Thank god it’s April. March 2022 was one of the toughest months of my life and I’m so happy it’s over.
This is going to be me venting a little and trying to analyze what the hell happened and what we could do better next time. Then, Lazy FI Mum will share her perspective of March 2022.
Lazy FI Dad’s perspective
I’m an accountant* and my employer has a February year-end. This means that from mid-February the craziness begins for year-end and it goes all the way to mid-April. I have nothing to complain about because for ten months a year, I have an amazing work-life balance. It’s just these two tough months.
March is the one full month that gets crazy. I do long hours, I even work during the weekend sometimes. Thank god it’s April.
Now that you know that about my job, let me share with you something. Our son was born in early March.
We have a son!
We have a son, we’re very happy and excited about it, he’s very cute. Our daughter is now a big sister, which is very interesting to see. I just wish I had more time to spend with my family (which is my “why” to FI).
I wish I could write more about him, about being his father, the new “firsts” we got to experience. You’ll soon understand why I can’t write about these.
That sounded a bit too dramatic, let me assure you he’s healthy and well and so is Lazy FI Mum and everyone else in our family.
The birth and family
As we’re Jewish, there’s a ceremony we go through when a baby boy is 8 days old. It’s the circumcision (“Brit Mila” in Hebrew). Usually, people celebrate this occasion with family and friends (we did too).
When my daughter was born, there was no one date that everyone could aim for. In addition, it was the peak of Covid, so people couldn’t come to visit.
This time around, family members came over for this event. As you can imagine, I wanted to spend time with them. That part was really tough. While I did get to spend time with family, there were some awkward situations. For example, my dad and brothers were in our flat while I had to go on a 45-minute-work-call.
It was so crazy that I even replied to a few emails the same day Lazy FI Mum gave birth!
I think it was Mr. 1500 who said on a podcast (and I’m paraphrasing): “I can’t be the man I want to be and have a full-time job”. This sentence sums up March 2022 for me. Thank god it’s April.
Patience and fairness
Having two kids under 2 is not easy. I must admit having one daughter was pretty easy, it was a lot of fun too. Two kids? Way harder, especially with work.
When my daughter was born, we had all the time (and patience) in the world. If she cried, we were there for her, hugging and kissing, there was no stress. With our son? It’s scary. He doesn’t do anything different but the fear of him waking up his sister is real, which is a bit unfair, to both of them. On one hand, it’s unfair to him, why should he get less patience from his parents? On the other hand, it’s unfair to her, why should she be woken up?
Our (not ideal) solution is command and conquer.
Whenever my daughter wakes up, I go to her while Lazy FI Mum stays with our son.
You have to choose
This method, combined with my workload, resulted in very little time that I spend with our son. The connection we have is nowhere near as strong as the connection I had with our daughter when she was at this age, which is pretty sad. As I consider my job as a means to an end (FI) and not a calling, it’s very frustrating to choose work over family but I really feel that I had no choice.
I keep reminding myself that it’s almost over and soon I’ll have my work-life balance back and that in total, I have a great job, I really do.
March essentially made me choose three out of four: sleep, work, our daughter, and our son. I hate the fact that I need to choose, thank god it’s April.
I hate saying this but I chose the first three (although sleep is debatable).
Also, I am aware that Lazy FI Mum is not on the list, which is ridiculous but honest. She has been amazing this past month. She takes amazing care of our son (their relationship is amazing and it’s great to see), without compromising her relationship with our daughter. As she’s on maternity leave, she doesn’t have to worry about work.
Reinforcing our decisions
Luckily, Lazy FI Mum’s mother was here. I don’t think we could have coped on our own with two kids and my workload. It just shows the importance of family and reinforces our decision to move back to Israel in a few years, to be close to our families.
It also reinforced the importance of FI to us. This month was ridiculous and it shouldn’t be that way. I can’t wait to reach FI so I can ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Another way to ensure this doesn’t happen again is to sleep in separate rooms from Lazy FI Mum during the month of June. She doesn’t find this idea funny, which makes me suggest it even more often haha.
Lazy FI Dad’s Summary
I wish I could sit here and write about the joys of being a dad to my son, I really do. I’m not there yet, sadly. It’s not that I don’t like being his dad or anything, he’s great. It’s just that we haven’t built a connection yet, which is my fault and I’m going to correct that during April.
