Reader Case Study: With Twins On The Way, Should We Quit And Move?

Rose and David are expecting twins and, as a result, are questioning their long (and short!) term plans. Today we’re going to help them decide if one of them should quit their job in order to stay home with the kids AND whether or not they should sell their home and move. Read quickly, everybody! We have a lot to figure out before these two babies are born :)!

Case Studies are financial and life dilemmas that a reader of Frugalwoods sends to me requesting that Frugalwoods nation weigh in. Then, Frugalwoods nation (that’s you!), reads through their situation and provides advice, encouragement, insight, and feedback in the comments section. For an example, check out last month’s case study.

I provide updates from our Case Study subjects at the bottom of each Case Study several months after a Case is featured. You all have requested an easier way to track Case Study updates and I have heard your pleas :)! Here’s list of all the Case Studies that currently have an update provided at the end of the post (and a hint that if you’re a past Case Study participant who hasn’t sent me your update yet, send it on over–your fans want to hear from you!):

I probably don’t need to say the following because you all are the kindest, most polite commenters on the internet, but, please note that Frugalwoods is a judgement-free zone where we endeavor to help one another, not to condemn.

And a disclaimer that I am not a trained financial professional and I encourage people not to make serious financial decisions based solely on what one person on the internet advises. I encourage everyone to do their own research to determine the best course of action for their finances.

With that I’ll let Rose, this month’s Case Study subject, take it from here!

Rose’s Story

Hello, fellow readers! My name is Rose. I’m 28 years old and live in the upper Midwest with my husband David (also 28) and our dog. David and I met back in college–nearly a decade ago–and got married a few years after we graduated once we were certain our relationship was tenable in the real world (and once we both had real jobs). We both work in the software industry although we both have a degree in chemical engineering.

Rose & David

Continuing on with our similarities, David and I actually work for the same company. I do IT support with some software development on the side and David recently switched positions (still at the same company) and is primarily in management now.

I want to preface my story by saying that David and I have always been incredibly lucky. We both had generous parents who helped pay for our undergraduate educations, which meant we graduated with no debt. Then, we were able to find good jobs, which we’ve held since that time. We also understood the dangers of debt and were careful not to let our expenses exceed our incomes. We thought we were doing well until we discovered blogs like Frugalwoods and realized that we could be doing even better. Since then, we’ve cut expenses greatly and are actually on track to comfortably retire early in 3.5-4 years if we both keep working until that time.

Right now, David and I spend a lot of our time working at our jobs and working on our house. When we do have free time, we enjoy gardening, hiking, reading, playing board games, and building things (it’s the engineer in us). We constantly have projects that we’re actively working on as well as what seems like a never-ending stream of things we want to be working on but don’t have time to do.

It’s… Twins!!!!

I predict that list will keep getting longer, however, because I’m pregnant and due March 28, 2019 (although I expect to deliver early, as often happens with multiples). We’ve been trying to get pregnant for about three years and ended up conceiving through IVF. What surprised us is that–despite only transferring one embryo–we’re having twins! This is both exciting and terrifying and it has led us to seriously reconsider our future plans. Before this, we’d always planned to both keep working after having our first kid and then re-evaluate how things were going if/when we decided to have a second and possibly have one parent quit at that point. But now the second is coming with the first!

Babies!!

I’m a math person, so I’ve done the math for a lot of different scenarios. Technically, we’re still financially better off if we both keep working, even with two daycare fees (which we calculate will be in the neighborhood of $2,250 per month for both babies). However, I also fully acknowledge that I have no idea how much work a baby will be, much less two, so I’m not really sure how feasible it will be to both continue working after they’re born.

David and I both work 50+ hour weeks right now and, while we can probably decrease that a bit, our jobs will always be demanding and take a lot out of us. On the other hand, having one of us quit next year would increase the working time for the other person by about two years.

Considering A Stay-At-Home Parent

Originally, we were thinking that if a parent were to stay home, it would be David, but more recently, we’ve swung over to me. David really likes his new position whereas I’m feeling a bit stuck in my job. I am currently taking classes that will net me a computer science degree–which would allow me to switch to full-time software development–which appeals to me. However, I’m frustrated with how long it’ll take to complete this coursework and make the job transition. I have about a year left if I take a class during January-May 2019. That’s a pretty big if since I’ll be, you know, giving birth during this time period. We could likely work it out, but we’re not sure if it’s even worth it given that I might quit my job before finishing the course (and would then have to pay back the cost of the class since my work is paying for it).

Baby books!

Technically, David and I make exactly the same salary, although he’s withholding more in his 401K at present. Our salaries are consistently very similar, as are our raises. The most salient point is that his new job is more enjoyable, but is unlikely to net a large change in salary. Conversely, if I transition to full-time software development (after completing my coursework), I’m more likely to net a larger increase in salary and would, at that point, make more than David.

Other factors we’ve considered are that David is more likely to bike to work, but I’m more likely to get smaller things around the house done (he would get larger projects done but tends to get very focused). Breastfeeding will also make things interesting–I can and will pump if I go back to work, but it’s obviously logistically easier for me to be around the babies more often. We’re planning to have one of us home full-time for a month while the other works during our FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) to test things out.

David and I can each take up to three months of family leave when our kids are born, which is nice. Our plan right now is to try and split it up so that one of us can be home longer and so that we both have some time home alone with the babies to see how it goes. Right now, the plan is for us to both take the first two weeks off, and then I’d stay home for another month while my husband goes back to work. Next, David would stay home for a month while I go back to work. I have a major project in May, and his job works better if he’s not gone for extended periods, so that’s actually a good schedule for both of us. I would then finish out my three months after which he would finish out whatever paid leave he has left (he has 30+ sick days banked right now). It’s complicated but it should work.

Rose and David’s House

The second big decision we’re grappling with right now is what to do about our house. We love our current home, but we bought it with an eye toward what we want in the longterm as opposed to thinking seriously about what made sense for where we were in life at the time (honestly, this is probably the biggest financial mistake we’ve ever made). We have a nice house on 17 acres out in the country, and we have grand plans for what to do with that land. . . which we haven’t been able to make much progress on due to our work schedules. But we do keep around 15-25 chickens for meat and eggs!

The masonry heater David is building in their home

We also have grand plans for the interior of the house, including a major renovation that we’ve been working on for the better part of three years. On top of it all, the house is about 14 miles from our work. We can carpool and there’s never any traffic, which makes our commute a consistent 25 minutes, so it’s not the worst situation we could be in, but it could certainly be better. We also try to bike a couple times a week (though it’s been hard for me lately with the pregnancy) which takes about 50 minutes each way. However, since there are no daycares that take infants near our house, if we both keep working, we’d have to drive every day to get the kids into daycare near work.

We purchased our home in March 2014 for $359,900. The selling price would depend on whether or not we finish the renovation and how we finish it. If we were to list it right now, we would probably have to list it for close to what we paid for it since it’s a bit of a mess (okay, a lot of a mess–there are walls missing). In a few months, it will probably be closer to $450,000-$500,000 based on other home prices in our area.

I think we could hopefully get the house ready to sell before the babies come. This would let us move somewhere within walking distance of work and daycare, which appeals to us because we want to be less reliant on cars, but we also like having the land we currently have out in the country. We’ve tossed around the idea of renting/using our house as an AirBnb until we’re finished working. While we’re open to that option, I don’t know that it’s financially feasible given the type of property we have (rural, on 17 acres, 500ft driveway that we shovel by hand, etc.). If one of us quits, however, a lot of this becomes moot since one person could bike into work most days.

If we moved closer to work, we’d likely buy a home and we’re looking at places in the $225,000-$275,000 range. A home equivalent to the one we have now would be closer to $400,000, and we’d like to spend much less.

The other consideration here is that, ultimately, we want to be back in the country. After we reach financial independence, our plan is to return to the country. We would love to live in our current home after quitting our jobs, but we recognize that there are other homes out there we would enjoy as well. Regardless, moving closer to work would mean two moves for us–one to finish out our careers and one to our forever home (which doesn’t have to be our current home but could be).

Another factor is that most of David’s family lives within 2 hours of us and his parents are only 20 minutes away. One option we’ve entertained with the two move plan is: 1) move closer to work until we finish our careers; 2) then move closer to David’s parents. Our twins will be the first grandchildren on both sides and so we anticipate some grandparent care, but don’t want to rely on it, which is why it’s not accounted for in our daycare cost calculations.

Where Rose and David Want To Be in Ten Years

  • Family: This is our biggest priority. Both of us would like a large family (at least right now—we’ll see how we feel after two babies ☺) and also want to make sure we can help our kids grow up to be smart, inquisitive, productive members of society. For this reason, we were considering waiting until we were financially independent before having kids, but given the high costs of birth in this country (which are completely covered by our employer-provided health insurance) and the fact that we’ve already struggled with infertility, we didn’t want to wait any longer.
  • Rose & David on vacation

    Finances: We would like to be financially independent in 10 years.

  • Careers: Neither of us hates our job, but neither of us is particularly interested in spending the next thirty years working our job either. David has some great ideas for other businesses he would like to start and prefers to be his own boss. I struggle with doing the same thing every day (and to wake up in the morning with enough time to get into work at a reasonable hour, but that’s a different story). I would much prefer a lot of variety in my days—a couple hours of hiking, some work in the garden, a bit of work on the house, writing a bit, and maybe 2-3 hours of software work (I fully acknowledge our hobbies will change drastically with small children, but I’m giving examples from life right now). I am also a scientist/engineer at heart. I have admittedly strange plans for future projects like teaching my kids about flame tests by soaking our logs in lithium and copper salts before Christmas so they burn red and green or building a whole house server that can connect everything and be accessed from anywhere.
  • Lifestyle: Part of the reason we bought the land where we live is that we want to be as close to self-sufficient as possible one day. This includes money, food, and energy. David is currently building a masonry heater so that we can heat our whole house with wood and possibly our hot water as well. All of our heat is electric now, which is both inefficient and expensive. On the food front, we’ve done some basic growing in the past but haven’t had the time with both of us working and the house. It’s definitely an area where we want to improve.

Rose and David’s Finances

Monthly Income

Item Amount Notes
Rose’s income $6,014 This is after taxes, 401K contributions, healthcare plus Flex (cheaper for us both to be on single plans for now), and longterm disability.
David’s income $5,901 This is after taxes, 401K contributions, healthcare (plus Flex for IVF), and longterm disability. David has more than he needs going to his 401K at present, so I expect this to jump significantly in the next couple months when he readjusts his contributions.
Monthly Subtotal $11,915
Annual Total $142,980 We typically receive bonuses, which I don’t include in any calculations since I don’t want to rely on them. This also does not include 401K matching.

Monthly Expenses

Item Amount Notes (all values averaged over the last 12 months of expenses)
Mortgage $2,588 10-year, 3.25% fixed rate mortgage. No escrow. One thing we learned in the past couple years is that, while it doesn’t make sense to pay off your mortgage early, if you have extra money you want to throw at it, you should look at a shorter term, lower interest rate loan. We’ll save ~$200,000 by switching from a 30-year to a 10-year mortgage, even with the lost opportunity cost from not investing that extra payment money each month.
Doctor/Pharmacy $1,452 All for IVF. I expect this to be close to $0 next year since our healthcare is actually very good overall.
Charity $600 This is high, but it’s important to us given our income level and lack of time to volunteer. If we quit and have more time to volunteer, we’ll consider reducing this amount.
Property Taxes $521 Paid once a year in January. Not horrible for 17 acres in a relatively high property tax state.
Groceries $277 Mostly organic, local food. We try to eat in season. We did buy a quarter steer about 15 months ago that we’re still eating through and since we have the chickens as well, this includes very little meat.
Home Improvement and Household Supplies $231 This is cheating a bit since most of the renovation supplies were front loaded, but I expect it to continue to decrease as we finish up the rest of the renovation, so I’ll leave it.
Electric $88 Pretty proud of this since we have baseboard electric heat
Chicken feed/bedding/other items $70 We keep about 15-25 chickens for meat and eggs. I do sell some eggs (amount subtracted from total) and give some to people as small thank-you gifts
Eating Out $51 Definitely an area we could reduce. This is mostly lunch at work and a few dinners out with David’s parents. I had been doing better about cooking for the week so we didn’t have to buy lunch at work and then I got pregnant. I’m still adjusting to how much I actually eat (a couple weeks ago, I’d eaten half the food I planned for the week by Sunday night. . .)
Gas for cars $49 I’m a wuss and don’t bike as much as I should.
Tools $42 Technically bought for the renovation, but we can use them for other projects as well.
Other $42 Passport renewal, 401K fees (can’t get rid of them until we quit and move our 401K’s), a board game, a couple of used books, a Target purchase that was probably soap/shampoo/etc., camera card, parts to fix my phone screen/battery
Dog food/vet care/supplies $40 Partly frugal because we buy most of her food with Menards rebates.
Internet $37 One of the greatest things about living in a small town: they actually called me to say they were changing their tiers and, since we only get the lower tier where we are (fine for our need), our price would be halved!
Bike parts/other biking items $33 Should decrease soon as we have pretty much everything we need.
Gifts $29 Almost all for Christmas; we do buy some things with gift cards that were gifted to us as well.
Home Insurance $26 Have a high deductible and pay in full.
Cell Phones (two) $26 Two lines with Ting
Car Insurance $23 Geico. No comp/collision. 2004 Subaru Outback and 2012 Subaru Impreza
Car Registration $13
Car parts/service $12
Clothing $10 Two new pairs of running shoes (bought on clearance), two pairs of jeans and a couple shirts from Goodwill.
Trash $5 No pickup; we take it to the dump
Baby items $3 One crib/mattress/mattress covers and a bunch of clothes. I expect a lot more here in the coming months.
Monthly Subtotal $6,268
Annual Total $75,216

*A note on travel: Both David and I travel quite a lot for work (working on changing that), so we either combine trips to see our families and/or use points for flights/hotels/etc. if we take a special trip for holidays/events. That’s why there’s no line item for travel/vacation.

Assets

Item Amount Notes
Taxable Investments $217,597 All in index funds, mostly a total US stock market fund, a bond fund, and a developed international one. See notes below for more details.
Rose’s 401K $143,099 Traditional
David’s 401K $135,605 Traditional
IRAs $107,139 Mostly in Roths except for a bit in Traditional that I need to roll over
Cash $32,973 Honestly higher than we usually keep it. We use asset allocation across a few different types of index funds, and we rebalance once a quarter. A good chunk of this cash will be used to supplement any categories that need it this quarter to reach our allocation targets.
Total: $636,413

Investing notes: Our 401Ks are through Fidelity. We have a Charles Schwab account that was David’s before we got married and the rest of our funds are through Wells Fargo because I was grandfathered into a sweet deal that gives me 100 free trades a year (more than enough for our rebalancing). We’ve talked about combining accounts, but we’d have to realize a bunch of capital gains to do it, so it doesn’t really make fiscal sense. We have a few different index funds for our asset allocation, but they’re mostly Vanguard, Schwab (no transaction fees in David’s account), and Fidelity (no transaction fees for our 401Ks) with a couple ETFs for some more specific indexes for the allocation. Our biggest chunk is in SWTSX, VWLTX, VVIAX, and SWISX. We do also own some FSRVX for our REIT diversification and then our smaller funds.

Cars

Item Valued At Notes
2012 Subaru Impreza $9,000 Own outright
2004 Subaru Outback $1,500 Own outright

House

Item Amount Owed Notes
Mortgage $222,002  10-year, 3.25% fixed rate mortgage. No escrow. The last valuation before the renovation for the house was $331,000. Based on what similar houses are selling for in our area, we could probably get more like $450,000-$500,000 for it after the renovation is complete (we’ve added about 25% more finished space, a half bath, and will have updated  the original baths and the kitchen, which hadn’t been touched since it was built in the 1970s).

Rose’s Questions For You:

  1. Should one of us quit our job to take care of the twins? Or should we both keep working until we’re financially independent? I’m especially curious to hear from readers who have experience with multiples and/or dad staying home with the kids since I know that’s less traditional but may make sense given that I have the potential to take a higher paying job in the future.
  2. Should we move closer to work (and our future daycare) even though it would mean giving up a home we love?
  3. Any suggestions for side hustles and/or ways to save even more money that we could do once the babies get older if one of us quits their job? I don’t expect to make nearly as much as we do now, but it would be nice not to lose all of that income.

Mrs. Frugalwoods’ Recommendations

First of all, congratulations on expecting twins!! Second of all, congratulations on being in such a wonderful financial position!! Rose and David’s story is the perfect example of why you want to manage your money wisely. They have an unexpected surprise on their hands–two babies instead of one!!–but they’re in a financial position to not stress out about it. This is why I constantly preach saving more than you think you need to, investing those savings, having no debt, and maintaining a healthy emergency fund. By doing this, Rose and David will be able to make a decision based on what they WANT to do for their children, not what they HAVE to do. This is true financial freedom and it is the cornerstone of what Frugalwoods is all about. Thank you Rose and David for giving us this great example today!

For anyone who’d love to get to the place that Rose and David are at, here’s a quick rundown of the steps I’d advise you take:

  1. Track your expenses religiously. Know exactly what you’re spending every month. If you’re not tracking your spending, you can sign-up for the free service Personal Capital, which is what I use and recommend for expense tracking (affiliate link).
  2. Pay off high interest debt. List all of your debts in a spreadsheet and sort by interest rate. Prioritize paying them off in order of highest interest rate first.
  3. Build an emergency fund. An emergency fund should be kept in an easily-accessible bank account, such as a checking or savings account, NOT in investments, retirement funds, or cars/houses/expensive china. An emergency fund is cash money you can access immediately in an emergency. I recommend saving three to six months’ worth of expenses (meaning three to six months worth of what you spend every month, which is why it’s important to do #1: track your expenses).
  4. Contribute to retirement accounts. Especially if your employer matches your contributions, putting money into a 401k or 403b is a no-brainer. Here’s more on why: 401ks Are Your Friend: Demystifying Personal Finance Part 3.
  5. Start investing! Investing in the stock market is how you grow your wealth. Without this crucial step, you won’t reap the advantages of compounding interest and you’re unlikely to build your net worth in a meaningful way. I use and recommend investing in low-fee index funds through the brokerages of Fidelity or Vanguard. I personally use Fidelity (I primarily own FSTVX), but Vanguard offers a similar product. You can do this yourself (it’s just like any other form of online banking) and there are more details here: For the Love of Frugal Hound, Manage Your Money Yourself! (by following The Simple Path to Wealth).
  6. Explore other options for investing in order to achieve diversification. After completing steps 1-5, you should continue investing in your low-fee index funds (and rebalancing them) on a regular basis (I recommend automating this process) and you can also start to look around for diversification options. This might include, for example, real estate. Mr. FW and I rent out our home in Cambridge, MA for a profit. Renting a property can be a fabulous financial decision and it can also be an absolutely abysmal one. It depends on many factors, including the rate of return you’d receive. For more on renting out properties, I recommend the site BiggerPockets, which discusses real estate investing.
  7. Analyze your income. Concurrent with all of this should be an analysis of your net income (that means the dollar amount you bring home every month, minus taxes and any other withholdings). In some cases, the best route to financial stability will be to increase your income while also lowering your expenses. Income is the crucial second piece to this equation and, the more you make, the more you can save. That’s just a solid math fact.

I hope that helps give you a sense of the basic outline of how to get yourself onto solid financial footing. Ok, back to our friends Rose and David!

Should One Of Them Stay Home With The Twins?

I have no idea. And neither do Rose and David. And neither does anyone else. Rose, being an organized engineer, has already calculated that it’s essentially a financial wash. It’s true that their combined incomes outstrip their projected daycare payment, but it’s not a make-or-break decision for them, which is a fortunate position to be in. Enjoy the below chart I’ve made to analyze this from a financial perspective:

Income Amount Notes
Rose’s Income $6,014 This is after taxes, 401K contributions, healthcare plus Flex (cheaper for us both to be on single plans for now), and LTD.
David’s Income $5,901 This is after taxes, 401K contributions, healthcare (plus Flex for IVF), and LTD. David  has more than he needs going to his 401K, so I expect this to jump significantly in the next couple months
Current Monthly Income Total: $11,915
Daycare Cost for Both Babies: $2,250
Monthly Total Minus Daycare: $9,665 Total take-home pay if BOTH Rose and David continue working and they pay for daycare.
Loss of David’s Salary: $5,901
Monthly Total Minus David’s Salary: $6,014 Total take-home pay if David quits his job and they don’t pay for daycare.
Difference: $3,651 Total amount of money saved every month if they BOTH continue working.

As we can all see, from a purely mathematical perspective, it makes more financial sense for Rose and David to continue working–and she already knows this and mentioned it in her narrative. Thus, it’s clear that this decision isn’t purely a financial one (decisions rarely are) and is much more a question of how Rose and David want to raise their children and use their time. Again, since they’ve put themselves in an excellent financial position, they can afford to make the less financially wise choice of having one of them quit their jobs if they want to.

I rarely give hardline advice, but I’m going to in this instance, and here it is: do not make this decision now.

That’s right, the trumpeter of “plan everything ahead of time” (that’s me!) advises Rose and David to WAIT. Why? Several reasons:

  1. They don’t need to make this decision right now. I advise that they proceed as if they will both go back to work after the birth. They should do all the necessary FMLA paperwork ahead of time and they should put themselves on the waiting list(s) at the daycare(s) of their choice. They should not tip off their employer that they’re considering having one of them stay home. There’s simply no reason to do so.
  2. They are not in possession of all the data points. I understand (keenly) Rose and David’s desire to make this decision ahead of time (trust me, I feel like I’m advising myself here), but they simply do not have all the necessary information at this stage. Namely, they don’t have their kids yet!!! My worldview radically changed after the birth of my kids and Rose and David can’t predict how they’ll feel after having theirs. Rose has already articulated that they know they can’t predict what life will be like with their twins and so, trying to make this decision before the twins are born is–in my opinion–nearly impossible.

Since Rose and David have a fabulous FMLA plan, they will have the luxury of both experiencing at-home parenting as well as working away from home after the birth. I love their plan of staggering their leaves and thus extending the time before they need to start paying for daycare and also giving each other the opporunity to fully engage in at-home parenting. I advise that they follow their well-thought-out FMLA leave plan and both stay home with the kids and both go back to work.

Rose & David hiking in the Pyrenees

I also suggest they simulate taking the kids to daycare and both going into work–perhaps on a weekend day. Why? Because I find that one of the more difficult junctures of parenting is getting both of my kids up and dressed and fed and out of the house at a given time in the morning (and now you know why we’re late to church EVERY week… ). I HIGHLY recommend Rose and David do this simulation a few times: get up at the time they’d need to on a workday, shower, dress themselves for work, eat breakfast, take the dog out, dress the kids for daycare, load everyone in the car, drive to daycare, and then drive to work.

This will provide valuable data points and a more realistic view of what their days would be like if they both continued to work. Since David’s parents live nearby, if they’re amenable, I highly recommend doing a test full day of “work” whereby they leave the kids with the grandparents until the end of their traditional workday so that they can experience both the morning and the evening routine they’d have if they both worked.

There’s no one right answer here. While Rose and David are certainly considering the financial implications of this decision, it’s also important that they choose the best route for their family and their overall happiness. If they find–after their FMLA leaves– that they’ll both be happier working, then they should do that. Conversely, if one of them finds that they dearly want to stay home with the babies, then they should do that. I’ll reiterate again that their prudent financial management means they can afford to make the choice they want to make and won’t be forced into doing something they don’t want to do.

Should They Sell Their Home?

In my mind, this question really boils down to whether or not Rose and David feel that their current home is their forever home. If this is the house they envision themselves always living in, raising their kids in, and creating their lives together, then I see no reason to move. As Rose outlined, if they were to move for their jobs, they’d be looking at two moves–one to be near their jobs and then another move back out to the country. My advice here might be biased, however, because I hate to move. I don’t think I said that strongly enough: I HATE MOVING. I’ve done it a lot and, after our most recent move to our homestead, I’m pretty sure we’re never moving ever again. Packing up, loading a truck, unloading, organizing a new house, selling the old house… aaaaggghh! That being said, moving might not strike fear in Rose and David’s bones quite like it does in mine. So you know what I’d do if it were me…

One of Rose & David’s home renovation projects

On the other hand, if their current home is NOT their forever home and NOT their ideal location, then they might as well move closer to work and make their lives easier for the rest of their careers. It’s expensive to move–and they’d likely lose money as a result of moving twice in such a short period of time–but, again, this isn’t strictly a financial calculation for them. I don’t think that moving closer to their work will really save them much money because their commuting expenses are already so low and they’d be using the same daycare regardless of where they live. I don’t see that moving closer to work would make all that much of a difference in either their lifestyle or their budget, but I might be missing something there.

