I know how terrible that is, but I was just so tired!!  I’d go to bed around 9 or 10 and wake up at 630, still feeling tired. I could manage to make it through my work day, but I didn’t have the energy for much else.

I wasn’t cooking healthy meals, I wasn’t working on my side projects, and I wasn’t doing anything to better myself. At first, I thought I was just tired from all the activity that was going on around me. However, most of my friends convinced me that my level of exhaustion was not normal in anyway. I’m also notorious for being cold all the time, so two of my friends recommended that I try an Iron supplement.

I tried the supplement, and my energy is through the roof! I don’t eat a lot of meat, so I guess I wasn’t getting enough of this important vitamin. I’m happy to report that I feel fantastic now, and I hope that was the only problem.

Related: Partners in Fire is 6 Months old!

I’m back!

So now I’m back after a six week hiatus, and unfortunately (though obviously) my readership has suffered. I will write a 7-month update to go along with all my other updates, but it will be short considering I hardly did anything to support my blog during the seventh month.

But you know what, sometimes you have to take care of yourself first. And sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to build and maintain relationships. I don’t regret my hiatus, even though it probably erased some hard won gains. I’m happy with where I am.

Love this post? Share it!