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I used to be very proud of my lawn care business. Most of my time was spent cutting the grass, with a few extra services like bushes, weeding, etc. I made around $5 - $10 per house, and by my senior year in high school, I had 7 clients in the neighborhood that brought in a weekly income of $45 per week. I paid for my own prom with lawn money ($222 - which is $436 in today’s value). Actually, that still seems like a fairly cheap prom all-in, but considering I failed to get a goodnight kiss and crashed my dad’s car, it was a good deal.

Still, I was in control of my money back then. I had a CD, which earned interest, I had a savings account, and I even had money to spend on pizza. Eventually, I found myself a salary at Andersen Consulting, and I was still able to spend money on whatever I wanted. I had a condo investment, I treated friends to drinks and dinners, and I even had money to spend on travel.

Then, I got married. Suddenly, managing money wasn’t so easy. I had to plan for 2 people, and somehow our expenses seemed to quadruple. We were spending like we were still single, and then we were spending money as a couple on top of that. Money became tight, and tension mounted. Something needed to be done at this point in my young adult life. I had to take action!

So, I quit my job.

I went back to school, took a job at a restaurant on the corner of minimum wage and no insurance. But, that wasn’t enough of a challenge, so I moved to Los Angeles with an unstable job that made even less money.

After some more stress and difficulties with money, we finally turned our situation around. We became financially stable as a couple, and started paying off our debts. We are currently in the best financial shape that we’ve ever been. So, if history is any indication, we will have to devise a way to put ourselves in jeopardy again. I know, let’s have a baby!

If we have a baby, I will see an immediate impact on the household finances. First, Jackie will want to stay home with the kid. By the way, that point is not up for discussion. I was happy to be the stay at home dad, but after the initial discussion, I wasn’t so happy any more.

So, as Jackie earns half the family income, that would be a huge cut each month. Some estimate that the first year of birth could cost $250,000! What?! The obvious solution that comes to mind first would be to increase our family income. That’s an easy fix, since we will have the advantage of a new person to share the load. Get the baby a job, keeping the little tyke busy, allowing my wife to get back to work. It’s the perfect plan. I’ll just put an ad on Craig’s List, and…

Okay. Change in plans. Jackie tells me that our baby will not be available as a laborer due to something she shouting-ly calls “common sense,” so I’ve pulled my Craig’s List ad. Instead, I will have to explore what must be cut from the monthly expenses.

Variable expenses go first:

- Dining Out: Poquito Mas es no Mas

- Entertainment like Netflix, movies, live music, coffee and medicine

- Books, DVDs, iTunes, chow porn (don’t ask) and water

Then I’ll have to cut into monthly expenses that will be soon considered a luxury:

- Cable

- iPhone service

- Power / Gas Utilities

- One of the cars will have to go

- Mortgage

That doesn’t leave us much. But, we won’t need any of these expenses. We can spend our time entertained by the baby, living in our 1 car, and eating theatre popcorn for dinner.

So, is giving up a relatively comfortable style of life worth a baby?

I suddenly remember when Jackie and I first started dating, and we offered to baby sit our niece Megan, who was a new baby at the time (she’s 14 now). I don’t think we realized that she was colicky when signed up for that act of kindness, but soon we were pulling our hair out and shoving it our ears to block out the screaming. For some reason, we thought that she would calm down by holding her near the ceiling fan (not sure which of us lame-brains came up with that scheme), and so we took turns holding her up in the air towards the fan, looking like some urban tribal shamans offering up our first born to sacrifice to the gods of air circulation. If that’s the fun of parenting that makes all the sacrifices irrelevant, then sign me up!

Why would anyone choose to change a comfortable life to hold a screaming baby up in the air for hours each night? Why would anyone sacrifice luxuries like TV, food, and chow porn? Besides, Jackie and I had the benefit of spending time with Megan last summer when she visited California. So, we enjoyed our role as the cool aunt and uncle, without the pain and suffering of 14 years of parenting.

I’m not convinced at this point that parenting is right for me. Bottom line, I’m not ready to give up the necessities. If we must sacrifice our food, clothing and shelter, I will only reconsider - as long as I can keep my iPhone.

THE DAILY SCHEDULE

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Do I really want to share my time with a baby? Do I want to sacrifice my own important life for the creation of a new one? Important things I do each day during the week:

Sleep - 7 hours

Procrastinate - 1 hour

Write - 2 hours

Work - 8 hours

Commute - 2 hours

TV - 1 hour

Chows - 1 hour

This schedule leaves only 2 hours to devote to the baby. So now, I must face the inevitable sacrifices. Obviously TV will be the first to go (but you and I both know that I will still attempt to watch my shows while burping and changing). But, that only counts for an extra hour. Then, I’ll have to sacrifice some of my writing time, which will make me bitter and resentful. On the other hand, I find I’m least funny when I’m happy, so that one’s a toss-up. If I’m lucky, I can remove the hour of procrastination. Or, better yet, the baby will be the new procrastination! And sleep, from what I understand, will also go away. I guess that’s when your dreams literally disappear.

So, I’ve managed to add 5 hours of time. I’m sure Jackie will be more than happy to spend the other 19 hours handling the baby by herself, right?

Okay, after successfully avoiding 3 good swings from Jackie’s fist, but catching the last upper cut squarely in the jaw, I needed to take a break from being conscious. However, it gave me some time to ponder the additional elements from last week’s schedule that could make having a baby plainly irresponsible:

1) Stress about mediating between my client and my coworkers to make sure everyone is happy about microphones (8 hours for the week)

This situation presents an opportunity for the baby to experience some real life trauma when it needs loving from an emotionally drained father. I can pretend everything is fine, but the baby will know. It’s sensors will record the fear and confusion to store it away for future use. Then, some day, my adult child will freak out when someone sings karaoke, or someone offers a microphone. And my child won’t even know why.

2) Reading a guide for personal finance (6  hours for the week)

Forget the fact that I won’t even be able to consider the idea of conducting self-improving activities post-birth. The new knowledge I gained this week about my financial mistakes and ignorance should be proof enough that a baby will be sorely deprived of many needs. The lack of finances for a baby will have to be covered next week…

3)  Sensation Seizures (5 hours for the week)

Sensation had 10 seizures this week. I imagine my baby delighting at the first sight of a Sensation seizure, as it looks forward to many hours of playing with the dog that likes to dance. But, once it runs like a demonized hound across the room, blind and confused, knocking over my baby and creating it’s first scar on the corner of the coffee table, it will realize the terrifying truth that the dog is not into music, but more into Satan. And, my baby will enjoy a lifetime of nightmares!

4) Movies at Work (2 hours for the week)

Okay, I have an unusual benefit of working at a theatre. I can watch a movie during my work day, without any negative repercussions. In fact, I would’ve spent an additionally 6 - 8 hours watching movies at work last week if I didn’t have the seizure problems. But, how could I justify seeing a movie at work, while my wife is at home with a screaming child? Now that I think about it, if the child screamed all day, I would probably desperately need a movie to prevent myself from going postal. Jackie would probably want to join me, too. Goldie and Sensation may be able to baby sit once in a while - they are very loyal and protective - although the screaming may trigger another seizure cluster.

All in all, my reluctance when it comes to giving up my time appears to prove my mother correct - I am selfish. But, I like being selfish. It’s fun. However, I admit I would feel guilty for spending so much time on myself if a baby comes. I might be forced to change. I might even learn from the change. Or, I may just harbor my resentment for years, fight with my children, and die unhappy and alone.

I understand that approach works just as effectively as not having children in the first place.