Another question I have for Rose and David is about the current state of their home. Rose noted several times that the house is undergoing some major renovations and that it’s something of a construction zone. This is very manageable when your household only contains adults (plus a dog), but it could quickly become untenable with two babies and then… two crawling and walking toddlers who put everything into their mouths. It’s really difficult to get anything done with little kids underfoot and I think it’d be nigh on impossible to complete a DIY renovation while caring for two kids. In addition to the sheer logistical challenges, there’s also construction dust and debris to consider with tiny lungs in the home. I don’t have a clear sense of how far Rose and David are from completing their projects, but if there’s any way they can hustle up and get it done before the kids are born, I think they’ll be eternally thankful. Otherwise, if they stay in this home, it’s likely they’ll be looking at delaying their renovation projects for a number of years. This isn’t to say that it’s impossible to do interior work with little kids, but oh man, it is SO TOUGH. So a salient question is if Rose and David would find it easier to sell their current home now and move to a smaller place near their office that doesn’t require any renovation work. Then, in a few years, they’d have the freedom to explore other rural properties, possibly near David’s parents.

Rose & David’s chicken eggs

Rose also mentioned the idea of renting out their home and that could work, but they’ll need to gather data on their local rental market to determine the viability of that plan. They should research what similar homes (with land) in their area rent for and also the feasibility of either self-managing or hiring a property manager. In my opinion, the two reasons to rent it out would be:

  1. If they can command a high enough rent to make it profitable (minus all fees of course: insurance, property taxes, property manager, maintenance, emergency reserve, vacancies, etc)
  2. If they are certain this is their forever home and they want to return to it. In that case, I would really question the desire to move twice, but if they do want to move, renting it out could (potentially) at least cover their holding costs of the property.

If Rose and David decide to rent their home, they should be aware of the potential loss of the capital gains tax exclusion if they decide to sell the home after it has not been owner-occupied for a certain number of years.

Either way, I encourage Rose and David to have a Realtor come to their home soon and outline a list price and selling strategy. This is a free service (confirm this with the Realtor you call) and a valuable element of determining whether or not to sell. If rental brokers or property managers are common in their area, they should also have them come to assess the property’s rentability. People do rent out rural properties, with land, all the time and it’s often with contingencies in the lease regarding property maintenance (for example, the tenant can be designated as responsible for snow removal, assuming that’s allowed under tenant laws in their state). I don’t have enough data to make a concrete recommendation on renting, but Rose and David can gather all this material and make an informed determination.

At the end of the day, I think the move question boils down to whether or not this is the home they want to live in after retiring early.

Achieving Financial Independence

Rose & David’s garden

Speaking of retiring early, since Rose and David articulated that retiring early is a goal of theirs, let’s dig into their numbers. First of all, let me share a few definitions. “Financial independence” is widely interpreted as meaning that a person has enough in assets to cover their expenses for the rest of their life, such that they don’t need to work for compensation.

People who are financially independent may choose to continue working because they find their work fulfilling (this is the category that Mr. Frugalwoods and I fall into). “Early retired” is a subset of financial independence that refers to folks who are financially independent (see preceding definition) and who have quit their jobs and no longer earn money, but instead live off of a safe withdrawal rate from their assets/investments (this is not what Mr. FW and I do at present). There are a million different ways to construct a financially independent/early retired (abbreviated as FIRE) lifestyle and there’s no one right way to do it.

FIRE is calculated based upon two primary factors: your spending and your assets. The basic question is: Do you have enough in assets that a safe withdrawal rate will cover your expenses in perpetuity? There are different schools of thought on what constitutes a safe withdrawal rate and it boils down to your personal financial philosophy and your tolerance for risk. In light of that, only Rose and David can truly know when Rose and David are ready to FIRE. However, there are some broadly accepted maxims around safe withdrawal rates that we can dig into.

The 4% Rule Of Thumb

A widely (though not universally) accepted early retirement maxim–which is enshrined in the academic Trinity Study–is that you can safely implement a 4% annual drawdown on your investments. This means you’re skimming 4% off your investments every year to cover all of your living expenses. The research in this study demonstrates that this level of withdrawal–4% annually–is a rate that won’t result in your money running out, according to any 30-year period in the history of the US stock market.

According to this calculation, you need to have a total dollar amount in assets whereby 4% equals (or I prefer exceeds) your annual living expenses. This is yet another reason why it’s vital to track your expenses and know what you spend. Let’s do some math to illustrate the 4% rule: If you spend $40K a year, then $40,000 / .04 = $1,000,000. That means, in theory, you’d need $1M in assets (and there are different interpretations of ‘assets’) in order to be financially independent and, if you so choose, early retired.

At present, Rose and David spend $75,216 a year. This means in theory they’d need $1,880,400 in assets in order to retire early, in accordance with the 4% rule ($75,216 / .04 = $1,880,400). Put another way, 4% of $1,880,400 is $75,216.

Of course, before making such a consequential decision as retiring early, anyone–including Rose and David–should research from multiple sources, run their own numbers, and determine a rate of withdrawal that’s tenable for them. For more on the theories behind withdrawal rates, I recommend the following series from Early Retirement Now: The Ultimate Guide to Safe Withdrawal Rates.

A Primary Residence Is Not An Asset

I noted that Rose said they’d be able to comfortably retire in 3.5 to 4 years and I surmise that the primary discrepancy between her math and mine is that she’s counting the equity they have in their home in their assets list. The thing is, you typically don’t count your primary residence in an assets list because you’re living in that house, which means it’s not something you can draw down on to cover your expenses. I personally don’t include my primary residence at all in my assets and most FIRE folks don’t either. The caveat here is that I am a fairly conservative FIRE calculator and am comfortable with a larger buffer than some other folks who adhere to a “lean FIRE” philosophy. Again, there’s no one right way to do this.

If you rent out or sell your primary residence, then it might toggle over to the assets list. But a house you’re living in isn’t an asset that you can liquidate/draw from easily (except for the possibility of getting a HELOC, which is usually not a good idea). So, minus their home, Rose and David currently have $636,413 in assets, which is TREMENDOUS! Serious congrats to them for garnering the income to make this possible and then having the determination to save a lot of that income. A major game changer for Rose and David, however, would be if they stayed in their current home and paid off their 10-year mortgage. If they were mortgage free, their annual expenses would dramatically decrease, which would decrease their overall asset needs.

How Rose And David Can Reach FIRE

Rose & David hiking in the Pyrenees

If Rose and David maintain their level of expenses, they’ll need to save another $1,243,987. This, of course, does not account for fluctuations in the market, which are certain to happen as sure as the sun rises and sets (and this is largely where your tolerance for risk comes into play).

Once their house is paid off, however, they’d be looking at a reduced outlay. On the other hand, their current expenses don’t include daycare or kid-related expenditures. In that light, the absence of their mortgage could be a wash with the addition of childcare expenses. Another question is if they plan on having more children (which sounds like it might be a possibility) and if they envision needing IVF again? Those costs could further negate the savings from the mortgage. Further, I wonder if their current health insurance offered any coverage for IVF? That could be an argument for continuing to work until their family is complete. As Rose noted, births (and prenatal care) are expensive in the US and, if they have health insurance that covers it, they might want to take this into account when determining their quit date(s).

Financial independence is definitely a possibility for Rose and David since they have both the income level and the financial savvy and determination to make it happen. How and when they get there will depend on what decisions they make regarding childcare and their home. There aren’t wrong answers, just different pathways they can take.

A Rose & David vacation photo

Since Rose and David have a lot of unknowns right now, I recommend they redo their FIRE calculations after they’ve ironed out:

  • Whether or not a parent is staying home.
  • Whether or not Rose wants to complete her computer science coursework and what the increase in her salary might be as a result.
  • Whether or not they sell their current home. If they stay where they are, and pay off their mortgage as they plan to, their monthly expenses will be dramatically lower. Alternately, if they move to a much cheaper place, their monthly payment would also be lower.
  • Whether or not they plan to have more children and whether or not they’d need IVF again, and thus would occur the attendant costs.
  • What their expenses shake out to be after a year or so of having kids. My own expenses increased after having kids and it’s tough to project this out. I think it’s easier to have a year or two of expenses to rely on and calculate from. Additionally, this would need to be reevaluated if they have more children. Another consideration is whether or not Rose and David want to help their children with college costs (through 529s or other savings vehicles).

If Rose and David decide to both keep working–and thus pay for daycare–at their current incomes and current level of spending, they’d be able to save $3,397 per month, which is fabulous! Here’s a full calculation:

$9,665 (total take-home minus daycare payment) – $6,268 (current monthly expenses) = $3,397 saved per month x 12 months = $40,764 saved per year. At this rate, it would take them over 30 years to reach that total $1.88M needed to facilitate an annual withdrawal rate of 4%. But I don’t think it’s going to take them anywhere near that long given the above bullet list of unknowns.

I know Rose and David want to FIRE sooner rather than later and there are two primary ways to manipulate this equation:

  1. Increase income
  2. Decrease expenses

Rose and David are already actively considering salary increases, which would certainly help them reach FIRE more quickly. Another element of this equation is Rose’s question regarding…

Side Hustles

Rose asked about potential side hustles in the scenario that one parent decides to stay home with the kids. I think this is a great idea for the longterm (as in, when both parents are retired), but I wouldn’t count on being able to do much with two little babes in tow. That being said, what I recommend they explore is anything they’re already good at. I think people sometimes assume that a side hustle needs to be way outside of their regular work, but often, you can make the most money by doing more of what you’re already proficient at.

Rose & David’s doggie

To that end, I’d look into freelance software engineering jobs and see if there’s an opportunity to make a few extra bucks doing that from home. In general, I’m a fan of side hustles that have low (or no) overhead and that don’t require you to leave your home (especially if you’re parenting small children). Hence, working on a computer is a big winner in my house!

Anything requiring Rose or David to leave the house wouldn’t make sense in light of the childcare component. And anything with overhead might defeat the purpose of trying to earn extra money. But parlaying their engineering experience into freelance software development/web design could be golden!

Now let’s take a look at the other end of the equation.

Rose and David’s Expenses

Rose and David are already quite frugal, so I’m honestly not sure there’s going to be much for us to cut! But, as is Frugalwoods Case Study tradition, we’ll take a stroll through their expenses anyway.

  • IVF: Since this expense will be eliminated in 2019, that’ll be a savings to the tune of $1,452 per month (a whopping $17,424 per year!). The caveat is if they plan on having more children and if they’d need to incur this expense again.
  • Charity: I don’t advise that they eliminate this line item (I give to charity too), but at $600/month ($7,200 per year) it is something for them to consider. I liked Rose’s statement that they’d likely decrease their donations once they’re able to volunteer their time more.
  • Eating out: At a mere $51, this isn’t really all that significant, but it is a discretionary expense, so I’ll note it here (but if it were me, I probably wouldn’t eliminate it!).

Although Rose and David’s monthly spending seems high–at $6,268–a whopping $4,040 of that is their mortgage ($2,588) and their IVF payments ($1,452). Minus those outliers, they’re spending $2,228 per month, which is downright excellent. Sure, they could probably trim around the edges, but the real savings will be in no longer paying for IVF and the date when their mortgage is paid off (or if they move, a lower monthly rent/mortgage).

Summary:

Rose and David have done a magnificent job of setting themselves up for financial success and–most of all–for having options. They have great salaries and they’ve been diligent about saving and investing, which is a winning combination. In summary, here’s what I advise they do:

  1. Delay the decision about having a parent stay home to care for the twins until after the end of your FMLA leave. Utilize your leave to test out the different scenarios outlined for each of you taking a turn working and staying at home. Additionally, do several trial commutes to simulate both parents working and both kids going to daycare. Proceed as if you’re both going back to work: get on daycare wait lists now, fill out all FMLA paperwork, etc.
  2. Decide about the house sooner rather than later. Determine if your current home is your dream home. If it is, I recommend staying put. If it’s not, figure out what it would take to sell it and move before your due date. Price out whether or not moving now would actually save any money in light of the future two-move factor.
  3. If you decide to remain in your current home, consider the construction zone of the house vis-a-vis having two small kids. Prioritize completing projects that are messy/difficult/loud/encompass a lot of living space. If possible, invite a friend with a toddler over to get a sense of how a child moves around (a better word might be “dominates”) the space.
  4. Recalculate your FIRE math after your immediate unknowns (moving vs. staying, daycare vs. staying at home, expenses after kids, etc) are resolved and reconsider how much you’ll need overall in order to adhere to a safe withdrawal rate for the longterm.
  5. Look into side hustles that could be done from home and that don’t entail a lot (or any) overhead expenses.
  6. Enjoy life! You’ve done a marvelous job and are entering the exciting chapter of becoming parents! We’re all rooting for you and can’t wait for you updates!

Ok Frugalwoods nation, what advice would you give to Rose? She and I will both reply to comments, so please feel free to ask any clarifying questions!

Would you like your own case study to appear here on Frugalwoods? Email me (mrs@frugalwoods.com) your brief story and we’ll talk.

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195 Responses

  1. Caroline Bowman says:

    I’d definitely go with the idea of both taking time to stay home / both going back to work since it’s a totally viable option. It is absolutely impossible to know how you will feel or how things will shake out once the babies are here. As planners and organised people, this is terrifying and we kick against it, but it’s true. Your worlds are about to be rocked in the loveliest and most dramatic way! Prepare to be astonished!

    Seriously though, there is a possible third option and that is for one of you to quit and be ”quit” till your babies are, say, 1 or maybe coming up for 2. So it’s definitely stopping work, but for a pre-planned time. At that point, you or he could re-enter the workforce OR get properly cracking on some freelance business or whatever, but basically rejoin ”the rat race” on some level. A 12-24 month career break is not a terrible thing on a CV, especially in light of having twins, and whilst it may indeed mean you defer actual retirement, your retirement date is at a young, young age, so it might not be a disaster.

    Little babies and toddlers are hard work. Like, hard, and full-on. If you view it more as a specific career pause rather than ”one of us will never work in the corporate world again ever”, it might feel less daunting.

    Either way, congratulations! It’s going to be absolutely fine however you end up working things out.

    • Rose says:

      Thanks! We’ve definitely thought about the temporary quitting plan (we’ve actually even thought of having us both temporarily quit since we could manage expenses for 2-3 years, and jobs in our field are plentiful, but we just keep coming back to health insurance–as long as one of us keeps working, pretty much everything is paid for). I will keep the one parent quitting in mind though.

  2. RG says:

    I’ll preface my response by saying that I didn’t even read through Mrs Frugalwoods’ response before jumping to comment! I’m on maternity leave right now and from here, all I can say is maximize the time you’ll be able to stay home with your babies. Particularly Rose – there’s nothing more frugal than breastfeeding, but aside from that, if you’re planning to breastfeed as you say, then being physically present to your babies is the biologically best way to ensure that that goes well. Babies are so very vulnerable and unpredictable little things, and to some extent you have to see the temperament of the baby you get. In my circle, there’s my bub who only takes boob and wakes 5 times a night, many combi feeding, a few exclusively on formula, many exclusively boobing, some sleeping through…and things you don’t anticipate like traumatic births, c sections, hip dysplasia, tongue tie, postnatal depression. If you can minimize the time you, as a family, are working until the twins are able to access State-funded education, you’ll not only be saving on childcare but you’ll be able to be there for your babies when they most need you. I thought I’d want to return to work 4 days a week and I’m currently requesting 3, because I’ve realized that my career will be there when I go back. It’s only a couple of years. And I say that as a very career driven person. Obviously you have to make the right choice for you and that might involve continuing to throw yourself into your career right away. But to some extent , keeping yourselves flexible enough to see where you are when the dust settles post-birth, and seeing these baby years as fleeting, may help you to make the best choice for your family.

    • Rose says:

      Thanks! We’ve definitely thought about the temporary quitting plan (we’ve actually even thought of having us both temporarily quit since we could manage expenses for 2-3 years, and jobs in our field are plentiful, but we just keep coming back to health insurance–as long as one of us keeps working, pretty much everything is paid for). I will keep the one parent quitting in mind though.

      • RG says:

        Health insurance is such an important factor. I’m in the UK where we don’t have that concern, and where we also have maternity leaves of up to a year. I like the idea that another poster suggested of considering yourselves as on a pause rather than quitting forever. Similarly I don’t plan to be 3 days a week forever – eventually I’ll go full time again (or maybe just 4 days if we can swing it financially). You sound like you’re in a good position to return when you’re ready under the conditions that you want, which is fantastic – use that to your advantage!

    • Tarynkay says:

      I was able to stay home with both of my sons from birth so far and have loved it. BUT I have many mom friends who did it the other way around- they kept their babies in daycare, built their careers and savings, and then were able to quit or step back once the kids got to school age. As kids get older, they need their parents specifically more and more, whereas babies are really fine with any loving caregiver. I do agree that parents are best! Just that babies can thrive in daycare.

      My eldest is only seven, but I’ve seen this with my kids. Even just having the flexibility to volunteer at school and go on field trips is great, but it’s also really helpful to be around to answer the hard questions or help him talk through difficulties at school.

    • Jessi says:

      Breastfeeding wasn’t frugal for us. I think formula would have cost less than what we spent in “speech” therapy to teach her to suck and ultimately tongue tie revision. And I was lucky to have free access to lactation consultants.

      Plus the cost of storage bags, extra time at work to pump and clean the pump, etc

      Still glad I did it. But formula is a great way to feed a baby too

    • JLo says:

      I’ll preface by saying that I read a about four sentences of RG’s comment, and it is Spot On! Don’t have read beyond this one!

  3. Bev says:

    Daunting decisions! Looking back after having stayed home to raise 4 kids and then returning to a professional career after they were grown… I would say there’s nothing more important or rewarding than pouring yourself into raising your children. Just in the short term-Not having to get up and get everyone out the door and pump for two babies (overwhelming all on its own) after having slept very little are good reasons to contemplate staying home with the littles. You can always return to the workforce in the future.

  4. caryatis says:

    Rose–please look into some of the research about how childbearing changes gender dynamics in a relationship. One good resource on this is Rhona Mahony’s book Kidding Ourselves. Specifically, the birth of a first child is a crisis point: will you maintain an egalitarian relationship, or will you tip into a more traditional model where more and more of the decisions belong to your husband? Do you want to end up doing 80% of housework and childcare (as the average woman with children and a husband does)? Do you want to be financially dependent on your husband, knowing that if you divorce, you’ll be left a single mother dependent on child support? How will that affect your willingness to stand up to him?

    I’m not sure why unemployment is even on the table since you both have relatively high-paying jobs you like. Keep working! It’ll get easier once the breastfeeding is over (and formula is just fine, too). And make sure that your husband gets plenty of one-on-one time with the babies as soon as they are born–another of the traps people often fall into is the “women are just naturally better with children” myth.

    • L says:

      This is a really great perspective. I quit a career in medicine to raise our three kids, and yes, our relationship changed as a result. I can’t say if it is for the better or worse, but definitely different. 19 years later we are happily married, but I do have some misgivings about my career choices. My own advice to my daughters is to maintain a productive working life that allows for family balance. I feel that maintaining financial independence and societal relevance is important to women and mothers as individuals. Motherhood is a long road, and it never really ends. Try to weave it into the person you are now, rather than allowing it to change your identity. You will be happier and have more options in life.

      • Kristine says:

        This is really good advice. I had never thought about the piece that parenthood never really ends, but it seems so obvious.

      • Bridget says:

        I like this too. That parenthood never really ends. So much focus is put onto the baby time, newborns and toddlers, but somehow school-age and beyond is forgotten about. As women, it’s important to maintain some identity. And as another PP said, children don’t stop needing you once they hit school/teenager-hood. So, trying to find a balance is ideal.

    • I just want to echo this perspective. Everything is a trade off. You may decide you want to stay home, it your husband may also find himself there. Just remember that all the cultural pressures and expectations tend to fall towards women staying home and delaying their professional careers, if not ending them entirely.

      That may be the right choice for many women, but make sure it is right for you before you find yourself accidentally there. Even if you want to be early retired, it sounds like you have some real excitement about the possibilities of your career, so listen to that.

      And congrats on what sounds like an excellent foundation you are building with your partner!

    • Rose says:

      I hadn’t actually considered that, so thank you for the perspective. I actually don’t mind cleaning much (it relaxes me), so I’m happy being in that role, and my husband actually likes to cook so he tends to do that (and will probably continue to). I definitely want him to have plenty of time with the babies; in fact, that’s one thing I’ve worried most about with either of us going back to work though for me, it’s less about not falling into traditional gender roles and more about just having us spend quality time with our kids. Any tips for making sure each parent gets to do so, even if one is working and one is at home?

      • L says:

        Any way you could both work and have flexibility to either cut back on hours or work from home one day a week? Also, with twins, consider get a nanny rather than day care. Schlepping them out to daycare in the morning will be really hard, and the amount they will get sick at daycare will drive you nuts and make working even less manageable if they need to stay home. It might not even be more expensive, and if it is it will be worth it in sanity saved.

        • Diana says:

          GREAT point about the nanny. I have a 10 month old and getting out the door with ONE baby is hard. Will make your lives much much much easier if you get a great nanny. Just being able to leave your kid in their pajamas as the nanny gets breakfast ready when you leave would make a HUGE difference in your day to day ease of routine. This is something I didn’t fully understand before I had a kid.

          • Rose says:

            We will definitely consider the nanny option more. It’s more expensive, so we hadn’t at first, but it sounds like it could be a good option from a convenience standpoint.

        • Kim says:

          Getting a nanny rather than day care is a great idea! My niece and 18 month old son have both been sick since within a couple of weeks after putting him in daycare. Continuously sick so she’s incurred many lost hours at work and lots of doctor bills. I wish she could afford a nanny!

          • Jess says:

            I was able to hire my cousin to Nanny for my daughter for the first two years of her life and it was awesome. from a logistical perspective it was just so much nicer to have the childcare come to us!

          • Tarynkay says:

            I’ve heard that au pairs are a good option as well. This is sort of an exchange program in which a young person comes and lives in your home and cares for your kids. Not sure if this would work for you, but definitely worth checking into!

      • RG says:

        My baby is still young but even at this point I think it’s about seeing a holistic picture of the time you have available. Feeding might be either or both of you. But don’t underestimate the bonding opportunities in diaper changes, baths, and play. In my household, I do no changes when Dad is home 😉 We’re not equal – with me exclusively breastfeeding how can we be? – but there are things we both do and things that lean towards one or the other of us. We also outsource some necessary stuff (cleaning, grocery delivery) and have just stopped doing other things. Friends with older children seem to divide up household tasks by strengths and ensure that each parent has some special activities (bath time with Dad seems a particular winner).

        • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

          I do think it is possible to create an egalitarian relationship within a childrearing context, although I think it takes a lot of work and awareness from both partners. We divide up our childcare and household tasks according to strengths and also according to time of day. Having a solid routine and schedule is crucial for us as it ensures everyone knows what’s expected of them at a given time–helpful for little kids and parents alike!! It’s rare that we confront a task where we don’t already have a clearly articulated division of labor (of course, it wasn’t this way from day 1–we had to iron it out along the way 🙂 ).

        • Rose says:

          I like the bath time for dad idea especially and I think David will to so I will definitely suggest that. Thanks!

          • In our house, daddy does bedtime. I thought I might be sad that I didn’t get that time, but he is gone all afternoon, and it is a chance to bond. It has become really special time for him and the kids as they have grown older, and has really helped them bond and connect. He’s a great dad, and pretty equal in his time with them on weekends, but I think its a good thing to step aside and let the other parent have things that are “theirs.”

  5. Sarah says:

    Congratulations! After carefully considering your situation and raising three boys I think Rose should quit and stay in your current house and pay it off while living frugally.

  6. Kaylin says:

    I am replying with kindness and what I wish someone had told me while I was pregnant with my first… : ) You are heading into a wonderful (but demanding) phase of life and no major decisions or changes should be made during your pregnancy and (at least 6 months postpartum). I would not move right now because I think the stress of it all would be too much to take on at this point. Also, it sounds like you can make the house liveable before the babies arrive and that you love living there. I think your parental leave plan sounds great but I think you will probably need (at least) 2-3 continuous months off from full time work. I would not commit to either of you leaving work – instead commit to both of you staying at full time work until your kids are at least 6 months of age. Things change fast with babies and how you feel at 6 weeks postpartum is likely not how you will feel at 6 months postpartum. I am also a believer in daycare expenses being a total household investment versus it being seen as coming out of one parents salary. Perhaps you invest in a nanny coming to your home the first 6 months of the babies lives and then transition to a formal daycare? Neither of you will know if staying home full time is feasible until the babies are actually there – many people plan to be stay at home parents and later learn it doesn’t suite their temperament (myself included, yikes!). I think you should finish that course – it will be hard to do with the babies BUT I think worth it as I imagine there might be freelancing and work at home opportunities what that degree. Having kids is awesome but also unpredictably chaotic so just plan to go with the flow and rely on a support system. : ) Best of luck! You guys are in a great financial position.

