On Growing Up, Sacrifices & Relationships

In the past couple of months I’ve had to make some hard decisions. I have been reflecting back on what growing up means and the choices we have to make as a wife/mom/daughter/friend.

When I was teaching and not married I had so much financial freedom. I lived at home, could save a hearty amount per month, but still shop, vacation, eat out, etc. After Dan and I got married, we had a mortgage (we bought a co-op in Queens), things changed, but we still were able to go on vacation and enjoy ourselves. I was still teaching, so we were still a 2 salary household.

Fast forward to now, we bought a house (and sold our co-op 2 years ago), we live on one income, put money into our small business and we have a child. Things are different. Dan and I have gone into every big decision in our lives with a lot of hard work, planning and thought. We don’t take anything we do lightly. We put a good amount of money into our house when we bought it, redoing the kitchen & bathroom.

Dan and I have to make choices and sacrifices to make sure we are doing the best by our family of 3. We make sure that we take care of ourselves and Olivia first and that we are happy with how we spend our money. This year we are pushing hard to pay off all of our remaining credit card debt.  This means we have had to look hard at our expenses.

In doing all of this, we have to stick to our budget. Add in putting Olivia in some type of school, that means there’s not much leftover for extra-extra curriculars. By extra-extra curriculars I mean vacations, weddings and trips with friends. It down right sucks. And sometimes I don’t think others totally get it, but I certainly don’t blame them. (And I don’t think you can unless you are in the same or similar situation.)

For example I had to turn down a vacation with my college friends for our 30th birthdays. A year ago I thought I could go. Even 6 months ago I thought I would make it work. Then I seriously, seriously looked at it. I got quotes for schools for Olivia (which was approximately x3 the vacation). And it came down to Dan taking vacation time to stay home with Olivia while I go off with my friends OR taking vacation so the three of us can go away together (somewhere WAY closer & affordable).

It literally was a punch in the gut to tell my friends I couldn’t go, but I had to make the better choice for my family. I couldn’t spend $1,000 to go on vacation ALONE, while Dan stays home with Liv and uses vacation time. I also couldn’t bare to leave Liv and Danny for 4 days (any shorter than that would have not been worth it for travel time.) And I honestly wouldn’t have been thrilled if he decided to leave for 4 days and spend our money on a vacation that didn’t include me and Liv.

We’re not going to be able to go to all the destination weddings this year either, for the same reason. It’s just not the best choice for our family.

It sucks saying no. I feel bad when my husband gets invited on ski vacations and has to say no because he can’t take the vacation time (he only gets approximately 2 weeks a year…give or take a couple days.) AND because we are really trying to stick to our budget AND because we want to spend our extra money on things that we can do TOGETHER.

Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE spending time with our friends..and we still do. Weekend trips to see them, having people over for dinner or dinners out occasionally are ways we still fit it in. I think it’s super important to have girl/guy time and it still happens, just not as frequently.

I don’t really know why I’m sharing, but I thought there must be some people in similar situations. I’m 29 and 99% of my close friends don’t have kids. I truly value my friendships and try hard to work on my relationships. My friendships did not stop just because I had a kid, but now I have two other people I need to think of before I decide to do something.  Am I envious sometimes that my friends get to do things I can’t? Sure…but it usually only lasts a second before I’m reminded how lucky I am to have what I have.

While I have talked about all the sacrifices I’ve made and how it sucks, I can honestly say I’m happy to make any and all of them. If not going on a vacation with friends allows me to put Olivia in the better for her school AND allows me to spend more time over the summer with Danny and Olivia than it’s an instant win. They are sacrifices, but they are going to help us reach our bigger goal. In the meantime Danny and I will be enjoying ourselves and treating ourselves in other ways that benefit the two of us.

Being married means you have to do what’s best for the both of you. Having a child magnifies that 23849082 times more. I’m so lucky to have a partner that shares the same goals as me. Working towards our goals and giving up things doesn’t feel like a true sacrifice because we are still having fun along the way.

Can anyone relate or see a different point of view here?


  1. says

    I think 99% of your friends not having kids is so key to how you are feeling. I was the first out of my friends to have kids at 28 and at times it was a lonely road. I never regretted getting an earlier start to a family (I now have friends saying they wish they had started sooner because they want more kids – but feel like they are too old), but yes there are things you miss out on. I felt like I was always the one giving the “mom” excuse and I was always (and still am) very aware of being “that parent.” The one who does nothing except talk about their child/children. It was exhausting!

    Now that the majority of my friends now have kids (and most more than one) it’s a completely different story. They get it. There are less vacations and less nights out together… BUT, we get together with the kids in tow and that’s equally as fun. For my friends that don’t have (and don’t want) kids, I find other ways to fit them into my life. And turns out, they don’t mind hanging out with my kids either (as long as it’s not ALL the time). So, long story short — hang in there! And yes, it IS worth it.

    • says

      I totally agree with Michelle, here! My girlfriends from college don’t have kids, for the most part. in fact, they are single with good jobs, making it easier to show up to things in the latest styles and looking amazing with their personal trainers 😉

      However, friends I’ve made locally that have kids are much more in sync. We know a ladies movie night is a rare and exciting treat!

      I applaud you for your mature decisions that will benefit your family’s future ultimately. It isn’t always the easiest decision to say no to things, but you’re taking great steps for your family!

  2. says

    I completely relate! Before moving out west 100% of my friends and 90% of Neil’s didn’t have kids and 90% of my friends aren’t even married. When we moved out here we made friends with other families so we are a little bit more on the same page but before that it was even more of a challenge.

