The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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8>Earn a few extra bucks To bring in extra income without incurring child-care costs, work part time when your partner can watch the baby. Become a neighborhood dog-walker and get some exercise, too. Work a few hours at a doctor’s office or a store where you can get an employee discount. You’ll enjoy some adult contact, too.
9>Think long-term If you’re in the market for a new home, calculate mortgage payments based on one income. Think about moving to a town or state where the cost of living is lower.
10>Be a realist If you decide to stay home with your child, prepare yourself mentally—making the switch to stay-at-home mom can be an adjustment. “It’s inevitable that you’re going to feel like you’re sitting around doing nothing, so I remind myself that I’m still working—I’ve just shifted my profession,” says Tabitha Pearson Marshall of Carmel, N.Y., a former art director and mother of two. “When I’m really down, I call a former co-worker to see what the other side is still doing. That gives me some balance.” Keep your expectations realistic and get an occasional perspective check, and you’ll be well equipped to stay home with your baby.
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> How to Raise a Family on Less Than Two Incomes, by Denise M. Topolnicki (Broadway Books, 2001)
> Shattering the Two-Income Myth, by Andy Dappen and Andrew R. Dappen (Brier Books, 1997)
> You Can Afford to Stay Home With Your Kids, by Malia McCawley Wyckoff and Mary Snyder (Career Press, 1999)