  7. I think Mrs. FW made a lot of great points here. I think:
    – You guys might want to wait until at least 1 month after you have your kids to decide whether either and which one of you will stay at home. I have a toddler and a 2 mo. I have considered staying at home with them a couple of times, but my husband and I decided that it’s best for me and our family for both of us to work full-time. Taking care of kids, I feel, is a bit romanticized sometimes. You will see what I mean when the babies are born.

    – Rose should def consider advancing in her career. Babies need a lot of care during the first 4 years of their lives, but they grow fast and will start school. You can stay at home with them until they’re 5 or so, but your skills might not be the same as they are now. And it might be harder to go back to school in the future (i.e. motivation, market change).

    – I wouldn’t sell the house now if I were you. It’s super stressful to go through the process. Given that you have two little angels coming soon, I’d focus the energy on them. But if you find a move-in ready house with no major issues, you can consider selling your current house to avoid all the renovation and live stress-free in your new home instead. But I’d also wait on that since your idea of a perfect home might change dramatically with two kids.

    Good luck!

  8. frenchmama says:

    Congratulations on your twins! My advice, from the perspective of someone who’s had a c-section (not sure if that’s what you’re planning/advised to do, but definitely a strong possibility based on the biological whims of birthing!): stay home as long as you can after the birth, not only for your babies but for you! I didn’t start to feel able to move around the world comfortably until about 1.5 months after my section. It is a major surgery. I have no lasting effects, 2.5 years out, but my incision was painful for months and months after the birth, and I hated not being able to do any exercise for about 11 months post-birth. The c-section pain and wound care had a big impact on my general ability to bond with my baby post-birth (mine was an emergency due to a sudden complication in last-stage labor. Pregnancy and labor were uncomplicated til the eleventh hour…well, 25th!), and when you throw in the trauma of breastfeeding and the utter lack of sleep, I was not in a normal frame of mind for a few months, at least (breastfeeding was working well 2.5 weeks post-birth, but I am one of the women who was very enthusiastic pre-birth about breastfeeding who then perservered solely based on the scientific data that I was increasing my child’s IQ by a few points. Money and science meant nothing to me in those first couple weeks, though. I only wanted to sleep…).

    I really can’t emphasize enough that you really need to take a hard look at your needs as a mother, in every stage, and proceed from there. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your babies! It’s something the nurses and nurse-midwives in France (where I live and have given birth) specifically address–and often–pre, during, and post-birth. If you feel yourself slipping into depression or suddenly unable to deal with parenting/mothering, go to a professional counselor immediately, no matter the cost (as Mrs FW has addressed in a lot more detail). Personally, I waited too long and slipped into a dark, dark place for several months–birth has a habit of bringing long-buried memories of past trauma to the surface, something I had not anticipated, thinking I had dealt with such issues years before, that I was “over” them. Nothing–not money or pride or shame–is worth the cost to yourself and your family if you experience any aspects of PPD! I was in denial, but luckily during one of my monthly check-ins with my midwife (like in Call the Midwife! They visit you at home and everything 🙂 ), I let that facade slip and finally answered her gentle questions with, “I’m not okay!” With my current pregnancy, I have a plan in place to prevent/stave off the worst of PPD, but I so wish I had taken care of myself instead of just my baby. (Sidenote: I hated my nurses and doctors post-section because they made me get up and walk every day. I hated them all intensely. They didn’t even let me have a stool in the shower, 3 days post-section! In the end, though, I recovered far more quickly than my sister and a couple of friends stateside who weren’t forced to move. Anecdata/Food for thought, as you’re probably looking into all of this, already!)

    For me, a part of the PPD puzzle was I found that I have a visceral need to work, otherwise things go very wrong for me, mentally, whether big volunteer projects or paying work. It has to be something unrelated to my home/family so that I can feel a sense of accomplishment in each day. I know a lot of moms, though, who are incredibly fulfilled by staying home, though, so it’s really something that you can only know once you’ve tried it. And, you are so fortunate to have the option to keep adjusting your options. Maybe you’ll go back half-time, or full-time, or quit to stay home and then change your mind. That’s okay! Just keep re-evaluating, and you’ll find the right combination for you and your family.

    A final note: Daycare gets a really bad rap from some corners, but having my child in daycare half-time so that I can work half days (and then half-nights), has changed my life again, two years post-birth. I’m so much less stressed; it’s incredible. And, my daughter is getting time and interaction with other people who take extraordinarily good care of her.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Wow, thank you, frenchmama! I feel like I could’ve written most of this. And I feel remiss for not including any of these postpartum thoughts in the Case Study! Rose–everything frenchmama said about c-sections is true (although you’re of course not necessarily going to have one–a friend of mine delivered both of her twins vaginally). But, yes, a c-section is MAJOR surgery and I was shocked at how difficult it was for me to even sit up for weeks afterwards. The difference between that experience and my second (vaginal) birth was astounding. I was up and walking around just an hour after giving birth via VBAC versus being bedridden for three days with the section. At any rate, all that to say, frenchmama brings up excellent points about the inherent physical challenges of giving birth. For me, breastfeeding was easy both times; but both times, Mr. FW and I had a pact that he would run to the store and buy formula if it started going south.Be easy on yourself (hard for us organized, engineer-types), but so important. And yes, keep an eye on postpartum depression symptoms–I so wish I’d had mine diagnosed after my first birth and sooner after my second. You’ve probably already read my post on the topic, but just in case not, here it is: How A Diagnosis Of Postpartum Depression Changed My Life. We mamas don’t say these things to scare you, but to prepare you and arm you. You and David are going to do great!

      • K says:

        As a mama with 5 kiddos with the first being a c-section and the next 4 being VBAC’s, I will attest to the difference in recovery. The last 3 I had no epidural, and while painful is nicely describing it, I was up and showered 2 hours after their births.

        Thank you for bringing up post partum depression. Be mindful of the “baby blues” as well. I more had the blues that last 4-6 wks, even 8. I think nursing helped, but I wish I would have had more people to talk to during that time and more understanding of what was going on.

        Oh, and my grandmother delivered twins vaginally (my dad and aunt) almost 64 years ago! And one was breech 😉

        Best of luck! And prayers all goes as well as possible!

    • RG says:

      Oh yes, a c section can really throw you! I couldn’t lift my daughter until day 9 post-section, and my partner had to take an additional week of leave (for a total 3 weeks) because I couldn’t care for baby on my own so quickly. And overall I fully agree that part of these decisions must include Mama’s well-being. I was quite worried about PND myself, which influenced our decision to get a postnatal doula and cleaners to provide support. (Money well spent!) I have found breastfeeding to be far less stressful and more sleep-giving than expressing, combi or formula feeding, and the hormones are good for bonding and well-being for both mama and babies. But ultimately each experience will be unique to each parent-baby dyad, and there is only so much you can know before going into it. I thought I’d express for a daily bottle but my daughter had other ideas! Having flexibility will help you financially but also will help you to do the right thing for your new family with its individual members.

    • Rose says:

      Thank you both for your thoughts! I definitely want to deliver vaginally, and my OB is fully in support of it though he did tell me that about 50% of twins will end up being C-sections (sounds like it mostly depends on the placement of that first baby). My insurance also has great support for PPD and breastfeeding, so that’s a definite plus (and another reason to stay on it :)).

      Unfortunately, part time isn’t really an option for my current job so if I go back to work, it means full time. I would love more flexibility and have been advocating for it, but it just isn’t possible. One possibility that I’ve thought of but admittedly not explored too much yet is actually trying to find something else in my field which does allow part-time work, but since I was still trying to figure out whether or not I’d quit before spending much time on that.

      • Amanda says:

        Hi Rose!

        My partner & I have twins that just turned one this month. I delivered vaginally but there were still some complications and I was out 10 months total on disability. I have to say I was grateful for the opportunity to go back only part-time…we ended up moving from San Diego to the Midwest to make that happen. My partner only returned to work last month-it was all hands on deck for as long as possible.

        I know it’s different for everyone, but I experienced what I can only describe as a brain fog during the latter part of the pregnancy and for quite a while after giving birth. The perfect storm of hormone fluctuation, sleep deprivation and being so focused on figuring out how to care for these beautiful and mysterious little beings…I made more mistakes in my first few months back at work than I had in the previous decade combined. I would say the more time you can carve out to care for yourself and those babies, the better.

        Good luck, mama, whatever you decide! You are in for a wonderful and messy and heart warming adventure!! 🙂

  9. Eileen says:

    Agree completely with don’t try to make the decision about quitting to take care of kids now. When I had my first I was certain during my maternity leave that I would go back to work for a bit and then quit. I never did do that. Part of it was because our finances didn’t really work out and part of it was I realized I had a perfect childcare situation (small home based with a neighbor who had just become a grandma herself, ours was one of 2 children she cared for) .

    From someone who is a 50-something that had 8 wks of maternity leave (at reduced income) after C section and a husband who had NO Leave. Please appreciate the time you both will get and use that time to enjoy and adapt to your new existence. The decisions about long term choices can come later.

    Best of luck to you all!

  10. Krista says:

    Lots of options! I cannot fathom twins! I agree on waiting and not making any sudden decisions in advance. My husband was the first Dad at his work to request a condensed work week and spent one day a week home. I requested part time working the 1 day and then we introduced childcare…perhaps that’s an option? I would delay the study but keep going. I can’t help but think with twins a mix of childcare and work would be the dream. I thought I wanted to stay home but I really wanted a bit of both. It can be hard to get back in to your work environment after a big break. Also, with work and twins I think it would be awesome being close to family, work, and to have as little extra to manage as possible (maintaining a house/property). Good luck and congratulations!

  11. Tara says:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of multiples! As a parent of 10 year old twins, I will say, hopefully without scaring you too much, that the first two years of my kids’ life was the hardest thing my husband and I have ever been through (they’re IVF babies too). My advice is: do whatever makes your life easier, because you will be focusing on getting through the day, and you’ll be so, so tired. My husband worked full time and I worked very part-time (2 days a week) with a babysitter coming to our house when they were little — cheaper than daycare and I only had to get myself out of the house. We didn’t do daycare until they were 2 and then it was still very part time. I can’t even imagine us having both worked full time, without a full time nanny or a grandparent living with you. Certainly some people with twins do it, though; they are superheroes. We took a financial hit for those couple of years when I was working so few hours, but that wasn’t our top priority. Again, whatever makes your life easier — whether that’s moving closer to work, hiring someone to finish your home repairs — is what you need to think about now. I don’t recommend being financially irresponsible, but there will be time to worry more about that later when you’re not in survival mode. We eventually caught up financially.
    Also, be realistic about what you can accomplish. For example, I fully intended to breastfeed, and did for about 8 weeks, but ultimately I decided that I couldn’t make it work with twins, and I really beat myself up about it. (Some holier-than-thou singleton moms were also not so nice to me about switching to formula.) If you can breastfeed and it makes you happy, great. But if not, it’s fine. At the time it seemed like a monumental failure, but now it is is a distant memory, and my kids turned out great 🙂
    I have two pieces of advice, one somewhat $ related and one not. First, cook and freeze food like crazy before they arrive. We ate frozen meals for months — there was no way I could think about cooking, and I was so glad to have healthy homemade food. Second, for the first two months or so, my husband and I slept in shifts, which was a huge lifesaver. Before we started it, we were basically both up all night and both miserable. Once we figured this out, things changed exponentially: I slept from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. — earplugs, no interruptions. He handled all baby needs during that period. He woke me up at 1 a.m. and he slept uninterrupted from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Yes, it sucked being up essentially from 1 a.m. to 8 p.m. the next night, but it meant 5 solid hours of sleep for both of us, which made all the difference.
    Hope I’m not freaking you out. It will be hard, but you can do it, and it gets easier, really it does!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      YES YES YES!!!! I (obviously) don’t have twins, but I want to emphasize some of Tara’s fabulous points for ANY new parent reading this:
      1) FORMULA is fine!!! Don’t beat yourself up if breastfeeding just isn’t working out (fed is best!).
      2) Cook and freeze a ton of meals ahead of time (we did this with both kids and loved the system so much that we still do it)
      3) SLEEP IN SHIFTS. Did I say that loudly enough?: SLEEP IN SHIFTS. Just at first and not forever, but do it! We figured this out with our second and it was a miraculous game-changer for us. We did pretty much exactly what Tara and her husband did and it was golden magic unicorns for those first few months (versus both of us being awake at night with #1, which was abysmal). The sleeping parent would sleep upstairs in our bedroom with a noise machine and ear plugs and the awake parent would hang with the baby downstairs in the living room. Get fun comedies queued up to watch on TV (I re-watched Parks-n-Rec in the middle of the night with baby #2. Funny enough, you won’t have the brain power to do anything else… ).

      Thank you, Tara, for reminding us all of how important it is to survive the early months!!!!

      • Amy says:

        Yes to BOTH of these points, too! I did not figure out the sleeping-in-shifts thing through my first kid, and I thought my husband “deserved” to sleep because he had to work. Hello, Nights and Days (and Months) of Living Hell for me! (incidentally doing this was also a great way to usher in PPD and postpartum anxiety even faster)

        So with the second kid, I just flat out told my husband that we were splitting up nights (initially, he was not thrilled about this…). We sometimes did shifts, but also sometimes did whole nights. Once my second son got breastfeeding figured out around 2 weeks old, we still continued doing separate nights; I just came into the bedroom for feedings and left again to sleep on the couch. The difference in my mental state was, well, night and day! Mrs. FW is not exaggerating when she says it’s golden magic unicorns! 🙂

        Also YES to freezing food ahead of time. It’s not anti-frugal, I think, to say go and buy a used chest freezer and go nuts filling it up. Also, don’t be afraid to ask OTHERS to fill it for you! With Kid #2, I told all our friends and family a month before he was born that: 1. we don’t want visitors until we tell you we do and 2. please send or drop off food. (the unending stream of visitors I thought we “had” to receive at all times with Kid #1 was brutal on my psyche. Good self-care for me was NO visitors until I said so) And you know what? Everyone did what we asked! No one’s feelings were hurt that we asked them to leave food on our porch but not visit yet. So start asking other people to make food for your freezer as the time nears. You won’t regret it!

        • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

          Preach it, mama. Also, just to clarify, when Mr. FW and I were sleeping in shifts, I did NOT get up to nurse–I pumped enough for him to give Littlewoods several bottles while I slept. That man wouldn’t have woken me up if the roof was caving in.

          And we totally bought a chest freezer for this exact purpose before our first was born: Why Buying A Chest Freezer Is Saving Us Serious Money.

          • Diana says:

            YAAAAAS to all these comments. +1 for sleeping in shifts. Basically, stop thinking about $$ and just do what is going to make your life more serene once the babies come. (I think if I say “convenient” that sounds like you’re being selfish and you’re really really really not). And can you put me down for another vote for just throwing money at the remodel so it’s as done as possible when the babies come? Allow yourself some creature comforts, such as walls that aren’t open or whatever! You’ll be so happy you did. At my baby shower I was griping to one of my aunts about money worries because I didn’t want to go back to work and she was like “Oh Diana you have your whole life to work” – spoiler alert she was right.

      • Sarah says:

        YES YES YES on the point about formula! I had every intention of breastfeeding for the first year, but for a variety of reasons my only option was to be an exclusive pumper. I kept that up as long as I could but it was just too much. We are doing formula now and while I was devasted at the time, everyone is about a million times happier. DO WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU!!!

      • Cait says:

        Shift sleeping (plus pumped milk or formula for when Mom is sleeping) was also our lifesaver!! We did it in a tiny one bedroom (bedroom for sleeping, living space for baby duty), so if we could do it anyone can! If you are nursing on demand and feel like you’re at the end of your rope, this is a great option to have in your back pocket. And I want to emphasize, you should still do it even if one parent is back to work outside the home (i.e., Mom doesn’t have to be a martyr just because Dad has to get out of the house in the morning).

      • Walnut says:

        YES to shift sleeping and YES to fed is best. You do not have to be a martyr. Prioritizing your needs (sleep, daily shower, etc.) will enable you to be a more compassionate caregiver.

        Feed a baby and hearing their contentment is an experience I was so happy to share with my husband, whether it was a bottle of pumped milk or some formula. I will argue it is the PRESENCE of breastmilk rather than the ABSENCE of formula that is key to reaping the health benefits of breastmilk.

        Also, since you asked for advice, 1. Throw money at finishing your current renovations in progress ASAP. 2. Don’t move. 3. Take your three months of leave first, then have your husband take three months of leave second. Have your husband use his sick time/PTO to take off the first 2 or 3 weeks post birth (if you end up with a c-section, you might need more time to recover. I couldn’t get up off our couch unassisted for a solid 7-10 days.)

        Don’t make any final decisions on stay at home parenting until you reach the end of your respective FMLA’s. Many wise people have told me to not make any life altering decisions until a year post-partem. I’ll encourage you to take it slow and feel out what is best for your family in the long term.

      • Elin says:

        Sleeping in shifts doesn’t work for me though, I cannot sleep when the kids are little without them being with me unless it is during the day. Don’t beat yourself up if you are like me either. I did the night care (one kid at the time though) alone and the father helped me sleep during the day instead either when he got home from work or during the weekends. Was it hard to do all of this alone? Yes, but being up all night wanting to know what was happening with the baby would be much harder. If I did it myself I could at least sleep fine between feedings. I just want to point out that a lot of stuff is normal when it comes to parenting and don’t think of yourself as abnormal if you have little quirks like this. I am like a mama bear the first couple months and hate when anyone touches the baby expect me or my husband. I allow others to hold the baby but don’t like it. I know this will ease up and after about 2-3 months and then I am fine with leaving the baby with someone I trust (ideally my husband but other people I am close to will also be fine) but still at night I need my baby close. I did not suffer from PPD, I was very happy and content as a parent but when I tried to fight this I did feel miserable so I stopped and did what worked for us. My husband did change most of the diapers when he was at home and he has always been very active in the care of the babies. I live in a country with parental leave so we stayed at home either both of us or I stayed at home for 19 and 13 months for each baby. After that we did day care and we have mostly worked full time both of us but I have during some periods worked part time.

        By the way, would there be an option to take a time out and care for the baby and study at the same time so that you have something to put on your resume for this period on top of taking care of your children? I would consider this if you think this will work out for you so that it is not “just” staying at home. Yes, I think staying at home is a real thing and important but not everyone does.

    • Rose says:

      Thank you! This is excellent advice and definitely good things to consider. I had actually already read the previous FW post about freezing food and we’ve already started some of that (I have about a week’s worth right now) plus my mother offered to come up for a month after they’re born to do any housework/cooking/etc. we need her to while we focus on the babies.

      I hadn’t really thought about the sleeping in shifts piece, but I’m definitely going to have to do it now. I’m a night person and my husband is a morning person so we even have a built-in schedule already :).

    • Anne says:

      Another Mother of twins here (mine are now 2 years old). I want to second the idea of getting a nanny. Having a full time live-in nanny has been a lifesaver, and is totally worth it (and probably no more $ than what you would spend on 2 in daycare). In fact, if I were in your position I would consider hiring a full time nanny and you switching to working part-time if your company will allow it. Babies go to sleep Super early, so working 50 hours a week you will miss out on most of their waking hours on weekdays, plus breastfeeding or pumping for two is frankly incredibly exhausting. And it makes your hormones stay high, which means constantly inflamed nasal passages so recurrent stuffy nose and (for me) recurrent colds/sinus infections. Frankly it sucks sucks sucks to be back at work full-time shortly after they are born – plan to use both of your full FMLA, and then see what your options are for scaling back if you want to. At the same time, being home full-time with them is exhausting, particularly if you don’t have any help all day. It is non-stop feeding, diapers, crying, and both wanting to be held at the same time – it might be nice to be working part-time to have a break in your schedule and be around adults and engaging your mind in a different way. That being said, the toughest part is really the first 6 months. Each 6 months is easier than the last, and after 18 months they will start playing with each other more independently and you will see how having twins is actually the best thing ever and it is so amazing to watch them grow up with their Best Friend at their side!

      Finally, i know you didn’t ask for this part, but I want to give you a little bit of advice as you move into the second half of your pregnancy, because people don’t walk about this enough. A twin pregnancy is so different from a singleton, especially when you get to the third trimester. Hormones are higher and the uterus/placenta reaches full size for a singleton much earlier, which means high risk for preterm labor. All of this means that you need to rest much more than a woman with a singleton pregnancy and “exercising for a healthy pregnancy” as you near the third trimester means more like fairly short and slow walks rather than riding your bike to work or going to the gym (please be careful with biking, your sense of balance will change). It may also be too much for you to finish your courses during the end of the pregnancy. You may want to speak to a maternal fetal medicine specialist or a doctor who has handled a lot of single placenta pregnancies if you’re not doing so already.

      All this is to say that having twins is a big deal, and a twin pregnancy is also a big deal. You need to get through the next 4-5 months healthy, and to get through their first 2 years of babyhood sane. Classes can wait, financial goals can wait, and non-safety-with-babies home renovations can wait. Figure out what works for you at this difficult but amazing stage of your lives, and everything else will come together with time.

      • Rose says:

        Thank you for the end of pregnancy advice! We’ve actually decided to stop biking just this past week because I noticed when I got out of bed the other day that I felt more off balance than usual and we decided it wasn’t worth the risk. I can still jog some with my dog and I’ve been walking a lot as well as going through some prenatal yoga videos I found online so I feel good about still getting some exercise.

        We are fortunate that they have two placentas so there is slightly less risk than usual. But it is definitely still a high risk pregnancy (we have to go to the maternal fetal medicine department at the hospital downtown monthly right now for ultrasounds to make sure they’re both growing well). That’s actually one of the more terrifying things about twins-I am in good health and relatively young, so I wasn’t expecting a high-risk pregnancy. But we’re definitely still excited.

      • Meg says:

        @Anne, sorry this is unrelated to the actual blog post today, but you mention in your response here a connection between pumping and increased sinus infection/colds…I’m interested in learning more about this! Can you point me in the direction of some resources or research that explains this? I am currently breastfeeding/pumping, and my baby and I have been struggling with colds and sinus infections. We’re trying to figure out why, and I’ve never heard of this! Thanks (-:

    • Nichole says:

      Also a twin mama here. My kids will be 2 next month. They were both premature with NICU stays of about 2 weeks. In the beginning, it was impossible to do shift as they ate every 2 hours and due to being premature had to be held on their side to eat. And they ate so sloooow. I worked very hard to pump and breastfeed, and we did get to full breastfeeding, but it took until they were 10 weeks adjusted (16 weeks old). It’s a lot harder with twins, especially if they’re your first kids, and premature. My husband and I were so exhausted; agree with Mrs. Frugalwoods recommendation to watch comedies. It was hard to stay awake to feed the kids.

      My parents are about 20 minutes away and their help was so necessary. So, I was happy to hear David’s parents are close. I went back to work 4.5 months after birth, and I was honestly happy to return. I wish I could have gone part-time, but it wasn’t and still isn’t financially feasible. It is hard to get anything done at home with the kids, and it was getting frustrating for me. I love my kids, but honestly they’re pretty boring as infants. Now they’re fun.

      Advice: get everything done early. I had a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy, and they still came 6 weeks early. I had been working full time and didn’t get much beyond their room prepped and car seats installed. We were just getting organized on making meals and didn’t have a chance to get around to it. Get that house livable! Join your local multiples group. Ours brought us meals in the beginning and was a source of tons of hand-me-downs. Also, the parents of multiples subreddit is actually insanely helpful.

      Good luck! The first year was so rough. My husband and I refer to the first 6 months as “the dark days” because we were so exhausted and have very little recollection from that time. But now they play and interact with each other in adorable ways

  12. Po says:

    Another couple of variables to enter the equation (I don’t have kids, but this is what some of my co-workers- who do- have done):
    – Would your employer be in favour of one-or both- of you working from home some of the time? While this won’t eliminate the childcare question entirely, it could cut a chunk out of your commuting time and make family life a bit more manageable. It sounds like your house is big enough for this to be doable (post renovations).
    – Is additional unpaid parental leave an option (I’m unfamiliar with the US system so you may well have answered the question already)? I ask because my co-worker who has twins spent a lot of time to-ing and fro-ing to the hospital special care unit after they were born and so you might not have as much time as you think at home with them.
    -The co-worker with twins has said to me before that a paid childminder (a registered individual who takes care of a small number of children) was pretty reasonable, price-wise, compared to two lots of nursery/daycare (and less likely to send them home if one of them is even slightly sick). Your mileage may vary, but it might be more convenient than ferrying kids to daycare.