Anyway, thank god it’s April. I’m looking forward to some quality time and bonding with my son (and wife). I will be taking my paternity leave shortly, so I will be able to fully focus on my family. I’m looking forward to being the father and husband my amazing family deserves.
Oh yeah, we still want more kids (but not anytime soon).
Once again: thank god it’s April! and in case you think that I forgot: Happy new tax year everyone!
Lazy FI Mum’s perspective
Incredible. That’s how I want to describe March for me. I got the best gift of all – a son, being a mum for the second time around. My birth was amazing, and the recovery was faster this time around (something I don’t take for granted as I know many women have different experiences). I had my daughter waiting for me when we got home – so no time to rest really, as she wanted my full attention. I am only just starting to get used to dividing my attention between two kids. The feelings of guilt are there, but I manage to ‘park’ these thoughts, and am very fortunate to be able to spend some quality time with my family without worrying about work!
Being a mum for two means I need to prioritize even better. Luckily, I am a woman of lists, routines, checklists, and absolutely LOVE organizing things. Between Lazy Fi Dad and I, we worked out various systems to ensure we are prepared for everything. Of course, we are not there at all. Don’t think we are these ‘super-parents’ that have it all figured out! But just the mental prep is so helpful to me at least, as I know what to do in most cases, which allows me to focus on the most important thing, which is just being there for our kids. I also think Lazy FI Dad and I are a great team! Despite the sleepless nights!
Having my mum here was great, she was extremely helpful with household stuff, but most importantly with her grandchildren. Looking at it now, from a perspective of a mum, this relationship (grandma-grandchildren) is so important for me. I want my kids to grow up having fun with their grandma, sharing experiences and creating memories. It’s really tough to do it when you live in another country. As Lazy FI Dad mentioned above, my second birth only increased my will to go back to Israel and live there indefinitely. It’s reassuring to know we already have a plan and a rough date (not to say our lives here are not great, they are! It’s just a shift in priorities for us).
Maternity leave started on a high note this time. More cafes, going out, meeting people and inviting friends over! Last time, it was peak Covid, so I didn’t have many options (everything was closed, and people were mainly isolated!). I promised myself I will have more fun this time, do more for myself and really take the time to connect with my son – so far I am managing it.
Lazy FI Dad’s work was (/is still) tough. I did not see it coming. Having to work on the day I gave birth? that gives it all. My biggest learning from this was how lucky we are. It’s only when you miss something you truly appreciate it. I can compare it to more relaxed months or when we had our daughter when he was immersed in ‘fatherhood’ and was 100% present. Being an equal partner in every little bit, from the birth registration to waking up with me – was great. Unfortunately, this time – we need to divide and conquer as he mentioned above. It feels like we are both missing out a little bit, but again – I try to park these thoughts and tell myself we are doing the best we can.
This made me think about our future kids and how I want to plan better (no, this does not mean we won’t have kids in March, who can control it?)**. This means better financial planning so Lazy FI Dad can take proper paternity leave, even if it means our FI journey gets delayed a bit.
With your second child, do your parenting principles still exist? This is for another post. I quickly learnt that even if I told myself I would stick to many parenting approaches when it comes down to it, I am making so many compromises. Some to ensure my daughter can sleep, in other times it’s that I and Lazy FI Dad could sleep/rest. To give you an idea – I didn’t want my daughter to sleep with us in the same bed. She didn’t. I had the same thought for our son. In reality – he is quiet mostly when he’s on me or laying down in bed with us… so I let him.
Another huge learning, which I had slightly with our daughter is second-hand!!! Can’t say I didn’t try it with our daughter, but this time we had almost everything we needed second-hand. From a cot to a pram, to clothing. I love the fact that many parents give away for free many children’s stuff. I do the same when I don’t need something. It’s so much better for the world and increases the feeling of a community. I also want to expand on this in another post as I think it highly relates to FI journeys with kids. It saves so much money, energy and time when you do it right and when you really understand the value of it.
So, despite lack of sleep, sick kids (For Lazy FI dad to elaborate in April’s results post), managing and juggling so many things around them, preparing for a trip abroad and trying not to forget my own health – I think we are doing ok 🙂
*I’m not a tax accountant so if you have tax questions, I’m not the right person. Although I am very intrigued by the UK tax system, as you can tell from a few posts I wrote.
**Lazy FI Dad: We can, literally, we can sleep in separate rooms during June 😉