    I am have been feeling pretty upset lately because we can’t make the trip to our close friends wedding in Nova Scotia next Fall. We had planned to make it work but with a second baby on the way there was no way we could do it. Honestly looking back on things now I would say financially there was a chance it wouldn’t have worked out second baby or not.

    Anyways I completely understand. We are in the same boat and while it’s hard sometimes I know it’s what is best.

  3. says

    I appreciate your honesty! At 25, married with no kids, I still feel like I’m transitioning into “real” adulthood. I’m growing apart from my friends for other reasons — despite the fact that they don’t have kids, they never want to go out or do anything because they’re trying to save money for when they do. To each her own, I guess, but I feel like this is the time when I should go out dinner and travel, because things will change even more when we have kids.

    With that being said, we do already have a mortgage and a good chunk of student loan debt, and we have to watch where our money goes too. It makes me cringe when I think about how expensive weddings can be! We have a few to attend this year and it stresses me out thinking about all of the related costs!

    I am nervous for how life will change when we start a family. People are waiting so long these days to have kids, and I’m guessing my circle of friends might naturally change.

  4. says

    I definitely relate. We had to say no to attending a good friend’s destination wedding last year and I was really pained to do so. But to have said yes would have put way too much stress on us and we would have had to trade in more than we were comfortable with to do it. I have this guideline that if it’s too much to lose, then it’s too much to spend. But it’s not so hard when you’re behind the choice you’ve made. I once read that if you haven’t got it to give, then it’s not a gift and that way of thinking struck a chord with me. When I’ve got it or I can, then I do give. Otherwise I just have to be okay with how it is and let the other person have their reaction without letting it get to me too much.

  5. Katie says

    Totally understand this whole post. At 28 with two kids none of my friends are at the timeframe of life as I am. Most of my friends from college aren’t even married. I always say the reason I have friends now that we moved to Maryland is thanks to Xander – seriously, now I have a bunch of amazing mom friends who are growing through the same thing – they all happen to be 4+ years older than me, but that doesn’t a lick a difference.

    Anyway, we haven’t been able to attend weddings or quite frankly even do a week long family vacation yet. Everything evolves as a family and decisions totally have to be made based on what’s best for everyone now. Money is such a personal topic, but if more people opened up just a little- like you did in this post- people would find they relate to so many other people!

  6. Michelle C says

    I can totally relate but on a different level. I am 36 and just had my first kiddo so my habits and hobbies were very much ingrained into me and what I did. My kiddo was a bit of surprise and he is a blessing but it has been and continues to be a bit of a struggle for me to let go of the other things in my life I so dearly loved doing.

  7. says

    Oh yes, I can relate .. try being my age & that crash that happened a few years ago wiped out a huge % of your retirement. Not great for us that are already old & don’t have time to make it up.. very tough – I get it. HUGE HUGS!

  8. says

    I’m in a mixture – some friends are married with kids, some just got married (and no kids yet), and others are still in committed relationships, but no marriage yet. I think I feel most envious of the ones without kids for getting to have more freedom (does that sound bad to say?), but not from a money standpoint because we don’t do many vacations with friends (although I would like to).

    I do love the goal of paying off credit card debt, that is totally on my list too. Also, we rent and I would love for us to buy soon so we aren’t in this place of -what do we do!!! I like your perspective on this post, and I think I would choose family vacays over vacays with friends, unless it included the fam too. I hope your sacrifices are worth the rewards :)

  9. Lisa says

    This post is incredibly insensitive and really you’re whining about having a very privileged life. You are 29 and own a house on Long Island, that you have been able to put a ton of work into. You were able to just quit your job and not worry about the finances and now you’re able to stay at home with your child, and put money into a business. You are able to spend money on organic food and pricier beauty products because of your allergies. From what i can tell, You buy the majority of your daughter’s clothes at j crew and gap. Your clothing is similar. You are going on a family vacation this year. I know I don’t know you and can only speak from what I’ve seen on your blog. however, I am also 29, married with one child living in NYC. We can’t afford to buy a home, we both have to work full time, we haven’t been able to afford a vacation as a family or go to non-sibling weddings since we got married 6 years ago, our child wears hand me downs and sometimes we splurge on old navy clothing. We both have advanced degrees (he has a phd and I a masters), and are grateful for all that we do have. I don’t say this to make you feel badly for me or to feel badly about the things you and Dan have achieved. However, the economy is bad, and you are VERY VERY lucky, and I suspect your perception is a little clouded because the majority of your friends, family and acquaintances are also VERY VERY lucky. I am 100 percent sure you are grateful for the things you have, especially your family and home but Pease try to take a step back and realize this seems a little trivial.

    • Nicole says

      Hi Lisa,

      thanks for your comment. I understand what you’re saying. I AM fortunate and lucky and I agree with you I’m lucky to own a house on Long Island that we put work into. (Yes it was a ton of work, we did it ALL on our own with the exception of a backsplash over the course of 2 years.) I don’t think I’m whining. I’m just expressing how I feel. This is my situation and I don’t mean to make light of it or seem insensitive to others. We do worry about finances. We are fortunate to be able to budget our money to buy things like organic foods (or clothes when needed.) I don’t think you can make that judgement that we don’t worry about our finances. Maybe what I wrote about is trivial and that’s fine I just wanted to speak to something that maybe other new moms/married people are going through. I understand that it may seem trivial to turn down a vacation or weddings to you, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a hard choice for me to make. I truly don’t mean to seem insensitive and I’m sorry if I offended you in any way. I use my blog as a way to connect to others and write about what’s going on in my life. We’re all on our own journeys. Thank you for your insight and perspective.

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