    • Rose says:

      Thanks for the thoughts! In answer to your questions:
      1. No, there are no work from home options for our jobs (actually, one of the worst parts about my job–it’s company policy that we’re all in the office when we’re not traveling for work). So while it would definitely be doable and a wonderful option (and would probably make the quitting question moot), it’s just not something that we can do right now.
      2. Some of our parental leave might be unpaid. Basically, we get 60 days and can split it up however we like (unpaid, sick time, vacation time) so I will probably end up taking some unpaid time to get to the full sixty days but my husband actually has enough sick/vacation time banked that he won’t.
      3. We did look at nannies which sounds similar. The rates I saw were about 50% more expensive for a nanny than two daycare fees (though admittedly more convenient). There are multiple daycares within about 2 miles of our office, so it’s at least not too inconvenient.

      • Kellyn says:

        Have you looked into an au pair? It would most certainly be much cheaper than daycare. Two families in my neighborhood are hosting and having a wonderful experience.

        • Rose says:

          Briefly but I had dismissed it at first because our guest bedroom is becoming the nursery and the third one is being used as storage right now (and the fourth is where walls are missing). I will definitely talk to my husband about cleaning out the third though. I especially like the idea of immersing my children (and us) in another language and culture.

      • Emily says:

        The other thing you should keep in mind is whether a nanny will watch sick kids. Childcare centers will not take sick children, and (while I have two twins who’ve been at our center since they were 5 months and I love it) kids do get sick more often at childcare than home with a nanny. Often, my kids aren’t out sick at the same time either, they get the same thing but staggered by a couple days- so the days they have to stay home really start to accumulate quickly. That said, I really love working (and I find it MUCH easier to get the kids out the door than I did to stay home with them all day alone, which I did full time till they were 5 months and 2 days/wk until they were 13 months).

  13. Monica says:

    Just wanted to add a thought about driving your kids 25 min to day care each day. I did something similar with my kids – who went to an employer sponsored daycare in the building right next door to my office. I LOVED that my kids were with me during the 20-30 min ride to and from work! I always thought of it as bonus time I got to spend with them – otherwise they would have had an extra 40-60 min a day at day care instead of with me! Also, I am a single mom by choice, and I was able to get both kids up (they are 3 years apart) and ready to go each day on my own, so I am sure you guys will be able to handle it when the time comes. Congratulations!

  14. Kristi says:

    Congratulations on the twins! I know what an exciting, but scary moment that is when you’re told you have two babies in you! My twins are approach two, and it has been the hardest but most amazing journey.

    As a fellow engineer, I completely understand your need to want to figure everything out; however, the first year with twins is a rollercoaster. Breastfeeding two babies is hard work (I’m still nursing mine at almost 2), and pumping is even harder. I agree with Mrs FW – wait until you’ve exhausted all your leave to make a decision. And try having days where your husband takes the babies and you go somewhere and have to pump on the same schedule you would if they were in daycare.

    I will echo the sentiments above saying that little babies are hardwired to want their momma’s all day and night. My husband and I were in the same situation as y’all when it comes to work – both engineers, making almost the same salary, and at the same company. We decided that I would stay home because the babies needed me more and I HATED pumping. It was awful for me. I was lucky in that my job let me go part time so I still am able to keep my foot in the door. Is that maybe an option with your current employer? (Also daycare in our area would have been $4,000+ a month).

    Best of luck and let me know if you have any questions about multiples!

    • Rose says:

      Part-time isn’t an option unfortunately. However, if I do end up staying at home, I will probably try and do something to keep up my software development skills so I have my foot in the door if I do go back.

      Pumping is definitely something that I’m a little worried about and one reason we want David to stay home for a month with them while I try and work. My work is very supportive of pumping (we have mother’s rooms and everything), and I’ve already talked to the insurance and figured out that they cover a pump which I can actually pick up at the hospital after I deliver. So I feel like I’ve done all the planning (it’s hard to turn off) and still have no idea what’s actually going to happen which is somewhat terrifying.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        This is a random sidenote, but, get a hands-free pumping bra. Even if you have to buy it brand new! It allows you to pump hands-free, which means you can hold a baby or type on a computer while you pump. Your time becomes precious drops of gold after having babies and I’m so glad I could always multi-task while I pumped.

  15. Kelly C says:

    I just wanted to give you some food for thought on renting out your current home with the plan of moving back into later in life. This would most likely leave you very emotionally attached to this house while you are renting it out. With almost a decade of owning rentals, I think you should consider that most renters will not treat your house like it’s their forever home. They can be rough and renters come in all shapes and forms. In considering renting it out, you will want to factor in many extra costs like maintenance, changing filters (which I strongly recommend you do yourself as tenants are not as likely to do even if you give them the supplies), and paying for the upkeep of your acreage (mowing, etc).

    If you are planning on managing the property yourself, know that this can be very hard to do as you factor in young children. We are currently doing property management ourselves and with 3 kids under the age of 5 it is so, so hard. Even dealing with small things (like picking up rent or fixing a loose cabinet handle) means sacrificing time with the family and balancing how we will get the job done in a timely fashion.

    And even your best renters can wreak havoc on a house and I can’t imagine walking into that when it’s my forever home. For instance, we have had several “best” renters and many times are still left with a huge problem. One was a five year tenant who never told us they notified foundation issues in the basement. That wall fell down 2 months after they moved out. Another mentioned plumbing issues months after the issue started and it meant major plumbing concerns and we learned flushing tampons can cause HUGE issues.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      These are excellent points, Kelly, and I especially like how you noted that it would be tough to rent out a house you plan to return to. I had to emotionally distance myself from our first home (which is now a rental property). We put so much love into that house, but now it’s an asset–it’s no longer our home and so the repairs/maintence that it has needed are just line items on a spreadsheet, not a piece of my heart (if that makes sense). Also, we LOVE having a property manager and are happy to incur that expense in order to not deal with the headaches Kelly outlined.

    • Rose says:

      Thanks for your thoughts! I hadn’t really considered the emotional aspect of renting before, just the financial ones, but I would agree that it would be hard for us to see someone destroy our house especially after we’ve put so much work into it.

  16. Jamie B says:

    Congratulations! Babies are so fun, times two!! My advice would be to keep the home you love, and Rose stay home to raise your babies! It is so awesome that David also gets time off for paternity leave. That is a generous amount and it’s so rare these days! You are close to your financial goals of retiring early, I think you said David would have to work an additional two years if Rose quit her job to stay home. I would say that is worth it. You can always get more money but you can never get more time once it is gone it is gone. A child’s personality is almost completely formed by 18 months. Baby sleep about 12 hours a night. If you are in a position to be with them during those early formative months and year, jump on it! I don’t think this is something you could ever regret. Also, nursing is so much easier when you are with the babies versus pumping at work, organizing milk storage, freezing, thawing, bottle washing, etc. It’s easy to give up and quit pumping when you’re not seeing those tiny faces 😊 This is a super short span of time in the grand scheme, so my opinion is to (Rose) take a break from your job that you feel stuck in anyway and take on the challenge of being a SAHM!!
    Full disclosure: I took 12 weeks off when I had my first, then went back to work about 15 hours a week. I still felt like I was missing out on so much! But it has been doable and kept me connected to my profession. Now that my kids are in elementary school, I am still only working two days a week and I love being able to fill my time volunteering for teachers, getting to know other parents and school kids, time Time is a luxury that is just irreplaceable. There’s no amount of money that I would accept to give up this time that I have been blessed with! Good luck in the future and blessings for the remainder of your pregnancy 😊

  17. Sarah says:

    I am right with Mrs. Frugalwoods on this one. I am a new mother to an adorable five month old boy, and before I returned to work two months ago, I was dreading it. I was even a touch resentful, as the primary breadwinner in our family, that staying home wasn’t an option for me yet. But, you know what, I like work! I have a good job with flexible hours that challenges me and where I feel valued (I’m an engineer too). Before I had my baby though, I was right where you are, I didn’t hate my job but I didn’t love it. I guess my point is- after time away, your perspective could change, so I wouldn’t make any drastic decisions!

    My other piece of advice is this: Do what you can to make things as easy on yourselves as possible in those early months, of course while taking your values and finances into consideration. But EASY is key. In that vein, a few more thoughts:

    1. Definitely make a decision on your housing situation before the babies come. You will be in absolute survival mode!! Moving or renovating would have been impossible for us in the early months, and we have only one baby. I may have had a slight meltdown over unfolded laundry at one point. Sleep deprivation is real.
    2. The first month off together is a solid plan!! Very smart.
    3. I’m sure you’ve considered this, but it’s worth mentioning…. have you looked into a nanny for the first few months or first year instead of daycare? With two infants you’re probably looking at only a slightly higher cost, and your babies won’t get the daycare germs for a while, which will also make your life easier when you go back to work. No judgement AT ALL on daycare, my focus is on making your life easier!

    Good luck and congratulations!!! Wishing you the very best through the end of your pregnancy!

    • Rose says:

      We did look into nannies, and they actually ended up being about 50% more than two daycare fees if we did full time. We’re lucky that there are sibling discounts for most of the local daycares and a couple of them even give discounts to employees of our company, so we end up paying less than we otherwise would.

      • Casey says:

        Rose, are you already on waiting lists? In my area, daycares fill up extremely quickly for infant care. Finding two simultaneous spots open for infants would be a major achievement. I know a couple of twin moms that either quit or pursued nannies for precisely this reason.

        • Rose says:

          Not yet, but I have talked to a few daycares in my area who mentioned that for a July-August spot next year, we should get on the waiting list by the end of this year. I did one visit last week and have two more next week and then plan on getting on a waiting list.

  18. Betsy says:

    I have 15 month old identical twin boys and agree with the basic recommendation to sit tight for now on making major decisions.

    My husband and I had just finished renovating a classic craftsman bungalow when we found out we were having twins. We saw pretty quickly that our house wasn’t going to be so ‘perfect’ anymore moving forward — we wanted more space in walking distance to amenities in town — but we waited a while to act. Ultimately, we moved around their first birthday. We are really glad we gave ourselves some time to adjust and didn’t act too quickly because all babies need is cuddling and you’re too busy to move or do much else the first few months of their lives. Plus we were able to see how important it was for us to move further into town to be walking distance from their daycare and playgrounds. Long story short, I recommend you focus on making your current home comfortable before they arrive and don’t make any decisions until after they are six months old and you get your feet underneath you again.

    I took six months of maternity leave and that was perfect — I treasured those first six months with them, holding them constantly and being with them all day. By six months… I was ready to go back to work, though. I missed getting dressed and being out with people in the world. I still love my boys more than anything, obviously, but I really like the luxury of a good daycare to care for them during the week for some hours so I can go to work. I also think they are thriving because they are in a very high quality daycare and do craft projects and socialize, etc. I am a college professor, so I don’t have to be at work for 50+ hours a week (I spend more like 30 hours a week in the office), but I would encourage you to not make any decisions about going back to work until they are six months or so.

    Best wishes with your twins. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a twin mom. I think it is really just the greatest kind of craziness you can experience 🙂

    • Rose says:

      Thanks! I really like the option of waiting and seeing how much we still like the house once we have the babies. I can definitely imagine that a lot of things change.

  19. Shannon says:

    Keep in mind that if you have a csection, you’ll need lots of time to recover physically on top of caring for the babies. You may need your husband to take a month off if you’re not able to do much. My second was breech and I was in a LOT of pain. I needed someone to pull me or push me out of bed.

  20. J says:

    Congratulations on all the exciting developments! Question however….why are you thinking of moving? What is the actual benefit? You mentioned that you purchased your property with an eye to long term plans, and that it was a financial mistake but…why? Are there specific upgrades that need to be made to make it financially viable? Are the operating costs of the property a difficult burden? Are you feeling isolated at the end of the long driveway, or is the burden of shoveling it by hand the only issue?

    You sound like two people who love being immersed in projects, and are maybe a bit overwhelmed by the number of them now that you have twins on the way. Perfectly understandable. Is it going to drive you insane to leave certain things undone for a few years? I mean, are you talking dealbreaker jobs like repairing structurally unsound chimneys and unsafe wiring, or things that you’d like to have but really could live without until you get to them?

    I’m hammering at this because you ultimately want to live in the country and are happy with your home. You are quite clear about where you want to be, the lifestyle you ultimately want to live…and you *are* there, living it….but want to move away. Why? Do you miss something about town? Is being reliant on cars the only issue? And is being reliant on cars an environmental/cost/or convenience issue?

    Or is it simply that operating on 17 acres is a lot to manage with two infants?

    What do you dislike about your property enough to attempt a sale just before giving birth? And if you like your home as it is, what does the city offer that is better than what you have? Do they balance out?

    Do you want your toddlers coming with you to gather eggs, or is that an overwhelming thought? Maybe you picture taking them to museums instead? Shooing them outside, or taking them to the park? Going for walks and bikes in the neighbourhood, or on hikes in your backyard? Taking them trick or treating in a suburb vs. growing your own jack-o lanterns?

    I’m sorry, I think that’s like 50 questions. My neighbours are 91 yrs old, and they buillt our house in the 50’s when she was pregnant with twins. I just came back from visiting my in laws, who built their house in the 70’s, just before she became pregnant with twins. In both cases, the husbands physically built the houses so the larger family would have somewhere stable to be that wasn’t an apartment. In both cases, because money and time was tight (recession in the country of my in-laws, and this was a very rural area at the time for my neighbours), they made upgrades and improvements slowly over time, with the most impactful ones being complete when the twins were about 10 yrs old. My in laws still live in their house, and my husband (one of the twins) grew up helping his dad with some sort of building project every year; they built an extention, new deck, outbuildings, and sauna together, from a fairly young age. My neighbours lived in this house for 10 years, and actually moved in before it was finished (or had a working toilet!). They slowly finished it for the next few years, then 10 yrs later after it was built, they subdivided the land, sold this house to a relative, and build another house next door with a different layout.

    It interests me that you are thinking of doing the opposite of this, and dealing with the whole stress of selling, buying and moving, when you already have a stable, spacious place to be. If you stay in your space, it will only improve with time. It’s not a bad thing for things to take time. Children grow up fast. It might be nice for them to visit you as adults in the same place they grew up as children.

    Plus 17 acres is a big laboratory to grow up in.

    • J says:

      I forgot to mention that my inlaws also heat their house with a masonry heater and I’m obsessed. They had theirs rebuilt when the twins were young, so it was even better for baking bread…I made them show me all the photographs and interrogated them both about the whole process…which was fun because my husband has to translate both ways as we don’t speak the same language! Then they showed me how to use it and my mother in law taught me how to make the specific kind of bread that they bake in the oven…it was great 😛 I’m been adamant about getting one since the first time I visited their house.

      During this trip, every time we visited a friend or family member the first thing I did was take a picture of their masonry oven…Finland is awesome, I tell ya. One of my husband’s friends had been physically building their house for the past 8 years…he started when his wife became pregnant, and when we visited, the main living area and upstairs are finished, with just the basement unfinished….but he’s now building a garage as big as the house to work in. They now have two kids, one is 8 yrs old and one 6 yrs old…they love the machinery scattered around the house, and have toy trucks all over their rooms. Their masonry heater was epic…started in the basement and went up through the center of the house, through the main floor and the upper floor, with the actual oven just outside the kitchen. The side facing the modern kitchen was the oven, the side facing the living room opposite was a fireplace.

      My sister in law had theirs put in after they renovated and she has a functional wood fired stovetop next to the oven itself..also close to the modern kitchen. Apparently the power went out once when their oldest was a baby and it was -30 degrees out…they put the masonry oven in the next spring.

      My friends are very confused when I show them pictures of the trip and it’s all ovens and trees lol…

      • Rose says:

        My husband is super excited about ours as well and has done a ton of research on them (most of which goes through how the Nordic countries use them). We actually have it nearly done now (it would have been a lot sooner but David wanted to do granite cobbles as the facing in the basement. They look amazing but took forever. The brick work we’ve done upstairs took about 1/10 the time). We have one that is two stories with an oven facing the kitchen as well–David dreams of making pizza in it though we’ll probably do a lot of bread as well.

        If you are really interested in getting one, let me know. I can get you the contact of the guy who did ours (he works all over the country). He’s very flexible in how much he does which was great for us. He offers classes in certain areas if someone is willing to let their masonry heater be built by a class, he can build the whole thing, or he can do what he did for us which was to bring all the materials and then spend three days teaching David how to build it so we could finish it out by ourselves.

        • J says:

          That is so kind! But I don’t live in the US ::P Thank you so much for the offer though.

          Rose….if you move, you won’t get to make bread in the oven!!

    • Rose says:

      Thanks for your thoughts! I really like your perspective of the couples you’ve known who’ve built/renovated houses with twins.

      In terms of moving, the biggest thing for us is convenience. We’re about 4 miles from the nearest town center with a grocery store/hardware store/etc. and about 25 miles from the nearest larger city. That means we can’t walk to a lot of those places (or bike with two infants) so we have to drive. For us, it’s a combination of the convenience and environmental cost of driving that has us trying to avoid it. But long term, once the kids can bike with us/go in a trailer, I definitely would like to be here or somewhere like it. We have lots of space on our property, and there’s a park about a mile away.

      No, there’s nothing deal breaking about anything we’re doing. A good chunk of it was actually adding on some space which we’ve purposefully kept closed off from the rest of the house while we’re doing the work so that we could take our time without worrying about it interrupting our daily life. We were planning to leave it that way if necessary once the babies were born and then pick up work again once things settle down, but I’ve heard from many people that once I have kids, projects won’t get done anymore so it’s definitely interesting to hear a different perspective. I also love the idea of having the kids work with us on projects one day–my husband used to do that with his father all the time, so it would be nice to have that with our children.

      • Anne says:

        My twins were in a bike trailer before 2 years old (could probably have started at 18 months), and things were too hectic (plus nervous about germs with preemies) to take them more than a block in the stroller or a drive to the doctor until they were about 6 months old. Be cautious about making big decisions based on what you think you will want for a relatively short period of time, if you are already where you really want to be in a couple of years …. just my two cents.

      • Kellyn says:

        You can bike with the babies by the time they’re a year – which would be the age (for a typically developing baby) that they have the neck support to hold up their head with a helmet.

        If you had a box style cargo bike (can google Madsen, Babboe, Bakfiets to see what I’m talking about), they actually have clip in racks for carseats – which means you could bike with the babies before they’re a year (do not need to wear a helmet in the carseat). There’s not a consensus on the best age for this – and people in Europe bike with babies when they’re a few weeks old – but many people stateside would say until they’re a few months old (4-6) and show good head control.

        • I have a Madsen, and we use it a ton. We have a friend who currently bikes with her infant clipped in a baby seat. Its about as safe as a car, in terms of the support, etc. only difference being you are outside in the fresh air. You could easily put two car seats in a Madsen, but I would strongly urge you to consider an E-Bike if you were going to bike 4 miles on average. It’s worth every penny, and with solar you can charge it yourself!

  21. Patricia says:

    I am comfortable admitting that I would not be able to handle being a stay-at-home-mother of infant twins unless my husband was also able to stay home as my teammate. I agree with Mrs. FW that you should plan to go back to work and see how it goes before making that decision. I also really do not like moving so I would choose to stay put and wrap up as many of the renovations as possible to get the house in a state that you are comfortable/safe living in with small children. It will likely be years until you can get back to major DIY renovations. I just don’t think I could handle the stress of selling/renting a house and buying/moving to a new house while pregnant especially knowing you’ll likely delivery prematurely. You two are doing an amazing job financially and to me you have nothing to worry about and your hypothetical move closer to work doesn’t save that much commute time/money. Best of luck with the remainder of your pregnancy!!

  22. Suzanne says:

    Congratulations! I agree with Mrs Frugalwoods, wait and see how you feel after the babies are born before deciding what to do about work. I also agree with a lot of people saying try and take a lot of time off. There is going to be a ton of adjustment. And see if you can both take time off for a long time, or have another adult that can stay with you and help. And make many many freezer meals ahead of time. Cut yourself a lot of slack and ask for help when you need it or accept help when people offer it.

  23. Wow this post takes me back to the days when my now 11- and 8-year-old were babies. We had no idea how much our lives would change, and I honestly couldn’t have predicted how much I wanted to stay home with my kids (we’d planned on me going back to work). That changed a lot of our plans and our health care.

    I think Mrs. Frugalwoods makes an excellent point about not making any decisions yet. There’s no way you can predict how these babies will rock your world. I also like the suggestion about staying put. Moving is SO stressful; there’s no way I’d combine it with the stress of having not one, but TWO babies. 🙂 Congrats to you both on this exciting next step!!

  24. RetiredProf says:

    Please do more research into the finances of staying home with the kids as a woman. The *immediate* decision of daycare vs. working is almost a wash. The *long-term* projection is that your earnings ability will be suppressed for the rest of your life. This may not be true for the male half of the couple (there are so few men who stay home with kids that there isn’t very much data on this!), because it’s a function of the societal sexism/gender norms.

    There are excellent, non-financial reasons to stay home with your kids anyway. However, my recommendation is both to calculate this financial hit/risk in your decision AND to skew in favor of women returning to work after having the kids + maternity leave UNLESS you are very sure (at the end of the leave) that you want to stay home and have considered the potential life-time financial effects.

    • Another Rose says:

      Yes! I’m always surprised how rarely the long-term costs of scaling back work are not discussed. This may be less true for Rose because she works in the software industry, where talented workers are in demand, but likely still true to some degree. For me, this is one of the biggest reasons I plan to continue working full-time as a new mom; I don’t want to hurt my long-term earning potential.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        I agree and it’s a topic I’ve brought up in detail in other Case Studies where the parents planned to work a long career. In Rose and David’s case, I think it’s slightly less relevant since they both plan to retire early. But I appreciate you bringing it up because it’s a salient point for anyone considering becoming a stay-at-home parent.

    • Rose says:

      Thanks for this perspective. After reading some of the comments and considering more I’m actually thinking what may make sense is finding ways to stay up to date on software development while I’m home and then go back in the same industry but preferably at a more flexible company if I do go back

  25. Kate says:

    While you shouldn’t make any decisions now, Rose, may I suggest you look into a job-sharing situation at your work? There’s probably another parent who would like splitting the work! Or you could also consider telecommuting a day or two a week. Either way, you’ll have to bring your boss and your company’s HR person into the conversation at some point. Just not right this instant! As to those online courses you’re considering, they’ll still be there next fall, after you’ve had the twins and life has settled down a little bit.

    As to the house, is there any way you could hire a professional to finish up the really gnarly pieces? I realize that’s the antithesis of being Frugal, but as Liz pointed out, you don’t want nasty old dust lingering in the air for your precious babies to breathe! (And it isn’t good for your or your DH, either!)

    I would urge you to be gentle with yourself during this time. You won’t have all the pieces in place, you will think of things you should have/could have done, and if you try to make everything perfect, you’ll drive yourself nuts. Congratulations, and lots of blessings to you!

    • Rose says:

      Unfortunately, our jobs aren’t flexible when it comes to telecommuting, part-time, or job sharing (I’ve asked already). So it’s all or nothing.

      Yes, we are planning to have a professional do some of the more difficult pieces. In general, it comes down to how much will it cost vs time saved (for example, I’m perfectly willing to run (and have run) all the PVC sewage pipe and even attach it into copper. But I discovered one of our stacks is cast iron, so we’re getting someone to run the waste/vent lines for that one!)

      • Krista says:

        Hi Rosie, Maybe a trial period of going back to work and try childcare for 6 months? It can take a while to get into a routine at childcare but you could make some extra money, build up some more vacation and then if you want to leave, take a few weeks off to think it over…

  26. Jisel says:

    I second Mrs. Frugalwood’s opinion that you wait before quitting! You can always quit after your FMLA leave is over. I think quite a lot of new parents end up doing that.

    I always thought I’d love to stay home, but after my baby was born, I realized I missed the structure and adult interactions of the my job! It’s not so much that I missed my actual job — more that I missed the sense of routine and the social aspect of my job. That said, in an ideal world I’d love to work part-time — this may be a good compromise. It would like you stay in the workforce (if that’s something that’s important to you) while also letting you spend more time with the babies. Sometimes I feel that even if your whole salary is going towards childcare, at least you are “holding” your place in the job market/your field.

    And congratulations on the babies and for being in a great financial condition — very impressive for two 28-year-olds!

  27. Liza says:

    I have twins — they are now adults. I have 3 kids close together in age, actually.

    I think your advice to delay making a decision is brilliant, because you do not have all the datapoints yet.

    You have no idea how your delivery will go, or how your recovery will go. Twins can be very hard on the mom’s body and if you plan to nurse, nursing twins is like a fulltime thing. If you go back to work and you are still nursing while your husband is watching the kids…. let’s just say that is very logistically difficult and it is exhausting.

    My best advice to you is to have the plan in mind, that you will both keep your jobs, and have a backup plan in mind, which has to do with one of you taking a leave of absence (but I do not recommend a long leave of absence because it is very hard to return to a career after a long absence — trust me — I took 16 years off, and it has impacted the finances greatly).

    A nanny or nanny share might be good.

    Working from home (remotely) a couple days a week could be a good option.

    Unless you do not like your house (it sounds that you do), don’t think too hard about selling it just yet. Go ahead and do all the math, in case you decide to sell. But it sounds like a great place to live and raise kids.

    Twins are fun — I wish you all the best — and it does get easier as the weeks, months and years go by!

  28. Robin says:

    Hello! Congratulations on your upcoming twins! I just had twin girls two months ago, and we already have two older daughters ages 10 and 5. Being experienced parents, we thought we had this, we are baby experts…..WRONG! We have found that twins are a HUGE challenge. They are wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but are exponentially more work than a single baby. And twins are often born early, resulting in NICU care. We were lucky and our twins were only born 4 weeks early, so they came straight home with us. But the care they needed was intense, and required BOTH of us to be home for round the clock feedings, supplementation and pumping. This continued through the first month. My advice would be to be prepared for a major disruption ( at least in the short term), and to seriously consider planning on both parents being home as long as possible in the beginning. With my single babies, my husband took 1-2 weeks off and that was fine. With the twins, My husband was able to take 5 weeks off and it was a godsend!

    • Rose says:

      Thanks! It’s always nice to hear from people experienced with twins. We are definitely open to my husband staying home longer if needed, but unfortunately, every week he stays home at the beginning is one more week of daycare since it will mean he has to go back to work sooner.

      • Robin says:

        I understand. I guess what I was trying to communicate to you is that it wasn’t humanly possible for me to get through that first month+ on my own….it was an absolute necessity for him to stay home, not a luxury. And my twins weren’t even a c section, so in was recovering from a natural birth. I was taken unaware of how labor intensive baby care for twins is. Just a friendly heads up to be prepared!

  29. Ashley says:

    First, congratulations on your pregnancy!! Exciting times 🙂 Second, I cannot stress enough that you should focus all of your time and energy on finishing up home renovation projects right now. We were in the midst of renovating kitchen and main bathroom when our little came along. Not having a kitchen and having only a half bath (no tub, no shower) when she was born was far from ideal. We survived, but I highly, HIGHLY recommend finishing up those projects now! The first month (at least) of your babies’ lives, you both will be sleep-deprived zombies and will be unable to do anything except the bare minimum. If you get those projects done now then you will be in a position to either sell your home and move closer to work or to stay put and enjoy a fully functioning home. I seriously cannot stress this enough. Our baby is 15 months old now and we are still finishing up trim and thresholds – DIY home improvement just takes a looooong time when you both work full-time. And it truly does get harder when you have a little one (e.g. noise, dust, baby-free time).

    I also agree with Sarah in that, I too was a tad resentful at being a primary breadwinner and having to return to work. However, I enjoy adult time and I thoroughly enjoy my work. If I stayed at home and didn’t have a job or regimented adult time, I think I would be unhappy. The truth is, you will not know until you are in it. So I 100% agree with Ms. Frugalwoods that you should wait to make your decision on whether one of you should quit and stay home until after the babies arrive. Best of luck to you both!

  30. Kelly says:

    As a twin mama, I would definitely plan to simplify your life and make it as easy as possible for the first year of their lives. Doing anything (showering, eating, grocery shopping) is not a small feat with two tiny babies so the fewer projects you have going, I think the better off you will be. Our twins were preemies, as many many are, and I was not prepared for how demanding and a little bit scary life with preemies can be. I pumped exclusively for our twins, and it was very time consuming and hard on my body. It was very difficult to eat and rest enough to keep up with pumping 60 oz a day. I am so impressed with your life choices so far, and have no doubt you will figure it out. That said, go easy on yourself mama, and leave yourself plenty of time to enjoy those sweet babies. It goes so fast.

    • Kelly says:

      I meant to also include that preemies in general can be much more expensive than full term babies. Ours would have had to be on expensive preemie formula, and many preemies end up in physical/speech therapy to help them catch up. These are the kinds of budget hits that you can’t predict until they’re Earthside, but you might want to include as possibilities.

  31. Tara says:

    I agree that it’s hard to gauge until you have the children and see how things pan out. Depending on any health needs of your family after the birth, you may have to quit after birth. Or you may want to be home because you can’t see yourself at work after birth leaving your kiddos in the care of a non-family member.

    Every person is different, however, so sometimes waiting is the way to go! I know in my own situation, we had to work, plus, I enjoyed being back at work. I love my son dearly, but I don’t feel the need to be home now. What I really want to do is clear up our financial situation enough (we are frugal, but were very late on retirement savings because of student debt), and shore up our retirement so one parent can afford to be home when our son is older.

    While it’s lovely to be home with your kid in the beginning, I think it’s almost more beneficial to be there when they are older and in tons of activities and stuff. Although there are exceptions, most kids don’t begin forming memories of things (outside of tragic events) when they are in elementary school, so not being the parent there full-time is unlikely to put a dent in their childhood. But being able to quit work when they’re in elementary school, so you can be there on field trips, days off from school, parent’s lunches, etc., will be much more meaningful to the kid growing up. If like you say, both of you can keep working for a few years, and then at that point, reevaluate and decide if one parent can stop work, it may be the ideal option.

    I’d actually argue for working long enough, both of you, to pay off the mortgage, and so at that point, you can easily drop down to a single-income household. But that’s just going from a logical side, and when there is a major life event such as a birth on the horizon, all logic can go out the window.

    So back to the beginning, I suppose, and wait it out and see how things go! You are both lucky in that you can at least stagger your leave times. That will help tremendously in the beginning.

    Best if luck on your journey and I wish you a happy, healthy, and uneventful birth! 🙂

  32. Tracy says:

    Really great comments above. If it were me, I’ve been a stay at home mom/wife for most of my 28 year marriage, very happy with my choices but know not everyone wants to be me. I would get, even if I had to hire it, the big projects completed then hire a nanny to come to your house and be with the kids. You don’t have the same morning rush to get yourself and the kids out the door in the morning and they are comfortable in their own home. You can put cameras up and watch them from work too. I think over time one of you might feel differently about staying home and that 17 acres you have will be good for the whole family. Being outside, gardening, animals if you choose are great for little ones. Whatever you choose, enjoy your life and congratulations on your babies.

  33. ColoradoFIRE says:

    First and foremost, congratulations!! A few thoughts:

    Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint (though getting babies to toddler age can feel like a several-year sprint!). Take advantage of your maternity/paternity leave, but then one of you (likely Rose) should probably plan on quitting and being home with your twins, even if it’s just for the first year or two.

    Moving is expensive, so if you really feel like your house could be your forever home, stay put. You might want to consider hiring someone to come in and finish some of the unfinished aspects of the house before you have babies. It might be the best money you ever spent and if you do end up deciding to sell, will more than pay for itself based on the numbers provided in your case.

    Consider starting your own freelance programming (or related) business. The tax and 401(k) benefits of being self-employed are amazing, and this would allow you to earn some extra money on a project basis and set your own hours. You never know – your current employer might be willing to hire you back as a part-time contractor.

    What is NOT amazing about being self-employed is trying to qualify for a mortgage. So if you do decide to move and you won’t be paying cash for the new home, consider doing it while you are both working.

    Best of luck!!!

  34. Pauline says:

    WHOA! I think slow down and enjoy the babies! Many things will be happening right before, and after they are born. Both of you are entitled to some time off when the babies are born, so enjoy that time and figure out what is going to work for you. Maybe figure out how to work from home until the babies are little older. You both have great jobs and are trying to get set financially, so that is a plus for you. You might still need a car to take the babies places. Transporting 2 little ones and all their gear on public transportation, or walking or riding a bike will be quite a feat. I think you should put off any major things like selling a house/moving since it is very stressful and you will already be stressed with the changes in life that will be here very soon. Congratulations on the babies!

  35. Suchot says:

    I totally agree with Mrs. Frugalwoods on waiting on some of these decisions. It’s awesome that you guys are getting all the information ahead of time – I think that’s super useful. But it’s true you won’t know how either of you feel until after the twins are born. You’re in such a great position financially that you don’t have to make these decisions out of desperation. That’s a wonderful position to be in. When the twins are born, one of you might naturally gravitate toward wanting to stay home, more than the other parent. It doesn’t have to necessarily be the mother. It also doesn’t necessarily have to be the person who makes less money (in your case, again because you’re in a good position financially). It is becoming more common for fathers to stay home. I go to a weekly drop-in play group with my toddler and there is an almost equal ratio of moms to dads there. And this is in the mornings of a weekday. I was surprised there were so many dads there initially but it’s a cool thing. If it’s him that stays home, he will find his tribe. Best of luck with the upcoming months and I’m so excited for you and the changes you have in store! <3

  36. Rose says:

    FYI, to answer the question posed by the article about how I arrived at the 3.5-4 year number (in case there are other math geeks like me out there :)):
    1. The mortgage is only 8 more years. So while I’m not paying it off early, I’m essentially setting aside the amount left in it as a lump sum and adding that to the total I need to retire instead of keeping it as an expense. So you can subtract $2,588 from my long term expenses.
    2. I’m treating IVF similarly to the mortgage. All of the healthcare expenses this year are for IVF, but that’s because we had to do the actual egg retrieval/fertilization as well as the transfer. We got lucky and ended up with way more embryos than we’ll ever need with just one retrieval, so even if we do have children in the future, the costs will be greatly reduced (more like $6000 for meds and the procedure). So I pulled this out of expenses and instead set aside a lump sum of $24,000 to cover any more transfers (likely high, but I like to plan more than we need).
    3. That brings us, as Mrs. FW noted, to $26,736 a year. I did some cost estimating for health insurance plans in our area with a fictitious family of 6 (again, maybe high) and assumed we’d hit the deductible every year and got about $40,000 for total annual expenses long term. I’m pretty comfortable with this number as we can adjust our charity donations up or down if we really need to. So that’s $1,000,000 for expenses plus $150,000 (what our mortgage will be in 4 years) plus $24,000 is $1,175,000 or $535,587 more than what we have now. Assuming no IVF expenses, we save $85,188 a year right now plus our current investments should grow at about 5% after inflation on average (or $31,821). Ignoring compounding, this is 4.6 years (535587/(31821+85188)). The rest of the amount is made up by the fact that I didn’t ignore compounding, average bonuses, or tax refunds the last time I did this calculation.

    This is a great illustration of how expenses really add up more than you might think they do though!

    • Anne says:

      Super interesting to see how you did the math on this!

      You may not need IVF in the future. You become more fertile after having kids (and especially after having twins), because your hormones change. So if you decide to have another you can try without first and see…and use birth control after the twins if you don’t want to end up with 3 under 1 (seriously I’ve heard of it happening)!

  37. Dori says:

    I just wanted to throw in a consideration as a working mom myself. You might want to wait a little longer to make the “final” decision about going back to work. Those pregnancy/motherhood hormones do crazy things to your head for a surprisingly long time! I think my daughter was 6 or 7 months before I stopped crying every Sunday night because I had to go back to work the next day, and truthfully, I’m not the most maternal. But by the toddler years, I sure was glad to be getting out of the house! Maybe something like a one-year leave of absence would be ideal? Day care costs are highest when they’re young anyway.

    • Rose says:

      Thanks for the thoughts! Yes, daycare costs in our area are highest for infants as well though they don’t seem to go down a lot until they’re 2. So maybe taking time until they’re two makes sense.

  38. Nicole says:

    Congrats on the twins Rose! There is already lots of amazing advice here. I have four month old twin boys, one of which has congenital heart defects so can offer some advice. First, get all the renovations done that you can before the twins arrive. We did a lot of stuff around the house before, but I still wished that we had done even more once the boys were here. Seriously, it’s a victory if I get a shower in during the day! I have resigned myself to the fact that not much will be getting done in the next year or so.

    In terms of the work scenario, wait and see how you feel after the twins are born. And what you feel at four weeks postpartum will be different than four months. Our heart boy Lucas had an extended hospital stay after his first heart surgery at five days old so we didn’t come home from that out of town hospital for two weeks. Once we were home, things got real and they were difficult. Part of me wanted to go back to work right then! But now four months in, I enjoy being home with my babies. I am lucky to live in Canada, where maternity and parental leave are either 12 or 18 months so I realize that is different. I made the decision to go back after 12 months because it is the best financial decision for us. My husband works part time twelve hour shifts and my parents are in town, so between them they will watch the boys while I am at work so we can avoid any childcare costs. We are extremely lucky that way.

    I agree with cooking meals beforehand. I thought I had done enough prior to birth but could have done way more. Start early when you are still feeling well enough to do it. And after they are born, if you have the chance to cook, do it in batches. I am always doubling or tripling recipes now so I can put an extra meal or two in the freezer.

    And don’t be afraid to accept any help you can get. On the days when I am alone with the babies, I often go out to mom and baby groups or invite myself over to my parents house just to get some help, and get out of the house. It’s going to be overwhelming at first to leave the house with two babies, but you can do it! It gets a lot easier as you go.

    And a good point was made about the postpartum recovery. Even with our heart guy I was given the option of a csection or vaginal delivery and I chose vaginal. What I was not prepared for was the episiotomy they did and forceps they used to get both boys out. I could barely walk for a week and a half after, and my episiotomy scar is still healing and is painful at times. Remember to take care of yourself after 😊.

    Good luck, you are going to enjoy these crazy times coming up for you!

  39. Turia says:

    I’m usually a lurker but felt compelled to comment. Whenever there is a pregnancy involved in these financial check ups, I’m struck again by how incredibly difficult the situation becomes solely because of the country of residence. I’m Canadian and the US attitude towards parental leave just horrifies me. So first up, I am so sorry you’re even having to have these conversations about work when your babies are still infants, and not when they’re approaching their first birthday (as is the norm here).

    Also, congrats on your hard-won babies! My first is an IVF baby who took three years to achieve. It’s an emotional roller coaster for sure. The financial impact is considerable, so I’m glad you were able to carry on and meet with success.

    I agree with Mrs. FW- I think right now you should keep all options open and wait to see how things turn out. I’d advise against making any long-term decisions for at least the first six months after the babies arrive. No one can make good decisions sleep-deprived.

    I’d encourage you to look into the nanny options instead of day care, at least for the first year. If you can have the babies at home, their individual needs and quirks can be respected more easily than in a group care situation. This also makes it easier when they get sick (and they will get sick!)

    Can you find twin mums in your area to meet before the birth? Not only are they likely to be a great source of hand-me-downs, but they will also be able to tell it to you straight in a way that parents of singletons (even lots of singletons) really can’t.

    Babies are an atom bomb in your life. They are an amazing addition and much-wanted, but I think it’s hard to understand the sheer scope of the change before it happens. And so much of what comes next depends on the babies themselves. Some of them are more flexible, adaptable and easy going than others. No matter what you think or hope you want to do, you just won’t know what you want (or what your kids will need) until they’re here.

    With the financial stuff, I found babies and toddlers were cheap (other than child care). It’s the school age kid who’s expensive, with activities, field trips, footwear for every season, etc. My big kid, for a number of reasons, has been slow to pick up swimming and only really progresses when in a private lesson. So we spend close to $1,000 a year on swimming lessons (and will likely continue to do so for some years to come). That was NOT in our original plan, but it’s non-negotiable that our kids are safe in the water, and that’s what he needs to be able to learn, so we do it. Kids cost money, no matter how frugal you are (even our toddler eats enough to noticeably alter our grocery bill), so however you are doing your financial calculations, be aware that costs will rise when you are a family of four.

    Lastly, I wanted to raise the issue that women who did IVF are more at risk of PPD/PPA. For many women, infertility is the first thing they ‘fail’ at and the first thing they can’t fix just by trying harder. Then, the baby (or babies) arrive and you don’t get a free pass through the hardest parts of the early months just because you struggled to have your baby. There can be a lot of pressure (often self-imposed) to love every second (some women make those kinds of bargains when trying to get pregnant- if this works, I’ll be the perfect mother and I’ll always be grateful, etc.) Then the baby cries all the time or doesn’t sleep or the mum hasn’t showered in three days and can’t remember a phone number because she’s so tired and wham! Infertility can add a whole extra layer of guilt to an already super emotional time. So maybe make sure your husband and your care team know the risks and the symptoms and keep a close eye on you. Not trying to scare you, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it.

    Best of luck. I hope you can keep cooking those babies right up to the end!

    • Rose says:

      I am definitely working to find twin mothers in my area (there’s a “Moms of Mulitples” group that I reached out to about joining–it does have a minimal yearly fee, but I think it’s worth it!) Thank you for the advice about PPD, too–I know the risk is also higher with multiples so it’s definitely something I’ve talked to my husband about (I’m also a recovering perfectionist so I’m sure that won’t help).

      My goal is definitely to try and keep them inside as long as possible! I’ve been lucky with my pregnancy so far–I had nausea in the first trimester but it wasn’t as bad as what I’ve heard from others (especially twin mothers). However, at only 4.5 months in, my back is already starting to bother me, so I think my luck may be wearing out.

      • Lyna says:

        I was 7 months pregnant with our first when we moved from Michigan to Alabama–no problems. For the third (surprise!) we moved across town at 8 months, went into labor that same night. If you are now 4.5 months and having discomfort, I suspect moving is no longer a good option. {hugs!}
        And anytime someone asks “What can I do?” Tell Them! This is no time to be shy about letting people help-fix freezer meals, a DIY job on the house, yard work, future house cleaning-the potential list is long.

  40. Casey says:

    I agree with the concept of deciding what to do about your home as soon as possible, and what to do about your work situation as late as possible. You will want stability and certainty in your living situation because everything else is going to be SO HARD with two babies in the mix. Two babies for which there will be a higher likelihood of a bumpy start (breastfeeding two instead of one, possible C-section, hip displaysia, other typical preemie concerns, etc.). If this means throwing some money at a contractor to get large chunks of your farm home finished before babies arrive, I think you should consider giving up your DIY preference for the short term. But yeah, only if it’s your forever home. With 17 acres, you will have plenty to DIY in the coming years.

    The notion that your husband plans to exhaust his PTO to be home with healthy babies worries me. At least one of you should save some PTO for doctor visits. Well checks happen frequently in the first year, and if they go to daycare, sick visits will happen too. Most daycares have a policy that kids cannot return until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the aid of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. So if your kid wakes up with a fever, that’s an automatic two days off work MINIMUM to care for them. And with two kids, they could easily spread germs to a sibling. Hoard your PTO like it is gold. I blew through 50 hours of leave in my first year as a mom, NOT counting my maternity leave.

    I saw a comment above that you cannot work part time. Why not? Is it just because nobody in your office has before? I’m an engineer too and was the first pregnant woman in my company for about 20 years. I negotiated to drop down to 24 hours a week when I first came back after my 12 weeks of FMLA, and then go to 30 hours a week after I was done pumping. Pumping took me 60-90 minutes during each workday, and they wouldn’t pay me for time spent pumping. Anyway, just because nobody had any experience managing an employee who was a new mom didn’t mean I couldn’t make it happen. You likely have more leverage than you think. Four and a half years after my first baby (I have two now), I’m still working 30 hours a week and getting as much done as I did when I worked 40’s.

    You said you typically work 50 hours a week. Why? Is this by choice, or is this your supervisor’s expectation for all people in your position? This sounds like an impossible schedule for someone with two new babies, to me. Unless you are a superwoman, which may well be the case! But you might not know you are a superwoman until after the twins arrive.

    My engineer husband has asked me to come work for his company a few times, but given that the only moms I know working for his company are full time (one of whom just quit because it was too much for her after her second arrived), and the fact that if the company ran into trouble, BOTH our incomes would be at risk – I’ve always said no.

    TLDR – If it was me, and the choice was between 0 hours or 50 hours a week, I’d be looking for another company to work for.

    • Lyna says:

      Rose, Casey makes a good point that both incomes are at risk when both of you work for the same company, even if in different divisions. When you (both) are evaluating your training/work/schedule options it might be a good time for one of you to look for a position with a different company. That does not mean changing what you do, just the where.

    • Rose says:

      Thanks for the comments! While David probably will use most of his sick leave, work actually separates sick leave and vacation time, and he plans to keep some vacation time still (we can be more flexible with vacation time which is nice–so we could use it if, say, the daycare is closed, not just if one of the babies is sick). And I plan to keep some of mine and take part of my maternity leave as FMLA, so we should be good there.

      In terms of why we can’t work part time, the company I work for just doesn’t support it (and in truth, there are certain aspects of my job which would make it difficult). If I do decide to quit, I will definitely propose the option of staying if they let me work part time, but I honestly don’t think it’s going to happen (others have tried). As for the 50 hours, it’s just what we have to put in to get the work done and what most managers expect (it’s a salaried position, and I know people putting in less than 45 hours are scrutinized more closely when it comes to raise time). I will say that I don’t necessarily spend all of that at work–it’s a computer job so I probably spend 2-3 hours a week working on stuff from home.

  41. Tera says:

    I agree with the suggestions to sit tight and don’t make any major decisions. Right now, just try to relax as much as possible. I would:

    1) Double-check your FMLA policy. If you BOTH get three months, that’s fantastic! It’s my understanding most companies who employ both parents only give three months to share between the two employees.

    2) I had a c-section and I can’t imagine going back to work at six weeks. If you end up having a c-section, you may want to reevaluate your leave plan.

    3) Have you thought about hiring a nanny? That eliminates the need to get the babies ready and dropped off/picked up.

    • Rose says:

      1) It is both of us that get three months which is definitely a perk.
      2) That’s very good advice. I’ve been worrying about my plan to go back before the three months and whether or not I’ll be ready, so it’s good to hear from someone else.
      3) We have. It is more expensive, but the suggestion has been made enough times now that it’s definitely something I will reconsider.

  42. Teri says:

    I used to feel like if we just got though the day with no major disasters, it was a great day. Just try to enjoy those special times, they go buy so fast !

  43. Torrie says:

    Congratulations on your upcoming new arrivals! So exciting!

    I just wanted to second what Mrs. FW said about not making the stay-at-home decision now, when you don’t have the kids yet. I had my first baby in April, and since I was a teacher, I was able to take the rest of the school year off and then the summer too. I still was undecided at the end of the summer about my work plans, so I committed to teaching another full year (since that also made more sense since I needed to teach a 4th year to get my 401k match vested). Well, after that year, I definitely KNEW without any doubt that I wanted to stay at home, and it’s been a marvelous decision for us in our situation (and I was actually kind of glad I worked first because then I wasn’t constantly questioning whether it was what I really wanted or not). We are not even close to the financial situation that you’re in (my husband makes just under $40K a year and we have two kids), but because staying at home was important to me, we make it work. Serious props to you for having done the financial heavyweight stuff so that you definitely can make whatever decision you choose based on your wants, not on your financial situation!

    I wish you all the best in this next leg of your grand life adventure!

  44. Louise says:

    Thank you for sharing the excitement and panic of your story!
    As others wrote, make no decisions in haste. Do the “what’s the worst that can happen if” with each one. You don’t finish the degree– you can still work, or you can finish it later. One or both of you quits or loses a job– you will get another. Neither of you can work– you tap into your assets. (You are very young!). Your house isn’t perfect– whose is? I agree with the posters who say that you can’t decide about childcare and work until after you babies are at least a few months old. Things change quickly in the first year. Communicate clearly with your employer and leave your work options as open as you can.
    Your friendships probably changed when you got married; they will change again when you have children. My niece is a member of a MOMs group– Mothers of Multiples– and you might find a group like that helps. If you haven’t been around very young children for long periods of time, you might find that the things you thought would worry you don’t, and things you never imagined will become a big deal. You might find one set of grandparents drives you crazy and the other you want to have move in with you. Take your time! Babies force you to live in their timezone, which is always in the immediate moment. Best wishes to all four of you!

  45. Karen says:

    Multi-layered decision, and there’s truly no way to know the right answer for you until those babies come along and you see exactly what it means and feels like to take care of them, and how your decision might change after they are born and you are living with them. What felt do-able before hand might change completely. Others have been very indepth with their answers – mine will be real simple. I have never regretted setting my career aside to raise my two children. I also picked up freelance work while a stay-at-home mom. Making less income and those sacrifices never became a regret for me, the rewards of being available and raising my children daily instead of someone else were more important for me. My now grown children have frequently told me they loved having Mom home and available for school functions, team events, getting off the bus at the end of the day, etc. That doesn’t mean this is right for everyone, so I am not being judgmental here. As for the farm, and especially one that needs renovation – (this is exactly our set up – renovation now complete) probably not the most frugal decision to stay if you do decide to have one of you stay home with the twins, unless you can make the land work more for you than it currently does (I think just chickens, right?). But, sounds like you truly love your location. Before moving back to the ‘burbs and giving that up, my inclination would be to see if you can make a small income to suppliment the loss of salary if one of you should decide to stay home… freelance work, grow some of your own food, maybe daycare for one other child the same age as your own (all of this is what I did and it worked).

    Best of luck with the new babies and your decision making process!

  46. Jenn Martin says:

    I’m a twin mom (my boys are 5 now). Everyone’s experience with children is different but twins are HARD, especially in the first 6 months. I planned on taking 3 months off when they were born but our nanny was AMAZING and frankly the demands of two three month olds was way harder than my job – I ended up going back to work early. I worked hard for the next five years and now I’m taking a year off as my “delayed maternity leave” and it’s been amazing both for me and my boys. Everyone here has great advice – have the kiddos and see how you feel. But don’t feel pressured by anyone else to “do the right thing for your kids”. The right thing for your kids is for you to be happy and create a loving environment for them.

    GOOD LUCK!! Twins are amazing. The first few months (a year for me honestly) will make you doubt your sanity but after that there’s nothing better than being a twin mom!!!

  47. JD says:

    Just to give everyone a chill, I was visiting my parents some years ago when their local news channel highlighted a local couple in their mid-twenties who had just become the parents of healthy quadruplets, a multiple birth that happened with no fertilization therapy of any kind — it just happened completely naturally. The ultimate kicker was that they had 18 month old twins at home, also something which happened naturally. It still makes me shudder.

    I agree with Mrs. Frugalwoods 100%. There is time to decide this, and your whole world will change soon. What is needed is informed decisions, and right now, you two are still operating on unknowns. Take time out to seriously examine your needs and your inclinations once the babies are here.

    Personally, I wouldn’t move. Babies stay babies for such a short time — before you know it, you’ll be getting them ready for school. By then, I think you’ll be glad you stayed in your home, but then, that’s just my opinion.

    As far as working, that’s something only you and your husband can decide; I think your family leave time ideas are excellent.

    As both the granddaughter and niece of identical twins, let me congratulate you on your twins. Both sets of twins in my family had a special bond between them that no other relationship could alter. I hope your twins are best of friends and dear to each other for all their lives.

  48. Julia says:

    There’s a lot here that I empathize with: I’m a stay at home parent of an infant right now, and my husband and I are currently renovating a small vacation home that we co-bought with my mom (mostly cosmetic stuff, but it’s time-consuming). I can’t speak as to what will be right for you two, but I have some general suggestions, most of which are co-signing advice above.

    1. Finish whatever you possibly can on the house. Having a baby means a lot of time where you’re sort of at loose ends, but not actually able to do much. Like, you’re sitting in a chair, doing nothing but watching your kid(s) crawl around… but if you leave the chair they’re going to put something terrifying in their mouths. Trust me: you don’t want to spend that time looking at a half-finished project that you can’t touch. I’m literally daydreaming about picking up a paint roller at this point…

    2. Stockpile meals, and make a list of what you have on hand. I felt kind of ridiculous doing this, but it really helped. Choosing from a list of meals was feasible. Without it, I definitely would have stared at my stuffed freezer, decided it was too much work, and ordered takeout.

    3. Get to know your kids. My baby is, uh, “high energy”. I suspect he would be labeled as a troublemaker in a daycare setting. Some children do really well in a daycare setting; some don’t. Only time will tell what your children are like, but try not to get so committed to a plan that you can’t make drastic changes if it turns out your children haven’t read the same manual. (This is definitely easier said than done. I’m a planner too, but I’ve had to become a LOT more flexible with this baby.)

    4. Make sure that if one of you stays at home with the babies, they have something of their own to do, even if that means hiring a babysitter. I run a small book review website. Right now I’m perpetually late with posts, but it means a lot to me to have something other than my kid to think about and discuss with other people, and I’m happy that my spouse makes my work a priority, even though his job pays 99.9% of our bills, while my site is more of a subsidized hobby.

    Anyway, best of luck to you! This is a hugely rewarding phase of life, even with all its attendant stresses, and I’m sure you guys will figure it out!

    • Rose says:

      Thank you for your comments! I hadn’t considered the list of foods (I’m just putting them in the freezer right now), but that’s a great idea.

      My husband has already teased me that we’re probably going to have at least one that’s “high energy.” For the last two ultrasounds, he/she would not stay still at all while they tried to do measurements and ended up flipping to positions that made it difficult for the ultrasound tech. I fully expect that at least one of them is going to defy my expectations, and I fully expect that will frustrate the planner in me to no end. My husband (who’s a lot more of a “go with the flow” type of person) has already agreed to be the one to settle me down if that happens.

      I really like point #4, and it’s one of the reasons I’m thinking about side hustles even if we don’t need the money. Given my current career and interests, app development is one thing I’ve been thinking about though I also really like gardening/building.

  49. Jen says:

    I do not have kids and believe that every parent and every child is different so there is no right answer. However, I do want to chime in and say that I have 2 close male friends who were the primary caregivers for their children while their wives worked fulltime. It worked for them, they were happy with the choice and their kids were happy with the choice.

  50. AW says:

    Congratulations!! I agree that you should wait at least 6 months before making any quitting decisions. So much changes at the beginning, the whole first year even. With my first, it took me at least 6 months to feel like I had my wits about me. I quit after my 12 week maternity leave – thinking “there’s no way I/we can do this”. But a couple months later I was in a very different place! Having your first child(ren) is just such a world shift that you can’t prepare for it in a lot of ways. And I wish I hadn’t made such a rash decision (hormones!!). I did go back once my first was about a year old but it’s not necessarily as easy as everyone makes it seem (and I’m a CPA – also very in demand). Starting in a new role vs knowing the ins/outs of your role and boss and company culture etc is something to consider (even though my
    job itself is very similar). Anyway, my two cents! Best of luck!!

  51. LongTime Frugal says:

    You don’t state how old the grandparents-to-be are. Nor the state of their health (which I presume is good based on what I read). If you are like me when I was in my late 20s, my grandparents we in their early-to-mid 70s. Caring for your parent(s) or possibly grandparent(s) should be given some consideration – especially if one or both of you is/are an only child – even if you weren’t pregnant.

    • Rose says:

      All the grandparents-to-be are in their early to mid sixties and in excellent health. We are fortunate with that but we acknowledge that as they get older, we may need to care for them more (neither of us are only children, but my sister just entered residency and my brother-in-law is an officer in the Navy and both are unmarried, so we have the more flexible careers at this point). That was actually one of the reasons we were working so hard for financial independence–we want to be able to care for our parents if we need to.

      • LongTime Frugal says:

        I’m glad to hear you’ve given it some thought sooner than later. I’m finding it is not so much financial but time and energy.

  52. Mary says:

    There is no One-Size-Fits-All. I quit my job one month before giving birth to our oldest of two children, because my job was the lower-paying one by far vs. my husband’s. So that was a no-brainer for us. Plus, I wanted to breastfeed (and did, for one year for both kids) and further cut costs and live frugally everywhere else. My kids from babies on were in pre-owned equipment, clothes, toys, books, etc., all in great shape and acquired from garage sales/thrift/consignment stores. I did it all, and saved a ton of money on items they needed anyway. Working my full-time, lower-paying job may not have allowed me the time. Once my second and youngest was ready to start Kindergarten, I found a part-time job with hours that allowed me to get my kids off to school in the morning and be there when they get home. So I was lucky. I made even less money that I did pre-baby but, for us, it was a tradeoff. My husband worked long and chaotic hours so I needed to be the steady presence, and it worked for us. Plus, during this time I was able to save and make extra payments on our home mortgage and we paid it off when my oldest was a high school sophomore, about 3-4 years ago. My oldest now is in college and my youngest a sophomore in high school. I still work part-time and am still around for my high schooler before and after school. We still live as frugally as we can. Babies, and teens!, are a lot of work. They are a job unto themselves.

  53. Multiple multiples dad says:

    Twins are the best! My wife and I actually have two sets (2years apart). I’ll simply echo some of the themes from the other commenters with twins. They are exponentially more work. The “dark days” bit rang true. In the first 10 weeks we had both of us at home and live in help with mother in laws, friends, and other family. We slept in shifts too. Needed 100%. With the second set, we actually hired in night nurses two nights a week. That can be hard to swallow for proud FIRE types but with four kids under 3, we knew our limits.

    Second again the nanny/au pair idea if you both work. It’s not just the $ cost is also the time to daycare. It’s the ability of that person to make a little progress on the dishes or making the night bottles or the avalanche of laundry. It’s also avoiding the sickness that inevitably comes with daycare was huge. Price of a full time nanny was about the same as daycare and without the 1hr of prep to get out the door plus driving each way it made a huge difference.

    For the job stuff, we have experimented. I did 9 months at home with the first set and my wife staid home for 1.5 years after the second and then worked 20hrs a week. Both of us side hustle in our careers (extra trainings, extra consulting contracts) and that has helped with the income towards FIRE.

    Couple of random twins tips: call around and see if there is a peds practice around that specializes in twins (ours does home visits!), look for a twins birthing class (ours toured the NICU and that was really helpful), get an app that syncs between devices so you can keep track of who pooped and ate and slept when (you won’t be able to remember it!), don’t be afraid to spring for the high quality stroller (even if used), meal trains are great!

    Finally, we also realized that we have limits even though not in crisis time. So we have grandparents that help and we have help from a local college student once a week. My wife needs the alone time and her mental health is worth the cash for sure. For me it’s been hard to admit I can’t mow the lawn and we need to hire that out. Have that second set and really get humbled 🙂

    Good luck! It’s work but good work if you can get it.

    • Rose says:

      Thank you for the wonderful advice! We have a college not too far away so ill definitely look into the college student for at least a few hours a week idea.

  54. Meyli says:

    How much would it cost to continue taking those classes?
    While the semester the twins are born might be very difficult to take courses during, what if you took FMLA and took classes, then quit your job, but continued to take classes while staying at home?
    Then in one year, you would have the degree you want, and could begin to look for work in that area.
    The cost of those classes needs to be considered, since you said you’d have to pay for them if you stop working for this company, but depending, it could be worth it. It could be worth it if working in the new sector is what you want!

    • Rose says:

      The class I’m taking now is a three hour a week class, and I spend about 3-4 hours outside of class on the assignments, so it’s not too bad. I do hear that some of the later ones are tougher and have more group assignments though, so it might make it more difficult if I’m not regularly at work.

      The classes run roughly $2500 a term or $7500 to finish them out. So it wouldn’t break the bank, but there are also other ways to learn development that are less expensive/free (though turning them into a new career would be harder). It’s definitely something I will consider though!

  55. Michele says:

    Congratulations on the twins! I have a 3 year old and another on the way. FWIW, I went back to work and really enjoy working. Here’s my two cents, echoing what others have said.
    1) You may want to consider taking off more than 4-6 weeks before going back to work (even if you take more time off later). As my midwife told me, anything can happen with a first birth! I had a very difficult vaginal delivery and was in terrible shape for about 4 weeks afterward.
    2) I agree with Mrs FW that you can’t really make the decision right now. However, I’d have a rough plan or preferences. Again, since the delivery of my first was so traumatic, I’m not sure I could’ve made any good decisions during that time!
    3) Flex options, including remote work and part time, are godsends. I’m fortunate that my DH and I both work 40 hours a week (sometimes a bit less), and I work 1-2 days at home. I can’t imagine working 50 hours and going into the office every single day. I wonder if it’d be worth it for you to explore job options. I’m surprised that some employers in this day and age don’t offer any flex options. You can also check out the website 1 Million for Work Flexibility for ideas.
    4) While a nanny is more expensive than daycare, you may want to consider it, at least for the first 1-2 years. The daily logistics of getting to daycare and work are insane, and that’s with some work from home days! Having a nanny could really help your sanity and enable you to keep working with as few logistical headaches as possible. Kids need and enjoy the socializing once they hit 18-24 months, but before that, I would just take the temporary financial hit and go with the easier option.
    5) No need to move just yet. We moved when our son was 10.5 months and not yet mobile. As long as they’re not walking yet, you can certainly move after they’re born.
    I wish you the best of luck! I recognize a fellow Type A planner in your case study, and having kids will definitely be a change from that. It’s a good thing 🙂 You guys are in fabulous shape and have the freedom to make many choices. I hope it goes great!

  56. DaybyDay says:

    As a working mother and primary breadwinner with a stay at home Dad “before it was cool :),” my recommendation would be to go back to work. You have an EASY, LOCAL commute in what sounds like a rural area; those jobs are NOT easy to get. Emotionally, it’s SO HARD to leave babies (pumping in the car, in an office, etc. etc can be really awful as well) but nannies or au pairs are a great option especially as you are close enough to get home even for lunch. Decide in a year or two (or whenever) if you really want to stay home. My kids are in middle school and if it was possible for us (you are farther along that us, great job!) I would stay home NOW vs. when my kids were babies. As they say “small kids small problems, big kids big problems.” Also, your husband may like his management job now, but it’s new… the new will wear off, when the kids are older the financial freedom will be an even bigger deal, and you’ll know how far that management role can go for him. Please don’t discount the ‘mommy tax’ – if you leave, you won’t go back in at the level of financial reward OR respect you had when you left the workforce. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it’s absolutely real. On some of the other suggestions – “job sharing” and ‘work from home,” if not already established company norms mayl require you to work TWICE as hard to not lose credibility in your role and you’d be better off just being in the office regular hours.

  57. Congratulations to Rose and David! There is so much great advice here, it seems you are both in good hands! As an older parent, I did just want to bring attention to something that young parents rarely imagine: physical and mental health issues that can completely break budgets. We imagine our children will be born perfect, and so they are, but at some point (even from the beginning) they may need some expensive, and time consuming care. Autism is rising, and many more adolescents face mental health crises than ever before. Accidents can happen. Please don’t budget without factoring in the unexpected. You are both so young, and a larger cushion later on might be just what you need. Wishing you all the best!

  58. I am in a similar position in terms of children but not as well off financially. That being said I would suggest that you work until you can’t and don’t try to extend it until you give birth in the boardroom. Take the time to come to an emotional grip with have two kids. It’s quite a bit. I gained custody of my grandson when he was 18 months and then his brother when he was three and he was only a week old along with a preteen and an adult with autism. That being said I had to come to terms with the fact that I would have to slow down financially. I quit my other full time position and each of them were special needs so there were a lot of medical issues which you might be facing because as you noted multiples generally arrive earlier than expected. If there is any human way possible complete the renovations on your home. Regardless of if you sell or not trying to complete a remodel or extension while changing diapers and adjusting to new family members is too much. Take as much family leave as possible and research working from home because emotionally it will be in your best interest. Don’t be quick to move either. Since your resale value will go up if you complete the work necessary finish it with the long term in mind. You’ll have two daycare costs (one per child) along with twice the expenses, half the time and a quarter of the sleep! For these reasons make accommodations to stay in your home and take the kids to daycare by car because with some prudent planning it might be possible to stay in your dream home and still have the space you need for your growing family. With the amount of land and funds you have available especially with not having the fertility treatment payment you might want to consider expanding your home if not outward then upward. Nothing is set in stone and I would advise that you stabilize first and then decide. You might want to consider the moving issue and employment issue half way into your leave. As for your education try to find a class that might possibly be online so you could work around the children and obtain the further education. I finished my degree this way with all of my dependents as a single mother. Take your time and expand your thoughts and brainstorm for alterative you might not have considered. Maybe you could get an au pair or child care that comes to your home if you want to continue in your position after the children come or maybe a young relative who is needing to earn money for college is taking a gap year and for a reasonable amount would work for you. Even if you work at home you need to be realistic…there are times you will have to get daycare even being at home such as with a mandatory in person meeting or just needing a quiet background which means someone needs to give a bottle of breastmilk or formula while you work. It is good that you are seeking advice but just remember that the last decision is up to you. You can take time financially. Take advantage of it. Many families can’t. When my daughter was born 13 years ago on January 23rd school started the 30th and my seasonal job doing taxes had started four days before that. I pumped at work and worked because no work no rent and no eat! Blessings and congratulations on your new family members!

  59. indigo says:

    You both have good skills and a good education. In your shoes, which I once was (although mine are 16 months apart), I’d be thinking about having one partner keep their job and one work PT from home. I’d also be looking at having in-home help PT and perhaps doing a nanny-share with another family nearby.

    My preference would be to be as close to work, family and amenities as possible while still having a yard. Time spent commuting, getting kids ready and dropping off, and travelling far for dr or other appts, is time you lose that you could put to better use on the stuff you need to get done at home or nice interaction with family.

    I ended up quitting my job and starting my own business so I could stay at home. We had in-home help pt and bought a house adjoining the elementary school yard. It really worked well and the kids came home for lunch every day. And it gets easier once they are in school. Plus my business ended up making as more than I would have earned with a salary.

    Even if I hadn’t earned as much, nothing can ever replace the time I spent with my kids and we have a great relationship that was partly built on those times together. I don’t look back and think, gee, I wish I had earned even more. I’ve still managed to retire in my 40s and we continue to have a lot of fun together. So, in my view, the money part needs to be efficient and carefully calculated, but don’t trade time now with family for the future unless you decide that staying home with kids is not fun.

  60. TJ40 says:

    Welcome to the twin club! First, join your local club/facebook group for parents of multiples. Most communities have one, and the double hand-me-downs are an amazing asset when you’re just starting out.

    You’ve got a decent sized house! Since you likely have an extra bedroom, you could choose to host an au pair. It can be an interesting matching/online dating process, but if you’re open to sharing your home and having new experiences, I cannot recommend it highly enough. The monthly cost is around $1,600 – half to the au pair in a stipend, and half to the agency for matching, ongoing support, travel, and childcare training costs. The au pair would also get room and board, but even if that doubled your monthly food budget, you would save $400/month over the cost of daycare. We use AuPairCare, but there are a half dozen or so State Department approved agencies that match au pairs with American families.

    Our twins are 2.5 now, we’ve had two au pairs from Brazil and Colombia, and both have been valued members of our family. Twins are HARD. Wonderful, adorable, but also very draining to have to devote that much energy to keeping them alive and curious and engaged. Having a young person (early 20s) give them all of that energy they need during the work day helps me be a better parent when I get home from work. We intend to retire by 40, but I agree with DaybyDay that I’m more interested in being home with them when they’re a little older and school age. Having lower cost but high quality care for them now helps us save more for the future, so that we can spend the quality time with them that they’ll actually remember. Best of luck!

  61. Sabbaticalia says:

    My twin sister and I hopped out of the womb six weeks early. She gave me a seven-minute head-start, which appears to have been enough by now. 🙂

    Recovering from a birth in a “construction zone”? That takes a stronger will (and support network) than most folks I know, including those who have built their own places. Maybe live in a camper/RV or mobile home, or a second building, while finishing the main house? (You likely have room for this “temporary structure” strategy.)

    The only money thing that jumped out at me was “charity: $600/mo”. With the first child(ren) coming into the household, this is an easy line-item to put on hold for 2018 and 2019 — boost your reserves and your buffer against Life Taking A Whack At You. My wife and I took out a few such expenses when we were preparing for each of our daughters, ate into that buffer some, and we don’t regret the prudence one bit.

    Hmm, FI in current house? $6268-2588=$3680/mo in non-mortgage expense. Defer charity, recognize some reductions from projects finishing and fewer new tools, doctor/pharmacy becomes health/children and so on: $3000/mo. / 4% = $900k nest egg, plus another $220k to pay off mortgage at this house = $1100k – $636k in place = $464k to go. No clue how much in 401k contributions, nor what investments, but “3.5-4 years to go” means contributing and gaining $120k+ yearly. Seems too much like wishful thinking to me (needing like 16-18% annual returns). Best to get live experience of budget-with-children for real numbers. I suggest putting FI/RE on the back burner for 2-3 years, then reassess. 10 years seems doable: the “rule of 72” suggests that 7.2% doubles the investments, which surpasses the target.

    (FYI looking back at our own accounts, “health/children” for our two daughters has been on the order of $800-1200/mo these past 15-20 years, not counting college or professional training. So prospective monthly expense, and thus nest-egg, seem plausible to me.)

  62. J says:

    Parent of twins here. My advice is to determine your housing situation before babies are 6 months old (and rolling around). Then put off making major life decisions until your kids are 3 or 4. The first few years are extremely hard with twins. My second piece of advice is seek out other parents of twins in your area now, so that you can text them with questions and for support during the first year. Finally, your job preference may depend on how flexible your job is with paid time off. Twins at daycare get sick consecutively. For instance, my Twin A got the stomach flu and was out of daycare for 3 days, then Twin B got the flu and was out for 5 days. That meant missing 8 days of work. If you have a job with tremendous flexibility, keep it. Otherwise, perhaps seek that out for one parent. I’m just starting on the FIRE journey @ http://www.freethetwindad.com. Never too late. And my twins were a big motivator.

  63. KnoxPatch says:

    Babies in the house! It’s a wonderful time of life. My babies are now 22 and 25 but I do have advice for new moms who are highly educated, scientific achievers:
    1. Lower the bar. I was going to paint the living room, plant a garden, and organize the house. The reality was that I was the human bottle for 2 months, which was great but so unfathomable pre-birth of baby v1.0. If you and the babies are alive at the end of the day, you’ve succeeded. A+!
    2. Keep your jobs and don’t make any income changing decisions until the end of your leave. Your healthcare benefits will become a central part of your finances.
    3. Babies don’t come equipped with baby Timex watches and project management plans. Every baby is different. My first had colic for two months and ear infections throughout her first year. We barely slept. Our second was so easy, we had a running joke that went something like, ‘hey, did we have another kid? Oh yeah, we did!’
    4. Given your pay level, I would hire a nanny for the first year. It’s not about the money; it’s about your sanity.
    5. It’s too late to consider a pre-babies move.
    6. Loop back to #1!

    • Rose says:

      Thanks. Number one is definitely something I’m going to have to work on but I’m fortunate to have a realist for a husband who is good about talking me down

  64. Sharon says:

    I haven’t read all the responses so I don’t know if someone covered this already, but it seems like a huge item is missing from your expenses list once you become financially independent, and that is health insurance. I suggest visiting healthcare.gov right now to get an idea of what you’d pay once you have to buy health insurance on your own (you don’t have to enter much personal data, just zip code, estimate of income, and ages/birth dates… you could even put in fake birthdays for the twins to see what they’d cost if they were already born). The price varies significantly depending on the state and even the county in which you live. Also, depending on how much money you’ll take out of taxable accounts for your income, you may or may not qualify for a subsidy from the government. Keep in mind though that healthcare in America is clearly expected to change soon. Republicans want to do away with Obamacare or at least repeal the preexisting conditions clause. I’m not sure if you or your husband have any such conditions, but even pregnancy and something as little as acne could be considered one. This means that anyone with a preexisting condition would either be denied coverage or be charged much more. Democrats are hoping for Medicare for All, which seems like a much better (and cheaper) option. (So on top of everything else going on, remember to vote! 😁)

    Also, you will most likely want to purchase life insurance too once the babies come.

    On a side note, I’m self employed and work from home. Before I had my son, I thought I could be a stay-at-home AND work-from-home mom at the same time, by working during nap time, and maybe have the baby play on the floor near me while I worked at the computer, but boy was I wrong! I quickly realized I could either do one of those things really well, or do both not very well at all. I chose stay-at-home mom (though I worked a couple hours in the evening after bedtime as needed).

    Best of luck to you!!

    • Rose says:

      Thanks! We have factored health insurance costs into what we need long term (I made a fictitious family of 6 to cover my bases). But I completely agree with you that I have no idea what it will look like in a few years which terrifies the planner in me. Both David and I are very healthy and would plan to quit when I wasn’t pregnant to hopefully help

  65. Naomi says:

    Whew. Between two small kids, school, work, and renovations, I suspect something will have to give pretty soon. Since that’s the case, I would probably drop the schooling sooner to focus on the renovations asap, to be able to get out from under the house if need be (or .. you know… just have a house that isn’t super dangerous for toddlers). Continue with the plan of both taking your time off, see how that goes, and then make a decision about if both want to keep working or someone would prefer stay home. And, when it comes down to it, I’d say that at that point (when the babies are 6 months) much of the decision can be about what you *want*. If you both need baby free time to stay sane, keep working. If you really feel like breastfeeding will be so much easier with you staying home and can’t imagine missing so much of the toddler years working, quit. Is it a financial decision? Yes. But there’s so much more to this than finances!

  66. SamRI says:

    Congrats mama to be! I have 9 year old twins and a 12 year old Singleton and I can say that getting through my twins’ infancy was the hardest thing I have ever done. That being said, you can do it! It is such a joy to be a parent to twins and since it sounds like yours are identical (mine are too) you will be in for a lot of extra fun. Here are a few things I have learned:
    -Do as much as you can in advance. Freeze food. Set up a meal train. Hire a cleaning lady if that is important to you (I realized it had been a year since I had mopped the floors when my twins started crawling.) Hire a post-partum doula who is also a lactation consultant (you won’t regret it) and set up a schedule for family/friends to come help. NEVER fear asking for help! People really do want to and you will need it.
    -You had a highly medicalized conception which very often leads to a highly medicalized birth so if you have any discomfort with your health care provider, find someone else! Some docs say twins are an auto c-section so check his rates, his plans for potential induction, and whether he is able/willing to do a breech delivery for baby #2 as they can sometimes turn mid-delivery. (My girls were born vaginally at 4 minutes apart at 39w4d and it is totally possible!!)
    -Breastfeeding is completely possible (I did it) BUT you will be doing nothing else those first 8 weeks. We co-slept because our babies would not sleep unless they were snuggled up next to another human being so my husband slept with one and I was with the other. I learned to nurse on my side and we would literally move babies on and off the breasts all night. It worked for us in part because I had nursed before. (Swaddling them together during daytime naps helped too.) It took me about 8 weeks to get a handle on tandem nursing. Had I had a c-section though, I think it would have been nearly impossible. Do what you can and then let the rest go!
    -With MZ twins, it is helpful to paint a toenail of one baby to help identify who is who. You’ll be exhausted. Make it easier on yourself. 🤪
    -And as Ms. Frugalwoods said, you can’t possibly know whether you will want to go back to work. I stayed home because that made financial sense for us BUT there were plenty of days where I wanted nothing more than to go to a paying job. You’ll know what is right when the time comes.
    I wish you all the best and welcome to the Moms of Multiples Club! We are happy to have you! 💕

    • Rose says:

      Thanks! I’m already talking to my mother an in laws to see what they want to do but the schedule is a great idea. I also really like the toenail idea. I’d heard of wearing different color bracelets for Mom to know who nurses on what side but we hadn’t yet figured out how to match them to twins. Now we have!

  67. Jessica says:

    Double check that you are each entitled to 12 weeks FMLA. A friend of mine and her husband worked at the same company and they had to share it.

    What if you stayed home and while you stayed home, you were attending school to move into software development? You could also be boosting your portfolio and making yourself more marketable when you return. Amazon specifically has a program for women who leave the workforce and want to return to code.

    With this option, you could stay in your house which seems like the best overall. In a few years, you could buy a downtown property, live in it and rent out your land. You could do this for two years and then move back to the country and rent out the new house. Options while building a real estate portfolio.

    I’m a software developer and a mother of 3. I chose to not quit but if I had it to do over again, I probably would have. The time goes fast and it’s really, really hard to go to work when they’re little.

    Take some of your financial Independence time early and then switch with your husband later. You can take the small child years and he can take the school aged years until you’re both able to retire at some point.

  68. Sandy says:

    I love twins! Congratulations! I was a working Mom and I now have two working Mom daughters. Organization is key to working with kids. The more organized you are, life will be easier if you decide to return to work. Exhaustion is huge, there were days I wanted to run away from all of it. You will have to take very good care of yourself for sure. Children in daycare tend to pick up more little illnesses so be prepared to spend time at home caring for your sick children. I immediately thought Nanny, that could be a game changer. Definitely delay making all your decisions as long as possible. I would have the house completely finished before the wee ones arrive, #1 priority. I would stay put, sounds like you already have your forever home and moving to the city to just move back to the country ….. You certainly seem to have covered all bases and sounds like you two will be the very best parents. Do what works for the babies, there is no right or wrong way. We are fortunate in Canada to have one year paid leave from our Federal Employment Insurance program, this can be split between parents. We also do not have to worry about medical coverage as it is free in most of Canada now or very minimal (50./month) if not free yet. I do regret not staying home with my girls, but I also did enjoy working. Tough decisions!

  69. Rebekah says:

    Congratulations on having such a handle on your finances at such a young age! You are definitely in the position to be able to successfully make any one of the choices that you have contemplated. There really is not a wrong answer here, and I think once your babies arrive, it will all come into focus. Best wishes on your delivery, and enjoy your little ones!

  70. Maren says:

    When I read about your maternal/paternal leave i feel so lucky to be a norwegian. Current rules here are 49 weeks 100% paid by the government: 3 weeks for mum before due date, 6 weeks are reserved for mum right after birth, 15 weeks are exclusive for dad and the rest of the weeks the family choose themselves if mum or dad stays home. 17 extra weeks is given with twins, and also the family can choose 80% payout, to extend the weeks of law-regulated leave from work. Childcare in Norway is cheaper, most day-care facilities are public. The normal situation is that children start in daycare when they are around 12 months, many families stretch it to 18-24 months. In Norway the sosial norm is that both parents work, one of the reasons are the high cost of living.

    I am not familiar with US rights regarding unpaid leave, but my advice for you is that your family can afford to take a long leave and you absolutely should. My two children started in daycare at 12 and 11 months, by that time they were moving around by themselves and about to start walking, curios about the world and ready for interacting with people with us out of sight. Just weeks before the oldest started daycare i thougt it would be hell for both the boy and me, but we were both ready for a new phase when we reached 12 months together. It took him 3 days to realize that I actually left him there alone, his only day of crying about this.

    My first came with a C-section, it took 6 months before it was healed comfortably. We never managed to make him take a bottle, so before mealsizes were up in good portions about 8months of age we were in symbiosis because of the breastfeeding. Pumping milk never worked for me, the milkdropping refleks needed a baby’s suction. (Or hormon-spray).

    Our oldest barely slept the first 3 months, it was very hard for all of us. I dont think he slept a hole night through his first two years. Putting work in the mix the first 9 months would have drained me out completly.

    Our boys are only 19 months apart and before they got to be consequens thinking 3 year olds, it was all chaos. The first period they never slept at the same time. Leaving home was a workshift of clothing unwilling children, sweating, at least one poop diaper with winterclothes on ha ha 🙂 Baby nr. 2 luckily slept the night «through» after 2 weeks, so we could charge up a bit, just having the oldest to tend to 1-2 times a night.

    Having twins must be twice the work, before they are old enough to have the same routines of eating and sleeping. And even then things double up. From my point of wiew my advice would be to have sleep and healing mum as top priority, realize that two small babies make your situation unique and comparisons and advices from most other parents just dont apply. Your desire to retire early, tells me that raising children is a top priority. Bonding with them their first year could be a part of that plan. Best wishes.

  71. Soggysuzzi says:

    I will only comment on the financial areas I see of concern here, and leave the ideas your compatriots have re the much anticipated kiddos to their expertise. The financial areas that I see of concern are moving twice and job stability.

    Moving twice doesn’t pencil out. It appears that you have what you want at this time, so why change it. It takes me from 8 months to 2 years to find my “next house” and trying to sell your homestead before renovations are finished will probably result in a financial loss. Trying to put together a sale and buy in the short time you have could result it a serious financial and/or physical drain. My advise is to stay put for a couple of reasons. One is that it will make your life easier in the short run, and secondly you don’t want to get stuck with two properties if the business you are working for is sold.

    I gather you live in a smaller community. I also sense that your company is “up and coming”. As such it is vulnerable to the sharks who could easily snap it up with a generous offer to the current owners. What is your plan B for this possibility? Both of you working at the same place puts you in a vulnerable position. My suggestion at this point is to snag all the benefits you both can, both financial and educational, think long term with regard to job stability and the advisability of creating at least two or more income producing streams, and if you decide one of you should stay home that person should be responsible for coming up with another “at home” stream of income that would help to carry you through if the main job disappears.

    I don’t mean to be negative, but this could easily happen. It happened to me when I was still married and I ended up giving our house away to an investor in order to save our credit rating (story on another post), I happened to friends of mine both of whom are engineers and it happened to Jayme and Jeromy of Guildbrook Farm (U Tube) who have similar backgrounds to yours. You might want to check them out. I especially recommend the following posts: How to Start Homesteading, Spouses and homesteading, and Surviving this economy.

    Congratulations on the much wanted babies. It may be rough at first but it will get easier over time.

    I also suggest you consider stashing cash, and reducing expenses until you have a large nest egg for “just in case”. Would I suggest paying off your house? No, because at this time you need to be as mobile as possible “just in case”.

    • Rose says:

      Thanks! We’ve definitely talked before about the risk of tying both our incomes to one company but it’s not as up and coming as I maybe made it seem in the article (though the area my husband moved to is more up and coming which he likes). I have always figured that we have a few years in savings if absolutely necessary and should be able to find jobs (there’s a lot of biotech in our area) but it’s another reason I’m trying to keep up my skills and be financially independent even if we don’t quit

  72. Betsy says:

    I feel like the the financial calculations in the article don’t take into account the growth your current money will make while one (or two) of you continue to work. It also doesn’t take into account the addition of your new 401k contributions….so you are doing fantastic (and I think you realize it and have worked hard to earn it). I am 49 and we are now in the sweet spot where many months our financial growth exceeds our income, which is higher than it has ever been. I am not telling you this to brag, but to point out that you have great things ahead of you.

    I have always worked part time since the birth of my kids and it truly is the best of both worlds. When the kids were little I analyzed research for my boss from home (10-15 hours/week) and when my 4th child was 4 I went back to clinical audiology. I finished my doctorate during the first 18 mo of that job, which was a little hectic, but it bridged the gap of being out of the clinic. If you are in a high demand job and have the needed skills, staying home for a time doesn’t need to penalize you.

    I work 3 days a week, mostly during school hours. It decreases the stress especially if a child gets sick. My 4th had chronic ear infections and the resultant “toddler tummy” from the antibiotics, it would have been VERY stressful if my husband and I were both trying to work away from home because there were long strings of time where I am sure the daycare would have said “no way”.

    Financial independence is in your future! I wouldn’t rush back to work with 2 babies in someone else’s care so that you can quit your jobs sooner…..this is the time when you need to give yourself some kindness. If you both work 50 hours a week and have your commute, you may become exhausted. That is a lot of work for any family, esp, one with twin babies. Enjoy this time, as it will go so fast! They are only little for a short time. You can always find work.

    My nephew works part time and stays home with the kids much more than his wife and he seems to love it. Different things work for different people. You will figure out what is best for you. I am not in the “don’t decide yet” camp, as I knew when I was pregnant that I only wanted to work part time. You or your hubby might have similar feelings. You don’t need to act on it, but it might give you peace of mind to know your plan.

    Congratulations….enjoy those sweet babies!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      True, I didn’t account for potential growth in their investments and 401ks; however, I also didn’t factor in potential losses due to a stock market downturn. There are many unknowns when you’re calculating a future FIRE plan and so I worked from the numbers as they are. However, as you’ve noted, there are many other factors to account for including inflation and, as Rose articulated, the potential of paying for their own health insurance. This is why I’m in the camp of having more than you need in order to create a suitable buffer to mitigate market downturns, etc.

      • Betsy says:

        I absolutely would err on the side of caution too. We will have way more than we could ever need before we will stop working (more than 1.8 mil). (Plus I am a huge fan of employer sponsored health care.) I am just saying that if their 401k contributions are high, there is no way it should take them 30 years to get to 1.8 million at their current savings rate even if the stock market is lower than the average last 60 years.

        • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

          True, which is why I tried to include a lot of caveats in there :). Something I didn’t delve into in the post is the possibility of using a Roth Conversion Ladder, which would make those 401ks accessible to Rose & David earlier than age 59.5. Anyone interested in this can check out the Mad Fientist’s excellent article on the topic here.

    • Rose says:

      I do show some of my own calculations in an earlier comment if you’re really curious. I still don’t include 401k’s since I didn’t have my wonderful spreadsheet in front of me when I was doing them; I just did some back of the napkin math (yes, I am one of those weirdos who likes spreadsheets–you should see all the statistics I ran on the different IVF options!) We are actually withholding the maximum amount in our 401ks (that’s actually why David’s paychecks for the last two months of the year are going to be higher than they have been–he just hit the cap with his last one), so that’s 36000 a year plus about 7000 in matching. I completely agree with saving more than we need-our plan was to get to the point where we could be financially independent and then redo all the math to make sure it still works before even giving notice so we should have quite a bit of buffer there.

      We probably will still have one of us work until we’re done having kids just because of healthcare but the one thing I’m learning from these comments–it doesn’t have to be the same one the whole time!

  73. Helen says:

    Rose,

    Congratulations! Whatever you decide be prepared to change your mind. Nothing makes you as indecisive as children. Whatever decision you make you will doubt it was the right one and go over and over the implications of that decision. I have a brood of four and a husband who works overseas so for me deciding not to work, worked or at least I thought it did whilst my babies were babies but my mental health was suffering and I only realised that with hindsight. I craved adult conversation and company. My own mother even said why did I bother having children if I’m so desperate to go back to work and leave them.

    I now work reduced hours and I find this gives me the best work life balance to suit my lifestyle.

    Be open minded you don’t know how you’ll feel until the babies are here and whatever you decide try to make sure it’s the right decision for you and your family.

  74. Ginger says:

    Just something to keep in mind, FMLA only gives parents 3 months TOTAL, if they work at the same company. Your employer may chose to give you each 3 months but they do not have to. You need to talk to HR and get it in writing.

  75. Whitney says:

    Congrats! My identical twins are 2, and I was lucky to have a VBAC with them. Your physician has probably told you this, but we got an ob trained in internal podalic version even though they were both vertex so that if the second turned after the first was out (lots of room at that point!) I didn’t have to have a last-minute C-section with baby B. I’m happy for you that you have 2 placentas, that takes a lot of risk away!

    My older daughter was 2 when the twins were born, and I was happily surprised that having 3 was not the nightmare I had been expecting – it has been pretty manageable! For what it’s worth, each time I felt really strongly that I needed to be with the babies for the first few months – this urge started dissipating around 6 months, and by 9 months I was definitely needing some time to myself. I was surprised that this timeline held true the second time and I wonder if it is connected to hormones. Which is to say that if you go in knowing your feelings will be different month-to-month it may be easier to listen to them because it’s not forever.

    Good luck!

  76. Kristin says:

    It sounds like Rose and David love their home and may end up staying, but if they don’t, they should plan to rent their next property since they will only be there for a few years, and then buy their forever home once they “retire” and move back to the country. I wouldn’t do two purchases of a primary residence in such a short time span.

    On a separate note, I’ll share my recent experience regarding having babies during a renovation in case it’s helpful:

    We bought a 2-family house in Spring 2017 and ended up moving in to one of the units while we renovate it. My brother-in-law lives in the other unit.

    In summer 2017, we got pregnant! We had a plan to wrap up the renovations on the home by the end of 2017, as our plan is at some point to expand our family, rent out this unit, and purchase a single-family home. My husband and I are no strangers to renovations, as we already own another 2-family home that we renovated and now rent out.

    In fall 2017, already around 5 months pregnant (NOT WITH TWINS), there were things I couldn’t do to help. Getting up and down off of a step stool to paint trim was exhausting, and I could only do it for about 30 mins, and that was the easiest task on our list. My husband was left with the bigger work of drywalling, putting up cabinets (we moved the location of the kitchen in one of the units), installing trim, etc. Like you, our unit was missing some walls. And, then life hit us (which you have to factor in that possibility to your plans): My dad got sick, and our renovations stopped entirely while we focused on his care until he passed in winter 2017.

    Right after THAT, my son was born 6.5 weeks prematurely. He’s perfect. But of course, we weren’t ready (with any baby stuff, though we had a couple weeks to sort that out while he was in the NICU), but also our house was in shambles! The day we went in to the hospital the kitchen was covered in drywall dust and my husband had a saw, other sharp tools, and lumber out on the kitchen island….not exactly a warm, welcoming home environment.

    Fast forward through 8 months of parenting our beautiful boy: i STILL haven’t finished painting the trim that I started painting A YEAR AGO; the painter’s tape is literally still on the wall for me to get to the final coat. It’s hard to bust out things like paint when you have an infant at home and only get to do productive things in short spurts. There just aren’t large blocks of time available when you have an infant (let alone two), and so you have to change how you work, which means some types of work do not get done. We also STILL don’t have a vanity installed in our bathroom; we use the kitchen sink in the next room to wash our hands and brush our teeth. My husband is still trimming out the windows and baseboards in the new kitchen. And we only are currently working part-time and mostly from home, but we’ve recently started sending my son to daycare two days per week, which has actually freed up my husband a bit to work on some house projects that he couldn’t tackle in the first 7 months.

    So, here’s my advice regarding renovation:
    If you have the funds available, I’d pick a couple of high priority projects that will make the house livable for a family, and pay someone to help you get them done NOW, or recruit a really generous friend or family member. Set your deadline for these projects two months before your due date. It’s likely worth it to you to add a couple of months to your FIRE timeline by giving up some savings for this, but live safely and comfortably in the meantime.

    Then, understand that you are likely letting most of the other projects go unfinished for 3 years or so, and make sure you’re ok with that. (if you get them done, great, but don’t make your plans around having a finished house). And, if the projects leave the house in a baby unsafe condition, that you can successfully avoid using that part of the house for awhile.

    Good luck and congrats on those babies!!!

    • Rose says:

      It’s really nice to hear about your experience with baby and renovations. We actually started talking about this in more detail tonight, and our plan right now is to prioritize all projects that are in the main house (NOT the addition which is still closed off by our old porch door) and then if we don’t get the addition pieces done, we just won’t use that area right now. We’re okay with that since it really is completely separate

  77. I agree with Mrs. F’s comments, especially about waiting. At this point, you are guessing about many things but this time next year, things should be a lot clearer to both of you. You are lucky (and to be congratulated) that you have lots of choices…but when it comes to childcare, you have even more choices than you realize. I like the suggestion re a Nanny…but having a live-in doesn’t work for everybody. Why not give yourself the benefit of NOT having to wake, feed and transport (SO much stuff) in the morning by having someone come in to your house just for working hours? For instance, a local grandma…we found one who was delighted to raise our kids with her grandson and ours have wonderful memories. You should be able to find (or create) a situation that fits in your childcare budget.

    The thing about childcare: no matter how good, things change, they ALWAYS change…at home seems ideal in the beginning but toddlers love being part of playgroups…then there’s the joys and benefits of preschool and pre-k…babysitters come and go. AND babysitters get sick, so do babies…always wonderful to have a Real Grandma in the wings that can help out at little notice.

    Also, with regard to moving, DON’T! Stay in your place, your commutes are nothing (maybe not ideal but try two hour commutes each way!) 20 minutes to grandma is ideal…you will find that walking and biking become luxuries when you have to rush home to relieve babysitters…and moving the twins around involves SO MUCH stuff! There will be a time when you can go joy bikeriding with your husband and a twin on each bike but that’s two years away.

    You are WELL on your way to FIRE…which to me, just means you will be in a position to have CHOICES. Some moms and dads would be willing to put off early retirement to be able to spend the early months and years of their babies with them. Some feel saving for college to be more of a priority. Sounds like your house and property are great…especially for RIGHT NOW. Right Now will change, many times in the future but for RIGHT NOW, stay put, hire a helper or contractor to help your husband get everything ready in the house proper for the arrival of twins…including new flooring or carpets…like was stated, dust is AWFUL for babies. Put the word out that you need babystuff and your friends will drop off tons of used stuff and your showers will provide new goodies like an efficient twins stroller. Do your research and shop wisely…for instance, my friends with twins swore by one crib…said the babies slept better near each other. On the other hand, YOU might get more sleep when they sleep apart…:)

    I HAD to go back to work at 8 weeks postpartum or lose my job….pre FMLA. Second baby I was able to ease back 4 days a week for two months before being pushed back into full time. Frankly, like you, I was very focused on early retirement and saving for the kids’ college (and a vacation rental at the Lake)…I gave up the early years of diaperchanging and feeding to be able to work part-time after the kids were 7 and 10. There are lots of ways to be a good mother…and take care of yourself. You may want to put your career and studying on hold for a while. Your dreams may change…and change again… Good luck to you both and explore your choices and create your own path(s)!

  78. DMR says:

    Congratulations! I haven’t read through all the comments, but I thought I’d pass along some of my experiences as the mother of a young child (just one). First, childcare may be difficult to find – we had very limited options finding “reasonably priced” infant care for a single child (the reasonably priced home-based providers are currently around $17,000 / year – we didn’t pursue the more expensive centers in the area, which I think started at 30% more). The availability differs greatly by area, so hopefully this isn’t an issue in your area, but I have a friend in a rural area who seems to have fewer options).

    Your schedules sound intense as well. If both of you would continue working 50+ hours a week at your current employer, you may have extra issues with child care hours. I took a paycut to cut my commute (essentially cutting my work day) after my son was born. This extra availability has been very important for us. If you’re seriously considering freelancing, I’d start laying the groundwork for that now.

    Finally, I know a nanny has been suggested above. That will also help with sick days – little kids get sick a lot, and if they can’t go to daycare, one of you can’t go to work. You still may need to adjust your hours, stagger the times you’re in the office, or hire two if you’ll be working more than 40 hours a week.

    Good luck!

  79. Cindy says:

    In my experience, every time we brought a baby home-we have 3 kids-we had major issues my entire maternity (and husbands paternity) leave. We had car trouble, like none of them would start just before a doctor appointment. We had the garage doors, water heaters, washers, sump pump, and a/c unit die, after baby #3 the basement flooded because the down spouts in our “new to us” home all clogged, and water leaked in through a basement window, we had the stove die, the dishwasher die, omg it’s bringing back so many unpleasant memories. We had nannies in place and quit before I was about to go back to work, We’d be bleeding money and in a constant anxious state the entire time I was recovering from c-sections and caring for an infant that ate every 2 hours and slept at random intervals every day/night. Not that this will be your experience-but I’m being totally honest here and telling you to expect the unexpected….maternity leave was more stressful than anything I’ve experienced. So because of all this I decided to go back to work part time. It wasn’t a choice my employer gave me, but it was a choice I fought for and won. It works for me because I’d be to anxious worrying about expenses/emergencies adding up without my income to act as a buffer. It also works for me because my job is extremely stressful, and physically demanding-staying home with the kids part time gives me the balance I need to stay healthy and not burn out. For my own sanity, we live in an easy to maintain home with not too much land that is close to my work. I come home at lunch to nurse my 1 year old who is cared for by our part time nanny. after learning I was pregnant with #3, I wanted to simplify everything as much as I could and we moved in my second trimester, which gave us time to settle ourselves in.
    That said, your experience will always be different, and the financial state you guys have put yourselves in is really beneficial for whatever path you choose. In the end, you will have to trust your hearts to move/stay put, work full time/part time/or stay home. Good luck and congrats!!

  80. MommaNotz says:

    I don’t have multiples, but I do have five under age 7.. I can tell you each baby comes with their own set of unknown challenges and unknown possibilities.. you might determine early on that you want nothing more than to send the kids to daycare and go back to work and then when the time comes to do so be so heartwrenched at leaving them every day that you make yourself miserable or vice versa, you could find that time as an adult keeps you sane enough to be a wonderful parent when you’re off work. That knowledge won’t hit you until at least 4-6 months after the babies are born. I definitely echo a lot of folks here when I say that, as well as, looking into part time and work from home options might be another option for you as well.
    As far as the house I would personally recommend staying put. Finish those renovations and get cozy, moving while pregnant and moving quickly post birth are both nightmares. I can’t imagine doing it with twins.. we did it with our fourth and it was one of the hardest things we did. It’s much better to be settled, have a plan and limit stress especially given the high potential of premature labor. Selling a house can take way more time than you expect, especially a rural property and renting in rural Midwest unfortunately leads a to hard time finding good responsible renters.. they’re a needle in a haystack sometimes in the city, even more so in the country.
    Lastly, I would highly recommend taking the spring semester off of school. If you can do a ‘maymester’ (the two to three week cram courses) in between fall and spring that would be a better option. Finishing out school with all the changes that come with parenthood is hard. Even harder when the transistion to parenthood starts off with a bang like that! Go for summer semester to restart school if not returning in fall.. don’t give up school though as when the babies turn into kids the changes may be a little less permenant even if one of you does stay home for the time being.
    Thanks for sharing your awsome news with us! Congratulations! Good job getting your finances in such enviable shape! And good luck with all the changes to come!

  81. Margaret says:

    This is probably bad financial advice, but I’d rather work longer, retire later, and lose money in order to maximize the time spent with my kids. Relax and enjoy those babies! Not to be too grim, but sometimes I think the frugal community puts too much emphasis on the future, when all you know for certain that you have is the present.

  82. Julia says:

    First of all, a huge congratulations both on your babies and on the financial position you have put yourselves in! As you acknowledged, privilege played a big role, but you have also worked hard and saved wisely.
    I’m sure you have already considered this, since you seem to have researched a lot already, but I wanted to point it out anyway: there is a pretty good possibility that the twins will arrive early, maybe even very early, and have a NICU stay, whether short or long. Maybe this stuck out to me more because I work in healthcare and my viewpoint is probably skewed… but your time off from work may be spent in the hospital. Also consider that some of your FMLA and/or vacation/sick leave may need to be used BEFORE the babies are born. Bedrest or hospitalization for a variety of reasons is not uncommon in a twin pregnancy.
    Your maternity leave plan seems like a good plan, if everything goes well- full term babies, vaginal delivery, feeding/growing well, able to be somewhat on a schedule by 10-12 weeks, etc. I know before I had kids (no twins, though) that 12 weeks sounded like a long time and that a baby should be sleeping better at that point. I can laugh at myself now 😉 it just seems to me that if your tentative plan is to return to work at 6 weeks postpartum, even if only for a month before taking more time off (I think I read that correctly), that is going to be pretty rough. Your work, and the project you have in May, is important to you- you’re a good employee. However, please give yourself grace and allow yourself to step back if something with the delivery or babies health does not go to plan.
    A lot of people have said you’ll know what to do after they’re born… I just keep thinking about how parenthood has made me realize that I don’t know much at all, haha. It is completely normal to second-guess everything you do and don’t do for your kids. All you can do is your best. So if you don’t have a magical revelation about working v. staying at home, don’t sweat it. Neither option has to be permanent.

  83. SavingMoneySpendingTime says:

    Hi, I’m a mum to 3 year old twins – so know how daunting it can be when you are pregnant to try guess ahead of time how to plan for their care. We saved up a nest egg so I could spend an entire year away from work and then we’d frugalise and I’d return to work part time on my husbands days off (I was offered flexibility hours fortunately). But when the twins arrived prematurely and wouldn’t breastfeed and I decided to pump breastmilk for every feed – we quickly realised we needed two people at home to manage. To provide enough milk for twins means pumping for 20-30mins, 3 hourly, 24 hours a day for the first few months. There was no way I could do that and also settle the twins to sleep etc and get some naps. Fortunately my MIL was able to stay for 4 weeks, then after a few every tough weeks later, my husband took two months of unpaid leave off work. It wasn’t what we planned, but with twins with reflux, it was our family’s saving grace. I think I would have had a breakdown without that help. It’s so hard to predict what will happen and if you feel like you or your husband would like to be a stay at home parent, til your babies arrive. But I’d just say, it’s money well spent to be able to stay at home and give them the loving care only a parent can. No one will know the ins-and-outs of how your babies like to be feed, burped, settled to sleep etc like their parents. Once the twins were 5-6 months old they were a lot easier to look after single handedly. I did return to work part time when they were 11 months old and I love it. My husband is the most capable and confident father I know because he has spent so much hands on time with them and particularly since doing it solo after I started my part time hours on his days off. Try to join a local multiples group – they are a wealth of support, advice and understanding. All the best for the adventure ahead!!

  84. Anna Ramberg says:

    This was an interesting case as its so close to me and my husband, although living in Sweden with all what that means with different tax and social security however there are similarities and my very short version of recommendations would be the following;
    1) Divide parental leave as fair and equal as possible, your idea of taking turns sounds great. We have four kids, we have managerial jobs ( both have MSc in engineering), we live on a farm, we commute to jobs and we have split parental leave 60-40% I took 60 % because of making it possible to breast feed completely for 6 months with all four. Thanks to the even split we have always been totally interchangeable in our parent role and by that simplified life and been able to give our kids a much better uppbringing.
    2) Do not give up your jobs, find a smart childcare solution instead. We had our kids on part time kindergarden ( approx 09:00-15:00) and then we had live in AuPairs that took care of the kids in the morning ( we could leave early to office and by that come home early) – they also picked up the kids at kindergarden, gave them a snack took them to activities ( if any) and let them be at home. So when we came home to make dinner things were not that winded up, kids were relaxed at home and we could make dinner and have a family dinner together every evening. Then the AuPairs did lighter houshold work, took the dogs for the long walk middle of the day ( we always took the morning and evening walks and handled all other animals) By this you still have full incomes but do not have the stress that you get if you have only kindergarden and needs to be in time and drag your kids in the morning. For us it was financially better to have a live in AuPair vs having some one walking the dogs and having kids full time at Kindergarden, maybe that is a feasabile alternative also for you
    3) try to make your house more ready, we have rebuilt our house with babies and toddlers, I would avoid doing it again, it puts enourmous stress on the whole family
    4) Dont move if this is your dream house, why not build a small house on the property to have it to rent and make money on the piece of land you have. We have a summer house that we have on AirbnB that gives us incomes covering more thatn double what the summer house costs for us

    This is all for now, happy to answer any other question after 23 years with combination of a managerial job, 4 kids, a farm and a number of rebuild projects, still alive, happily married and al kids are turning out to be or on their way of becoming healthy and vise persons.
    Good luck!

    • Rose says:

      Thank you-that does sound very similar to us. I started looking into AU pairs yesterday but with the limited number of hours they can work a week and out schedules it’s unfortunately probably not going to be feasible for us right now. But I really like the option of combining it with preschool/school and will have to look into that in the future

  85. Maria says:

    I live in Portugal and enjoyed my 7 month maternity leave after my twins were born (they’re 2 years old now) but I also enjoyed going back to work. My twins were born full term, I breastfed exclusively until they were 6 months old, they slept well and were healthy so everything went very smoothly. But staying at home alone all day with 2 babies that require full attention is not easy. I would never be able to go back to work after 2 months but after 7 months I was ready. Moms who breastfeed in Portugal work 2 hours less per day (in my case 2,5 because I had twins) and I work in shifts (I’m a NICU nurse) so I was able to still spend a lot of time with them. My advice as a mother of twins – wait until after they’re born to make these decisions. Every pregnancy/birth/baby is different (and you’ll have 2 babies…!) so be gentle on you and see how you feel as a mom and as a “person” after they’re born.

  86. Erin says:

    Congratulations! I’m chiming in since I’ve noticed a lot of the comments have (consciously or unconsciously) tended to default to Rose staying home with her twins instead of David. But I think Mrs Frugalwoods has it right by advising them BOTH to wait until after they’ve taken their respective leaves with the babies before making any decisions.

    I’m also an engineer and new mom of a 5 month old and was beyond grateful for my 16 wks of paid parental leave. My husband was also able to take parental leave and is home with the baby now that I’m back to work. And our son will be starting daycare when my husband’s leave is finished. I’m so glad and grateful I was able to stay home with my son for the first 16 weeks. But it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I found that going back to work has helped me retain a sense of self and be more fully present when I’m am with my son on evenings and weekends. (It does help that I have a flexible job – working from home 1 day a week or as needed helps with my work-life balance.) And I’m excited for my son to get some interaction and learning with other babies when he starts daycare (let’s face it – I have NO IDEA what I’m doing).

    Not everyone’s personality and wants align with being a stay-at-home parent. I’d encourage both Rose AND David to evaluate how they feel after they experience it for themselves. It may be that David, despite really enjoying his current role, is better suited to stay home with the babies. Or both of them will want to keep working – in which case, daycare will be a great option for their family.

  87. Julie S says:

    Congratulations and lots of luck on this new journey! So much great advice here. Just wanted to add an extra cost-saving tip on the childcare front, the idea of a nanny SHARE. Joining forces with another family to share one nanny is a great way to save on costs, get the kiddos some social interaction, and create a little community for yourselves. This is a win-win for nannies and families since the nanny earns a higher hourly rate but it costs the families less per hour spread out over 2 or 3 (or maybe as many as 4) kids. There are different ways to play it out, but usually one family is the “host” family where the kids all come for the day , or you might switch off whose house is home base. I have done this with both my kiddos and found it to be a wonderful option with manageable costs, lots of flexibility, and wonderful new friends for all!

  88. Lori says:

    Rose, as a stay-at-home mom of 9 (yes, we homeschool, too), I’d say this is not a financial decision. This is really a decision about the kind of life you’d like to live as a family. The numbers are there to make it work as a stay-at-home parent; with all the time and effort you’ve put in to having children, it sounds like you’ve committed to a strong family life. As for moving, again I’d say it’s more a question of what kind of life you’d like to craft with your family. If the current location works and a country life is what you’d like to gift your family with… stay! If you’d rather be closer to town for the social life it lends you and your children, then move. Neither of these decisions are truly financial. They are really about the kind of family you want to become. Take your time to envision what sort of life you’d like to have, and then, do that. [Note: Before I became a parent, I spent three years getting Motherhood Magazine to figure out how to be a working mother — my mother had stayed home; I intended to work. After reading it diligently cover to cover, I realized all the articles basically repeated the same theme … coping with constant exhaustion, feeling pulled to give all at work and all at home, the strain of getting everyone out the door in the morning and getting home in the evening — hungry, tired and needing to take care of 1000 home management tasks/homework/”quality time” with spouse and children/catch up on work tasks. I realized I do not have the character necessary to cope with that well, and my family life would be a mess if I worked. Being a good mom was more important to me, and so I stayed home. I have never regretted it. However, I also recognize others may have the character necessary to cope well with it, and could make a success of it. Know yourself, and know your family. Do what works.]

  89. Pandamomium says:

    HI there, twin mom here, there have been a lot of great comments but I don’t think I saw one about the issue about changing jobs soon after becoming a new mom. My advice on this is–think VERY carefully before doing that, and, as other posters have advised, don’t rush. This is why–you have built up human capital in your job. You know the ropes, you know the players. If you change jobs, even to go to a lower-hours lower-stress one, you will have to build up that initial capital. That takes time, energy, and focus, NONE of which are things you have as a new parent. I figured this out the hard way–left a hard-charging stressful job but one that I loved and where I had become reasonably senior in the org so I could delegate a lot and could get by on good will I had built up with others, for a leadership role in a nonprofit. Turns out that a much smaller place actually in some ways was more demanding because there were fewer resources and I was expected to invest a lot of time and mental energy in leadership and charting a course for the team, which was much harder when everything was new. It sounds like, Rose, you don’t have the flexibility you’d like, but when you weigh changing jobs also remember the upfront costs you need to put in. The first year on a new job is always a little bumpy and it just may not be worth it to you to put in that investments until your kids are at least potty-trained!

    A few tiny suggestions: definitely get a twin nursing pillow and tandem nurse! You won’t have time to do it any other way. Buy one of those hour by hour apptment books and for first few months have whoever is caregiving write down when they feed the kids, change them, if they threw up or you gave them medicine, whatever. That way if you have multiple hands helping things go more smoothly. And you shouldn’t have to buy anything for new babies, if you get on the twin moms group serv they will give you everything and sometimes organized groups have second hand sales. I don’t think we bought anything new for the first three years of our twins lives.

    Many blessings to you, having twins is truly a joy.

    • Rose says:

      Thank you. I hadn’t considered the upfront costs of changing jobs before but you’re definitely right—I’m very much coasting right now because I know everything I have to do and have a job that’s mostly delegating and making sure things are getting done once I delegate. That’s actually one of the more annoying things right now (I’m bored frankly) but I never considered how beneficial it might become when I’m chronically sleep deprived

      I’m going to the first meeting for moms of multiples in my area in a couple weeks and I’m definitely hoping to use it for some networking to get used twin items!

  90. Emily says:

    Congratulations on your twins! Mine are almost two – it’s seriously the best (except at first – that was pretty tough). Watching my kids become friends and become their own little people is the greatest gift – you’re going to love it!

    My husband and I chose to have him stay at home with the babies at first because paying for daycare would have been a financial wash. It’s turned out to be really great for us. Even for me as the working outside the home spouse, I feel it lowers my stress and makes me more present at home.

    I noticed you mentioned having one parent quit work would set back your retirement date by a few years. My advice is if you decide that having someone stay at home works best for your family, think of it as getting those two years now instead of later (especially if your husband enjoys his job). It’s the beauty of financial flexibility in action.

    I hope you’re feeling well! Twin pregnancy is no joke!!

  91. Ellen says:

    Congrats on twins!!!! Being the super organized couple that you are I’m sure you have checked with your HR dept. but wanted to just mention that it is up to your employer to allow you to take your 12 weeks leave in broken up “chunks” of time, it is not guaranteed or required that they allow you to do this. Also your employer is not required to give both of you 12 weeks each, in the case of parents working for the same company you have to split the 12 weeks between you. Hopefully you work for a generous employer who allows you both to be off with the babies.

    • Rose says:

      I had checked on the broken chunks before and they’re fine with that (some people even come back at 2-3 days a week for a little while). After reading comments I did check yesterday whether we could both take 12 weeks and got confirmation that we could so we should be good to go!

  92. Clelie says:

    Hey, I didn’t have time to read thru everything. The thing that is most jumping out at me- is that as parents and especially as parents of twins to ask for help. And in this case, it seems to me that for the price of daycare YOU COULD HIRE IN HOME HELP. Which I think would really alleviate some of the stresses of new parenthood and 2 to boot.

    Also same with the house- what would it look like to hire a contractor to get things to a state that is more workable either to live in or sell.

    Also- please budget in some health care / healing/ self-care expenses in for your self. You are going thru a huge transition and your body is going to be asked to do A lot. Take care of it. 😀

    The healing process you go thru post partum is a huge opportunity to set yourself up for health thru the rest of your childbearing years and all the way to menopause.

    I am excited for you guys and with you the best.

  93. Marisa says:

    I agree, don’t make this decision now. Plan to go back to work, then see how it goes. Also, daycare/stay at home parent are not the only options. Working full time and having multiple young kids is tough. We have a nanny who stays at home with our kids. There is no mad rush out the door in the morning. No worrying about how to deal if a kid is sick and can’t go to daycare. She also does laundry, light cleaning, and preps dinner. A nanny is more expensive (although not too much for two), but the added things she does are a big stress relief and lets us spend more time enjoying our kids. I have friends who have kids in daycare, but hire a part time nanny to pick them up and prep dinner. They get home and just relax. I suggest you give daycare a try, figure out where your pain points are, and then adjust as necessary.

    About where to live, I believe in living the life you want now, not waiting until FI. If your life goal is to live in the country, keep your country house. Or move now to another country setting. Moving is itself stressful and expensive. Don’t do it for a temporary situation.

  94. This is interesting. My parents went through the exact same dillemma. They rode it out and found the appropriate solution for them towards the end.

    I hope things work out for you guys the same way!

  95. Effie says:

    Hi Rose,

    Sorry if someone has already mentioned this already but I wanted to let you know that here in Cambridge, UK. Biking with babies is the norm. Pre one years of age folk bike with the kids in a trailer bike in a car seat which have speacial fixings for the seat (no helmets). Kids over one-years wear bike helmets and ride on speacial seats. Very few people drive their kids in a car in the city, it’s much more common for people to bike. I completely understand that this is not safe in every situation and rural bike riding here in the UK would be pretty dangerous for kids. But I just wanted to make you aware that biking and kids is perfectly doable.

    Also the only advice I would give you about parenting is be kind to yourself and follow your instincts. Every kid and every parent is different, just prepared for the unexpected!

  96. Holly says:

    Hi Rose,

    I’m a Mom of a 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old identical twin boys. Congrats!

    I agree with the comments above about waiting until you have them to figure out about who stays at home. You two are in a great position to do so. As you know in a high-risk pregnancy you could be on bed rest at any time. A lot of doctors in the DC area tend to put MoMs on a type of bedrest at 24-28 weeks. Mine didn’t. I ended up at 35 weeks but delivered at 36 weeks.

    I’m very active in my local moms of multiples group and highly recommend you join one in your area and talk to other Moms. It is so helpful with the stress of having them, after and post par. My group also supports other Moms out of the area so if you don’t have one feel free to reach out to me and I can send you more info.

    I ended up being a stay at home Mom and loved it. My husband wanted to be a stay at home Dad and it worked out for me to stay. Like it was mentioned above try breastfeeding but the formula is perfectly fine and such a blessing. We had to switch just because I got sick with mastitis twice, it wasn’t the plan and that is ok. I delivered my twins at 36 weeks scheduled C-section (my daughter was unplanned and I hoped for VBAC) but they were identical (mono/di) and in the worst position – breech (baby a) and transverse (baby b). My boys knew I needed a C-section. It was a great C-section. Crazy to say that but I healed faster I think because it was planned and knew to take it easy. The boys didn’t go to the NICU which is where a lot of babies tend to do but I prepared my brain to know that they might.

    Since there are so many unknown factors. I would do the best you can control now like do the biggest house projects now before the babies come. I think you love this house so look at fixing the areas you want to now. We remodelled our bathroom before the babies came and it was the best decision for us. Maybe having a contractor help so it can be done faster than doing it yourself.

    Start reading on sleep training books and schedules since the best advice I learned and still teach Moms is to feed the babies at the same time. Creating a simple schedule will help and that starts about at age 5 weeks and 9 lbs. Since most sets of twins are early that means they are a bit behind on sleep and eating schedules. So eating every 2 hours is very common and ok. I loved Baby Wise, Baby Whisperer, and my favorite book is Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old. My babies ate every 2 1/2 hours and never would do more than that but we learned to feed them 24 oz a day and get 2 naps at 16 weeks age they slept 12 hours at night. No crying out. We did the simple method of putting them down when sleepy and having a simple bedtime routine. The method of Eat, Play, Sleep was a blessing! No sleeping with a bottle or breastfeeding.

    As others mentioned have family and friends come and help. Have them help with everything else, not the babies like feeding you, cleaning, dishes and laundry. They need to take care of you and your hubby.

    As a stay at home parent I found the FIRE movement and I feel we are pre-FI before we knew what it was. We already had a great savings rate. The best part about the FIRE movement is there is no right or wrong answer. You can do whatever YOU want to do. 🙂 I feel being a SAHM is freedom so I can take care of my kids and be there for them at a young age.

    I have learned so much during this phase of my life that I love teaching others the same thing which is why I am now working part-time as a financial coach.

    Congrats! Keep us posted! Will be thinking about you often! (I was due April and delivered in March) 🙂
    Holly

  97. Dan says:

    Rose,

    One thing we realized right before having our first was that we needed to increase our car insurance coverage on at least one car. We added comprehensive to our newest car (also the family car) to make sure that if an accident happened we wouldn’t be left without a car that could handle a baby seat. It might be a small increase in cost but it will cover you from having to deal with an accident AND no car at the same time.

    Good luck and Congrats!

  98. P says:

    As a scientist myself, I recommend you have a plan for work after the babies have arrived and stick to it. It was important to me to have a plan prior to birth hormones because those really had a bad effect on my self-confidence. Without a plan I would not have been brave enough to return to work and I am so happy I did as baking care of babies lacks mental challenges. That said be open to change your mind if something does not work out. I planned to not use formula, not co-sleep, not hire-out cleaning and not use a pacifier and had to change my mind in the first weeks. Finally, if one of you were to change to a more family friendly job (i.e. less hours, which I recommend for both of you), I recommend it be your husband. In a male-dominated field of work it can be difficult for a woman to get a new job with young children while it shouldn’t be an issue for a man. Likewise, evaluate for whom a break in the CV will cause more issues regarding future jobs.

  99. Leo B says:

    Hi Rose and David, As a father of identical 8 year old twin boys, I just wanted to chime in with some support and a little of my experience that may be relevant to you guys. Firstly I’m super impressed with how intentional you guys seem to be and I really must congratulate you on putting yourselves in such a sound financial position. I think Liz’s point about waiting until after the birth is really important, because becoming a parent is such a game changer. You mentioned the prospect of a premature birth, this is something that is very common with identical twins and was the situation that we found ourselves in. Our twins were about 8 weeks early in fact, which lead to a 2 month stay in hospital before we got ours home. This had a dramatic effect on us and to see your little ones having to fight so hard in the early days I think really informed some of the decisions we went on to make. My wife hadn’t had a strong maternal instinct before finding out see was pregnant but it developed quickly afterwards. I should say we are in the UK so things are a little different here but my wife was able to have the first 13 months of our children’s lives off work and frankly if we had been in a stronger financial position I don’t think she ever would have gone back. As the Father it was clear to me that in the early days my role was to support my wife as best I could, it was vital that our little kids got the best nourishment that nature can provide and the medical professionals made it very clear that was her breast milk. I’ve found that over time the children have needed more from me, but our experience is the mother is so important in those early years. My thoughts when I listen to your situation are these, this is going to have a huge emotional impact on you so be willing to react when you really know what is going to work best. Having said that I think it’s great you have been able to buy a home that you can live in forever, it sounds like an amazing place to bring up kids, so why give that up? You have both worked hard to put yourself in a strong financial position but ultimate financial independence is not as important as doing the right thing by your kids. If your in a position where Rose doesn’t have to go back to work, so you can avoid the rigours of day care drop offs and truly nurture your children that is a great option to have. Our spending really reduced after our twins were born, you really can’t or don’t want to go anywhere, people come to you and they understand that they might even have to pitch in with some cooking when they arrive! You both seem highly skilled and motivated people and I think you will end up smashing this in the long run, but don’t beat yourselves up about careers, spending or savings rates whilst the kids need your full focus. Before you know it, they will be trotting off to school and at that point you’ll have a bit of time to focus on other things. My wife and I both work part time now in careers we enjoy, we are not completely FI but we spend less than we earn and are able to focus on our childrens’ needs which is what is most important to us. Being a parent to twins is an amazing experience, it may be the only time you have kids, relax, enjoy it as much as you can, your going to do great.

  100. convexed says:

    This may have been mentioned above, but I haven’t had a chance to closely read every single comment. If it were me, a high priority would be to finish the renovation of your house *before* the babies arrive, because that will free you to enjoy it (safely!) with babies when they arrive if you opt to stay, or sell it at a higher cost and more quickly if you opt to move.
    Even though it goes against the ideal of frugality and in-sourcing, I would consider hiring help in order to complete the renovations on time. This may be contractors, if you need specialized skills or lack necessary equipment, or even just some neighbors/local young folks if what you really need is a few extra sets of hands. Of course, with hiring non-professional help, you’d have to consider what would happen in case of an accident or injury on your property and your potential legal liability.
    My point being, I think you will breathe a lot easier if all your walls are up and all the sawdust is settled before you go into labor. I’d also leap into it sooner because you can’t predict if, as your pregnancy advances, you may be less able to do manual labor. I hope you have an easy pregnancy, with no need for extra activity restrictions, but you never know.
    I’m sure you are also already being very cautious about fumes and exposure to any chemicals/solvents during your pregnancy and taking appropriate precautions. Respirator masks should be in any DIYers frugal budget, because you don’t want extra health expenses down the road.
    In short, I think the value of peace of mind in having what sounds like a monumental task completed is worth the outlay of cash to hire help if that’s what it takes to get it done. Once you have your twins, you have no way of knowing how easy it will be to get back to doing construction-type work. If you have a task that takes two hands, and you need to close off the room because of dust, etc, where will the babies be? Who will be with them? What if you are laid up after delivery for longer than you think?
    A principle of insourcing and frugality is very important, and I want to honor any DIY ethos, but in this case I’d make an exception given the number of unknowns you have coming up so quickly for you.
    Best wishes to you and your expanding family!

  101. Juliana says:

    I also agree with getting as many of the home renovations done before the babies come as possible, and hiring help if needed. The first three months of having a baby (two in your case) is so intense, emotional and new that you probably will have little time for anything else. It’s chaotic, and I think that having a home that is in decent shape will add some much needed serenity for what’s bound to be an intense few months. You are both in a good place financially, and I think investing in making your home baby (and mom) friendly is a worthwhile investment, even if it means dropping more money than you’d hoped.

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